Moyes weighs up his striking riches
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post Oct 1 2003
DAVID MOYES is unlikely to fast-track returning duo Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers into the Everton first team. Both players stepped up their comebacks from injury by playing the full 90 minutes of the mini-derby against Liverpool at Chester on Monday. It was Campbell's second reserve appearance in a week following his six-week absence with a hamstring injury, while Jeffers proved he has recovered from the back injury which ruled him out of the recent games against Middlesbrough and Leeds United. With Duncan Ferguson, Tomasz Radzinski, Wayne Rooney and Nick Chadwick all having been involved in recent weeks, Moyes has an embarrassment of riches up front. And the Blues boss is able to ensure Campbell and Jeffers are 100 per cent fit before being considered for selection. "Both needed the match practice and got 90 minutes on Monday," said Moyes. "In actual fact, they did a bit more running than expected because we were down to 10 men for the majority of the game. "Both looked like they needed a game in the next week to get them ready." Everton's next game is at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, but then there is a two-week break because of international commitments before the home clash with Southampton on October 19. In between, the Blues have home reserve games against Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion and Moyes is likely to take advantage of the break to improve the fitness of a number of recovering players, such as Campbell, Jeffers and Chinese international Li Tie. Campbell said: "I felt great. There are no problems with the hamstring and it is nice to get my first 90 minutes under my belt. "I have been training now for two weeks but I suppose I still have got a bit to do. This was my first full game back, but I have been working really hard." Meanwhile, Everton's reserve team boss Andy Holden has blasted referee Robert Lewis following the sending-off of Peter Clarke on Monday. The Shropshire-based official dismissed Clarke in the 24th minute for two bookable offences as the Blues slipped to a 1-0 defeat. And Holden said: "I don't normally speak about referees but he was a joke all night. "I said to the lads before the game that there was an audience here, there was 3,000 or whatever it may have been. "As soon as I saw that I knew that the referee would want to be seen and that's exactly what happened."
* EVERTON'S Carling Cup third round clash with Charlton Athletic will take place on Wednesday, October 29 at 8pm. Ticket prices will be £15 for adults and £5 for concessions.
By Simon Stone, Daily Post Oct 1 2003
EVERTON will face a new-look Tottenham side when they travel to White Hart Lane on Saturday.
After a dismal start to the new campaign, which saw Glenn Hoddle axed as manager after collecting just four points from the opening six games, Spurs have emerged from a turbulent week showing distinct signs of improvement. Under stand-in boss David Pleat, the under-achieving Londoners have scored an impressive Carling Cup win at Coventry, then followed up with a battling 0-0 draw at Manchester City on Sunday. While Pleat was hardly in a position to claim his side deserved the point which took them out of the bottom three, he was able to celebrate a second successive clean sheet and the vindication of his decision to abandon Hoddle's 3-5-2 formation in favour of a more conventional 4-4-2 system. The use of wing-backs has been a hallmark of Hoddle's managerial career so far and, in fairness, has brought him a degree of success. However, Pleat's experience tells him that it is not the best way to get results in the Premiership, particular with a core of English defenders. And he believes player power could be the key to struggling Tottenham turning their season around. So, having taken the advice of the senior members of his squad, Pleat scrapped Hoddle's favoured approach and gave the players what they wanted. ."The manager has to be a dictator but he must also make the players feel it is a democracy," said Pleat. "We always invite players to discuss things with us because they have to be comfortable with what we want them to do. "No system of play can disguise bad passing or poor general play but British players tend to be brought up with a very basic system and unless you have two very good wing backs or three central defenders who are used to playing that way, it's easier to use a 4-4-2." Pleat also pointed to the injuries which robbed him of Ledley King and Simon Davies on Sunday as a further reason to operate a more rigid style, although he did admit his side were over-run at times. "If teams are athletic in central midfield, that can give Gus Poyet and Goran Bunjevcevic a problem and make it quite hard work for them," he said. "We gave Darren Anderton a largely defensive role for the last 25 minutes yesterday and I thought he cane out of it very well."
Robbie's birthday crooning
Oct 1 2003 By Ian Leonard Echo Reporter
ROBBIE WILLIAMS will lead the celebrations at Wayne Rooney's 18th birthday party. The singer will be star guest at the bash, which takes place later this month, and is planning a special performance as a tribute to the teenager. Football-mad Robbie has kept track of Wayne's career ever since the soccer wonderkid rose to stardom. He is known to be a big fan of the Everton and England striker.
During a visit to Liverpool last year Robbie sung Wayne's praises on a local radio station. He said: "Wayne Rooney, you are a God. He's young and really talented and scores bags of goals. He seems like a bit of a character too." Robbie, who supports Midlands club Port Vale, added: "I hope Wayne's going to be one of football's legends, and he will be if he can keep a level head." Wayne, who turns 18 on October 24, chartered a helicopter to see Robbie performing at Knebworth in August after they struck up a friendship. The striker gave his pop idol a number nine England shirt and an open invitation to Goodison Park for this season.
Fergie fitting in for Blues
Oct 1 2003 By Scott Mcleod Everton Correspondent
DUNCAN FERGUSON is set to continue up front for Everton after Sunday's victory proved to manager David Moyes his team can resist the urge to resort to long ball football. The Blues boss has worked hard to ensure Ferguson's presence in the side has not proved too great a disruption to the passing football he is so keen to nurture at Goodison Park. "I don't want us to be hitting Duncan on the head all the time," said Moyes. "That is not the kind of football I am looking for and it was good to see we were trying to play the right way on Sunday with Duncan in the team. "It is something we have talked about in the last few weeks and on Sunday we were not sucked into playing long balls to hit him all the time." Ferguson has now scored four goals in four games, including his first headed goal for Everton in five years during Sunday's 4-0 demolition of Leeds. His good form is set to ensure he maintains his place in the side alongside Tomasz Radzinski at White Hart Lane on Saturday. But the return to action of Francis Jeffers for the reserves on Monday and Kevin Campbell's recovery from a hamstring injury means the competition for places up front is more intense than ever. Sunday's game was Ferguson's first full 90 minutes of league football since April 2002 and a 2-2 draw with Leicester. He was restricted to just eight appearances as a substitute last season as he struggled to return to form and fitness following an operation to free a trapped nerve in his back. The 31-year-old still has two years running on his contract. Meanwhile, Everton's Carling Cup third round tie against Charlton will be played at Goodison Park on Wednesday, October 29.
Blues aim to bridge the years
Oct 1 2003 By Scott Mcleod Everton Correspondent
THE last time Everton won at White Hart Lane shorts were more like hotpants and Howard Kendall had a full head of hair. That was August 1985. A Gary Lineker goal was enough to secure victory for Kendall's title chasers. In the 18 years since, the Blues have been in a winning position several times at Tottenham, only to miss out. They have led five times, relinquishing a two goal advantage on three occasions. As hoodoo grounds go, it is second only to Elland Road. But it is from Elland Road that David Moyes intends to take inspiration ahead of Saturday's trip to north London. "Everybody was talking about the club's record at Leeds but we changed that last year," he explains, referring to Everton's first league win there in 51 years. It doesn't matter what has happened in the past. That doesn't bother us." Fans who have made the annual trip to Spurs will be fully aware of what has gone before. Last season Brian McBride's ninth minute strike gave the Blues an early advantage. But Gus Poyet equalised, Robbie Keane netted a second and then a third and a fourth, finally winning despite two Everton equalisers in a 4-3 thriller. Kevin Campbell drew first blood in January 2000 as well, only for Chris Armstrong and David Ginola to turn the match on its head before Joe-Max Moore claimed a late equaliser. The biggest disappointment was in 1993/94 when Kendall's side were 2-1 up with two minutes of normal time remaining and contrived to lose 3-2. The season before they had been leading by a Peter Beardsley goal going into the last 10 minutes and once again suffered defeat. Four draws in the last eight years is the best the Blues have mustered. They are the kind of stats which Moyes loves to shatter.
Campbell will keep on going
By David Prior, Daily Post Oct 2 2003
KEVIN CAMPBELL is already making plans for his retirement - but he insists that day may not come for another five years. The Everton striker, 34 in February, has just recovered from a hamstring injury and is in contention for a place against Tottenham on Saturday. Campbell is tied to Goodison until the end of the 2004-05 season after signing a lucrative deal two years ago. This week he has taken the first steps to preparing a life beyond the pitch by announcing that he has set up his own record label. '2 Wikid Records' is the fulfilment of a personal dream for Campbell, but he is keen to stress that he still has several years left in him in football. "I definitely won't be giving up my day job," he said. "I want to play on for another three, four, five years if I can, obviously fitness permitting. I want something on the side, I want to be in the music business. "Music's been a part of my life since the belly to be honest. We are at the cutting edge, this is the serious part. I don't want to be seen as just a footballer trying his leg at it, this isn't that." Campbell continued: "I'm a footballer first and foremost and I've assembled a team that can do the business without me being at the helm and using up too much time. "I'm a bit of a rapper, but I'll leave the rapping and stuff to the main guys. My profession is foot-ball and I want to stick to that at the moment. Let the artists get on with what they do." Campbell has scored 44 goals in 113 league games for the Blues since moving, initially on loan, from Trabzonspor in 1999. This season he is set to face a tough fight for his first-team place, with Wayne Rooney, Francis Jeffers, Nick Chadwick, Tomasz Radzinski and a resurgent Duncan Ferguson all giving boss David Moyes a selection headache up front. Meanwhile, Blues legend Howard Kendall has closed the door on a return to football management. Kendall was in charge at Goodison on three separate occasions and also enjoyed stints at Athletic Bilbao, Manchester City, Notts County and Sheffield United. He has been out of the game since departing Everton for the final time in 1998, and says he harbours no ambitions to pick up the reins anywhere else. "Do I miss football? I suppose so, but not desperately," he said. "I certainly wouldn't want to return as a number one, that's for sure. A lot of people need to be read about in the newspapers or seen on television at games to show they wish to get back into the game. Not me, I am not that interested. "Hopefully, the likes of Harry Redknapp and Jim Smith at Portsmouth will be successful because that should tell clubs that there is a place for knowledge. Because if I was going to return it would have to be in a capacity similar to Jim Smith's."
Moyes wary of Spurs' plight
Oct 2 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today warned his Everton players of the danger of facing a Spurs side still smarting from the loss of a manager. Moyes is refusing to underestimate Spurs ahead of Saturday's trip to north London. The White Hart Lane outfit are still without a boss following Glenn Hoddle's sacking. Their first Premiership game under caretaker boss David Pleat saw them earn a point at Manchester City last weekend. Moyes said: "They are in a transitional period at Spurs and players will be anxiously waiting to see who is appointed. "They will be trying to get as many good performances in as they can leading up to the new appointment because they are facing uncertain times as well. "White Hart Lane is a hard place to go. They are one of the really big clubs and David Pleat is not new to being in charge. He has been there before and he will be enjoying the job. "But we want to go there and get a win. We want to continue to push up the table." Added Moyes: "Tottenham are in need of a victory. But they will not want it any more than us. It is important we win in order to climb the table and establish ourselves in the top half. "If we perform as well as we did last Sunday, that will lead to results." Gary Naysmith is available again for Saturday after serving a one-game suspension last weekend. With Francis Jeffers and Kevin Campbell also fit, the Blues boss now has more senior players at his disposal than at any point during his reign. He adds: "Everybody knows that injuries are part and parcel of football clubs. But at the moment we have got a lot of players fit and that increases competition. "When there is that competition nobody wants to be injured because they know their place is in danger and that is what I have been looking for."
Dangers of Wayne playing the fame game
Oct 2 2003 By John Thompson, Echo Sports Editor
YOU can't argue with the sentiments. "I hope Wayne's going to be one of football's legends and he will be if he can keep a level head." Sound advice indeed to Everton's teenage prodigy. But from who? David Moyes? Gary Lineker? Sir Bobby Charlton, maybe? Nope. This pearl of wisdom comes from the lips of Robbie Williams. The pop singer, the hell-raiser, the man who loves his women as much as his hit singles and whose battles with booze and drugs are well documented. Just the sort of chap to lead by example when it comes to dishing out the dos and don'ts to a young lad with the world at his feet. It's reassuring to know Robbie will be able to expand on the sound advice to a teenager he's already ridiculously labelled "a god" after he's finished crooning at Rooney's birthday bash later this month. Now don't get me wrong. For all his flaws and foibles, most of us have got a soft spot for the talented showman and Port Vale fan. And if Wayne Rooney wants the superstar singer at his coming of age bash he's entitled to have him there and enjoy every minute of his big night. But I can't help but see a faint warning sign on the horizon. Some players - like David Beckham - are born for the showbiz spotlight and the celebrity side of football. They obviously enjoy it - and milk it - for all it's worth. Then th ere are equally talented individuals like Michael Owen, who spoke in resp ectful to n es recently about Beck-ham's self-styled celebrity status. He admitted, though, that he really just wanted to be famous for playing football. If you had to guess which side of football life best befits a Liverpool lad like Rooney right now, I think I know the answer. And it's not the one that has sarongs, wedding thrones or celebrity courtiers hanging off it. David Moyes has so far handled Rooney very astutely and constantly tries to keep the spotlight off him - for Rooney's good and for the good of Everton Football Club. But his influence can only extend so far. You have to hope that the professional advisers Rooney and his family employ also truly understand how to take care of his best interests - and protect him in the long-term. When a pop star with a reputation for over-indulgence is suddenly part of the scene, you just can't help but be a little concerned. We'd all hate to see a talent like Rooney come undone because the bright lights shone on him too soon.
U17s ready to ride into Wolves
Academy Football With Chris Wright Daily Post Oct 3 2003
AFTER a week's rest from FA Premier Academy League action Everton under-19s will be raring to go for tomorrow's first derby of the season. Neil Dewsnip's side host neighbours Liverpool at Netherton tomorrow (kick-off 11am). Despite an inconsistent start to the season in terms of results the U19s go into tomorrow's derby clash full of confidence after their 3-1 win against Derby County in their last League match and friendly win over Coventry last week. Dewsnip said: "Derby matches are always big matches and we are looking forward to it. But there have been a number of matches at reserve level and in the Liverpool Senior Cup so we need to see how the lads who have played come out of those games before we know who will be playing." Last night much of the U19s squad played in the Liverpool Senior Cup semi-final tie at Marine. Dewsnip will check on the fitness of those players involved before naming his side tomorrow. Everton under-17s go for a magnificent seven straight wins at Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow (KO 11am). Gary Ablett's side notched up their sixth win in the first six Academy matches last week beating Middlesbrough 3-2. And it is a case of more of the same as they take on Wolves Ablett said: "If we keep going in the same vein as we have been going we will be more than a match for anyone. But we need to guard against complacency and we need to keep doing well the things that we have been doing well." With the Blues sitting on top of Group A and still to drop a point they have become the team to beat and teams will be wanting to put one over them. Ablett added: "We are a bit of a scalp, but I have told the boys that is we turn up and play and someone beats us on the day that is okay. They have just played better. But if we don't turn up and play properly and someone beats us then we have only ourselves to blame." The Blues will be without left-back Patrick Boyle, who is on international duty with Scotland U17s. And Ablett added: "We have lost Patrick Boyle for 10 days, who is away with the Scotland squad. But that gives one or two of the others a chance to come in and stake their claim and make it difficult for Patrick to get back in."
Icliverpool And Daily Post Oct 3 2003Unselfish Radzinski
FANTASTIC win against Leeds. Style and substance. Had to keep remembering to close my mouth after each of McFadden's gob-smacking runs. A word for Radzinski, who continues to run his heart out tormenting defenders . . . for Watson's third goal he could easily have tapped it in "to make sure" but if you watch it, he stops himself knowing its Stevie's hat trick. Just shows the fantastic team spirit. Now to beat the White Hart Lane Hoodoo!
Steve Harrow, (via e-mail)
Little and large
THE best display by the Blues for some time, although the second half against 'Boro did come close. We were just bit more fortunate in front of goal on Sunday! Duncan proved the class he possesses and his importance to the team. We must play with a big man and a little man up front. Rooney and Radz just doesn't work. As for McFadden, he was a sensation and it's one of the best full debuts I've seen. If Stevie Watson had more pace he'd be unstoppable!
David Taylor, St. Helens
IF James McFadden carries on playing like that against the likes of Zoumana Camara (who?) and Roque Junior, then we might just have the two best players in the Premiership in Rooney and now the mighty ex-Motherwell striker Faddy. Moysie really knows a bargain when he sees one.
Carrie Dunn, North Wales
No ground share
I'M SICK of hearing about this erpool ol have made it clear they are not interested and that is all I want to hear about it.
Frank Mahone (via e-mail)
I HAVE never been a great admirer of Duncan Ferguson, but he scored a great goal and played well against Leeds. He looks fit and well. I hope he can be inspirational and not do anything stupid. I think Rooney can play a similar attacking role that Scholes plays for United.
Will Sefton, Merseyside
Get details right
A COMMITMENT to doing everything possible to enable both sets of supporters to feel that any new shared stadium is their ground for each home game would be a good start. With the kind of money being ploughed in it's not beyond the wit of both clubs to pay particular attention to this crucial aspect sooner rather than later. It could make all the difference to its acceptability.
Sid Logan, Mold
Best of British
DAVIE Moyes is building up a great young British team with the likes of Hibbert, McFadden, Jeffers, Rooney and possibly Sean Davis come January. Keep it up Blues.
Tom Johnson, Walton
Fired-up Fergie has us rocking again
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post Oct 3 2003
WHERE do you start after a performance like that? Many pundits rightly pointed to the fact that the visitors' defence would have been better served by Rocky and Bull-winkle than Roque Junior, but the sorry state of the Leeds team should not be allowed to detract too much from Everton's footballing display. Steve Watson's hat-trick earned him the plaudits and the match ball, but he was one of three or four players who could easily have scooped the man of the match award. Tomasz Radzinski was again excellent, terrifying a certain lanky World Cup winner at every turn, and Thomas Gravesen, ably supported by the under-rated Lee Carsley, completely dominated the centre of midfield. It was the two Scots who starred against Stockport, though, Duncan Ferguson (pictured) and James McFadden, who again shone brightest. Be honest, did you ever expect to see Ferguson playing like that again, provoking the ground into a rapturous chorus of his name to the tune of 'Go West'? It's an old cliché, but if he continues in that vein he will literally be like a new signing.
He was excellent in the air, as ever, but what was most encouraging was his willingness to actually move and even chase balls played ahead of him - a far cry from the static, brooding figure we've become used to on his rare appearances in the first team. He was probably pleased himself that, after all these years, he's playing in an Everton side containing a few players who can actually supply a decent cross; that hasn't been the case since Andy Hinchcliffe departed. Watson and Tony Hibbert combined excellently all game to provide a steady stream of balls from the right, and down the left we were treated once again to a masterclass in wing play from McFadden, the new Goodison darling. Moyes has suggested that he wants to use the ex-Motherwell man sparingly, but how can he possibly leave him out now that we've had a glimpse of his immense talent? After only two full games it's already evident, at a time when Liverpool and Manchester United have just paid massive money for Harry Kewell and Cristiano Ronaldo, that we have chanced upon an absolute bargain.
His ability to run at people and draw defenders towards him, like flies to those weird blue electrocution things they have hanging in butchers' shops and chip-pies, has drastically increased the potency of our attacking. How can defences try and crowd out Radzinski or Rooney, for instance, when they've got this chap to contend with as well? Hopefully that display, with everything clicking into place for the first time this season, will give the players the confidence to impose themselves on Spurs tomorrow from the outset. There's nothing like a good rout to cheer up the natives!
Blues on alert as Davis returns
Report By David Prior Daily Post Oct 3 2003
EVERTON are back on Sean Davis alert after Fulham revealed that the transfer-listed midfielder should return to training on Monday. Davis saw his dream of a move to Goodison crumble in August after his hopes of passing a medical were scuppered by a knee injury. The 24-year-old, the Cottagers' player of the year last term, was quoted as being "devastated" by the 11th-hour collapse and may have thought his chance had gone when Blues boss David Moyes clinched a deadline-day quartet of signings in loan star Francis Jeffers, James McFadden, Nigel Martyn and Kevin Kilbane.
Moyes however is keen to resurrect the deal in time for the re-opening of the transfer window in January and Fulham chief executive Bruce Langham confirmed that Davis was still available. Langham said: "It is common knowledge that Sean handed in a written transfer request and as of today that request is still current. "Cookie (boss Chris Coleman) has insisted that once he is fully fit and showing the right attitude he will have no problem picking him, however Sean's transfer request remains." Everton scouts could travel south next week if Davis - who was also courted by Middlesbrough - plays as expected in a reserve game against Watford. Coleman added: "Sean Davis is taking part in full training from the start of next week so pretty quickly he'll be looking to get a reserve game in. It's good news on that front and it will give us more options." After their deadline-day acquisitions Davis' price-tag of around £5million would in theory stretch Everton's finances to the very limit, but Moyes has already stressed his commitment to sealing unfinished business. "I hope to bring Sean Davis to the club at the earliest opportunity," he said. "We can't do it now. But we will hope to sign him in January when the transfer window re-opens. "Provided the player proves his fitness and there are no problems with the knee injury, we will try and sign him."
Meanwhile one of the emerging stars of Moyes' deadline-day spree, young winger McFadden, has been named in the Scotland squad for next Saturday's crucial European Championship qualifier against LIthuania. Also included in Berti Vogts' squad is Gary Naysmith, but Scott Gemmill misses out due to his knee injury. And Blues duo Lee Carsley and Kevin Kilbane have been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for the clash against Switzerland. nReserve defender Sean O'Hanlon will be out for at least the next month after undergoing surgery to repair his hernia. Leon Osman will also miss the next few weeks after he was confirmed as having cracked a rib.
Blair weighs in on the great stadium debate
By Larry Neild, Daily Post Oct 3 2003
PRIME Minister Tony Blair has entered the big debate about Liverpool and Everton football clubs sharing a new stadium in the city. He told regional bosses to be prepared for a long debate on the controversial issue, citing the six and a half years he spent helping to broker peace in Northern Ireland. Mr Blair had been briefed in advance about the stadium debate prior to a reception at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth co-hosted by the Northwest Development Agency, which originally broached the idea of the club's sharing a ground. After listening to speeches making references to the North West football scene, Mr Blair joined in the debate. Addressing more than 300 MPs, MEPs and movers and shakers from across the North West in the main ballroom at the Bournemouth Pavilion, the Prime Minister spoke about the big debate that has aroused passion across Stanley Park. He said: "I wish the NWDA luck in bringing together the two clubs, Liverpool FC and Everton FC, in the discussion about sharing one stadium. Having spent six and a half years involved in the Northern Ireland peace process I know how these things can take so much time."
