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Everton FC 1, Aston Villa 1: Wounded Blues still need a superhero
Nov 2 2009 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
HIGH in the main stand at Goodison sat a group of superheroes, waiting for their call to action. Leading the way was the indomitable Mr Incredible, followed by the legendary Superman, an imposing Bananaman, a bloke dressed as a giant Smurf, and, er, “Beer” Man. Quite an array of talent, yet none of them could come to the rescue of an again misfiring Everton team on Saturday. Instead, it was the clutch of injured players sat either in the directors’ box or kicking their heels at home that David Moyes sorely needs to see parading their wares as soon as possible. Another home game, another hugely disappointing home draw. Of course, with Aston Villa harbouring hopes of a top-four challenge and having already downed Liverpool and Chelsea, this was a more testing proposition than the recent visits of Stoke City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. But so poor were the Midlanders, particularly during the first half, that Moyes had every right to consider this an opportunity missed to gain a confidence-boosting victory and propel this team back into the top half of the Premier League table. Everton recovered from a woeful start last season to ultimately record a second successive fifth-place finish and reach the FA Cup final, aided by a run of just two defeats in 23 games that began after the last-gasp home defeat to Saturday’s opponents last December. The landscape has changed since then, however. Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur continue to challenge the top-four with greater conviction and, more pertinently, too many of Everton’s walking wounded, despite the return of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Leighton Baines and Joseph Yobo at the weekend, are still some way from a first-team return. No wonder Moyes spoke later of the danger of his team dropping further points and giving themselves too much to do when playing catch-up later in the campaign. The Goodison manager is loathe to lower his Premier League sights, but the longer the current form extends – this was a sixth successive game without a victory – the less choice he will have in the matter.
Admittedly, after Carling Cup elimination at White Hart Lane on Tuesday completed a spell of three harrowing defeats inside six days, it was imperative that losing tide was stemmed. And while an improvement at the weekend, Everton remain unconvincing no matter how Moyes shuffles his pack or tweaks the formation.
For all the talk of players being out of position, the changes made by the Goodison manager at the weekend meant there was only Tim Cahill, asked to ostensibly patrol the right flank, in an unaccustomed role. John Heitinga and Jack Rodwell sat in defensive central midfield roles where both enjoyed encouraging afternoons, the former revelling in a combative encounter to deliver his best performance since arriving from Atletico Madrid on deadline day. Rodwell, too, warmed to the task, his forward drives helping Everton win the midfield battle, particularly during a largely forgettable first half in which Villa, energies sapped by extra-time and penalties in the Carling Cup at Sunderland in midweek, were chronically out of sorts.
Nevertheless, Moyes’s men took until the 29th minute to fashion a chance when Heitinga’s clipped ball forward was headed narrowly off target by Yakubu, the Nigerian again benefiting from a near 90-minute run-out. The goal their endeavours of the opening period just about deserved arrived on the stroke of half-time.
Cahill hounded Richard Dunne out of possession down the right and crossed low where the ball broke off Yakubu to the incoming unmarked Bilyaletdinov, whose neat right-footed finish rolled in despite the best efforts of Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel to keep the ball out. Bilyaletdinov chipped in with a similar goal against Wolves a fortnight earlier, but on Saturday he was too often on the periphery. It took Villa less than 60 seconds of the second half to draw level, Gabriel Agbonlahor’s shot parried by Tim Howard back into the danger zone where substitute John Carew struck between the legs of Sylvain Distin with his first touch. “It wasn’t a bad result considering what we had out there but the key for us was to keep a clean sheet,” says Moyes. “We weren’t able to do that. “We wanted the three points, and in the first half I thought it was there for us. I thought Aston Villa looked like a team that had played extra time in midweek, and if we had been up to it and capable, then we could have capitalised in the first half. Villa got stronger in the second half, but in the first half they played like we have been in the last three or four weeks because of the amount of games we have been playing. We had a couple of opportunities and we weren’t quite good enough to take them.” Villa, in fact, were the more likely to score after drawing level, Stiliyan Petrov seeing a powerful drive deflected over and Carew’s improvised backheel flick from a Stephen Warnock cross clutched by Howard. Everton’s biggest threat was when Louis Saha emerged from the bench during the final quarter in place of the worryingly ineffective Marouane Fellaini, the Belgian having struggled to get into the game despite playing behind Yakubu. A low-key afternoon was livened up in the closing moments by referee Lee Probert. The official had already sounded a warning of his ineptitude when booking Warnock for a foul on Yakubu by Petrov, and he angered the home crowd by dismissing Bilyaletdinov in the 87th minute for a tackle on Petrov that, while a foul, perhaps didn’t warrant a straight red.
The Goodison hostility perhaps swayed the referee into evening the numbers three minutes later when he sent off Carlos Cuellar for a second bookable offence, despite the Villa man clearly winning the ball from Yakubu. A draw, though, was the right outcome. Now Everton have the small matter of the Europa League return against Benfica on Thursday and the chance to gain a modicum of revenge for their humiliation in Portugal a fortnight ago – and prove Bananaman and his chums won’t be required.

Jack Rodwell: European win over Benfica will fire our season - Everton FC latest
Nov 2 2009 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
JACK RODWELL believes Thursday night’s revenge mission against Benfica at Goodison is the “perfect” contest to kick-start Everton’s campaign. The Blues’ winless streak was extended to six games after Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa. However, the 18-year-old midfielder insists there were signs of improvement and now he has his sights set on helping David Moyes’ side avenge their recent 5-0 thrashing in the Europa League in Lisbon. “We feel good about the performance against Villa but not about the result,” Rodwell said. “It’s playing on our minds a little bit that we need a win and the perfect time to get that is on Thursday at Goodison.
“The defeat over in Portugal was difficult to take. In the first 45 minutes we were as good if not better than Benfica but in the second half we weren’t at the races and our heads dropped. “Now they’ve got to come to our ground and we have to show Benfica what a good side we are. We owe Benfica one and we owe it to ourselves. Hopefully on Thursday we can turn it around.” Rodwell admits the Blues felt down as they returned to the dressing room after only taking a point off Villa but Moyes swiftly lifted his players. “Everyone was disappointed because although Villa are a good side we were at home and we always expect to win here,” Rodwell said. “But the manager came in at the end and said there were a lot of positives for us to take away from the game. “We’ve bounced back after three defeats and we were unlucky not to get the three points. “The fans were brilliant and backed us all the way. Spirits are still good and now we need to turn those positives into wins.” The Blues’ lengthy casualty list has meant added responsibility has been placed on Rodwell’s shoulders this season. Saturday was the talented youngster’s fourth game in 10 days and he admits it’s been a tough time. “It’s been difficult both physically and mentally,” he said. “I’ve not had a rest and it’s been hard for me because I’m not used to this. Last season I was in and out of the side and resting a bit more. “I’m still young and my body is still adapting but I’m always happy to play every game. We have a lot of good players out injured but the lads have dug in and nobody is looking for excuses. “It was good to have a few lads back on Saturday and when the rest come back I’m sure we’ll do even better.”

Everton FC show of resilience gives manager David Moyes cause for optimism
Nov 2 2009 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
MANAGER David Moyes believes Everton missed a golden chance to get back to winning ways against Aston Villa at Goodison Park on Saturday. The Blues took the lead through Diniyar Bilyaletdinov just before the break but John Carew equalised early in the second half and a dour clash ended in stalemate. Moyes admitted the home side didn’t do enough to deserve any more than a share of the spoils. “Neither keeper had a great deal of saves to make and a draw was probably a fair result,” Moyes said.
“In the first half Villa looked like a team who had played extra-time in midweek and the disappointing thing is we couldn’t capitalise on that. “They were a notch below in the first half and the game was there for us, but Villa picked up in the second half. We had an opportunity but weren’t quite good enough to take it. “I wanted to get the three points but a point is not a bad result. We are not playing with a great deal of confidence at the moment. “I thought we nullified Aston Villa quite well but weren’t able to play our own game. We’re missing a few players who might create things for us, so we’re set up slightly differently. “I wanted us to keep a clean sheet more than anything and I thought if we did that we would win the game.” The draw extended the Blues’ winless streak to six games and leaves them 13th in the Premier League.
However, they are only seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand and Moyes is confident when the club’s walking wounded return to action they will climb the table. “The tightness of the Premier League means we are not a million miles away from the teams at the top,” he said. “We haven’t hit our usual standards yet and we need to do better and win some games. “Villa have a good chance of getting in the top four this season but on today’s showing you would have to say Everton are not that far behind them. “We need to move up and we’re better than where we are at the moment. If I get the squad fit and available we will have some decisions to make. “We haven’t had that so far and the hardest part is we are playing players out of position. “The one thing Everton have got is resilience. We’re introducing half a dozen players who might have come from clubs who aren’t resilient. “I have to try to get that into them quickly and make them realise what we demand from them. “That’s hard in the short term, especially when you play Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday, as you don’t really get much chance to work on things. “But I thought there were a few more like that today. We were tougher and meaner than we have been, trying to ensure we gave nothing away.” Moyes had some sympathy for Bilyaletdinov who faces a three-match ban after being dismissed for his challenge on Stiliyan Petrov late on. “I think our player arrived just a little bit late and he’s certainly not jumped in,” Moyes said. “I’ve seen games where he would be sent off for that but I’ve also seen games where he would have got a yellow card. “I’ve also seen tackles against our players this season which haven’t been given which have been far worse so when we make a tackle and it’s a sending off I feel a bit hard done by. “There was a stamp on Tim Cahill by the side of the pitch last week which would have been a red card but went unnoticed.”

Everton FC manager David Moyes sweats on Tim Cahill fitness
Nov 3 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Tim Cahill celebrates with David Moyes (158)
DAVID MOYES is sweating on Tim Cahill’s fitness as he gears Everton up for a revenge mission on Benfica. The Everton midfielder missed training yesterday, along with Leon Osman, after picking up a knock during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa. Moyes will already have to make at least one change to the side that started that game, as John Heitinga is ineligible but he will be desperate to have Cahill involved.
Having lost their first Europa League meeting with Benfica 5-0 in Lisbon, Moyes will want as many of his big guns available to face the Portuguese giants. Cahill will now receive treatment for the next 48 hours but is likely to play through the pain barrier, given that Everton have so many injuries at present. What’s more, he has another role to perform in the continued absence of Phil Neville and says that being made captain of the Blues has filled him with immense pride. “It’s a massive honour and a privilege to be a captain of such a big team,” said Cahill, who first wore the armband in Lisbon. “It’s something in my career that is probably the biggest moment for me. “It’s something I don’t take lightly; it’s been very disheartening to wear the armband and lose games but we turned it around against Aston Villa. The gaffer looks for leadership and if I have the armband or not I will always be a leader of this team.” Everton have not won since they turned around deficit in Minsk against BATE Borisov on October 1, a run of six games, but Cahill is not losing faith. He has vowed that the Toffees will stick together to battle through the tough period with the kind of spirit and determination they have shown on numerous occasions in the past. Cahill said: “I have been here a long time and we lost our way a bit in the last three weeks but now it’s all about getting our heads down and just working.” Meanwhile, Leighton Baines has admitted his relief at being back in action following a recent spell on the sidelines; the defender caught the eye in the stalemate against Villa and is determined to build on that performance in the coming weeks. “It was hard to be out but I think that is how a lot of the lads feel,” Baines said. “Myself and Ossie, for example, have both picked up injuries at a similar time and we have both been frustrated throughout the week. “Watching the lads struggle a bit is tough but it’s good to be back and have things in your own hands. “I’ve not missed much so I felt okay and I came through the game against Villa okay.”

NIGEL MARTYN: Everton FC need a change of gear going into pivotal month
Nov 3 2009 Liverpool Echo
AND so we are into the month that contains the fixture every Evertonian looks forward to more than any other during the course of a season. But if the Merseyside derby is going to be memorable experience for all Blues, we have got to emerge from this mini-slump with all guns blazing; things are difficult at the moment and the situation is not getting easier. David Moyes, though, will be looking at the run of fixtures we have between now and November 29 as providing the perfect opportunity to establish form and rhythm before we welcome our neighbours once more. He will also be aware, however, that this month will ultimately dictate how the remainder of the campaign pans out – will we hover around mid-table or can we get into a groove and push those sides contesting the European places? At this moment in time, they look miles ahead of us and there is no disputing we are struggling to show any kind of consistency – too many points have been squandered at home against sides that we usual beat. Normally you would expect us to see off teams like Stoke and Wolves without much fuss, while you might also back an in-form Everton to see of Aston Villa but those three draws at home have been really damaging. Hindsight might prove a draw with Villa wasn’t such a bad result but it was disappointing that we conceded a goal to John Carew so soon after half-time, having done well to get in front initially. We should really have pressed home our advantage. Of course, it is really hard being without key player such as Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar and it’s a big ask for others to step in to fill such creative shoes. However, one thing you can set your clock by is Everton’s determination, even when things aren’t going to plan, and it will be a case of digging in to stop the slide when we travel to Upton Park on Sunday. West Ham have endured a troubled start to the season yet two draws against Arsenal and Sunderland has hinted that they might be about to turn the tide; Gianfranco Zola will fancy his chances of masterminding a win against Everton.
Yet David will be thinking exactly the same and who knows? A win at Upton Park might just turn out to be the key to derby success.
Blues will feel the benefit when star duo Phil Neville and Phil Jagielka return
PHIL NEVILLE and Phil Jagielka played a massive part in Everton’s success last season and hopefully it won’t be long before they are playing again. The news coming out of Finch Farm is positive on both men and I heard Jags say last week that he hopes to resume contact training shortly. He, of course, was the star man last season and while the defence hasn’t been creaking beyond repair while he has been out, David Moyes will be much happier when the England man is back available for selection. Similar sentiments apply to Neville. Though the manager has experimented by naming different captains, my old team-mates’s leadership skills have been missed. I’m glad Phil won over the section of supporters who perhaps were not his greatest fans last season, as he has never given anything other than his very best wherever he has played. Everton have missed his steadying influence; hopefully normal service will resume soon.
John Heitinga’s form is Goodison Park’s hottest topic
JOHN HEITINGA has sparked a good deal of debate since he joined the Blues on transfer deadline day. Versatile and talented, David Moyes bought him to put pressure on a number of positions in his team but I know the men who occupy the roles he can play and they won’t give up their spots without a fight. He has played mainly as a defender, even though he has designs on operating as a midfielder, and has shown some good points – and some not so good points. But I thought he was a little bit better against Aston Villa and it was noticeable that the manager chose to say he had improved. Always committed to the cause, Heitinga is a player who certainly does not lack confidence but there is no chance of him being allowed to become the big ‘I am’ in a dressing room that has been devoid of egos for many years. In all likelihood, he will probably end up being a right-back but I have noticed that Tony Hibbert’s form has picked up since he has been here. When the manager has all his players fit, he will have some tough decisions to make – and it remains to be seen whether Heitinga slots into the best XI.

Everton FC rocked by fresh Mikel Arteta injury anguish
Nov 4 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been dealt a devastating blow after Mikel Arteta suffered another setback in his bid to recover from long-term knee injury. The Spanish midfielder has not played for the Blues since rupturing his cruciate ligament during a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United on February 22. Arteta had initially been expected back in full training last month but, after working hard throughout the summer, he broke down in September and required keyhole surgery. He recovered from that procedure to start light training again but, worryingly for Arteta and boss David Moyes, another problem in the same area has flared up. That has left Moyes contemplating the grim prospect of being unable to call on Arteta – who is currently receiving treatment in Spain – until well into the New Year. Moyes has been forced to juggle the most extensive injury list he has ever known during his time as Everton manager this season and it is showing little sign of relenting. Steven Pienaar – who took over Arteta’s mantle so impressively at the end of last season – is still battling to overcome the knee injury he sustained at Portsmouth on September 26. The little South African will not be fit for tomorrow’s Europa League match against Benfica nor will he be available for the trip to West Ham on Sunday. He has been a huge miss but provided he responds to treatment, Pienaar could return to the squad in time for the big double header against Manchester United and Liverpool. There is also an outside chance skipper Phil Neville will be ready for those games, while Phil Jagielka is continuing to edge closer to a return to full training. Despite all those problems, Moyes will at least be able to name a stronger side than the one he sent out in Lisbon, as Everton seek to avenge the 5-0 defeat they suffered at Benfica’s hands two weeks ago. They are still in a strong position to progress to the knockout stages from Group I but Brazilian striker Jo has a more ambitious aims – he thinks the Blues can go all the way. “We have everything we need to win the Europa League this season,” he said. “I’m taking into account there are still some major clubs to drop down from the Champions League in the next round. “But I still think we have all the assets required to win it. “We need to qualify through the group first though and I’ll be doing everything in my power to help us get into the next round. “Everybody wants to ply their trade in the best competitions in the world. “And the Europa League and the Champions League are the places where the clubs really want to be.”

Everton FC supporter letters
Nov 4 2009
AN IMPROVED performance from Everton on Saturday, with a much more solid back four on show. Lucas Neill, in particular, mainly obliterated the so called “world class” Ashley Young. The main problems were in midfield, Fellaini had a poor game, and was at fault with the equalising goal just after half-time, failing to react from Tim Howard’s parry, when only a yard away from Carew – Fellaini is big enough surely to have at least charged down his shot at goal? Hurry back Phil Jagielka, there is nobody better than him at reacting quickly to danger in the box. This was Ayegbeni Yakubu’s best match since his return from injury – he looked a lot sharper, and just needs a goal.
Referee Lee Probert gave a poor performance, making several strange decisions, even booking the wrong Villa player on one occasion!
LEST we forget, we are missing those creative midfield players through injury against Aston Villa and in view of that I looked upon this as a positive display.
The back four looked a very solid unit; Heitinga had his best game yet as a substitute for Neville’s experience and Yakubu looks to be getting sharper. We will not begin to challenge for the top places until Arteta, Pienaar, Jagielka and Neville are available again, but then we will. Villa are supposed to be ahead of us in some media opinion and fielded their strongest team but I thought they looked a poor imitation of the Stoke side recently. We will get a lot better – mark my words.
AS hurtful as it is, we can’t expect to be picking up wins in the Premier League at the moment with such a horrific injury list. The real question is why do Everton keep suffering from all these injuries year in, year out? Are the players being pushed too hard?
Joey Regan, Kirkdale

Everton FC's hopes of Europa League progress dealt bitter blow at Goodison Park
Nov 5 2009 By Staff Reporter
Marouane Fellaini 300
EVERTON’s hopes of making progress in the Europa League were dealt a bitter blow at Goodison Park. Benfica completed the double in Group I after a rousing second half performance to cement their place at the top of the table. In front of club legend Eusebio they sealed the points thanks to goals from Javier Saviola and Oscar Cardozo.
Everton have now suffered two defeats after two wins and their match against AEK Athens next month is now crucial. This is a worrying spell for manager David Moyes as his side are struggling to get going as well in the Barclays Premier League Everton, who lost 5-0 in Lisbon, were made to pay after failing to take advantage of their half-chances in the early stages. Marouane Fellaini made space inside the area after only four minutes but found the body of Benfica goalkeeper Julio Cesar with his shot.
The visitors responded 10 minutes later and the highly-rated Angel Di Maria tried a snapshot from 20 yards which was comfortably saved by Tim Howard. It was a brief respite for the visitors with Leighton Baines picking out Ayegbeni Yakubu in the 16th minute. The Nigerian striker turned quickly inside the area but sent his effort wide of the post. Everton stepped up the pace and Baines saw his shot blocked and Jack Rodwell hoisted the rebound over the bar. The visitors again found themselves on the back foot in the 24th minute but managed to scramble away Yakubu’s effort.
Everton came close in the 28th minute when Cesar pushed a hanging cross out wide from Yakubu over the bar. Yakubu was getting behind the Benfica defence but he was wasteful two minutes later after Sylvain Distin had delivered a good through-ball.
Di Maria then found space in area but saw his shot blocked before play switched back down the other end and Tim Cahill was denied by the goalkeeper in the 33rd minute. It took Benfica until the 41st minute to show the kind of danger they posed in the home game against Everton. Ramires got on the end of a cross from Fabio Coentrao and beat Howard with his header, only to see it come back off the post. Saviola latched on to the loose ball and hammered in a shot but the American goalkeeper made a superb block. The second half was a different story and the chances started when Saviola clipped a shot over the bar in the 49th minute, before Coentrao tested Howard from distance. Everton were finding it hard to regain the momentum and Ruben Amorim lifted a shot over the bar six minutes later. Di Maria should have put Benfica ahead in the 56th minute but his shot was high and wasteful when he was clear on goal. Four minutes later the Argentinian midfielder saw his effort tipped over the top by the alert Howard. However, the visitors made the all-important breakthrough in the 63rd minute with a swift counter-attack. Di Maria was involved in the build-up, resulting in a clinical low finish from close range by Saviola which gave Howard no chance. Saviola then got clear again, only to see his shot diverted for a corner as Everton found themselves under pressure again. And the Portuguese side made it 2-0 in the 75th minute when Cardozo rattled home a volley from an acute angle after Tony Hibbert failed to close him down. Distin almost pulled a goal back in the 88th minute but his header was turned away superbly by Cesar as the night ended in disappointment and with Everton’s hopes of reaching the last 32 hanging in the balance.

Everton fans can roar us to Europa League victory over Benfica - David Moyes
Nov 5 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
David Moyes - Europa League 300
DAVID MOYES has called on the Everton fans to help fire his side past Benfica this evening. The Lisbon giants sit top of Europa League Group I, ahead of the Blues on goal difference, and having beat Moyes’ men 5-0 two weeks ago, the boss is rallying the home supporters to aid their revenge mission. As much as Moyes was relishing the prospect of pitting his side against one of Europe’s big guns once more, his mood will have been tempered by the news Mikel Arteta has suffered a set back in his recovery from a long-term knee injury. The drubbing in the Estadio da Luz 14 days ago kick, as an injury crisis engulfed the club, started a run of three consecutive defeats for the Blues. But a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Saturday stopped the rot and has given Moyes the belief Everton have what it takes to reclaim top spot in their Europa League group. Although the Everton manager believes victory this evening will go a long way to securing the Blues’ passage to the knockout stages, previous results have shown him nothing is set in stone in Group I. Moyes said: “The first game (5-0) was a sighter for us, certainly we knew how good Benfica were, and how improved Benfica had been. But who knows if the last game will have any bearing on this game. “I think a win for either us or Benfica would give us a good chance of qualifying. “I always thought Benfica would be favourites in the group so from that point of view it is going the way I thought, but their defeat in Athens was a little bit of a shock to me but overall it just shows you that going to anywhere is not easy to win. Benfica lost in Athens, we lost in Benfica, Athens have lost in BATE, so it just shows you that the group is actually quite tight. “Goodison has always been special for me, we are very fortunate we qualified for Europe last year and we are going to try and embrace it and try and do as well as we can. I think it is something the supporters have really enjoyed as well, it was a terrific game against Benfica and I think they know we will need their support tonight because it is a big game and we are playing against some really good players. “We will have the same squad which played against Villa, with the exception of Lucas Neill and John Heitinga who can’t play because the rules of the competition, but with a bit of luck Tony Hibbert might recover from flu.”

Revenge is not Everton's aim in Benfica Europa League clash - David Moyes
Nov 5 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
David Moyes 250
WHEN Benfica scored their fifth goal at the Estadio da Luz two weeks ago, it hurt one man more than most. As Argentine forward Javier Saviola tapped in Angel di Maria’s left wing cross in the 83rd minute, Tim Howard suffered a huge dent in his pride. Everton’s stopper is no different to any man serving as the last line of defence, but for a keeper who kept clean sheets seemingly for fun last season, the 5-0 drubbing in Lisbon was particularly tough to swallow. With the Portuguese giants visiting Goodison Park tonight for the fourth round of Europa League Group I matches ,complete with World Cup Legend Eusebio in tow, Howard has issued a message of intent, determined Everton will show their mean streak once more. And, victory over Benfica, would send David Moyes’ men to the summit of their group and a long way towards qualification for the knock-out stages. Howard said: “Without giving too much headline fodder, they gave us a real pasting in Lisbon and that hurt. “Any professional would say that, it is like getting hit on the chin, you lose a bit of your pride. But there is no revenge, we are just trying to advance out of this group and it is a big deal for us to get a result tonight – it wasn’t nice walking off the field there. It felt like it wasn’t us, more than revenge, we want to give a good showing of ourselves to them, but we are at home and that means a lot to us and our fans so hopefully we are going to put on a good performance. “That is our focus, not revenge, it is not just about Benfica, it is trying to get out of this group and winning would go along way to doing that.” Claiming 17 clean sheets in the Premier League last season, to surpass Neville Southall’s best of 15, Howard’s achievements in goal have etched him into club folklore. Thus, Everton’s recent generosity in defence is something not lost on their No 1, but as key personnel return and the side becomes settled, Howard is confident the Blues can be watertight once more – starting this evening in front of a packed home support. Howard added: “That would be another big plus, that would be ideal. “It sucks to concede goals but for me it is about putting in consistently high level performances where you are stopping opposition from creating chances, dictating the tempo and keeping a high line, not letting teams in your box easily. When you are doing all that, you feel like you are on a high and it is tough to be beaten, but it is difficult as a defence. You can see it on peoples’ faces when goals are going in, it is not nice but to our credit, no-one is pointing the finger at each other, we are just trying to find out why we have been conceding at certain times in games and trying to get better. “Sure there are a lot of reasons and excuses as to why we’re conceding goals, it is tough to say but my personal feeling is that when you bring so many new players in the summer, it is really tough to integrate them. I know myself, I have been away for two weeks at a time every month with internationals and when you get a squad full of players like that it is hard to bond and gel as a group. “But we are getting there and we know the foundation at Everton is that toughness and that fighting spirit, and though we want to play good football, there has got to be that meanness. “It is no secret that is the foundation of this club and this team. We are slowly starting to get there and I feel like we are getting that back.” Added the Blues keeper: “In my time here this has been the first time where we have not been completely settled, for various reasons – injuries, suspensions, players cup tied and when we are playing on different fronts, it is hard. “The manager has had a difficult task because of those reasons; he has had to chop and change and you have to go Wednesday, Sunday, Thursday with different line ups. “When we were at our best we had a fantastic understanding, we knew each others’ body language, and got the performances right. I am hoping we will get back to that with players coming back and start to settle into a routine – but we certainly have to put that into practice.” Although a night to forget in almost every way, Howard did reveal playing in the Estadio da Luz was a something to savour. But the American is adamant European nights at Goodison can be just as formidable. Howard says the frenzied atmosphere he experienced as an opposing player at Everton’s home is something which can alter the course of a game – and he wants Benfica to feel the Goodison roar tonight. He added: “I was thinking that the other day, it was a fantastic spectacle and an amazing arena, nice to have had a chance to play there and see the way they go about things. But as you know when everyone is on their feet at Goodison and they are really pushing us on, you feel that momentum. I have been on the other side of it and it is very tough because you feel like the wind has changed direction. You’re walking uphill and on the best days here it is amazing, tonight hopefully Benfica can feel a little bit of what they gave to us. “Europe is never a burden - it is exactly the opposite. We don’t have long weeks of training because of European football and feel like we just keep going and going and that’s a good thing. We are coming from one game, bang into the next it is important for us to advance and crack onto the next phase because we know some big teams are going to drop out of the Champions League and we know what the fans are like here, they are the backbone of this club and that is always a big plus when we can give back what they give us. “At the moment, we need to get back into the top half of the table, never mind fifth and it’s baby steps at this point in the season so that is the goal and the aim come May, 9. “But we are trying to get our form together and I think last year one of the things which catapulted us into that position was in the thick of the season we went on some long runs where we didn’t get beat. Hopefully we can crack on and get up the table. “Getting into Europe is never guaranteed, in the last couple of seasons we have finished sixth, fifth and sixth – and they were long hard slogs. “Obviously there are some big teams in this league and teams who are spending boat loads of money. When all is said and done, when we have everyone fit and healthy we have a really talented team.” l Everton v Benfica, kick off 8:05pm.

Everton FC fans urged to buy their tickets early for Benfica clash at Goodison Park
Nov 5 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are advising supporters planning to attend Thursday’s Europa group game against Benfica to purchase their tickets in plenty of time. Tickets for the Blues’ glamorous clash with the Portuguese giants are on sale now from the usual outlets – online, over the phone (0871 663 1878) or from the Box Office. But club officials are anticipating a significant number of supporters will buy their tickets in the hours leading up to kick off. In order to minimise queuing and to ensure fans are inside Goodison in plenty of time to enjoy the Europa League action, supporters are urged to leave themselves plenty of time today “The game against Benfica is an attractive fixture and we are expecting a large number of supporters to walk up on the night of the match,” said chief executive Robert Elstone. “Our advice is to buy tickets in advance if possible, but if not then to get to Goodison in plenty of time. The last thing we want here is for any of our fans planning to come and watch the match, to miss the kick-off because of congestion.”

Benfica midfielder Angel Di Maria plays down talk of a move to the Premier League
Nov 5 2009
BENFICA midfielder Angel Di Maria has distanced himself from speculation linking him with a move to the Premier League. The 21-year-old Argentinian has won plaudits after a string of impressive performances, including an outstanding display in the 5-0 mauling of Everton in the Europa League a fortnight ago. The teams meet again tonight and Di Maria insists he is focusing solely on Benfica and is not concerned about the prospect of a big-money move or his chances of making the World Cup with Diego Maradona’s side. He said: “I am only thinking about Benfica and looking forward to playing the match tomorrow. “I want to do my best for the club this season and then we will see what happens. “We will have to be on top form as Everton are very strong at home and it will be different from Lisbon.”
Benfica go into the match on the back of their first league defeat of the season at the weekend, when they lost to Braga. They have also failed to win on the road in seven European matches, but Di Maria added: “I am not that worried. It is not important.
“We are not thinking about Braga now, only what we can do when we face Everton.”
Benfica are ahead of Everton on goal difference at the top of the group, with BATE Borisov and AEK Athens playing catch-up. Coach Jorge Jesus, who is set to ring the changes, said: “It is an important game for both teams. “Perhaps one point each would be good enough. But we have to think of both the Europa League and Portuguese league. “While we won 5-0 the last time, Everton are a strong team. They like to play a direct style and will be difficult opponents on their own ground.”

Everton 0, Benfica 2: Nothing going right for Blues as Benfica add to winless run
Nov 6 2009 By Ian Doyle
THERE was a moment early on in the second half that neatly encapsulated the travails that currently afflict Everton. With the Goodison outfit pressing forward, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov stood over a free-kick as his team-mates packed the penalty area in anticipation of an expected cross. Instead, the Russian inexplicably kicked the ball straight out of play. Such is the way of things for David Moyes’s side right now, as their winless run was stretched to eight games by Europa League defeat against Benfica. The Portuguese inflicted Everton’s heaviest-ever European loss with the 5-0 thrashing in Lisbon a fortnight ago. Last night they settled for two as Javier Saviola’s well-crafted 63rd-minute opener was added to 13 minutes later by Oscar Cardozo, the pair who both scored twice at the Estadio da Luz. Everton have not tasted victory since the Europa League triumph at BATE Borisov five weeks ago. With the Belorussians and AEK Athens playing out a 2-2 draw in Group I’s other fixture, Moyes’s side remain in second place, but much will depend on the outcome of their visit to Greece next month. Benfica’s comprehensive triumph in Lisbon underlined their reputation as among the most free-scoring sides on the Continent. However, their unbeaten start to the domestic campaign was halted at the weekend by title rivals Braga, while defeat at AEK earlier in the group stage – who were dispatched 4-0 at Goodison – suggested vulnerability on their European travels. Last night’s evidence suggested otherwise, as a dominant second- half showing made them the first team to win at both Goodison and Anfield in European competition. As against Aston Villa at the weekend, Moyes sent out his team with the intention of being difficult to break down. But Everton have now gone eight games since keeping a clean sheet and, more worryingly, have forgotten how to win at home, Benfica joining Stoke City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Villa in heading back from Goodison unscathed.
Speaking in his pre-match programme notes, Moyes understandably bemoaned the lack of defensive options that contributed greatly to their downfall in Portugal.
Yet there were no such issues last night, with Tony Hibbert recovered from flu and taking his place at right-back to move within one appearance of the European record at the club held by Colin Harvey and Brian Labone. Hibbert’s return was one of two enforced changes made by Moyes with John Heitinga and Lucas Neill ineligible.
It meant another positional change for Tim Cahill who, again skippering the side, moved into a holding midfield role alongside Jack Rodwell. Yet the Australian, like too many of his colleagues, struggled to make an impact going forward, the absence of creative duo Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar brought sharply into focus against such opposition. With Louis Saha’s ongoing calf problem ruling the Frenchman out, Yakubu was retained in attack after playing almost the full 90 minutes against Villa.
While Moyes believes the Nigerian remains several months from peak match sharpness after missing almost 10 months with a serious Achilles injury, the striker has demonstrated signs of rediscovering his verve in recent outings. And Yakubu was clearly determined to make an impression given a lively first-half performance in which he was the focal point of Everton’s efforts. His best moment came on 15 minutes when, having been found by a Leighton Baines pass inside the area, the forward cleverly turned Luisao but fired his shot over while under pressure from the Benfica centre-back.
Yakubu’s enthusiasm overstepped the mark shortly afterwards when catching Ramires on the shin with his studs, an ugly if unintentional foul that some referees, particularly in European competition, would have deemed a red-card offence. During a scrappy opening period, a cautious Everton created greater clear openings than in Portugal, Marouane Fellaini striking an early sighter down the throat of Benfica goalkeeper Julio Cesar. Midway through the half, a poor Javi Garcia clearance from Bilyaletdinov’s cross fell inviting for Baines, but the left-back’s effort was blocked by Luisao. And Cahill will feel he should have done better when getting between two defenders to meet another Bilyaletdinov cross but heading straight at Cesar from eight yards. While Everton never allowed Benfica the chance to replicate the free-flowing possession football of two weeks ago, the visitors nevertheless remained threatening going forward. Angel Di Maria, Everton’s chief tormentor at the Estadio da Luz, struck acrobatically at Howard and, after Sylvain Distin cleared off the toes of Cardozo, Joseph Yobo blocked the goalbound follow- up from Ramires.
Benfica came closer still four minutes before the interval, a Fabio Coentrao cross headed against the post by Cardozo and Howard brilliantly saving from Saviola on the rebound. Eusebio, the Benfica legend, was guest of honour at the ground where he scored four goals for Portugal against North Korea in the 1966 World Cup.
And the game was crying out for just a hint of the guile and ingenuity for which the football great was renowned. It was Benfica that provided it, beginning 11 minutes into the second half when a sublime pass from Cardozo sent Di Maria racing clear. Thankfully for Everton, the Argentine winger blasted horribly over from 18 yards.
Di Maria was considerably more impressive when unleashing a blistering 25-yard angled drive that brought the best out of Howard. And the Argentine was inevitably involved as Benfica went ahead on 63 minutes, Di Maria and Saviola passing their way through a retreating Everton defence before the latter struck into the bottom corner beyond Howard from 12 yards. The lead was doubled 13 minutes later, albeit with a touch of controversy. Again Saviola was allowed to waltz his way into the Everton area, the ball eventually breaking to Ruben Amorim whose shot deflected into the path of Cardozo to supply a clever finish. The home side argued the goalscorer was offside, a view that was backed up by television replays. A brilliant save from Cesar denied Distin a late consolation, while young substitute Kieran Agard headed wide. The travelling Benfica fans who sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ during the closing moments just rubbed salt into the gaping wound for Moyes and his players.

Outclassed by Benfica but Everton will keep up the fight - Tony Hibbert
Nov 6 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
Tim Cahill and Joseph Yobo after Everton's defeat to Benfica 300
TONY Hibbert admits Everton were simply “outclassed” by Benfica in the second half of last night’s Europa League match. The Lisbon side won 2-0 with goals from Javier Saviola and Oscar Cardozo sealing the win and cementing their place at the top of Group I. For the Blues it signalled a second consecutive defeat in Europe and the loss leaves David Moyes’ men in second position with six points from their four matches. Hibbert though was staying upbeat and said the squad would take the positives from the opening period into Sunday’s Premier League match with West Ham United at Upton Park. Hibbert said: “What was missing from the performance? I wish I knew. I think in the first half we played some good stuff and we got at them, in the second half they just overplayed us and had the quality we lacked tonight.
“At half-time the manager just us to go back out and show what we were doing in the first half, I think we were good in the first half, putting them on the back foot a lot but they shone in the second half and outclassed us. “I think tonight we should take the positives out of the first half, we really put them under the cosh but they showed their class and really they are a Champions League side so I think we can hold our heads up high and say we have given it a go. “They have got class all over the place and we’ve had injuries, but don’t get me wrong every club has had injuries, but it is something we have got to get through and keep on battling. “Going to West Ham on Sunday is exactly what we need, the lads are looking forward to that now and it is another game, so just bring on West Ham and let’s get it under our belts.” Striker Yakubu added: “When playing against good teams you need to take your chances and if you don’t you are going to get punished. “We have to keep working hard, everyone is down because everyone wants to win and hopefully we will get the result we are looking for. “I think the goals will come, but I will keep working in training and hope they go in.” Goalkeeper Tim Howard also acknowledged there is still plenty of work for Everton to do if they are to reach the last 32 of the Champions League. The back-to-back defeats to Benfica mean their hopes of qualifying from Group I are in the balance, while the Portuguese side have become favourites to progress. But a 2-2 draw between BATE Borisov and AEK Athens allows Moyes’ men to cling on to second place. Howard said: “Tonight’s performance was better – but not where it needs to be.
“We know we’re in a dog-fight – no one knows that more than us – but as far as the Europa League is concerned, we still have a chance of going through. “It wasn’t good enough tonight, but we have a chance (to qualify). “Look at Benfica – with no disrespect to the other teams in the group, they are a Champions League team.
“Their quality is fantastic and they’re setting the bar - they’re a tough team and they showed it over the games against us home and away.” The USA international added: “They’ve set the standard. We don’t have the luxury of feeling sorry for ourselves – so we’ll pick ourselves up and get on with it.”

Everton 0, Benfica 2: Blues spark fizzles out
Nov 6 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
ON a night when Goodison Park was supposed to be ablaze with atmosphere it was the team's lack of spark which had the fans groaning at full-time. The arrival of Benfica revived memories of great European nights with Everton and brought hope that on November 5, the night reserved for displays of pyrotechnics, Goodison Park would be a red hot theatre of football. But it was perhaps with the heart ruling over the head that the Blues believed they could exact revenge of the 5-0 defeat of two weeks ago – in the end the superior quality at Benfica's disposal proved too much.
Everton were not without desire, and the 2-0 defeat certainly does not cause undue harm to their aspirations of qualifying from Europa League Group I, but any dreams of lifting silverware in May will have to be reassessed when you consider the ruthlessness Jorge Jesus' men showed. Goals from Javier Saviola and Oscar Cardozo, names which continue to haunt the Everton defence, gave the men from Lisbon a first away win in Europe since they disposed of Shakhtar Donestk in the Champions League seven games ago, while the Blues lost their continental unbeaten streak which stretches back to 2005. Nigerian forward Yakubu was one of the eight players who suffered in the 5-0 drubbing at the Estadio da Luz 14 days prior, who started last night; striker Jo and Seamus Coleman were on the bench whilst David Moyes could rely on the services of defensive trio Leighton Baines, Joseph Yobo and Sylvain Distin for this matchday four of the Europa League. Though hit with the news Louis Saha had not recovered from a calf strain in time, the return of three experienced defenders will have calmed any fears of another rout was on the cards. The last time manager David Moyes had called for the home fans to raise the roof, as he did this week, was before the 2008 UEFA Cup second leg with Fiorentina. His players revelled in the atmosphere that night, but a similar reaction last night was missing.Only Jack Rodwell and Leighton Baines showed the fighting spirit which Everton would require to overpower Benfica's slick style. The visitors settled quickly, aided by some misplaced passing by the home side, and Tim Howard had to be alert to palm away Saviola's vicious strike from an acute angle before collecting Cardozo's volleyed effort. Everton's sluggish start was given a boost when Yakubu collected Baines' pass and with his first touch spun past Luisao before firing wide of Julio Cesar's goal – Goodison was on its feet as the opener looked certain but the forward blazed over. The Nigerian made better contact with Ramires' leg, going in late on the Benfica player and receiving a booking for the challenge. Employing a 4-2-3-1 formation, Yakubu was the willing runner but Everton were leaving him isolated on too many occasions and with the supply from the midfield inadequate, the striker was toiling. Tim Cahill did offer some support with Everton's first shot on target, a header he did well to reach, but with little purchase Cesar gathered comfortably. That proved the sum of the Blues' opening 45 minutes effort. For the most part, Benfica's attempts at flowing football were thwarted with ease but Everton survived just before the break when they went direct. Cardozo's header hit the foot of the post before Howard magnificently blocked Saviola's effort on the rebound. Just before half-time Moyes issued a plea for calm as patience in possession was sadly missing; Dan Gosling could be excused to some extent because of his inexperience but serial offender Diniyar Bilyaletdinov could not and given the Russian was signing off last night before his three match ban kicks in at West Ham United on Sunday, he appeared to have clocked off early. On the other side, Benfica were resorting to theatrics, but not lost on the home support, it only served to buoy the fans, every free-kick awarded to Everton now met with ironic cheers. A similar sentiment was afforded to Di Maria when they tormentor in chief from the last meeting raced through on goal only to balloon the ball over. Di Maria almost made amends moments later when he fizzed a shot that Howard tipped over. The calibre of opposition Everton found themselves against was highlighted when they were afforded the luxury of bringing on Pablo Aimar.
His presence just added to an increasingly menacing Benfica attack and on 63 minutes Saviola found the breakthrough, wriggling towards the Everton goal and finishing clinically as the ball broke in his path. With less than 15 minutes remaining the flickering light of hope Everton held onto was all but extinguished as Cardozo profited from some generous officiating and a series of ricochets to smash in Benfica's second goal.
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Yobo, Distin, Baines, Rodwell, Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Cahill, Gosling (Jo, 69), Yakubu. Subs: Nash, Coleman, Duffy, Agard, Baxter, Wallace.
BENFICA: Cesar, Luisao, Ruben Amorim, Garcia, Cardozo, Ramieres (Maxi Pereira, 45), Coentrao (Aimar, 61), Di Maria, Luiz, Sidnei, Saviola. Subs: Quim, Shaffer, Pereira, Weldon, Gomes, Menezes.