The comment was greeted with applause and laughter around the room in Bournemouth. Last night one of Mr Blair's aides confirmed that the Prime Minister had made the comment. He told the Daily Post: "Although the comment was made in a spirit of fun, Mr Blair was making the serious point that when a vision is being developed it could take some considerable time. He wished the NWDA well in its talks. "The Prime Minister is regularly briefed about regional affairs and is well aware of the current debate taking place in Liverpool about the question of a joint stadium." Mr Blair gave no hint about whether he personally favoured a joint stadium, and restricted his comments to the debate about the idea. His son Euan is a keen Liverpool supporter and has attended a number of matches at Anfield recently. The issue continues to generate intensive debates after the Daily Post exclusively revealed last month that NWDA chief executive Steve Broomhead wanted officials from both Liverpool and Everton to discuss a shared stadium. Liverpool City Council then joined in and supported the idea of a round table meeting involving both clubs. At stake is whether around £30m of public funding should only be made available if the clubs share a football stadium. Later this month Liverpool FC will be submitting its own proposals for a new stadium in Stanley Park - for use by the Reds. Although both clubs have agreed to take part in dialogue about the proposal neither Liverpool and Everton have indicated whether they back the shared stadium plan. A poll of supporters on Daily Post website icliverpool.co.uk showed 70pc of fans were opposed to sharing a stadium. Last night, one source close to the debate said: "Mr Blair says it took 6 1/2 years to broker peace in Northern Ireland. I would be surprised if he could pull off a shared stadium in Liverpool as quickly as that."
Both clubs had solid grounds for debate
Oct 3 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MY, what a gang of conspiracy theorists you are. A three-part Echo series on the unlikely possibility of ground-sharing plus a flying trip to the San Siro, and suddenly there are bullets firing from grassy knolls, hidden agendas and clandestine meetings galore. Can I state quite categorically that Everton and Liverpool may, eventual-ly, share a football ground. And Duncan Ferguson may host a quirky chat show, Christina Aguilera might demand she become my concubine - while Emlyn Hughes and Tommy Smith could be snapped by the paparazzi, arms wrapped around each other as they stumble out of Stringfellows cooing the Queen classic 'You're my best friend' to each other. But until that unlikely time, what is to be lost by talking about the possibility? Website message boards, letters pages and phone-in shows have been incandescent since the subject was first aired a couple of weeks ago, while a more muted 30 per cent have backed the idea. The agenda - none of it secret - actually started with a sentence from the North West Development Agency in our sister paper, the Daily Post. Chief Executive Steve Broomhead suggested, somewhat elliptically, "With the City of Culture year coming up in 2008 there is a view that we should look at improving the city's sporting facilities and that we should look at building a world class venue in Liverpool." That was sufficient inspiration for The Echo to consider the subject worthy of public debate and we set about researching the issue. We sought a comment from Liverpool City Council, whose reaction urging Everton and Liverpool to talk, genuinely took us by surprise. But Everton Chief Executive Michael Dunford's comments in Sunday's matchday programme showed that an informal meeting had already been arranged between Everton and Liverp o o l, at the NWDA's instigation. He added: "Whether it comes to anything remains to be seen, but at least the local authorities are bringing the two sides together and are saying: 'Come on now, is there any way this can work? If there isn't - then that's fine'." The whole issue clearly makes financial, if not emotional, sense. Thus it would have been a grave omission on the parts of both football clubs not to have talked about it. But if there was a desire to gauge public opinion via the Echo, that has now been successfully carried out.
The weight of public dissent - 70 per cent in most surveys - suggests a ground- share would not work in the present climate. Personally, and I would stress this is my opinion and not the Echo's, it will never happen. And I personally believe that as a result a golden opportunity has been missed.
Liverpool must come up with at least £150m of their own to construct the new Anfield, half of which could have been better diverted towards what is surely their primary priority of overhauling Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. Everton, who struggled to find the funds to put in place the Kings Dock opportunity, would not appear to have the money to go it alone on a stadium befitting the club's traditions and stature, and as a result patching up the increasingly decaying Goodison Park is their only option. Liverpool will suffer financially, Everton will suffer conceptually - and the clubs, further apart spiritually than they have possibly ever been, will continue to drift wider and wider from each other. If a ground-share couldn't happen in 1989 - just five years after supporters sang "Merseyside, Merseyside!" in unison at Wembley Stadium, it will not happen now.
Pistone hernia agony
Oct 3 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE is facing the prospect of a second hernia operation in the space of a year.
The Everton left-back will visit a specialist in Italy on Monday and if he requires surgery he will be out for six weeks. Pistone endured a similar spell on the sidelines at the start of last season, missing the opening 11 games of the campaign while he recovered from another hernia operation. Manager David Moyes revealed: "Alessandro has had a problem with his stomach. He had a hernia op last year and now it looks as if he could have the same problem on the other side. He needs rest but we also want him to see a specialist. "He will fly to Italy on Monday to see the surgeon who operated on him before the start of last season." The 28-year-old had to pull out of Sunday's home game with Leeds hours before the match because of the stomach problem. He had only just returned to the starting line-up after a back strain. His place against Leeds was taken by David Unsworth, who is expected to continue at left-back tomorrow against Tottenham despite the return from suspension of Gary Naysmith. David Moyes has virtually a fully fit squad to choose from, with only Scot Gemmill, Steve Simonsen and Richard Wright unavailable alongside Pistone. Wright will return to full training on Monday after two weeks spent resting the knee which has been troubling him since the 2-2 draw at Charlton in August. Moyes adds: "The operation Richard had revealed there was no major problem with the knee and that he just needed rest. "That is what he has had over the last couple of weeks. He has been doing some swimming and a little cycling and on Monday he will be back in training. "We will keep him off kicking for a week or two but everything is looking good."
Meanwhile, Blues target Sean Davis will return to training on Monday after six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury which prevented him making a £5.25m switch to Goodison in August.
David Moyes intends to renew his interest in the England Under-21 international when the transfer window re-opens in January. Fulham boss Chris Coleman said: "Sean is taking part in full training from the start of next week so pretty quickly he will be looking to get a reserve game in."
The player is still on the transfer list at Loftus Road.
Pistone hernia agony
Oct 3 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE is facing the prospect of a second hernia operation in the space of a year.
The Everton left-back will visit a specialist in Italy on Monday and if he requires surgery he will be out for six weeks. Pistone endured a similar spell on the sidelines at the start of last season, missing the opening 11 games of the campaign while he recovered from another hernia operation.
Manager David Moyes revealed: "Alessandro has had a problem with his stomach. He had a hernia op last year and now it looks as if he could have the same problem on the other side. He needs rest but we also want him to see a specialist. "He will fly to Italy on Monday to see the surgeon who operated on him before the start of last season." The 28-year-old had to pull out of Sunday's home game with Leeds hours before the match because of the stomach problem. He had only just returned to the starting line-up after a back strain. His place against Leeds was taken by David Unsworth, who is expected to continue at left-back tomorrow against Tottenham despite the return from suspension of Gary Naysmith. David Moyes has virtually a fully fit squad to choose from, with only Scot Gemmill, Steve Simonsen and Richard Wright unavai lable alongside Pistone. Wright will return to full training on Monday after two weeks spent resting the knee which has been troubling him since the 2-2 draw at Charlton in August. Moyes adds: "The operation Richard had revealed there was no major problem with the knee and that he just needed rest. "That is what he has had over the last couple of weeks. He has been doing some swimming and a little cycling and on Monday he will be back in training. "We will keep him off kicking for a week or two but everything is looking good." Meanwhile, Blues target Sean Davis will return to training on Monday after six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury which prevented him making a £5.25m switch to Goodison in August.
David Moyes intends to renew his interest in the England Under-21 international when the transfer window re-opens in January. Fulham boss Chris Coleman said: "Sean is taking part in full training from the start of next week so pretty quickly he will be looking to get a reserve game in." The player is still on the transfer list at Loftus Road.
Landmark figure for Gravesen
Oct 3 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN has just passed a modest, but significant milestone in the annals of Everton Football Club. If you dismiss the spurious claims of cockney-Welsh-Belgian Pat Van Den Hauwe - and it is only safe to do so now he is reclining at a safe distance in South Africa - Gravesen has just become the first foreign footballer to make more than a hundred appear-ances for Everton. This is the same player Walter Smith vowed would never play for the club again, when he took extended compassionate leave during Christmas 2001. Yet, despite being beset by a seemingly incurable affliction of inconsistency, he has become Goodison's first foreign centurion. The other notable foreign stars who didn't quite reach the century mark also suffered from inconsistency. Robert Warzycha is credited with 85 appearances for Everton - but he was either substituted or a substitute in most of them. Anders Limpar made one fewer, Thomas Myhre 74, Ray Atteveld 66, while Andrei Kanchelskis and Daniel Amokachi tied on 60 apiece. None were offered a second contract by the club, which must now be Gravesen's next target. High profile bash will leave Rooney exposed
BOY band Blue, Atomic Kitten and Robbie Williams have already, apparently, been booked to sing at Wayne Rooney's 18th birthday party this month. The affair looks destined to be one of those glitzy showbiz bashes so beloved of the Beckhams, with Kir Royale apperitifs, fur carpets and bouncers bigger than beer lorries. So where do you think the idea for this party came from? Wayne's proudly working class mum and dad, Wayne senior and Jeanette? Wayne himself? Or his agent Paul Stretford. I have no idea, but if it's the latter, will carefully selected photographs from the occasion appear in a Sunday newspaper or a glossy magazine? And if so, just how does this sit with David Moyes' desire to keep Rooney away from the glare of publicity? Can you remember what Michael Owen did on his 18th birthday? Or other role models of young sporting excellence like Ryan Giggs, or Tiger Woods? Exactly.
Kilbane a Faddy fan
Oct 3 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TEAMMATES: Kevin Kilbane checked into Goodison at the same time as James McFadden THEIR rivalry for the slot on the left of Everton's midfield has not stopped Kevin Kilbane becoming a fully paid up member of the James McFadden fan club. Since the duo arrived at Goodison a month ago each has played two games on that left flank. But it is McFadden who currently lays claim to the role, thanks to two mesmerising displays in the last two home games. He is set to continue there when Everton take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane tomorrow. Having only just become accustomed to life at Goodison, Kilbane could be forgiven for feeling a little disappointed by the situation. But the Irish international, who was signed from Sunderland in a £1.25m deal on transfer deadline day, welcomes the level of competition and accepts that it is McFadden who deserves to be in the starting line-up tomorrow. "You expect competition for places at a club the size of Everton," admits Kilbane. "It is what I expected when I arrived and I knew it was never going to be a breeze to get into the team, which is the way it should be. "I think it would have been difficult for any manager to leave James McFadden out and he produced a world class performance against Leeds last week. He has earned his place in the team. "I had enjoyed the two games I played in but I was cup-tied for the Stockport match and Faddy was fantastic when he came in." That run out for Sunderland against Mansfield in the first round of the Carling Cup proved costly for Kilbane.
As a result, McFadden was given the opportunity to prove David Moyes may have been mistaken when he suggested the 20-year-old would need time to adjust to life in England. But the young Scot's instant impact did not come as a big surprise to Kilbane. "I have no qualms about that because he has impressed me a great deal in training in the last couple of weeks," he concedes.
"His movement on and off the ball is good but he also has tremendous feet and tremendous natural ability. "I am sure over the next few years he will be a massive star here. He explains: "I have been real ly impressed with the work we have been doing in training and it has benefited me. "You have to accept that if players are doing well they are worth their place in the team. "That is the way it should be anywhere, although it isn't always the case. Thankfully the manager here is very fair and you know, whoever you are, that if you are playing well you stay in and that if you are not your place will go to somebody else." Kilbane must now bide his time. He will be poised to step in tomorrow from the substitute's bench if Moyes feels he needs to call upon the 26-year-old's wealth of experience. The player knows that if that chance does come his way he is in the kind of shape to grasp it with both hands. do think training is of a high standard. The lads look very sharp and the work we do is high-tempo, which probably shows on a Saturday. "We have to work that way on a day-to-day basis to produce performances every week. It is thoroughly enjoyable. "Wherever I have been I have always tried to make the most of training and worked hard. But here the work has been at such a high-tempo, and when you are working hard like that it is very enjoyable. "Our fitness comes from the speed at which we train. You don't have to be going out for long distance runs.
"The fitness comes from the high-intensity we have to train at and I am feeling good because of it.
"It has been made easier to settle in by the set of players that are here. When you are around good players and good people it helps you settle in much quicker." After tomorrow the focus for both Kilbane and McFadden will turn to Euro 2004. It is a reflection of the growing strength of David Moyes' squad that he has two of the finest left-sided players from the UK and Ireland to choose from. McFadden, who is new to the international game, will be lining up for Berti Vogts' side in a must-win match against Lithuania. Kilbane, who is vastly more experienced on the international stage, will be in Switzerland hoping to lead the Republic into a play-off situation for the fourth time.
Time to change academy rules
By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
Oct 4 2003
THE Director of Everton's Academy believes the Football Association should re-think its guidelines for youth recruitment. Six years ago Howard Wilkinson, in his role as the FA's Technical Director, implemented a ruling which prevented Academies signing youngsters who lived more than one and a half hours drive from the ground. It was introduced to ensure local youngsters were given the opportunity to make the grade with their local club. there is to develop them. But that pre-supposes that the potential is always there. But Ray Hall, the head of Everton's Academy operation at Netherton, believes it is a policy which is flawed and that a change of rules would benefit the English game. He explains: "Any change has to come from the clubs. I believe there is nothing wrong with the Academy programme itself but the restriction on recruitment makes it difficult for clubs to work with the best players. "When you consider that there are nine Academies and 21 Centres of Excellence based at Football League clubs around the same area, there is a lot of competition for players. "In terms of our recruitment now, we accept how important it is to recruit the majority of our players locally. But that is not to say we are not looking everywhere else in the world.
"Two-thirds of our catchment area is the Irish sea. If you look at it on a map, with respect to people on the Isle of Man, I don't think there are many players in that area we can look at. "We are restricted, where as a club like Birmingham or Aston Villa have a much larger catchment area.
"If there isn't a player on Merseyside or the North West who has the potential to play in the Premier League from any one year where do we get them from? "We would have to go abroad. But there could be an English lad living beyond the one and a half hour boundary who would be equally good and would love the opportunity we could give them. "I can understand why the ruling was brought in because the more local the player, the more access "If you look at our FA Youth Cup winning side from 1998 it would be practically impossible to put it together now. We wouldn't have been able to bring seven of the 14 players here unless we had been prepared to pay a lot of money to another club to get them." Sixteen players who were born between 1983 and 1986 have made their debuts in the Premiership over the last couple of years. Only three would have come within Everton's catchment area. Wayne Rooney is one of those players. Indeed, Everton's Academy has a very good record in terms of providing a regular supply line of quality players to the senior squad d esp ite th e FA's restrictions. Of the 60 players since 1996 to be given full time youth contracts or Academy Scholarships, 16 have appeared in the Everton first team, while another 16 have made senior appearances at other clubs. They are impressive statistics. And so Hall's argument is not based on a shortage of talent for the Blues. He adds: "The Charter for quality surrounding Academies has given football clubs the opportunity to implement outstanding development programmes. But I am not sure the rules that govern recruitment allow clubs to get the most from those programmes. If the rule was changed then we would find out who has the best programmes and not just the most money."
McFadden impressed by Fergie
Liverpool Echo, Daily Post
Oct 4 2003
EVERTON'S rising star James McFadden has been hugely impressed by new team-mate Duncan Ferguson - despite admitting the big Scot wasn't one of his childhood heroes. The pair come from opposite sides of the great Glasgow divide but that has not stopped McFadden looking up to Ferguson (left) since his arrival at Goodison. McFadden, a deadline-day signing from Motherwell, has made his own impact on Everton this term - and he cannot believe his luck at having a born-again Ferguson alongside him. "Duncan was not one of my childhood heroes. He played for Rangers, and I was a Celtic fan," said McFadden. "But obviously everybody up in Scotland knows big Dunc. I was looking forward to playing alongside him and I have not been let down.
"It has been a great experience, and I hope it can continue. I am delighted I have arrived when Duncan has got back from his injuries." Young winger McFadden made his full debut against Stockport in the Carling Cup and then ran Leeds ragged in last weekend's 4-0 triumph to become an instant hit with the Everton fans. McFadden has shown plenty of impressive qualities since he burst on to the Premiership scene but he insisted: "The team have been brilliant since I got into the side.
"The people here are great, so it has made it easier for me to settle. Obviously I am going to enjoy it when we are winning 4-0." Everton boss David Moyes insists the change in Ferguson is down to an operation and return to fitness. "All credit to Duncan. Since he has had his back operation and during the pre-season he has been right there to be counted. I am delighted with that," said the manager. "I think it has done Duncan the world of good to get his self-belief back. "It is a long, hard road to get back to top form when you have been as good a player as Duncan Ferguson who was unplayable at times. "He has been out injured for the best part of two years, maybe longer. He has put in a lot of hard work in training and he has shown how much he wanted it."
Tottenham 3, Everton 0 (D,Post)
Oct 6 2003 David Prior Reports From White Hart Lane, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES expects to win every game, he says. Well after a day when Everton's schizophrenic season took another wild swing downwards, perhaps it might be an idea to take a reality check.
Stunning one week, stunningly awful the next; they are as maddening as they have ever been and last season's consistency is becoming an ever more distant memory with each game that passes.
Five minutes either side of half-time was all it took to dismantle the latest bout of optimism that had justifiably been generated by last week's demolition of Leeds. Three hundred seconds when Everton, instead of taking Freddie Kanoute's cracking opener on the chin, dropped their guard and allowed Spurs to pummel them into effective submission before David Moyes' half-time rocket had finished ringing in their ears. Just like Middlesbrough last month, there is often no more dangerous a side than the one backed into a corner. The wounded lion theory. But managerless Tottenham, their flimsy confidence mounted on a combination of the programme's sabrerattling and the kind of 'we're in this together' spirit that descends at these times, were there for the taking.
Successive heavy home defeats to Fulham and Southampton meant their temperamental supporters' initial backing was likely to disintegrate should Everton grasp the game from the first whistle, just like they had done in despatching Leeds and Fulham so clinically this term. Instead, perhaps affected by the crowd's commendable optimism in the face of adversity, Everton conceded the initiative almost immediately and their capitulation in the seconds after the break understandably won Moyes' vote as possibly their most dispiriting match of the campaign so far.
No changes were deemed necessary after the showing against Leeds, so Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski (above left) continued their striking partnership with James McFadden deservedly holding on to his place on the left flank. Wayne Rooney once again had to settle for a place on the bench, alongside the heartening sight of Kevin Campbell for the first time this season. But that was where the similarities with the 4-0 drubbing of Peter Reid's side end, because in the first half the dynamic, free-flowing qualities of that performance were conspicuous by their absence. Where statements of intent were required, what was delivered was the latest in a sequence of poor first-half showings for Moyes' men. Sitting back, Everton attacked their hosts with little approaching the requisite urgency. To their credit, Tottenham had some-thing of the Blitz spirit about them a week after Glenn Hoddle, their most revered soldier, had finally fallen. But that is not to say that the opening period ever threatened much by way of entertainment or goalscoring opportunities from either side, with the middle third providing the scene for most of the half's stodgy fare. Early on the omens looked to be reasonably promising, with David Unsworth supplying a good cross from the left in the 12th minute that Ferguson headed down into the path of Radzinski, whose first-time shot was comfortably saved by Kasey Keller. Eight minutes later and this time McFadden's burst down the left created space for Unsworth, again, to feed Steve Watson. A decent header from last week's unlikely hat-trick hero lofted just over Keller's goal but the slickness of both moves boded well. How misleading those early passages proved to be, as Everton barely had a sniff of goal for the rest of the afternoon. Everton's chances were not helped after 32 minutes, with Alan Stubbs clutching what looked like a groin strain as he was replaced by David Weir. Moyes was an animated figure on the touchline, vociferous at the depth his men were playing and no doubt hoping to make it through to half-time so as to deliver another of his rollockings. Ten minutes before the break and Everton were given a reprieve, with Nigel Martyn at full stretch to palm away Robbie Keane's low shot. Poyet ballooned the recycled ball high into the stands. Everton themselves had an excellent chance to open the scoring in the 42nd minute, the committed Thomas Gravesen firing in a corner that was headed hopelessly wide by a free Joseph Yobo. And that miss proved instantly cost-ly, although such was the quality of Freddie Kanoute's opener that blaming Blue shirts seems pointless. Keller's goal kick was headed down by the Frenchman and then returned to him by Poyet, but few could have expected Kanoute to unleash the unstoppable shot he did. Allowing the ball to bounce once, he cracked in a thunderous volley from all of 35 yards that dipped beyond Martyn and, in a moment, released the haze of uncertainty and anxiety that had hovered over White Hart Lane up until then.
And although there was little Everton could have done about it, the goal probably served to up the decibel level of Moyes' interval rant, because in truth the Blues had done little to suggest they were on the verge of securing their first win in these parts since Gary Lineker's sole effort had done just that 18 seasons ago. Whatever he said, however, was instantly deemed worthless as Spurs extended their lead just 40 seconds into the second half. Coming out of the blocks with just the kind of purpose that Moyes had surely demanded, Spurs swept up field, and, helped in the run-up to the move by Gravesen's wayward cross-field pass that gifted Spurs a throw-in, Darren Anderton's cross was glanced beyond Martyn by Poyet. With their shackles well and truly wrenched off and their opponents deflated, Tottenham added a third through Robbie Keane just two minutes later.
Again Anderton was the instigator, releasing Keane through the middle. The diminutive Irishmen made a hash of his break at first, but benefited from Unsworth's indecision and an unlucky ricochet off the Englishman's heels, and the former Leeds and Inter Milan man made no mistake from eight yards. Alarmingly, Everton had lost the game within five minutes either side of half-time. From a position of relative parity, Moyes' heroes of last week had been ripped apart by a side who up until Saturday had troubled the scorers only three times on home soil. Spurs' third triggered a double substitution from Moyes, McFadden and Radzinski both withdrawn after fairly anonymous contributions, with Kevin Kil-bane and Rooney charged with staving off a humiliation. To that end they succeeded, with the eager to impress Rooney full of characteristic bluster - one typically needless booking but also a couple of efforts late on that rewarded his industry. But as Moyes admitted as much afterwards, there were as many positives to take out of this game as there were Evertonians cheerfully commenting on the beauty of the rainbow that appeared over the ground shortly after Spurs' third had gone in. Whether there were gags about possible sightings of George, Zippy and Bungle in Everton's defence would, of course, be pure speculation.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs (Weir 32), Unsworth; Watson, Carsley, Gravesen, McFadden (Kilbane 54); Ferguson, Radzinski (Rooney 54). Subs: Turner, Campbell.
TOTTENHAM (4-4-2): Keller; Carr, Gardner, Richards, Taricco (Dalmat 72); Ricketts, Poyet, Anderton, Konchesky; Kanoute (Postiga 77), Keane. Subs: Burch, Bunjevcevic, Zamora.
BOOKINGS: Spurs' Gardner and Konchesky amd Everton's Hibbert and Rooney.
REFEREE: Mr D Gallagher.
Wayne and Coleen 'are secretly engaged'
Oct 6 2003
WAYNE Rooney has reportedly got secretly engaged to his sweetheart, Coleen McLoughlin.
The Everton and England star, who celebrates his 18th birthday later this month, is thought to have proposed to Coleen, also 17, last week. She was seen in Liverpool on Saturday wearing a platinum ring set with a large diamond. Wayne's family is said to be overjoyed at his engagement to Coleen, a pupil at St John Bosco in Croxteth. The couple met five years ago when they both lived in the same street. Last month, Coleen spoke of her relationship with Wayne and hinted about future marriage plans. She gave her first press interview after Wayne became the youngest player ever to score for England in a full international, against Macedonia in Skopje. She said when they did walk down the aisle, there would be nothing "Footballers' Wives" about the affair. "I like the whole thrones and Irish castles thing, but my day will be individual," she said. The couple are believed to be planning a big party for friends and Wayne's team-mates to celebrate their engagement and his birthday.
Rooney's Scottish challenge
By Ronnie Esplin, Liverpool Echo
Oct 6 2003
SCOTLAND manager Berti Vogts has hailed James McFadden as a better player than England' s Wayne Rooney. Rooney, 17, burst on to the Premiership scene last season and quickly came into international reckoning before becoming England's youngest-ever goalscorer as part of a rapid rise to the top. McFadden's emergence at Motherwell was also greeted with excitement and his switch to Everton hailed as the next step up the ladder for the 20-year-old Scotland are pinning their hopes on. Vogts claims McFadden has more to offer than his Everton team-mate. He said: "I regard James as a bigger talent than Rooney. Rooney is a good player but he can only play in one position. James can play through the middle. He has also played wide right in the past and Everton have been using him on the left - he is very adaptable. "When he went to Everton, I know David Moyes said he was one for the future but I had a feeling he would be in the team very quickly. "James has something special and I hope he can be involved with them every week." Meanwhile, referee Kim Milton Nielsen will not take charge of England's crucial Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey after hurting his thigh during a Danish league game. The official, who famously sent-off England captain David Beckham during the 1998 World Cup clash against Argentina, suffered the injury during the match between Viborg and AaB on Sunday. He told DR Sporten: "It's a huge dissapointment, but there's no reason to go down there and take chances. "I'm not ready now and I won't be ready on Saturday either." UEFA are expected to name a replacement in the next few days. It has also been revealed Scotland under-21s coach Rainer Bonhof has yet to be approached by the Scottish Football Association about extending his contract. The German has turned around the fortunes of the youngsters and they could qualify for the last 16 of the European Championships if they defeat Lithuania on Friday night. But Bonhof's current deal expires next August and he has warned that the SFA will have to do the running if they want to keep him longer. He said: "I am only an employee and I have to wait for a reaction from the company so it is up to the SFA to say come in and talk.
"I am just doing my job as well as I can meanwhile. "I am carrying on preparing for Lithuania and in the longer term building a new team for the next campaign. I can't say that isn't my responsibility. I have settled well, feel good and it looks like we are heading in the right direction."
By Miles Shackley, Daily Post
Oct 6 2003
PHRASES that come back to haunt you, number one - "We'll turn them over. There, I've said it". Sorry. I was only joking, anyway. For those who didn't go, Saturday was indescribably bad. We couldn't pass, we couldn't shoot, we couldn't tackle. To make things worse, Spurs were every bit as bad for large parts of the game. It was undoubtedly an off-day and our worst collective performance under David Moyes. But too often already this season we have complained of Everton losing after playing football for only half a match. You can't expect to win when you do that, so what chance do you have when you simply don't turn up? Even sides like Tottenham will make you pay for that. There are plenty of lessons to be learned from Saturday. James McFadden now knows that not every side is as poor as Leeds. He had a shocker, but he wasn't alone. David Unsworth had one of those days he will want to forget in a hurry and ended up in a real tangle for their third goal.
The central midfield pairing of Gravesen and Carsley should be reminded that last season's success was built around the fact that we closed down opponents quickly and chased everything. Tottenham's midfield was offered the freedom of the park. The papers in London are having a field day about Rooney's temperament. As per usual it's hand-wringing hyperbole, but they do have a point. Having the best talent in the country spending long periods suspended is neither use nor ornament to Everton right now. Lessons that I learned? Well, rash predictions about hapless opponents can make you look really stupid, and there's a pub in London that sells four drinks for five pounds.
So it wasn't all bad.
Tottenham 3, Everton 0 (Echo)
Oct 6 2003 By Scott Mcleod at White Hart Lane
I SUSPECT those members of the Everton squad who reported for international duty this morning will be thankful. As for their teammates who were back at Bellefield, you can't help feeling a pang of sympathy. They will have been faced by the full wrath of a manager who does not accept the kind of lacklustre performance which was dished up at Tottenham on Saturday. David Moyes is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve. He cannot hide his disappointment if his side has lost. And on Saturday they lost emphatically. To suggest the manager was seething would be an under-statement. Standing yards from him in the post-match press conference was intimidating enough.
He responded to some questions with single word answers, others with just a shrug of his shoulders. Only one or two with a statement long enough to provide an insight into his view on the 90 minutes of football which we had just witnessed. At the end he apologised, admitting: "Sorry boys, it is not one of my best days." But he didn't need to provide an explanation. His face told the whole story.
His eyes were unblinking, fearsome. He was clearly unwilling to go into detailed responses for fear he may allow his true emotions to be expressed in words. That same fear will not be present when he takes to the training ground again this week. And that is why you know there will be a response against Southampton in a couple of weeks. There has to be, he would not have it any other way.
Of course, all managers are down when their side has lost. But with Moyes you know something will be done about it. You know he has the drive, the kind of personality capable of jarring Everton's players into a response. And a response is needed. Because after the impressive home performances against Leeds and Stockport this was a real kick in the teeth. A Freddie Kanoute wonder strike from 30 yards minutes before half-time was a cruel blow and knocked the stuffing out of the side. But the way in which they relinquished the game so meekly in the opening minutes of the second period is what provided the real disappointment. That is what must really have hurt the manager. He has forged a side that plays with pride but on Saturday that was not present. You expected to see Everton recharged and on the offensive. Instead it was Tottenham who took the initiative and poor defending allowed them to build a lead which was good enough to wrap the match up. To pick out individual errors for the second and third goals would be to miss the point. The whole side defended badly in those minutes. The whole team switched off. And they were made to pay. Darren Anderton received the ball unchallenged from a throw-in midway inside the Everton half and his early cross from the right picked out Gus Poyet. The Uruguayan slipped clear of Lee Carsley, who was desperately trying to track back and get goal-side when the midfielder stooped to head beyond Nigel Martyn from 10 yards. With just 40 seconds of the second period played, it was a hammer blow. Four minutes later and things got worse. Possession was given away in midfield and Kanoute slipped the ball to Anderton, who spotted a gaping hole in the Everton defence. His slide rule pass sent Robbie Keane scampering into the gap. David Unsworth reacted quickest, charging across to try and snuff out the threat. It seemed he had when he nicked the ball off Keane's toe but he lost his bearings and while the rest of the defence looked on helplessly the Irish international poked the ball into the corner of the net. It is not what we have come to expect from Moyes' men. The high-tempo, adventurous football as the team presses high up the pitch was nowhere to be seen. The manager and his assistant Alan Irvine spent the majority of the opening half urging the players to get at Tottenham and to put them on the backfoot but to no avail. After the break there were even fewer chances, despite the arrival of Wayne Rooney as a sub. He had little opportunity to offer anything extra, bar his fifth yellow card of the season and the prospect of a suspension for the game with Southampton. The only moment of real quality in the entire match came minutes before the interval. There was little that could have been done about Kanoute's goal, although Moyes suggested his side did not defend the attacking move as well as they should. A long goal-kick from Kasey Keller was flicked on by Kanoute to Poyet, who nodded the ball back into the path of the Frenchman. It bounced once before the Frenchman struck, launching a 30 yard volley which fizzed through the air and into the top right corner of the net. A goal of the month contender, it provided the beleaguered north Londoners with the kind of lift which they have missed for much of the season. But when Martyn produced a wonder save to push a Poyet header around the post moments later, ensuring the Blues went in at half-time just one goal down, it seemed the stormhad been weathered. Having spent much of the opening half in possession without creating too many clear-cut openings, the expectation was that the visitors would regroup and come back into the contest. The fact they didn't will infuriate Moyes, who has become something of a specialist when it comes to rousing half-time team talks. That fact in itself is something of a worry. His side have failed to start well in too many games this season. Too often they have had to require a strongly worded reminder of what is expected from them from Moyes. Too often they have allowed sides to get the upper hand before producing a fightback. It was a similar story at White Hart Lane, minus the fightback. And yet this was the same side which had taken Leeds to the cleaners. The same sparkle simply wasn't there. James McFadden struggled to impose himself in the game, having to come inside on a number of occasions in the opening half in search of the ball. On the right Steve Watson's urge to get forward was tempered by the threat posed by Paul Konchesky and, more crucially, Mauricio Taricco and his surging runs from left-back. That failure to put Spurs on the back foot ensured there were few opportunities to get on the scoresheet. But you can't say it was because the home side were vastly superior to last weekend's opposition. Yes, Leeds were dire. But in the opening half on Saturday Spurs were not setting the world on fire either. Their only real threat was provided by their hugely talented strike partnership. Keane embarrassed Joseph Yobo with a nutmeg on the edge of the box which should have paved the way for a goal, had it not been for Martyn. It is at the back where Everton are struggling. The loss of Alan Stubbs with a groin strain midway through the opening half was a blow. But David Weir is a more than adequate replacement. And that cannot explain why Everton have been leaking goals so frequently in the games before Saturday. They have now conceded 14 in eight Premiership games this season and kept just one clean sheet. A sense of perspective is important. This time last season they had conceded 11 and kept two clean sheets but transformed their form thanks to the 2-1 win over Arsenal in October. It seems a similar catalyst for a march up the table is required now. It should have come with the trouncing of Leeds. Now we must wait. It is not a daunting run of fixtures that awaits, with the exception of Chelsea's visit on November 1. The squad is stronger than last season. The manager is more experienced. Wayne Rooney is older and James McFadden has arrived.
There are so many reason to be optimistic, but the lack of consistency casts a dark shadow.
Moyes is the silver lining. His refusal to accept anything less than victory means the players are in for a tough couple of weeks.
Worst yet, raps furious Moyes
Oct 6 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES branded Everton's 3-0 reverse at White Hart Lane his side's worst performance of the season. The manager was furious with the defending which allowed Tottenham to turn their slender one goal advantage into a match-winning three goal lead in the space of four minutes at the start of the second half. Asked if it was the worst display of the campaign so far, the bitterly disappointed manager responded: "I would say so." Everton have still to win away from Goodison this season and that failure to secure victories on th e road is seri ou sly undermining the club's efforts to gain a regular spot in the top half of the table. Moyes added: "I hope it is not a consistency problem. I hope we are better than that and I hope we can start to win a few games in a row because that makes a big difference in the Premiership. But it wasn't to be here. "I wasn't really happy with the way the game was going before the goal. I thought they had better chances than we did. "I did think we would get through it and go in half-time at nothing each, but it was a wonderful goal. "What we can put it down to is five minutes at the start of the second half. If you lose a goal like we did sometimes you have to put your hands up and say 'wonderful goal,' but if you defend like we did then the game is over. Moyes went on: "I could go into the first goal technically and start talking about a load of jargon as to why I thought we could have done something about it, but it probably wouldn't really interest you that much." The manager has made it clear his below par players will be having to put things right at Belle-field in the next fortnight. The international break means the Blues are not in action again until the visit of Southampton in 13 days. But the fact many of his key players will not be around at the training ground this week will not stop Moyes doing everything in his power to put things right. the boss added: "We will be training and working. That is the way our club works. We are a working club and we will continue working through this break. "As you can see, we need it. "Everybody expects the second season in management to be tougher. But I expect my players to win every game and I am disappointed when we don't."
Inside story on a 'private man'
Oct 6 2003 On The Day His Latest Show Opens At The Empire, Paddy Shennan Talks To Bill Kenwright About His Life . . . And Loves
ON the day his latest show opens at the Empire, PADDY SHENNAN talks to Bill Kenwright about his life . . . and loves IF he ever staged a West End musical telling his own life story, he'd probably call it I'm Not The Man You Think I Am. But theatre-lovers shouldn't hold their breath waiting for Bill Kenwright to spill the beans. If the ECHO launched a word association game, starting with the name "Kenwright", answers on a postcard would probably include enthusiastic, effervescent and ebullient. Then there would be loud, proud and even, perhaps, over-thetop and in-your-face. And yes, of course, there would also be the obligatory "impresario" ("What does that actually mean? asks Bill) and "Luvvie" (well, he does work in the heart of luvvie land and did say "Bye love," at the end of our conversation). Bill, 58, is well aware of his public image, but insists: "There are very, very few people who know me, because I am incredibly incredibly quiet and private." So it's all an act, then, and Bill Kenwright has more front than Rapid Hardware? "People don't understand this about me because I will shout my productions to the rooftops and I love talking about Everton Football Club. I AM very private, but I can only talk in one way - though I don't want to come across as a passionate buffoon." Don't be silly, luvvie. He adds: "If you knew how many requests I get every week - to make documentaries, to write my biography and so on. But I turn them all down." This aversion to the spotlight can be traced back to the mid-1960s, when Bill played Gordon Clegg, briefly, in Coronation Street (although he did make occasional return visits). "You've got to remember I was 20 when I was on the programme, at a time when it was hotter than it is now. I remember Pat Phoenix telling me on day one 'You're a good-looking lad from Liverpool - and you've got no idea what will happen to you when you appear on that screen.' "I was really shocked. My character was the first teenager specially written into a soap to attract teenage viewers. It was an extraordinary situation to be in and I really didn't like it. That's one of the reasons I left." He may have been a young soap star, but Bill failed - despite several attempts - to become a young pop star: "I made a lot of records but don't look for my name in the Guin-ness Book of Hit Singles, though I may be in the Book of Flops!" Bill has been a theatre producer since 1970 and a typical working day begins shortly after 8am, at his home in Little Venice, North West London, where he lives with his actress partner Jenny Seagrove. IT'S a day of meetings and a thousand phone calls - or more: "I'll be on the phone at home before getting to the office, nearby, for 10. Then I'll deal with my mail until 11, when we have a heads of department meeting. "We are a production company like no other, with hundreds of shows on all over the world - and each one has to be discussed in great detail." A recent such meeting, for example, included issues surrounding current West End shows such as Blood Brothers and Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, together with Tell Me On A Sunday and Wait Until Dark, which opened last Wednesday. "We also talked about Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, which opens on Broadway this week and has taken $2m in advance bookings. I'm flying over for that on Thursday. "Other future shows include Scrooge, starring my great hero Tommy Steele, at Liverpool this Christmas. That's going to be fantastic." Then there's Bill Kenwright Films - movies in the pipeline include The Purifiers, a film about a Glasgow street gang directed by Richard Jobson (former TV presenter and singer with punk band The Skids). Bill, who employs a staff of about 30, adds: "I also spend a hell of a lot of time on casting and there are a lot of calls that need to be made to America later in the day, because of the time difference." There are also nightly calls to two very important people - his mum, Hope, in Allerton, who, perhaps to spare her blushes, Bill will only describe as being in her mid-80s, and Everton manager David Moyes. No chance of a swift half down the British Legion, then . . . "I don't actually miss not having any free time, because I've NEVER had it - I was on the stage at the Liverpool Playhouse at the age of 12, worked in my summer holidays and went to London when I was 17 to join a youth theatre. "I never see myself retiring - not at all. Maybe there is something in having a yacht and other things which I don't have, but I've never aspired to that lifestyle." Jenny and I trust each other 100% BILL Kenwright is celebrating a very special anniversary this month: 10 years with the love of his life, actress Jenny Sea-grove. "It's my longest relation-ship," says Bill, with more than a hint of pride and satisfaction. "It started when she was starring at the Liverpool Playhouse, in the Noel Coward play Present Laughter." But he confesses that Jenny has to share him when they go to bed . . . "Poor Jenny!" he laughs. "I'll get to bed at about 1am - and read through some scripts. We'll have the TV on or a DVD and I never get to sleep until about 3 or 3.30am. "We were watching the BBC comedy Trevor's World Of Sport the other night, which is produced by one of my good friends, Jimmy Mulville. There was a scene in a bowling alley and I suddenly realised 'I've never done that in my life!' "I'm always working. I really don't go out much. And Jenny is a hard-working actress. She does Judge John Deed for the BBC seven months a year and is working in the theatre the rest of the time. And she is an extremely committed person, who is very much into her health and animal charities. "She also comes to a lot of Everton games - and she always knows where I am! The great thing is when you find the person you've been looking for. That relationship gives you freedom because there's absolute trust."
Bill and Jenny are not married, but Bill has been, briefly, to New Zealand-born former actress Anouska Hempel, whose films included the James Bond flick On Her Majesty's Secret Service. She also appeared in the TV series Tales From The Crypt. She later became an internationallyrenowned designer and hotelier. The marriage, in 1978, hardly lasted a year and Bill's voice lowers as, for once, words don't come easy: "That was pain-ful - any divorce is painful." His former wife, he adds, now has hotels all over the world and is a muliti-millionairess. Perhaps she could invest in Everton. Bill, meanwhile, has one daughter, Lucy, 30, by actress Virginia Stride. He says: "Lucy, who's a mad Evertonian, is a very successful producer with the BBC. And she's got all her dad's attributes; she's hard-working and shy. I'm so proud of her." He adds: "Liverpool means family to me. Liverpool means home. I've lived in London for 39 years but I only start to feel at home when I arrive at Lime Street station." Curtain goes up on Bill's special gift to City of Culture THE Picture Of Dorian Gray - at the Empire Theatre from tonight until Saturday - is Bill Kenwright's Capital of Culture win gift to his home city. And Bill dreams of giving the theatre another present in 2008, itself, saying: "I would love to be able to produce something in Liverpool featuring Dame Judi Dench - that would be fantastic." The staging of the play, starring Robert Powell, follows a series of Bill's acclaimed revivals of Oscar Wilde, including The Importance Of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband. He says: "I haven't really been able to bring my plays to Liverpool for about 10 to 12 years. When I was a kid, the Royal Court was the theatre for plays and the Empire was for musicals. "The Empire is a huge venue but I asked the people there to take a chance on me. It was a big risk, but not from a financial point of view - that's not important. But I have to say, thanks to the ECHO, the box office has built up nicely. It promises to be a great week."
Groin strain rocks Ferguson
Oct 6 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON striker Duncan Ferguson was today undergoing treatment for a groin injury picked up in the defeat at Tottenham. He was being joined in the physio room by defender Alan Stubbs, another groin strain victim from Saturday's game. The good news for Evertonians is that the international break this weekend gives the pair a fortnight to recover for the Blues' next league fixture - the televised clash against Southampton at Goodison on Sunday, October 19. Manager David Moyes said: "Duncan has a bit of a groin strain as does Alan Stubbs. "Both picked them up in the game on Saturday. It's a bit too early to say how bad they are. We will just have to monitor them." The injury is a particular blow to Ferguson (pictured) , who had just re-established himself in the first-team after a back injury wrecked his chances last season. His recent form even led Scotland manager Bertie Vogts to wish he would end his long self-imposed international exile, but the big Scot is still refusing to play for his country. Moyes has had time to reflect on his side's dismal 3-0 Premiership defeat at White Hart Lane, but he remains adamant there was nothing positive to take out of the Blues' performance. Those players not on international duty were hauled in for training yesterday and were back at Bellefield this morning. International breaks normally see the rest of the squad allowed time off, but the Everton stars still on Merseyside can expect few favours from their angry manager. Moyes added: "They need to perform more to get breaks. "We'll be training and trying to put things right. We are looking to try and recapture our good performances of last season. "At the moment I feel we are a bit short of that standard, but we are working towards it. "I don't know if the international break is beneficial. "It can work both ways. Sometimes you're glad to have a game coming up, other times you need a break to recover. We all knew it was coming and there is nothing we can do except just get on with it."
Fans 'will decide on ground share'
Oct 6 2003Paddy Shennan Talks To Bill Kenwright
WILL Everton ever share with Liverpool? What would True Blue Bill do if a Russian billionaire came knocking? The deputy chairman and majority shareholder says: "I don't know if Evertonians would want a Russian billionaire. But if one came along with bags of money and Evertonians wanted it, David Moyes wanted it and if it was for the good of the club, I'd have no hesitation in allowing that to happen. "When we bought the club four years ago, it wasn't 'Hey! This is my dream.' It was because the situation then was wrong and I wanted to change it. The ownership is immaterial; what's important is the sustained growth of the club." And could that growth ever involve sharing a ground with Liverpool FC? Bill Kenwright, a known sceptic, says: "Every football club has a duty to look at every avenue that might improve its finances. But, at Everton, we have always promised that any ground move, whether it's sharing or otherwise, will be subject to a vote by the fans."