Everton humbled by Benfica once more
Andy Hunterat Goodison Park The Guardian, Friday 6 November 2009
Evertonians have tempered their mirth at Liverpool's Champions League plight with the dreaded prospect of meeting their Merseyside rivals in the Europa League. Talk about getting ahead of yourself. It is now seven games without a win for David Moyes' side, with two encounters against the stylists of Benfica resulting in the heaviest away defeat in Everton's European history and last night their largest continental reverse at Goodison Park. They will be glad to draw anyone on this form.
A second successive lesson from the Portuguese did not derail Everton's European campaign, they remain second and in control of their destiny in Group I, but it did expose the gulf they have to close to harbour any thoughts of winning this inaugural competition in Hamburg next May. For 45 minutes Everton had the edge. By the final whistle, when the home crowd reserved applause only for Benfica, they had again been outclassed. "We became a little open in the second half through trying to score and we got done on the counter-attack," said Moyes, whose side have not won since beating BATE Borisov on 1 October. "But they were not like the goals in Benfica or beautiful goals, they came from poor defensive moments by us." Moyes had promised Benfica a different Everton from the weakened side that slumped 5-0 at the Estádio da Luz. It was certainly a different experience for the Portuguese supporters who ventured to Merseyside on Bonfire night, their bemusement while sampling chips and gravy on the streets of Walton heightened by the local rapscallions who ignited fireworks at their feet as they ate. Inside the sulphur-scented stadium there initially appeared a far more resilient, purposeful Everton side than in the previous meeting. There were only two changes to that ignominious night in Lisbon but the availability of Leighton Baines and Joseph Yobo ensured Moyes did not have to place so many square pegs in round holes. The improvement was immediately noticeable, with Marouane Fellaini testing the Benfica goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, in the game's first attack and Yakubu Ayegbeni spoiling a glorious turn inside the penalty area with a sliced shot over. The Nigerian forward was also fortunate to escape with a yellow card for a dangerous lunge on Ramires, leniency stemming from a challenge that appeared slow and clumsy rather than intentionally malicious. Benfica arrived with a poor record on the road in Europe – they were without an away win in seven ties stretching back to December 2007 prior to last night – but always brimmed with invention. Tim Howard denied Javier Saviola twice before the interval, the second time with a superb reaction save after Óscar Cardozo had headed Fábio Coentrão's cross against the post. They climbed several gears in the second half, however, and once Pablo Aimar entered the fray Everton struggled to contain the visitors. The Portugal legend Eusebio was present for his former club's visit to the stadium where he scored six goals in the 1966 World Cup and would have faced England in the semi-finals until the Football Association switched the game to Wembley at the last minute, a decision that aided the host nation but still rankles with fans of a certain age on Merseyside. He would have appreciated the gifts of Everton's tormentor-in-chief in both fixtures, Angel Di María. The Benfica winger wasted a glorious chance to open the scoring but then carved open the Everton defence with a series of exchanges with Saviola, a ricochet enabling the Argentinian to convert into the bottom corner. Cardozo then sealed the victory with a left-footed volley into the same spot after Ruben Amorim's shot had deflected into his path off Yobo. Merseyside's rivals are sharing the same rut.

Everton 0-2 Benfica match report:
The Daily Mirror verdict
Nov 5 2009
It seems that Liverpool are not the only team from Merseyside to have learnt some harsh European lessons this week. Everton too, have discovered that threadbare squads with insufficient depth are no answer to the demands of the game at this rarified level...especially when the opponents happen to be as classy as Benfica, as their manager David Moyes conceded afterwards. “It was a tough game for us with the injuries we have, they have real quality. Tonight we lacked that quality, but we knew that before the game started, but we are trying not to talk about the injuries - we can’t use that as excuses,” he said. “Benfica have set a benchmark for us, and we know we have to reach that if we are to do well in this competition. But we beat Zenith who won this two years ago, and we beat Fiorentina, so we have quality ourselves.” The Portuguese side have real pedigree, as illustrated by the fact that they have won their last five matches against the two clubs from this city to become the first foreign team ever to triumph at both Goodison and Anfield. That small piece of history and confirmation of their superiority over the English club in the Europa League came via two fine finishes from the impressive Benfica striker force of Javier Saviola and the towering Oscar Cardozo, who both scored twice in the first game. But the gap between the two sides often seemed much wider than even that emphatic scoreline, as the visitors ruthlessly exploited the weakness injuries exposed in their opponents.
At least Everton still have their European destiny in their own hands, though this defeat means that what seemed like a routine stroll to the next phase of the competition now becomes a desperately tricky assignment, given their perennial injury problems. A win from their final two matches will still probably be enough to edge them through, though four points are required to make that prospect a certainty, and with the list of absentees hovering around the double figure mark since virtually the start of the season, that is certainly no formality. The English club do possess players equal in technique and talent to Saviola and Cardozo, but the likes of Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar have been consigned to extra time on the physio’s table, while the Benfica strikers showed there is no substitute for class on the pitch. Simply, they were too good for makeshift opposition. Saviola opened the scoring on 62 minutes: a long ball upfield from the Portuguese side, a flick from the gifted Angel Di Maria, and hesitancy from the home defence all contriving to gift him a shooting chance from just inside the box, which he accepted with relish, and quality. Soon after, Di Maria and Saviola combined to allow Cardozo to complete the holy trinity, and his finish was remarkable in the technique shown by a big striker, as he volleyed fiercely to emphasise the visitors’ dominance. With Everton’s injury crisis apparently never-ending, Moyes was again forced to take the Blue Peter approach to fielding a side deprived of 10 candidates last night, in that he virtually had to send them out patched together with cut down cornflake boxes and sticky back plastic. Which made the task of avenging that humiliating 5-0 defeat in Lisbon a fortnight ago all the more difficult, especially given the quality that Benfica illustrated all too clearly on a night enlivened not just by the fireworks that orchestrated proceedings. Fellaini may well have got the game off with a bang for the home side, had he put just a little more gunpowder into a chance within the fourth minute, when he cleverly intercepted and darted into the penalty area, only to see his left foot shot smothered by Julio Cesar. But it was the visitors who looked more dangerous. They should have led before half time, when the impressive Oscar Cardozo rose above his markers to power a Di Maria cross goalwards only to see it bounce off the post. Even then, Everton only escaped thanks to brilliant work from Tim Howard in somehow denying Javier Saviola’s follow-up.
Soon after the break, it was Cardozo who repaid the favour to Di Maria, and really, the Benfica midfielder should have scored as he raced clear to glimpse the whites of Howard’s eyes, before smashing his shot over the bar. Not that Everton were entirely content to play supporting cast to the visiting stars. They offered a more muscular, direct menace, with Yakubu and Jack Rodwell creating chances, but if they are to progress through this competition, they will need their injured legions back swiftly, as keeper Howard accepted afterwards. “We don’t have the luxury of feeling sorry for ourselves, we have to get on with it.”

TONY Hibbert admits Everton were simply “outclassed” by Benfica in the second half of last night’s Europa League match.
Nov 6 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
The Lisbon side won 2-0 with goals from Javier Saviola and Oscar Cardozo sealing the win and cementing their place at the top of Group I. For the Blues it signalled a second consecutive defeat in Europe and the loss leaves David Moyes’ men in second position with six points from their four matches. Hibbert though was staying upbeat and said the squad would take the positives from the opening period into Sunday’s Premier League match with West Ham United at Upton Park. Hibbert said: “What was missing from the performance? I wish I knew. I think in the first half we played some good stuff and we got at them, in the second half they just overplayed us and had the quality we lacked tonight. “At half-time the manager just us to go back out and show what we were doing in the first half, I think we were good in the first half, putting them on the back foot a lot but they shone in the second half and outclassed us. “I think tonight we should take the positives out of the first half, we really put them under the cosh but they showed their class and really they are a Champions League side so I think we can hold our heads up high and say we have given it a go.
“They have got class all over the place and we’ve had injuries, but don’t get me wrong every club has had injuries, but it is something we have got to get through and keep on battling. “Going to West Ham on Sunday is exactly what we need, the lads are looking forward to that now and it is another game, so just bring on West Ham and let’s get it under our belts.” Striker Yakubu added: “When playing against good teams you need to take your chances and if you don’t you are going to get punished. “We have to keep working hard, everyone is down because everyone wants to win and hopefully we will get the result we are looking for. “I think the goals will come, but I will keep working in training and hope they go in.” Goalkeeper Tim Howard also acknowledged there is still plenty of work for Everton to do if they are to reach the last 32 of the Champions League. The back-to-back defeats to Benfica mean their hopes of qualifying from Group I are in the balance, while the Portuguese side have become favourites to progress. But a 2-2 draw between BATE Borisov and AEK Athens allows Moyes’ men to cling on to second place. Howard said: “Tonight’s performance was better – but not where it needs to be. “We know we’re in a dog-fight – no one knows that more than us – but as far as the Europa League is concerned, we still have a chance of going through. “It wasn’t good enough tonight, but we have a chance (to qualify).
“Look at Benfica – with no disrespect to the other teams in the group, they are a Champions League team. “Their quality is fantastic and they’re setting the bar - they’re a tough team and they showed it over the games against us home and away.”
The USA international added: “They’ve set the standard. We don’t have the luxury of feeling sorry for ourselves – so we’ll pick ourselves up and get on with it.”

Everton FC manager David Moyes bemoans his side’s lack of ‘quality’ in Benfica defeat
Nov 6 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes was frustrated by the manner of the defeat to Benfica which has left his team’s hopes of qualifying from the Europa League hanging in the balance. Second-half goals from Javier Saviola and Oscar Cardozo saw the Portuguese side complete a double over Everton, after a thumping win in Lisbon.
Moyes said: “Benfica broke quickly and the goals were not like the ones in the first game. It was a tighter match this time. “They were not beautiful goals but poor from a defensive point of view. "We became a little bit open in the second half as we tried to score. “We lacked a bit of quality going forward and that did not help us but Benfica are a good side.” It was Everton’s second defeat in the group after two wins and the game next month against AEK Athens is now crucial. Moyes still believes they can get back on track and progress.He said: “I would like to think so. There are some tough games coming up but we never thought the group would be easy. “This is a long competition with lots of teams in it and others coming in later.” Benfica stepped up the pace in the second half and Angel Di Maria squandered a great chance before the midfielder set up Saviola for a clinical finish in the 63rd minute. Cardozo sealed the points 13 minutes later with a volley from an acute angle. It was Benfica’s first win on the road in Europe in eight matches, and coach Jorge Jesus said: “We took a little bit more of risk in the second half and it worked. “We had a good mentality in this game, which we needed, and I have a lot of trust in the players. “Everton are one of the strongest sides we have played and I still expect them to join us in going through to the next stage.”

New Everton injury blow as Phil Jagielka undergoes cartilage surgery
Nov 7 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
Phil Jagielka injury against Man City 300
EVERTON have been dealt a second major injury blow in a week after Phil Jagielka required an operation on his troublesome knee. The 27-year-old had to go under the knife to repair a cartilage tear his left knee, ruling the England international until the New Year. A setback in Mikel Arteta’s recovery from a similar knee ailment, with the Spanish star having to have his knee washed out, greeted the Blues manager at the start of the week. But Moyes is refusing to let the club’s casualty list get to him, or his healthy squad members and remains defiant in the face of these trying times saying he needs to come to the fore and find the right answers to Everton’s puzzling form.
With no win in seven games, and the latest defeat coming at the hands of Benfica in Thursday’s Europa League game, Moyes is determined to halt the winless run at West Ham United on Sunday but with Louis Saha struggling and Steven Pienaar still ruled out, his options are limited. Moyes said: “Jagielka had an operation this week on a tear in his meniscus in his cartilage. He had it done on Wednesday afternoon. We think he will be out for probably four to six weeks. He was due to start light non-contact training this week. “It was just part of his rehabilitation. When you get your cruciate done, it nearly always damages your cartilage. What they do now, they don't take your cartilage out, they save it. It tends to be there can be a wee tear in it, so they stitch it together to save it. “But sometimes the other side of the cartilage is affected, and the other side has a nick in it. So they have sutured it back together. “Most people who now get their cruciates done, it does sort of rip the cartilage. Joe Cole had the same thing, and that's what has happened with Jags. “He was down when he heard about it, but he is on the road to recovery now.“Even if Jags comes back in six weeks that's still a pretty good recovery as it's seven to seven-and-a-half months after a cruciate. At the moment he's six months, which is a bit sharpish to return. “The boy at Zenit called Dani was back in under six months after a cruciate, but most doctors says it's six months absolute minimum. If Jags is seven months then it's not outrageous. It's just a little setback, and it's happened.” Moyes also reported Victor Anichebe is no further down the road to recovery after reacting to a pin placed in his knee. “Anichebe is not in a good way either. He had the pin taken out four weeks ago which had been catching on the side of his knee” he added. “Now he has a big growth of bone where it has calcified, he has a massive knee and we're not quite sure how long it will take for him to come back. “I'm trying to keep away from us focusing on the injured players, we are focusing on the fit players. That's why it's my job to get a winning formula. “The players have to understand that they can't be looking over their shoulders for backup at the moment. The players whether they are young or old, they will be judged on what they do. “I don't know if we'll be in a position to do any business in January. But it might be a different scenario then, much will depend on which players come back. “After the international break we hope to have Phil Neville, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman back and that would make a big difference for us.” Diniyar Bilyaletdinov starts his three game ban on Sunday after picking up a red card in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

West Ham v Everton: Tony Cottee still irked by missing out on medals at Goodison
Nov 7 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
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TONY Cottee is not usually one for regrets, but something still nags.
The former Everton striker enjoyed a 19 year career as a professional, won caps for his country and plaudits as one of the best strikers of his era - now he is carving out a successful life as a pundit. But as much as the 44-year-old looks back at his time at Goodison Park with an ever increasing fondness, aided by the 99 goals he scored to place him ninth in the club’s all-time scoring charts, it is the lack of winners’ medal in his trophy cabinet as a Blue which continues to leave a sour taste in his mouth.
“To be there six years and not win anything after the club won the league the year before and then won the cup in 1995, the season after I left, pretty much sums it up. I was part of that six years that went without winning something - it is especially frustrating given the Everton fans are so passionate and desperate for success”, Cottee recalls. “We had some really good players, but the club was going through a transitional phase with a lot of the players who had been so successful, were coming to end of their careers and had to be replaced with younger players. I think it just took a while for us all to gel but when we did, I felt we were good enough to beat anyone on our day, so it was frustrating. “I probably should have won more England caps, I won four in my first season at Everton but at the start of the second season the club bought Mike Newell to play alongside Graeme Sharp and I lost my place in a World Cup year. I regained it towards the end of the season but it was a little too late so I never made the squad and never really found my form. “I had a few run-ins with Howard Kendall and lost my place so it was one problem after another, I was never consistently playing in the team. Whereas at West Ham I was playing week in, week out and was doing the business. But I must be happy with my seven caps, because a lot of good players don’t ever get one. “I did have six wonderful years at the club and my daughter was born in Southport. I had a great time there but I just think it was a shame we didn’t quite win the medals we wanted to win, but in terms of goal scoring, I think I did my job.” Cottee’s arrival at Goodison Park from West Ham United for £2.2m in the summer of 1988 was anything but low key, as his capture was supposed to be the stellar signing Colin Harvey hoped would bring the First Division championship back to Everton. The title winning season of 1986/87 was followed by a fourth placed finish the next campaign, so the then British record signing of Cottee was Everton’s calling card that they meant business this time around. Unfortunately the title proved beyond them as the Blues finished a disappointing eighth but Cottee delivered his level best to give Evertonians what they desired most.The 1986 PFA Young Player of the Year finished as the club’s top scorer in his debut season, as he did in five of his six campaigns at Everton, and kick started his life in the royal blue shirt with a bang. It would typify Cottee’s life at Goodison Park, as the south Londoner made a habit of being in the right place at the right time, on some of Everton’s biggest occasions. Every Everton supporter no doubt has a favourite Cottee moment, whether it was the second goal in the derby of September 1993 or the only goal of the game against West Ham in April 1994 which aided the Blues’ Premier League survival, albeit ultimately on a dramatic final day of the season. When asked the pick out his favourite Everton games, Cottee was quick to answer. “Two games spring to mind,” he offered. “First, my debut against Newcastle United (where he scored a hat-trick) with 40,000 people in the ground which made for a wonderful atmosphere and the 4-4 FA Cup replay with Liverpool where I came off the bench to score twice. As long as people will live they will not forget that game. It was a brilliant game to be involved in, the atmosphere from both sets of supporters was fantastic. Goodison Park is a fantastic stadium and when the fans are rocking there is nowhere better.” Ex-players are often diplomatic when their former sides clash, saying loyalties are split down the middle, but making his allegiance to West Ham clear ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game with Everton, Cottee says the club he supported as a boy are in greater need of the points. However, the former Leicester City and Milwall man, would be content with a point after the Hammers beat Aston Villa on Wednesday night to pull themselves out of the relegation zone. Cottee said: “Everyone knows I am a West Ham boy and even when I joined Everton, my heart never left West Ham. Obviously I am now back living in the south east working for the club but I have a special affection with everyone at Everton. “It has been a strange start to the season for Everton, their away form has not been too clever and at home they have dropped a few points which is not good to see. Obviously I am looking at the club from a distance now but it seems they are really missing two key players - Phil Jagielka and Mikel Arteta. They are massive players for the club and without them it is very difficult to cope. But to be honest, with all the injuries the team had at the start of the year, I expected them to be where they are now but when the players come back they will see a gradual improvement.”

BARRY HORNE: Everton caught by two Benfica sucker punches
Nov 7 2009 Liverpool Echo
I WAS at Goodison Park to watch the Benfica game on Thursday and was proud of the attendance and atmosphere – it was a perfect night for football. Unfortunately the game itself didn’t quite live up to its billing and Everton were once again caught with sucker punches. The second goal also gave the scoreline a slightly skewed look because I didn’t think there were two goals between them – however it was poor defending. Despite the defeat, I am still confident my prediction Everton will progress from Group I, will come true. Also, by the time the knockout stages come round, hopefully the side will be a lot better equipped to deal with what promises to be top European competition. Obviously the news of Mike Arteta’s set back in his bid to return from a long term knee injury, was a real blow. At present, David Moyes is having to play players out of position, like Tim Cahill, where we are not getting the best out of him even though he is happy to do it. Or certain players are not on the top of their game like Fellaini or Yakubu. Of course Yakubu will inevitably take a few games to get himself going again. Although we are a long way off having to talk about ‘must win’ games, the next block of matches provide Everton with games which will be very important to win. We go to West Ham on Sunday and on the 25th we are at Hull City. They are then followed up by games which are very difficult at the best of times; straight after the international break we go to Manchester United before the derby at the end of the month. It has been a very difficult couple of months for Moyes and it does not look like it is going to get any easier. The news Chelsea’s transfer ban has been suspended by FIFA was not a surprise and I imagine they will be spending big on one or two players in January to further enhance their status as favourites to win the Premier League. FIFA imposed the ban well within the remit of their regulations but Chelsea would always have been confident of having the ban lifted. The ban imposed on the club in the first place was excessive and appeared to be made because it was a top English club.
Old Firm move south puzzles me
ONCE again the expansion of the Premier League has been proposed this week.
I am unsurprised a chairman of one of the division’s yo-yo clubs has been at the forefront of putting it back on the agenda, they want to keep their share of the Premier League riches. It has been mooted Rangers and Celtic should join the new format and they would certainly bring good fan bases with them. However, anyone who knows about football politics will look immediately at the difficulties this would present.
They would be excluded from playing in Europe as they no longer played in their own country. Cardiff City and Swansea City have been given the right to play in Europe should they qualify because they have always played in the English Football League - that type of dispensation would not be available to Rangers and Celtic. Also, if Rangers and Celtic were to go straight into the Premier League, how would the potential top flight sides from the Championship feel. A more equitable distribution of finances is required to maintain competition and stability.

Why Portugese legend Eusebio will always be a ‘Goodness’ hero
Nov 7 2009 by Phil Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
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EUSEBIO is a footballer whose name will carry the ages and it was humbling to see him travel to Merseyside with Benfica’s party on Thursday evening. Inevitably, a return to Goodison Park invoked special memories for the giant of Portuguese football and he could not help but be reminded of his exploits during the 1966 World Cup at Everton’s home. He scored twice as Portugal flattened Brazil 3-1 at Goodison and followed up with another spell-binding display as North Korea were beaten 5-3 in the quarter-finals, so it was only to be expected that Eusebio wallowed in nostalgia. Eusebio was also asked to do an interview by the game’s broadcasters and though he does not speak English he did his best – and the fact he referred to the Grand Old Lady as ‘Goodness Park’ only served to endear him further.
Valente is showing his blonde ambition
NUNO VALENTE slipped quietly out of Goodison Park during the summer after finally admitting defeat in his battle to overcome a knee injury. One of the more popular members of the dressing room and someone whom David Moyes once described as “the best foreign professional he had ever worked with”, Valente has been missed around the club. So it was great to see him back on Merseyside on Thursday evening and even though the result against Benfica was not what everyone wanted, the former Portugal international was still given the warmest of welcomes.
Channel Five’s television cameras also picked up on the fact he was back at his old club and, during a break in play, they showed him sitting in the Main Stand next to an extremely attractive blonde-haired, female companion. “I believe Nuno has retired now?” Five’s main commentator Dave Woods asked his summariser, former Blues’ skipper Kevin Ratcliffe. “I’m not surprised,” came the reply. There really was no need for Ratcliffe to say anything else.

Injury setback is so sickening for Everton maestro Mikel Arteta
Nov 7 2009 by Phil Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
IT should have been the year that came from Mikel Arteta’s dreams but instead it has turned out to be nothing short of a living nightmare. When Everton beat Aston Villa in the fifth round of the FA Cup, Arteta left Goodison Park that night beaming from ear to ear after playing the lead role in one of the Blues’ most impressive performances of the campaign. Bursting with confidence and revelling in the central midfield role David Moyes had given to him, all was well in Arteta’s world and, as he spoke after that game, the look in his eye suggested he knew something special was happening. He spoke animatedly about how he felt the squad was capable of winning a trophy, how he belonged to the club and why life on Merseyside, playing for such an enthusiastic club, suited him down to the ground. Though it is sometimes a cliché to say that footballers deserve to win trophies for their efforts, where Arteta is concerned that statement rings true; he, after all, had done as much as anyone to get Everton into a position to challenge the big boys again. One week later, of course, those hopes and ambitions were in tatters; Moyes is not a man who is able to hide his emotions and the look he sported when Arteta’s knee buckled at St James’ Park spoke a thousand words and more. But what should have been a straightforward recovery from a cruciate ligament problem has been anything but; the closer Arteta – who became a father for the first time during the summer – has edged to joining in full training, the more he has seen fate betray him. If it wasn’t bad enough that he suffered a setback in early September which required keyhole surgery to clean up his cartilage, worse was to follow; the news that emerged earlier this week will have sickened player, manager and fans to the stomach. Arteta has now had to have another operation to clean out his knee after he picked up an infection and it is impossible to say with any accuracy when he will be fit enough to pull on a Blue shirt once again. The most optimistic diagnosis is at some point in the New Year and Moyes and his staff will, undoubtedly, do everything they can to accelerate his rehabilitation period; they will not allow any gloomy pictures to be painted. Yet they are also realists and it is only natural if they are harbouring concerns for Arteta’s wellbeing – when players keep having relapses during their recovery from long-term injury, it is inevitable if some start fearing the worst. Now back in Spain, devoting all his attention to young son Gabriel, Arteta cannot do anything physical until his knee settles down and for a footballer there is no game worse to play than the waiting one. Inevitably a time was always going to arrive when Arteta’s outstanding quality was going to be sorely missed but how Moyes could do with the little Spaniard’s craft, guile and unerring ability from set pieces right now. What’s more, he could also do with his leadership qualities. Arteta may have great skill but he is so much more than someone who can bend a ball this way or that – remember how Moyes made him captain for a 2-2 draw with Newcastle at Goodison last October? At a time when Moyes needs all hands to the pump following a seven-game sequence without a win, Arteta could have been relied upon to roll his sleeves up, issue a rallying cry and drive Everton forward with the sheer weight of performance. Instead, all he and his manager can do is wait and pray that this latest clean-up operation will have rectified the problem once and for all; it has long been said that there is nobody better than Mikel Arteta; only now are we seeing how much that statement rings true.

Everton boss David Moyes hails Phil Neville's influence at club
Nov 7 2009
Phil Neville has been out of action for Everton for two months, but manager David Moyes is astonished by the influence his captain still has on the side. Neville, brought up with good habits from his early career at Manchester United, is working feverishly behind the scenes to make a serious contribution despite his knee injury. Neville may well not be back in action until Christmas, but Moyes has hailed his influence over the whole squad. The 32 year-old, who many feel will one day make an outstanding manager, is certainly doing his bit. And Neville will be helping Moyes behind the scenes again at West Ham tomorrow. Moyes said: “It’s hard to put into adequate words how good Phil has been during the time he has been out injured. He’s at the away games, on the touchline with them all, he’s in the dressing room before and after and at half-time motivating and giving them advice. “He is showing exactly what we know about him, he’s a right good character and is in it for the team and not just for himself.” The Scot added: “He is about everybody succeeding. He is part of a great core to this club. “That includes Phil, Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill and Leon Osman. “They have been the key to this side for so long, and we have been without most of them for long spells with some still out. “People like Phil are still trying to be an influence, and it is pleasing for me to them so involved.”
Moyes reveals midfielder Arteta, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from injury, expects to be back in the new year. He went on: “He is still back in Spain, but I have talked to him this week and he is improving and I expect him playing again in the new year.” Everton have a good recent record at the Boleyn Ground, but Moyes was cautious, saying: “West Ham have started to have some good results. They drew with Arsenal, they were 2-0 up at Sunderland and now they have beaten Aston Villa.
“They will like to believe that they are seeing the green shoots of a recovery. We have to try to stop that. “From our point of view, we are hoping we are starting to improve. When you are not playing well everything is difficult. “When you are in form, your touch is right, you know what you are doing and it seems a lot easier. “But when that form is not there it does not do any harm to run a little bit harder and show people how much it matters to you. “We have got to do that and hopefully get back to the form we know we can produce.” Everton will be without the suspended Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov at West Ham, but striker Louis Saha should be back from a calf injury. Without a win in seven games, Everton are too close to the relegation zone for comfort. But Moyes does not put all of their problems down to bad luck. He said: “We have had bad luck, but not all the time. We have to decide when it’s luck and not just bad play. “But we know we need to do better, and not rely on such things as luck. “There has been signs that we are getting better throughout, but not enough to get us back to where we want to be. “We need to be positive. West Ham will be a big test, I saw them on Wednesday when they beat Aston Villa and that was a really big result for them. You could see what it meant to the club and the players. “Gianfranco Zola has done well there since he came in as manager, but I believe his bigger problems are behind the scenes. “I don’t know everything about that, but there is no doubt he has had difficulties and would like to have changed things around a bit more. “But with (coach) Steve Clarke, they make a good team. They are making a good fist of working with what he has at West Ham and getting the best out of them.”

David Moyes hails Everton spirit after vital win at West Ham
Nov 8 2009
David Moyes hailed Everton’s resilience after they battled to a first Barclays Premier League win since the end of September with a 2-1 victory at West Ham, who slip back into the bottom three. Louis Saha returned to the starting XI after he missed the midweek Europa League defeat to Benfica with a calf problem, and the French striker netted from 20 yards against the run of play on 26 minutes, which continued his fine scoring record against the Irons. teenager Dan Gosling added a second just after the hour, but the Hammers made a fight of it following an own goal by Tony Hibbert.
“We have not played that well, so we cannot ask for any more,” said Moyes.
“When it was 2-0, I felt we had shored it up with nearly a perfect away performance where you have got the goals, but did not play that well. “The key is always to find a winning formula, and today we have found one. But we need to play better than we have done. “At the moment, we are lacking just a bit of quality. October was a tough month, with probably too many matches for the same group of players. “Nevertheless, I thought they showed great character to hang in there at the end of what has been a difficult period for them.” The defeat ended the Hammers’ revival, which had seen them unbeaten for three matches after securing a morale-boosting win over Aston Villa at Upton Park last Wednesday night through a last-minute goal from Zavon Hines. The England Under-21 forward was rewarded with a start today following injury to Carlton Cole, and looked lively. However, the 20-year-old missed two good chances to draw West Ham level after Hibbert had inexplicably booted a chip from substitute Junior Stanislas into his own net as the ball trickled towards the line.
Italian playmaker Alessandro Diamanti - who had helped turn the game against Arsenal last month, when West Ham recovered from 2-0 down to earn a draw - also made an impact from the bench, forcing Tim Howard into a fine save from his curling free-kick. Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola once again could not fault his side’s effort, but admitted he was at a loss to comprehend another defeat. “It is a big question mark for me, how can we lose a game like that,” he said. “We have to analyse the problems first and find solutions. “I felt the players gave everything. Their attitude and their commitment was very good. “But we have to find out straight away what is not working well, because it is not doing us any favours.” Zola’s men face fellow strugglers Hull after the international break. “What can you do? We probably need to show even more desire,” Zola said. “When I look into things I can only see the team tried until the end. “We are making mistakes, but we are fighting and we want to change things.” The Hammers boss added: “I am not worried because I think we can certainly improve the situation. “We are going to fight until the end and we will find the solutions and we will finds them as quickly as possible. “I am confident and I trust the players. “We are determined to make things different, and that is what matters.” Zola, meanwhile, has not yet given up hope of seeing striker Dean Ashton back playing again. The 25-year-old is battling to recover full fitness from an ankle problem, the origins of which stem back to an injury while on England duty after his appearance in the 2006 FA Cup final. Reports have suggested the former Norwich striker, signed for £7million in January 2006, was set to retire, and seek compensation from the Football Association. Zola said: “Until someone tells me he is not going to make it, I am still confident he is going to come back. “For the boy and for us we hope he will make it. I can’t say more than that. “Dean is working his way back on his own and with his own physio. I don’t know when I will hear anything.”

West Ham United 1, Everton FC 2: full time report
Nov 8 2009
Everton secured a much-needed first win in five Barclays Premier League games with a battling 2-1 victory at West Ham, who slipped back into the relegation zone.
Louis Saha, who missed the midweek Europa League defeat to Benfica with a calf problem, netted from 20 yards against the run of play on 26 minutes. Dan Gosling added a second just after the hour, but the Hammers made a fight of it following an own goal by Tony Hibbert. West Ham’s England Under-21 forward Zavon Hines was handed a start for the injured Carlton Cole, having netted a dramatic last-minute winner here against Aston Villa in midweek. The youngster again looked lively, bursting into the left side of the penalty area, before going down under a shoulder charge from Hibbert, as referee Alan Wiley waved away the half-hearted appeals for a spot-kick. Everton deployed five in midfield and were content to let West Ham have plenty of the ball, waiting patiently for their chance. However, Gianfranco Zola’s men continued to look dangerous, as Julien Faubert flashed a low cross through the six-yard box following a sweeping passing move. Hines again caused a threat down the left side, and Scott Parker almost capitalised when he got past Joseph Yobo, but then shot straight at Tim Howard. The Everton defender redeemed himself when coming across to cut out Parker’s through ball, which would have sent Hines clear. Then, out of nothing, Everton took the lead on 26 minutes. Tim Cahill battled to hold the ball up on the edge of the West Ham box, before laying it back to Saha. The French striker, 20 yards out, needed no second invitation - and drilled his first-time shot low into the bottom right corner. The goal was against the run of play, and left Upton Park in stunned silence - apart from the band of travelling Everton supporters on the far side.
West Ham, who battled back from 2-0 down to draw with Arsenal here last month, immediately looked to get on the offensive again. Everton, though, had much more composure now, with Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini coming into the game. Saha headed a corner wide as Everton came close to doubling their lead before the interval. The home side had more impetus at the start of the second half, Junior Stanislas having replaced Jack Collison. A sweeping long ball forward from Manuel Da Costa almost fell for Luis Jimenez in the Everton box, but he was crowded out. The Chilean was then replaced by Alessandro Diamanti, who helped turn the game against Arsenal. Everton also made a change on 57 minutes when Ayegbeni Yakubu came on for Saha, who appeared to be troubled by his calf. Stanislas, from 20 yards, flashed a low drive just wide. However, Everton snatched a second on the break after 64 minutes. Cahill and Yakubu battled for possession at the edge of the penalty area, before the substitute pushed the ball out to Gosling on the overlap down the right. His first shot was blocked by Robert Green, but the ball fell straight back to the Everton winger, who this time drilled it into the net. West Ham, though, hit back moments later. Diamanti sent a deep pass over the Everton defence, on to which Stanislas ran. The West Ham forward clipped his shot past the advancing Howard, but the ball did not appear to have enough pace to roll over the line and Hibbert looked set to hack clear - only for the defender to boot the ball into his own net as Upton Park erupted.
The West Ham faithful sensed an equaliser, with Diamanti curling a 20-yard effort just over before Hines stabbed wide after getting ahead of Yobo. Howard saved Diamanti’s free-kick and Everton survived a couple of scrambles in the six-yard box as the Hammers were denied a second successive dramatic finale.

West Ham 1, Everton 2: Blues end disappointing month with morale-boosting win
Nov 9 2009 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
SPEAKING at the weekend, David Moyes revealed he was considering taking his players to the Lake District during the forthcoming international break in an attempt to improve morale. But no amount of rowing or mountain biking could match the confidence boost provided at Upton Park yesterday. A run of seven games without a victory was brought to an end to ensure the Goodison outfit can head for their brief retreat looking up the table rather than over their shoulders. The jubilation among the massed ranks of the travelling support was no doubt tinged with relief given the trails and tribulations of recent weeks. A period of seven games in 23 days was always going to stretch Everton’s resources given the injury crisis that has gripped the squad this year. Few, though, could have expected the trauma that was to follow. So how this victory was needed. Yet history suggests it should have been expected. West Ham United have proven welcome opposition for Everton in the Premier League era, with the Londoners now beaten more times – 16 – than any other team. Indeed, it was at Upton Park precisely a year earlier that Moyes’s side helped kick-start their campaign with three goals in the final seven minutes to turn imminent defeat into an unlikely and significant victory. The Goodison manager will hope for the same reaction to this hard-earned result. Yes, Everton were on the backfoot for much of the game, but they demonstrated a ruthlessness of old to forge into a deserving two-goal lead through Louis Saha and Dan Gosling. And the defence regained a semblance of former solidity after Tony Hibbert’s comedy own goal prompted a desperate onslaught from West Ham during the final quarter. It was unfortunate for Hibbert who, along with centre-backs Sylvain Distin and Joseph Yobo, was among Everton’s stellar performers.
Moyes has spoken of putting his head above the parapet in the face of the club’s ongoing injury crisis, and that he thrives on finding a winning formula with whatever his resources. He did so yesterday, if only just. Quality, particularly going forward, remains missing from Everton’s overall play, but while Gianfranco Zola claimed his team deserved at least a point for their rousing finale, the fact is Tim Howard had relatively few saves of note to make. Necessity rather than design may have pressed Moyes into tactical tweaks, but the decision to pair John Heitinga with Jack Rodwell in a defensive central midfield is proving fruitful. Having posted an encouraging display last weekend, Heitinga was again impressive yesterday in adding steel to the middle of the park and helping provide a protective shield in front of the back four.
Given Saha netted four times against the Hammers last season, there was a sense of the inevitable to his 27th-minute opener, even if Moyes later admitted that the striker should not have even been playing because of the calf strain that forced him to miss Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Benfica. It was a well-taken goal, too, Saha found by Tim Cahill’s lay-off on the edge of the West Ham penalty area before unleashing a first-time left-foot shot low into the bottom corner. Robert Green didn’t even move.
That was Everton’s first attack of note having been pushed back by a home side energised by a dramatic 2-1 win over Aston Villa in midweek that moved them, at least temporarily, out of the relegation zone. But unlike their visitors, West Ham demonstrated a distinct lack of killer instinct that was epitomised by the performance of Zavon Hines. The 20-year-old’s pace has unsettled opposing defences already this season but this was an afternoon for him to forget, Hines largely dealt with by the Everton defence and, when temporarily breaking free of his shackles, missing a brace of gilt-edged chances during the second half. For all West Ham’s first-half possession, the only occasion Howard was called into meaningful action was when saving at his near post after Scott Parker tricked his way past Joseph Yobo inside the penalty area.
The only other moment of mild danger for Everton came early on when Guillermo Franco couldn’t gain a good enough connection to Julien Faubert’s driven cross from the right, while at the other end Saha almost grabbed a second shortly before the break when stretching to head wide Gosling’s corner. Dominant in midfield and comfortable in defence, this was precisely the type of situation from which Everton have become dab-hands in recent seasons at seeing out the game and claiming three points with a minimum of fuss. That job should have been made easier by their lead being doubled on 64 minutes, Yakubu – on for Saha – rolling the ball into the path of Gosling who, after his initial effort was parried back to him by Green, saw his second shot deflected in. But within a minute West Ham were gifted a route back into the game. Alessandro Diamanti’s pass over the top released fellow substitute Junior Stanislas, who cleverly lifted the ball over the approaching Howard. There was still enough time for Hibbert to clear off the line, but the right-back unfortunately sliced into the roof of his own net. It gave West Ham hope, and twice inside 60 seconds Everton were grateful for the haplessness of Hines. First, the youngster toe-poked his effort hurriedly wide after being put away by Parker’s clever pass and was then again off target when an attempted interception by Leighton Baines inadvertently presented a clear shooting opportunity. Everton could barely get out of their own half and Howard had to beat out a 25-yard free-kick from Diamanti, the same player shot narrowly wide and a mad scramble during injury time ended with Franco’s shot being ushered clear.
But Everton managed to hold on. If ever anyone needed a break, it’s Moyes’s exhausted troops. And after this rearguard action, they deserve it.

West Ham 1, Everton 2: Blues points hammered on
Nov 9 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES said he needed to find the solution to Everton's current plight – one assumes his inspiration came from the age old club anthem. For sure the manager knows the heritage of the club as well as anyone but trawling through the history books will have provided him with a reassuring read. As well as dreaming he can emulate the glory days of predecessors Howard Kendall and Joe Royle in bringing silverware back to Goodison Park, Moyes will have found solace in the fact the Blues' have an unprecedented record against the Hammers. Although the Blues came into the game with an unwanted record of their own, no win in seven games, and one which was bearing a burden on the side, casting your eye over the recent form against West Ham United suggested nothing other than three points was heading back to Goodison Park. With 15 victories, Everton have won more Premier League games against West Ham than any other side, two last season, and with a striker with more than a handy knack of punishing the Londoners, the odds were in their favour. As pleasing as it was to see Everton's confidence return, in part at least, West Ham bowed to the past and played the obliging hosts to Everton's Premier League revival for most of this match.
The win takes Everton up to 12th in the division and hopefully on to bigger and better things. After Yakubu's ultimately fruitless endeavor of Thursday night, the returning Louis Saha was brought into the starting line up after missing the Europa League defeat to Benfica because of a calf strain. In the Blues' last trip in the Premier League, the Frenchman was the inspiration which dragged the side back into the game with Bolton Wanderers and with his recent record against the Hammers, which includes four goals in two games last season, manager David Moyes looked to his talented striker to provide the spark which was absent at Goodison Park in the week – he didn't disappoint. Though Everton's two previous games against the Upton Park side have yielded 3-1 victories, Moyes' men headed into the clash with a less than favourable away record this season with three defeats from their four outings. However having only conceded six times on the road and with their only win in five league games coming in their trip to Portsmouth on September, 26, when Saha was on the scoresheet, Everton came to south London hopeful of an upturn in fortunes. Tim Cahill was again asked to patrol the left, as he did with limited success at Bolton, and Marouane Fellaini supported Saha upfront with Johnny Heitinga playing alongside Jack Rodwell in the middle. Although Everton would ultimately prosper, the opening exchanges were far from vintage and it became apparent early on the speedy Zavon Hines was intent on giving Tony Hibbert at right back a restless afternoon. The first meaningful shot on target didn't arrive until the 20th minute when Scott Parker evaded Joseph Yobo on the by-line and from a tight angle struck the ball straight at Howard.
Yet Everton's first shot on target brought the opening goal. Much in the same way Saha conjured something from very little at the Reebok Stadium last month, he pounced onto Cahill's knock down on the edge of the box to fire past Robert Green with a deadly swing of his left foot. In times when very little seems to be going the Blues' way, the undoubted class of the talismanic Frenchman provides much needed relief. The goal reinvigorated a flagging Fellaini would proceeded to hound any West Ham ball carrier down, sometimes with over zealous tactics, but his renewed enthusiasm was infectious. Heitinga looked much more like the international player the club bought in the summer and would be influencial to the victory. West Ham launched the predictable early second half assault on goal, but it was as potent as it had been in the first half – not very. Substitute Junior Stanislas did fire a well struck shot low past Howard's right hand post, but it served only to give the West Ham fans something to cling on to. Hope appeared to have gone on 63 minutes when Dan Gosling, reveling in the Blues' confidence boost, found himself unmarked inside the Hammers' box after Yakubu's slick pass to fire past Green at the second attempt to double Everton's lead. But two minutes later Stanislas latched onto a ball over the top of a static Everton defence, dinked the ball over Howard and having done the hard work to track back, Hibbert spooned the ball into his own net when a clearance looked certain. The majority of the Upton Park crowd naturally became more vocal following the goal and Hines nearly took the roof off but as he raced clear onto Scott Parker's pass he prodded wide before missing the target on the turn after Leighton Baines' interception fell kindly in the box. As erratic as Hines is with the ball, his speed on the turn was now hurting Everton and Yobo escaped with just a caution when he was caught flat footed - the West Ham youngster looked to be in. Alessandro Diamanti brought the first significant save out of Howard as he whipped a free-kick over the wall only for the American to palm away at full stretch. Everton would continue to survive some nervous scrambles in the box which will have done little for the health of the manager but in truth, West Ham were devoid of ideas long before they were afforded a way back in. But Everton showed a resolve and Moyes will hope this win begins the next chapter in side's season.
WEST HAM: Green, Faubert, Spector. Upson, Da Costa, Behrami, Parker, Jiminez (Diamanti, 57), Collison (Stanislas, 46) Hines, Franco. Not used: Kurucz, Kovac, Noble, Tomkins, Daprela.
Bookings: None.
EVERTON: Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Yobo, Distin, Heitinga, Cahill, Fellaini, Rodwell, Saha (Yakubu, 57) Gosling (Neill, 76). Not used: Nash, Yakubu, Neill, Coleman, Agard, Baxter, Wallace.
Bookings: Yobo, Hibbert, Heitinga, Fellaini, Rodwell.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley.
ATTENDANCE: 32, 466.

West Ham United 1 Everton 2: match report
By John Ley at Upton Park,
Nov 9 2009, By the Telegraph
Everton claimed their first league win in five games when they sent West Ham Unitedback into the relegation zone thanks to a second-half winner from Dan Gosling.
Louis Saha gave Everton a first half lead and Gosling claimed his first League goal since April in the 64th minute. Junior Stanislas replied for West Ham a minute later and then the home side squandered a succession of late chances. The absence of Carlton Cole, who had scored six of West Ham’s 15 goals before this game, meant that Zavon Hines, who scored the late winner against Aston Villa last Wednesday, was given only his fourth League start of the season. And while the 20-year-old Jamaican-born England Under-21 international worked hard, he struggled to get the better of Joseph Yobo and Sylvain Distin. Guillermo Franco headed narrowly wide for West Ham and then Scott Parker forced Tim Howard to save. West Ham’s early approach work was busy but they struggled to match it in attack and when Everton got a rare chance they punished the home side. In the 27th minute, Matthew Upson’s failure to clear allowed Tim Cahill to feed the ball inside and Louis Saha finished well, finding the bottom left hand corner for his ninth goal of the season – and fifth in three games against West Ham. Before the break Luis Jiménez’s free-kick was deflected high and held by Howard as West Ham laboured to equalise. At half-time West Ham brought on Junior Stanislas, their second leading score, for Jack Collison and his first act was to win a corner. Stanislas took it, returned passes with Parker, then presented Franco with a headed chance he wasted. And when Manuel Da Costa delivered a superb ball into the area, Franco appeared to be impeded as he tried to reach the delivery. Both teams made changes before the hour mark when West Ham’s Alessandro Diamanti came on for Luis Jiménez while goalscorer Saha, who had been troubled by a virus, was replaced by Aiyegbeni Yakubu. Still West Ham pushed and Stanislas was unfortunate with an effort that curled the wrong side of the left post.
But in the 64th minute Everton doubled their lead. Yakubu’s pass found Gosling unmarked and after Robert Green saved his first shot the midfielder responded by finding he net. However, a minute later West ham responded when a lofted pass fell to Stanislas, whose lobbed effort rose over Howard and Tony Hibbert, who could have cleared off the line, succeeded only in placing the ball in the roof of the net.
Diamanti came close to an equaliser when he sent a delightful left-footed attempt narrowly over. And when Hines was put through by Parker, he shot wide when he should have scored. Hines broke clear again but was halted by Yobo, who avoided a red card because of the covering Distin, and Everton held on to claim only their second away win of the season.

West Ham 1-2 Everton match report:
The Daily Mirror verdict
Nov 9 2009, by Neil McLeman
Louis Saha and Everton wish they could play West Ham every week.
After seven games without a win in all competitions, David Moyes’ side returned to their happy hunting ground in East London yesterday to rack up their first Premier League win since September. And despite carrying a calf strain, the France striker took his tally to five goals in three games against the Hammers with the opening goal of a slow-burning game which only came to life in the last half hour. Dan Gosling doubled the Everton lead after the break before a comical own goal by Tony Hibbert set up an unexpectedly exciting finish. Yet Everton held on for their 16th win over West Ham out of 29 games in the Premier League - their best record against any club - to climb to 12th place while the unhappy Hammers slipped back into the bottom three.
A season-long relegation battle looms for Gianfranco Zola’s side which badly missed top scorer Carlton Cole. But after getting knocked out of the Carling Cup and losing home and away to Benfica in the Europa League, Moyes was relieved to see his side return to winning ways. “We have not played that well, so we cannot ask for any more,” said the Scot. “It has been a tough month - probably too many games for the same group of players to be playing in. “Nevertheless I thought they showed great character to hang in there at the end. It has been a difficult period for them.
“I think Everton over the last couple of seasons have played good football, been up at the top and good to watch. “The key is always to find a winning formula, and today we have found one. “At the moment, we are lacking just a bit of quality.”
After the Hammers had enjoyed the best of the early possession, Saha showed that missing quality with Everton’s first shot on target after 27 minutes.
Tim Cahill took advantage of confusion in the Hammers’ central defence to slip a short pass to Saha and the France striker clipped a low shot past England No.1 Robert Green from the edge of the box. It was Saha’s ninth goal of the season - and his fifth in three games against the Hammers after netting twice at Upton Park exactly a year ago. He also scored at West Ham for Metz in the Inter Toto Cup final a decade ago.
“Saha’s scoring record against West Ham was in my mind,” admitted Moyes. “He has got a calf strain and probably should not have been playing.” By contrast, without the injured Cole, the West Ham front pair of Zavon Hines and Guillermo Franco looked lightweight against proven Premier League performers like Joseph Yobo and Sylvain Distin. Zola threw on Junior Stanislas at half-time and Alessandro Diamanti came off the bench in the 57th minute as the game finally opened up. But it was Everton who were the immediate beneficiaries. After 64 minutes, sub Yakubu fed Dan Gosling in space in the box and though Green saved his first shot on his 100th consecutive Premier League appearance, the rebound returned to the Everton midfielder and he lashed the ball home. Yet the visitors enjoyed their two-goal cushion for less than a minute. The increasingly influential Diamanti released Stanislas and although the Hammers sub chipped over Howard, the covering Hibbert could only carve his attempted clearance into the roof of his own net from a yard out. “I have not asked Tony Hibbert about the goal, but I felt he should have cleared the ball,” said the unamused Moyes. “He had an opportunity to clear it.” The Hammers had their chances to repeat their fightback from two goals down against Arsenal last month.
Hines, the scorer of the injury-time winner against Aston Villa last week, was twice through on goal only to stab his shots painfully wide. And Yobo was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card after bringing down Hines as he again bore down on goal. The Hammers had a final chance to equalise in stoppage time but Tim Howard denied Franco from a Parker cross.
West Ham : Green 7, Faubert 6, Upson 7, Da Costa 6, Spector 6, Behrami 7, Parker 8, Jiminez 5, (Diamanti 57), Collison 5 (Stanislas 46), Franco 6, Hines 5.
Everton : Howard 7, Hibbert 6, Yobo 7, Distin 8, Baines 7, Gosling 7 (Neill 76), Rodwell 6, Heitinga 6, Saha 8 (Yakubu 57), Fellaini 7, Cahill 7.

David Moyes hails his battling blues: Everton FC latest
Nov 9 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES hailed Everton’s resilience after they battled to a first Premier League win since the end of September with a 2-1 victory at West Ham, who slip back into the bottom three. Louis Saha returned to the starting XI after he missed the midweek Europa League defeat to Benfica with a calf problem, and the French striker netted from 20 yards against the run of play on 26 minutes, which continued his fine scoring record against the Hammers. Teenager Dan Gosling added a second just after the hour, but the home side made a fight of it following an own goal by Tony Hibbert.
“We have not played that well, so we cannot ask for any more,” said Moyes. “When it was 2-0, I felt we had shored it up with nearly a perfect away performance where you have got the goals, but did not play that well. “The key is always to find a winning formula, and today we have found one. But we need to play better than we have done.
“At the moment, we are lacking just a bit of quality. October was a tough month, with probably too many matches for the same group of players. “Nevertheless, I thought they showed great character to hang in there at the end of what has been a difficult period for them.” The defeat ended the Hammers’ revival, which had seen them unbeaten for three matches after securing a morale-boosting win over Aston Villa at Upton Park last Wednesday night through a last-minute goal from Zavon Hines.
The England Under-21 forward was rewarded with a start following injury to Carlton Cole, and looked lively. However, the 20-year-old missed two good chances to draw West Ham level after Hibbert had inexplicably booted a chip from substitute Junior Stanislas into his own net as the ball trickled towards the line. Italian playmaker Alessandro Diamanti – who had helped turn the game against Arsenal last month, when West Ham recovered from 2-0 down to earn a draw – also made an impact from the bench, forcing Tim Howard into a fine save from his curling free-kick. Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola once again could not fault his side’s effort, but admitted he was at a loss to comprehend another defeat. “It is a big question mark for me, how can we lose a game like that,” he said. “We have to analyse the problems first and find solutions. “I felt the players gave everything. Their attitude and their commitment was very good. “But we have to find out straight away what is not working well, because it is not doing us any favours.” Zola’s men face fellow strugglers Hull after the international break. “What can you do? We probably need to show even more desire,” Zola said. “When I look into things I can only see the team tried until the end. “We are making mistakes, but we are fighting and we want to change things.” The Hammers boss added: “I am not worried because I think we can certainly improve the situation. “We are going to fight until the end and we will find the solutions and we will finds them as quickly as possible. “I am confident and I trust the players. We are determined to make things different, and that is what matters.” Zola, meanwhile, has not yet given up hope of seeing striker Dean Ashton back playing again. The 25-year-old is battling to recover full fitness from an ankle problem, the origins of which stem back to an injury while on England duty after his appearance in the 2006 FA Cup final. Reports have suggested the former Norwich striker, signed for £7million in January 2006, was set to retire, and seek compensation from the Football Association. Zola said: “Until someone tells me he is not going to make it, I am still confident he is going to come back. “For the boy and for us we hope he will make it. I can’t say more than that. “Dean is working his way back on his own and with his own physio. I don’t know when I will hear anything.”

Johnny Heitinga admits Everton's first win in eight games was a relief
Nov 9 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
Johnny Heitinga 300
JOHNNY HEITINGA admits “relief” was the overwhelming emotion after Everton's first win in eight games. The 2-1 victory at West Ham United yesterday stopped the unwelcome run of results and moved the Blues up to 12th in the Premier League table.
Dutchman Heitinga returned to the squad after being forced to miss out on Thursday night's 2-0 loss at the hands of Benfica in the Europa League and put in a commanding performance in the midfield. Signed from Atletico Madrid in the summer for £6m, the 25-year-old is amongst a number of Everton stars away on international duty this week, but insists the break will not affect the momentum gathered from the win at Upton Park. Heitinga believes their second league away win of the campaign has left Everton in a perfect state ahead of heavyweight clashes with Manchester United and Liverpool later this month. Heitinga said: “The most important thing today was we won the game. At 2-0 we were playing very well but after that they scored a goal and became very dangerous - in the last 25 minutes the only thing we did was defend. “It is a relief to have got the win. In the last few games we have not played too badly but we have not won and it is good for the team and good for our team spirit that we have won today. “Before the game the manager just said we have to win and told me I would have to keep control in the midfield. I can play in different positions, in midfield or in the centre of defence. “A lot of the team are going to play for their national sides and so it is good we got the points. “I'm off with Holland for two matches, away in Italy and home against Paraguay. “I think the break is good because you go away, you have won the last game and when we come back we will be ready for two tough games against Manchester United away and Liverpool at home. “I think my time in England is going well so far. I try to do well every day and perform. It is up to the fans and the people to judge me, but every day I give 100%.”

Mick Rathbone happier as Everton injuries begin to subside
Nov 10 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Physio Mick Rathbone
EVERTON physio Mick Rathbone believes the Blues have finally “turned the corner” in their battle to overcome an appalling injury crisis. The Goodison club has had an entire team of senior players missing on several occasions this season – and even in Saturday’s morale boosting win at West Ham had Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka, Phil Neville, Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman, Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan all sat on the sidelines. But Rathbone has finally seen some light at the end of the tunnel, as he prepares to visit a specialist in London today to have Anichebe’s knee problem looked at. “The good news is I do feel we have turned a corner in the last few days regarding injuries,” said Rathbone. “Phil Neville, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are all making rapid progress. They have had a good session this morning (Monday) so are having a well earned brew now while I write my blog! “After 14 years as a physio I know that sometimes you just get these spells of problems but that awful injury list that was in double figures is now down.” Rathbone heads down to London today with one of Everton’s walking wounded, Victor Anichebe. The striker has been missing for nine months now, since suffering knee ligament damage as a result of a poor tackle by Kevin Nolan at Newcastle last season. And Rathbone explained: “Victor’s had some complications after his injury. The pin was rubbing in his knee so it was removed, but now he’s a growth of bone on his knee.“Sometimes you have to remember that things don’t go in straight lines and that’s often the case with comebacks from injury.
“The medical team have been brilliant over the last few months with the amount of injuries that have needed their care. They have stuck at it and we are now seeing the results of all that hard work. I am really proud of them.” The medical staff suffered a double blow last week with the setbacks for Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka, but Rathbone added that while the news was riling it was not unprecedented. “Mikel’s setback was bad news for us all,” he added. “He’s had to have his knee washed out after suffering an infection so of course it’s a setback. “He is over in Spain and he has his own physio there but we have daily contact with him. It may sound strange working like that but every member of the medical team here has been over to see him regularly so it’s not as odd as it sounds. “The surgeon over there who operated on Mikel’s knee is a top surgeon, I have met him and he is very talented. The setback has nothing to do with the surgeon, Mikel has sadly just been very unlucky. “Also last week, Phil Jagielka underwent surgery on his knee. Sometimes it works, often it does not work. “What happens in some cases is in the late stages of rehab the sutures often split. That is what’s happened to Jags.”

David Moyes: Captain Phil Neville is Everton's life-blood
Nov 10 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has been astonished by the influence his captain Phil Neville has had on his Everton squad, even though he hasn’t kicked a ball for two months.
Neville has targeted the trip to Old Trafford on November 21 for his comeback, after suffering the longest injury lay-off of his career. But manager Moyes says that even though Neville has not been available for selection since injuring knee ligaments at Fulham in September, his impact on the squad has been considerable.
Neville has been a frequent visitor on matchdays and even made the trip to Lisbon for the Europa League clash with Benfica, even though he had no chance of playing.
“It’s hard to put into adequate words how good Phil has been during the time he has been out injured,” said Moyes. “He’s at the away games, on the touchline with them all, he’s in the dressing room before and after and at half-time motivating and giving them advice. “He is showing exactly what we know about him, he's a right good character and is in it for the team and not just for himself.” Moyes added: “He is about everybody succeeding. He is part of a great core to this club. “That includes Phil, Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill and Leon Osman.
“They have been the key to this side for so long, and we have been without most of them for long spells with some still out. “People like Phil are still trying to be an influence, and it is pleasing for me for them to be so involved.” Team-mate Sylvain Distin has been that rarity at Everton this season, an ever-present since he signed from Portsmouth for £5m. The French defender has played every minute of every match since arriving at Goodison, but he maintains the injury-hit Blues can do little else but battle on after recording a morale boosting win at West Ham. “We can complain, but it doesn’t get us more points or get us anywhere,” he said. “We have got a lot of injuries, but there is nothing we can do about it. “We will use the players we have got and hopefully we will get some of those players back. “But we will do with what we have and we do have enough quality to play better than we have so far.” Everton’s last league win had come back at the end of September – a poor run of form which saw the Toffees, who have also struggled in Europe, slip down the table. Distin accepts that had perhaps been in the back of the players’ minds. “We have had seven games without a win and so even if you pretend not to think about it, you do,” he said. “Maybe you are not as positive and comfortable as you should be.” Distin added: “But at the moment, it does not matter if we’re playing home or away – it is just about the three points.” French striker Saha shrugged off a calf problem to start at Upton Park, although he was subst- ituted during the second half as a pre- caution. Saha wanted to make an impact for the team, if not 100% fully match fit. “I did not expect to play, but I was ready to give my best so that’s what I tried and it worked fine,” he said. “It is just good for me to concentrate on my opportunities and I am very conscious to work with the team. “The work rate of the team is unbelievable. I have the international week to rest, so hopefully when I come back I will be fine.” Moyes has little option but to continue to call on his youngsters when the Premier League action resumes with the small matter of a trip to Manchester United on November 21. The Everton manager, though, would rather have been able to do so at a more suitable time. “It is not just one game, we have had to do that in three or four games. It is a lot to ask of the young players,” Moyes said. “Jack Rodwell has played an awful lot of football and while Dan Gosling is no doubt delighted to be playing, there are right moments when you should be playing youngsters and maybe we are having to play them at the wrong moments. “On the evidence against West Ham, you would have to say both are mature players, and that can make them better and stronger. “Then you can look at them not as young players, but players. “However, we do not have enough in the team at the moment to help them as much as we should. "But the one thing we encourage at Everton is putting the young boys in the line-ups. “There’s an element of sink or swim when you do that and in the main our boys have swum through it. “If you are a young boy you certainly want to play though," added Moyes. “In fact, I think it will help their development in the long run. If we have got boys and I think they are good enough they will get put into the team, it's as simple as that at Everton.” While in the past, top flight managers have been criticised for not blooding their young talent, the Blues manager says he is always looking to bring youth through. “If we keep producing boys who are good enough to be in the team I will give them a chance regardless of their age and at the moment, because of our injury list, they are certainly getting an opportunity,” he concluded.

NIGEL MARTYN: Everton's Louis Saha shows his courage as well as class
Nov 10 2009 Liverpool Echo
ONCE again Louis Saha woke up on Sunday morning to King Louis headlines. Without being disrespectful, just six months ago he was getting labelled with a very different tag. The old ‘injury prone’ description was being trotted out and there were suggestions from some that he wasn’t the type of player to put his body on the line.
So it should be pointed out that Saha didn’t just score a superbly taken goal at West Ham, he played for almost an hour despite carrying a calf injury. That, for me, was the most heartening aspect of what was a very big win for the Blues. Saha has always had the quality, but at West Ham he also showed his character and his courage. It doesn’t hurt that at Everton he is surrounded by a group of players who are more than prepared to go into the trenches. You don’t want players to have to turn out if they are carrying an injury, because the likelihood is they won’t play to their fullest potential. But if circumstances dictate that they have to, and circumstances at Everton are pretty unusual at the moment, then it helps to have a core of players’ whose attitude rubs off on others in the squad. There’s no doubt Sunday’s was a very important win for Everton – especially with another international break following. Before the game we were three points off the chasing pack of upwardly mobile teams, but equally were only three points off the teams battling relegation. Now we are comfortably placed in mid-table again to make a move towards the top eight. If you look at the teams immediately ahead of us in the Premier League table – Fulham, Burnley, Stoke and then Sunderland – they are all the kind of clubs Everton would expect to finish ahead of, and the clubs we have consistently been finishing higher than in recent seasons.
Now we have got within striking distance, it’s important we build on that. There is the sight of cavalry emerging on the horizon from Baz Rathbone’s sick bay and when some of the injured players are back we really should be able to kick on. Sunday, hopefully, could be seen as a turning point in the season. Lakeland retreat can be cavalry charge for Everton
DAVID MOYES has hinted that he may take his remaining players away to the Lake District during the international break on an outward bound style training camp.
I’ve been on similar outings with the Blues in the past and can confirm they are definitely worthwhile. You actually find that you are doing lots of physical work on mountain bikes and in canoes without realising that you’re working that hard. And the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine with a meal in the evening helps people relax and get to know their team-mates even better. For it to work you need a group of players prepared to get involved in the first place and not enter into the whole exercise with a negative mindset. But knowing the players at Goodison like I do, there are plenty there perfectly willing to embrace the idea. Obviously it helps that Everton have just won an away game at one of their favourite hunting grounds – Upton Park – so spirits will be high anyway. But a couple of days change of scenery up in the Lakes can only help build on that for the rest of the season.
There’ll be no repeats of the Benny hell show
THE majority of reports last week seemed to suggest that Everton had been given a footballing lesson over two legs by Benfica. But I tell you what, given two fully fit squads to choose from, I wouldn’t mind drawing the Portuguese giants again later in the Europa League competition. Sure they’re a good side. But I don’t think they’re any better than a fully fit Everton side. They caught us at a good time, as simple as that. Older Evertonians still talk about the time Everton were walloped by Bobby Robson’s supremely talented Ipswich Town team at Goodison Park, and manager Gordon Lee staggered supporters when he declared he wanted to meet them again in the FA Cup. He got his wish granted, and this time Everton were triumphant! Don’t rule out something similar happening in this season’s Europa League!

Louis Saha set for new deal talks - Everton FC latest
Nov 11 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are set to open talks with Louis Saha about the prospects of extending his stay at Goodison. Saha has been in outstanding form this season and scored nine goals and given his past injury problems, has consistently been available for selection.
The Blues are keen to invoke the clause they inserted to the Frenchman’s contract when he joined from Manchester United in August 2008. He initially signed a two-year deal but David Moyes made it clear that there was scope to prolong his stay if things were going well. Goodison officials are aware Saha could start talking to foreign clubs in the New Year but, to avert the prospect, will approach him as reward for his efforts. Saha scored Everton’s first in Sunday’s 2-1 win over West Ham despite being in first half pain with a calf problem. “It was just about being sensible after my calf strain,” said Saha. “I tried my best in the game but I started to cramp in the second half, so it was better to be cautious.” In recent international breaks, Saha has returned to France to work with a personal trainer to help avoid the niggling injuries that frustrated him in recent seasons. He expects to be fit for the trip to Old Trafford on November 21 – a game that could feature the return of club captain Phil Neville. Sunday’s triumph was Everton first win in eight games and Saha said: “The lads were brilliant, everyone fought for the result. “There have been a few setbacks recently so for us to react and show we can perform as a team was important. It’s vital now we keep these results going.” Meanwhile, Dan Gosling – scorer of the Blues’ winner at West Ham – has been rewarded for his outstanding progress with a call-up to the England U-21 squad. He replaces team-mate Jack Rodwell in the party for the European Championship qualifier at Wembley against Portugal. Gosling, who etched his name into Goodison folklore by knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup in January, has played several roles this season.

Everton FC's Dan Gosling caps perfect week with his first England Under-21 call-up
Nov 11 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Dan Gosling celebrates at Hull 300
DAN GOSLING capped a perfect week last night with a first England Under-21 call-up – and the prospect of a Wembley appearance this weekend. The 19-year-old Everton midfielder was drafted into the national squad for England’s European Championship Under-21 qualifier against Portugal on Saturday, at Wembley Stadium, and next week’s game against Lithuania in Vilnius. It is his first call-up for Stuart Pearce’s squad. And after scoring the goal which turned out to be the match winner at West Ham last Saturday, it was another major boost for Gosling, who was snapped up by the Blues after only 24 first team appearances for Plymouth. Gosling’s strike at Upton Park last weekend was the fourth of his short Everton career and he said afterwards: “I would like to say it is a natural ability! But it’s just nice to get on the end of things and get goals. It’s important for me to do a job for the team and if a chance comes your way you have to take it. “I enjoy being part of the (Everton) squad. I will play anywhere that I am needed if the gaffer asks me to. “For me it has been great to get games under my belt and hopefully I can do a job for the team. I think I did that with the winning goal at West Ham and I hope I helped.” Gosling made his full Everton debut in the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough last Boxing Day, then scored his first Everton goal just two days later against Sunderland, but it was the dramatic FA Cup matchwinner against Liverpool which catapulted him into the national spotlight – even though in many regions the moment was eclipsed by an unscheduled Tic Tac advert! Gosling already has England under-19 honours and played in the Under-17 World Cup. According to Chris Woods, who shared a room with Gosling at the tournament, the experience had its drawbacks. He declared: “His snoring is a nightmare. You put your head down for ten seconds and it’s like a train next door.
“Spence, the skipper, had a spare bed in there but for the first night I camped out in the communications room.”

Everton and Liverpool football clubs join forces to launch Premier League 4 Sport programme
Nov 11 2009 by David Randles, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON and Liverpool football clubs have joined forces to launch the Premier League 4 Sport programme. Less than three weeks ahead of the Merseyside derby the rival clubs came together in support of the government and Premier League backed initiative that is offering youngsters the chance to get involved in Olympic sports.
Blues defender, Sylvain Distin, was joined by Reds left-back Emiliano Insua at the Greenbank Sports Academy in South Liverpool where the pair took part in each of the four Olympic sports being promoted by the programme – badminton, judo, volleyball and table tennis. Given the injury problems at Everton and Liverpool this season, Distin and Insua wisely decided to take it easy on the judo demonstration. But both players displayed a decent aptitude for the other sports on show as they took on children from local schools. Explained Distin: “I played a lot of different sports as a youngster, but mainly basketball. “That wasn't because of my height, but because it was more practical in France. We don't have as many football fields in France as we have in England, but we do have more basketball courts and handball courts.
“I was a big basketball fan and used to follow the NBA. “They're not necessarily the kind of skills you'd use in a football career, but sport is sport and it is all about timing and hand-eye co-ordination, so I guess it helped. “I also played volleyball at school and liked it, but not so much badminton. “It was good fun playing the table tennis, badminton and especially the volleyball, although I was told I couldn't do the judo because our injury list was bad enough! “I wouldn't have minded because they were all school children!” Insua said: “I played a bit of basketball and also some volleyball when I was younger but was never good enough to try and take them on professionally. “Football was always my first sport and that is where my focus was.
“It is great to see all the kids getting involved in all the sports here. They look like they are really enjoying themselves, which is a big part of all sports. “If you want to be the best at any sport, be that a professional footballer or an Olympian at judo, table tennis or whatever, you have to try hard every day to improve. “But the most important thing with any sport is that you enjoy yourselves.” Liverpool in the Community and The Everton Foundation represent the only two Premier League clubs that are working in partnership to develop the Premier League 4 Sport programme, that will be rolled out across Liverpool and Knowsley. The scheme will initially run for three years up to the 2012 London Olympics and will see both football clubs link up with Greenbank Sports Academy and secondary schools in the area to create a number of satellite clubs to enable young people to take up any of the Olympic sports being promoted. Working closely with the sports governing bodies, the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England, both Everton and Liverpool, along with other Premier League clubs, aim to encourage 25,000 young people, aged between 11 and 16, to join local sports clubs in the four Olympic sports. Premier League community development executive Siobhan Atkinson said: “The Olympic sports we're promoting tend not to appear on too many school curriculums and are ones Great Britain have not had too much success in to date. “We're hoping that by providing lots of opportunities for young people we'll start to see more clubs developing the four sports and hopefully providing some performance pathways to come through. “This region is unique as Liverpool and Everton are the only two clubs who are working jointly on the programme in the community. They've helped us put together a really coordinated programme across Merseyside. “This means there should be something on offer for young people not too far away from where they live. “Having Liverpool and Everton club crests on the T-shirts here means the kids take extra pride in it all. “It's been interesting talking to some of the players who've got involved. A lot of them seem to turn their hand to table tennis. I think it's a popular activity on pre-season tours!”
Premier League 4 Sport was launched earlier in the year by prime minister Gordon Brown at White Hart Lane. It is a vehicle to drive the government's commitment to get young people to undertake five hours of physical activity per week. Added Atkinson: “The Premier League have invested £3.8m in the programme and we see it as a three year commitment. After that we'll look at the findings and hopefully continue, perhaps with a few other sports included.” l The £3.8 million for Premier League 4 Sport is being invested through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport from the Premier League's Good Causes fund. The Premier League is involved in a wide range of community activities, investing over £120 million a season down through the game. For more on the 'Creating Chances' programme, or to read about some of the projects that the clubs deliver, visit: www.premierleague.com/creatingchances

FOOTBALL FORUM: Lucas Neill should be our first choice at right-back
Nov 11 2009 Liverpool Echo
WHAT has Lucas Neill got to do to get a game?
He wasn't far off Everton's best player at right-back the week before, and missed the Benfica game because of the ridiculous qualifying arrangements so he was fresh for Sunday. Tony Hibbert seems to get a jersey hail, rain or snow and turned in another dodgy performance. Dan Gosling is coming along okay. He's young but hasn't got a clue about positional play or composure on and off the ball. Why has the club decided to sign Neill and be content to give him 10 minutes to tighten the defence to protect the lead?
WHILE welcoming the three points over the Hammers it is obvious that unless and until we get our act together, scoring on breakaways and 'against the run of play' will be our only way of staying alive in future. Five yellows to none Fellaini and Hibbert as usual are another worrying trend with suspensions and further injuries making life even more difficult for David Moyes. I can see us being torn apart against Manchester United next week.
WHERE has the famous team spirit gone?
Theres no Phil Neville!
His presence on the field helps composure and his presence of mind helps guide when the going gets tougher than most can handle. I for one would want him on the pitch if I was on the pitch as well. I know he has his weaknesses, but dont we all?
And I too have been up in arms when he gives the ball away cheaply but its his glue (that I never knew existed) that I missed then, and we as a team are missing now.
WE were tosh against Benfica. It was a terrible performance; no passion or belief.
We should have been at least a goal up by half-time.We just seemed resigned to the fact that they were going to win. Benfica arent that good; we were that bad.
NO Arteta or Pienaar, no creativity.
Benfica ran us ragged because they PASSED the ball to each other.
We all knew in the summer that our small squad needed additional quality and quantity if we were to fight on four fronts, but what happened? Well very little, really.
The reserves should be thrown in to give them much-needed experience because we are probably going to need them soon if we don't make a few buys in January.
And if we do manage to get a handful of decent players during the window, it just makes it all the more puzzling why we didn't do it in the summer.

Team mate believes Louis Saha can make a difference: Everton FC latest
Nov 12 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Louis Saha celebrates against Blackburn 300
LOUIS SAHA has made the most prolific start to a season in his career – but team-mate Sylvain Distin believes his team-mate can conquer the world next summer.
Saha won the last of his 18 French caps two years ago and missed the 2006 World Cup final after collecting a yellow card in the semi-final defeat of Portugal. But Distin believes the striker is worthy of a place on the plane to South Africa next summer, provided France overcome Ireland in their play-off. “It’s not about how well Louis is playing,” said Distin “because of course he has the quality. It’s just about him keeping fit because that’s what has kept him out of the national team in the past. “But he definitely has the quality. “The fact he has made such a good start to the season is proof he has played a lot of games, because it’s difficult for a striker when you’ve had injuries. You need more time on the pitch to get a feeling of the ball and everything.
“I’ve played against Louis many times, possibly more than I’ve played with him!
“He’s quick, he’s strong, he can shoot with both feet, he’s good in the air . . . he’s got everything.” Saha scored his ninth goal of the season at West Ham last weekend, a typically classy left-footed finish, and said afterwards: “It was a vital win and we needed it to bring back some confidence. “When you score first in a game you put yourself in a great position. “The lads are all brilliant, everyone fought for the result. But it is vital now we continue to keep these results going. We are looking for a good platform for the team to get back to winning ways.” Dan Gosling, meanwhile, whose England Under-21 call-up was revealed in yesterday’s ECHO, has replaced Jack Rodwell, who is out due to a minor groin strain. “Obviously, I’m delighted,” said Gosling. “I must be doing something right to be getting the recognition to be selected for this age group so I’m really happy. “I got the call on Monday afternoon. I was surprised but you don’t say no when a chance like this comes along – you jump at it.
“The players here are a talented bunch and many of the lads are playing regularly for their club teams in the Premier League. So it's a big step up for me but if you get selected then they obviously think you're good enough and I think I'm good enough to be here and, hopefully, I'll get a chance to prove that on the pitch.” The fact that he's effectively in the squad at the expense of Rodwell isn't lost on Gosling. “Football is funny like that,” he said. “When a chance comes along you have to grab it and on this occasion it's come with an injury to one of my best mates.”

Evidence suggests Everton FC's David Moyes' People's Club phrase existed in 1892
Nov 12 2009 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES might have first coined the phrase “The People’s Club” but there is evidence that was the case a century ago. George Mahon felt that when Everton re-opened at Goodison Park he wanted the members of the club to have control, the shares divided evenly across the club. John Houlding, however, believed that the shares should be held by the people who invested the money in the club. In 1892, after the split, 10 directors owned 6% of Everton’s total shares. Liverpool’s eight directors owned 54%. David Moyes might have coined the phrase, but it seems Everton has always been the People’s Club!

DAVID PRENTICE: Talk of Liverpool FC leaving Anfield is nothing new
Nov 12 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
HISTORY often repeats itself. And the uncertainty over Liverpool’s current ground move proves that football is no different. After the split in 1892, Liverpool quickly encountered the same difficulties that Everton had before them, with the Orrell brothers, who owned land adjacent to Anfield, seeking to exercise their right to build a road where a stand had been constructed. And for a time, it looked like Liverpool were set to move from the ground which would become one of the most famous in football history. Peter Lupson explained: “The Athletic News of June 4, 1894 reported ‘Liverpool FC is face to face with the same difficulty as beset the Everton club and which led to the latter club going to Goodison Park. As most people know, the Liverpool ground is cramped for room and would be to the extent of 10 yards more if the landlord of the adjoining land would care to insist on his rights. “The Liverpool club want to secure the land, but the owners’ price is exorbitant and cannot be entertained. “The Liverpool club has taken the precautions of securing another ground early. “We don’t know if it’s a secret in that locality, but it’s on the Old Swan tramlines and is easily accessible by rail.”The next day the Athletic News followed up their ‘exclusive.’ “The committee of the Liverpool Football Club has announced it has signed an agreement yesterday with the Liverpool Athletic Company for the use of the latter’s ground at Stanley during the next football season as it was impossible to accede to the terms demanded for taking over the extra ground required at Anfield.”
A week or two later was another follow-up: “Negotiations between Liverpool Football Club and the owner of the adjoining land are at a standstill and it is probable the club will go to pastures new.” Then finally a week later: “While the Everton shareholders were up in arms, the Liverpool directors were quietly concluding agreement with Mr Orrell. This means the Liverpool club will remain at Anfield and today will see the start of the improvement to the ground.” Crisis averted . . . for a century or so.
Peter concluded: “It seems that at different times in the club’s history the poisoned chalice of the ground surfaces and haunts them. “I do hope that great club gets something better than what is happening at the moment.”

Football historian Peter Lupson sheds light on 1892 Liverpool and Everton rent row
Nov 12 2009 Liverpool Echo
Peter Lupson
IT’S the most famous rent row in football history.
Except football historian Peter Lupson has now shed new light on the 1892 argument which saw Liverpool Football Club emerge from a split with Everton. And living up to Liverpool stereotype, it was a row over a drink – or rather attitudes to the demon drink – which caused the seismic shift. Even fans with barely a passing acquaintance of the history of this city’s two soccer giants know that Everton came first, until a row over rent at their Anfield home led to the formation of Liverpool. Lupson, author of the best-selling Across The Park and Thank God For Football, has spent months researching, studying and meticulously chronicling the background and the history of the events of 1891 and 1892. And he delivered his findings at a packed Hornby Room in Liverpool’s Central Library yesterday. For 127 years it has been accepted that rent, pure and simple, was at the heart of the acrimonious row. Everton were the tenants of Anfield, and John Houlding wanted to increase the rent on the stadium he owned.
Leading committee members, led by George Mahon, disagreed – and the situation escalated to the point of irretrievable breakdown. The whole row, however, was infinitely more complex – and at the heart was alcohol and politics, always an explosive mix. On one side was John Houlding, a Tory and a wealthy brewer – and his only ally on the board, Edwin Berry, a solicitor to the Licensed Victualler’s Association. Ranged against him were a selection of some of the most zealous moral puritans of the day. George Mahon was the organist of St Domingo’s Church and a member of the Liberal Party which, despite the name, was the party of moral purity in the austere Victorian age. Rev Ben Chambers, loosely described as the founder of Everton, was a prominent member of the Temperance Movement and once took a pub to court in Stoke for breaking a licencing law. Dr Clement Baxter was a committed and much loved city doctor who regularly witnessed first hand the appalling affects of drink on his patients – and a Liberal councillor to boot. Will Cuff was a choirmaster at St Domingo’s, a strong and committed Christian who once declared that: “Football is the greatest teetotal agency in the world.” There was William Whitford – an active temperance campaigner who went around talking about the “iniquitous influence of brewers” at a time when Houlding still owned his club! And William Clayton, a committee member who used to give regular temperance talks to a Formby church.
Houlding never stood a chance. “The Temperance Movement was at its height in the 1880s,” explained Lupson. “There is no doubt that had Houlding been a butcher or a baker, he would have had no problems. “But he was a brewer. “And at the time the association with drink was something that people of high moral standards were strongly opposed to.” And the majority of the rapidly expanded Everton board were tee-total. Indeed when Mahon led Everton to Goodison Park he ensured it was a club policy decision not to sell intoxicating liquor on the premises and that brewers would not finance the club. That last statement was hugely ironic given the current reliance of both clubs on funds from brewing giants Chang and Carlsberg. Lupson added: “The whole thing hinged on the Sandon Hotel,” (the official club headquarters and the pub used as a changing room by the players due to its proximity to Anfield). “Drink had the same kind of image in the Victorian age as drugs does now,” he said “and while it is an exaggeration to say that Houlding was considered the pusher of the time, I don’t think we can quite go that far, but nevertheless the Temperance Movement was a powerful one trying to fight what it saw as the evils of drink. “People would spend money on drink that should have gone on their children and on food and clothing. Children were left destitute. “Liverpool had one fortieth of the country’s population, but a tenth of the arrests for alcohol related crime. “It was a major problem. Beer was cheaper than tea or coffee and safer than water or milk. “But members like William Clayton were horrified that the Sandon was seen to be causing bad behaviour amongst Everton players. “One, Patrick Gordon, was brought before the committee for bad behaviour whilst drunk in the Sandon. Another committee member felt that one slump in results was due to players spending too much time there.” While rising rents was undoubtedly the catalyst for the row, it seems that the attitudes and the personalities of the individuals concerned was equally to blame. Houlding and Mahon had crossed swords politically before the split. In 1887 Mahon was elected to the Walton local board, at the expense of Houlding’s protege John Utting. And two years later Houlding was the agent for a Lancashire council hopeful called Ratcliffe. Mahon, who was the returning officer, disqualified Ratcliffe on a technicality. But while Houlding has been dealt a bad press down the years, painted as the villain of the piece, Lupson considers that description as a myth. “When Everton were forced to move from Priory Road to Anfield in 1884, the club’s very future was threatened because of the cost of building a new stadium,” he explained. “Two members of the management committee, William Barclay and W Jackson went to Houlding and asked him to buy the club out. “The cost of building a new stadium was £6,000 – in an age when £1,000 would have paid the wages of an entire football team for a whole year. “He was offered no guarantees, with just a maximum of £100 a year rent in return, but Houlding agreed so that Everton could continue.” “In 1889 when he opened his second pub, he introduced free Christmas dinners for the elderly and poor in West Derby with, eventually, 1,000 beneficiaries. “He was involved in a workhouse and opened an orphanage in Fazakerley. “Tom Evans, the vice-captain of Everton, even wrote a letter to The Sports Field at the height of the dispute describing Houlding as ‘the best friend the club ever had.’ Appropriately, Peter Lupson chose Armistice Day for his final revelation. He explained: “I found an article where William Barclay declared ‘although we are the Liverpool club, all the old playing members of the old Everton, to whom Evertonians are much indebted for promoting the game in our midst, have been elected honorary life members of our club.’ ”

Water voles living on Kirkby land Everton FC want have moved out
Nov 12 2009 Liverpool Echo
A COLONY of water voles standing in the way of Everton FC’s proposed new stadium are all gone. Andrew Young, of Arcadis UK, the contractors tasked with moving the creatures out of Kirkby Brook, said works were completed successfully and all voles are now in their new habitats. Water voles are protected by law and Tesco faced a race against the clock to move them before October 31 when the rodents began to hibernate. It is illegal to move a sleeping water vole and so plans to reconfigure the brook faced months of delays if ecologists failed to move them on.
Peter Lancashire, the lead ecologist, will make regular visits to the brook to make sure no voles return. Everton’s plans remain in the hands of the Secretary of State with the final decision being made on or before November 27.

Sylvain Distin stays fit during Everton FC's worst injury run
Nov 12 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Sylvain Distin 300
ALL season players have been dropping like flies at Everton Football Club.
The injury list at Goodison Park has been described as the worst in physio Mick Rathbone’s memory, while at several times in the campaign the Blues have had a full starting XI of senior players sat on the sidelines. But, like the Duracell bunny, Sylvain Distin has played on and on. Since he signed from Portsmouth just before the transfer deadline, he has played every single minute of every match. That’s 15 consecutive matches, including one particularly gruelling spell of five games in 14 days, but the French central defender has bounced through it all and can’t wait for Premier League action to resume again after the latest international break. So what’s Sylvain’s secret?
The laid-back Frenchman, showing the footballing equivalent of a laissez-faire attitude, shrugs and says: “I like to keep fit and I love competition. “I have never had a big injury in my career. So I guess it’s maybe my dad I need to thank for my good health for passing it on to me, that and my lifestyle as well.” Of course there are other factors apart from mere good fortune, and Distin is perhaps being overly modest when discussing his freedom from injury. “Well I always played sport when I was young,” he added, “and I try to eat healthily. “I don’t really pay that much attention but I try to eat a bit of everything and I love to go the gym and do a lot of work on prevention.
“I believe that prevention is better than cure. I do everything before it happens.
“It doesn’t mean I never get any injuries, but the strengthening work and all those kinds of exercises seem to work for me. “I don’t have a really strict lifestyle. I try to relax . . . and I am happy also which helps. “I’m kind of laidback and relaxed, too, so I guess that helps. “But mainly it’s the work in the gym and all the strengthening. I do that and feel much better. “The older I get the harder I work. Really. “It’s like you’re fighting it. I don’t want to get old! “It’s a mix of everything and lots of hard work I suspect.”