Eriksson should make Wayne wait
Oct 6 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY was involved in Everton's first dozen matches of last season - and was booked twice. His next nine appearances saw just two more added to his crime sheet. But then came an onslaught of yellow fever, the first red card of his career, and another flurry of card-waving in the opening months of this season. Putting my very amateur psychologist's hat on, the inference is that as soon as Rooney started to feel secure in his presence in a Premiership football team, he started to express himself . . . more and more loudly. Which is why Sven Goran Eriksson must resist the temptation to start with the wonderfully talented Everton striker in Saturday night's incendiary atmosphere in Istanbul. Rooney is far from part of the furniture in an England set-up, but with important goals in each of his last international appearances and plenty of tub-thumping from Eriksson about him, he is England's most automatically selected teenager since Duncan Edwards.
And the big fear would be that he feels he still has something to prove. The England coach already has more loose cannons on board than Horatio Nelson would have known what to do with. Steven Gerrard's hair-trigger temper is never far from the surface, Paul Scholes' ability to launch illegal challenges well known - particularly with the rustiness of a lay-off behind him - while David Beckham appears to have conquered his early career impetuosity . . . just. Beckham's experience should send out the warning signs to Eriksson. It took enormous reserves of character and courage to overcome the public humiliation he was exposed to after France '98. Would it be fair to place a 17-year-old in potentially the same position? England need to keep the match calm and tight on Saturday night.
If an explosion of energy and invention is required, surely it is best coming from the substitutes' bench.
Championing under-fire Unsy
ITV'S inappropriately-named Jon Champion was offering the verbal accompaniment to Everton's dismal defeat in London - and David Unsworth must have wondered what he'd done to upset him.
Champion hauled Unsworth over the coals for "an error" which led to the third goal, suggested he was having "a torrid match". I like Unsworth's brand of heart-on-your-sleeve commitment, but a couple of other points need making. Who was Unsworth covering for when he charged across and failed to pinch the ball from Robbie Keane? Who was he covering for when he was sucked in for the "torrid match" reference - and why no cruel words when Keane embarrassingly nutmegged Joseph Yobo? Our own Scott McLeod wrote of the third goal: "David Unsworth reacted quickest, charging across to try and snuff out the threat." Many people see football matches differently. Unfortunately Champion's view was heard by millions.
Eriksson keeping faith in Rooney
Oct 6 2003 By David Prior, Daily Post
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON last night gave the green light for Wayne Rooney to play in England's crucial Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey on Saturday. Michael Owen's injury has thrust the spotlight on to Everton's 17-year-old striker, who despite currently occupying only a place on the Blues' bench could well now start for his country in Istanbul. And Eriksson claimed he would have no fears about playing Rooney in such a high-octane atmosphere, even though concerns have again been voiced about the youngster's temperament after he picked up a fifth booking of the season in the defeat against Spurs on Saturday. The Swede said: "He's a young man. He's tough and I don't think he has a problem with nerves at all. "I haven't said that I'm going to play him but, if I do, then I think he's mature enough." Of more concern to furious boss David Moyes was Everton's shocking defending as managerless Tottenham struck three times in five minutes to continue the Blues' White Hart Lane nightmare on Saturday. Moyes was in monosyllabic form in the post-match press conference as he reflected on a dismal display that blew away the confidence generated by the 4-0 beating of Leeds last week and means Everton are now winless in this fixture for 18 years. Freddie Kanoute started the rout for Tottenham two minutes before the break with a stunning long-range effort.
But it was Everton's capitulation in the opening three minutes of the second half that most attracted the Scot's ire, with Gus Poyet and Robbie Keane pouncing on lackadasical defending to gleefully put the game beyond the visitors' reach. Moyes said: "If you defend like we did five minutes into the second half then game over. "I expect my players to win every game and I'm disappointed when we don't win every game. "I thought they had better chances than we did, but I thought we'd get through to the break. But it (Kanoute's) was a wonderful goal, you have to hold your hands up."
Spurs, who are still without a manager after the sacking of Glenn Hoddle, recorded only their second home win of the season - doubling their home goals tally in the process - and are now level on eight points with the Goodison men. Everton have veered between impressive victories and demoralising defeats so far this season, but Moyes denied that consistency was an inherent flaw in his side.
He added: "I obviously expected more and I hope it's not a consistency problem. I hope we're better than that. But it wasn't to be today. "We are a hard-working club. We'll work hard through the international break - as you can see we need to." Further bad news for the Scot came with the news that Rooney's fifth booking automatically earned him a one-match ban. Moyes refused to comment on the 17-year-old's nagging discplinary problem, but Spurs caretaker boss David Pleat was sympathetic. He said: "You must cross your fingers and hope for discipline in situations like that.
"It was frustration today and he'll have to count to 10."
Home & Away
Daily Post & Icliverpool
Oct 7 2003
I FULLY support the notion of getting behind your team but there is such a thing as false optimism! EFC are simply too inconsistent to challenge for any major honours and the league table in May will prove this. David Moyes may be a very good manager in the making but he has already taken EFC to their limits and it's only a matter of time before he moves on to something bigger and better.
Al Biggs, Merseyside
Shake up defence
I HAVE supported Everton for more than 10 years plus but Saturday's display was one of the worse. Wayne Rooney was too interested in remonstrating with the officials. We need Peter Clarke to be brought into the first team, Gary Naysmith to start on the left of defence and Sean Davis to be bought urgently. David Moyes is brilliant, but can only do so much with the players he has at his disposal.
Dave Hadley, (via e-mail)
Support for Yobo
WE NEED a centre back with experience and stature. Joseph Yobo's good but needs to learn from someone. Stubbs and Weir have been good in their day but time catches up on all players.
A quality left-back is essential . . . how about that lad at Rangers? Michael Ball is it? Two midfielders need to come in. Maybe Savage will give us the energy that we need.
by Rich Davies, Garston
WE'VE the basis of a good team but need more quality. Rooney needs a month in the reserves. He is not the be-all and end-all of EFC and he needs to know this. He does the occasional thing, but we have players who are more deserving of their places. He's the future. We need to plan for that but look at now.
Simon Evans, Rhyl
ANY team in trouble? Any player needs a confidence boost? The answer is simple... just play Everton! LFC, ready to get rid of Houllier: score EFC 0 LFC 3. Boro have not won a game: score BORO 1 EFC 0. Spurs in a bad way: score SPURS 3 EFC 0. We just do not have any consistency stretching back to the last ten games of last season.
John Speed, Liverpool
DEAR manager, how does Carsley get a game before Rooney? Surely Rooney must play from the kick-off when the scores are level, not when we're three down and needing a miracle. Rooney's time at Everton is now not in five years time when he's doing it elsewhere. Let him play, let him make the odd error, but have the confidence that you will get more out of Rooney than you'll ever get from others.
Geoff Williams, Liverpool
Make us proud
I THOUGHT maybe we could improve on what we achieved last year, obviously not. We are a mediocre side with delusions of grandeur. Meanwhile Arsenal humbled one of the elite teams of Europe (as some of their fans believe) on their own patch. Just the other week one of their fans, writing on the Blues put Liverpool up there with the likes of Man U and Arsenal. What's that all about? On a brighter note let's cheer on England against Turkey and hope our Wayne can make us Blues proud with a good performance and maybe a goal. Will he play? How can Sven leave the boy wonder out?
J Dolphin, (via e-mail)
Off the pace
I HAVE been an avid Everton supporter for more than 40 years but thought the display against Spurs was insipid. Admittedly the performance of the referee, Dermot Gallagher, wasn't flash, as he
allowed the Spurs defenders to get away with continually committing fouls on Ferguson, Radzinski, McFadden and (especially) Rooney. But this wasn't the reason we got pounded by Spurs. It was purely and simply a lack of commitment and awareness by our players, although Thomas Graveson and Kevin Kilbane, when he came on, were the exceptions. Quite simply, Spurs wanted the ball and the win more than us. This was exemplified by the fact that every time Spurs had possession, the player with the ball always had team-mates to support him and take the pressure off. In contrast, when our lads had possession, they were on their own and were usually tackled by a couple of Spurs players. In short, this was a game where the supporters were let down badly.
Laurie Cooper, Merseyside
Sven has to Turk a chance on Wayne
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Oct 7 2003
IF Michael Owen misses out in Istanbul, then the glare of the spotlight will undoubtedly fall on Wayne Rooney. The pair had started to work well together in England colours and would have posed problems for the home team, without a doubt. Now Sven-Goran Eriksson has to get the balance of the side right if he is without his number one striker. But I still feel there is a role to play for the Everton youngster. Turkey have some sharp players up front and are strong in midfield, but they lack pace at the back I would use Rooney as our furthest forward midfielder to play in the area that Tugay likes to work in. He runs the Turkish team, especially if he has players around him to do the donkey work. Rooney's presence would give him much more to think about. Pushing Rooney into that kind of area could also take some of the pressure off him. He would be difficult to pick up for the Turks while the experience of Gerrard, Beckham and Scholes would be important in helping the youngster through the game. Once again question marks have been raised over the Everton player's temperament following his booking against Spurs - and subsequent verbal volley at the referee. Abusing the referee is something that he should cut out, because that is a silly way to find yourself in trouble and the real problem comes when you start picking up suspensions for your disciplinary record and miss games as a result. There is a touch of devilment about Rooney's game but that is part of his make-up and makes him the player he is. He needs to try and curb the recklessness without losing that edge to his play. There is no doubt the Turks will try to wind him up. Against the best players, you are always looking for a weakness in their armoury and if that involves trying to goad them into a rash mistake then so be it. It has been going on in football since the days when players tried to get the better of Finney and Matthews. Rooney has had to live with playing on the world stage and being touted as one of the game's greats - and he is not yet 18. And what did any of us know at that age? Sven-Goran Eriksson will be hoping all his prayers are answered this week - and that Michael Owen makes a miracle recovery. The absence of the Liverpool striker for the crunch Euro 2004 qualifier in Turkey would be a huge blow. I would go so far as to say Owen is irreplaceable. England under Sven have relied massively on the goals contribution of Owen - and David Beck-ham - and this is the sort of game where, as a manager, you want to know that every player who crosses that white line can be relied upon. It is a match where you want your most experienced players at your disposal - the likes of Campbell and Ferdinand at the back, Beckham, Scholes and Gerrard in the midfield and Owen up front. And it is not a game to take a gamble on his fitness. Without that yard of sharpness to his game, it is not worth playing Owen. It would compromise the gameplan too much. The fact that Owen has not been immediately ruled out offers a glimmer of hope, but it is when you start considering his replacements that you appreciate how crucial Owen is. James Beattie is largely unproven at this level, Darius Vassell is better coming off the bench while Emile Heskey in the right kind of form can do a job. But you're never quite sure what you are going to get from the Liverpool player. England have proved themselves capable of carving our big results but need to attack Turkey with pace to make the most of their slowness at the back. If they stop Tugay running the show and impose themselves on the game, then England can come away with the result they need.
Defensive game a White Hart pain
I WOULDN'T like to be one of the Everton players still at Bellefield this week. Those not away on international duty are in for a hard time as David Moyes looks to put the faults of the defeat at Spurs firmly behind them. Even Paula Radcliffe might struggle to keep up with the training that lies ahead!
After doing so much right against Leeds, Everton seemed to sweep all that aside against Tottenham. They did not impose themselves on the game and too often looked to route one to Duncan Ferguson, something they had avoided so well against Peter Reid's side. It was not a good tactic away from home because Ferguson was either too far away from goal to cause problems or the ball kept coming straight back at Everton. I suspect Everton found themselves defending deeper than they wanted because they were worried by the pace of Robbie Keane and Freddie Kanoute, who scored one of the goals of the season to break the deadlock. But in those situations you need to be mentally strong to resist the temptation to drop back. Instead it needs someone to drive the team forward to play the game higher up the field. After the goal - and the half-time teamtalk - I am sure Moyes was looking for a reaction from his players. What he got was the last thing he wanted as a slack start to the second half put the result out of reach.
Campbell: Wayne won't be intimidated
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 7 2003
KEVIN CAMPBELL believes Wayne Rooney has just the right temperament to cope with the intimidating atmosphere in Turkey this weekend - despite the 17-year-old having already earned himself a ban for his fifth booking of the season. Opinion has been divided over whether Rooney has the mental aptitude to cope in England's vital Euro 2004 qualifier in Istanbul, with the Turks likely to employ any tactics they see fit to bag the win they need. Former England bosses Terry Venables and Sir Bobby Robson are both split on whether to play Rooney. Venables claimed it would represent "a risk", whereas Robson thought he should be given as start as he would "strike fear into the opposition". Blues striker Campbell, 33, knows something about the reception Rooney and England are likely to face at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium, having had a short spell in the city four years ago at Trabzonspor. And he believes his young strike part-ner, who has already amassed 13 cautions and one red card in a still very brief career, has all the attributes to handle the situation. He said: "He's got the right tempera-ment, he's mentally strong and I just think Wayne Rooney could really make a big name for himself again in Turkey. "The England game against Turkey over here was as big a game as Wayne Rooney's played and he handled that magnificently." Questions about Rooney's temperament were again raised in a headline-grabbing cameo at White Hart Lane on Saturday, when a charged-up Rooney received a yellow card for a sustained show of dissent against referee Dermot Gallagher and could easily have gone had he not pulled out of a studs-up two-footed tackle on Spurs' Rohan Ricketts. He is now facing a one-game suspension, but Campbell insisted: "I think he's one of these characters who's really determined to impose his game on the Turks. "He did it over here and I don't see why he can't do it over there because he's got all the attributes." Duncan Ferguson's revival could be on hold, meanwhile, after he picked up a groin injury on Saturday.
The Scot has re-established a starting place in the Blues line-up and has scored four goals so far this season, but must now wait to discover the full extent of his injury. Defender Alan Stubbs was a victim of the same injury at White Hart Lane, forcing his first-half replacement by David Weir.
Manager David Moyes said: "Duncan has a bit of a groin strain, as does Alan Stubbs. "Both picked them up in the game on Saturday. It's a bit too early to say how bad they are. We will just have to monitor them." The pair could be helped by the fort-night's rest afforded by the international break, with the Blues' next game not scheduled until the televised Goodison clash against Southampton on Sunday, October 19. Moyes however was unsure whether the break would be of help to his side, who are licking their wounds after a dismal display in the 3-0 defeat to Spurs.
He said: "I don't know if the international break is beneficial. "It can work both ways. Some-times you're glad to have a game coming up, other times you need a break to recover. "We all knew it was coming and there is nothing we can do except just get on with it." Those players not on international duty were back in training at Bellefield yesterday as the inquest began into the Blues' latest set-back. Moyes added: "They need to perform more to get breaks. "We'll be training and trying to put things right. We are looking to try and recapture our good perfomances of last season.
"At the moment I feel we are a bit short of that standard, but we are working towards it."
Campbell and Jeffers back in tandem
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 7 2003
KEVIN CAMPBELL and Francis Jeffers will renew their partnership up front for the reserves tonight as Everton face Manchester United at Haig Avenue (kick-off 7pm). Campbell returned to the bench for the first time this season on Saturday but was unused as Everton sank to a disappointing 3-0 defeat against Tottenham. Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski have been David Moyes' first-choice attacking pair for the last two games but the Blues' disappointing display at White Hart Lane could see him consider a reshuffle ahead of the visit of Southampton on October 19. And Campbell has admitted he is desperate to make his Premiership return having endured a frustrating time on the sidelines after damaging fibres in his ham-string during the pre-season friendly with Bologna.
"I'm fit and raring to go," said the 33-year-old. "My focus has always been trying to get back into the team, but the strikers have been doing well and I'm prepared to sit on the bench, or just be part of the squad for the time being and wait for my chance. Nobody has a divine right to be in the team.
"Fergie's done really well since he's been in the team - he's looking sharp. Who knows, I might be out for a bit because of that, but Kevin Campbell is ready when called upon." Moyes will no doubt be a keen observer tonight at Campbell's third straight game for the reserves, and also to cast an eye upon Jeffers, whose on-loan stint from Arsenal has so far been restricted by a back problem. Campbell added: "I relish the fight to get back into the team. "Life is a challenge and if you're not up for the fight in life, you're going to struggle. I don't like things too easy, I like it hard, because when you do get success everything seems worth it. "You can look back and see the obstacles you've encountered and really feel that you've achieved something."
Brian's blast shares spoils
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 7 2003
BRIAN MOOGAN'S second goal of the season gave Everton under-19s a share of the points in a 2-2 draw against Liverpool in the FA Premier Academy League derby on Saturday at Netherton.
Anthony Barry had given Neil Dewsnip's side the lead in the first minute with a shot from the edge of box. Gavin Lynch had gone on a superb run past several Liverpool defenders before teeing up Barry for his first goal for the U19s this season. But Liverpool equalised 15 minutes later through Steven Gillespie, and before the half-hour mark Mark Smyth had put the visitors in front. The Blues battled back and equalised 10 minutes before the break with a superb 30-yard strike from Moogan. The second half was again evenly contested with Barry having the Blues only real chance. Coach Dewsnip said: "We started really well, and we did well to come back after they had scored two goals. But the second half wasn't great and neither team really controlled the game in any way. I guess it was a fair result. "It was a competent performance. I was particularly pleased that at 2-1 down we didn't buckle as we had done earlier in the season at Derby. We showed a tenacity and mental toughness to get back into the game." Gary Ablett's under-17s fell to their first defeat of the season after six straight victories, losing 1-0 at Wolverhampton Wander-ers on Saturday. The Blues created several opportunities, three falling to Paul Hopkins, and one each to Michael Johnson, Andy Fowler and Christian Seargeant, but they failed to take any. The winning goal came after 15 minutes when a Wolves for-ward nipped in on a cross ahead of the Blues centre-backs to score. Ablett said: "It was a game we dominated but we could have played until Monday and not scored. "We created six or seven clear-cut chances but failed to take them. "It was very dis-appointing because with all due respect to Wolves, they weren't the strongest side we have faced this year. "We weren't at the races except for James Harris and Stephen Wynne, who both did well. One or two others did okay but it wasn't enough." EVERTON UNDER-19s: Lake, Flood, Potter, Gerrard, Fox; Booth (J Jones 50), B Moogan, Brown, Martland; Lynch (Phelan 75), Barry. Subs: McCall, Anichebe.
EVERTON UNDER-17s: Gallagher, Wynne, Hughes, Kearney, Wright, Seargeant, Harris, Wilson, Johnson (Molyneux 78), Hopkins, Fowler (Anderson 78).
Not worried about Wayne
Oct 7 2003 By Andy Gray, Liverpool Echo
I KNOW just how Wayne Rooney feels ahead of Saturday's clash in Turkey - and I'm backing him to do what I didn't do at a similar age, and walk away from trouble. I was 19-years-old when I was selected to face Czechoslovakia, away, in a vital European Championship qualifier. The media hype was not anything like as intense as what Wayne has had to deal with this week, but I was still sent-off for punching a player who had had a go at me. I spent two-years in the international wilderness and have regretted my reaction to this day. But despite allowing the red mist to come down that night, I have absolutely no worries about Wayne in Turkey - and I don't think Sven Goran Eriksson will either. Much was made of Wayne's silly booking on Saturday, but you have to scrutinise the circumstances. He had been sat twiddling his thumbs on the bench for an hour, watching his team getting thumped - and his mind will have been a foment of emotions when he came on. Mixed in with the frustration at being left out of the starting line-up, the eagerness to prove a point and the disappointment at the way the match was going, you have to add plain and simple youthful impetuosity. Wayne will learn from his experiences, he will mellow and has already proved he is a good listener. As for Saturday in Turkey, I don't think we have to worry about Wayne. He knows the eyes of England will be focussed on him, just as they were when he played at the Stadium of Light against Turkey - and I think he will control himself. He knows some people are expecting him to fall in Istanbul, which is why he will go out of his way to keep a lid on his emotions. Just as long as he doesn't dilute those fighting qualities in the wrong way. The passion, the spikiness and the in-your-face attitude helps make Wayne the player he is, and I would much rather see a player with those qualities than without them.
Just try to keep your cool Wayne
Oct 7 2003 By Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
AS Everton's Wayne Rooney and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and Emile Heskey face one of the most volatile football nations in the world PADDY SHENNAN asks whether they will be able to keep their cool. IF you can keep your head while all around are losing theirs . . . you're probably in a minority. Society seems to be getting angrier. Yes it does, don't ******* argue with me. In the workplace. In the car. In the supermarket queue. And on the football field. In countless grounds across the country, thousands of fans pay good money to get hot under the collar - and watch players losing it in the name of sport. The stakes are high - and they are about to get even higher. And hotter. This Saturday, England will play a football match against Turkey in Istanbul.
Except, according to the pre-match hype, this is more like a war waiting to happen than an Euro 2004 qualifier. And, according to the "Welcome" banners traditionally held aloft by some Turkish fans for the benefit of visiting players and fans from England-based clubs, our national team will actually be in hell. It won't merely be a test of our players' football skills, but their self-control. Some commentators have already questioned the wisdom of playing Everton wonderkid Wayne Rooney, suggesting that he's too young to be starring in a potential video nasty. Others have gone further and claimed that this particular British bulldog is too-easily antagonised - and will bite back if provoked. Though not literally, of course. They argue that if he can lose his rag when his club is three-nil down and it's game over, as he did at Tottenham on Saturday, what price him keeping his cool in a Turkish cauldron? But, according to one expert, there's no reason why England shouldn't be able to finish Saturday's game with 11 men on the pitch - and three points in the bag. "Internationals are one-offs, which bring a certain focus," says Professor Tom Reilly, director of the Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moores University. "It's a different situation to the Premiership, when you are playing one of 38 games in familiar grounds, against familiar people." Prof Reilly says Rooney and Co. will be prepared in the mind as much as the body, before this weekend's game. "They will be asked to think through the possible situations which might arise during the game. In this way, players can be system-atically taught how to control their reactions - in theory, at least! "The next step is to get the right mind-set for the occasion, so you can divorce yourself from things happening on the sidelines and in the crowd, so you can simply focus on playing - which has been called being 'in the zone'." And Prof Reilly is keen to stress that the Turkish players could feel more pressure from their vocal and volatile fans than their rivals.
"There are obviously benefits to playing at home in front of a supportive crowd, yet it is quite common for a team playing away to turn this to their advantage - because many players feel even more pressure when performing in front of their own, highlydemanding supporters. "If the home fans become critical because of what they are seeing, the advantage goes to the away side, while some players relish being picked on by the crowd because they know this probably means they are doing their job well." The same applies if a player is picked on by a player . . Despite the doubts surrounding his temperament, it should perhaps be remembered that Wayne Rooney's response to the shirt-pulling and niggling fouls he was subjected to when England played Turkey on home ground was to smile in the face of his tormentors. "You CAN be mentally trained to curb your reactions, although some people will be able to do it automatically," says Prof Reilly. "Former Everton and England player Gary Lineker was always determined not to let opposition players get to him. If people tried to put him off his game by fouling him, his attitude was that this was an indication that he had them worried." So did Lineker count to 10 - or is that just something your mother would tell you to do? "It would actually be something similar," says Prof Reilly. "When Diego Maradona made a mistake or something unsettled him, he would spit on the ground and roll his tongue around - then instantly forget about whatever had happened. Most players will have a similar technique."
Part of it is about maturity (Wayne Rooney, lest we forget, is yet to celebrate his 18th birthday) and part of it is about training your mind. If things are to go wrong on Saturday, he suggests, they are likely to go wrong in the first 15 minutes. "Everyone is going to be on a high voltage at the beginning and research has shown that, if the same players remain on the pitch, what happens in the first 15 minutes is very different to what happens in the last 15, when the players will be low on energy.
"It is much more intense in that first period and players put themselves into more risky situations, when they are tackling and contesting the ball. The players, even the nervous ones, will have settled down into a pattern after the first 15 to 20 minutes and the tempo of the game will have been set."
But the professor sounds a cautionary note: "You can adopt a mind-set which tells you that you won't let the pressure get to you, but that doesn't mean it won't." With the best will in the world, he says, even a highly-professional, vastly-experienced individual can let himself down. Did someone mention 37-year-old Martin Keown, whose bulging neck veins portrayed a man on the edge in the recent Battle of Old Trafford? "People do forget where they are - and the fact that a big crowd is watching and the TV cameras are there doesn't seem to make an awful lot of difference." But, as the man says, internationals are one-offs - and the focus is different. Stay calm, boys. Stay calm.
I've given Roon some tips for Turkey - Kev
Oct 7 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has been receiving tips on psychological warfare - to prepare him for Saturday's high octane experience in Istanbul. Rooney's fifth booking of the season last weekend has concerned many experts, who suggest he will snap in the Turkish tinder-box. But club-mate Kevin Campbell, who was rescued from a Turkish hell of his own by Everton, has been telling him exactly what he can expect - and is confident he will come through with flying colours. "I have spoken to him about Turkey for weeks now," said Campbell. "After the Liechtenstein game he came in the next day buzzing because he had scored one and everyone was pleased for him. "I said 'You better be prepared for Turkey' and gave him some phrases to use. I'm not saying whether they were swear words or not. I just said 'That's your armoury and don't forget if you need a recap ring me.' "I don't know whether he rbers them because Turkish is a pretty difficult language to master, but I have no doubts about him anyway to be honest. I think he will do really well." Campbell endured a roller-coaster time in Turkey at Trabzonspor in 1999. Initially hailed a hero, he was appalled when club president Mehmet Ali Yilmaz described him as a "discoloured cannibal." Everton initially took him on-loan, then paid £3m to make the move permanent. Originally a minder for another emerging teenage striker in Francis Jeffers, Campbell has since helped nurture Rooney's burgeoning talent.
He added: "I think this could be a defining moment in Wayne's career, even before he is 18, in the sense that he can lead England to glory. "He is an icon already and what better time to encapsulate that than to put on a show in Turkey and propel his country to Euro 2004 without the need for play-offs or anything. "Everything is riding on this game. The whole country will be watching and I think Wayne Rooney is the type of player who will excel in international football because he will get a bit more time and space to show his power, pace and intelligence. "This game could help him reach even greater heights. Wayne won't have experienced anything like it before, but I wouldn't have any qualms about playing him from a temperament point of view. "You have to accept he is still learning and he has rough edges. But he has got an unbelievable talent and he just needs to channel it in a better way sometimes. "When he is out there in the middle of a game though, he wears his heart on his sleeve. He wants to win. He is a winner. "Look back to when England played Turkey over here. No-one questioned his temperament then. Obviously he has been booked for a couple of offences now, but I wouldn't question him. "Back in that game he was the best player on the pitch and he scared Turkey stiff. "All he has done for England so far is to turn a blind eye to the intimidation and let his football do the talking, so I don't see him transgressing now. "If anything he will be more determined than ever to keep a lid on things. "When I played over there defenders would be standing all over your feet and spitting at you which is the worst thing ever. "It's hard to deal with, but if you react they've won. "I always tried to win the game and think 'No matter what you do I am not going to rise to it.' That is the name of the game for England really. "If Turkey know they can rattle and unsettle England, they will do it all game." Campbell went on: "Istanbul is an intimidating place and it is going to be white hot on Saturday. The Turkish supporters will be baying for blood, but that is in their nature. They are hot blooded and patriotic, just the same as us. "They will obviously try and put England off their game so that their national teamcan go through. "Slitting a sheeps' throat is a ritual before a game and the players put it on their boots and forehead. I have done all that and when you do you get the biggest cheer of the day because it is like you are one of them.
"I remember the Trabzonspor coach being stoned once and when opposition fans found out we were in a hotel they made sure we didn't sleep. "They would arrive a two o'clock in the afternoon and start beating drums for the rest of the day. If the supporters find out where England are staying they will be beeping their car horns all through the night. "There will be the 'Welcome to Hell' banners and it will certainly be an eyeopener. The players who have played internationals in imtimidating atmospheres before will be fine, but there are going to be certain players who will not have experienced anything like it. "England are tough and hard though and I think we will get a result that we need."
Blues stars to face United
Oct 7 2003 By David Prentice Chief Sports Writer
KEVIN CAMPBELL and Francis Jeffers get another chance to push their claims for a first-team recall at Haig Avenue, Southport, tonight (7pm). The pair will line-up against Manchester United's reserves - in a team which also contains Nick Chadwick, Li Tie, Peter Clarke and Alex Nyarko. David Moyes will be an interested observer, with current first choice forward Duncan Ferguson receiving treatment for a groin strain, Wayne Rooney suspended for the visit of Southampton and Tomasz Radzinski away on international duty this weekend. Campbell, however, is prepared to be patient. "I'm fit and raring to go," he said. "My focus has always been trying to get back into the team, but the strikers have been doing well and I'm prepared to sit on the bench, or just be part of the squad and wait for my chance. "Nobody has a divine right to be in the team. "Fergie's done really well since he's been in the team - he's looking sharp. "Who knows, I might be out for a bit because of that, but Kevin Campbell is ready when called upon."
Everton Reserves (from): Turner, B Moogan, Clarke, Schumacher, Nyarko, Tie, Chadwick, Campbell, Jeffers, Hughes, A Moogan, Wilson, Pascucci, Brown, Gerrard, Gallagher, Barry.
Blues' Pistone wait
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 8 2003
EVERTON will today discover if Alessandro Pistone faces a further six weeks on the sidelines.
The Blues defender returned home to Italy yesterday for a verdict on whether he requires a second hernia operation in less than a year. Pistone visited the specialist who performed the same operation at the start of last season - surgery which kept the former Inter Milan man out of the opening 11 games of that term. The 28-year-old has missed the Blues' last two matches with a similar complaint, only on the opposite side of the body. And he will remain on the sidelines until the end of next month if the specialist confirms another date under the knife is necessary to cure the latest problem. Manager David Moyes at least has cover on the left side of defence, where David Unsworth and Gary Naysmith are challenging for a place. But he has little cover for Tony Hibbert at right-back without the Italian, with Steve Watson now secured in midfield. The Blues boss did, however, see strikers Francis Jeffers and Kevin Campbell press their claims for a first team recall last night when they came through the reserves' 3-2 victory over Manchester United.
Everton Reserves 3, Man Utd Reserves 2
Oct 8 2003Daily Post
KEVIN CAMPBELL scored one and Nick Chadwick grabbed a brace and missed two penalties as Everton Reserves beat Manchester United Reserves at Haig Avenue. Campbell was playing his second game since returning from injury and played alongside Chadwick after Francis Jeffers pulled out of the game through illness. It was an eventful night in Southport with three penalties and the United keeper being sent off after fouling Campbell, although the decision looked slightly harsh.
Everton were ahead before the 20-minute mark when Chadwick's initial shot came back off the keeper and rebounded into the goal off defender Mark Lynch. Alex Nyarko and Alan Moogan both saw chances saved by keeper Heaton before Camp-bell put Everton further in front five minutes before the break. Alan Moogan's corner was headed home by the lively Blues striker. Chadwick missed the first of his spot-kicks eight minutes into the second half. Li Tie's cross was handled but Chadwick fired over the crossbar from the spot. However within minutes Everton were awarded the second penalty of the night when Heaton collided with Campbell but his subsequent red card was harsh. His deputy James Jowsey though saved Chadwick's kick with his first touch of the ball.
The Blues striker wasn't to be outdone though as, just after the hour, he latched onto a ball from Nyarko and sent a fierce drive past Jowsey to put the home side in a seemingly unassailable lead.
However United didn't lie down and pulled a goal back shortly after from the spot, the third on the night being awarded to United and Daniel Nardiello slotted home despite a brave effort to keep it out by Iain Turner. Nardiello pulled another goal back with five minutes to go to provide a tense finish but Everton held on to take the points in an entertaining game.
EVERTON: Turner, B Moogan, Wilson, Clark, Hughes (Barry 73) Nyarko, Li Tie, Schumacher, Campbell, Chadwick, A Moogan. Subs: Pascucci, Gallagher, Brown, A Gerrard.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Heaton, Lynch, Tierney (Jowsey 59), Tate, Bardsley, Jones, Eagles, Richardson (Picken 77), Nardiello, Cooper (Ebanks-Blake 66), Pugh. Subs: Eckersley, Howard.
Eriksson to keep Rooney 'cool'
Oct 8 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SVEN-GORAN Eriksson is to spell out to Wayne Rooney the importance of keeping his cool in the Istanbul cauldron when England tackle Turkey in a vital Euro 2004 qualifier on Saturday. Rooney (left) has never been booked while wearing an England shirt but for Everton he has collected 13 yellow cards and one red in only 45 appearances. He is already facing suspension this season after collecting his fifth booking against Tottenham at White Hart Lane at the weekend for showing dissent towards referee Dermot Gallagher. Rooney can expect to have his temperament put to the test by the Turks, who will be mindful of the threat he caused to them in England's 2-0 win at Sunderland's Stadium of Light in April. Eriksson staunchly defended the way Rooney has conducted himself while on international duty but he will remind the youngster of his responsibilities ahead of the game. He said: "I saw the incident with Wayne at Tottenham on television and also got a report from a scout. "I must say any time that Wayne has played for England he has shown the right temperament. I've no reason to complain about that. "He has always had the perfect style. He has had just the right approach. "There has not been too much or too little in terms of his temperament. "I am not concerned about that. But in any case, I will have a few words to him about it before the game." The major fitness doubt still concerns Michael Owen and Eriksson has drafted in Aston Villa striker Darius Vassell as cover for the Reds star. Owen, who suffered his leg injury against Arsenal at the weekend, was unable to train yesterday and Eriksson admitted it may be Friday before he is able to practice - if at all. Eriksson consulted Owen and the England medical team around the time his squad was being presented to the media - and it was only later Vassell was called into his plans. The England coach admitted: "Owen might still be 50-50. He didn't train on Tuesday, may not on Wednesday and maybe not even on Thursday. "It would be better, if possible, if he has at least one practice session. "Every day I have to speak to Michael, the doctors, the masseurs - but especially Friday. We have to take a decision, even maybe Saturday morning."
David Beckham will be looking to start training today after sustaining a dead leg when on duty for Real Madrid against Espanyol at the weekend, although he did complete 87 minutes of that game.
United Res 2 Everton Res 3
October 08, 2003
Manchester Evening News
UNITED went close to snatching a point after being three goals down with less than twenty minutes to play in a sensational match at Haig Avenue last night. Everton looked well on the way to a comfortable victory after Mark Lynch (own-goal), Kevin Campbell and Nick Chadwick, who had earlier missed two penalties, had put them three-up midway through the second-half. Daniel Nardiello started United's fightback from the penalty spot, in the 72nd minute, after Peter Clarke had fouled Reds' midfielder David Jones. Nardiello tapped home his second goal of the night eight minutes later.
Rooney's not going to Chelski - Blue Bill
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 9 2003
BILL KENWRIGHT has warned moneybags Chelsea to forget about signing Good-ison sensation Wayne Rooney. The 17-year-old star was a reported £30million target for Roman Abramovich in the summer and remains on the Russian billionaire's wanted list. But last night Everton's deputy chairman insisted Rooney was not for sale at any price. Kenwright said: "You never really hear of Wayne Rooney actually being sold to any club, because I think the world knows that he's a Blue, he's an Evertonian and he's going nowhere. "There's no shopping at Everton for Wayne Rooney." Kenwright also repeated his desire to keep David Moyes in the Goodison hotseat. Blues manager Moyes has two-and-a-half years remaining on his current Everton contract and talks over an extension are expected to open at the end of this season. And the Everton owner added: "I would have thought David Moyes and Wayne Rooney are equal in their preciousness to Everton Football Club and Evertonians."
Recall spur for Nyarko
Oct 9 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ALEX NYARKO has been given the lure of a first team recall at Everton - if he continues to impress the reserve team coaches. The complex Ghanaian midfielder received enthusiastic notices for his performance in Tuesday night's reserve team victory against Manchester United. Assistant manager Alan Irvine watched the 3-2 triumph at Haig Avenue and said: "Alex played very well in the middle of the park. "He passed the ball well, intercepted a lot of moves and he is doing better and better all the time. Hopefully he will continue to do that. "But on that level of performance on Tuesday, people are certainly taking notice." Nyarko has not figured in the first team at Everton since he 'quit' the club in April 2001. Attempts to off-load him on loan again this autumn failed - and with 18 months remaining on his contract David Moyes must hope he can regain the kind of form which persuaded Walter Smith to pay £4.5m for his services. Duncan Ferguson and Francis Jeffers, meanwhile, have both fallen victim to the flu virus currently affecting the region. Jeffers was forced to pull out of Tuesday's reserve match, while Ferguson is suffering from a groin strain anyway.
"Duncan wouldn't have been able to join in because of the injury but he was in a bad way this morning with this virus," added Irvine.
It's up to Roo
Oct 9 2003 By Chris Bascombe & David Prentice
WAYNE ROONEY and Emile Heskey must carry England's striking burden against Turkey after Michael Owen today conceded defeat in his fight to play. Owen wasn't fit to travel to Istanbul this afternoon because his shin injury has failed to fully recover. But Everton starlet Rooney was immediately tipped to fill the void and fire his country to Euro 2004. Owen was desperate to give himself every chance of playing in the make-or-break qualifier with the Turks. He was still at the England HQ in St Albans this morning, but while the rest of the party headed for Turkey, he was returning to Merseyside for treatment. FA Spokesman Adrian Bevington said: "Michael Owen will not be travelling to Turkey with the team this afternoon. After receiving treat-ment from our medical staff - who have been in consultation with the medical team from Liverpool - over the past three days, it was felt that, despite Michael making excellent progress, he would not be fit for Saturday's game."
The Liverpool striker is also likely to miss his side's UEFA Cup second leg with Olimpija Ljubljana next week and is targeting the trip to Portsmouth on October 18. The focus now falls upon his replacement in Turkey, with Heskey tipped to partner Rooney in attack. Rooney has a huge responsibility, given the extraordinary build-up to the game. The pressure is piling on the national team following their ill-judged threat to go on strike. But Everton assistant boss Alan Irvine believes Rooney is ready to handle the fiery Istanbul atmosphere - and also believes the Rio Ferdinand scandal has helped shield the young star from further media glare. "I am glad the spotlight has moved off Wayne," he said today. "It was firmly on him earlier this week and not necessarily for all the right reasons. "There appeared to be a growing agenda about whether Wayne was ready for it, because of the yellow cards he has picked up. "It was quite nice to read a different story!" Irvine also had few fears about Rooney's involvement in the boycott threats. "I'm sure his involvement will have been minimal," he smiled. "He will have simply followed the lead of the senior players, as quite a few of the younger players will have done."
True Blue takes lessons from School of Science
Oct 9 2003 By Jamie Pike, Crosby Herald
A CROSBY writer is hoping to top the bestsellers' list with a book on the history of Everton. Everton: The School of Science is the work of Blues supporter and journalist James Corbett. It chronicles 125 years of a club steeped in tradition and focuses on legendary players such as Dixie Dean, Tommy Lawton, Neville Southall and the championship years of 1938 and 1985. James, 24, who lives in London, has been writing about Everton since he was a sixth former at Holy Family High School, Thornton. |He said: "I started my own fanzine Gladwys Sings the Blues when I was at Holy Family with a few friends. At our peak we sold 2,000 copies, which wasn't bad for a couple of upstarts.
"I wrote a book called Everton's Greatest 100 Players that the club was keen to back. But it needed more research. "With this book I worked every single day for two months, including Christmas Day to get it finished. "I really enjoyed the process. I thought I knew everything about Everton Football Club and could write it off the top of my head, but that wasn't the case." The book is crammed with behind the scenes stories and James also draws in on the problems football has endured over the years and how it affected a big club like Everton. He said: "I wanted to write a book which looked at the darker side of Everton's history and not just highlight the glory years. "I wanted to show how hooliganism affected the club's history with the Heysel disaster and the period when English football was at its lowest. I look at how the ban in Europe resulted in the loss of key players at the club.
"One chapter, 'The Decline and Fall', looks at the break up of the team that won the 1970 championship through to 1984 when the club became successful again. "During that period Liverpool as a city was also in decline with mass unemployment and the political unrest that existed at the time. "I like to paint a picture of what was happening in society at particular moments in the club's history. "I think a lot of football books treat football fans like idiots. "Well, were not at all. We are intelligent human beings and should be given more to read than say 'Duncan Ferguson's Favourite Five Goals'." James writes with the passion and stoicism of a true Blue. He clearly feels passionate about how the club was managed under former chairman Peter Johnson. He said: "Everton were badly managed. Up until about 1996, there is no way Arsenal were a bigger club than Everton. "We had a much bigger ground and a much richer history. We should be up there with the likes of Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool, but we allowed it to slip away. "Johnson didn't know how to run the club. I make comparisons between how he ran his company Park Foods and Everton.
"It was a very bad period in Everton's history. There was that conspiracy, of course, that Johnson was a Liverpool fan and had been sent in to bring the club down!" His favourite Everton moment is one which many fellow fans share and which epitomises the club's fight against adversity in recent years.
He said: "My favourite Everton moment would have to be staying up against Wimbledon on the last day of the season. "As for favourite players, Neville Southall, Tony Cottee and Joe Parkinson. I like decent, honest players, not prima donnas. "From the current crop, I like Yobo and Rooney. McFadden looks useful too." * Everton: The School of Science is out on October 20, published by Macmillan, price £17.99. James Corbett will be signing copies of the book at Pritchards in Crosby village on Saturday, October 18.
Rooney sees peace hopes dashed
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Oct 10 2003
AFTER the debacle at White Hart Lane last week, and the undoubted roasting that the players received from David Moyes, Wayne Rooney must have been looking forward to getting away with England for a bit of peace and tranquillity. Imagine then his horror when he arrived at Bisham Abbey to find his team-mates holding union meetings and secret ballots. Does anyone really think that the players would really have refused to play against Turkey? Forget about all that nonsense about honour, representing England is worth absolute fortunes to the players when negotiating contracts. Are kids really going to be mad keen to wear a pair of Reebok Scab or Puma Picket Line, the boots endorsed by the individuals responsible for England's disqualification from Euro 2004?
Hardly, and somehow it seems unlikely that, despite Gordon Taylor's posturing, the players would risk their money for old rope just to stand by poor old absent-minded Rio. As someone remarked on the radio this week, this is surely the first time Manchester United have been annoyed because one of their players hasn't been selected for international duty. If the FA are serious about eradicating drugs from their sport though - and given the infrequency of their testing it would appear they're not - then Ferdinand, regardless of whether his confidentiality was breached, has to face a ban.
If he doesn't then the message being sent out is: 'any player taking drugs will have two days notice to go and try and flush them out of their system before they are tested'. The other point to consider is what sort of testing system makes it possible for someone to feasibly make an honest mistake? It should be impossible, surely. You either give a sample or you refuse, and that's taken as an admission of guilt. Once again foot-ball's glossy sur-face is scratched to reveal equal measures of self-interest, greed and incompetence. After all that, there is still a game to be played, and at the start of the week all the talk was about whether Rooney should start the game in Istanbul.
Sven-Goran Eriksson surely won't contemplate dropping him for a moment, especially with Michael Owen now out. England will struggle to get pos-session against this excellent Turkish side, so when they do they will want players on the field who can make the most of it and do some damage. That means Rooney. Far more important than any result this weekend though, is that all our internationals get home in one piece, ready to put right that horrible display at Tottenham.
Moyes says no thanks
Southport Visiter, Daily Post
Oct 10 2003
A BEMUSED Everton boss David Moyes was almost lost for words on Tuesday night when an enterprising Southport fan took the opportunity to 'sound' him out about the vacancy at Haig Avenue. After a short silence Moyes told the supporter that he was fully committed - at least for the time being and would have to decline any offer, however tempting it might be. Moyes' reserves were playing Manchester United reserves at Haig Avenue and sent him home a happy man after winning 3-2.
Blues moving into black as results improve
By Andy Hunter And Bill Gleeson, Daily Post
Oct 10 2003
EVERTON Football Club's finances have improved dramatically in the last year, according to figures obtained by the Daily Post. The club's underlying financial position has been boosted hugely by increased revenues from television money to create the healthiest financial position since Peter Johnson's days. The club has also seen a useful improvement in its gate receipts. Everton made an operating profit of £5.6m in the 12 months to last May. This figure excludes £12.5m of losses on writing off transfer fees. However the club argues that this results from compliance with accounting rules that distort the true trading position. The picture painted by these latest figures, due to be published at the club's annual meeting at the end of the month, shows a major turnaround in the Blues off-the-pitch fortunes during the successful 2002/03 season and contrast with a trading deficit of £11m in accounts published a year ago. Everton's turnover was £46.8m, up from £38.2m last year. Most of that gain came from increased television money from BSkyB's deal with the Premier League. The TV money was £25.1m, compared to £18.8m in the previous season. Higher gates from Everton's improved performances on the pitch helped gate money rise to £14.6m, up £1.6m on the previous season. Everton's balance sheet shows that the club has £5.5m in the bank, down on the £8.9m balance at the end of the 2001/02 season. The club has a £30m long term debt secured against future season ticket sales. That loan was mostly used to repay overdraft facilities originally incurred when Everton were owned by Wirral businessman Peter Johnson. Chief executive Michael Dunford said yesterday: "The debt is now secured over 25 years, so the debt is under control. There has been a considerable improvement and that £30m has been under control for two years now.