HOWARD KENDALL: Everton’s welcome win at West Ham but still room for improvement
Nov 13 2009 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
I was fortunate enough to see Everton’s very welcome win at West Ham last weekend.
But while I was as relieved and as delighted as anyone to see three valuable points picked up, I wasn’t totally satisfied. The Blues simply have to tighten up at the back.
West Ham had far too many goalscoring opportunities for my liking, and the Blues were lucky that Carlton Cole’s name was missing from the Hammers’ teamsheet.
It’s rare that a team will win back to back Premier League games at home in the same week, so I had no fears for Everton going to Upton Park. But there’s clearly still plenty of work to be done. I thought that West Ham’s midfielder Scott Parker was the undoubtedly man of the match. He ran the game, and on that performance you could understand Everton’s interest in signing him a couple of years ago. He decided, instead, to join Newcastle, and while that was a blow for the Blues at the time, there are clearly still a few question marks about him.Parker has had four clubs now in his career, which suggests that while people in the game have seen enough to make them want to sign him, they have also subsequently found out things that made them want to sell him, too! But despite his display, the Blues were able to see the game through and, with the international break following, it was a timely victory. The fortnight’s gap has come at a good time, giving Everton’s medical staff more time to work on the injuries to several key players, without them missing any more matches. It’s an important few weeks coming up for Everton. The win at West Ham was welcome, but there’s still work to do.

Everton pair Yobo and Yak’s World Cup dream on the line: Everton FC latest
Nov 13 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO and Yakubu go drinking in the last chance saloon tomorrow.
Steven Pienaar, Tim Howard, Tim Cahill and Johnny Heitinga have all clinched their place at next summer’s World Cup finals. Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has a play-off double-header with Slovenia barring his path to South Africa, while Louis Saha, Leighton Baines and Jack Rodwell will all be praying for late call-ups to their national squads. But Everton’s Nigerian duo line up against Kenya in Nairobi, knowing that even victory may not be enough to secure qualification for next summer’s World Cup finals in South Africa. A sloppy qualification campaign means that The Super Eagles must triumph tomorrow, and hope that Mozambique can defeat Tunisia. It’s a long shot, but failure will come as a crushing blow to the Nigerians.
One of Africa’s most powerful football nations, they made their first appearance in the finals at USA 1994, where they made it past the first round at the first attempt, and went on to play at the 1998 and 2002 tournaments. Surprisingly, though, they were pipped by Angola for a place at the most recent finals in Germany – and haven’t recovered. The build-up to the crunch weekend, however, has gone well.
Crisis is rocking the Kenyan camp. The Harambee Stars will face Nigeria without their coach Antoine Hey, who has not conducted the team's training sessions for the last three days. “We’ve been having some problems with Antoine Hey because of disciplinary action he took over some players in March,” says Titus Kasuve, a senior vice-president of FKL. “We are playing a very important match and we requested him to call these players and look at them. If he does not need them, he doesn't have to play them. “But he has refused to respect the decision of the national association.”
FKL have appointed assistant coach Twahir Muhidin to take charge of Saturday’s match. Everton’s two Nigerians are approaching the match in fine form. Yakubu was clearly still struggling for form and sharpness when Nigeria struggled to a last minute win over Mozambique to keep their World Cup hopes flickering last month.
But club boss David Moyes was delighted with the striker’s display against Aston Villa. “Yak is definitely showing signs of getting back,” he said. “With a ruptured Achilles you have to try and get the elasticity back into it and that doesn't just come at the end of the nine months. “That comes with games and jumping and twisting and turning, but I can see bits of sharpness coming. “I’ve got to say he is doing well. I’m pleased that his recovery is going in the right direction and he is looking more like the old Yak.” Yobo, meanwhile, was praised at West Ham last weekend. Moyes added: “The centre-halves did well. When it was 2-0, I felt we had shored it up with a nearly-perfect away performance where you've got the goals but didn’t play well.” Even if Nigeria are unsuccessful in their World Cup quest, the Blues will lose their Nigerian duo – and South Africa’s Steven Pienaar – for the next major international tournament which kicks-off on January 10. The draw for the 2010 African Cup of Nations will be staged next week, on November 20. The three-week tournament, the first of its kind to be hosted by Angola, will run from January 10–31. The majority of the African Nations Cup finalists are already known, but it may help Nigeria this weekend that Mozambique can still qualify if they can pull off a shock and defeat Tunisia. But first Nigeria have to put their own house in order and win, at altitude, in Kenya. Lokomotiv Moscow striker Peter Odemwingie has been the outstanding player for Nigeria in their last two games. He said: “We cannot take the Kenyans for granted just because they have not beaten us for a long time now. “We must therefore play as a group to win the match. “Don’t forget that despite the fact that we beat them 3-0 in Abuja, they were not an easy side. “Besides, they want to be part of the African Nations Cup next year and I believe that will be their biggest motivation.
“We also want to go to the World Cup, but we must show more determination than they will if we want to win. “With a win, and God help us, we might just find ourselves at the top of the group ahead of Tunisia on Saturday night.”

HOWARD KENDALL: Carsley’s dive cost Birmingham, not Ngog’s
Nov 13 2009 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
DAVID NGOG was quite rightly censured for the way in which he won a match-saving penalty for Liverpool on Monday night. But I couldn’t help but think that Lee Carsley brought on the situation himself. He left his feet and dived in – and I felt for the referee in that situation. There was clearly no contact made, but if Lee hadn’t dived in the way he did, Ngog wouldn’t have been able dive himself. The whole issue led to me changing my mind over goalline technology in football. I’ve always been an advocate of using video evidence to decide whether a ball has crossed a goalline, but now I think we need to use it to prove whether players have dived and to punish them.
Every other sport seems to use technology now, cricket, rugby league, tennis, so why not football?

DAVID PRENTICE: Everton will reach Europa League KO stage with 8 points, but not with 9!
Nov 13 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE more points you gather, the higher up any league table you’re guaranteed to finish. It’s one of the inescapable truisms of association football. Except in the parallel universe that is the UEFA Europa League. One of the quirks of this season’s competition is that if Everton finish Group I with eight points, they are guaranteed progress to the knockout stages of the competition. But not if they finish with nine!
Confused? The anomaly emerges in the tight knit nature of the group. If Everton draw their remaining matches against AEK Athens and BATE Borisov, they also deny their opponents the opportunity to collect maximum points themselves, and therefore go through. But if they win one, and lose the other, they give either side the opportunity to overhaul them!

HOWARD KENDALL: David Moyes’ motivational master stroke
Nov 13 2009 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES pulled off a motivational master-stroke at West Ham which he hasn’t been given credit for. The Blues boss dangled an incentive in front of his players’ noses. Forget the traditional few days away in the sunshine. Moyes suggested before the game that his players might be going to the Lake District – in November – canoeing and mountain biking. It was inspired thinking. Faced with such an alarming prospect the players knew they’d better win!

Testim Cahill to play eighth game for club and country in four weeks: Everton FC latest.
Nov 13 2009
TIM CAHILL will play his eighth game for club and country in four weeks tomorrow night – after yet another long-haul flight to the Middle East. But Everton’s all-action midfielder insists he doesn’t need a break. After playing a decisive role in getting Australia to the World Cup finals, Cahill now intends to play a key part in getting the Socceroos to the Asian Cup finals in Qatar 2011. He scored the winner against Oman in Melbourne last month and will play in tomorrow night’s return at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. "I don’t want a rest," declared Cahill. "It would be nice to be recharged, but I feel coming into the World Cup it’s about playing as many games as possible. Have the games instead of trying to protect my body. "The reverse psychology is by the time the World Cup comes around, you’ll be injured.
"So I just look at it, play Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday, whatever. I’m up for it.
"I’m for continuity, keeping playing, keeping the momentum. The more you play, you create the better style of football, which is what everyone’s waiting for in Australia.
"We want to go into the World Cup playing good football and winning games.
"I’ve always prided myself in being someone who plays every game, not someone who misses out, that likes to be rested, regardless of knocks and injuries."
Club-mate Marouane Fellaini is another who hopes to carry on playing after the international break. The Belgian is treading a derby-day tightrope, for the second season running. The Everton midfielder has a much improved disciplinary record this season, but is one yellow card away from missing the Goodison derby on November 29. Fellaini was cautioned for the fourth time this season at West Ham – five yellow cards being the trigger for a one-game ban. at Hull City just four days later.
But if he were to see yellow in the clash with the Tigers, Fellaini would miss out on the chance to play in a Merseyside derby – just as he did last year. Ironically it was a game against Hull City last season which ended the Belgian’s hopes of playing at Anfield for the first time. He was booked seconds after the half-time interval to instigate a second suspension of the season, at a time when injury-hit Everton could barely afford to lose any more players. Sir Alex Ferguson, meanwhile, will have to watch Manchester United’s next game against Everton from the stands.
The United boss was given a two-game touchline ban at an FA Regulatory Commission hearing yesterday, fined £20,000, and handed a further two game ban, suspended until the end of next season. Ferguson will also be confined to the stands for the trip to Portsmouth, following the comments he made about referee Alan Wiley after United drew 2-2 with Sunderland at Old Trafford last month. Commission chairman Peter Griffiths QC said: "The Commission considered his admitted remarks, in the context in which they were made, were not just improper but were grossly improper and wholly inappropriate. "He should never have said what he did say."

Dick Advocaat refuses to forgive and forget in Marouane Fellaini row - Everton FC latest
Nov 14, 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MAROUANE FELLAINI has been accused of “placing himself above his team-mates” by his Belgium boss Dick Advocaat. And the manager made it clear he won’t forgive and forget the Everton midfielder’s decision to undergo wisdom teeth surgery before the dead rubber against Estonia during the last international break.
Fellaini’s withdrawal from the squad – just days after playing against Turkey – still rankles with Advocaat, who tried to invoke FIFA’s five-day ruling to prevent the midfielder facing Wolves. Everton appealed and FIFA found in the club’s favour.
But Advocaat said yesterday: “I still think it was very strange for him to make an appointment like that, and miss a World Cup game, because it was a very important week for Belgium. “That is still clear in my mind, and I will remember it. Fellaini did not do a good thing for me. “Sometimes, these things can happen in football, but, in my opinion, it was not appropriate conduct for a player with a national team.
“It seems to me that there are one or two players in the squad who place themselves above the rest, and I am working to put that right.” Everton’s £15million record signing has been at odds with Advocaat since the start of the 62-year old’s reign last month. At the new regime’s first training session, Fellaini turned out in white socks, rather than the black variety stipulated by Advocaat, and was immediately sent back to the dressing room to change. Fellaini played the full 90 minutes against Turkey in Advocaat’s first game in charge, then announced he was unavailable against Estonia the following Wednesday due to a long-standing arrangement to have a troublesome wisdom tooth removed. Fellaini is with the Belgian squad for this weekend’s friendly match with Hungary. Everton, meanwhile, have been handed a tough opening assignment in this season’s FA Youth Cup. The Blues must go to Middlesbrough for the third round clash against the 2004 winners. The date of the game is to be confirmed but ties must be played by December 12. “It’s a good tie for us,” said Academy chief Ray Hall. “Sometimes it’s better to be drawn away early on with the boys being so young. “Middlesbrough are well-respected and very much renowned for developing young players. And although they are a Championship side, their academy is regarded as one of the best around.” Everton reached the fifth round last season where they lost a penalty shoot-out to Norwich.

Everton starlet Dan Gosling is ready for re-run at Wembley
Nov 14 2009 Liverpool Echo
STUART PEARCE feels his England Under-21 squad can rise to the challenge of playing at Wembley against Portugal this afternoon – and he would like nothing more than to see some of the squad go on to join the seniors at the World Cup next summer.
Everton’s Dan Gosling, however, isn’t looking that far ahead. A late call-up to Pearce’s squad, the Blues’ youngster is simply hoping to get his second run-out at Wembley Stadium inside six months, this time with a winning outcome.
The clash with Portugal would be Gosling's first match at the national stadium since the FA Cup final. “It was a great day for me and one that I’ll remember for a very long time,” he said. “I managed to get on the pitch for about the last ten minutes. It was a great achievement for us to get there but perhaps we scored a bit too early.
“It was a great feeling walking out, a shame we lost, but a great day for everyone connected with the club. Hopefully we can do the same again.” He added: “I'm just thankful to have played there already, and hopefully I can play there many more times to come.” Gosling is unlikely to start today, but with this latest call-up giving him a representation in every England group bar the full international party, he is in the England system. Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone is in line to make his England debut against Brazil tonight, meaning Pearce has seen another of the young Lions make the step up to the full national team. As well as Huddlestone, the likes of James Milner, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aaron Lennon and goalkeeper Paul Hart were all involved the last time the Under-21s played at Wembley, also against Portugal as they secured a place in the European Championship play-offs. Pearce hopes the latest experiences at the famous venue – which is a sell-out at a reduced 30,000 capacity – can only stand his team in good stead. “When we played at Wembley two years ago, the likes of Agbonlahor, Milner and Hart were all involved for us,” Pearce said.
“They have all stepped up to play for the seniors and walk out at Wembley, they know what it is all about, the atmosphere does not faze them. “It is all part of their learning process and that is what having this game at Wembley is all about.” Pearce added: “If we can get players through who have had a rounded education, like Huddlestone and Milner, who played a lot of football at Under-21 level before the seniors, then that is just what we are trying to achieve. “Nothing would please me more than to have maybe four or five Under-21 players from last summer being on that plane to South Africa. “Form will dictate that, but the one thing you can guarantee is the boys who have come through the Under-21 system will know just what a big tournament will be all about, and ready for it.” Pearce has seen his preparations for tomorrow’s match – where victory would move another step closer to qualification from Group G – hit by injuries. Gosling is a replacement for team-mate Jack Rodwell, but Pearce added: “We focus on the 21 players who are here and fully fit,” he said. “We can’t do much about injuries and just get on with what we have available to us – and that is a very good squad. “They are all vying for places with a good spirit among them.”
Pearce added: “We feel Portugal will rise to the challenge of playing at Wembley and will give us a really good test. “We have both dropped points in this group and know that if we win tomorrow, then it will be really difficult for Portugal to qualify.”
Gosling, meanwhile, is simply enjoying the experience. “I knew a few of the lads from previous trips with the other age groups, so it wasn't completely strange so I'm very pleased to be here,” Gosling said. “It was surprising, Monday late afternoon I think it was and I got the news I was getting called up and I just couldn't wait to join up with the group. I settled in quite well and the lads have taken to me quite well.
“It's a great experience for me. It was always my aim to get into the Under-21s this season. I've got in the squad, but now my aim is to get into the starting 11 and stay in the squad. “I've got a lot of work to do. Obviously Portugal is a massive game, but it's one where we are looking to get the three points and catch up with Greece. I think we're more than capable of doing that on Saturday. “We've just had a meeting and talked about them, some of the lads have played against them before but it's my first time, so it's going to be interesting but with the talent we have in this squad we are more than capable of putting on a show and getting the three points.”

BARRY HORNE: UEFA hold the key to ending the diving debate
Nov 14 2009 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
BEFORE you start reaching for the pen and paper, this article is not about Liverpool Football Club. David Ngog’s atrocious dive has once again opened the debate about cheating in the form of diving, and also exposed the double standards of managers and fans whose opinions are obviously coloured by which side benefited or suffered as a result. I have to commend Rafa Benitez for his honesty after the game. He was absolutely spot-on when he said it wasn’t a penalty, but Liverpool deserved to win anyway. They annihilated Birmingham and as I have said in the past, in 99 per cent of matches the best team will win, regardless of refereeing displays. Managers too often hide behind dubious decisions to cover up their team’s short- comings – witness Sam Allardyce’s assertion that Blackburn may or may not have had a penalty claim in a game in which Arsenal weren’t just better, they could have given Blackburn a two-goal start and still won. So, the hope is, that more managers will look at Rafa’s comments before they complain about a refereeing decision, and given an honest assessment of their team’s performance. The papers have been full of ex-pros and referees and journalists proposing how diving could be stamped out. But even though UEFA reversed their decision over Eduardo, that ban did serve a purpose. It raised the possibility of a player being banned. A strongly worded directive to all clubs at the start of next season, reiterating that this is a possible sanction, would be a good start.
Referees should also be given more support. Peter Walton has received a slap on the wrists from Keith Hackett for his Anfield performance. In all honesty, how many people in the ground or watching on TV would not have given a penalty? A handful of people, including Carsley and Ngog, were the only ones who could have argued against it being a penalty. For all of this week’s talk, no-one has suggested that referees need a little bit of help. That support should come from players and managers, but most of all, from their own giverning body. In not supporting him in the strongest possible terms, I think Keith Hackett has let a member of his own body down.
Anglo Scottish Premier League was always a non-starter
IT was a foregone conclusion that Phil Garside’s proposal to admit Rangers and Celitc into the Premier League would be booted out. The political difficulties associated with Scottish teams playing in England, not to mention the maintenance of a national team and the fact that the teams playing in England would never be allowed to enter Europe, are such that I was surprised it was even debated. The other point on the agenda was the formation of a two tier Premier League – with no promotion or relegation. Once again it was a non-starter. If the reasons behind this artificial, random tinkering was to provided financial stability for those teams likely to be invovled in promtion and relegation issues, then why don’t the Premier League just vote to give more money to the Championship? On the other issue of restricting promotion and relegation at some arbitrary point in time, if that decision had been taken 20 years ago, have a look at which side of the line those seeking to protect their interests today – Bolton, Blackburn, Wigan, Birmingham, Hull, Wolves, Burnley – would have been.

Peter Lupson’s brand new theory of Everton Ever-Lution
Nov 14, 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
VISITORS to Peter Lupson’s ‘Ever-lution’ talks at the city’s Central Library will be already aware of how informative and entertaining the hour-long lectures can be.
Last week’s discourse, “Houlding, Mahon and the Battle of Anfield,” shed an interesting new angle on the row which led to the formation of Liverpool FC.
See www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/peterlupson All the events are free and are being held to coincide with the Everton Collection exhibition. But after several successful talks, Peter is stepping aside for a couple of weeks to allow two former Blues to take the stage. On Thursday, November 26 Derek Temple will be popping in (2pm) to talk about his playing days, followed by Duncan McKenzie on Saturday, December 5 (10am-4pm) to sign copies of his new book ‘The Last Fancy Dan.’ Peter’s next lecture, on Monday, December 7, is: Reconciliation and Forgiveness – The Cuff/McKenna Friendship (from 2-3pm). Then on Wednesday December 16 (2-3pm) he talks about: William McGregor and the Birth of the Football League.
And a new date has just been added: Everton, Liverpool and the Moores Family, on Monday December 21, 2-3pm. All the lectures take place in the Hornby Room.
The curious case of sick Mick and not so Jolly Roger
ROGER KENYON and Mick Bernard were both consider- ed men not to be trifled with during their 70s heyday. One, it seems, can still pack a punch.Regular visitors to sportsmens’ dinners at the Adelphi are used to the occasional bust-up on the floor. But last Friday, at a tribute evening to Joe Royle, the shenanigans were clearly on show on the top table! So who came out on top in the veterans’ slugfest? Well let’s just say Roger was the club captain for many years at Goodison, and he still carries the greater authority.
Former Everton star Craig Short takes charge at Ferencvaros
CRAIG SHORT has developed an uncanny knack for popping up in the strangest of places since he hung up his football boots. A popular Everton defender of the 1990s, Shorty set up a business as a sailing instructor in the Lake District then, always an infrequent goalscorer (his first Everton goal in his 17th match won a host of Everton’s a fortune at 40/1 but that’s another story), popped up in the left wing of the North West Masters to crash in a left-footed exocet against Liverpool. But, even by those standards, Short’s latest venture is unexpected. He has been charged with trying to improve the fortunes of famous old Hungarian League side Ferencvaros! The 41-year-old – who was assistant to Bobby Davison at the 28-times league champions – has taken charge until the winter break on 21 November. “They are the Manchester United of Hungary and the fans want them at the top,” Short said. “The winter break's nearly here so I’ve got to give it a go.” Short's first game in charge against Diosgyori VTK was abandoned because of crowd trouble.“We were 3-0 down at home and then when we scored the fans left the stadium, for some reason,” he said. “They then created a diversion at the front of the ground which the police went to. Then they came in through the family stand onto the pitch to have a go at the players. Riot police appeared from the corner of the stand and managed to stop them.”

Former Everton FC star Tommy Lawton will be “turning in his urn” over National Football Museum move
Nov 14, 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE son of legendary Everton footballer Tommy Lawton will take his father’s ashes out of the National Football Museum if it moves to Manchester. Tom Lawton Jnr says the former England striker, who died aged 77 in 1996, would be “turning in his urn” over the saga surrounding the future of the attraction. Trustees meet next Wednesday to decide whether the attraction stays at Deepdale or moves to Manchester.
The ashes of Tommy Lawton – the successor to Dixie Dean and scorer of 70 goals in his 95 Everton appearances before the Second World War broke out – is one of the star exhibits. His son, 53, said: “There is no way the ashes will go to Manchester.
“It is appalling that the raison d’etre for the museum’s location is being ignored – based at the home of professional football. Is this another example of commercialism ruling the game? “In placing Tommy’s ashes in the museum, the family focused on the ‘Coming Home to Lancashire’ aspect. “I believe the position was best summed up by a comment one of his oldest friends made: ‘Tommy’s ashes’d be turning in his urn’. “He was a proud Lancastrian, not a Mancunian.” Mark Bushell, one of the museum’s curators, persuaded Mr Lawton Jnr to donate his father’s ashes.
Everton fan Tommy originally wanted his ashes scattered at Goodison Park, home of the Toffees, but his family finally decided to place them in Preston following concerns Everton might relocate to a new stadium. Farnworth-born Tommy Lawton played for Everton, Notts County, Arsenal, Brentford, Burnley and Chelsea and was a League Championship winner with the Toffees. The youngest scorer in Everton’s history, a record he held for 65 years until Wayne Rooney’s emergence, he arrived at Goodison from Burnley for a fee of £6,500 – astonishingly high at the time for a 17-year-old.
Though his stay at Goodison Park only lasted three seasons, some people thought he was a better all-round player than Dean but not the tram conductor who spotted him on the day he signed for the club in 1936. The tale of his first visit to Goodison Park by tram has gone down in Goodison folklore. Lawton related the story on the club’s first official video history in 1988.“The conductor said to me ‘You’re young Lawton, aren’t you?’ and I said ‘That’s right’, getting all big-headed. But he said back to me ‘Well you’ll never be as good as Dixie!’ ” He scored 28 goals in 39 matches that season, and the following campaign went even better as he netted 34 times in 38 matches as Everton were crowned champions.

Everton’s Russian star Bilyaletdinov ready to make a Din at Christmas
Nov 14, 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DINIYAR Bilyaletdinov has few fears about the physical nature of English football. He’s had even less concerns about driving on the left. But Everton’s new Russian winger admits he breaks out in a cold sweat when it comes to celebrating Christmas.
The £10million summer signing from Lokomotiv Moscow has already been the unfortunate victim of captain Phil Neville’s jokes and has now been told to prepare a song for the Blues’ Christmas party. “Before each season and at Christmas, when everyone comes together for dinner, each player has to sing something,” Bilyaletdinov told Russian newspaper Sport Express. “So I’m getting ready for December.
“Perhaps it needs to be something in Russian, so that they don’t understand what I'm on about and no one else can join in. “We love to joke. Before one team meal, Phil Neville called me up 10 minutes before and said everyone had to dress smartly. I took it seriously and turned up all smart, in a jacket and tie, and all the guys were sitting there in jeans, T-shirts and trainers.” Despite the ribbing, Bilyaletdinov counts Neville and fellow midfielder Tim Cahill as the two team-mates who have helped him settle in the most. And it was former Manchester United player Neville who came up with the goods when the 24-year-old wanted tickets to see CSKA Moscow play at Old Trafford in the Champions League last week. Humour aside, Bilyaletdinov has revealed it was not such a culture shock relocating to England. The left winger has recently moved into a rented apartment and enjoys the relative calm of Liverpool compared to the traffic jams of the Russian capital. He set straight a Russian journalist who wondered if it really is true that, in England, it is compulsory to drink tea at 5pm.
“So far I haven’t drunk tea,” he said. Asked if the English were prim and proper, he replied: “It depends what you mean. “People are the same everywhere. Naturally they have their own traditions and habits. “For example, on Friday and Saturday nights, Liverpudlians sit in pubs and walk through the city. “In fact, Muscovites do the same thing. The only difference is that they finish at two in the morning (in Liverpool), while in our capital you can find fun till 5am!” He has impressed for his new club, enough for Russia boss Guus Hiddink to declare that Bilyaletdinov has silenced doubters who thought he was too weak to make it in England. Describing the difference in football styles, Bilyaletdinov said: “The game is not so much faster, it’s more than you need to concentrate fully from start to finish. “Dawdle and you are immediately punished. You always need to be ready for action.”

Returning stars will lift Everton - Tim Cahill
Nov 16 2009
Midfielder Tim Cahill believes the return of Everton’s injured players will help get their season back on track. The treatment room at the club’s Finch Farm training ground has seen a lot of activity in recent months with Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta, Victor Anichebe, Phil Neville, Jo, James Vaughan and Steven Pienaar all troubled by differing knee injuries. That has impacted on results with Everton currently 12th in the Barclays Premier League, having won only four of their 11 matches this season.
Everton’s victory over West Ham just before the international break was their first in eight games but Cahill hopes fortunes will change with a number of injured players due to return over the next six weeks. However, with their next match against champions Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday evening the Toffees could not have a more difficult return to action. “The lads that have been in the team have been fantastic but we need that bit of extra help,” said the Australia international.
“It’s about how we kick on and get more injured players back to share the workload.
“We have lost out way a bit in the last few weeks, but now it’s all about getting our heads down and just working. “I think the hunger’s there. We definitely are good enough - it’s whether or not we can make it happen.” Cahill’s international team-mate Lucas Neill is ready to risk the wrath of Everton manager David Moyes by sparking a club v country row. The former Blackburn and West Ham right-back, who played alongside Cahill in the Asia Cup qualifier victory over Oman at the weekend, has already declared his availability for a January match against Kuwait in the same competition. That fixture is immediately after FA Cup third round weekend and three days before Everton travel to Arsenal. “I’ll put my hand up, definitely. The old club versus country argument will happen again, but it’s Australia trying to get to another big tournament,” said the 31-year-old, who is set to captain Australia at next summer’s World Cup. “I’d like to be part of it, I’d like to lead the team out. Let’s see how the games fall, and how my personal situation is. “If you’re not playing >fr 1,8fr 3,8<, then I’m sure plenty of boys will be putting their hand up.
“There’s a lot of competition for those 23 spots to go to South Africa.”

Everton FC striker Yakubu delighted as Nigeria head for World Cup
Nov 16, 2009 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
DELIGHTED Everton striker Yakubu was quick to share the plaudits after his goal helped Nigeria secure their passage to next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa. The Blues frontman and clubmate Joseph Yobo played starring roles as the Super Eagles fought back from a goal down to beat Kenya 3-2 in a dramatic showdown in Nairobi. Their destiny wasn't in their own hands but Group B leaders Tunisia crashed to a 1-0 defeat in Mozambique which allowed Nigeria to finish a point clear and clinch the only qualification place. "I want to give praise to God and my fellow players for making this happen," Yakubu said. "It is a collective effort not just we, the goal scorers, but every player because without them we would not have been able to score on our own." Nigeria trailed at half-time but former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins levelled on the hour shortly after a shot from skipper Yobo had struck the bar. Yakubu soon made it 2-1, converting the rebound after his initial shot hit the post, but when Kenya equalised on 78 minutes the Blues duo were facing World Cup heartbreak. However, Nigeria responded and Martins grabbed the winner seven minutes from time to trigger scenes of jubilation. Team official Peterside Idah revealed Yobo was among a number of players who broke down in tears.
"The dressing room was unbelievable," he said. "Kanu, Yobo, Mikel, they were all weeping tears of joy. A lot of them knew that this was their last chance of playing at the World Cup. "This was a miracle because a lot of people doubted our chances.
"Even when things were not going well for us, the players kept their nerves and went on to score three goals away from home. "Now we have to go back to the serious business of preparing for the Nations Cup early next year." There was also joy for Everton's Diniyar Bilyaletdinov who scored twice for Russia in their 2-1 win over Slovenia in the first leg of their World Cup play-off in Moscow. The Blues midfielder struck a stunning opener before the break and doubled Russia's lead in the second half but a late goal from Nejc Pecnek dampened spirits ahead of Wednesday's second leg
Lucas Neill and Tim Cahill helped 10-man Australia come from a goal down to beat hosts Oman 2-1 in their Asian Cup qualifier. The Socceroos were indebted to goals from Luke Wilkshire and Brett Emerton. John Heitinga impressed for Holland in their goalless draw with Italy in Pescara, while Marouane Fellaini was on target as Belgium beat Hungary 3-0 in their friendly. Dan Gosling made his England Under-21s debut as a late substitute in their 1-0 win over Portugal in a European Championships qualifier at Wembley. Seamus Coleman was in action for Republic of Ireland Under-21s as they drew 1-1 with Georgia.

Everton FC’s first black player Cliff Marshall has conflicting emotions about his time at the club
Nov 16 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
IT IS clear Cliff Marshall has conflicting emotions about his time with Everton.
A boyhood Blue, Marshall was signed by the club in 1974 after showing promise as an international schoolboy and he would go on to be an Everton trailblazer – as the first black player ever to don the royal blue shirt. Making his landmark full debut in 1975, Marshall was on the path to a career in the sport he loved with the club he called his own. However, the fairytale of local lad becoming a Goodison Park hero and poster boy for equality would not work out quite as everyone hoped – after being handed just seven starts in two seasons, Marshall looked for pastures new.
But out of the wreckage of a shattered dream, Everton would inadvertently provide Marshall with a leg up onto the period of his life as a professional footballer, which brings the biggest smile to his face today. In 1976, Marshall was at a crossroads but the opportunity to play in the fledgling North America Soccer League came his way and put him onto a meeting with his idol. Brazilian great Pele had ended an 18-year love affair with Santos, was regarded as the best of football’s elite but left his decorated career at the top to breathe life into the great footballing experiment across the pond with the New York Cosmos. There was certainly less of a fanfare made of Marshall’s signing for the Miami Torros – but for him it was a new start and the chance to realise his childhood dream of playing on the same pitch as Brazil’s finest ever player. Marshall said: “After Everton I went over to America, I was playing in Miami for a team called the Miami Torros. Chris Lawler was out there with me and I realised my dream of playing against Pele. “I also played against players like George Best and Franz Beckenbauer, all those players. “I was in awe, Pele was always my schoolboy idol and I knew exactly when he got to the 1,000 goal mark. “But to actually play on the same field as him, even though it was the end of his career, it was still unbelievable. That was something special. “It was 1976 and I was over there for a couple of years. It was unbelievable, a different ball game. “One of the main things that blew me away was travelling from England to America took eight or nine hours and some of games took eight or nine hours to get to and we were still in America, travelling from east coast to west coast. “I was just getting to terms with the distance and vastness of the country.” Marshall’s heart naturally still belongs to Everton so he has recently joined the Former Players Foundation, a charitable organisation set up to help ex-Blues who were not afforded the luxuries and glamour of today’s professional stars. And on the international week, a clutch of Goodison greats were shown around the club’s Finch Farm training complex. Far from bitter about what David Moyes’ men have at their disposal, Marshall was just one of the former players taken aback by the facilities on offer, yet filled with pride his club are making strides forward, just as they did the day he created history. Marshall added: “It was a very enjoyable time here at Everton when I was a player. I could have gone to Liverpool or Man United but I was always going to choose Everton. “But in the end I got a bit disillusioned. I love playing football, football was my first love. But what disillusioned me was some of the coaches at Everton said your first priority is to defend and I didn’t like that.
“I’m an attacker, defending should be my second priority. I moved on.
“I didn’t see it as any different (being the first black player to represent the club), if you are good enough then you will play. “Although there was chants and sometimes bananas thrown onto the pitch in the early days it didn’t affect me, I just got on with it and played the game. He added: “Finch Farm is wonderful, it is tremendous. The facilities here are second to none and I can’t imagine many other Premier League sides having these sorts of facilities, maybe United, Arsenal or Chelsea. “There is no jealousy from any of us looking at what the players have now. We are in a different era now, it’s a different ball game today. Like the lads who were before me, you earn what you earn at the time and you played because you loved the game – that is what it’s all about. “I’ve only just got involved with the Foundation, six months ago, but I am going to get back in circulation and get back on board – it is very nice to meet up with some old friends and it brings back old memories. “I’m still into football and have a flutter on the fixed odds and Everton are the first one on the coupon for me. Their form this season has been indifferent, it is going to be a bit of a tall order but the manager has done quite well and I still see them finishing mid-table come the end of the season – but anything above that would be a bonus.”

Nov 16 2009 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
DELIGHTED Everton striker Yakubu was quick to share the plaudits after his goal helped Nigeria secure their passage to next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa. The Blues frontman and clubmate Joseph Yobo played starring roles as the Super Eagles fought back from a goal down to beat Kenya 3-2 in a dramatic showdown in Nairobi. Their destiny wasn't in their own hands but Group B leaders Tunisia crashed to a 1-0 defeat in Mozambique which allowed Nigeria to finish a point clear and clinch the only qualification place. "I want to give praise to God and my fellow players for making this happen," Yakubu said. "It is a collective effort not just we, the goal scorers, but every player because without them we would not have been able to score on our own." Nigeria trailed at half-time but former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins levelled on the hour shortly after a shot from skipper Yobo had struck the bar. Yakubu soon made it 2-1, converting the rebound after his initial shot hit the post, but when Kenya equalised on 78 minutes the Blues duo were facing World Cup heartbreak. However, Nigeria responded and Martins grabbed the winner seven minutes from time to trigger scenes of jubilation. Team official Peterside Idah revealed Yobo was among a number of players who broke down in tears.
"The dressing room was unbelievable," he said. "Kanu, Yobo, Mikel, they were all weeping tears of joy. A lot of them knew that this was their last chance of playing at the World Cup. "This was a miracle because a lot of people doubted our chances.
"Even when things were not going well for us, the players kept their nerves and went on to score three goals away from home. "Now we have to go back to the serious business of preparing for the Nations Cup early next year." There was also joy for Everton's Diniyar Bilyaletdinov who scored twice for Russia in their 2-1 win over Slovenia in the first leg of their World Cup play-off in Moscow. The Blues midfielder struck a stunning opener before the break and doubled Russia's lead in the second half but a late goal from Nejc Pecnek dampened spirits ahead of Wednesday's second leg
Lucas Neill and Tim Cahill helped 10-man Australia come from a goal down to beat hosts Oman 2-1 in their Asian Cup qualifier. The Socceroos were indebted to goals from Luke Wilkshire and Brett Emerton. John Heitinga impressed for Holland in their goalless draw with Italy in Pescara, while Marouane Fellaini was on target as Belgium beat Hungary 3-0 in their friendly. Dan Gosling made his England Under-21s debut as a late substitute in their 1-0 win over Portugal in a European Championships qualifier at Wembley. Seamus Coleman was in action for Republic of Ireland Under-21s as they drew 1-1 with Georgia.

Guus Hiddink thanks Everton FC for toughening up Diniyar Bilyaletdinov
Nov 17 2009 Greg O'Keeffe
RUSSIA coach Guus Hiddink believes Everton new boy Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has already been toughened up by his brief spell in the Premier League. The ex-Chelsea boss was glowing in his praise for the midfielder, after he scored twice in Russia’s 2-1 World Cup play-off win against Slovenia at the weekend. He believes the 24-year-old has already benefited from his £9.2m switch to Goodison Park in the summer, and is coping with the more physical side of the English game. He said: “The matches of the English Premier League hardened him in battles. Bill is a really stylish player. And to tell the truth after a recent game against Azerbaijan I had no doubts that he would appear in the starting eleven. “His work at training only proved my decision was right. People are growing up. “And Bilyaletdinov is becoming a real man. To my mind people in Russia underestimated him till now.” Hidink, who recommended Bilyaletdinov to David Moyes, added that the left-sided attacker is also developing a better right foot. “Usually left-footed players have problems with their right leg. But Diniyar scored both goals with his right one. “I would not call him a two-footed footballer but he proved that he could do wonderful things with the right leg as well.”
The versatile ex-Lokomotiv Moscow star, who is banned for Everton’s forthcoming clash with Manchester United after being sent off against Aston Villa, is equally popular with his national team-mates. Spurs striker Roman Pavlyuchenko compared him to Brazil legend Pele. He said: “In the episode of the first goal I rebounded from the defender to obtain the ball but when I turned around I was amazed to find Bill in front of me. “I do not understand it even now how he managed to get there. But that moment I passed to him Diniyar did everything the way that probably only Pele could do. Well done! ” Meanwhile the agent of former Everton target Rasmus Elm has dismissed Sunday newspaper reports that he regrets turning the Blues down, in favour of a move to AZ during the summer. Highly-rated Swedish playmaker Elm, 21, was given a tour of Everton’s Finch Farm training ground during the close-season, and was also courted by Fulham, but chose to swap Swedish outfit Kalmar for the Dutch Eredivisie. Patrick Mork said: “It is rubbish. He had the chance to move to England in the summer and decided against it so there is no chance of him leaving AZ already.”

NIGEL MARTYN: Why Jack Rodwell’s future must be at Everton
Nov 17 2009
ANOTHER transfer window is looming – so predictably another bright young star at Everton has been linked with a move from Goodison Park. This time it’s Jack Rodwell. But while it goes without saying that Jack leaving Goodison would be a disastrous move for the Blues, I also think it would be a terrible switch in terms of the lad’s development. Jack is flourishing at Everton. He could go to Manchester United or Chelsea and that development would be immediately hindered. I’m sure at the start of this season David Moyes earmarked Jack for a certain number of games, but instead circumstances have dictated that he has played in almost every game.
That’s been invaluable experience – and Jack certainly hasn’t been found wanting.
A lot more has been asked of him, but he has produced a lot more. David Moyes has shown in the past that he is capable of nurturing young talent and bringing the best out of them, but I can see our manager looking after him in the way Fergie looked after his own flock of fledglings when they first came through. Obvious comparisons will be drawn with the time Wayne Rooney was sold, but in reality the situations are totally different. Wayne wanted to leave Everton, and even though we didn’t think it at the time, the timing was probably right for him, personally, to move on.
He was already an established England international, despite his tender years, he was incredibly mature and felt that he wanted to move on. Jack clearly wants to stay put. He will need help as he continues to develop and he will get that at Everton.
He reminds me in some ways of an old fashioned playmaker, but one who likes to get up and down the pitch. I’d like to see him with Tim Cahill running off him and perhaps Phil Neville doing the tackling alongside him, giving him the time and space to use the ball. Obviously that will have to wait until the manager has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from, but for the moment Jack’s doing fine as he is.
It’s been a difficult season for Everton so far, but his performances have been an undoubted high point. Hopefully he will continue to produce those performances in a Royal Blue jersey for years to come.
NIGEL MARTYN: Boost for Everton boss David Moyes in international week
INTERNATIONAL weekends are usually a time of torment for club managers.
They sit glued to their TV screens all weekend, praying that their best players aren’t suddenly the subject of an injury bulletin on Sky Sports News. Arsene Wenger received that dreaded news this weekend. Robin van Persie has been a highly influential player for him this season, but he has been sidelined for weeks now as a result of an international injury. For David Moyes, however, it’s been a productive few days. Marouane Fellaini and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov will both come back to Finch Farm with their confidence soaring after scoring for their respective countries (provided Russia finish the job in Slovenia tomorrow!) while Yakubu and Joseph Yobo will be absolutely bouncing after their dramatic World Cup qualification.
Their confidence will be sky high and the banter will be flying thick and fast with the other lads who are heading for South Africa (provided they both come straight back and don’t spend too long celebrating!) This break has been a good one for the Blues.
Old Trafford no longer has that fear factor
A TRIP to Old Trafford does not hold quite the same fear factor as it might have done in previous seasons. There was a time when you might have played Manchester United on their own ground planning just to keep the score down. But Sunderland were very close to getting a win there recently, so Everton must be thinking of going one better. Don’t get me wrong. United are still a very, very good side.
But this season they don’t seem to have that ability to totally destroy teams that they used to have. I always found that a visit to Old Trafford was more inspiring than intimidating. You go into every match fully aware of its importance.
But a trip to Old Trafford would always pluck that extra five per cent out of players, more so than, say, a trip to Blackburn might. Hopefully that will be the case this weekend and Everton can score a famous victory.