"We will never be complacent but gone are the days when everyone felt Everton were in financial crisis. "Everything seems under control." Shareholder Richard Lewis said: "I think it's a sad document because, in my view, it shows a club trying extremely hard to run an efficient company but unfortunately expenses in football are very high and the accounts for football clubs do not allow Everton to show any value on their homegrown players. "The result is the club is showing a negative balance sheet for the first time in many years. "I actually believe they will sell any player they can if they get a good offer. "The club is suffering from a dramatically changed transfer market, whereby a lot of movement of players now only takes place at the end of their contracts. "To survive, Everton desperately need more revenue in any way they possibly can, which cries out for more corporate facilities and therefore begs the question: Is Goodison Park a suitable home in its present format?
"It shows there is a need for a new stadium, or for redeveloping Goodison Park in its entirety."
DIRECTOR'S FIRM PAID ALMOST £700,000
EVERTON paid a company controlled by the family of Blues director Paul Gregg almost £700,000 for its part in the failed Kings Dock scheme, the Daily Post can reveal. Houston Securities, where Gregg (left) is also on the board, were paid £664,000 between October 2001 and May 2003 for work carried out on Everton's behalf. The total cost of the waterfront debacle was almost £1.2m in the last financial year. Gregg brought Houston's expertise to Everton when he helped finance Bill Kenwright's takeover in 1999. Despite rarely appearing at Everton fixtures, Gregg was a key figure behind the Blues' plans to relocate to the dock scheme, the collapse of which has put his own Goodison future under scrutiny. Chief Executive Michael Dunford said: "The money has been paid to Houston for paying bills on our behalf and for work undertaken on our behalf." Everton star Rooney looks for £500,000 lovenest in Formby
EVERTON and international football star Wayne Rooney is reported to be house-hunting in Formby. The 17-year-old, who is still living with his parents in West Derby, is believed to be planning to move into a new home with his fiancee Coleen McLoughlin. It is thought that Rooney, who turns 18 this month, is looking at houses with a £500,000 price tag. Formby is a popular place of residence for Everton stars, with Duncan Ferguson, Alan Stubbs and David Unsworth having homes in the area.
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 10 2003
DAVID MOYES was dealt a double defensive blow last night with the new s two key stars face at least a month on the sidelines. Alan Stubbs will be out for four weeks after the groin strain suffered at Spurs proved more serious than originally thought, while Alessandro Pis tone requires hernia repair surgery and could be out for six weeks. Skipper Stubbs injured his groin after half-an-hour of Saturday's 3-0 defeat at White Hart Lane and, though the problem is not a major one, Everton's medical staff are refusing to take any risks. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "Alan's sustained a groin strain when he slid in for the ball last Saturday and I anticipate he will be out for around about a month." The defender's misery opens the way for David Weir to reclaim a first team place after spending most of this season on the bench. An Italian specialist, meanwhile, has confirmed Pistone does need a second hernia operation in under a year. The 28-year-old is set to go under the knife in Milan within the next 48 hours after which he will return to Bellefield to start a six-week long rehabilitation process. Rathbone added: "He has been back to see the physician who works in Milan, who looks after the Milan teams, and they agree with us that he's got the very early start of a sportsman's hernia type thing. "We've decided that we'll get it sorted out as soon as possible. It's going to require surgery eventually. "With these things play-ers can tend to play on and on but because of the logistics of him being in Italy already and the fact that there's no game this weekend we're all in agreement that the operation should go ahead as soon as possible. It will be about five or six weeks after that before he's playing." The injury setback has been tempered by Richard Wright and Steve Simonsen's returns to full training after their respective knee and thigh problems, while Scot Gemmill is now close to a return after suffering a setback on his thigh injury.
Ablett's side out to bounce back
Academy Football, With Chris Wright
Oct 10 2003
AFTER their first defeat of the FA Premier Academy League season on Saturday, Everton under-17s will aim to get back to winning ways against Nottingham Forest at Netherton tomorrow. Gary Ablett's side were disappointing in the 1-0 reverse to Wolves last week, but with six successive wins prior to that they're capable of bouncing back. The Blues are still top of Group A, but with wins for Liverpool and Manchester United there is only one point separating the top three teams in Group A.
Ablett said: "We have just got to convince the lads they have to be up for every game. "They can't say because it's Wolves we will save the performance for Liverpool or Man United or whatever.
"That can't be happening because they have got to have the same attitude and commitment in every game they play in. But on Saturday they didn't show that. "And with Liverpool and Manchester United winning it is very interesting in the league. Just one point separates the three sides. Sometimes after a defeat you can a learn a lot more about your players. We can see what they're made of." Defender Stephen Wynne took a knock on his back last Saturday, but Ablett is hoping he will be fit to play. Everton under-19s will be looking to make it three games unbeaten when they travel to Sheffield Wednesday. Last week's 2-2 draw against Liverpool had many positive signs, not least the way the Blues started. And the way they battled back to earn a point after going 2-1 down. Coach Neil Dewsnip said: "Last week we had a lot of tired legs out there late on because many of the lads had played in the reserves against Marine on the Thursday. And again there is another reserve game this week, so we have to take that into account. "It is great for the lads to playing in the reserves, that is what they need to do. But you have to monitor them to check on their fitness before deciding on who to play." Utility player Craig Garside was missing last week and is likely to be out for up to five weeks as he needs a hernia operation. But apart form the Welsh youth international, Dewsnip has a full squad to choose from.
Wayne is on a Turkey shoot!
October 10, 2003
Manchester Evening News
WAYNE Rooney can provide the perfect pick-me-up for an England side struggling to cope without chief goalscorer Michael Owen against Turkey on Saturday night. Rooney is a certainty to start, probably alongside Emile Heskey, with Paul Scholes pushing forward from midfield.
It is a big challenge for the 17-year-old who has questions raised over his temperament after five bookings this season for Everton, the most recent for showing dissent towards referee Dermot Gallagher at White Hart Lane last weekend. But Manchester United defender Gary Neville is confident that the teenager can rise to the occasion in Istanbul tomorrow night. Neville said: "Wayne's performance in the first meeting with Turkey was nothing short of exceptional and I don't think we can talk about his age any more. This is an international footballer who will only get better.
"It is great that England have a player like this of his age and potential because sometimes in really tight matches, someone who can produce something is important. "I don't know if Turkey will be scared of Wayne. They will respect him. They have got good players in their own right." Rooney worried Turkey at the Stadium Of Light in April and he is bubbling with confidence after scoring in England's last two qualifiers with Macedonia and Liechtenstein.
And Neville is not the only teammate backing the Everton youngster to propel England towards the Euro 2004 finals. Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard said: "There was a lot of pressure on Wayne to get his first England goal. He got that in Macedonia which gave him the confidence to play like he did against Liechtenstein. "Hopefully that will prove to be the platform for him to go on to put on more similar performances and score more goals." Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard added: "He showed what a top drawer player he is. He is fantastic at 17 and is going to get better. "It is great for English fans to see an exciting player like Wayne coming through. He has shown he can play in the hole and up front. It gives the manager a nice option." Rooney's presence in the attack prompted Sven-Goran Eriksson to inisist that he will not attempt to play for a draw tomorrow, even though Owen has been the Swede's key man ever since he took over as England coach. In the 18 competitive games played by England since Eriksson took charge, Owen has scored 13 times.
Poor record without Owen
Indeed, since Alan Shearer's retirement in the summer of 2000, Owen has missed just five games for England and the national side have not won one of them, drawing four and losing one. Moreover, he has previously missed just one competitive game under Eriksson, when England struggled in the final group game of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers against Greece at Old Trafford. David Beckham came to the rescue then and much will again depend on the England captain this time. Heskey has scored just five times from 36 starts while Scholes has not found the net for his country in more than two years. But Eriksson still believes that the Manchester United man will regain his magic touch tomorrow. Eriksson said: "It's good to see Paul Scholes back and playing well, considering that he's been away for a long time. "He is important for any football team. When he's on the pitch, he's a guarantee of football as he makes everybody else play." Scholes will be a vital cog in Eriksson's game plan, as he bids to take the game to the Turks and press for that vital opening goal. "I don't think that we have a team which has the mentality which can go out and say `we are going to play 0-0'," the England coach added. "Maybe an Italian team could do it, but not an English team. I will absolutely not tell them to do that as it is not in our character to do that.”
Blues need to stop letting in foolish goals
Oct 10 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S inconsistency is infuriating the fans. They have kept just one clean sheet in the Premiership since mid-March. That came in the 4-0 demolition of Leeds a fortnight ago. Despite that superb display, they then go and lose by three goals at Tottenham. I know Spurs have a caretaker manager and perhaps the players are responding better than they did under Glenn Hoddle, but you cannot say they are going to be a force to be reckoned within the Premiership. This time last year Everton put together a six-game run of wins that put them right near the top of the table. You cannot seem them doing that again this season given the way they are playing. Clean sheets are a priority and Everton need to stop conceding daft goals. When you have different players making costly individual errors then you big problems. You can't chop and change half the time. You have to work on the overall system and get the players working together. David Moyes extracted the maximum out of his team in the last campaign. After giving their all, maybe the players are not capable of repeating it collectively and consistently this time round. The players that Moyes brought in on deadline day give him more options in terms of attacking play, but not defensively. The ones that made way for them perhaps lacked flair, but the team as a whole was more solid. If this inconsistency continues, then we know where Everton will finish the season - at best mid-table.
Don't take bait Roo
CONCERNS have been raised about Wayne Rooney's temperament given he has already been booked five times for dissent this season. As far as the Turkey game is concerned, this is not a problem. The lad has shown he can cope with international football. Of course, the atmosphere in Istanbul will be white hot, something he will not have experienced before. I recall something similar when Everton travelled to Panathinaikos in the 1970 European Cup. I had never played in such a hostile environment. There was intimidation on and off the pitch. Opponents like that wind you up and look for a reaction. Rooney and England will have to keep their cool against the Turks. It is vital they do not respond to the provocation.
Roo will do nicely for us
Oct 10 2003 By John Curtis, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY'S teammates have tipped him to handle the pressure of leading England's attack in the absence of crocked Michael Owen. Rooney is a certainty to start tomorrow's Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey in Istanbul - probably alongside Emile Heskey - now that Owen has withdrawn because of his leg injury. The 17-year-old has had questions raised over his temperament after five bookings this season for Everton - the last for dissent towards referee Dermot Gallagher at White Hart Lane last weekend. But Rooney worried Turkey at the Stadium of Light in April and is bubbling with confidence after scoring in England's last two qualifiers. A star-studded performance would help lift the gloom after a build-up in which the squad threatened to strike after Rio Ferdinand was left out of the squad after failing to undergo a routine drugs test. Ever since September's double header against Macedonia and Liechtenstein, a succession of players have been glowing in their praise for Rooney. Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard said: "He was man of the match against Liechtenstein and I think he deserves to play. "There was a lot of pressure on Wayne to get his first England goal. He got that in Macedonia which gave him the confidence to play like he did against Liechtenstein. "Hopefully that will prove to be the platform for him to go on to put on more similar performances and score more goals." Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard claimed: "He showed what a top-drawer player he is. He is fantastic at 17, 18 and is going to get better. "It is great for English fans to see an exciting player like Wayne coming through. He has shown he can play in the hole and up front. It gives the manager a nice option." Manchester United defender Gary Neville said: "Wayne's performance in the first meeting with Turkey was nothing short of exceptional and I don't think we can talk about his age any more. This is an international footballer who will only get better.
"It is great that England have a player like this of his age and potential because sometimes in really tight matches, someone who can produce something is important. "I don't know if Turkey will be scared of Wayne. They will respect him. "They have got good players in their own right."
Overpaid stars must rejoin the real world
Oct 10 2003 By David Prentice
ANDY GRAY this week described the unusual lengths he went to, as a 19-year-old footballer, to stop himself getting too big for his boots. "I had enough self-awareness to make the occasional visit to the factories in Birmingham to watch the workers who paid out some of their wages to watch me play, clocking on," he explained. That was in an age when footballers aspired to a Ford Capri and a posh semi, while the average man drove an Escort and lived in a terrace. Nowadays some of our young stars would be more likely to go down to the production line, pull tongues and wave £20 notes in the workers' faces - screaming "It would take you a week to earn this!" Actually, forget factory production lines. I've seen footballers behaving in exactly that way in nightclubs, and having to leave quickly before they were parted from what few remaining brain cells they possessed.
Many modern players now have no gratitude for the incredible riches football has bestowed upon them. They think themselves better than their peers. Which is why the FA should be applauded for their stance over Rio Ferdinand. The FA's new chief executive Mark Palios has faced his first test as guardian of our national game - and passed with flying colours. Ferdinand's case is symptomatic of the growing culture of player arrogance in our national game - a culture created by the huge wealth thrown at young men illequipped to deal with it. The immense riches enjoyed by a small, but high profile, section of these men gives them a sense of superiority over 'ordinary' people. It's a dangerous trend which leads to accusations of young girls being used for sordid sexual practices.
It's a trend which has seen a footballer fined this week for abusing nightclub doormen. And it's a trend which saw Rio Ferdinand forgetting to take a drugs test. "I have never used drugs or condoned the use of drugs," said Ferdinand this week - missing the point as cleanly as he might connect with a football. The point is that something as serious as a mandatory drugs test registered so low on his list of priorities that he forgot. The mitigating circumstances were that Ferdinand was moving house. As most of us will know, moving home is one of the most stressful moments you can experience. But was Rio rushing off to haul a few crates into his sprawling Cheshire pad? Hardly likely. One national newspaper actually carried a photograph this week of Ferdinand out shopping near Harvey Nichols the day he was due to have the drugs test. Neighbours say he didn't move in until two days later. But arguments about why or how Ferdinand forgot are immaterial. The fact is that a drugs test was seen as an irrelevance, an irritating side-issue, something which could be done 36 hours later when he had a bit more time on his hands. You can imagine Paula Radcliffe saying exactly the same thing. "I can't do it now because I've got a hair appointment. Then I'm doing some shopping. But I'll do it tomorrow." What's that? You can't? Good. If you'd forgotten your homework as a schoolboy, would you have expected to be punished? Of course you would. The schoolboy analogy is appropriate, because so many of our modern Premiership footballers display the intelligence - and the morals of - highly sexed teenagers. Mark Palios and the FA have taken a stand towards reminding those players of their responsibilities.
LIVERPOOL'S £120m scheme, to build a new stadium and redevelop the Anfield area, was delivered with the minimum of fuss and the maximum anticipation. The stadium plans look superb, the regeneration of Stanley Park and the surrounding area worthy and the timescale ambitious, but realistic. If Liverpool's plans come off as all inside Anfield expect, however, there will be a corner of Walton - just across the road - looking just a little forlorn. Liverpool's announcement has pushed Everton's own relocation plans back into focus. If Goodison Park is not to suffer, Everton need to think long and hard about how they see their home in 2008.
Flamengo a bunch of flops
THE white hankies were waving in the Nou Camp at the weekend after Barcelona's 1-0 defeat to Valencia. Goodison Park used to have its own, earthier reaction to poor performances, in the shape of a flying cushion. But trust the Brazilians to have the most colourful post-match protests.
Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club, lost 3-0 last weekend to a Parana team apparently suffering diarrhoea after eating dodgy carrot cake. As the forlorn Flamengo players left the field they were forced to face the dreaded flip-flop protest. Fans wave the footwear in the air - to imply the players spend too much time lazing around swimming poools and beaches and not enough training.
Former President Kleber Leite promised supporters their money back if they failed to beat lowly Portuguesa. Fifty thousand turned up, and Portuguesa won 3-2, forcing Flamengo to face up to a huge logistical operation. Leite's successor, Edmundo Santos Silva, then fired renowned striker Romario, allowed him to join arch-rivals Vasco da Gama, then watched in horror as Romario scored a hat-trick against his former club.
Owen: Mersey power can do it
Oct 10 2003 By Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL OWEN has called on the nation to get behind the England team as they seek the point in Turkey which will ensure Euro 2004 qualification. Speaking exclusively to the ECHO, Owen backed Mersey duo Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey to fill the void his Owen, back at Melwood today (10 October) to receive more treatment to his shin injury, spoke of his own despair at missing England's most important game for two years. He says his focus now is getting fit again for his club, but admits his thoughts will be with his team-mates in Istanbul tomorrow. He said: "Obviously, I wish I was there with the lads. It's the kind of game you don't want to miss and I gave myself every chance, but I just haven't recovered enough. "Deep down, I knew my fate very early in the week. My injury hasn't really improved enough to be considered. "If I'm honest, by the end it wasn't even touch and go whether I could play or not. When I joined the squad I thought I might have a chance, but by yesterday I had no chance of making it. There's still pain there and I need to have more treatment.
"The longer the week went on, the more I realised it wasn't going to happen. "It's very disappointing to miss such an important game, because when you're playing at the top level they're the kind of games you live for. "It will be a tough game out there. It's so important for us to get that point and I wanted to do all I could to make us achieve that. In the end, it just wasn't to be." The loss of Owen means England's chances of success have been significantly reduced. But he's sure Rooney and Heskey will raise to the challenge. "I think everyone in the country has to get behind the team now," said Owen. "If Emile starts, then I'm sure he won't let anyone down. He's never done so in the past for England and he's the type of player who can cause a lot of problems for the Turks. "As for Wayne Rooney. Every time he's played for his country so far he's played really well. Because he's only 17, I doubt he'll have ever played in such a big game before. "He can handle it. "It remains to be seen how the game will go, but Wayne's record so far doesn't suggest he'll have any problem performing tomorrow. He's never had any problems before disciplinary-wise when he's played for England and I don't think it's fair to say he will now. "Now, I just wish all the lads the best of luck, but my main aim has to be to get fit again for Liverpool as quickly as possible."
Turkey 0, England 0
Mark Bradley Reports From The Sukru Saracoglu Stadium, Daily Post
Oct 13 2003
ENGLAND not only won a point in Istanbul but made one as well. There may not have been any strike but the public show of solidarity was one that any union would have been proud of.
They have never been closer as a team and it was that unity, misplaced as it may have been in their prolonged defence of Rio Ferdinand, which underpinned their stoical performance. Having linked arms as they sang the national anthem amid a torrent of howling jeers, they celebrated together at the final whistle too, plunging into a mass embrace in the centre-circle. Their teamwork was just as evident during the intervening 90 minutes. England may have lost their heads in their strike vote during the week, but they never did so during the game. They faced intimidation on and off the pitch - even during the break in the tunnel, in fact, as Alpay clashed with David Beckham - but they came through the ordeal to restore some lost national pride. And so, six years to the day from a similarly gutsy display in Rome to achieve qualification for the 1998 World Cup, the same memorable result was achieved. "Once again, they showed they are a unit. They may come from different clubs but they are really good friends and help each other," observed Sven-Goran Eriksson.
"I talked to the players after the session we had on Thursday and individually before training on Friday, but they all said I should be very calm and told me not to worry at all." The real irony, however, in Fenerbahce's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium was how little England missed the man at the centre of the week's maelstrom - Ferdinand himself. John Terry and Sol Campbell were both such colossal figures in defence, repelling virtually every threat that came their way, that it is hard to imagine what Ferdinand, even on top form, could have added to this performance. In fact, the Manchester United centre-back has been far from his best ever since the World Cup and for all his rich potential and ability, Terry actually seems to have greater defensive worth. Central defence may have looked to be England's weakest link ever since last summer, when Campbell and Ferdinand were in superb form at the World Cup, but it was their strongest point in Istanbul. It would be naive, even foolhardy, to suggest Ferdinand cannot rise to the challenge of proving himself all over again, but that must be exactly his response to the events of the past week. "I think all four at the back did a marvellous job. "John Terry and Sol Campbell were excellent, with all the crosses coming in," revealed the England coach. "Every time that Turkey put on a new striker, they became taller and taller." It was only England's fourth clean sheet since the World Cup but all have come in qualifying games and yet again Eriksson's side rose to the challenge when it mattered most.
They took the game to Turkey from the outset, dominating central midfield as the home side conceded the advantage in that crucial area by selecting three forwards. "Of course, we wanted to attack them. They had to win the game and had to come forward with a lot of people," explained Eriksson. "If we could defend and especially win the ball in midfield, we knew that we could create chances. "If you give players like Okan, Tugay, Emre or Nihat space and time then they will kill you because they are very good footballers." England came agonisingly close to taking the lead in that dramatic first half, with Wayne Rooney lobbing goalkeeper Rustu but seeing the ball land on the roof of the net. Beckham then stepped up to take a penalty after the hugely impressive Steven Gerrard was tripped by Tugay, only to slip horribly at the vital moment As the ball ballooned over the crossbar, Beckham was earning himself a night's worth of ribbing from his team-mates. He had, they told him, spent too much time filming an advert with Jonny Wilkinson. "We didn't even mention it at half-time though. If you are in a football team, you don't even make a comment about it then," said Eriksson. "Beckham could never in his life put a penalty up there without slipping. He was unlucky but things like that happen and he was marvellous." Paul Scholes had the chance to make amends just three minutes later but squandered it, extending his mystifying goalless streak for England to 24 games. Eriksson remained as loyal as ever towards the Manchester United star.
"Paul Scholes didn't score but he did a marvellous job. He was always close to Tugay, disturbing him," he said. After the break, England continued to frustrate the home side. Beckham may have had a header ruled out for offside, while Kieron Dyer and Darius Vassell impressed as substitutes, but it was nail-biting stuff, at times almost unbearably tense. England, however, had at least become accustomed this past week to a siege mentality and they coped with even Hakan Sukur's attempted dive in search of a penalty. Substitute Tuncay and Nihat both came within inches of hitting the target in the titanic finale but Eriksson's side held on. English football had found redemption, at least on the pitch, after a chastening fortnight. Even Eriksson may hang around a while yet.