Mikel Arteta plans to see out his career at Everton FC
Nov 18 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool
MIKEL Arteta today lifted the gloom over his injury hell by predicting he could stay at Everton for the rest of his career. The 27-year-old Spaniard, who is recovering from severe knee ligament damage, scotched rumours he wants a return to Spain in the near future and spoke of his love for the Blues. Speaking from his home town of San Sebastian where he is recuperating, he vowed to return to the fine form which dazzled opposition defenders and thrilled supporters last season. The Goodison idol also described his torment since suffering a freak set-back in his rehabilitation from the injury, which has already left him out of action for nine months. He said: “You never know how long you are going to spend with a club, but what I can say is that I can see myself finishing my career at Everton.That wouldn’t surprise me at all. “The papers say ‘Mikel wants to go back to Spain soon’ that is not true, I never said that.
“They say ‘Would you like to come one day?’, and probably I would like that, but maybe I am going to stay for another seven years.” The midfield play-maker was enjoying some of his best form for the Blues, before he broke down during a Premier League game against New-castle United at St James’ Park in February.
It meant he missed out on an FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United, and a second appearance at Wembley in the final against Chelsea. But Arteta, speaking to Everton’s official website, said: “I would like to win a trophy with the Club. We have got the potential to do it, we have got players really involved in the club and players who really love the club.” “I think there is a lot to come. I think I have been improving loads. I think last season I was playing the best I have at the club, I was enjoying playing in midfield because I was playing a different position for years and I found my good position. “The team was paying very good football and I want to get back to that.
“I think when you are away and you look at things – not just as a professional, as a footballer, but as a person – you realise you have got good people around you.
“It is not easy to find that in football. I have been in other football clubs and I’m telling you this is a special one. “People say we are a family – we really are. We really are different and we really do things differently from other clubs. We have some people here, as a person I am telling you that’s very good. “Maybe people don’t realise sometimes how the club works on the inside but we have got really good people.”
Arteta had surgery in September to repair stitches in his cartilage. But further compli-cations meant he faced going under the knife again with Everton having accepted he may not be back in action until the New Year. He said: “There have been a few problems, a few setbacks, it has been a hard period for me but sometimes you can avoid problems and sometimes you have to take it the way it comes. “There was no explanation for the infection, they have had three cases like that in 35 years and the surgeon does thousands of operations a year. “The surgeon and the medical staff at the club don’t want to talk about time, because there is no point. They only worry is to get my knee fixed properly and to get it fixed for the next seven or eight years of my career. “That is my only aim. I want to be playing as soon as possible; but only as soon as my knee says I am ready to do it, because there is no point risking it.”

Everton FC defender Phil Jagielka's fond goalkeeping memories
Nov 18 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
HE HAS earned plaudits as one of the best centre halves in the Premier League – but Phil Jagielka still has fond memories of the fateful game when he became an emergency goalkeeper. The injured Everton defender was famously asked to go between the sticks during a game for his former club Sheffield United when keeper Paddy Kenny went off during a home game with Arsenal. Now the England star has recalled the impressive shut-out he performed to save the day and earn himself cult status among fans of the South Yorkshire club. Speaking during an exclusive interview on a new club DVD aimed at young Toffees, My Everton, the 27-year-old said: “I’ve always enjoyed playing in goal. “When we’ve had five-a-side before training at Sheffield United and the keepers are doing their training separately I would always go in. “Neil Warnock has his ways at United and didn’t like putting goalkeepers on the bench. “He preferred to have more attacking options.
“It’s not very often your goalkeeper goes down but when you are playing Arsenal at home, you are doing well, you go 1-0 up and then Paddy Kenny pulls his groin and everyone looks at you, you cannot help but laugh. “Thankfully the boys did a fantastic job in front of me. I made the decision early-on not to try and catch anything, so I was punching everything. “I had one save to make from van Persie – but those are the memories I will take with me. “I have got the pictures of the game and signed stuff like shirts. It’s what you play the game for first and foremost. The love of it.”
Jagielka is one of several Everton stars, including Tim Cahill, Tim Howard and Mikel Arteta, speaking exclusively on My Everton, which also features a fascinating behind the scenes tour of the Blues’ Finch Farm training ground and highlights of the club’s summer trip to America. Presented by Evertonian and TV personality Gethin Jones, the DVD is aimed at younger fans but has enough to keep older viewers enthralled; including Everton’s Top 20 Premier League goals and Everton karaoke.
My Everton is available from official Everton stores, evertonfc.com and nationwide, priced £15.99 WE have six copies of My Everton to give away. To win one, answer the following question: What is the nickname of Phil Jagielka’s former club Sheffield United? E-mail answers with ‘My Everton competition’ in the title to sport@liverpoolecho.co.uk – including name, address and day time contact phone/mobile number. Winners will be picked next week.

Alex Ferguson allowed in dugout for Man Utd's game against Everton
Nov 19 2009
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be in the dugout at Old Trafford on Saturday when his side face Everton. The Football Association have confirmed Ferguson’s two-match touchline ban does not start until 14 days after the disciplinary panel hearing, which was held last week. It means Ferguson will be in the stand on November 28 when United face Portsmouth at Fratton Park and then during the Carling Cup tie with Tottenham. Ferguson was given a four-match touchline ban, of which two are suspended until the end of the 2010-11 season, after admitting a charge of improper conduct. The charge related to media comments made about Alan Wiley following United’s match against Sunderland at Old Trafford in October when he questioned the referee’s fitness.

Nobody's place is safe warns Everton FC’s Tony Hibbert
Nov 19 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool
TONY HIBBERT believes Everton’s players must give everything at Manchester United on Saturday – or risk losing their place in the side when their injured team-mates return. The right-back says the current first team are constantly aware of how Everton’s out-of-action contingent are desperate to come back. And he says the calibre of the injured players who are nearer to returning – like skipper Phil Neville, Leon Osman and Stephen Pienaar – means nobody can afford to lose focus.
He said: “The players who are out are genuine class. So, the players who are currently in the first-team are constantly looking over their shoulder even when they are fit or not. “A few of them are on the fringes of a return and it just shows what hard work they have put in; we can't wait until they are back. “People say that when the injured players are out, the team picks itself. Other players (elsewhere) may not want the injured players to come back, but that is certainly not the case at Everton. Every player at the club wants as big a squad as possible. It’s just a case of them wanting Everton to achieve, and the squad that we have are a great bunch of lads.”
Hibbert is also keenly aware the Blues will have to play better than their last away game at West Ham, where they grabbed a 2-1 win, to get anything from the Champions. He said: “Last game at West Ham, they were maybe a little unlucky not take something from the game, but that's what we needed, just a little bit of luck.
“We've had a few good results down at Upton Park beforehand, so I think the lads were confident in themselves. “We know what West Ham are all about. The lads expected to see what West Ham were capable of, but we stuck at it and ground out a result – which we needed. “We haven't been getting the results, but we have been playing well in parts in the games. We just now need to do it for 90 minutes.”
Meanwhile, he is also looking forward to re-igniting the on-pitch banter with former team-mate Wayne Rooney. He said: “There's always banter with Wayne and I talk to him a lot throughout the games. “He always gives a lot back too. It's a good laugh.”

Ex-Everton FC player Tony McNamara recalls win at Old Trafford
Nov 19 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
“I RAN down the middle of the pitch, I only touched the ball once and the keeper started coming towards me and I thought 'that’s it', so I just chipped it over his head. That was the last goal, it was a great win.” Tony McNamara makes it sound all too easy but recent history tells you Everton visiting Manchester United has been anything but. Although Old Trafford was a happy hunting ground for the Blues during the 1980s and early 1990s, the record ever since has been somewhat barren.
Without a league triumph at Old Trafford since August 1992 when Peter Beardsley, Mo Johnston and Robert Warzycha maintained Howard Kendall's unbeaten start to the brand new Premier League season, Everton have become obliging hosts as Alex Ferguson's men have established domestic dominance. If any inspiration, other than to simply overturn the desperate run, was needed for the current Everton squad ahead of Saturday’s 5.30pm kick off, then the calming words of former Goodison Park great McNamara could do the trick. A notable achievement the 80-year-old has such a clear recollection of events that October, 20th afternoon in 1956, McNamara talked about the 5-2 win over the Busby Babes, his old manager stalling his move to Everton and where the future of the club may lie, when he visited Everton's training complex, Finch Farm. McNamara: “We won 5-2, but it was a funny game. There were a lot of debuts, Albert Dunlop the goalkeeper, it was his first game and Kenny Birch’s as well- there might have been a couple more. The Busby Babes, they were just like the Man United now, as everybody knew them - it was a great win for us. “I also recall George Kirby scoring two headers. “I started in the 'A' team when I was 15 then I went to the RAF and came out and then signed pro for Everton when I was 20. I played my first game for Everton against Leeds in 1950. “I was playing in a match for Liverpool Institute and we were playing Crosby. The game was played at Goodison we won 11-1, and funnily enough they scored first. Everton sent someone round to our house and said could I go and train with them, but our manager Mr Bushall, a nice fella, said ‘no, not until next season because we were still in the league and still in the cup.' “The way the players are treated these days is great, they are well looked after and I remember playing the season we won promotion, we were playing Blackburn Rovers, the 10th match in. I got a terrible injury but they sent me back on again because you had no substitutes in those days, so it was more for nuisance value than anything. But now you have only got to cough and the doctor is there to see if you are okay. But I think it is great for the players. “We have met the players. “We went to Bellefield a couple of years ago and we watched them train and it is great to see what has happened in the past couple of years. Give David Moyes his due because by the sounds of it he hasn’t had people throwing money at him so he has done pretty well with the players he has got.” McNamara, who was at Finch Farm as part of the club's former players' foundation – a charity which raises funds for ex-Blues – said he is amazed at the level of support the club receives today from the travelling fans. He added: “We are given a ticket for every match, they look after us ex-players really well now. They took us to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final and the final. Although the final result was not what we wanted the main thing for me about the days were the fans – the fans were incredible, a 12th man. “I don’t think they had the money back then that they do today, but we still got a following. I remember playing at Plymouth and there was Everton supporters there and you were ‘where have they come from’. But now you get 6-7,000 following them to Benfica, they are fanatics no doubt about it. You can here Everton supporters all over the ground. “This season is not going to be easy, if he finishes about 10th then he will have done well. He has got to get over these last few games. “I was 80 the other day and the club made a dinner for me before the match. I do a bit of gardening now, play a bit of golf and look after the grandchildren.
“I have two grandkids, one is 12 and one is eight. The eldest is at Accrington Stanley but it is a bit far for them. I’m trying to do something with the lad here. And the youngest one is a goalkeeper and Crewe are having a look at him – it runs in the family and I’m just hoping something comes off.”

Everton FC defender Joseph Yobo proposes to Nigerian beauty queen
Nov 19, 2009 by Dawn Collinson, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S Joseph Yobo is celebrating a distinctly Premiership love life after announcing his engagement to the woman rejoicing in the title Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria. The Blues centre half confirmed he’s popped the question to beauty queen Adaeze Igwe. Insider hears that the 29-year-old has presented Adaeze with a unique and very blinging ring: a diamond encrusted band with a heart shaped attachment.
Yobo was first spotted just months ago with gorgeous Adaeze, who represented Nigeria at the 2008 Miss World competition and recently completed a course at the New York Film Academy. It’s a bit of a whirlwind strike for the soccer star, but maybe it won’t come as too much of a surprise to friends and family. Adaeze reportedly told pals soon after they met: “We are in a relationship and it is not one of those frivolous ones. It is a serious one that my mom even knows about. This is for real.” Sources at modernghana.com reckon that romantic Yobo got down on one knee at Heathrow airport to ask Adaeze to marry him before she boarded a flight to the US.
“The excited but shocked ex-beauty queen allowed him to slip the ring on her finger and agreed to marry him with tears running down her cheeks,” says our spy.

Everton FC's Phil Neville rules out Manchester City link
Nov 20 2009
EVERTON captain Phil Neville has ruled out ever playing for, or going on to manage, Manchester City. The former Manchester United defender, who had an 11-year spell at Old Trafford, says his conscience would not allow him to work across the city.Neville, 32, made his personal feelings known ahead of the meeting between United and Everton tomorrow. He said: “Joining City is not something that will ever happen. When you have got red blood you cannot see yourself with blue blood.
“You go there and they have blue ketchup... it’s just like ‘What are they doing?’.
“I am not being disrespectful to City. I grew up a Red, hating Manchester City. When I go back with Everton I get absolutely slaughtered. “It makes me laugh in a way because I understand what they are feeling. I think it is fantastic as it makes football special.” Neville is pessimistic about making his comeback from a serious knee injury on his old stomping ground. He said: “It was nine weeks ago on Sunday when the surgeon told me I would be out for 12 weeks. Then I looked at the calendar and saw it was ten weeks until United and felt it was fate calling. I thought that would be my comeback game. “But as the time has got closer and closer... (I) have still got to overcome so many obstacles. “I have managed to start running, kick a ball, twist and turn. But if you are not tackling four days before a Manchester United game it is going to be a miracle to play on Saturday. But you never say never.” Neville added: “Emotionally, I am fine, and I want Everton to win without a shadow of a doubt. We need the points. When it comes to these games, the excitement to me is running out at Old Trafford again. It is the best stadium in the world.”

Dave Watson calls for end to Everton FC's Manchester United run of losses
Nov 20 2009 By Greg O'Keeffe
DAVE WATSON enjoyed some memorable high points against Manchester United during his distinguished playing career for Everton. He can instantly point to a famous victory against the Red Devils at Wembley in 1995 as the pinnacle, and a rousing win earlier that season at a capacity Goodison thanks to a solitary Duncan Ferguson goal, but successive Toffees captains have had far less to celebrate against Alex Ferguson's Goliaths. Certainly, away victories have been the rarest of results, with Watson himself skipper the last time Everton took three points from Old Trafford in the inaugural Premier League campaign in 1992. United went on to claim their first of many title trophies that season, but ‘Waggy’, now a youth coach at Wigan Athletic, still savours the 3-0 beating the Blues inflicted on them near the start of that landmark season. “It was a great occasion to have beat them there and considering it hasn’t happened for such a long time since it does stand out even more if you think about it,” he says. “I’ve played for Everton against United a good few times since so the memory of that opening day isn’t the clearest but you never forget the special feeling of beating them on their own turf. “Obviously the only feeling better than that when it comes to games against United was beating them at Wembley and lifting the FA Cup.” A mere 31,901 supporters turned out to watch United that day, with the famous stadium’s capacity ballooning since almost in tandem with their bulging trophy cabinet. “It was a different Old Trafford I suppose when you think they pack 76,000 in now,” says Watson. “It has always been one of the better stadiums about and obviously with the traditional rivalries between the two cities there is that extra bite to games between the sides without doubt.” Although Old Trafford has proffered precious few points since that first season, Everton have come close to pulling off victory there on a number of occasions. They were inspired by their Tartan talisman Duncan Ferguson in 1996 when the big Scot fired Joe Royle’s side into a 2-0 lead, only for United to force themselves back into the game and a share of the points.
Subsequent one-pointers have come under David Moyes in the 2004-05 season thanks to a James McFadden goal and a goalless stalemate in 05-06. But Everton stalwart Watson, 47, who made 419 appearances in the colours of his boyhood team, along with 12 England caps, thinks Everton will have their work cut out recording their first win at Old Trafford in 17 years on Saturday evening. “It’s a big ask,” says the player who never let the Blues down in the face of an uphill battle. “With Everton’s current injury problems it’s a bad time to go to Old Trafford but then you’ve got to think that it’s coming off the back of an international break as well. “They might have had one or to more players away on international duty than Everton had and there might be an opportunity to catch them a little bit cold. “You never know in football whether you can maybe spring an upset. You perhaps get the impression that United aren’t firing on all cylinders in the league yet – especially compared with their form towards the end of last season. Any side would miss a player with the quality of Cristiano Ronaldo too. “Saying that, it’s tough going there with your strongest team so make no bones about it. United still have class players who can hurt you.” Ever the proud Evertonian Watson is reluctant to concede that Everton are a club dwarfed in stature by Sir Alex Ferguson’s empire, but he admits the global enormity of the Manchester United PLC brand has made them daunting rivals. “Everton have got stronger and stronger, especially under David Moyes, but United have just got bigger and bigger since the Premier League started. It’s hardly as if they’ve been at a stand still,” he laughs.
“As a club they have come on massively and their European success has pushed them financially further every single year. Every title they win makes that gap between the two clubs wider. “The level of European success they’ve had means they are constantly in the hunt for the best players every summer. The exposure that Manchester United have around the world is incredible. “I just don’t think Everton have the commercial muscle to even begin to compete financially in the transfer market, but that doesn’t mean they can’t necessarily compete on the pitch. We can and have run them close. “The injuries with Everton are bad enough but when you consider they are injuries to our most creative players in Arteta and Pienaar, the ones who can unlock defences as solid as United’s, and experienced leaders like Phil Neville who knows all about winning at Old Trafford, it is even harder.”
Now Watson, who signed for the Blues from Norwich City in 1986, and has been both caretaker-boss and coach at Goodison- is hoping to coach Wigan’s U-18 side to victory on Saturday morning before contemplating heading to Old Trafford in hope offor that rarest of phenomenon these days – an Everton victory at Old Trafford.

Howard Kendall: Everton FC must tighten defence against Manchester United
Nov 20 2009
I HIGHLIGHTED in last week’s column the amount of chances West Ham created during Everton’s 2-1 win at Upton Park. The Blues can’t afford to be as open at the back against Manchester United on Saturday. No doubt the team will have taken confidence from picking up a first Premier League win since beating Portsmouth at the end of September. However, the performance has to be better against United. They are a better side than West Ham and are more likely to capitalise on any defensive mistakes. Old Trafford is never an easy place to play at. I was in charge of the last Everton team to win there some 17 years ago – a 3-0 victory with Peter Beardsley, Robert Warzycha and Maurice Johnston getting the goals. That tells you the size of the task this weekend. It won’t be easy but there is no reason why Everton can’t go there and cause an upset and will take a lot of confidence from last season’s FA Cup semi-final win over United. Their 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge prior to the international break showed us just how important set-pieces are in today’s game. United failed to deal with John Terry for the goal and that is an area where Everton can prosper. With Tim Cahill in the side, the Blues always pose a threat at set-pieces. No doubt Sir Alex Ferguson will be looking at how to cope with Cahill at set-pieces, but that could pave the way for someone else to cause United problems.
For me, Wayne Rooney is United’s main danger man. Since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Real Madrid, the former Everton striker has stepped up to the plate and has been in a rich vein of form in front of goal this season. Ryan Giggs could be dangerous too. In recent years he’s disappointed me at times, giving the ball away too freely, but he seems to have had a new lease of life and is another reason why Everton’s defence will need to tighten up.
Howard Kendall: Everton FC injury headaches finally easing
EVERTON'S injury list has finally shown signs of abating with the news that Steven Pienaar, Phil Neville and Leon Osman are all making good progress on the road to recovery. David Moyes will be looking forward to having something like a first XI to choose from, although those who have come into the team in the meantime will have no intention of making it easy for the other players to come back in.
It could all lead to a selection dilemma for Moyes, but I'm sure it is one he will relish.

Manchester United 3 Everton FC 0 - final whistle report from Old Trafford
Nov 21 2009 By Phil Kirkbride
EVERTON'S dreadful run of results at Old Trafford continued this evening as Manchester United moved into second place in the Barclays Premier League with a 3-0 win. Darren Fletcher's 35th minute sweetly struck volley followed by Michael Carrick's neat finish and Antonio Valencia's deflected effort in the second half, eventually broke down a stubborn Blues performance. The defeat for David Moyes' men sees them slip to 13th position in the standings on goal difference behind Birmingham City and signals a run of just one win in their last nine games in all competitions. Without a win in the league at the home of the current league champions since August 1992, Everton's task of overturning Alex Ferguson's men was always a particularly difficult one especially given the respective positions in the division and current form. And although the scoreline reflected United's dominance in possession throughout the game, it did little justice to Everton's spirited display which restricted the hosts to few clear cut chances. Injuries again forced Everton to play Tim Cahill wide on the left as they did against West Ham United earlier in the month with Marouane Fellaini once more asked to play just behind top scorer Louis Saha. The only change the Goodison Park side made from the starting 11 who beat Gianfranco Zola's men on November 8, was Tony Hibbert who dropped to the bench as summer recruit Lucas Neill was given a starting place. Manchester United were without Dimitar Berbatov and so handed former Liverpool star, and reported pre-season Everton target, Michael Owen a place alongside Wayne Rooney. And in a quiet opening period, with possession dominated by the home side as it would be throughout the match, Rooney's every touch was predictably jeered by the travelling Evertonians. After 15 minutes Leighton Baines had little room for error when tracking back to deny Valencia as the United winger latched onto Rooney's flicked header, but the Everton left back stopped the winger with a excellently timed challenge.

Manchester United 3 Everton 0: match report
By Oliver Brown
Nov 21 2009, The Telegraph
Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick could come to be the poster boys for Manchester United’s first season since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo: understated, unglamorous, quietly relentless. Precisely the qualities that Sir Alex Ferguson covets most, then. This dismembering of Everton was laborious in the extreme but the United manager could hardly care less when his two midfield enforcers were the architects of ultimate victory. Those foregoing an evening in with Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole in favour of this instalment of the Ex-Factor, in which Wayne Rooney was baited terribly by the Everton fans he used to represent, could have been cursing themselves until Fletcher found his range. It is no coincidence that seven of the last nine games United have lost have been without Fletcher in the side and the Scot’s third goal of a fine campaign, breaking down a feeble Everton, was arguably his most significant yet. We knew all about the midfielder’s predatory instincts from his two goals in this season’s first Manchester derby, but little about the ferocity of his striking. Until now. Fletcher pounced on the loose ball with all the confidence borne of his stellar recent form to unleash an unerring first-time strike into the top corner. Even Ferguson seemed surprised: “It was a goal you wouldn’t expect Darren to score. But it was a quality finish. The level of his performances keeps going up.”
Carrick, who covers more ground less conspicuously than anyone, could not resist chipping in with a crisp second-half finish before Antonio Valencia profited from a deflection for United’s third. To think, Ferguson had bemoaned in his programme notes the lack of goals from midfield. “The second goal put us in the comfort zone and from then on I didn’t think that we could possibly lose it,” he said. Even the problem of Valencia, whom many regard as a poor heir to Ronaldo, is fast being resolved: the Ecuadorean managed only seven goals in his entire Wigan career but has already scored four in a red shirt. This match could have a galvanising effect on United, beyond the immediate result of keeping the gap to Chelsea at the top to five points. It was one that Ferguson recognised, accepting no criticism of his players’ less flamboyant style in Ronaldo’s absence: “If we get to the new year around the top of the table, we will have a great chance of winning the league.” But there was a sinister sub-plot, too. Trouble flared in the away end as more than 50 police officers were required to control a surge by Everton fans in the wake of Fletcher’s strike.
The atmosphere had been tense from kick-off as Everton fans targeted Rooney without mercy. Rooney’s every touch had drawn derision and the tipping point came when Fletcher put United ahead after 34 minutes. Several officers who waded in to calm the unrest received rough treatment and the travelling contingent were penned in with a tight police cordon for the remainder of the game. Patrice Evra had fashioned the move to provoke the incident, making a fine surge down the left, then whipping in a visionary cross that Valencia headed back into the path of Fletcher. The shot was unstoppable, far beyond Tim Howard, although David Moyes could be seen remonstrating with the fourth official at half-time about a perceived foul on Dan Gosling in the build-up. Moyes had little to complain about, though, so toothless were his team. “I’m looking for us to be in the form that we were in for most of last season, and we’re certainly struggling to find that,” he admitted. Marouane Fellaini, frustrated as the intended foil for Louis Saha, scythed into Fletcher studs first and was booked when the punishment could have been worse. Carrick was the man to settle United’s nerves after Rooney botched a spectacular attempt on goal from a corner. It proved fortunate that the ball ran to Ryan Giggs, who set up Carrick to stroke a shot past Howard. Valencia also capitalised when his effort from the right looped goalwards off Baines to put United out of sight.

Manchester United 3-0 Everton match report:
The Daily Mirror verdict
By David McConnell
One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s favourite mantras is that the title race does not officially start until New Year’s Day, once the jockeying for position is over.
It’s up there with his favourite Fergie-isms, like squeaky-bum time, and is particularly relevant as Chelsea, with a five-point lead, continue to look like champions-elect.
For as Arsenal and Liverpool labour on the hard shoulder of the title race, United remain firmly in Chelsea’s rear-view mirror, lurking in their slipstream and refusing to budge. Carlo Ancelotti may be new to English football, but his Chelsea players will not need reminding that this is the stage of the season that United traditionally hit top gear. Last season, after defeat to Arsenal, they went on a 16-match, four-month unbeaten run which proved the platform for a third straight title.
And after this convincing win, Fergie said United have no intention of allowing Chelsea to stroll to the title, even if other sides appear willing to surrender and let them do so.
“You have to look at every game as a must-win now,” said Fergie. “What we want to do is get near the top by New Year’s Day. “If we can do that we’ll have a real go and have a real chance in the second half of the season. “The League will probably start now. We’ll get more consistency now, because you’re not worrying about which players are coming back from international duty. “You’re not worrying about arranging flights so they get back in time and so on. We have them now right through to the next friendlies in March and we’re delighted at that.” Defeat at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago, along with losses at Liverpool and Burnley, may have left United playing catch-up on Chelsea, but they have not been shaken off. “Losing at Chelsea was a blow but we took a lot of positives from that game,” said United midfielder Michael Carrick, scorer of the second goal against Everton. “We showed with this win that it hasn’t knocked us off our stride. We know what we can do and we showed we can still be up there when it counts. “It was very important we bounced back with a win after Chelsea. “We haven’t scored an awful lot of goals at home to kill teams off so to see the second and third go in was nice. “That’s been a bit frustrating. We’ve created enough chances but they’ve not been going in for us. We could have had a few more but the scoreline reflected the game quite fairly.” United do not play another of the Big Four until their trip to Arsenal on January 31, and the players know the upcoming games are a chance to re-assert themselves in the title race.
“We’re five points behind now and we need to win every game we play,” said United defender Patrice Evra. “We’ve already qualified for the next stage of the Champions League and the internationals are over, so we have to focus on the title because we want to win four in a row.” United, driven on by the remorseless Darren Fletcher in the centre of midfield, took the lead in the 34th minute through a majestic strike from the Scotland international. Antonio Valencia nodded the ball down for Fletcher, who showed remarkable dexterity and technique to catch the ball on the half-volley and send it beyond Tim Howard. United dominated thereafter, Wayne Rooney clipping the bar with a dipping 20-yard strike, but had to wait until the 67th minute for the goal that gave them some breathing space. Rooney’s wayward shot flashed across the Everton goal to the feet of Ryan Giggs, who picked out Carrick lurking unmarked just inside the penalty area. Carrick swept the ball first-time with his left foot through the congested six-yard box and into the far left-hand corner. The rout was completed with 14 minutes to go when sub Paul Scholes fed the ball to Valencia on the right, and his low shot deflected off Leighton Baines and beyond Howard. So normal service resumed at United after the hiccup at Chelsea, but it will need a trademark winning run from Fergie’s men from now until the New Year to keep the title race alive.
Man United: Van der Sar 7; Rafael 6 (Scholes 63, 6), Vidic 7, Brown 7, Evra 8; Valencia 8, Fletcher 8, Carrick 7 (Gibson 83), Giggs 7; Rooney 7 (Obertan 74, 5), Owen 5
Everton: Howard 6; Neill 5, Yobo 6, Distin 6, Baines 6; Rodwell 6, Heitinga 6; Gosling 5 (Yakubu 45, 6), Fellaini 5, Cahill 5 (Jo 83); Saha 6 (Hibbert 83)

Leighton Baines: Everton star Louis Saha has the 'ex' factor
Nov 21 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
Louis Saha 300
LEIGHTON Baines believes Louis Saha is primed to make his former club suffer – as the in-form Blues’ striker returns to Old Trafford today. The Everton full-back thinks the Frenchman, who has made his best-ever goal-scoring start to a season with nine goals already, is rolling back the years to and is a good bet to find the net against the Champions. He said: “I think I speak for everyone in the squad when I say we all love Louis. "He’s not only a phenomenal player, his attributes are second to none. He can really be the difference.” Saha caught the attention of Alex Ferguson by scoring 53 times for Fulham, and made the £12.8m switch to Manchester United in 2004.
Despite making a prolific start to life as a red devil, the former Metz hit-man was plagued by injuries which eventually persuaded the United boss to let him join the Blues for nothing last year.“Whatever he is doing himself or the manager is doing in training, it’s working,” said Baines. “We seem to be getting the Louis Saha back who over the years has banged in so many goals. “I know for a fact that a lot of defenders feared him. Some of the lads here who have played against him in the past hated playing against him, and you speak to the United lads and they speak highly of him which also says a lot because they’ve played with a lot of top-class lads.
“In the form he’s in, he can produce a goal out of almost anything. It’s like against West Ham – I was expecting him to take an extra touch when he was on the ball but then bang, it was in the back of the net. “He can strike a ball lethally with both feet and has such a spring on him to head balls. We are so lucky here because we’ve got great strikers; Louis obviously, Yak who is unbelievable and Jo too.” Meanwhile, Blues boss David Moyes shrugged-off rumours linking either United or Chelsea with a move for young midfielder Jack Rodwell. He said: “We’ve had no offers for Jack. You can come and check my phones and look on my desk to see if we’ve had any contact. “Somebody said we are sitting on an offer but that’s 100% untrue.” Tim Cahill is an added injury doubt for today’s game, after returning from international duty with a groin strain. Steven Pienaar, Phil Neville and Leon Osman will also miss out again.

David Moyes: ‘This is Everton's strongest squad in a decade’
Nov 21 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes readily admits that in theory he has the strongest squad at Everton in 10 years ahead of today’s North-West show-down with Manchester United.
But the Everton boss continues to feel like he is banging his head on a brick wall, as injuries pile-up to the point of complete exasperation. With Tim Cahill adding his name to the list of casualties, having returned from international duty with an injured groin, the Everton boss is even running out of square pegs to fit in round holes.
Slight hopes that Steven Pienaar, Phil Neville and Leon Osman may have made a late re-entry into the squad to play the champions have also been dashed. So as he attempts to plot Everton’s first win at Old Trafford for 17 years, the Scot must contend with so many selection headaches he could be forgiven for seeking a darkened room to go and lie down in. Questioned by one journalist about Everton having suffered “ a few” injuries he raised an eye-brow. “Just a few?” said the Scot with the faintest hint of a smile. “We’ve had injuries since last February so we’ve had to deal with this situation for nearly a year. There is a lot more made of other clubs’ injuries than ours. “I believe we have got a real strong squad and good players and what we need is to get them back, but at the moment we’re just not. “If other clubs lose one or two really key players it makes it hard for them to get results. We’ve been in that situation for too long. “I though the break after the West Ham game might have given us time to get some of the lads back but it hasn’t. “We are trying to find a team out of what we’ve got and we’re having to play people out of position and people who are not in good form. Equally people we would like to give a rest to. “The hardest thing is that if people aren’t performing well they are getting rewarded with a place in the next game which normally we wouldn’t. We’re trying to find a winning formula with maybe 12 or 13 players.” But it has been far from all doom and gloom around Everton’s Finch Farm training ground in the run-up to the game. While Moyes admits Diniyar Bilyaletdinov returned deeply crestfallen at Russia’s last-ditch failure to qualify for the World Cup, Joseph Yobo and Ayegbeni Yakubu are quite the opposite.
“I think it looks as if they’ve come back really pleased to have qualified,” he said.
“ In their country it was something which the people weren’t happy with that it was a situation where they were coming close (to not qualifying). You can see it has given them a big lift and they have an added spring in their step. It was a weight off their shoulders because it was quite a stressful situation for them to be in.” He is also buoyed by the terrific form of former Manchester United striker Louis Saha who has made his best ever start to a Premier League season in terms of his goal return.
“We undoubtedly took a gamble when we signed Louis,” he said. “He had been injury prone but as well as that we had to take a gamble and didn’t have money to buy a centre forward and Louis was available. “It was a risk because of his injuries, certainly not his ability and it was a case of ‘is this an on going thing?’ but he convinced me that he wasn’t and he has gone on to prove that. “He has played world cup semi-finals and been transferred to Manchester United. He is a top player. I think everyone at Manchester United would probably admit that Louis Saha was a match for any player there in terms of talent. “He is in the top three of players I have worked with in terms of ability. He has got some incredible ability.” He added that the deal was a financial coup, with the Blues not having to pay any fee for the classy forward, and he remains on pay-as-you play terms. “Louis is included in every France pre-squad on standby. The French have got some good centre forwards but if he goes on scoring goals he will be noticed. “I don’t think he is turning around and saying playing for France is the be all and end all though.” Moyes added that the squad have shared some banter with Saha after his country’s controversial qualification for next summer’s World Cup thanks to Thierry Henry’s hand-ball. “We’ve given him some stick. Him and Sylvain over the last day or two,” he said. Meanwhile, Moyes does not believe Alex Ferguson’s touchline ban will have any effect on his fellow Scot. Today is Ferguson’s last game before he serves a two-match ban for saying referee Alan Wiley was unfit to officiate his club’s match against Sunderland in October. And the Toffees boss thinks a suspension for the United manager will have less of an impact on Ferguson than it would on other top-flight coaches. “It is important a manager gets the chance to be on the touchline if he wants so I do think it is significant if a manager is banned,” said Moyes. “But there are some managers who sit in the stands and are quite happy to do so. “Sir Alex sits in his seat and can sit back and enjoy the game because he has got a really good team. “In the main they win so he can sit back, unlike some other managers. “We are jumping up and down on the touchline trying to motivate and keep getting the right result as much as we can. “I don’t think it will be too big a hindrance to Alex. He’s experienced and I’m sure he will be happy to sit in the stands.”
Critics of Ferguson’s punishment - which also includes a further two-match ban suspended until the end of next season - argued it did not send out a strong enough message about respecting officials. Moyes claimed members on the disciplinary panel often did not have detailed knowledge of the game and he would prefer to have people from inside football making the decisions.

BARRY HORNE: Deafening silence from Blat-man and Robin of world football
Nov 21 2009 Liverpool Echo
IN the wake of the Thierry Henry handball incident, isn’t it amazing how many people get on their high horses and write opionionated nonsense – all produced in the cold light of day with as much time as they want to reflect. That’s in stark contrast to Thierry Henry’s instantaneous and largely instinctive reaction. There have been calls – in serious newspapers – for Henry to be banned from playing at the World Cup finals.
What a nonsense. Where’s the precedent? Is there anything in the rules to even say that this can be done? That would be just a random act inflicted on one of the greatest sportsmen of his generation. Another writer, again from a ‘serious’ paper actually cited the example of the 2005 match between Bahrain and Uzb-ekistan, siggest-ing that offered a preced-ent for action to be taken. In that game the referee disallowed a penalty for encroach- ment but wrongly awarded an indirect free-kick instead of having the penalty retaken. That is completely different. That is a matter of fact. The referee did not know the rules. Quite rightly an appeal was granted. It wasn’t a matter of judgement as we have here. Let’s just look at the facts. I’m willing to believe that the first touch was not deliber- ate, but the second touch clearly was. As any sportsman will know, however, especially at the higher levels, the vast majority of things that you do are instinctive. Such is the case here, as Henry quite rightly pointed out.Having said that, however, what a remarkably deft touch it was to guide the ball onto the outside of his right boot, to almost deliberately bounce the ball off William Gallas’ head! Forgetting for a moment the fact that it was a handball, it was a moment requiring superb co-ordination, athleticism and skill, qualities which have been the hallmark of Henry’s career. Let us not forget that over a decade he has provided us with some of the most sublime moments on the pitch and many moments of good grace and eloquence off it. At the end of the game it was clear Henry was beside himself. When he plonked himself beside a distraught Richard Dunne his body language almost mirrored the Irish player’s. For a long time nothing was said. It was very poignant and for me Henry will still be remembered for the good things.
It is not in Thierry Henry’s hands now to offer a replay. The only people who can put things right, if they so wish, is the French FA. I do not wish to be francophobic about this, but I don’t think anyone is holding their breath. If Henry is to be banned, only FIFA can do that. And if they have that power, pres- umably they have the power to order the game to be replayed. The silence from Batman and Robin of world football, how- ever, is deafening. Blatter and Platini are all too ready to jump on incidents of cheating within the English game. But for some reason, they seem reluctant to comment on this.

GREG O'KEEFFE: Jack Rodwell needs to move on - but at Everton
Nov 21 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
YOU don’t need a razor-sharp memory to see similarities between the beginning of the end of Wayne Rooney’s Everton career and recent rumblings about Jack Rodwell.
Although time continues to heal the wounds of the former Croxteth boy-wonder’s departure from Goodison, it is still fresh enough in the memory to concern evertonians when the clamour over Chelsea and Manchester United’s interest in their latest young prodigy heightens. Both players flourished in the Everton first teams, scoring spectacular goals and grabbing attention despite their tender years. Emerging from the same impressive youth system, their respective talents defied age. Both were born and brought up in Merseyside, and Rooney was as settled in the region as the quiet Birkdale player is said to be. But the comparisons between the pair do not continue deeply beyond the superficial. Not yet. At 18, the promising England Under-21 midfielder is a year younger than Rooney was when he made the big-money switch to Old Trafford after that tearful telephone plea to Bill Kenwright. Although selling a player of Rooney’s world-class ability should never become acceptable, or indeed ‘policy’, for Everton, it is generally accepted that the transfer fee saved the club from financial dire straits. More importantly, Rooney was already doing things on the pitch for Everton that marked him out as one of the best. He was already beyond the ‘prospect’ stage, and had been fully capped by England. Manchester United bought a player who, even then, was a consistently exciting Premier League performer, and his natural ability progressed in tandem with regular Champions League football to make him one of the best in the world. On the other hand Rodwell is a startlingly good prospect, but he is still a prospect. His manager admits he has had to use him more than he would have liked this season, due to an injury crisis that continues to make physio Mick Rathbone’s treatment room look like the Royal’s A&E on a Saturday night. Rodwell, his family and his advisors should be under no illusions - Everton is the right club for him at this stage in his career. He is getting opportunities he simply would not have at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge. A premature move to either club would see him kicking his heels on the bench. It has happened to other similar players.
Glen Johnson’s youthful big move to Chelsea stalled, and he wasted precious time before having to move to re-ignite his career. Ditto Scott Parker and Shaun Wright Phillips. Rodwell’s performances so far this season have purred and shown promise of a midfielder who can grace a world stage. Understandably Rodwell still has rough edges, and they can be smoothed to perfection under the patient and watchful eye of David Moyes, away from the glare and over-exposure of the so-called Sky Four. I do not want this to sound like I’m suggesting Everton should nurture Rodwell only to release him when he is ready. The perfect outcome for club and player would be that both progress to the extent that, like Gerrard across the park, he can spend his career thriving on Merseyside.
TV Diniyar gives food for thought with Bily
HE’S banned for today’s glamour showdown with United, he won’t be going to the World Cup, and now this.... That online cornucopia of the bizarre - aka Youtube - has yielded a video he’s done for Russian TV channel NTVplus. Bily was filmed taking a tour of his new home city to show Russians some of the sights that greet him every day. It’s not exactly a classic piece of tourism PR for the former Capital of Culture but it is funny. The video starts well enough, outside St George’s Hall, but soon progresses to a few lingering shots of scruffy buildings and alehouses on London Road before a panoramic of...well, Queen’s Square bus gyratory. Then it cuts to his hotel room where he is lying on the bed, engrossed in a dodgy daytime soap. But he does spend some productive time - colouring in the red flashes on his footy boots with a blue marker pen. Good lad (although I’m sure Puma would just send him a blue pairs if he asked). Later he goes head-to-head with the Lennon statue on Mathew Street, contemplates popping into The Grapes, and heads down to watch the ferries while teenagers in fully Everton kits stroll past. Throughout he is glued to his mobile chatting away. Non-Russian speakers are only left to guess what he’s saying...
Have a look for yourself -

Same old story – with sympathy from the Devils in short supply - Everton FC latest
Nov 23 2009 Liverpool Daily Post
THE sympathy must come to an end. Manager David Moyes doesn’t want it, the players don’t court it and the supporters know good wishes don’t bring you Premier League points. Yes, there has to be an understanding and appreciation that the Goodison Park club are in the grip of an unprecedented injury crisis and one which has robbed them of their best defender, most creative attacker and their inspirational leader – but the problem is not a new one. Moyes has alluded to this in recent press conferences and he knows Everton have simply got to grin and bare it whilst still showing performances befitting of a top flight side. The travelling Evertonians at Old Trafford on Saturday were cruelly teased with a glimmer of what the real Everton look like 10 minutes after the break when the introduction of a not fully-fit Yakubu gave Moyes’ side a cutting edge. As the Nigerian forward went close, Louis Saha and Johnny Heitinga forced Edwin van der Sar into saves before Tim Cahill’s effort was smothered by the quick thinking Dutchman – Everton proved they had the ability to trouble United but showed it only in fits and spurts. Everton do not want to become the hard luck story of the league, one where the patronising condolences of sides who finish above them are ringing in their ears and the opposition only so understanding of the side’s injury problems because they no longer see Everton as the same threat they were last season. By agreeing with the phoney concern, you run the risk of malaise setting in – but you can be sure Moyes will prevent that from creeping through a side who last season revelled in adversity . They need to find that type of battle hardened character once more and use other teams’ naivety to their advantage. The fragility of the Goodison Park outfit’s squad is not a fresh worry but one which has stalked the club for more than a season, so the players who started against the Red Devils are more than accustomed to playing in the Premier League and know the drill.
Of course this campaign has asked more of Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling than usual in ideal circumstances but certainly those around them, albeit with some out of position, should have been able to offer more than they did at Old Trafford.
For endeavour and commitment, you will never fault an Everton side under Moyes, as his players bust a gut from the first minute to the last, but the weekend’s late kick-off showed little of what separates the players from honest professionals into Premier League stars. Naturally, the odds were somewhat heaped against Everton with a winless league run in the division at the home of the champions dating back to August 1992, but with a flicker of confidence having returned following the 2-1 win at West Ham United 13 days earlier, the visitors would have fancied taking something from the game. Once again setting up with Louis Saha as the lone striker, Everton were determined to frustrate United – mission accomplished for 35 minutes at least – yet when they were afforded the chance to break Cahill, Marouane Fellaini et al in the midfield offered little more than hopeful punts up field for the Frenchman to chase.
An over reliance on Saha’s ability to fend off the interests of four home defenders whilst at the same time providing a platform for attacks would never get Everton far against Alex Ferguson’s men, though you fully understand Moyes’ formation choice given the opposition. Playing Cahill once more in the wide left position was purely out of necessity but as a natural man through the middle, Everton’s left side was often devoid of an attacking threat as their formation narrowed. The opening exchanges were low key as the pattern for the game was set with United dominating possession, albeit in front of the packed Everton defence.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard was forced to be alert to stop a Ryan Giggs effort and a dangerous cross from Rafael Da Silva but United were finding Everton difficult to break down – even the ability of pantomime villain Wayne Rooney was helpless to crack the Everton code. Unsurprisingly then, with limited success trying to carve open the visitors’ defence, Manchester United found the opener from distance as Darren Fletcher met Antonio Valencia’s neat knock back with a volley of technical brilliance and style. In a first of half of minimal joy for Everton, one bright moment came with the booking of Fellaini for a foul on goalscorer Fletcher. The Belgian international will now be available for the Merseyside derby in six days time, sitting out Wednesday night’s trip to Hull City through suspension instead. Everton started the second half with more purpose after the introduction of a second striker and for the first time in the game had the hosts on the back foot with Van der Sar busy.
Although a rather pointless query to Moyes in the post match press conference of whether, with the luxury of hindsight, he would have started with two strikers, the question being asked by most Evertonians was not about an earlier introduction of Yakubu, but why his team-mates could not have produced similar composure on the ball in the opening period? A pointless exercise in thinking ‘what if?’ it may have been, but Everton equally cannot dwell on those not present but instead must look forward to with what is at their disposal when they travel to Hull City on Wednesday evening. Indeed there was certainly no coming back when Michael Carrick swept in United’s second in the 67th minute from Giggs’ precise pass and as the final scoreline would tell everything about how United had comfortably dominated, it did little justice to Everton’s spirited display. Yet there is no room for sentiment at Old Trafford. The third goal, 10 minutes later, from the boot of Valencia via a deflection off Leighton Baines, only served to rubber stamp the result and gave the home side their 72nd goal against Everton in 35 Premier League meetings.

Steven Pienaar is eyeing Merseyside derby for his return from injury: Everton FC latest
Nov 23 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN Pienaar is preparing to re-ignite Everton’s creative spark ahead of a crucial week in the struggling Blues’ season. The influential South African midfielder will take part in training at Finch Farm this week, and although Wednesday’s game against Hull is likely to come too soon, he could make a much-needed return for the weekend’s derby clash with Liverpool. Pienaar is the only one of Everton’s shocking injury list who is near to returning, after suffering the curse of the knee injury which has ripped through the Toffees’ squad this season. Pienaar was stretchered off during the Blues away game against Portsmouth in September, and although he was thought to be on the brink of a return before the Europa League tie against Benfica, he had yet to fully recover. Manager David Moyes, who branded the trip to Hull’s KC stadium as “massive”, said: “Steven is the only one who is near coming back. He will hopefully train this week and we’ll take it from there. “It's important we pick ourselves up. I've been here (Old Trafford) many times and lost with Everton but there's been a lot of games where I've thought we played really well and were unfortunate not to come away with something. But not on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Blues will have to contend without Marouane Fellaini on Wednesday. A booking picked up by the Belgian international in the first half was his fifth of the season – meaning he serves a one-game ban for the trip to Humberside. Tim Cahill, who played against Manchester United despite suffering a groin injury on international duty with Australia, will also undergo a fitness check. Striker Louis Saha will also need checking on, after also playing with an injury against Alex Ferguson’s champions.

DAVID PRENTICE: Player power key to Everton FC's revival
Nov 23 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
David Prentice
EVERTON, usually, mimic their manager at Old Trafford. Tough, uncompromising, difficult to break down. But not this time. Not on a worryingly wanton Saturday night in Salford. The Blues handed Manchester United a victory so routine that their own Scottish boss was able to effectively declare with 20 minutes to go, and replace Wayne Rooney with the absurd show-pony that is Gabriel Obertan. David Moyes admitted afterwards he has a problem. But this time the solution is, sadly, not in his hands to solve. The appalling and ongoing injury crisis at Goodison Park means that he can’t make changes to his side, even though he clearly wants to. It’s up to his players to provide the answer, but some of them don’t appear to have the appetite at present. Now, I’m mindful of the acute sensitivities of some of the players in the Everton squad. It’s not so long since I was invited to the club’s training ground to ‘explain myself’ to the assembled first team party after one damning critique.
So I’ll let the manager point out their deficiencies. “I’m looking for better performances from the players,” he rapped. “I don’t use the word, but I think in the past people have used the word ‘over-performing’ about the Everton players. I’ll protect the players all day long, but at the moment they have to stand up and be counted because at the moment some of them are under-performing. “Is the competition for places contributing to that? Massively because we can’t change.
“You would hope that would mean they would get another opportunity to put things right, but I think one or two aren’t taking that on board.” That was clear from the outset at Old Trafford. Under David Moyes Everton’s visits to Old Trafford have been characterised by a steely resolve. It took a last minute penalty and a dodgy penalty to beat them in each of the last two seasons, but the first 45 minutes on Saturday night were an unedifying sight for Evertonians. There was more fight on show in the visiting section where some worrying examples of the human race decided to scrap amongst each other. Louis Saha was commendably bright and classy but, largely left to his own devices with any supporting midfield bodies a distant blur, he was left to forage on scraps. Crumbs of comfort were offered up when Yakubu was introduced at the break and Everton adopted a more ambitious formation, but only for 20 minutes.

David Moyes says Europe is not to blame for defeats
Nov 23 2009 Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes backed his threadbare squad to fight back from defeat at Old Trafford – and refused to blame their stuttering form on the burden of European football.
The Blues boss insisted he will target Europa League qualification again – something he has achieved in successive seasons – despite struggling to contend with an injury-ravaged squad. Speaking after the 3-0 reverse against the Champions on Saturday evening the Scot said: “If you were to give me Europe again now, I would gladly take it thank-you. “I love to be in Europe but of course it has taken its toll on us because we don't have the players to change things. “We are not saying changing the team completely but if you have the opportunity then you would like to swap it around a little bit.” Everton fell behind to goals from Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia and Moyes admits his lack of options means he must persist with picking out-of-form players. He said: “We can’t change. We are giving the players another opportunity to put that (poor performances) right but one or two are not taking that on board. “There are massive games all the time, but I thought that before the last one, so they are all big games. “I think in the past the word used with Everton is over-performing but I have always said we have performed at a good level, and though I will protect the players all day long they have to stand up and be counted now."
He added that back-to-back fifth finishes have raised expectations of Everton supporters, while similar sides like Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa have become meatier opposition. He said: “We can only look after our own house at the moment and try and get it in order. “We will start to get talked about less and less, because of what people have spent more than what they have actually done in the last few seasons. “What we've done deserves to be talked about (in that type of company) but if you have come to watch us recently you are right not to mention us in that breath, because we are not performing like a team who should be in the top part of the Premier League right now. “We are trying to get back to winning ways and I think our expectations have risen greatly on how we should be, and at the moment I feel we are not reaching that. “I'm looking for better performances and I'm looking for better performances from the players all round, definitely.” Marrouane Fellaini will miss Wednesday’s away clash with Hull after a booking earned him a one-match ban.

Everton FC skipper Phil Neville will miss the Merseyside derby because of minor knee surgery
Nov 24 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe
EVERTON skipper Phil Neville will miss the Merseyside derby after it was revealed he needs minor surgery on his injured knee. David Moyes explained his frustration after learning of yet another set-back to one of his contingent of injured players.
Neville had hoped to avoid surgery - and had pencilled in a return to action this week.
"Phil Neville has had to go in for a minor operation on his knee and that's put him back for a few weeks," explained Moyes. "He had a slight tear in his cartilage, which looks like it has got slightly bigger." Initially, it seemed that the midfielder did not require surgery but the growth in the tear has necessitated it. Moyes added: "They’re (the surgeons) going to go in and have a look and see what they’re going to do about it. "We were probably expecting Phil to have maybe started against Man United, Hull or Liverpool and he will now be out for another three or four weeks."
The skipper has been out of action since a challenge by Dickson Etuhu of Fulham saw the England midfielder stretchered off the pitch at Craven Cottage in September.

Everton Reserves 1 Sunderland Reserves 1
Nov 24 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Reserves were held to a 1-1 draw by Sunderland on a night that saw Jose Baxter fail to score from the penalty spot. The striker had the opportunity to put Andy Holden’s side ahead in the first half after a handball saw the referee point to the spot.
Baxter’s effort though failed to give the Blues the lead and was saved by Trevor Carson, the ball heading straight down the centre of goal into the keeper’s arms.
Just seconds before the half-time whistle Sunderland made Everton pay for their failure to convert and snatched the lead through Ryan Noble. The young striker fired the ball into the back of the net over the top of Blues keeper Carlo Nash.
Everton started the second half brightly and Cody Arnoux soon equalised with a coolly taken shot on 53 minutes. And the American forward had the chance to double the Blues’ tally moments later, but his shot skimmed the side netting. With the action hotting up, Nash pulled off a superb save, diving to his right to punch Sunderland’s second half effort clear and keep the score level to earn the Blues a point.

Lucas Neill happy to fight for Everton FC right back position
Nov 24 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LUCAS NEILL hopes to become Everton’s smiling assassin.
The Aussie defender admits that he, Tony Hibbert and Johnny Heitinga have a friendly rivalry for the club’s right-back slot. But after getting the nod at Old Trafford at the weekend, Neill admits he is desperate to keep his place for the Blues’ two massive matches this week. Everton go to Hull tomorrow night aiming to erase the memory of Saturday’s disappointing display at Manchester United, then face neighbours Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Sunday. “It’s always nice to play,” explained Neill. “I’ve just to keep working in training and when you get the chance to play you’ve got to try and put a good workload in. “It’s not up to me to decide if I’ve done enough to stay in for the next game but I hope I’ve put something in the manager’s mind to keep getting picked. “It’s a friendly rivalry (for the place) and kind of good for the manager because he’s got the choice of various players to play in the positions. “Of course he doesn’t have Johnny and I for European games, that’s something which will come in January when hopefully we’ll be knocking on the door for places in Europe and the League.” Despite one of the worst injury crises in recent years at Goodison, the one area of the side where David Moyes has had options in recent weeks has been at right-back. Lucas Neill, who was left out at West Ham, was back in the side at Old Trafford on Saturday, but Tony Hibbert came on late in the match as Neill pushed further forward while Phil Neville, who can also play at full-back, is making steady progress from his knee injury.At the moment, however, Neill is looking no further than tomorrow’s trip to Hull which has assumed much greater significance in the light of Saturday’s poor performance. “We move on now. We have to be positive,” he rapped. “We created chances at the end of the game at Manchester United and we will have to create those chances at Hull. “We’ve got to bounce back. That’s what it’s all about now. No-one expected us to win at United. We came and tried but it didn’t happen. “Now we move on and Hull away is definitely a game that we need to win and push ourselves up the table.” Two of Everton’s on-loan Tartan contingent, meanwhile, have admitted they don’t know what the future holds.
Striker Lukas Jutkiewucz and goalkeeper John Ruddy have both impressed on-loan at Scottish Premier League side Motherwell. Jutkiewicz has scored five goals in his last seven outings, a scoring burst which has coincided with a six-match unbeaten run for Motherwell, while Ruddy has kept six clean sheets this season, including shut-outs against both Celtic and Rangers. Jutkiewicz said: “I have been wondering what the future holds. I always wanted to come up here, play regularly and score some goals so I couldn’t be happier.”

Nigel Martyn: Hull win could be the perfect derby boost
Nov 24 2009 Liverpool Echo
It’s another massive week for Everton with the trip to Hull ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. You would hope for a repeat of the Carling Cup result at the KC Stadium to ease the pressure ahead of the weekend. It’ll be difficult but Hull always look like conceding. If we can nick a goal and stay as tight defensively as we have been in recent years, we can win up there. Do that and the pressure’s off in terms of the amount of points we need to collect. Of course, a derby is a derby and always matters, but if Everton took four points from the two games you can be quietly satisfied. However, going into the derby having lost against Hull, it puts a different kind of pressure on everybody. It would be nice to go into Sunday just looking forward to it rather than having the added pressure of a must-win situation. That can take some of the enjoyment out of it and it suddenly becomes a more difficult proposition. Liverpool also have a crucial game in midweek. The right result for either team could provide a psychological edge and much needed confidence going into the derby. Everton’s confidence suffered at the weekend. At one-nil I thought we could get back into it at Old Trafford and maybe get a draw. Everton were showing signs of putting United under pressure, but then the second goal killed it really. You’ve got to try and keep a clean sheet as long as you can in these games, and it took a special goal to break us down. Once that happens it forces your hand. You have to become a bit more expansive than you’d probably like. That plays into United’s hands. Once they score, they wait for you to come out. We had to change our set-up to try and get back into it but United exploited that. Of Darren Fletcher’s goal, you simply don’t save them. It was great technique. He’s being closed down and put under pressure, but has caught it sweet, right into the top corner. As a goalkeeper that’s the last place you want to see the ball going. Tim Howard had no chance. Once the second goal went in, it was a huge mountain to climb. Just as you’re trying to get back into it that knocks the stuffing out of you. You try and come again but they catch you.

Nigel Martyn: Pienaar return could be ace in the pack
Nov 24 2009 Liverpool Echo
IT would be a big boost if Steven Pienaar returns for the derby.
He has come to the fore since Mikel Arteta has been injured, taking on the mantle of the playmaker who can make something happen. The little South African can lift the crowd in an instant, whether it’s with an incisive pass or a thrilling piece of skill.
He was probably our best performer up until he got injured at Portsmouth in September. But if he can come back for the derby and hit the ground running, with the kind of form he was showing before he got injured, Pienaar is the kind of player that could make the difference for Everton. Of course, Liverpool have a certain striker they will be hoping to get back themselves for the weekend, but Everton just need to focus on their own line up. No doubt David Moyes will be working on set-pieces this week.
Liverpool aren’t exactly watertight at the back and that is where Pienaar can come in.
His delivery could cause Liverpool problems

Everton FC and Liverpool FC fans join forces to revive the friendly derby
Nov 24 2009 Liverpool Echo
SOME of the city’s most passionate football fans stretched their hands across the park last night, to kick off derby week in a ‘friendly’ fashion. Everton Shareholders Association extended an invitation to Liverpool supporters groups to attend a forum at Goodison Park to officially unveil six portraits of the founding fathers of Merseyside football. And the invitation was enthusiastically accepted. Former players Brian Hall and Graeme Sharp – now the Liverpool and Everton community officers – were joined by Tony McNamara, who played for both clubs, Blues chief executive Robert Elstone, Goodison life president Sir Philip Carter, members of the Hillsborough families, the chaplains of both football clubs and Catholic Bishop of Liverpool Tom Williams. Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow had a prior engagement in Hungary, but sent a special message to the gathering vowing to build on the initiative.
“Thank you so much for your kind invitation. I feel passionately about the importance of re-establishing the friendly derby having family on both sides of the divide,” he said. “I have discussed it with some of our players who agree and we have some ideas of how to progress this which we will reveal in due course.” Chair of the Everton Shareholders Association Anne Asquith was delighted so many fans from the red half of the city attended the forum in the Alex Young Suite. “There is something very special, something unique about the relationship between the clubs,” she said.
“We do have a shared history, almost a symbiotic relationship. “This evening is all about celebrating the shared heritage that we’ve got.“The history and the origins of both clubs are not perhaps as well known as they should be. “And hopefully events like this can heighten that awareness.” The six portraits celebrate the six men who collectively kickstarted and shaped Merseyside football. They were the Rev Ben Swift Chambers, George Mahon, Dr James Clement Baxter, John Houlding, John McKenna and Will Cuff. Anne admitted that she was all too keenly aware of how the atmosphere had deteriorated at derbies, but that the days of the friendlier derby weren’t too remote. “Even when I was bringing my kids across to derby matches as teenagers in the mid-80s – because we lived in Doncaster,” she explained. “We used to come over with a car half full of reds and half full of blues. “I remember coming down the East Lancs one day and driving past the Liverpool team coach and John Barnes and Kenny Dalglish were all waving to these kids with blue and red scarves.
“That was accepted as the norm and I think it has got a bit nastier over the years.”
“I think we are trying to make people more aware of the shared history the clubs have.
“For a start it’s always interesting to know where you’ve come from and how you have developed. “I think the 800th anniversary of the city, the Capital of Culture celebrations and the David France Collection coming together made us look more closely our own heritage. “If we look back and see how close the clubs were it makes you realise how close we can be again – or maybe still are without even realising it.”

Anthony Gardner eyes bright future with Hull, not Everton FC
Nov 24 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
ANTHONY GARDNER could be forgiven for wondering what might have been as Everton visit the KC Stadium for tomorrow’s Premier League clash with Hull.
The 28-year-old one-time England cap, whose career has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons, endured an ill-fated loan spell with the Blues last season. Having fallen down the pecking order at Tottenham due to injuries, Gardner was allowed to move to Goodison Park for a short spell at the end of the 2007-08 campaign.
Yet various problems conspired to prevent him playing a single game for David Moyes’ side. And when a permanent move came up the following summer, it was to Hull and not Everton. His first season at Hull proved another frustrating experience, featuring just eight first-team appearances, and there has already been a two-month lay-off this term. Now at last Gardner is starting to get a run of games, and after playing in four consecutive matches for Hull for the first time, he is determined not to dwell on his past misfortunes. Gardner said: “I went to Everton with an injury from Spurs and it took most of the time I was there to get it right, so I never got an opportunity. “I wasn’t playing at Spurs at the time and thought it was a good opportunity to maybe play some games. “It didn’t turn out that way but you learn from things like that. These experiences happen. “I’m not the first and I won’t be the last that this kind of thing happens to.” Everton finished fifth and reached the FA Cup final last season, earning qualification for the Europa League in the process. Gardner might feel he could have been involved in that had things worked out differently.
But that is not a thought he wants to entertain. “Everyone wants to play in Europe, as I did at Spurs,” he said. “Everyone wants to play in it every year. But at the minute I’m happy I’m fit and playing in a Premier League side. “I’m at a good club and I can’t moan.” Gardner’s importance to Hull grew after Michael Turner was sold to Sunderland earlier this season and he now just wants a good run in the side to prove his worth. Hull, who drew 3-3 with West Ham last weekend to move up to 16th in the Premier League, have a difficult week ahead with tomorrow’s game followed by a trip to Manchester City on Saturday. Gardner said: “I’m looking to play every match I can and if that means playing games with no breaks, that is perfect for me. “You get your form from playing games back to back,” added the central defender.

FULL-TIME: Everton FC lose to Hull 3-2
Nov 25 2009
HULL held off an Everton fightback to continue their recent resurgence with a remarkable win at the KC Stadium tonight. The struggling Tigers raced into a 3-0 lead with goals from Stephen Hunt, Andy Dawson and Dean Marney inside the opening half hour. Two Kamil Zayatte errors, an own goal and conceding a penalty which Louis Saha converted, gave Everton hope but Hull held on. Everton pulled a goal back early in the second half in an incident reminiscent of Zayatte's fluffed clearance in the opening minutes of the game. This time John Heitinga crossed and after Boateng missed the chance to clear, Zayatte flung his right boot at the ball only to slice it badly and see it loop into his own goal. Hull almost caught Everton on the break in search of a fourth as Hunt and then Geovanni surged forward but the Brazilian was unable to pick out Altidore. Everton made the most of that reprieve to launch a long ball forward and claim a crucial penalty. Zayatte was again the guilty party with a clumsy challenge on Saha and the Frenchman stepped up to convert from the spot. Despite the double setback, Hull still refused to sit back and Howard saved well from Richard Garcia. It looked like the game could go either way as Cahill blasted over and Duke anxiously grabbed the ball in a goalmouth scramble. Hull looked shaky in the closing minutes and Geovanni did his best to waste time by walking off slowly when he was replaced by Kevin Kilbane. A late free-kick outside the area gave Everton a final opportunity but Hull survived.

HALF-TIME: Everton FC down 3-0 to Hull
Nov 25 2009
STRUGGLING Hull’s resurgence continued as they stunned Everton with three first-half goals at the KC Stadium tonight.
Stephen Hunt, Andy Dawson and Dean Marney all hit the target inside the opening half-hour as the Tigers made light of talisman Jimmy Bullard’s absence. Everton, just three Barclays Premier League points above Hull before the game, created just one meaningful chance when Sylvain Distin headed over. EVERTON claimed the majority of the possession in the opening few minutes but failed to create a clear-cut opportunity, although Kamil Zayatte nervously needed two attempts to clear a Leighton Baines cross. Hull soon settled however and pieced together a good move to take the lead after nine minutes. Geovanni, looking hungry after a suspension and then being left out for last Saturday’s draw against West Ham, started the attack by combining well with Stephen Hunt on the left. The Irishman’s cross then took a big deflection off Joseph Yobo and Jozy Altidore controlled and forced a fine point-blank save from Tim Howard with a powerful shot. The ball bounced free in the area and the onrushing Hunt was the first to react, racing in to blast in his third of the season from close range. Hull were invigorated and Geovanni shot at Howard from long range soon after. The Tigers then doubled their advantage after 20 minutes after Yobo fouled Zayatte on the edge of the area. Left-back Andy Dawson stepped up to curl a superb free-kick over the wall and into the top corner. Everton almost pulled one back instantly as Sylvain Distin met a Baines corner with a powerful header but it flew just over the bar. It proved a rare foray forward for the Toffees, who were remarkably caught out by another Hull break just before the half-hour. Baines failed to stop the rampant Hunt crossing from the right but Hull got lucky as the ball took a deflection to roll into the path of the inrushing Dean Marney. The midfielder struck a powerful first-time shot but Howard was wrong-footed by another deflection, this time off Tim Cahill, and the ball flew in. It almost got worse for Everton before the break as Altidore created a shooting opportunity with a strong run but shot over.

Hull City 3 Everton 2: match report
By Rob Stewart, by the Telegraph
Everton manager David Moyes last night poured scorn on suggestions he was considering quitting Goodison Park, but he conceded that the club could be dragged into a relegation battle. A smouldering Moyes reacted with contempt in his post-match press conference at the KC Stadium after he was asked about rumours that he was planning to leave. "Do you live on Merseyside?" he said. When asked if he was prepared to comment on the speculation, he flatly said: "No." The Scot refused to discuss the blocked plans for a new ground but offered a candid assessment of Everton’s prospects for this season after their first defeat to Hull City since 1952. Everton have now won just once in their last 10 outings and are hovering just above the relegation zone. "We could be dragged into a relegation battle," he said. "It is partly to do with our injury list, but it’s partly to do with individual performances.
"But I am the one who takes responsibility for the team. I pick them. I have signed them so, ultimately, I am responsible for their performances. The only thing I can think about is tonight’s performance, not where we are going to be at the end of the season because I couldn’t tell you. I do know we have had two very good finishes before, but that has gone. That is in the past." Moyes spoke out after a defeat that saw Hull take a 3-0 lead in the first half-hour thanks to goals from Stephen Hunt, Andy Dawson and Dean Marney before Everton hit back after the interval through Kamil Zayatte’s own goal and Louis Saha’s penalty. Asked if his team was too good to go down, Moyes was far from bullish. "I don’t know," he said. Everton host Liverpool on Sunday and he will demand an improvement. "We have to play better," he said. "You have to at least run around. I have to get them to do that better than they are doing at the moment." Hull made light of the absence of playmaker Jimmy Bullard, who asked to be rested to protect his troublesome knee, and took a ninth-minute lead through Hunt. He pounced from close range after Jozy Altidore’s shot had brought an excellent save from Tim Howard. The second goal, a real cracker, came about after Joseph Yobo was harshly adjudged to have fouled Geovanni, allowing Dawson to set his sights on goal before curling a left-footed 25-yard free-kick into the top-right hand of Howard’s goal. Luck had turned its back on Everton and it showed as Hull went further ahead in the 28th minute. Hunt was again a central figure as he charged down the left before sending over a cross that Sylvain Distin only half-cleared to Marney, and his 12-yard shot beat Howard thanks to a deflection off Tim Cahill.
Everton, who won 4-0 on this ground in the Carling Cup two months ago, were given a helping hand when John Heitinga’s cross was sliced over Matt Duke by the hapless Zayatte in the 49th minute. Zayatte should have been sent off 15 minutes later when he fouled Saha in the penalty area before the French striker stuck away his spot-kick and Steven Pienaar was booked for protesting about Martin Atkinson’s leniency.
"A lot of people might have been nervous at 3-2 but I wasn’t unduly worried," said Hull manager Phil Brown, whose side are level on points with Everton. "We still had a grip of the game. We stuck at the task and fully deserved the victory against a top side. Everton will finish in the top half of the division."

Everton FC striker Yakubu almost back to his very best
Nov 25 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
YAKUBU is finally ready to hit the goal trail again tonight by notching a second strike against Hull in a frustrating season for the Nigerian. The muscular hitman scored on his return from a lengthy lay-off during Everton’s 4-0 Carling Cup victory at the KC stadium in September. He looked sharp in the second half of the Blues’ defeat against Manchester United on Saturday, and is close to recapturing his best, according to team-mate Leighton Baines. The full-back, who also impressed at Old Trafford, said: “Yak has looked like his sharpness is coming back. He had a horrible injury but there are signs he is ready to start doing what he does best again.
“Players like him never lose that ability to score. He is immense and you’d back him in front of goal every time. “It meant a lot to him to score against Hull and he showed that. We’re looking forward to having him firing on all cylinders again.” The Nigerian ran to embrace physio Mick Rathbone after his goal against Hull, in recognition of the part he played in healing his horror-Achilles tendon injury. Now David Moyes could lend him a start partnering Louis Saha in attack tonight, with his formation options further reduced by injury. Phil Neville has suffered another setback in his bid to return from knee damage, and was understood to have had a minor operation yesterday.
It is likely to add another three weeks to the captain’s proposed comeback time.
And fellow injured midfielder Leon Osman admits he must also be patient as he returns from a foot injury. The skilful midfielder is desperate to get back into action but realises he must exercise caution and manage his return carefully. He said: “It's slow progress and it's a bone injury which doesn’t heal like muscle injuries or bruises.
“They originally said I would be out for about four weeks and then a specialist said six weeks. “I'm a week under that and I am finally starting to feel like I am making progress.”

Everton FC fans' letters
Nov 25 2009 Liverpool Echo
IT was a very disappointing result against Manchester United, due to a woeful performance which lamentably bordered on being contemptuous. However, for probity purposes, Tim Howard had no chance with any of the goals and Sylvain Distin and Johnny Heitinga produced spirited displays. It has been stated on numerous occasions that Everton’s commodious injury list has hampered progress but there were nine internationals in the starting line-up on Saturday. The Blues are now at a tenuous point of the season and a realpolitik approach is urgently required to guide Everton from a potential relegation fight. Fundamentally, if the rumours are true that a £20 million bid is in the pipeline for Jack Rodwell, then the board must accept it and provide this fund for Moyes to bring in new players, especially as Steven Pienaar, Joseph Yobo and Yakubu will not be available in January.
David, Aintree
I WOULD love Jack Rodwell to stay with Everton. But it’s a short career and if he sees a chance to earn some silver elsewhere, so be it. Just let’s not have another ‘Joleon Lescott’ fiasco.
I FEAR Diniyar Bilyaletdinov will be gone from Goodison in the summer when he realises he’s in a team that doesn’t know how to pass or move into space. We’re pedestrian going forward, susceptible to counter-attack because we’re so slow and incapable of stringing more than three passes together without either humping it up the pitch or giving it away. Forget Europe; we’re going to get sucked into a dogfight unless we start being more positive. Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill can’t play in the same team; if we have Louis Saha up front, it’s one or the other. I just hope Fernando Torres is injured for the derby, because God help us if he’s fit.
TONIGHT’S game at Hull City is a ‘must win’ situation if we are to maintain any credibility at all as contenders for anything this season. Nothing less is acceptable. No disrespect to the Tigers, but their form speaks for itself. We can – and should – take the points. As an aside, David Moyes should take a good look at Jimmy Bullard while he’s there.
THAT was a terrible performance by Everton against Manchester United on Saturday.
I really do expect players who earn at least five times more a week than I do in a year to perform better than that. Whether or not we have a lot on the sidelines, those players who took to the field at Old Trafford should be totally ashamed of themselves.

Phil Brown: Hull have renewed confidence ahead of Everton FC game
Nov 25 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
HULL boss Phil Brown feels his side go into tonight’s game with “renewed confidence”. Uplifting performances and results in the last two games have transformed the mood at the KC Stadium after a dismal start to the season.
Hull secured only their third win of 2009 against Stoke earlier in the month and then came from 2-0 down to lead before drawing 3-3 with West Ham on Saturday.
The points gained from those games have lifted the Tigers out of the Premier League relegation zone and Brown wants to maintain the momen- tum as Everton visit.
Brown said: “We will pick a team that is full of renewed confidence and hopefully we can put our best foot forward. “The fans have been fantastic and got right behind the team in their hour of need. “And it’s reciprocal. We are now setting out with that renewed confidence to create problems for Everton and if we do that the crowd will get behind us. “Everton haven’t had the greatest of starts by their standards but they are difficult to play against. “They are a threat. They are in Europe for a reason and they have a strikeforce that is capable of scoring goals. “It is going to be a difficult night, no doubt about it, but with the ball, as I say, there is a renewed confidence.”
The catalyst for Hull’s recent upturn in fortunes has been the return of record signing Jimmy Bullard from injury. Bullard, making a belated home debut after a 10-month setback, was outstanding against Stoke and similarly influential against the Hammers.
The 31-year-old could hold the key to Hull’s survival hopes and, indeed, the chances of Brown remaining in charge at the KC Stadium.


David Moyes says Everton FC injury list is worst he's ever known
Nov 25 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has branded Everton’s long injury list ahead of tonight’s game with Hull as the worst he has ever experienced in his managerial career Despite trying to keep a brave face about the situation, the Blues’ manager admits that – with skipper Phil Neville suffering the latest setback – it is starting to grind him down. He had hoped to have Neville back in action for last weekend’s visit to Old Trafford but must now contend without him for another three weeks. He said: “It started to wear me down on Friday when I heard Phil was going to need an operation. “At the moment it is a struggle but in the past we have done it, and I’m sure we will do it again. “It is by far the worst injury list I have had as a manager but what’s the point in me coming out and saying that? “I’m sure there are managers who have had far more than me. You just have to get on with it and we will do.” The Scot jokingly added that he is not the only one struggling to stay positive in the face of the setbacks. “I think Baz (head physio Mick Rathbone) is in a clinic for depression at the moment,” he said. “It has been a tough time for the medical team.” The loss of Neville may be an ongoing headache but Moyes has other more important issues to address ahead of tonight’s game at the KC stadium. Everton have won just once in six league matches, a run which has left them 14th in the table, and he has labelled the game as “massive”, insisting that three points is crucial. Moyes’ options are further limited with midfielders Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Marouane Fellaini suspended. He said: “I’m sure everyone has opinions about what we can do, but take it from me I’m trying everything I can to find something which might work better. “We have no wide players right now, and we have players who have to come out as we feel we have overplayed them. “We are trying to introduce new players to the team as well but we have also got suspensions, which you get. “When you get a job in the Premier League it is all about trying to get sides who can win games.” The problem for Everton is that, apart from Steven Pienaar who could be in contention for Sunday’s derby showdown, there is no sign of any of his long-term walking wounded returning before Christmas.
“The disappointing thing is there isn’t anyone really on the horizon,” he added. “It is not as if there are all these injured players ready to ride over the hill and bail us out.
“That is why it is far better concentrating on the fit ones and demanding of them to play better than they are at the moment.” Moyes also admitted the injury dilemma remains an opportunity for other players to make an impact and force themselves into the team. He said: “There are some times when you give players opportunities. I think if you were a club that runs an academy then you have to let those players come through and sometimes that is how they get their opportunity.” But the Everton boss stressed the situation means he will be looking to boost his squad with loan moves during the January transfer window “It is not an easy thing and there are very few loans who will be able to come in and make an instant impact because if they were they would be at clubs and would be playing,” he said. “We might be in a slightly better condition in January than we are now, so who knows? I think the signs are there that we are getting back to things. We know that we are not as fluid and rhythmic as we were towards the end of last season but I feel there have been signs. “I am disappointed that we have not played better but that is because my expectations of what my players should be doing is so high. “I want them to be playing like they were at the end of last season.” Moyes will take some solace from his side’s bright spell in the second half against the Champions on Saturday, although he knows Hull will be no push-overs. The Blues thrashed Phil Brown’s side 4-0 in the Carling Cup earlier this season, but Moyes knows they will be a tougher prospect tonight. He said: “Hull didn’t play all their players that night so it will be a different game. I see it as a tough game, this is their third home game and our third away game so we are on the back of quite a difficult period. “I did take some comfort from our opening spell in the second half against United to an extent. “It was needed because we had not got anything going in the first half at all. There were some good moments and we livened it up a little bit.”

Everton legend Joe Royle convinced a shared stadium with Liverpool FC is best way forward
Nov 26 2009
EVERTON legend Joe Royle is convinced building a new stadium to share with Liverpool is the best way forward for both clubs. The possibility of a groundshare between the Merseyside rivals - for so long regarded as a non-starter - has been raised again following the Government’s rejection of Everton’s proposals for a new stadium at Kirkby. It is the latest in a long line of setbacks for Everton in their quest to move from Goodison Park, while Liverpool’s own plans for a new ground have also stalled.
Neither club have previously shown much appetite for pooling resources to build a stadium project but Royle, who played for and managed Everton, feels it is an obvious solution and deep-seated rivalries can be overcome. Royle said: "I’ve always said it makes common sense. I have always been a fan and I think it is a great opportunity. "The fans are split on it and both clubs are very wary of fan opinion.
"Neither would want to be the first to say we are desperate to do it.
"But now we are in a situation where both clubs are probably needing each other to make it work financially, so that might help it. "Anfield and Goodison both hold special memories but both clubs, to have a chance of challenging Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, would need greater income. "Certainly Everton would gain as it halves the costs and it could make a fantastic stadium for both sets of fans.
"It’s tried and tested in Milan (where Inter and AC Milan share the San Siro) and a number of other big cities and it works. "I think for Everton, Kirkby is probably the final straw and this makes great sense - to me anyway." Senior figures at both clubs might get the ideal chance to discuss the matter this weekend as the teams meet in opposition at Goodison. Matters on the field will be the most pressing for managers David Moyes and Rafael Benitez, however, as they look to arrest poor runs of form.
Moyes’ Everton have won just once in 10 games in all competitions and are just four points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone. Liverpool have won only two of their last 11 and, with their title hopes already in tatters, are reeling from Champions League elimination this week. Royle, who oversaw Everton’s FA Cup win in 1995, said: "Neither side are in their best form and need their big players to play. "It is going to be quite a fraught derby and a big game for both managers.
"They will be desperate and both will be feeling it a bit, although I don’t think either (manager) is under pressure for their jobs and rightly so. "They have both had good times but will be desperate to win. They are winners who are used to winning."

Everton FC’s John Heitinga - we must beat Liverpool FC in derby after Hull defeat
Nov 26 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
JOHN HEITINGA branded the Blues’ first half performance against Hull as “shameful” and vowed to make amends in the best way possible by beating Liverpool in the derby. The Dutch international said Everton’s players accept full responsibility for their terrible start to the KC stadium clash, which saw them concede three goals for the second game running. Everton have now won just one of their last eleven games, and despite fighting back in the second half crashed to a 3-2 defeat against Phil Brown’s Hull. He said: “It was shameful in the first half. We know we weren’t anywhere near the level we needed to be at. It’s hard to explain why we were like that because normally we are solid and don’t let teams score so easily. “I have played in the Madrid derby match for Athletico against Real and I know that the only way we can make up for this is by beating Liverpool. They are not going into the game in the best form either and we have a good chance to put tonight behind us.
“If I had to try to take a positive I would say that Stephen Pienaar played well for us, particularly in the second half. I have played with him for Ajax and I know he is a quality player who will help us a lot now he is over his injury.” Meanwhile, a furious David Moyes insisted his players fight-back in the second half was made irrelevant by their first 45 minutes. He said: “We didn’t play well enough to win.That about sums it up, really “We can’t take any encouragement from the fightback in the second half. The team should fight from the first minute, not the 45th minute. “I actually thought we started the better in the opening 10 minutes, but from the first cross they put in they scored. The second goal was a very harsh free-kick, but that’s making excuses.”
Moyes added: “We could be dragged into a relegation fight, particularly because of the injuries we have and individual performances. I don’t know if we are too strong to go down. “But I’m the one who has to take responsibility for the team. I pick the team and I signed them. I’m the one who has ultimate responsibility. “I didn’t think the defeat was anything to do with (a lack of) confidence, it was to do with endeavour and attitude which I think Hull City showed. We didn’t match that. “Hull did things that earned them a little bit of luck at the right time. They had a ricochet for the first goal, but they put the ball into the box to get that. “They ran around and it earned them something at the end of the night.”

Hull City 3, Everton FC 2: Roller-coaster ride is becoming too much to stomach
Nov 26 2009 By Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
NOT for the first time, the chant "you’re getting sacked in the morning" resonated around the KC Stadium last night. But that it was David Moyes and not Phil Brown being mercilessly taunted said everything about a disappointing night for Everton both on and off the pitch. The Goodison faithful have grown accustomed to riding an emotional rollercoaster this season, but rarely can they have experienced such a range of emotions inside a single 90 minutes. From the depths of despair during a truly embarrassing first half to the hope generated by a second-half comeback, the phrase a game of two halves was invented for games like this. Yet ultimately this was another costly defeat that extends Everton’s run of form to a solitary win in 11 and leaves them firmly ensconced in the bottom half of the table. The blame for that lies with an utterly dreadful opening 45 minutes that will hopefully prove the nadir of this campaign. Certainly, Everton will do well to sink any lower, Moyes later rightly berating the attitude and effort of his team as Stephen Hunt, Andy Dawson and Dean Marney all profited from the visitors’ dismal defending before half-time.
At least some semblance of pride was restored after the interval, Kamil Zayatte finding his own net and then conceding the penalty from which Louis Saha struck his 10th goal of the season. But the damage was already done on an evening that will have far-reaching consequences for the club. Before kick-off, news emerged that Everton’s planned ground move to Kirkby had been knocked back by the Government. The Destination Kirkby project has proven a hugely divisive issue for the Everton support, with the plan having as many objectors as supporters.
Yet all are agreed that something must be done, whether it is a complete overhaul of Goodison Park or a new stadium, to make the club more competitive in the commercially-driven Premier League era. Now the club find themselves back to square one and left to contemplate their next course of action. Of more immediate concern for Moyes is coaxing more from his players ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. With the suspended Marouane Fellaini adding to the lengthy absentee list, the Everton manager was again forced to improvise with his team selection last night.
There was, however, the major positive of Steven Pienaar making his first appearance since injuring his knee at Portsmouth two months earlier. The South African lasted the full 90 minutes and, while understandably short on sharpness, demonstrated in patches the creativity Everton have sorely been lacking during his time on the sidelines.
Tim Cahill was shifted back into central midfield after an unhappy spell on the flanks, with Jack Rodwell employed on the right. But now matter how Moyes shuffles his pack, Everton are struggling to come up with a winning hand, not helped by certain players not exactly over-exerting themselves in the opening period. Moyes, criticised in many quarters for his negative approach at Old Trafford on Saturday, started with both Yakubu and Jo in attack. But if anything, Everton’s first- half performance – and their subsequent revival after the break when Yakubu was replaced by Dan Gosling – justified the conservative approach of the Goodison manager. When Everton visited here for a Carling Cup tie two months ago, they were three goals ahead after 24 minutes and cruised to an emphatic 4-0 triumph. Last night, however, they were 3-0 down before the half-hour against a Hull side that, while enjoying a recovery of sorts after a dismal start to the campaign, are still among the favourites for relegation.
The horror show began in the ninth minute when Hull went ahead with a goal the Everton defence will not want to see again in a hurry. Hunt’s cross from the left deflected off Joseph Yobo and looped towards the far post. Despite both Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines covering the loose ball, Hull striker Jozy Altidore somehow won possession and unleashed a vicious shot that was brilliantly beaten out by Tim Howard, only for Hunt to react quickest and fire home the rebound.
However, there was not much that could be done to prevent Hull’s second on 20 minutes. After referee Martin Atkinson harshly adjudged Yobo to have fouled Geovanni, Dawson stepped up to curl a sumptuous free-kick into the top left-hand corner of Howard’s goal from 25 yards. The Everton goalkeeper didn’t stand a chance.
And the misery continued eight minutes later with another avoidable goal. Hunt was allowed time to retrieve the ball on the right flank and send in a low cross that was deflected by a stretching Distin into the path of Marney, whose shot struck Cahill and looped home. Remarkably, it was Marney’s first Premier League goal since netting twice against Everton while playing for Tottenham Hotspur almost five years ago.
The best the shell-shocked visitors could manage during a one-sided first half was when Saha flashed a header over the bar from a Leighton Baines right-wing corner.
Everton’s comeback was kickstarted by a moment of comedy defending by Zayatte, the Hull centre-back swinging his right foot at John Heitinga’s cross from the left and the ball looping over home goalkeeper Matt Duke and going in off the post.
Zayatte was once rejected by Moyes after a trial at Everton, and the Guinean was proving the value of the Goodison manager’s decision with some nervy defending.
And Everton capitalised again on 65 minutes. Cahill’s lofted ball into the box was chested down by Saha whose progressed was checked by a daft tackle by Zayatte. A clear penalty, Saha dusted himself down to convert from the spot for his 10th goal of the season. But despite plenty of possession, the late onslaught never arrived, with the fact Hull keeper Duke barely had a save to make during the final quarter underlining the absence of guile on show from the visitors. It was the lack of heart, however, that most infuriated Moyes. He knows Everton simply cannot afford a repeat on Sunday.
But the late onslaught never truly arrived, with Hull keeper Duke barely forced into a save during the final quarter.