Get the shirt off Rooney's back
October 13, 2003
Manchester Evening News
WAYNE Rooney in a County shirt? It's already happened as the young England star swapped shirts with Stockport striker Stuart Barlow after the Carling Cup game at Goodison Park a fortnight ago, laying the way for a unique auction. A picture of Rooney in Barlow's shirt is up for grabs on County's official site, with the Goodison superstar agreeing to sign the copy with a message to whoever buys it. Former Everton star Barlow used his own Scouse connections to make sure he was the lucky County player who took the coveted shirt home. "In the week up to the game all the lads were saying they were going to get Wayne's shirt, but I'd already organised it over the phone," said Barlow.
"When I was at Tranmere I used to give Wayne's cousin, Tom Rooney, a lift to training every day, so he owed me a favour. As soon as the draw had been made I rang Tom and asked him to fix it up with Wayne. "It wasn't a problem for him because apart from being related he is also Wayne's best mate.
"A few days before the game I saw Wayne at the shops near where we live so I mentioned it again. I also gave him a gentle reminder in the warm-up, just in case he'd forgotten. "It would be nice to think Wayne likes my shirt and hasn't discarded it. "He's going to have a fantastic career and he's sure to collect plenty of shirts along the way. Ronaldo, Barlow, Figo - that rhymes doesn't it?"
The auction continues until Tuesday.
Scots show Blues way forward
Oct 13 2003 Liverpool Echo
IN ONE flash of left-sided dash, Scotland offered Evertonians an exciting glimpse into the future.
After struggling all afternoon to break down Lithuania's massed ranks of dour, doughty defenders, James McFadden and Gary Naysmith combined electrically. Just for once, it was McFadden who played the simple ball down the line, and Naysmith who took on the last man before clipping a damaging cross back into the box. Darren Fletcher gave the move the finish it deserved. Naysmith and McFadden have yet to feature in an Everton starting line-up together, but that one moment gave a tantalising taster of what they could offer. Clearly the the pair would need to work hard at the defensive side of the partnership, and the Premiership has better right-sided partnerships than Dedura and Regelskis. Everton's last left-sided partnership forged in Scotland was John Connolly and 'Tiger' McLaughlan - a link-up which still raises more laughs than eyebrows at Goodison Park.
But Naysmith and McFadden could offer something altogether more exciting.
Roo's agent in new move
Oct 13 2003 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE Rooney's soccer agent has stepped down as boss of the sports management business he founded. Paul Stretfort is the high profile players' agent who negotiated Everton hero Rooney's multi-million pound contract last year. He also represents Francis Jeffers and Kevin Campbell.
His Wilmslow-based Proactive Sports Group announced today he was stepping down as chief executive to be replaced by Neil Rodford. Mr Stretford will remain on the board as sales director.
The business also involves Anfield hero Kenny Dalglish.
Oct 13 2003 By David Prentice And Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY was hailed an England saviour today - for his actions off the pitch as well as on it.
The Everton wonderkid - was back in training at Bellefield today after starring in the crucial draw in Turkey alongside Liverpool's Emile Heskey and Steven Gerrard. Rooney is said to have thumped Alpay Ozalan to protect his skipper David Beckham. The youngster, who boxed as a schoolboy, waded in during a half-time rumpus after Alpay goaded Beckham for his penalty miss and then poked the England skipper in the face as he left the pitch at half-time. Rooney was the closest of the other England players to the incident as he walked off behind his skipper at the interval. One player is reported to have yelled: "There's a bundle" and Terry dashed from the dressing room after hearing his team-mates were outnumbered. At one point up to 50 people were involved - including officials and police - and referee Pierluigi Collina demanded that Beckham and Alpay report to his dressing room where he told them to cool it. Defender Sol Campbell shrugged off the rumpus. "There was a commotion," he said "but it's quite a tight tunnel. "Everyone just went to the changing rooms and that was it really." Alpay, though, ranted: "I am now even more aggressive and will show everyone back in England the real Alpay and just who are the Turks." Rooney is suspended for this Sunday's visit of Southampton - but then faces a potential re-match with Alpay with Everton travelling to Aston Villa the following Saturday.
Macca's fury over steward
Oct 13 2003 By Lisa Grey At Hampden Park
JAMES MCFADDEN revealed the shine was taken off Scotland's success over Lithuania when a steward would not allow him to give his strip to a young wheelchair-bound supporter after the 1-0 win. The Everton forward built up a friendship with nine-year-old Stephen Raeside, who has cerebral palsy, during his time at Motherwell, and the youngster was at Hampden to see Scotland book their place in the play-offs for Euro 2004 on Saturday. While the rest of his team-mates were swapping jerseys with their Lithuanian opponents, McFadden made a bee-line for Stephen to hand him a special souvenir of the game. But the Scotland star was left seething when he was held back by a steward and banned from speaking to the young fan. McFadden said: "It does take the shine off it. The wee boy is in a wheelchair and he's trying to learn how to walk and it's just to give him a lift. "The steward was just being an idiot. He was trying to do his job but it was stupid because I was only trying to see one guy and I wasn't trying to jump into the crowd. "I do whatever I can for him and I just wanted to show my appreciation to him after the game. "I threw the shirt and someone else caught it so I hope the wee man got it." McFadden produced a man-of-the-match performance against Lithuania but it was Manchester United starlet Darren Fletcher who stole the show when he grabbed the only goal of the game. Fletcher fired home just five minutes after replacing Colin Cameron to secure all three points. - and a place in today's play-off draw. Speaking ahead of this morning's draw in Frankfurt where Scotland were drawn against Holland McFadden insisted their displays against Germany during the qualifying campaign means Berti Vogts' side will be confident of taking on anyone in the pot on Monday. He said: "We're happy just to be in the play-offs and that's what we set out to do before the campaign started. "It would be good if we get a team that we have a good chance of beating so that we can get to Portugal. "If it doesn't happen, then we'll take a big nation. It will be a good experience and we held our own against Germany so we will be confident." More plaudits rained down on McFadden courtesy of Scotland and Dunfermline striker Stevie Crawford, who said: "I've not been fortunate enough to play with James that many times but what he has got is that he's not frightened to take players on. "But it was a big pressure game and he still had the self-belief that he can take people on."
Patriotic path to Blues return
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 14 2003
GARY NAYSMITH hopes he has struck a patriotic cord with David Moyes as he seeks to engineer his way back into Everton's starting line-up. The Blues defende played a pivotal role in the goal that booked Scotland's place in the Euro 2004 play-offs on Saturday. And he hopes the understanding shown with fellow Blue James McFadden on the left flank at Hampden can book a Premiership return after a frustrating month on the sidelines. McFadden and Naysmith combined to give Darren Fletcher the goal that secured Scotland's victory over Lithuania and earned them a tough double-header with Holland for a place in Portugal next summer. And while Moyes is yet to bring his nation's left-sided partnership into his Everton plans, the former Hearts man believes the link has already shown plenty of promise as he bids for a defensive berth against Southampton on Sunday.
"It was a real set-back when I was sent off against Newcastle," said Naysmith, dismissed by Rob Styles for a professional foul on Kieron Dyer during last month's 2-2 draw. "It meant I missed the Leeds game two weeks later and we won 4-0 so the manager was always going to stick with the same team. "But I wasn't even on the bench against Spurs last week so it means that on Sunday when we meet Southampton I won't have played for Everton for four weeks. "Maybe James can do me a favour because although I played left midfield for most of last season and am happy to be there I still consider myself a left-back. "If Faddy's going to be in the mid-field slot it at least means I can focus fully on being a full-back." Scotland's joy was tempered somewhat yesterday when they were handed the daunting task of overcoming Holland for a place in next year's European Championships. Berti Vogts side are at home for the play-off first leg on Saturday November 15 with the return at the Amsterdam ArenA four days later. And Naysmith admirably shunned the usual 'backs-to-the-wall' football cliches to admit they need a major upset to join England in Portugal. He said: "Holland are one of the teams we would have preferred to have avoided but now the draw is done we are looking forward to it and will try to get the right result. "Holland have world-class players in every position and it's going to be something of an upset if we manage to beat them and qualify. "It's easy playing the first leg away from home and we would have preferred to be at home in the second leg. "We need to get at Hampden so we can go to Holland with something to play for. They are top-class players and it looks like it's going to be really difficult for us."
Improving Turner is rewarded by Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 14 2003
DAVID MOYES admits Everton awarded a new contract to Iain Turner because his last one wasn't good enough! The 19-year-old's existing deal is to be replaced by an improved and extended contract that ties him to the Blues until 2005, as revealed in the Daily Post on Saturday. Turner still had 15 months of his original deal to run, following a £50,000 switch from Stirling Albion in January.
But Blues boss Moyes felt the terms did not reflect the rapid progress made by the goalkeeper this year - and decided to tear up his first professional Goodison contract. "He came from Stirling Albion and wasn't on the best contract," admitted Moyes. "I felt that it was right that we rewarded him for the progress that he's made in the short time he's been here. "Iain was already contracted to us, but I think we did it partly to show him that we reward people who are doing well. "The boy has worked incredibly hard. It's probably been a shock to his system, but he has gone about his job extremely well. "You only need to ask his fellow professionals at the club and they'll tell you what they think of him. He's done terrifically well." Turner has been on the senior bench five times this season due to injuries to Richard Wright and Steve Simonsen. And although their return may push him back down the pecking order, the young Scot is determined to take his progress all the way to the Premiership. He said: "I was delighted when I found out that I was going to be given a new contract. "When I first came here, I was playing under-19 football. I was enjoying it then and I'm still enjoying it now. At the moment it looks like I'm only on the bench through injury, but if I get a chance, I'll be taking it. "It has been about ten months since I've been here and I'm really enjoying it. It's completely different from part-time football in Scotland. It's been hard work, but it's been enjoyable. Hopefully, I'll be at Everton for many more years to come." Everton's international contingent reported back to Bellefield yesterday afternoon with no new injury concerns from the Euro 2004 qualifiers. Moyes also welcomed back Duncan Ferguson and Francis Jeffers after recent illness, with Jeffers hoping to profit from Wayne Rooney's suspension against Southampton.
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Oct 14 2003
JAMES McFadde was man-of-the-match again for Scotland on Saturday - he is going to make mincemeat out of the Saints next week. Big Dunc should be raring to go as well and Supa Kev is close to full fitness now. We need to start climbing the table quickly and competition for places up front can only help that.
Bill Bradley, N Wales
Wayne for starters
WHAT England needs just now is somebody who can put the ball in the net. Wayne is more than capable of doing a job for his country. He will fearlessly lead the line and is more than capable of holding his own, as he proved in Turkey. David Moyes should be playing him from the start in Premiership games and not be bringing him on from the bench to get the team out of trouble.
It's too much to expect him to do this single-handedly (we have seen how frustrated he gets and the bookings he collects when Moyes employes him in this way). Play him from the start; he needs to be involved directly and not used as a reactive measure to the other players inconsistencies. He's only HUMAN you know.
Peter McBride, Liverpool
Cool hand Rooney
CONGRATULATIONS to our national team on qualifying for the finals of Euro 2004. It was a good performance stopping Turkey scoring. Our Wayne had another good game and was unlucky not to score. The 17-year-old was not intimidated by the hostile atmosphere and looks cool, calm and collected. Everton have not had too many England greats down the years, apart from Alan Ball and Gary Lineker, but our Wayne is one for the future and will be an important player for England in Portugal.
J Dolphin (via e-mail)
Forest are cut down to size
Academy Football With Chris Wright Daily Post
Oct 14 2003
ITALIAN striker Patrice Pascucci's first goal gave Everton under-19s a 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Premier Academy League on Saturday. The 18-year-old headed home from Anthony Barry's cross with 20 minutes to go to give Neil Dewsnip's side the points. Everton were deserved winners in Yorkshire and could easily have added to Pascucci's strike. Damon Martland, Anthony Barry and Brian Moogan all had opportunities to make the score-line more emphatic but in the end one goal was enough. Dewsnip said: "It was a very good performance. We created a lot of chances and Patrice Pascucci scored an excellent goal after great work down the right by Anthony Barry. "It was just what the boys deserved after missing quite a few chances. They got their rewards and could easily have got a couple more before the end." Gary Ablett's under-17s got back to winning ways on Saturday. The Blues' suffered their first defeat of the season last week against Wolves but they made it seven wins from eight matches with a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest at Netherton. The visitors dominated the first half and were unlucky not to extend their advantage by more than a single goal. But in the second-half goals from defenders Mark Hughes and Sean Wright gave Everton the three points. Blues captain Hughes headed home Lawrence Wilson's corner for the equaliser. And England youth international Wright followed up to score the winner after Stephen Wynne's shot had come back off the post. Ablett said: "Our first-half performance was very poor, but to be fair they were very good. Although how good you wouldn't know as we allowed them to be good. They passed the ball around us and through us very well and deservedly took the lead. "But at half-time we had a bit of a go at the lads and said now is the time to stand up and be counted. And to be fair to them they did. They got on top, dominated possession and kept Leeds pinned in their own half. And we got our just rewards for the second-half performance." Ablett added: "Mark Hughes is doing very well. He is the captain and the leader and he gets a lot of respect from the boys. "Stephen Wynne is also doing very well at right-back, while the two boys in midfield - (Lawrence) Wilson and (James) Harris - complement each other.
EVERTON UNDER-19s: Lake; Flood, Potter, Gerrard, Fox; Brown, B Moogan (Jones 80), Barry, Martland; Lynch (Booth 70), Pascucci. EVERTON UNDER-17s: Gallagher; Wynne, Wright, Hughes, Kearney; Seargeant, Harris, Wilson, Johnson (Boyle); Hopkins, Fowler (Phelan).
Blues plan Roon deal
Oct 14 2003 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will open talks with Wayne Rooney over a new five-year contract before Christmas.
The 17-year-old still has two-and-a-half years remaining of the three-year deal he signed in February. That was the longest deal the club could offer the player because of his age. But when he turns 18 next week they will be free to re-negotiate the contract, tying him to the club until 2009.
The ECHO understands there is no deal currently on the table but preliminary negotiations will begin with RooneyÕs representatives before the end of the year. The negotiations are expected to be a formality because of the player's strong allegiance to the club. The deal will also reflect his increased importance for both club and country. The striker has been linked with interest from Chelsea in the last few months but he is determined to stay with Everton. Meanwhile, Duncan Ferguson's continued run in the Everton first team has been put in jeopardy by a chest infection. The Scottish striker has started the Blues last three matches and netted four goals from five appearances this season. It is the 31-year-old's best run of form since the end of the 2001-2 season and has led to rave reviews. But now the big forward is facing a battle to maintain his place in the side for Sunday's televised home encounter with Southampton because of the virus which has prevented him training since the 3-0 reverse at White Hart Lane. Everton Manager David Moyes said today: "Duncan has had a chest infection which has stopped him training and because of that we have not been able to fully assess the groin strain he picked up at Tottenham. "He should be able to train later in the week and we'll see how he is then. "We have had a few players with a little bit of flu. It has helped that a lot of the squad has been away on international duty and it is nothing too serious."
The return to fitness of Kevin Campbell, who was included in the first team squad as a substitiute for the first time this season at Tottenham, means the manager has no shortage of cover up front. Wayne Rooney is back in training and fully fit after his impressifve performance for England in Turkey and Francis Jeffers is also pushing for a recall to the squad. Alessandro Pistone will return to Bellefield later this week after his successful hernia operation in Italy. He is set to be out for around four weeks while he recovers. Meanwhile goalkeeper Richard Wright has also resumed training after recovering from an exploratory knee operation. Nineteen year-old Blues goalkeeper Iain Turner has agreed a new contract keeping him at Goodison until 2005. The new deal was offered because Moyes felt his previous contract did not reflect his rapid propgress since arriving for £50,000 from Stirling Albion in January. "He's worked incredibly hard and done terrifically well. We did it partly to show him that we reward people who are doing well," said Moyes.
The Evertonian - out now
Oct 14 2003
THE latest issue of the Evertonian pays its own birthday tribute to the boy-wonder Wayne Rooney who reaches the grand old age of 18 on October 24. We look at twenty of those moments that have made the Rooney name known across the globe ; from the day he put pen to paper for the Blues, his impact during the Youth Cup run of 2002/03, his Premiership debut and the unforgettable first goal against Arsenal to his England debut against Australia and the goal against Macedonia that made him his country's youngest ever goalscorer. There's also an opportunity to win an England shirt signed by Wayne as well as a superb poster of the Croxteth Crackerjack. Steve Watson gives us an insight into his goal-scoring start to the season, how he is enjoying his wide role in midfield and his hopes for the future as he approaches his 30th birthday. A legendary (of sorts!) name from yesterday that will strike a chord with most Blues of a certain age is Bernie 'The Bolt' Wright and sets the record straight about the many anecdotes that arose from his brief yet eventful spell at Goodison. Peter Clarke's sterling performance for the England Under 21s at Goodison last month brought him back into the spotlight. He explains how he hopes his solid form at international level can soon be transferred to the club stage. Kev Campbell talks us through his musical pleasures, our 'Magnificent Seven' series continues with Alan Ainscow and Mick Walsh, Blues boss David Moyes explains his ideas on the thorny topic of 'motivation', the day Peter Reid signed for Everton is recalled and Chief Executive Michael Dunford looks at the 'groundshare' debate that has been such a hot topic of late. This and all your usual favourites are in this month's Evertonian - OUT NOW in all good newsagents.
Duncan hit by chest infection
Oct 14 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON'S continued run in the Everton first team has been put in jeopardy by a chest infection. The Scottish striker has started the Blues last three matches and netted four goals from five appearances this season. It is the 31-year-old's best run of form since the end of the 2001-2 season and has led to rave reviews. But now the big forward is facing a battle to maintain his place in the side for Sunday's televised home encounter with Southampton because of the virus which has prevented him training since the 3-0 reverse at White Hart Lane. Everton manager David Moyes said today: "Dun-can has had a chest infection which has stopped him training and because of that we have not been able to fully assess the groin strain he picked up at Tottenham. "He should be able to train later in the week and we'll see how he is then. "We have had a few players with a little bit of flu. It has helped that a lot of the squad has been away on international duty and it is nothing too serious." The return to fitness of Kevin Campbell, who was included in the first team squad as a substitiute for the first time this season at Tottenham, is a boost with Wayne Rooney suspended against Southampton. Alessandro Pistone returns to Bellefield later this week after his successful hernia operation in Italy. He is set to be out for around four weeks. Goalkeeper Richard Wright has also resumed training after an exploratory knee operation.
* Nineteen year-old keeper Iain Turner has agreed a new contract keeping him at Goodison until 2005. Moyes felt his last contract did not reflect his rapid progress since arriving for £50,000 from Stirling in January.
McFadden facing SFA hearing
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 15 2003
JAMES McFADDEN is facing a disciplinary hearing for Saturday's attempt to give his prized Scotland shirt to a nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. Strathclyde Police have reported Everton's £1.25million signing to the Scottish Football Association after he reportedly called a Hampden Park steward an "idiot" for halting the emotional handover. McFadden, who was receiving a standing ovation from the Tartan Army after Scotland's 1-0 Euro qualifier win over Lithuania, tried to hand his shirt to Stephen Reside, with whom he struck up a friendship during his time with Motherwell.
As he did so, a steward from Rock Steady stopped the player from leaving the pitch to approach the stand despite the midfielder's protests and the youngster's despair. "The steward was just being an idiot," McFadden said afterwards. "He was trying to do his job but it was stupid because I was trying to see one guy and I wasn't trying to jump into the crowd. "The wee boy is in a wheelchair and he's trying to learn how to walk and I was just trying to give him a lift. I do whatever I can for him and I just wanted to show my appreciation to him after the game." But yesterday McFadden was stunned when Strathclyde Police said the 20-year-old could have caused a riot and branded him "irresponsible". "The behaviour of the player in question during and after the incident has been reported to the Scottish Football Association," a spokesman said. "Public safety is always the number one priority at any game. "Any incident that could cause the crowd to surge forwards or cause injury to even one supporter must be avoided at all costs. "Whilst it is regrettable that any distress was caused to the young boy involved in this matter, it is also regrettable from a police perspective that the player concerned followed his actions with an ill-judged and irresponsible outburst." Rock Steady managing director Mark Hamilton backed the police and said the criticism levelled at one of his employees was "unwarranted and unjustified". "We are in support of what Strathclyde Police are doing to deal with the situation on Saturday," Mr Hamilton said. "The player's actions may have triggered off a reaction in the crowd because nobody knew what his actions were - that is why he was stopped. "The reaction of the player was very disappointing and it merits some action from the SFA." He added: "This was a safety issue and had nothing to do with a little boy in a wheelchair." A spokesman for the SFA said: "The police brought it to our attention and we agreed then that we would deal with it. Anything else that would be done will be done privately."
Everton, meanwhile, have no plans to bring forward discussions on Wayne Rooney's next contract.
Reports yesterday claimed talks would begin before Christmas on a new deal for the Goodison hero, who is eligible to sign a full professional contract when he turns 18 next Friday. The 17-year-old penned a three-and-a-half year deal in January - the maximum length he was eligible to sign at that age. At the time Everton agreed to extend and improve the contract before it enters its final two years. And though Rooney's representatives can ask for a review at any time, Goodison officials still expect the new contract to be negotiated and finalised towards the end of this season.
Everton stars raise cash for kids' centre
Oct 15 2003 by Kirsti Adair, Liverpool Echo
THREE Everton FC goalkeepers have lent a hand to help raise £200,000 to build a centre for bereaved and traumatised children. Everton keepers Nigel Martyn, Steve Simonson and Richard Wright doused their famous hands in blue paint in aid of Project Child. The charity, which provides play therapy for children who have suffered life-wrecking trauma, is collecting celebrity handprints for an exhibition to raise money for a centre in Skelmersdale. Some 150 prints will be framed and autographed before being shown at a Helping Hand exhibition. They will be auctioned off to help raise the £200,000 needed for the centre, which will get referrals from across Merseyside and West Lancashire. Richard Wright said: "Project Child's Helping Hand appeal is a worthy cause and who better to promote it than us goalkeepers." Nigel Martyn added: "Hopefully we can bring more awareness to the charity, which does a superb job in providing therapy to children who have been forced to cope with difficulties in their lives." Gail Delaney, a project volunteer, said: "A handprint is something very personal, unique to each person. "So we thought asking celebrities to give us theirs would be a great way to raise the money we need. "We are delighted the Everton players took time out to get involved." Gail hopes the exhibition and auction will take place around May next year.