Everton legend Joe Royle convinced a shared stadium with Liverpool FC is best way forward
Nov 26 2009
EVERTON legend Joe Royle is convinced building a new stadium to share with Liverpool is the best way forward for both clubs. The possibility of a groundshare between the Merseyside rivals - for so long regarded as a non-starter - has been raised again following the Government’s rejection of Everton’s proposals for a new stadium at Kirkby. It is the latest in a long line of setbacks for Everton in their quest to move from Goodison Park, while Liverpool’s own plans for a new ground have also stalled.
Neither club have previously shown much appetite for pooling resources to build a stadium project but Royle, who played for and managed Everton, feels it is an obvious solution and deep-seated rivalries can be overcome. Royle said: "I’ve always said it makes common sense. I have always been a fan and I think it is a great opportunity. "The fans are split on it and both clubs are very wary of fan opinion.
"Neither would want to be the first to say we are desperate to do it. "But now we are in a situation where both clubs are probably needing each other to make it work financially, so that might help it. "Anfield and Goodison both hold special memories but both clubs, to have a chance of challenging Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, would need greater income. "Certainly Everton would gain as it halves the costs and it could make a fantastic stadium for both sets of fans.
"It’s tried and tested in Milan (where Inter and AC Milan share the San Siro) and a number of other big cities and it works. "I think for Everton, Kirkby is probably the final straw and this makes great sense - to me anyway."Senior figures at both clubs might get the ideal chance to discuss the matter this weekend as the teams meet in opposition at Goodison. Matters on the field will be the most pressing for managers David Moyes and Rafael Benitez, however, as they look to arrest poor runs of form.
Moyes’ Everton have won just once in 10 games in all competitions and are just four points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone. Liverpool have won only two of their last 11 and, with their title hopes already in tatters, are reeling from Champions League elimination this week. Royle, who oversaw Everton’s FA Cup win in 1995, said: "Neither side are in their best form and need their big players to play. "It is going to be quite a fraught derby and a big game for both managers.
"They will be desperate and both will be feeling it a bit, although I don’t think either (manager) is under pressure for their jobs and rightly so.
"They have both had good times but will be desperate to win. They are winners who are used to winning."

Everton FC plan for Kirkby stadium rejected by the Government
Nov 26 2009 By Ian Hernon
THE Government has rejected the plan to create a new Everton stadium as part of a Tesco development in Kirkby. Communities secretary John Denham decided that the projects would breach shopping policy to discourage major supermarket chains sucking business away from town and city centres. But he was only convinced of that today, two days before he was legally obliged to make up his mind. A major factor behind his alleged dithering was the potential to regenerate Kirkby, provide the football club with a brand spanking new stadium, pour over £400 million into the region, and create up to 7,000 short-term, long-term and supply jobs. The decision, which will be spelt out later tomorrow took regional MPs and ministers by surprise. Most had assumed that the jobs and investment potential would, when it came to the crunch, outweigh shopping policy. Knowsley North and Sefton East MP George Howarth said: "I deeply regret this decision in a time of significant economic challenge to the whole of Merseyside during a recession."

Everton FC Kirkby stadium rejection is boost for Skelmersdale
Nov 26 2009 By Michael Byrne
A £350M regeneration plan to revitalise Skelmersdale could be back on track after plans for a new Everton Football Club stadium in Kirkby were rejected by the government. The Skelmersdale Vision scheme for new homes, community facilities and a high street for Skelmersdale was put in jeopardy by the £400m EFC proposal, which also included a massive retail park in Kirkby. Developers St Modwens are West Lancashire Council’s partner in the Skelmersdale scheme. Its representative Michelle Taylor told a public inquiry the company would terminate their agreement with West Lancashire Council if the Kirkby scheme - led by Tesco and Everton - went ahead. She said Skelmersdale would not be able to compete with the Kirkby Development. Last night John Denham, Department for Communities and Local Communities secretary, ruled against the Tesco/Everton proposal, saying it would suck business away from other town centres. Now there is fresh optimism among local politicians that the Skelmersdale scheme could go ahead. Rosie Cooper, West Lancashire MP, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State has taken a brave and ultimately the right decision; one that is consistent with Government planning policy. "It is great news for the people of Skelmersdale that gives them a renewed sense of hope for the future redevelopment of the town." Adrian Owens, Conservative parliamentary candidate for West Lancashire, said: "This is the right decision and it's good news for Skelmersdale. It allows us to pick up the scheme again. "The economic climate has changed and the council will now have to speak to its development partners to see where the scheme is taken from here."

Everton FC's Kirkby project: How the stadium fight was won and lost
Nov 26 2009 By Ian Hernon and Richard Down
EVERTON’S plans to build a new stadium in Kirkby alongside a major Tesco supermarket have been rejected by the government. Communities secretary John Denham decided the £400m Destination Kirkby project would breach shopping policies which discourage supermarket chains from sucking business away from town and city centres. But the ECHO can reveal he was only convinced of that yesterday (Wed), two days before he was legally obliged to make up his mind. A major factor behind his alleged dithering was the potential of the stadium project to regenerate Kirkby, provide the football club with a brand spanking new stadium, pour over £400m into the region, and create up to 7,000 short-term, long-term and supply jobs.
Everton FC last night refused to comment on the decision – which will be officially confirmed today – and the shattering of their dream of a new 50,000-capacity stadium.
But the club is expected to hold a press conference at Goodison Park this afternoon.
A spokesman for retail partner Tesco also refused to comment officially but admitted: "We’re obviously bitterly disappointed and we need to take stock of the decision to decide what we say or do next." Knowsley Council’s chief executive, Sheena Ramsey has been at the forefront of the plans since their inception. She said: "Of course we’re extremely disappointed with the decision. "A lot of hard work has been put into this project that had the interests of the people of Kirkby at the heart of it. "We cannot comment further until we’ve had time to fully digest the reasons for the decision."
The decision took regional MPs and ministers by surprise. Most had assumed that the jobs and investment potential would, when it came to the crunch, outweigh shopping policy. Knowsley North and Sefton East MP George Howarth said: "I deeply regret this decision in a time of significant economic challenge to the whole of Merseyside during a recession. "It is disappointing that Knowsley council will be unable to take advantage of the regeneration opportunities offered by this proposal. "We need now to go back to the drawing board to work out an alternative solution to regenerate the town." Destination Kirkby included a new stadium for Everton, a giant new Tesco store, a retail park, a possible new hotel and a large new bus station. North West minister Phil Woolas said: "The Secretary of State is bound by planning law. "The planning inspectorate’s recommendations were very clear and we have to abide by the rules." The inspectorate’s report has not been published but it said that the Everton-Tesco proposal would "drive a coach and horses" through agreed planning/shopping policy. Mr Woolas, on the assumption that the plan would get the green light, this week brokered a deal by which Skelmersdale would receive extra funding for housing and schools, plus help for the public-private sector to redevelop the town centre. That followed complaints from West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper that a massive Tesco’s seven miles away would scupper that redevelopment. The Woolas rescue plan is now on hold. A senior government source said: "Rosie played a ferocious game ...and she won. Now we assume that the Skem edevelopment can go ahead without the need for government resources." Liverpool City Council leader Warren Bradley has been a vociferous opponent of Everton’s move out of the city but was in conciliatory mood today: "I’m saddened by it in some ways. "The city council objection wasn’t about Everton, it was about the retail which was too large. "Until I read the inspector’s report, I can’t go into more detail. "But if Everton now wants to sit with the city council the door is always open."Other opponents expressed anger at the cost of the project. Kirkby resident Tony Barton, of the single issue political group 1st4Kirkby, said: "It’s a victory for common sense. But this isn’t time for triumphalism it’s a time to begin the process of finding out why this ever got as far as it has. "Everyone said it would get called in and rejected, and now it has at a cost of millions to Knowsley people." John Fleming, of Kirkby Residents Action Group, said: "This proposal would have badly damaged Kirkby and I’m relieved it has been rejected. "We feel we were excluded from a process that was railroaded through the planning committee. But the issues raised in the public inquiry have been heard and that’s a victory for democracy." Dave Kelly, of Keep Everton In Our City, perhaps the most vocal opposition group, was taking nothing for granted. He said: "We feel a sense of anticipation of the official result. "We’ve always said there’s only one decision that the secretary of state can make and we fully expect to be fully vindicated when we read what he has to say." But David Dodd, who set up Kirkby Residents In Support of Progress, who gave evidence in support of the stadium bid, said: "I’m appalled and disgusted. "The government has given the North West a kick in the teeth. "This would have created thousands of jobs which have now effectively been lost. It’s a disaster." The 500,000sq ft of retail space associated with the project would have repositioned Kirkby from 11th in the region's shopping hierarchy to possibly 4th. A senior government source confirmed that both Everton FC and Tesco can apply for a judicial review, either separately or jointly. But he believed that any such action would be unlikely to succeed. He said: "Anyone can mount a legal challenge but it would have to meet certain criteria. My view is that it would fall at the first hurdle because the Secretary of State's decision is in line with the planning inspectorate's commendation." Former Labour chairman and Cabinet minister Ian McCartney said that the "no" verdict would have severe implications for the North West. The Makerfield MP said: "My wife Ann is a life-long Evertonian and we are both gutted by this decision. "Merseyside needs investment and everyone knows that if you invest in sports that creates jobs which are desperately needed at any time, but particularly during a recession." Some Liverpool city-region MPs are themselves considering a last-ditch appeal to sports secretary Ben Bradshaw and business Secretary Lord Mandelson.

We could be in a relegation fight, admits Everton FC manager David Moyes after Hull defeat
Nov 26 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes batted off a suggestion he contemplating quitting after last night’s defeat at Hull. But the Scot did admit his side could be dragged into a relegation scrap after going down 3-2 in a remarkable Premier League encounter at the KC Stadium. The Toffees have won just once in their last seven games and are now level with Hull, who have climbed out of the relegation zone by taking seven of the last nine points available. When asked in the post-match press conference if he was aware of a rumour on Merseyside that he was preparing to stand down, the Scot turned the question back on his inquisitor. “Do you live on Merseyside?” he asked back. When asked if he was prepared to comment on the rumour, he flatly said: “No.”
Another question concerned the club’s position in the table, 14th, four points above the bottom three. Moyes was asked if he was worried Everton could become embroiled in a survival battle, and he replied: “Could be, yes.” As they head into the derby Liverpool have won only twice in a similar poor vein of form, but Moyes said: “I only look at Everton’s form, I’m not concentrating on other teams. I know we have to do better. “The first thing you do as a player is you run around, but I’ll need to get them to do that more than they are at the moment.” The Scot said that Steven Pienaar’s performance – playing 90 minutes on his return to action after two months out – was one plus which was typically tempered by an injury to Jack Rodwell.
“Getting Steven Pienaar back was a positive,” said Moyes. “We had hoped to play him for 65 minutes but we had to leave him on longer. “Now Jack Rodwell has suffered a groin injury but we’re not sure whether it will make him a doubt for the derby.” Moyes went on: “We didn’t play well enough to win, that sums it up really.
“I don’t think it was anything to do with confidence, it was to do with endeavour and attitude, which Hull City showed. “If we had matched Hull’s endeavour and attitude – they ran around and it earned them something at the end of the night. “A team should fight from the first minute, not the 45th.” Moyes admitted he is the one who has to take the blame for Everton’s stuttering form. “The performance was shocking and we all take responsibility for it,” he remarked. “I’ve seen a few poor performances since I’ve been here but that will be up there with the worst of them,” he went on.
“It is up to the players to take responsibility but I take responsibility for the players I select. “We could be dragged into a relegation fight – particularly because of the injuries and individual performances. “But I am the one who has to take responsibility for the team. I pick the team and I sign them. “I’m the one who has the ultimate responsibility.”

Everton FC jury - on the derby, form, injuries and Steven Pienaar
Nov 26 2009 Liverpool Echo
IT’S the derby on Sunday and the form-book goes out of the window.
The possible return of Steven Pienaar will give the Blues a massive lift and we have missed his creative spark. It will allow Cahill to move back into his favoured role, just behind the Yak or Saha. The atmosphere will play a part and we need to make it as loud as possible to make it uncomfortable for them on Sunday and just maybe we could get a decent and unbiased referee. I am sure every Evertonian will get behind the team and roar on every tackle, shot and goal too. We can win by getting stuck into them and taking advantage of their poor run of form. Pienaar could be the key to provide any passes for the Yak or Saha up front. Sunday is a big day – let’s make it a Blue day and win the derby!
IS THIS the least anticipated derby game in years?
Derby banter this week hasn’t so much been about who is better, but who is the least bad! It is still unlikely we will see any of our injured players returning on Sunday, but Bilyaletdinov is at least back from suspension, and will be one of very few fresh players within the squad. It’s the cliché that form has nothing to do with derby games, but getting a positive result on Sunday relies heavily on the team pulling together, and approaching it like a derby, rather than just another game. Everton had a brilliant derby record in the 1990s, when for the most part, Liverpool were better than us. But we could match them by beating them for attitude and desire. That is likely to be our best chance on Sunday too, as a bit of fight can make all the difference.
SADLY, nobody can really have been surprised about the performance or result against Manchester United. We played in the manner to be expected under David Moyes – slow and full of fear – and only the Yak seemed to have any fight in him before the inevitable collapse. There is so much wrong at the moment but the body language of Tim Cahill is particularly poor, and if he is wondering if this is going to be the pinnacle of his football career, who can blame him? Yet we have the chance on Sunday to brighten up even the gloomiest supporter. Tempo and tactics will be everything and Moyes must send his team out ready to challenge and tackle everything that moves from the start – instead of waiting for the opposition to score first. I would definitely go for Saha and the Yak up front and try to stamp some ‘Dogs of War’ style authority on the game. Forget pretty football – let’s win and celebrate Christmas early.

ON SUNDAY we face our friends from across the park in a clash that could signal the real kick-start to either team’s season. I hope the atmosphere is electric at Goodison, but I also hope that simple-minded chants aimed at Steven Gerrard will come to a stop. Singling out people for personal non-football related abuse is pathetic and beneath true Evertonians. Gerrard is a Huyton lad, and if I’m honest I am proud that one of the best midfielders in the world is from my hometown. Both Liverpool and Everton have been disappointing this campaign, both with injuries and poor form. Yakubu is destined to score sooner rather than later, and hopefully Saha will be able to add to his impressive goal tally this season. Fingers crossed, the silky skills of Steven Pienaar will be available as he could be the difference between victory and defeat.

Marouane Fellaini says Everton FC can't afford to lose derby
Nov 27 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
MAROUANE Fellaini today insisted Everton’s foreign brigade are fully aware what winning a Merseyside derby means to supporters. The Belgian star is itching to return to the side after missing Wednesday’s defeat in Hull for picking up five yellow cards.
And he knows that helping the Blues to beat Liverpool at Goodison is the only way he is guaranteed a good night’s sleep on Sunday. He said: “All the players here know it affects the fans a lot. If we lose they go into work on Monday and they are not happy. They have to put up with the taunts and the jokes. “We simply have to win. If we lose I would have to hear the other fans celebrating and I don’t want to have to shut my window. I want to win.” Meanwhile, Everton are waiting to see if Jack Rodwell recovers from a knock which saw him limp off the pitch against Hull .
The 18-year-old will undergo a fitness test today.

Everton FC's Marouane Fellaini confident of coping with derby occasion
Nov 27 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe,
MAROUANE Fellaini strikes an imposing figure – 6ft 4ins and broad, he is clearly in the perfect physical shape to cope with the no-holds barred tempo of midfield in Europe’s top league. But while he is no pushover, the lean 22-year-old Belgian has never really had an ounce of spare weight to lose, so when he was laid low by a virus for much of the summer there was cause for concern. The former Standard Liege star’s pre-season was badly hampered by the infection, linked to the wisdom tooth problem which saw him miss a recent international game to the anger of new Belgium coach Dick Advocaat. Toffees’ manager David Moyes was worried with the amount of weight that dropped off Fellaini’s slim frame, but now the midfielder insists he is back in shape and wants to put the illness behind him. Because while his condition may have been a worry for Moyes, then hit the headlines thanks to Advocaat’s rant; like most things, Fellaini takes it all with an affable shrug of his shoulders.
It would seem that it takes a lot to upset the laid-back £15m man. “I lost four kilos with the virus and it got into my blood which led to complications,” he explains.
“But I was still able to play some pre-season games and even though I wasn’t at my best it helped me. “Now I’m back to my ideal weight,” or with a smile he adds: “It’s my battling weight for the English league anyway. Born in Belgium of Moroccan parents, Fellaini spent the first 10 years of his life in Etterbeek, Brussels, where he represented Anderlecht as a schoolboy. After another seven years in Mons, he moved on to Liege to pursue a career in professional football, something his father had unsuccessfully tried. Since joining the Blues last summer in a club record deal, he has fast become something of a cult hero to many supporters – while dividing opinion among others. But his combative presence was notably by its absence from the Blues central midfield during their miserable 3-2 defeat at Hull’s KC stadium on Wednesday. Now Fellaini is relishing returning to the side, having been forced to sit out the Hull debacle after picking up five yellow cards, and Sunday’s derby is ripe for him to make his mark. He said: “I have played in big, competitive games in Belgium against Standard Charleroi and Standard Anderlecht which is the country’s big derby, so I know about how tough they can be but there is nothing to compare with the Merseyside derby.” And Fellaini is philosophical when asked if Sunday will be a typical war of attrition with little in the way of flowing football. “People say it won’t be pretty football but you never know,” he says. “You can’t predict these games and all you know is that it will be a great, great occasion. “What makes it such an entertaining game is the absolute desire from both teams and it will be a brilliant atmosphere. I can’t wait.”
Fellaini believes that Liverpool’s poor form going into the derby, with the Reds playing as poorly as his own team, will have little influence on the big day.
“You can’t really say that both teams are going into it playing equally as badly,” he says. “Everton’s run of results has been worse so we cannot afford to be complacent in any way.” If there can be any positive from Wednesday night’s result, Fellaini believes it can be found in the return to the side of silky skilled South African Steven Pienaar. “It was great having Steven back in the team,” he says. “I like combining with him and also when Bainesy plays and we can link up with nice, fast passing football. “ It works well when we are together but the main thing on Sunday is that we have to be competitive all over the pitch.” Fellaini may appear languorous and difficult to rile, but ask him whether he has ever felt over-awed lining up against players like Steven Gerrard and he bristles. Already a veteran of two derbies, he takes it all in his indomitable stride. It is worth remembering too that Fellaini was man-of-the-match in both games when his former club Liege narrowly lost out to Liverpool in a 2008 Champion’s League qualifier. “Everyone knows Steven Gerrard is one of the best midfielders in the world,” he says. “He is one of the best you’ll see – but nobody needs to tell me that it is not time to respect reputations in a derby. You’re in a game and that’s it.” After being played in attack, just behind a striker and even on the left wing this season due to Everton’s ongoing injury crisis, Fellaini hopes he will face the Reds in his favourite central midfield berth on Sunday. “Just to play is okay and I will play anywhere for the manager,” he says. “I played holding midfield for Standard, and with Everton I play attacking midfield and since then I’ve played attacking midfield for the national side too and that is a good thing. “But I am ready to get going again after missing Hull. Sunday is the time to put it right.”

Howard Kendall: Kirkby move wasn’t right for Everton
Nov 27 2009 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
IT seems Everton are back to square one over a new stadium after the Government rejected the club’s plans for Kirkby. It’s disappointing for those who put so much hard work into it but I never thought Kirkby was the solution. I’ve always believed Everton missed a great opportunity to build a new ground at Kings Dock. It was a great location and I know there were concerns about traffic, but I’m sure that could have been sorted out. In terms of moving forward I’d now like to see Goodison updated and improved. I’d like to see us do what Newcastle have done, where bit by bit they have turned St James’ Park into a magnificent stadium. The announcement also means ground sharing is back on the agenda. With Liverpool struggling to raise the money to build in Stanley Park it’s bound to be debated. Most supporters I speak to are against it and I am as well. However, it’s something that has to be investigated and the finances of both clubs might make a shared ground a necessity.

Everton FC ready for talks on shared stadium but Liverpool FC set to go it alone
Nov 27 2010 by David Bartlett, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC chief executive today declared: We are prepared to consider sharing with Liverpool. The suggestion came after Communities Secretary John Denham rejected the club’s plans to move to Kirkby and build a 50,000-seater stadium alongside Tesco in a £400m development. Robert Elstone said: “It’s certainly one of the options that we will need to cover. “A shared stadium is perhaps an option if it’s affordable. “We have to look at where we can raise money, because potentially Liverpool will have to obviously contribute to that, and Liverpool City Council perhaps might need to find some money. “If we are the first major English club to look at sharing then we’re not scared of making those decisions. “So we’re going to have to start to have those conversations, we’re going to have to be open-minded about solutions.” The Everton chief executive also appeared to take a swipe at former partners Knowsley Council and Tesco over the failure to secure final planning approval for Kirkby. He said: “Our immediate reaction is one of disappointment and surprise. I think surprise because, particularly, our partners were extremely confident of success. That confidence has proved a little bit optimistic and perhaps unfounded.
“The motivations were about driving Everton forward and ultimately giving David Moyes a fairer crack of the whip in the transfer market. That challenge hasn't gone away and it's a challenge now that we're going to have to pick up and run with and perhaps find another solution.” On the face of it a ground-share would seem an attractive option with Liverpool having put their plans for a £400m stadium on Stanley Park on hold during the current global financial crisis. But LFC owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are opposed as they believe it would impact on the amount of cash from a solely owned stadium. Liverpool’s deputy executive director Peter Shaw said: “It’s not on our agenda at the moment. Liverpool are progressing forward with our own stadium. That is the position we are still in. “The LFC stadium is quite far progressed and once the financial markets reopen for business the LFC stadium will progress further.” When asked whether the idea of a ground-share with Everton could be a possibility, he said: “That’s not for me to answer.” Financing any scheme is at the heart of the problem for both clubs, and Mr Elstone stressed that finding money was the key issue. “The solution is not about finding land – this is a solution that is about finding money; it’s about affordability,” he said. “That was the big attraction to Kirkby, that it was affordable. “Then it’s about reviewing alternatives and sitting down with partners, all the stakeholders in this region and anybody who can help Everton deliver what it needs – which is a world-class stadium that’s going to secure our future for years to come. Liverpool Council leader Warren Bradley said he wanted to work with Everton on whatever plans they came up with.
“I think it is up to the club to come to us, we will work with Everton to help them achieve what they want,” he said. “I was the one who first floated it [shared stadium]. But I think we have come to a crossroads. I am not in a position to start dictating to two commercial businesses what to do. “Robert Elstone has said that he would not rule anything in or out. But I am not going to dictate. “I would say to Everton as soon as we can let’s talk in a constructive manner about what Everton want to achieve with the help of the council to help them secure funding. “My favoured option has always been the redevelopment of Goodison.” He said the possible need to relocate the nearby Gwladys Street Primary school, homes in Muriel Street and Diana Street, and Walton Motors to allow for the redevelopment of Goodison was “not a massive hurdle”. “I really do believe that we can work with Robert Elstone to bring forward something that can work in the future.” Opposition Labour leader Joe Anderson said the setback for Everton was an opportunity for both clubs to go back to the drawing board. “As far as I am concerned this is now a real opportunity for the city council to talk to both Liverpool FC and Everton FC. “We need to get some meaningful, open, and honest dialogue with both clubs to understand their financial situations.
“And we have got to talk to Everton about what they can offer and what they can do. We need to know exactly what their financial situation is so the council can look at helping.” NWDA chief executive Steve Broomhead has long been a joint stadium advocate. He said: “We have always thought it was an option that needed to be tested.
“Our position is that it is a legitimate option that remains in place, as ever it is the clubs that will have to decide what they want to do.”

Bill Kenwright: Everton FC’s Kirkby move 'is dead but we need investment'
Nov 27 2010 by John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
Bill Kenwright
EVERTON chairman Bill Kenwright today insisted the hunt for investment into Everton would go on – despite the club's move to Kirkby being rejected by the Government. Speaking for the first time since the Tesco-led Knowsley plan was rejected, the Goodison chairman told the ECHO: “The first thing to say in terms of Kirkby is that the chapter is over and the book is closed. "The motivation has only ever been to improve the finances of the football club. "They need to be stabilised, improved and expanded. "As everyone knows, the club doesn't currently have a chairman or a board in a position to do those things.” The Goodison owner, a committed lifelong Evertonian, did not comment on the idea of stadium sharing with Liverpool. But he added: "We have had some of the best financial experts helping us with our search for investment for some considerable time now – and that will continue. "Inevitably the search will throw up questions about where the club will play its football in years to come. "And the response will be: 'We are happy to be at Goodison Park while we regroup, reassess and consider all options available to us there and possibly elsewhere’. "At the end of the day, the club's finances will be key to everything." But the chief executive who convinced Kenwright to go ahead with the Kirkby move today said he believed it remained the only feasible option.
Ex-Everton chief executive Keith Wyness famously called Destination Kirkby “The Deal of the Century.” His enthusiasm for the new stadium helped to win initial support from Everton’s fan base, earning the scheme a thumbs up in a ballot held in August 2007. But he left the club in July 2008 after the stadium scheme was “called in” for public inquiry. Wyness maintained a call in would spell the end of Destination Kirkby and pose huge problems for the club.Speaking to the ECHO today he said the rejected project was still the only viable way of securing the club’s future.
"Destination Kirkby was the only option at that point in time and remains the only one that's feasible. “I'm surprised and disappointed for the club and for the people of Kirkby that they won't get the best option. "I don't see how a joint stadium is feasible and I don't think there's the will from both sides to make it work.” But Wyness’s former opponents Keep Everton in Our City today suggested an alternative scheme understood to have “credible support”. Financed by a “Sports Village” jointly owned and run by Liverpool FC and Everton FC, each club would be able to pay to upgrade their existing stadiums. Everton would generate additional money by building a multi-storey hotel at the Park End allowing Everton to remain in their spiritual home.
KEIOC’s Colin Fitzpatrick said: “My feeling is that Goodison Park represents a great opportunity to preserve what is iconic and add value to the club in a way that cannot be achieved elsewhere.”

Communities Secretary John Denham: Why I had to say no to Everton FC's Kirkby stadium
Nov 27 2009 Liverpool Echo
COMMUNITIES Secretary John Denham has privately admitted that his Everton-Tesco verdict was “one of the most difficult decisions” of his career.
Over months of deliberations he was well aware that local opinion – and therefore the electorate – was deeply divided. He told colleagues: “I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” In favour of the proposed development were, according to one poll, a narrow majority of Kirkby residents who believed it would regenerate a long-neglected town, North West minister Phil Woolas who regarded the potential to create thousands of much-needed jobs as paramount, and Knowsley North MP George Howarth, a renowned political operator. Ranged against were the vociferous pressure group Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC), long-standing Evertonians, and West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper who argued that a half a million square foot Tesco would wreck the regeneration of Skelmersdale just seven miles away. She ran what ministers accepted was a “ferociously effective” campaign, even threatening to withdraw from the Labour whip before the general election. Mr Woolas, on the assumption the plan would get the green light, brokered a package of funding for Skem housing, schools and town centre. Mr Denham was undecided right up to Wednesday, just two days before the legal deadline for him to make up his mind. But the clincher was a damning report by the planning inspectorate which focused almost entirely on the retail aspect of the development and which concluded it breached government and regional development shopping policy which aims to reverse the trend towards massive shopping centres which impact on neighbouring town centres. Mr Denham was well aware that if he rejected the report it would open the door for KEIOC and others to mount legal challenges. And, conversely, accepting the report would effectively scupper any legal challenges mounted by Everton, Tesco and other scheme supporters.
A senior aide said: “It wasn’t a cop-out, the Secretary of State had, when it came to the crunch, no other option.” The full inspectorate report has not been published, but its main conclusions were spelt out in the formal letter to interested parties on behalf of Mr Denham. The key points against the development were: The size of the Tesco retail floorspace relied on a wide catchment area which was “disproportionate to the size and function of Kirkby.” The scale of the overall development was inappropriate” for a small suburban town. The proposal would have a “harmful effect on the vitality and viability of Kirkby, Bootle, Skelmersdale and St Helens.
It would conflict with regional policy to “enhance and support” Liverpool city centre.
The scale of the development was “not in accordance with the retail hierarchy” of the sub-region. Less harmful alternative schemes had not been properly considered.
The development would fail to “protect and enhance the environment and provide good and inclusive design.” It would inevitably lead to a surge in private road transport by both shoppers and match-goers, creating congestion. Kirkby is “not a location in which the use of sustainable transport choices would be promoted by a retail development of the scale proposed, and it is far from certain that the aim to achieve a sustainable transport solution for football matches would be achieved.”
The “harmful” impact on the living conditions of the residents of Whinberry Drive which would have been in the shadow of the proposed stadium, and those on the Grange estate who would suffer noise pollution during matches. Mr Denham, however, did NOT agree with the inspectorate’s verdict that a suburban residential town was not a suitable location for a 50,000-seat football stadium. He accepted that nearby residents may well have serious concerns, but that does not necessarily preclude any alternative proposal for a stadium within the town boundaries.
Mr Denham also admitted that the potential to regenerate Kirkby and the wider region was a major factor in favour of the plan. The formal letter said: “However, it is also clear to him that there are a number of other significant factors which weigh against the proposal, for example, the impact on other nearby centres, which collectively serve to outweigh the regeneration benefits that would result by way of the proposal.”
He also agreed that “the socio-economic benefits, such as the number of jobs for Kirkby and the relocation of the Everton stadium, should carry significant weight.”
But similarly, he also agreed that “in the absence of evidence that an alternative could not be delivered which would comply with development policy and secure the comprehensive redevelopment of the town centre as a whole, the regenerative benefits of the application carry less weight.”

Everton FC stadium decision drama went down to the wire
Nov 27 2009 Liverpool Echo
decision drama went down to the wire
THe 26-hour drama leading up to the decision on Destination Kirkby for Everton-Tesco was as follows: Tuesday 4.30pm: Communities Secretary John Denham was given a civil service digest of the planning inspectorate’s report which concluded that the bid breached planning criteria, and regional and national shopping policy.
6.30pm: North West minister Phil Woolas delivered his package of support for Skelmersdale on the assumption that the bid would be approved. Wednesday 9.30am: Mr Denham asked for further clarification as he agonised over the final decision.
10.10am: He called junior communities minister Lord McKenzie of Luton who has over two months done all the “hard graft” in such major planning decisions.
11.30am: Mr Denham called in political advisors to be briefed on the potential impact on “core” Labour voters across the wider city-region. 1.45pm: He finally made up his mind after legal advisors told him if he rejected the inspectorate’s recommendation it would lead to “endless” legal challenges. 2.50pm: He instructed a senior official to draft a formal letter of rejection to Tesco and Everton. 4.25pm: Mr Denham “signed off” the letter and instructed his press office to prepare a release for late next morning.
6.05pm: The formal letter was faxed to Everton, Tesco and Knowsley council under “heavy embargo.”
6.07pm: Local MP George Howarth and Mr Woolas were phoned or texted about the verdict.
6.23pm: Echo political correspondent Ian Hernon is told on the strict understanding it should not be released until dawn the following day.
7.00pm: A satellite TV channel headlined the “go-ahead” for the Blues stadium.
7.07pm: Sky Sports reports the real decision.

Labour MP George Howarth: ‘The government has denied Kirkby £400m and much-needed jobs. They can no longer rely on my support’
Nov 27 2009 by Richard Down, Liverpool Echo
KNOWSLEY MP George Howarth launched a scathing attack on the Government over its refusal to back Everton FC’s stadium bid. The former Home Office minister threatened to withdraw his support for the Government unless the decision was reversed. He said Communities and Local Government Secretary John Denham had turned down the chance to pump money into one of the most deprived areas of England. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Howarth said: “He has turned down £400m worth of private sector investment into Kirkby in my constituency.
“Kirkby ... is one of the most deprived towns in Britain. And frankly I am astonished that the Government could turn away £400m of investment in a town that desperately needs regeneration, a town that still needs investment in jobs and it would have produced thousands of jobs.” The council and local residents were “very bitter” at Mr Denham’s actions, he said. “I’m calling today for the Government to work with myself, Knowsley Council, Tesco and Everton Football Club ... to see if a new application, maybe slightly scaled down, can be fast-tracked and put before the Secretary of State so that the regeneration of Kirkby and the number of jobs that we need can be delivered.” Mr Howarth added: “I have been in the government, I have been out of the government. “But one thing I have always been, in the more than 20 years I have been a member of this House, is a loyal supporter of a Labour government when its been in power and the opposition when we have been in opposition. “I have to say that unless this problem in Kirkby is resolved quickly, then the Government won’t continue to be able to rely on my support.” Business minister Pat McFadden responded by telling Mr Howarth an amended scheme might change the situation. He said: “I hesitate to comment on individual planning applications but I am sure that the Communities Secretary will have had his attention drawn to your speech.” He added: “When situations like this arise ... sometimes an altered or amended application can be a way through the log jam.” But Kirkby campaigners and residents were dismayed at the MP’s actions. Stadium opponents 1st 4 Kirkby, held a press conference along with Keep Everton In Our City, Kirkby Residents Action Group, Kirkby Traders and Women for Kirkby’s Future, at the Holy Angel’s Social Club yesterday. They said they felt Mr Howarth had failed to represent the people of Kirkby’s views. In an open letter to the MP last night Tony Barton, of 1st4Kirkby, said: “The residents of Kirkby told you again and again that this development was inappropriate and of how we wanted your support in pressing for an appropriate development. Unfortunately, as we have seen, you chose to ignore our protestations only to support the contentious, and now rejected scheme.”

Knowsley council’s chief executive Sheena Ramsey rules out legal challenge to government decision on Everton FC stadium
Nov 27 2009 by Richard Down, Liverpool Echo
KNOWSLEY Council’s chief executive last night ruled out a legal challenge to the government decision. But Sheena Ramsey admitted there was a sense of regret that the authority was left without a Plan B for Kirkby. The authority, along with Everton FC, has never admitted to having a second option but many assumed that this was a matter of talking a good fight ahead of any government decision. But speaking to the ECHO, she said: “I kind of wish there was something we could pull out of the top drawer now we’re in this position. “But this was an all or nothing development. “If it wasn’t successful we would have to go back to the drawing board and that’s where we are now. “One of the problems we’ve faced is that people believe that there were other options that we’ve for some reason chosen to ignore. “That wasn’t the case.”
Yesterday the ruling Labour group’s Lib-Dem opponents said that someone should pay for the mistake. Cllr Fred Fricker said that council leader Ron Round should step down. Ms Ramsey said that was a political matter but did confirm that she had not held any conversations with Cllr Round concerning his future. But the three way exclusivity agreement was dead, she confirmed. Knowsley is free to look elsewhere for a partner in regenerating Kirkby although Tesco is still likely to be the private investor the council works with. Ms Ramsey said: “Tesco is not shackled to us now.
“But over the years we’ve worked together and developed a great understanding and got a great idea of what is needed for Kirkby.” She repeated her real disappointment that the council’s efforts to bring about a massive change to Kirkby’s fortunes fell through. She said: “Personally, I feel this is a missed opportunity. “People have worked phenomenally hard to get to this point. “It’s incredibly disappointing.”
But she said the council had not totally given up of the idea of bringing Everton to Kirkby after John Denham’s letter refused to rule out a future “appropriate” stadium scheme. The letter said that inspector Wendy Burden was concerned about the conditions for those residnets living with Everton’s proposed stadium.
But this did not rule out an alternative proposal for a stadium. “New schemes would be considered on their own merits.” Ms Ramsey said: “That is an interesting chink of light. Everton’s view at this stage would be that we’re not ruling anything out.
“It is an interesting twist in the tale but one that would require a whole new application and a whole new set of work – we have spent a number of years getting to this stage. “I’m really looking forward to a full post mortem.” She admitted the council needs to deal with those affected by compulsory purchase orders along Cherryfield Drive but said Knowsley is not in a position to be able to take definitive steps yet. She said: “That’s something we need to look very quickly look at. The CPOs were for that particular scheme and we’re looking at them as a matter of urgency.”

Everton FC stadium decision: Searching for Plan B
Nov 27 2009 by Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
In a highly-personal piece, Paddy Shennan, who voted "No" when Everton asked fans if they wanted to move to Kirkby, calls for a summit meeting of ALL interested parties n a bid to help the club move forward
LET’S be honest, it wasn’t the “deal of the century” was it? And if you’re going to walk away from the drawing board after only coming up with one plan – Plan A – then that plan had better be a foolproof, Government-proof, everything-proof plan of painstakingly precise proportions. But it’s what happens from now on that’s important – how the club moves forward from here. No offence to former Everton chief executive Keith Wyness, but there always has to be a Plan B. If you are dispassionate – do dispassionate football fans exist? – you could see the arguments for a Kirkby/Everton marriage: Kirkby is in need of regeneration and Everton is in need of a stadium fit for the 21st century. But it would have been a marriage of convenience.
There is a debate about the type and scale of regeneration which Kirkby needs – but, to my mind, the debate about Everton and Kirkby begins and ends with the three Ls: location, location, location. “But it’s only a few miles from L4 4EL,” cried the “Yes” men and women – but so is Birkenhead and I don’t think it’d be right for Everton to relocate to the Wirral, either. The location argument extends to areas within Liverpool’s boundaries. Keep Everton In Our City? Only a guarded “yes” to that, because I wouldn’t want to have to watch Everton in Speke, either. No offence to Kirkby, no offence to Speke – and no offence to Birkenhead, just in case someone suggests we do a Gerry Marsden. Developers have been queuing up to move into Kirkby and it’d be no surprise if its town centre was redeveloped before Everton unveiled a new (or, perhaps, new-look) stadium. Stadium moves may happen relatively quickly elsewhere – in Manchester and North London, for example – but Evertonians (and Liverpudlians, for that matter) have been involved in solemn debates about leaving home for more than 40 years. Peter Robinson, who served as Liverpool FC club secretary and then chief executive and vice-chairman between 1965 and 2000, first advocated the building of a new shared stadium (in Aintree) in an article for the Football ECHO in 1966. In 1990, there was talk of a shared “super stadium” being built on the city council-owned Kirkby Golf Course on the Liverpool/Knowsley border. Stadium Mersey Ltd (the organisation behind the plan) said it would be the finest sporting venue in the country. Had the two clubs been as enthusiastic as the developers and Liverpool city council, Everton and Liverpool would now be in their 17th season in their joint home (the plan was to open it at the start of the 1993-94 season). In a highly-personal piece, Paddy Shennan, who voted "No" when Everton asked fans if they wanted to move to Kirkby, calls for a summit meeting of ALL interested parties n a bid to help the club move forward
Later in the decade, then Everton chairman Peter Johnson revisited Kirkby Golf Course – although, again, nothing came of it. Next up, of course, was the Kings Dock fiasco of 2003 – to the minds of a great many Evertonians, including myself, the best and most exciting plan to slip through our fingers. Everton – and the city of Liverpool – cannot allow time and money to be wasted on another long, drawn-out saga which is going to lead to a dead-end. The next plan must be THE plan. It must become a reality. It’s time for people to clear their heads. It’s time to move on from any recriminations – on all sides. It’s time for resolve in redrawing the future for one of this city’s most important institutions. Everything should be on the table and everyone should be invited to join Everton’s hierarchy, led by chairman Bill Kenwright, around the table: including the city’s political leaders; a government minister or two; members of bodies such as Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Regional Development Agency and, I would suggest, a representative of Keep Everton In Our City. KEIOC got under the skin of many people (isn’t that a sign of a well-organised campaign group?) but is obviously made up of passionate fans who want the best for their club – and they have also built up much knowledge about some key issues. Diaries need to be cleared while a respected figure (a neutral individual from a European city, perhaps, which knows all about the passions aroused by football and regeneration – Barcelona, for example) could be invited to help steer the discussions towards a, hopefully, meaningful conclusion. There are no easy answers and much needs to be thrashed out – potential new locations, the possibility of financial aid and partnerships and the prospects (however remote) of a redevelopment of Goodison Park or a shared stadium. It’s good to talk . . . isn’t it?
Who knows, it might even lead to the unearthing of a Plan B.
WHAT do you think?
Write to The Editor, Liverpool ECHO, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB or email us at letters@liverpoolecho.co.uk
In a highly-personal piece, Paddy Shennan, who voted "No" when Everton asked fans if they wanted to move to Kirkby, calls for a summit meeting of ALL interested parties n a bid to help the club move forward
Fans’ reaction from www.liverpoolecho.co.uk
PETE 1878: Without this stadium there is no five-year plan. There isn’t any plan apart from staying in the Premier League every season and maybe qualifying for Europe. How can we hope to attract players, the best coaches (nothing against Moyes here!)? So, you’ve kept Everton in our city, now what are we going to do?
DUVALLONLINE: I’d personally like to see a study carried out by both clubs into the viability of a joint stadium built in Speke.
Loads of land, great transport links, still in Liverpool, neutral ground for both clubs and government funding would be available. I think there would be a lot of blinkered fans, diehard loyal to the current locations, but we have to move to expand.
BABYSOP: This is definitely a case of Goliath stamping all over David. Kirkby has been left to rot for years and the only glimmer of investment in the past however many years has been stopped by neighbours ‘because they may take their custom’. Can’t remember anybody piping up about Liverpool One when that was built.
Just devastating.
FINCHFARMBLUE: Let’s watch as KEIOC suddenly deliver the investment plan and the money they claim is really out there? Of course they won’t and the no campaigners will slip away as the club crumbles and the city council smirks as their beloved Reds continue to be supported at all costs.
JONALDO: Surely now is the time to press ahead with a joint stadium in Stanley Park. The city of Liverpool needs to be part of the World Cup bid. Can’t we for once put common sense above rivalry?
MCBLUE: If Goodison Park had been allowed to die part of me would have died with it. All true Blues should rejoice.

Everton FC stadium decision: Views from www.liverpoolecho.co.uk
Nov 27 2009 Liverpool Echo
Pauly2: What a disgrace!!! Kirkby is dying, look at the industrial estate it’s a ghost town... I’m totally shocked that it’s been turned down, its their loss I hope they’re happy!!!!
BDF32: As someone who moved to Kirkby for a better life away from football stadia, this is the best decision.
jarty: Anybody who knows the full facts will tell you this project was doomed from the start.
themeister: Overall I‘m very pleased it’s been rejected and now we need a town centre that fits the people of Kirkby not all the surrounding areas.
miketheblue: This is good news for the club which will stop us becoming the next MK Dons, i.e a club that is disconnected from the community that created it.
captaintruth: Once again a massive own goal by the people of Kirkby. The town centre is a shambles and cannot be fixed without demolition.
D2009: Right decision but for the wrong reasons. More should have been said in the final decision about its impact on local Kirkby residents

David Prentice: Kirkby snub can break down Everton FC’s divisions
Nov 27, 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SO Kirkby is now a termination, not a destination. The deal of the century has joined Kings Dock as a footnote in Everton’s home-owning history. And you know what, I’m kind of glad. Not because I was ever ardently against the move. I’ve written in the past that I was uneasy about the switch, but could see no alternative.
But this morning I’m relieved because the issue divided Evertonians like no other, and a divided football club is clearly a weaker one. Everton now have the opportunity to pull together. The bickering and infighting which has infected messageboards and letters pages must end. Everton needs its fans to present a united front because the grand old football club is at a pivotal point in its fortunes. Their present stadium is atmospheric, but outdated. They do not have the funds to either rebuild it, or construct another. And that lack of a new arena appears to be turning away anybody even remotely interested in investing in one of English football’s most famous names.
Everton need help. Perhaps their first port of call should be the City Council which campaigned so hard to keep them in the city. The body which granted Liverpool FC planning permission to build on a Victorian Park without so much as proof of funding, yet knocked back planning permission for their neighbours to build houses on the site of their old training ground, owes Everton. Unfortunately our civic leaders are often muddled in their thinking. Yesterday we had the bizarre sight of Council representatives travelling to London with a World Cup bid which contained a proposed new stadium – a project already derided by their leader as: “A glorified cow shed built in a small town outside Liverpool.” Bet that impressed the bid assessors.
So perhaps it’s best if Everton look elsewhere. They’re unlikely to get help from across the park, nor should they. The shared stadium is a non-starter.
I’ve long believed it’s the most sensible option for both clubs, but when has good sense ever held sway in football? And at this moment in time Everton seek to benefit far more than their neighbours from sharing a stadium. Which is why Liverpool won’t consider it. The naming rights alone for a new Anfield are worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Whether Evertonians like it or not, Anfield is a name which resonates around Europe. Would there be the same scramble from blue chip businesses if the stadium was not a new Anfield, but a new Goodfield or a new Anison Park?
I think not. So Everton need to look again. But if Everton need help, surely they can help themselves. And they can do so by following the historical lead of their neighbours. When Bill Shankly swaggered into Anfield 50 years ago next week, he declared: “Anfield was the biggest toilet in Liverpool. I had to bring water in from Oakfield Road. It cost £3,000. There was no water to flush the toilets.”
Six years later a newspaper article appeared which had the legendary Liverpool manager choking on his morning tea and toast. His copy of the Sunday Express carried the following quote: “We can never be as big as Everton. They have a bigger ground, twice as many seats and they’re backed by John Moores.” Those words were spoken by a Liverpool chairman, and they were a red rag to a managerial bull.
TV Williams, of course, was wrong. But it needed a man with enthusiasm, passion and most of all vision to prove him wrong. I believe the current Everton manager possesses all of those qualities. But David Moyes needs help from everyone connected with his football club – fans included – if he is to continue dragging the Blues up from their current precarious place. The football landscape has changed dramatically since Goodison Park was a palace capable of hosting a World Cup semi-final and Anfield was “a toilet.” But it’s not impossible for a football club to transform its fortunes.
Ask Wigan Athletic, a non-league club playing at ramshackle Springfield Park in 1978, or Hull City, bottom of the fourth division at a decrepit Boothferry Park barely a decade ago. Everton have to help themselves if they are to escape their current alarming position. And they have to do it together.

Everton FC in freefall - so get your money on a 2-0 win!
Nov 27, 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL have every reason to be worried about Sunday’s derby match, because Everton are playing like an out of tune piano. That old myth about the formbook is rubbish – the team playing best usually wins. Except when Everton are faced with times of crisis. Then a derby match usually brings the bloody-minded best out of them. Remember 1993? Everton were, let’s be kind, inconsistent (they lost their next home game 5-1 to Norwich!) and on their way to their first great escape.
They won the Goodison derby 2-0. A year later Everton were in even worse condition. The Blues had made their worst start to a season in the club’s history, had just sacked one manager and appointed another, who then had to cut his teeth in a Goodison derby. Of course Everton won 2-0. Three years later they were struggling again, putting in the worst performance it has ever been my misfortune to see any Everton side produce, and had players who openly rebelled against their manager on a Highfield Road pitch. Three days later Everton won 2-0. A score so unlikely the Z-Cars was abandoned in favour of the Tales of the Unexpected theme tune at the final whistle. Fast forward a decade to a Wednesday night shocker which prompted Goodison legend Graeme Sharp to describe the first 45 minutes as the worst he has seen under David Moyes. So what price Everton 2 Liverpool 0 on Sunday?

Howard Kendall: Keeping Steven Gerrard quiet is key to Everton’s derby hopes
Nov 27 2009 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
BOTH Everton and Liverpool are struggling at the moment but a derby victory would give them either of them a much needed lift. Sunday’s clash at Goodison is vital for both clubs after their recent disappointments. And whoever comes out on top could find it changes their season. Everton’s preparations haven’t been ideal with back to back defeats to Manchester United and Hull but derbies are different.
David Moyes has had a dig about his players’ attitude but I don’t think that will be an issue on Sunday. Everyone will be up for it and remember Liverpool have got problems of their own. What does concern me a little is how we are going to deal with Steven Gerrard. I think Sunday is one of those rare occasions when you have to have special tactics to stop a particular player. Gerrard makes them tick in that role behind a lone striker and keeping him quiet is crucial. He needs to be man marked and Phil Neville would have been ideal for that job, but with him injured John Heitinga could carry out that role. The Blues’ biggest problem is that they are leaking so many goals.
The warning signs were there at West Ham who could have had half a dozen.
And my concerns were justified with three goals conceded at Old Trafford and again at Hull on Wednesday. We started off too defensively minded against United. I didn’t have a problem with only playing one up front but the overall mentality of the side was negative. Nobody could accuse the manager of not being positive at Hull as he played both Yakubu and Saha up front but we found ourselves 3-0 down at half-time.
Injuries have been a major factor and with a number of new faces in the squad it was bound to take time to gel. But we’ve still got enough experience at the back to be performing a lot better. There’s no question we’ve really missed Neville in the middle as the back four just aren’t getting enough protection. Everton’s priority, starting Sunday, is to keep things tight. If they do that they’ll have a great chance of derby glory.

Liverpool and Everton players show their true colours
Nov 27, 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RYAN BABEL believes he has sacrificed a lot in his time at Anfield. “As a Liverpool player I can't play in my blue Nike boots. Blue is Everton's colour and Liverpool and Everton are rivals in everything,” he complained. At least Babel only had to sacrifice a pair of football boots. When Howard Kendall signed for Everton in 1967 he arrived in a bright red MGB GT sports car. “Get it resprayed or prepare for the worst,” warned his manager, Harry Catterick. Within a week Howard returned with his car a colour he described as “Diplomatic Blue!”

Knowsley council and Tesco hold talks over Kirkby’s future after Everton FC stadium scheme fails
Nov 28 2009 by Richard Down, Liverpool Echo
TALKS were held to begin the process of building a new regeneration plan for Kirkby in the wake of the government throwing out Everton FC’s stadium scheme.
Knowsley council’s chief executive Sheena Ramsey was locked in talks yesterday afternoon with supermarket giant Tesco. This time, their plans will have to be much smaller than the failed £400m project, which would have made Kirkby one of Merseyside’s leading shopping centres. A less ambitious scheme would be unlikely to fall foul of either complex strategic planning guidelines or unhappy neighbours, who feared shoppers would be sucked out of their towns. In parliament yesterday, Knowsley North MP George Howarth also began to gather support for a slimline redevelopment package for Kirkby which could be fast tracked through the planning process. Mr Howarth said he had taken heart from comments made by business and innovation minister Pat McFadden, which suggested government would support a “modified” second application to “find a way through the log jam.” Mr Howarth said: “It is clear from that response the door is ajar for an application to be submitted.
“The initial focus of my attention, and that of Knowsley council, is to work out whether or not such an approach would be possible and worthwhile. “I fervently hope it will be.” The MP told the House of Commons he would withdraw support from Labour in any future debate or bill unless the issue was resolved satisfactorily.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are continuing to review the decision and as part of that process, we met the council and held discussions. “It is for too soon to say exactly what the next steps might be because we are still going through the secretary of state’s report in detail.” Council leader Ron Round yesterday held the first meeting of the region’s “super-cabinet” since the stadium and shops bid foundered. But it is understood Everton, Tesco and the failed Destination Kirkby project were not discussed. Politicians hope to come up with a new proposal which unifies opinion in Kirkby. Mr Howarth said: “I fully recognise this is an issue which divided opinion in the town. “But the last local elections, where Labour councillors who supported the proposal were elected in every seat, showed a substantial majority of people supported it.” Graffiti was spotted in Kirkby accusing the government and Labour of conspiring to destroy the town.

Winning not quitting is David Moyes’ only goal: Everton FC latest
Nov 28 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IT IS perhaps an understatement to say that David Moyes is not a quitter.
When the going gets tough, the ambitious Scot rolls up his sleeves and finds a way to turn defeats into wins and poor form into success. It is that remarkable ability which has marked him out as one of the brightest young managers in Europe while at Everton, and a quality his is nowhere near relinquishing. While some errant mischief-makers have suggested Moyes may be about to quit Goodison, he insists the truth is quite the opposite. He said: “It’s complete nonsense that I’d want to leave. I’ve been here for seven and a half years, I worked very hard to get here and I’ll continue to work hard for the club. “We’re in a bad moment just now but I am going to try and get through it. I’ve got great respect for the supporters - if they thought it wasn’t David Moyes then I’d have to think about it but at the moment I’ll need to keep working hard with the players.” That hard work will continue on Sunday with a must-win Merseyside derby at Goodison. “Firstly it’s three points is what’s at stake,” he says. “ It’s three points which are important to any Premier League side. Then it’s the derby which is important if you live in the city or are involved in either of the clubs.
“We are going into this game in need of three points but I’ve probably gone into every game needing three points so it’s not too different. “You can almost smell the atmosphere on derby day. You can spell the difference in attitude, the anticipation. People getting ready to come to the game – because I’ve been a fan and I remember getting ready for the game like that. “Maybe some of the players could do with walking up to the ground sometime and seeing what it feels like for supporters. That feeling can get taken away from them with the world we live in. “If you’ve been a player since you were 18 and you’re 28, there’s 10 years when you haven’t had that feeling of walking up to the game too often at 2.40pm. Instead you might have been away from it all having your pre-match meal and that side of it. “It’s important the players realise that excitement and anticipation. The players should be up for every game though. For me I shouldn’t be talking about that attitude because it should be a given.” Moyes insisted once again that the buck stops with him. “I’m responsible for signing the players,” he says. “ I’ve signed all the players here and they should all be shaking my hand and thanking me for asking to sign for Everton because it’s such a great club and for some of them it might never get any better and they should be welcoming it. They need to be the ones when they cross the white line who ultimately take it on. “There have been times when I’ve thought how is this going to change?
“But football has a funny way of getting you results. I remember a couple of seasons ago at Sunderland when we got a late goal and it changed the season.
“There are moments when it can change and the whole world can look a lot rosier.
“It’s complete nonsense that I’d want to leave. I’ve been here for seven and a half years. “I worked very hard to get here and I’ll continue to work hard for the club.
“We’re in a bad moment just now but I am going to try and get through it. I’ve got great respect for the supporters – if they thought it wasn’t David Moyes then I’d have to think about it but at the moment I’ll need to keep working hard withthe players.
“We’ve not done anything different so far than we did with the players who finished fifth last year, or the year before so it’s not as if we’re trying anything weird and wonderful. “This is why I’m saying - yes I’ll always take ultimate responsibility, it’s my job - I still think some of the players need to stand up and take more responsibility than they have this season. Despite the despondency of the post-Kirkby rejection landscape; a lack of imminent funds and stadium plans up in the air, the Scot refuses to concede he could consider leaving. “Carrying on is the right thing to do,” he said emphatically. “It’s the right thing to go on with it. It will change. Maybe now with Kirkby coming to an end, if you had been interested in buying Everton F.C you’d have waited until the decision was out. “ If you were going to buy a house you wouldn’t go ahead and buy it if you thought in six months the price would change or you would get more out of it. “Maybe any suitors out there would see this as their chance even though we’re not in a great world as far as finance goes. “It’s clear now that Kirkby isn’t happening – our chairman has been brilliant and honest – he’s said we need finances and he’s willing to speak to whoever wants to do it. “We’re also waiting for the council. They didn’t want us to leave so now I’m looking forward to seeing the sites which they recommend we move to.” Pressed on other options for the ground, he said: “Can we redevelop Goodison? I’d love it to be Goodison but I don’t know if it’s even financially viable or workable.” He stressed that moving to Kirkby would not have meant the club losing its identity. “It’s important we don’t lose our identity but if it had gave the club a chance of competing against the big clubs, it might have enhanced their reputation. It might have made them, attract bigger players and enhanced it rather than hindered it. “We now we can’t go to Kirkby but we know what we need. “I think the council should be taking us and showing us what they’ve got. I’d say; ‘Come on show us your goods.”

Peter Beardsley knows value of Merseyside derby victory having played for Liverpool and Everton
Nov 28 2009 by David Randles, Liverpool Echo
PETER BEARDSLEY is a rarity in Merseyside derby history.
As one of just two players alongside David Johnson to score the winner for Liverpool and Everton against the other, he is also one of a very select few still to be held in high esteem by both sets of fans.
If Beardsley was to be presented on the pitch at half-time on Sunday he would probably get a warm reception from all four corners of Goodison Park.
“I’m not sure about that,” he says. “I appreciate the thought but it would more likely be a minute’s silence!” His four years with Liverpool compared to just two at Everton means he will be leaning toward a Red victory tomorrow. “Simply because I won trophies with Liverpool,” he explains. “But that’s not to take anything from Everton. Howard Kendall was one of the best managers I ever worked with. “Although by the time I arrived Everton weren’t the team that they’d been under Howard in the mid-80s, he and Colin Harvey were absolutely sensational. Their knowledge of the game was second to none. When I left Liverpool people said it would be all downhill but Everton proved otherwise. The club and the fans were absolutely top class with me.”
They say form goes out the window in the derby. Fans of both a Red and Blue persuasion will be hoping that’s the case on Sunday. Liverpool’s record of two wins from 11 games is marginally better than Everton’s one win in 10, while both teams have accrued just five league points each from the last possible 18. Beardsley agrees there is more than just local bragging rights at stake this weekend. “Both teams have struggled to find any form or consistency this season, but I still believe there are a good few teams that would swap places with Everton in the table right now.
“They’ve become much stronger under David Moyes. “I also fully expect Liverpool to be in the top four come the end of the season. Alberto Aquilani is a top player. He showed flashes of what he is capable of in the Carling Cup against Arsenal. Once he’s match fit I think he will make a difference. “Then there’s Fernando Torres. He can win games on his own and could be key to Liverpool’s chances on Sunday if he’s available.” Injuries have been a major factor for both clubs this season.
While Rafael Benitez will hand a late fitness test to Torres ahead of the short trip to Goodison, Moyes has greater concerns. Steven Pienaar returned for the 3-2 defeat at Hull in midweek but the Blues are still without key men Mikel Arteta, Phil Neville and Phil Jagielka, plus Louis Saha and Jack Rodwell could also be the subject of late fitness tests. “It’s been a massive problem for both manager’s this season,” says Beardsley. “When you lose players like that, or in Liverpool’s case Gerrard and Torres, you’re not going to be the same team. “If Manchester United were to suddenly lose Wayne Rooney I doubt very much if they’d be the same side. “A win for either will provide great confidence moving forward. Everton have lost too many games of late whereas Liverpool seem to take one step forward and two steps back. They appear to have broken the hoodoo of struggling against the smaller clubs though. Even the games they’ve lost have come against some good sides. “They both need a win though and there is no better game than a derby to do that.” With a Premier League record of 17 red cards in this fixture, the Merseyside derby is littered with villains.
It often throws up heroes too, a feeling Beardsley has experienced on both sides of Stanley Park. “I managed to score the winner for both Liverpool and then later Everton at Goodison,” recalls Beardsley, who figured in 14 derbies for Liverpool, facing Everton more times for the Reds than any other club. “When I scored against Liverpool in a 2-1 win there (in 1992) it was at the same end where I’d got past Martin Keown to score two for Liverpool in a 3-2 win a few years earlier. It’s a great feeling to score in a derby. Looking back it’s those moments in your career that are so special.”

David Moyes urges Tim Cahill to fire up Everton team-mates ahead of Merseyside derby
Nov 28 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Ech
DAVID MOYES today called for Tim Cahill to re-create the form which made him the player other teams hate to face. The Everton boss said the 29-year-old stand-in skipper is the right man to fire his team-mates up, and get their confidence flowing again on derby day. Australian international Cahill has struggled to reach his usual heights this season, scoring just twice so far and having to play out of position regularly. He has also missed the influence of his friend Mikel Arteta, who is recovering from a serious knee injury in Spain. Moyes said: “I think Tim did better in midweek against Hull than he has done this season. “He is missing one or two of his buddies in the team who have helped him, but he needs to realise now it’s up to him to drag everyone along as well and take on a different type of responsibility.
“I speak to him and the other players all the time when I don’t think they’ve been doing it. I don’t wait until the derby. “Tim in the past has come up with really important goals – not just in derby games but against the Chelseas and Man Uniteds and you’ve seen what he’s done for Australia in big games. “I think he is well aware his form is below what it should be normally.” Moyes, who has rubbished rumours he is considering quitting, will give late derby-day fitness tests to French striker Louis Saha and Jack Rodwell, who limped off against Hull on Wednesday with a groin strain. Saha has been carrying an injury for several games, and appeared in discomfort towards the end of the Blues’ 3-2 defeat at the KC stadium. Meanwhile Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is dreaming of scoring the winning goal against Liverpool at Goodison on Sunday. The recruit from Lokomotiv Moscow said: “I hope someone scores the winner for Everton on Sunday and I would of course like that to be me! Though it really doesn’t matter who it is because it’s more important we win the derby. “ If it is me who gets the winning goal then I will be doubly pleased. I know the Merseyside derby is a big match for everyone, the fans and the players. “Liverpool is a big footballing city and all the fans look only for the two derby games when the fixtures come out. The game will be hard but I believe Everton can win it.
“I have spoken to the others about the derby and they have told me what to expect. I know we go into it fighting and we like to win it.”

Everton FC 0, Liverpool FC 2
Nov 29, 2009 by James Pearce
LIVERPOOL triumphed in the 212th Merseyside derby as a Joseph Yobo own goal and a late strike from Dirk Kuyt wrapped up a 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.
It was the Reds’ eighth win in their last 10 league trips across Stanley Park and revenge for their FA Cup exit when the clubs last met back in February.
However, the scoreline was undoubtedly harsh on Everton who bossed the game for long periods and missed a string of chances. Only some woeful finishing and expert goalkeeping from Pepe Reina kept the hosts at bay before Kuyt’s goal 10 minutes from time settled it. Victory re-ignites the Reds’ push for a top four finish and leaves the Blues dangerously close to the Premier League drop zone after a run of just one win in their last 11 games. Both clubs went into the game having taken just five out of the last 18 points on offer and in desperate need of a boost. Rafa Benitez kept faith with the side which beat Debrecen 1-0 in midweek, while David Moyes made four changes following the Blues’ 3-2 defeat at Hull. Tony Hibbert was preferred at right-back to Lucas Neill and Jo was recalled up front as the Everton boss reverted back to playing 4-5-1. The home midfield was boosted by the return from suspension of Marouane Fellaini and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Yakubu and Louis Saha dropped to the bench, while Jack Rodwell was ruled out with a groin injury. In a typically frenetic opening chances came and went at both ends with David Ngog shooting tamely at Tim Howard, while Bilyaletdinov failed to convert at the back post after Tim Cahill flicked on Hibbert’s cross. However, it was Liverpool who made the breakthrough in the 12th minute. Javier Mascherano let fly from 25 yards out and his shot took a wicked deflection off Joseph Yobo and left Howard helpless as it flew into the bottom corner. The Argentinean midfielder couldn’t contain his delight and raced to the other end of the ground to celebrate in front of the visiting fans. Everton refused to let the goal deflate them and they responded positively to that setback. Four minutes later they should have been level. Hibbert’s long throw was flicked on by Fellaini and then brushed off Jamie Carragher’s head. It dropped perfectly for Bilyaletdinov at the far post but with the net gaping he fluffed his shot side. Roared on by a passionate home support, the Blues continued to press and Liverpool rode their luck. Glen Johnson had to scramble the ball behind after Pepe Reina failed to hold Jo’s close range effort, while Steven Pienaar fired over from the edge of the box after good work from Fellaini. Everton cranked up the pressure and forced a succession of corners. Just past the half hour mark they thought they had restored parity. Jo latched on to Bilyaletdinov’s pass and slotted past Reina but his celebrations were curtailed by the assistant’s flag. Replays suggested the Brazilian was marginally offside.
After going in front Liverpool had barely threatened but they almost doubled their advantage four minutes before the break. Emiliano Insua met Johnson’s cross with a bullet header which Howard did brilliantly to push away to safety.
On the stroke of half-time Everton had the ball in the net again but this time there was no debate over the decision. Jo turned in Baines’ cross from a yard out but was clearly in an offside position. The second half continued in a similar vein with Liverpool forced on to the back foot. Reina was out quickly to save at Jo’s feet, while the Blues had pleas for a penalty waved away after Jamie Carragher climbed above Fellaini in the box. Just before the hour mark Reina couldn’t hold Pienaar’s fierce drive and the Reds keeper was relieved to gather the ball behind him at the second attempt.
With 24 minutes to go Moyes brought on Saha in place of Jo and it remained largely one-way traffic. It took a stunning double save from Reina to keep Liverpool’s lead intact on 70 minutes. Cahill’s header from John Heitinga’s free-kick appeared destined to find the bottom corner but Reina somehow clawed the ball out.
The shot-stopper was then was up quickly to block Fellaini’s shot from the follow-up and somehow force the ball behind. Liverpool had barely threatened in the second half but with 10 minutes to go they wrapped up the points.
Yobo’s error let Gerrard in and he teed up substitute Albert Riera. The Spaniard’s low shot was parried by Howard but Dirk Kuyt was on hand to net the rebound.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Yobo (Neill 86), Distin, Baines, Pienaar, Heitinga, Cahill (Yakubu 81), Fellaini, Bilyaletdinov, Jo (Saha 66).
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Kuyt, Lucas, Mascherano, Aurelio (Riera 78), Gerrard, Ngog (Benayoun 75).
Referee: Alan Wiley

Everton FC 0, Liverpool FC 2: Happy Days for Rafa Benitez as the Fonz looks on
Nov 30 2009 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
IT WAS almost as if Bill Kenwright was actively tempting fate. Never one to miss the opportunity of raising his club’s profile, the Everton owner invited Henry Winkler, better known as the Fonz, as a guest of honour at Goodison yesterday. But this was anything but a happy day for the Blue half of Merseyside as Liverpool continued their hold over this Premier League fixture to kickstart their campaign and nudge their neighbours further towards a winter of discontent. Winkler, who is playing Captain Hook in pantomime in the city this Christmas, looked on as Everton largely dominated a frenetic, sub-standard derby only to be undermined by poor fortune and poor finishing. As Esther Ranzten, another celebrity to drop in on the local spat, might well say, that’s life. Certainly, Rafael Benitez is unlikely to feel much sympathy towards Goodison counterpart David Moyes having grown tired of dwelling on his team’s ill fortune in recent times. There could be no such complaints yesterday, however. From the moment Javier Mascherano’s speculative 25-yard effort struck the boot of Joseph Yobo and looped beyond Tim Howard into the goal in the 12th minute, the evidence was there to suggest Liverpool’s luck was finally beginning to change.
Of course, it will take more than one scrappy, fortuitous victory to convince that a hugely disappointing season has turned a decisive corner. But the confidence taken from this victory – Liverpool’s eighth in their last 10 league visits to Goodison – cannot be underestimated, particularly given the manner in which a much-derided defence held firm in the face of concerted Everton pressure. How apt Pepe Reina should emerge as an influential figure yesterday, the goalkeeper having been one of the few consistently shining lights during a gloomy autumn for Benitez.
It was his stupendous double save from Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini 20 minutes from time that ensured an all-too-rare Premier League clean sheet for Liverpool and knock the wind out of Everton’s sails. Few could have quibbled had the home side earned at least a point. Moyes’s men played the better football in responding to their manager’s call to stand up and be counted after the horrors at Hull City last Wednesday. No more so than Steven Pienaar, by far the game’s most creative force until understandably fading in the soggy conditions. The South African was aided by Fellaini, who produced by some distance his best display of the season and whose aerial prowess – which overstepped the mark with one challenge that drew blood from Lucas – caused Liverpool continued problems. But for all their application, effort and desire, the touch of class and guile that may have made the difference was lacking, Everton eventually resorting to punting long balls into the area in the forlorn hope Liverpool’s defence would cough up a mistake. Yes, the harsh facts make for painful reading. One win in 11. Six points from a possible 24. Three points off the relegation places. Not to mention the failure of the Destination Kirkby project. Yet despite being dragged ever nearer the drop zone, surely Everton will only be looking up the table if they can build on this form in the coming weeks. Liverpool, too, can afford to realign their sights with the top four now within touching distance once again after responding well to their Champions League exit five days earlier. With Fernando Torres having failed a fitness test on his sportsman’s hernia and Steven Gerrard patently half-fit, the visitors were forced to dig deep and demonstrate a resilience and character that has been curiously lacking at times during this campaign. Whether this proves a turning point in their campaign is entirely in their own hands. Benitez has always stated a run of wins could transform his team’s season, and it would be unforgivable to waste this platform. Mascherano’s excessive celebrations after his Yobo-assisted opener, the midfielder running almost the full length of the field to gesticulate wildly in front of the travelling support, could be perceived as one in the eye for those who believe he would rather have been at the Camp Nou for Europe’s other big derby yesterday. Clearly, the Argentine has rediscovered his mojo and was again Liverpool’s most impressive performer, followed closely by Jamie Carragher, another to have attracted criticism after an indifferent opening few months to the campaign. This was the Carragher of old, revelling in his favourite fixture by launching into tackles and blocks while never giving an inch, complimented by the cool, composed but no less effective approach of centre-back partner Daniel Agger.
And the pair needed to be at their best with Everton’s search for an equaliser pushing Liverpool back for most of the first half. Jo, preferred as the lone striker by Moyes, twice had the ball in the net only to be correctly adjudged offside on each occasion, and also came close to connecting with Fellaini’s flick on from a Hibbert long ball.
A similar combination fashioned Everton’s best chance before the break, Hibbert’s long throw nodded on by Fellaini and eventually reaching the far post where an unmarked Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scuffed horribly wide from six yards.
Other than the goal, Liverpool’s only threat of note in the opening period came when Glen Johnson’s first real foray forward in the 41st minute culminated to the far post where an Emiliano Insua header was batted clear by a strong left arm from Howard.
After the interval, Reina, who had earlier spilled a Bilyaletdinov effort in the incessant rain, was almost embarrassed by a long-range Pienaar effort that momentarily slipped from his grasp. But the goalkeeper made amends when making a fine save down to his left to keep out Cahill’s header from a clipped Heitinga free-kick before getting to his feet swift enough to block Fellaini’s follow-up from point blank range.
Everton were deflated. And their – and Yobo’s – misery was made complete 10 minutes from time when, after the Nigerian miscued while attempting to clear a Dirk Kuyt header from Reina’s deep free-kick, Gerrard retrieved the ball and teed up substitute Albert Riera, whose shot was parried by Howard into the path of Kuyt to stab home. The Everton goalkeeper then saved from Riera to prevent a third goal that would have been faintly ridiculous in the context of the game. Happy days for Benitez and Liverpool, then. Everton, meanwhile, are still awaiting their good fortune.

Everton FC 0, Liverpool FC 2: Fortune deserts the brave
Nov 30 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool
DON'T tell anyone at Everton that fortune favours the brave. Fortune shamelessly abandoned the brave – and then cruelly sucker-punched them for good measure during the 212th Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. For large parts of this game Everton were the only side moving the ball with any purpose and creating chances with slick, vibrant football. They were transformed from the side which capitulated in Hull last week, and proved they have been listening to the harsh words their manager has been forced to dish out during a disappointing campaign so far. In the run-up to the game David Moyes had reminded his side that the absolute minimum required of them was to "run about", and consequently the Blues started the brighter and more energetic of the two teams. In fact Everton soon established a swagger to their play that would have even won them a thumbs up from the watching Henry Winkler, better known as Happy Days' The Fonz. Steven Pienaar set out his stall early with some typically eye-catching skill to beat Insua and then hit a wonderful cross which was just beyond lone front-man Jo. Then Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, restored to the side after serving a ban, almost slipped Tim Cahill in before Tony Hibbert joined the attack, sending in another dangerous cross. Nobody should have been surprised to have seen Hibbert brought back into the first team, a smart move in recognition of his years of derby experience. He was never going to let anyone down, and helped establish the early pressure Everton cranked up. Tim Cahill, another derby veteran, was firing on all cylinders looking to take the fight to a subdued Liverpool who were missing their Spanish talisman and carrying a clearly half-fit Steven Gerrard. But Evertonians of a pessimistic hue might have known things were going too smoothly. Calamity loomed out of nowhere when Javier Mascherano, going nowhere in front of goal, decided to try a speculative effort anyway. The Argentinian's strike was going handsomely wide only for a delfection from Joseph Yobo to cruelly carry it past a stranded Tim Howard. The Gwladys Street winced collectively, and they were entitled to feel hard done by as they struggled to come to terms with Liverpool's undeserved lead.
Undeterred, Everton continued to press with Heitinga and Marouane Fellaini thankfully playing further up the field instead of sitting too deeply as they have recently. The Belgian in particular was a revelation, at the heart of everything that was good about Everton. But while the Blues can blame bad luck for conceding early, they were given a golden chance to equalise near the half hour mark. Fellaini, who was dominant in the air, flicked on a throw and Jamie Carrgher could only nudge it to waiting right foot of Bilyaletdinov who conspired to fluff it. It was a gilt-edged chance, the sort of opening that teams can rarely afford to miss in derbies.
Still the Blues came forward. Liverpool for their part seemed to have surrendered the central midfield, leting Everton have all the play and minutes later Bily went close again, this time siezing on a Cahill knock-down and testing Reina with a volley as he fell. Pienaar's twinkling feet were making Everton tick - drifting into the centre, linking up play splendidly and looking dangerous whenever the ball was stuck to his lime green boots, but he wasted another chance for the Toffees, blasting over from 15 yards. Next it was Jo's turn, only wafting his big toe at a flick-on from Fellaini which was crying out for a purposeful finish. The Brazilian did better minutes later, cooly finishing past Reina but was judged fractionally off-side. Liverpool took a chance to remind Everton they were in a derby, with Tim Howard making a fantastic reflex save from an Insua header. But the half belonged to the side with the zero next to their name on the scoreboard.
Jo had the ball in the back of the Liverpool net again soon after, but this time there was no debating the off-side decision as he flicked his header home from directly in front of Reina. Half time saw no personnel changes for the and Pienaar's decision to swap boots did little to interrup hid mercurial flow. More skill from him again fed Jo whose anticipation was poor allowing reina to slide in and gather. Fellaini too was in no mood to relent and caused the first blood to be spilled, catching Lucas with an errant but not malicious elbow. Liverpool were giving the ball away with surprising regularity but as Everton continued to let chances go begging, the outcome seemed increasingly ominous. Saha, sill carrying a thigh injury, replaced Jo with the score still 0-1 and was on the pitch to witness the ultimate turning point. Pepe Reina, a keeper at the height of his powers, pulled off a magnificent double save to deny a barn-storming Cahill header and the follow-up from Fellaini. David Moyes was probably still wondering how his side weren't leading comfortably when Liverpool, with grim familiarity, put the game to bed. Joseph Yobo failed to deal with a clearance convincingly, Hibbert was hustled by Gerrard and it allowed sub Albert Riera to shoot. Tim Howard could only palm the effort into the path of Dirk Kuyt and the Dutchman finished, continued his streak of scoring against Everton. Yakubu entered the fray for Tim Cahill who had bravely expanded every last ounce of perspiration in him, and Neill replaced Yobo but it mattered little. The only talking point of the dying embers of the game was that it took 84 minutes for the first card to be shown, a yellow for the combative Heitinga. Benitez introduced Benayoun late on and the Israeli made Liverpool actually play some football, but they were already guaranteed the least deserved points they have taken from Goodison in a long time. Ultimately it was a severly galling defeat for the Blues, who arguably played their best football this season. Certainly harder to accept than many recent derby reverses. They sit three points away from the relegation zone today, with another stern test in the Europa league at Athens beckoning. But if there is anything David Moyes' Everton have proved, it is that they react well to adversity. Like when they nobly bowed out of the Uefa cup despite outplaying Fiorentina two years ago, or after they were robbed by Aston Villa last season, unjust defeats can spur them onto season defining runs of form. We can only hope this was one such watershed, because if not, all Everton's positivity will have counted for nothing.
EVERTON: Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Yobo, Heitinga, Bilyaletdinov, Jo, Distin, Cahill, Pienaar, Fellaini.
LIVERPOOL: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Gerrard, Aurelio, Kuyt, Mascherano, Lucas, Insua, Carragher, Ngog.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley

Tim Cahill: Everton FC are in real relegation trouble
Nov 30 2009 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool
TIM CAHILL today admitted Everton are in “big trouble” after they tasted derby defeat despite finally finding their form. The Aussie skipper believes his team-mates showed they are up for the fight of what is becoming an increasingly tortuous season, but rued their misfortune at losing a game they dominated 2-0. He said: “I think that’s the best we’ve played in a while. Our passing was good, we made lots of space with our movement and had two disallowed goals. “We were strong from corners too. It’s hard to take, but at this stage it’s not going to get any easier. We’re in a lot of trouble – the only way we can get out of it is by playing and working our way out of it.”
The 29-year-old Australian international, who saw a trade-mark goalbound header spectacularly saved by Pepe Reina in the second half, said the Blues have the right attitude to drag themselves up the table. They currently sit just three points above the relegation zone, with one win in 12 games. He said: “We’re too good to be in this position. It’s just one of those things and nothing’s going to fix it except our mental attitude as individuals and a team. I’m a lot more positive though – we played better football and had a much better attitude. On his chance, which would have equalised for Everton he said: “I’m gutted I didn’t score. You always think keepers left hands are weaker than their right but with Pepe at the minute he’s just as strong on his left as his right. “I could have headed it across the goal but I was going for power, and Felli folowed it up. We couldn’t hit a barn door at the minute but things like that change a season and I’m much happier with our approach. “It’s the over-all attitude and mental toughness that counts. I’m gutted for the fans and gutted for the team. “The attitude against Hull wasn’t good enough but today it was a lot better and we will keep fighting.” Everton’s squad fly out to Athens today to begin preparations for Wednesday’s decisive Europa league match against AEK. Several players will undergo fitness tests in advance, with Jack Rodwell still injured and Louis Saha still feeling the effects of a thigh injury despite coming on against Liverpool.

David Prentice's Mersey derby reaction: Liverpool got lucky, Everton didn’t
Dec 30, 2009, By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GIVEN the afternoon he’d endured, David Moyes’ reaction was understand- able. “Do you want this leaving on?” enquired an eager to please press officer, as the Blues boss trudged into the press room while Sir Steven Redgrave and Kelly Smith were still plucking balls from the FA’s drum. “No,” he rapped, probably fearing a third round trip to Melchester Rovers with Roy Race on a hot scoring streak. He needn’t have worried. Carlisle at home was a good draw. But it was the only thing which went right for him all day. David Moyes got all the running he demanded from his players, and a little bit more. He got commitment and character. And he got the best performance his side has produced in a derby match under his tenure. But he didn’t get that other quality which wins football matches. Luck. That was the bottom line at Goodison Park yesterday. Liverpool got lucky, Everton didn’t. And as a result the huge injection of confidence that a derby win can bring was pumped into red veins, not blue.
Rafa Benitez’s post-match suggestion that Everton played “a direct and set-pieces game” was perhaps designed to deflect from his own side’s deficiencies.
True, Everton’s best chance of the game came from three headed flick-ons, but the Blues mixed their game up impressively and it is still baffling to work out how they failed to win, let alone came away beaten. But lose they did, leaving their fans with the hollow taste of defeat, and their manager scrabbling around for positives.
At least this time David Moyes didn’t have to look far. Marouane Fellaini’s peerless performance showed that he should be left to grow into the holding midfield role, rather than lumped up front every time Everton lack a little physical presence.
He was the platform on which most of Everton’s attacking moves, considerable in the first 45 minutes, were constructed. He had willing accomplices in Steven Pienaar, comfortably the game’s most outstanding individual until he tired late on, and Tim Cahill, who showed signs of returning to his role of spiky little penalty box nuisance once again. But while they were the plusses, there were a couple of minuses – and both were predict- able. There were two players whose appearance on the teamsheet made the home fans nervous. Sadly both were involved in pivotal moments of the match. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s ability to cope with the intensity of a derby clash was queried ahead of the match, and he horribly scuffed Everton’s best chance of the day just five minutes after Liverpool’s fortuitous opener. Incongruously compared to Pele after his right footed finish for Russia a fortnight ago, his right foot this time showed all the elan of a house brick. Then there was the real Brazilian, real in birthplace at least. David Moyes raised an eyebrow or two when he declared afterwards that “Brazilian Jo played really well” (is the prefix always used to differentiate him from Nigerian Joe? Or because so many find it difficult to believe he actually hails from the country of Kaka and Robinho?) Either way Jo led the line adeptly enough, but always seemed back on his heels when the half-chances came calling. He didn’t quite react quickly enough to Pienaar’s defence-splitting pass, he didn’t quite connect with a left-footed first half volley and he didn’t quite keep himself onside when he finished impressively with the outside of his right foot. It is to be hoped the youngster doesn’t become a whipping boy of the home fans, but there were signs all around the ground of growing frustration at his display. Those groans apart, the Blues fans gave their side admirable backing until Dirk Kuyt finally ripped their heart out 10 minutes from time.
That came after Joseph Yobo’s second decisive miskick of the afternoon.
In echoes of Howard Kendall’s decision to haul off Gary Stevens in the first derby FA Cup final, Yobo was replaced soon after. Moyes’ frustration was palpable, but the Blues boss is not exactly blessed with central defensive options at present, and in hindsight perhaps he could have chosen not to undermine the player’s confidence any further. One man who never sufferes from a lack of confidence is referee Alan Wiley. Happily this time his self-confidence was not misplaced. There were widespread groans when it was revealed he was taking charge of the derby. But he displayed an understanding of the occasion and a hitherto hidden sensitivity, managing to keep his cards in his pocket until Johnny Heitinga finally gave him no option seven minutes from time. In a depressing postscript, Everton’s defeat meant the noughties have officially gone down as the Blues’ leanest decade for derby wins. They have managed just two League victories against their neighbours since the millennium dawned, eclipsing even the sorry seventies for league derby celebrations. At least their display gave them heart they can reverse that sorry statistic.

Defensive errors cost Everton dear complains David Moyes
Nov 30 2009
DAVID MOYES expressed his disappointment at the defensive errors which cost his side in yesterday’s derby match. The Blues dominated long periods of the 212th derby clash, but Joseph Yobo deflected a shot which was heading wide from Javier Mascherano past his own goalkeeper, then failed to cut out a pass which led to the match clinching second. He was substituted soon after and Moyes said afterwards: “In big games, you can’t . . . (make mistakes) well in any game, but in big games especially, that’s where you are hoping you don’t get situations where there’s mistakes. “It’s hard enough to score a goal without doing anything which makes it harder. “But overall I’ve got to say I thought the players did a good job.
“The players worked extremely hard and deserved more than they got in the end.”
In the first 45 minutes especially, Everton dominated but wasted a golden chance when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scuffed a shot wide from just six yards. After the break Pepe Reina made a stunning double save from Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini and Moyes added: “I thought that those chances were important in the game.
“Liverpool had one chance in the first half which was the header at the back post from Insua. “The deflected goal took the sting out of us slightly but I thought the players reacted great. They just kept going. “I don’t know how many times Liverpool had been in our half up until the deflected shot but it wasn’t many. I thought in the main we kept Liverpool quiet. “The two saves were important, but we had the Bilyaletdinov chance as well and up until the second goal I can’t remember Liverpool having a chance apart from the Insua header. “I thought the game was tight, with us in the main trying to set the tone and the pace of the game as much as we could to make it difficult for them. “So it’s disappointing that you don’t get anything for it.” Twice in the first half Brazilian striker Jo did get the ball into the Liverpool net, but he time his celebrations were cut shot by a linesman’s flag. Moyes had no complaints about either decision. “I think the linesman has got them correct,” he explained. “The first one was really tight but I think he just gets it right.” Louis Saha wasn’t considered fit enough to start and the Blues boss explained: “Saha hadn’t trained and he wasn’t even going to go on the bench, but it was justified because I thought Brazilian Jo did really well.
“I wasn’t going to put Saha on the bench at all because he has not trained since the game at Hull but he had a test on the pitch and felt he might be able to give me 20 minutes or so.“We got encouragement from our performance, but it doesn’t change our league position.



November 2009