The money raised will help provide children aged three to 14 with a multi-purpose therapy centre in Skelmersdale. The children all have emotional problems stemming from bereavement, abuse or deprivation. It will be one of only a few such centres in the country. But Gail hopes that once it is established in Skelmersdale, money can be raised for satellite centres in Liverpool and elsewhere in the north west. Blackpool manager Steve McMahon, ex-Liverpool boss Roy Evans and pop act Clea have also donated a print of their hands. And next week, the charity heads to Wigan to paint the hands of all 30 members of the Wigan Warriors rugby squad.
Unsworth in talks over new deal
Oct 15 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have opened talks with David Unsworth over a new contract. Representatives of the experienced defender have held preliminary discussions with the club over a new deal to keep the left-back at Everton beyond this season, when his current deal runs out. Unsworth has played 325 times for the club during two spells at Goodison, coming through the ranks as a trainee in the early '90s before returning in 1998 after a season with West Ham and an illfated move to Aston Villa.
He is 30 tomorrow and is eager to secure a deal which will keep him at Goodison. The Blues have also tied up a contract extension for promising young striker Leon Osman. The 22-year-old from Wigan has impressed coaching staff with his performances for the reserves this season and earned a 12-month extension which will keep him at the club until 2005. Osman had been lined up for his first senior start in last month's Carling Cup victory over Stockport at Goodison but his hopes were dashed by a cracked rib. He admitted later that he was running out of chances to prove himself at the club because he was in the final year of his contract. But reserve boss Andy Holden is full of praise for the player, saying: "You can see him growing in confidence all the time. He is doing ever so well." The deal for Osman follows a similar contract extension offer for promising young goalkeeper Iain Turner. He put pen to paper earlier this week on a contract which runs until 2005. As revealed in later editions of yesterday's ECHO, talks will begin over a new deal for Wayne Rooney at the end of the year. The striker celebrates his 18th birthday next week, allowing Everton to negotiate a deal beyond the three-year contract which was signed in February. The new deal is expected to be for five years. Meanwhile, Francis Jeffers is set to stake his claim for a return to the first team for Sunday's home clash with Southampton in the reserves tonight. The striker will continue his return to fitness following a back problem by lining up at Haig Avenue in the match against West Bromwich Albion.
Rooney's new support role
Oct 15 2003 By Nick Peet, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY will join a host of sporting celebrities at a Testimonial Night in aid of Liverpool boxer Carl Wright next month. The Liverpool ECHO has teamed up with Everton Football Club to host a celebrity-packed charity dinner for Carl at Goodison Park on November 7. Following an 18-month campaign by the ECHO, finally Merseyside will be given the opportunity to honour one of its bravest and most popular sportsmen. Evertonian Carl was boxing for the British title in 1997 when he suffered brain damage and slipped into a coma. He has made a remarkable recovery since then, but because of the financial problems, the British Boxing Board of Control has yet to issue any compensation. Close to 300 private guests, largely professional sportsmen from the world's of football and boxing, will pack the Park End marquee at Goodison Park for the charity event. Barry McGuigan will lead a host of special guests, which include the Everton first team, many former and current world boxing champions and young up-andcoming stars, and not forgetting former players from both of Merseyside's two big football clubs. McGuigan said: "I'm sure the people of Liverpool will turn out in force and make this a real night to remember for the whole Wright family."
The black tie dinner will feature a luxury four-course meal, totally unique sporting memorabilia auction/raffle as well as quality live entertainment as Merseyside once again proves that it is Britain's predominant football and fight town. With the Sky Sports camera crews and press photographers from across the country in attendance, it will prove to be an evening simply not to be missed. There is a limit on tickets however, but ECHO readers will get the first opportunity to purchase them when they go on sale exclusively on Merseyside from Friday.
Reward for a special talent
Oct 15 2003 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY stands on the verge of a bigger and better contract with Everton as the Blues clearly have to recognise his worth. He has grown up quickly and his chest must have been bursting with pride as he played for England on Saturday night. However, it is vital that he keeps his feet on the ground. I'm sure he will, but he must take all the good advice people are giving him. But good luck to the lad - he's a very special talent.
Blues' Scots eye Euro 2004
Oct 15 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE Everton connection could prove to be Scotland's secret weapon in their crucial Euro 2004 play-off against Holland next month. James McFadden and Gary Naysmith have not yet started a match together for Everton. But that has not stopped the duo forging a strong under-standing on the left flank since the 20-year-old burst onto the international scene at the end of last season. McFadden (pictured above left) earned his sixth cap in Saturday's 1-0 victory over Lithuania which booked Scotland's place in the play-offs. It was his combination with Naysmith down the left which provided the key to the victory, allowing the Blues' defender to tee up Manchester United's Darren Fletcher for the winner. Now McFadden has set his sights on helping guide Scot-land through to Euro 2004.
And he believes the attacking freedom that playing with Naysmith provides will help the cause.
He explains: "I have played with Gary a couple of times now and we have built up an understanding. He knows I don't like to defend! "He knows what it is like playing in midfield as well, which helps.
"He appreciates how hard it is to keep tracking back 50 or 60 yards so he gives me a little bit of freedom. Obviously, that is something I amhappy with." The Goodison faithful have yet to see evidence of that understanding. Naysmith has had to settle for a watching brief during Faddy's spell in the side, having lost his place in the team thanks to the suspension he picked up for his red card against Newcastle. But even if their chances of playing together for the Blues are limited at the moment, they will be in tandem for the play-off double-header against Holland next month.
McFadden remains respectful of the quality in the Dutch squad but suggests that defeat for the Scots is not a foregone conclusion. He adds: "It is not the toughest draw we could have had. Spain would have been more difficult. "Holland are a great team but they have not been having the best of times recently. Failing to qualify for the World Cup was a surprise and now they have had to settle for the play-offs when you would have expected them to win their group. "It shouldn't be all doom and gloom. We have a good chance of beating them. We just need to apply ourselves in the right manner. "We need to use our reputation as giantkillers. The fact is we are the underdogs. But we showed against Germany we can do well in the big games and give a good account of ourselves."
The opening match will be at Hampden on November 15, with the return in Holland three days later.
Before then the player is expected to receive a dressing down from the SFA after he was reported to Strathclyde Police for attempting to enter the crowd after Saturday's match at Hampden to hand his shirt to a nine-year-old boy suffering from cerebral palsy. The midfielder was stopped by a steward, who he later described as an "idiot".
Campbell set for Saints return
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 16 2003
KEVIN CAMPBELL'S timely return to full fitness could be rewarded with a first start of the season against Southampton this Sunday. The Everton forward was left out of last night's reserve game with West Brom at Southport as David Moyes protects his available strike-force ahead of the Saints' visit. Wayne Rooney serves a one-match suspension this weekend, and Duncan Ferguson is a major doubt having suffered a groin problem and a chest infection since the defeat at Spurs. That leaves Campbell and recent loan signing Francis Jeffers vying for a starting role alongside Tomasz Radzinski. And with Jeffers returning from illness for the reserves last night, Campbell is favourite to lead the line. The Blues, meanwhile, have begun talks with David Unsworth over a new contract extension.
Unsworth, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, is one of several players out of contract at the end of this season when Moyes is expected to sanction a clear-out. But the powerful defender remains a part of his plans for the future and will be offered a new deal before the end of this campaign. "We have held preliminary talks with David Unsworth and his representatives," confirmed Ian Ross, Everton's head of communications. Everton have also followed up Iain Turner's 12-month contract extension with a similar deal for midfielder Leon Osman. The 22-year-old is now tied to the Blues until the end of the 2004/5 season.
* EVERTON last night insisted they have not received any bids from Chelsea for Wayne Rooney despite rumours of a £35million offer for the Goodison sensation. Rooney's agent Paul Stretford is said to have met a Chelsea representative this week, sparking the latest stories of a switch to Stamford Bridge for the striker. But the Blues still expect Rooney to sign a new contract with them and anticipate the deal will be done before the end of the season.
Everton Res 1, WBA Res 1
Oct 16 2003Daily Post
A VERY young Everton Reserves side earned a point at Haig Avenue as West Bromwich Albion provided stubborn opposition against Andy Holden's side. The Blues reserve boss wasn't around to watch his side however due to illness, so first-time assistant boss Alan Irvine took over. The Blues goal was a Moogan family affair with Brian doing well to send in a cross, which was headed home by his cousin Alan. It was a deserved lead for the home side who had already gone close before the sixth-minute opener. Everton should have gone further in front when Nick Chadwick fired in a vicious shot only for Joe Murphy to palm away in the Baggies goal. Francis Jeffers, who was continuing his comeback from a back injury, then went in on goal only to be denied by former Manchester United defender Ronnie Wallwork. Leon Osman came close to celebrating his new 12-month contract with a goal but scuffed his shot at the critical moment. Everton would live to regret not taking their chances when eight minutes after the break when Lee Hughes, a substitute in Albion's defeat by Sheffield Utd 24 hours earlier, headed home a Wallwork corner to level. It was a bad start to the second half for the Blues who had earlier seen Nick Chadwick limp off with a hamstring injury. Keeper Iain Turner kept the visitors at bay on more than one occasion. However it was Everton in the shape of Osman who had the best chance to win it only for Murphy to come out on top again.
EVERTON: Turner, B Moogan, Wilson, Gerrard, Hughes, Schumacher, Osman, Li Tie, Jeffers, Chadwick (Brown 48), A Moogan. Subs: Pascucci, Lake, Barry, Fox.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION: Murphy, A Chambers, N'Dour, Wallwork, Adams, Volmer, J Chambers, Marshall, Dichio, Hughes, Sakiri. Subs: Dyer, Jones, Brown, Midworth, Warmer.
Jeffers kept out by family affair
Oct 16 2003 Liverpool Echo
FRANCIS JEFFERS was unable to make it onto the scoresheet as he continued his comeback from a back injury in Everton reserves' 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion at Haig Avenue last night. The Blues only goal was made and scored by the Moogan family. Brian sent in a good cross for his cousin Alan to head home from inside the box. It was a deserved lead for the home side who had already gone close before the sixth-minute opener. Everton should have gone further in front when Nick Chadwick fired in a vicious shot only for former Tranmere goal-keeper Joe Murphy to palm it away. Everton would live to regret not taking their chances when eight minutes after the break Lee Hughes - a substitute in Albion's defeat by Sheffield United 24 hours earlier - headed home a Ronnie Wallwork corner to level. Everton had already suffered a blow in the 48th minute when Chadwick was replaced after picking up a hamstring injury. Keeper Iain Turner kept the visitors at bay on more than one occasion but it was Everton's Leon Osman who had the best chance to win it, only for Murphy to come out on top again. EVERTON: Turner, B Moogan, Wilson, Gerrard, Hughes, Schumacher, Osman, Li Tie, Jeffers, Chadwick (Brown 48), A Moogan. Not used: Pascucci, Lake, Barry, Fox.
Ex-Reds seek a Blues star
Oct 16 2003 By David Prentice Chief Sports Writer, Liverpool Echo
IRISH TV is set to launch a footballing equivalent of the smash-hit series Popstars. While bands like Hear'Say were offered the incentive of a lucrative recording contract, the first winner of SoccaStars will be offered a year's YTS contract at Everton. The programme will be launched in Ireland in January - and one of the panellists when the show spreads to other territories will be Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish. His former Anfield team-mate Craig Johnston is the programme's football skills consultant - and contestants will be rated on a unique, FIFA-approved football measurement and ratings system he has developed. "There has never been a universally accepted skills measurement standard before now," he said. "The supaskills drills and the objective STATS that are produced make compelling television and will revolutionise the way players train all over the world."
The programme is the brainchild of Screentime ShinAwiL, who previously released 'Popstars' and 'You're a Star' on RTE before they became huge ratings successes elsewhere in the world. Larry Bass, CEO of Screentime ShinAwiL said: "We are delighted that Ireland will be the first territory to screen the new programme and we're confident it is going to be an enormous hit." Pat Devlin, adviser to Ireland's most expensive player, Damian Duff, will also feature in the show and said: "This is a tremendous coaching opportunity for young Irish boys and girls to learn about soccer in an innovative and user-friendly manner. "I believe there are other budding Roy Keanes and Damian Duffs yet to be discovered in Ireland." London-based Screentime partners will distribute the format worldwide. Negotiations are already underway for versions to appear in Japan, New Zealand and Turkey. The show is open to boys and girls aged 16 and over. Everton chief executive Michael Dunford said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for us to perhaps invite a very promising youngster over from Ireland. "We already have a number of fans based there, but this will heighten our profile . . . and who knows, there might be another George Best out there!"
'Rooney stays here'
Oct 16 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes has repeated his fierce determination to keep Wayne Rooney at Goodison amid speculation linking Chelsea with a £35m raid for the striker. Reports this morning suggested a Chelsea representative held unoffocial talks with the 17-year-old's aides last week, fuelling speculation that the mega-rich London club are planning an audacious bid for the youngster when the transfer window re-opens in January. Moyes insists there has been no formal contact from Chelsea about Rooney and if there was, he would rebuff any bid. He told the ECHO: "There is no truth in it as far as I know, and as the manager I would expect to know about something like that.
"When I joined the club, I made it clear to the board that if they haven't got the money to spend, then don't give me any. But do not take away my best players." The Everton boss warned last year that if Rooney was sold from under his nose then he would quit the club. The player is a lifelong Blue and believed to be keen to remain on Merseyside. Sources from the club revealed this week that talks will begin before the end of the year with a view to extending the striker's contract beyond the three-year deal signed in February. Rooney turns 18 next Friday and once he has passed that milestone the club will not be restricted by FA rules on the length of a young player's contract.
Meanwhile, Alan Stubbs is set to provide Everton with a major boost for Sunday's televised clash with Southampton after his quick recovery from a groin injury. The Blues' skipper suffered the injury in the first half of the 3-0 defeat to Tottenham 12 days ago and was originally expected to be out for a month. But after intensive treatment the centre-back is pushing for a place against the Saints.
Moyes revealed: "Alan has a chance of being fit for this weekend's game, which is good news.
"He has responded very well to treatment. He has not quite joined in with the rest of the lads yet but he is getting much closer." Moyes will have to decide whether to continue with Stubbs or opt for David Weir alongside Joseph Yobo. Weir has not started a game in the Premiership yet this season. Francis Jeffers and Kevin Campbell are pushing hard for starting places after injury. Campbell was rested from the reserves last night, fuelling speculation he is being lined up to replace Duncan Ferguson on Sunday if the Scot fails to shake off the chest infection and groin strain which have been troubling him. Jeffers played in last night's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion and showed no ill-effects from the illness or back problem which have restricted his appearances since arriving on loan from Arsenal.
United provide tough challenge
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 17 2003
WITH only one defeat this season Everton under-19s can go into most matches with little to fear, but tomorrow they face one of the strongest sides in the FA Premier Academy League Group A in Manchester United. Everton coach Neil Dewsnip said: "Last Saturday was a good victory for the lads. And although we don't look at the results too much, we are on a reasonable run. We have only lost one. "We are looking forward to United. Obviously you want to play the strongest sides to find out how well you are doing. It has been okay so far and we will find out more on Saturday." Italian striker Patrice Pascucci scored his first goal for the U19s last week and is part of a virtually fullstrength squad. Midfielder Brian Moogan had to come off last Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday, but played for the reserves on Wednesday. So long-term injury casualty Craig Garside is the only player unavailable. Gary Ablett's side will aim to continue their winning ways after their seventh win in eight matches against Leeds. The Blues bounced back from their first defeat of the season last week but will be wary of a Leeds side who beat Liverpool 4-0 last week. Ablett's side have already beaten Leeds 3-0 earlier in the season. Ablett said: "It should be a cracking game, because they beat Liverpool. And we beat them 3-0 here and put on probably one of our best performances of the season. "We need to start better than last week because they'll be wound up after we beat them, so if we're not on our guard we will struggle. "At the moment we are trying to keep this team together as a group up until Christmas. If Andy Holden wants anyone they might become part of his reserve squad. Lawrence Wilson and Mark Hughes have already played and we had five or six involved at Marine in the Senior Cup game. So they have all had a little taste and hopefully we can get more through in the coming months. "Our job is to get them out of Netherton and get them up to Bellefield as quickly as we can. But without sending them there without an idea of the environ-ment they're going into. So we want to make sure they can do themselves justice when they get a chance."
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Oct 17 2003
I HAVE been studying a video of the Tottenham game and I can't believe the state of the team's passing, tactics and lack of awareness. The defence was awful! Unsworth and co must go at the end of the season. Peter Clarke and Leon Osman must play now! Also, I'm not sure about the players Moyes has brought in. Sadly I must say that big mistakes have been made over the summer.
Defence and midfield should have been the priority along with catching talented players like Tonge at Sheffield United, not a bunch of rejects and misfits.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum?
Andy Devey, (via e-mail)
DOES anyone know why Nyarko was not in the reserves team this week? I wonder if we are looking at a possible midfield shake-up after the Spurs disaster? God knows we need it.
Alex Flynn, (via e-mail)
Scots to blame
NICE to see that the powers that be in Scotland are trying to alieninate yet another of our players - it's quite fantastic the way they like our players to think twice before representing them and risking injury. First Dunc, then Dave and now they're going to have a shot at upsetting young McFadden.
Who knows how well the team could play if the guys in charge weren't all too proud of themselves to have pride in the team. Refusal to back players seems to be team policy. The only guy they don't pick on is the guy they don't pick - Gemmill.
Scott Arlett, (via e-mail)
Wayne will go
DO people really think that if Wayne carries on playing and making the headlines the way he has, even if he does sign a new contract, Everton won't sell him if a juicy offer comes in? Speaking of contracts, I think Moyes should have talks with Radzinski to get him an extended contract!
Barry Knowles, Wirral
PETER CLARKE and Li Tie should be in the frame for inclusion in the starting lineup against Southampton. If David Moyes doesn't give Peter his opportunity this time, then he should do the honourable thing and transfer the lad to a club in need of a quality defender. On another note, I see the club is conducting contract talks with David Unsworth. Given that David - stalwart that he has been - has clearly shown that Premier-ship football is now beyond him, we should be looking to release him not keep him.
John Cooper, (via e-mail)
I HAD to laugh when I read we are looking at an extention for Unsworth's contract.Come on Everton, for God's sake, anyone can see he simply is not good enough to play in the First Division, let alone the Premiership. Please, please get rid. I cannot bear to watch the clown anymore. I will wear the shirt myself for nothing and will probably do a better job. Use the money to strenghen elsewhere.
Martin Davies, Formby JUST read the bad news that Unsworth is in talks for a new contract. Is Moyes seeing something that the rest of us aren't? Just because he loves the club doesn't mean we give him another contract.
Ray Smith, Kirkby
FUNNY, after Wayne's name being plastered all over the papers for being in the fight in Turkey there doesn't seem to be much video evidence - yet.It seems to have gone quiet now the video has been released. Talk about give a dog a bad name. Hope the papers are made to eat their words.
Colin Cheshire, (via e-mail)
Memo to Blues: working hard is the key
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Oct 17 2003
AFTER the circus that is internationals week, it's good to get back to the good old brass tacks of the Premiership. Luckily our players have returned from their overseas adventures unscathed despite having a number of interesting tales to tell, not least what did Alpay do that was so unimaginably evil that there are these calls for him to be clapped up in chains and deported immediately? Surely it can't be that he poked and shouted at David Beckham? What will be next, the electric chair or a firing squad for Martin Keown? Despite certain national tabloids trying to make out that Wayne Rooney battled hand to hand with the whole Turkish team in the tunnel like something out of Kill Bill, the evidence, and his performance on the pitch, seem to suggest he is actually capable of controlling his emotions. He again gave a very mature performance at the highest level - it's just a pity that his lack of discipline in a blue shirt means that he won't get a chance to repeat it on Sunday.
Another player with a bad boy reputation - although apart from a bit of wrestling with Roque Junior he's been good as gold for us - James McFadden also made the news for the wrong reasons after his altercation with an orange coat at Hampden. Who would want to be a spokesman for Rock Steady security though? Alistair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Gerard Houllier put together would struggle to put a positive spin on 'Steward Stops Man of the Match Giving Shirt to Boy with Cerebral Palsy'. Back to Sunday though, this could be a crucial game in our season. Southampton are one of the better sides in what some people now refer to as the 'second tier' of the Premiership, and if we're to challenge for a UEFA Cup place then they will be one of our main rivals. With James Beattie and Kevin Phillips playing extremely well together up front for the Saints it is vital that David Weir and Joseph Yobo show more composure at the heart of the Everton defence than they did during the White Hart Lane horror show. It's been said on countless occasions in the past, but it still remains true: all our progress under David Moyes is down to a willingness to work hard all over the pitch. When the players remember to do that then the good, attacking football inevitably follows. We simply don't have the players to stroll past Premiership teams, and if we don't approach Southampton with the right attitude they will gladly punish us. Luckily the manager knows this more than anyone, so hopefully his players will continue their recently acquired habit of bouncing straight back after bad defeats.
Everton lager deal pumps in more cash
By Alan Weston, Daily Post
Oct 17 2003
EVERTON Football Club has entered into a money-spinning new sponsorship deal with Budweiser.
Under the deal, the brand will become the "official beer" of the Blues. It means Budweiser will have exclusive lager pouring rights across all concourse bars at Goodison Park. And it includes perimeter advertising, in-stadium and concourse signs, and the right to use official Everton FC marks and logos on Budweiser products and point-of-sale items worldwide. Everton chief executive officer Michael Dunford said: "In Budweiser we have found a partner whose ambitions match our own. This new partnership means Everton FC is joining forces with the world's best-selling beer, and we look forward to working with Budweiser in the years to come." The deal will undoubtedly be a profitable one for the Goodison Club but the financial details have not been released. Randall Blackford, Budweiser's UK marketing director, said: "Budweiser's partnership with Everton Football Club is an outstanding fit, bringing together two brands with a commitment to quality and dedication to being the best. "This sponsorship is a great way for Budweiser to reach beer drinkers, and we are proud to be associated with Everton Football Club." Everton is the latest addition to a string of football sponsorships by Budweiser. It is already the "official beer" of The FA Premier League, Manchester United and Chelsea FC, and "official partner" of Manchester City. Budweiser has also been "official beer" of the FIFA World Cup since 1986.
Blues fed up with Rooney talk
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 17 2003
BILL KENWRIGHT last night admitted he is getting fed up of 'the biggest cock and bull story' David Moyes has ever heard - that Wayne Rooney is on his way to Chelsea. Everton issued another round of 'hands off' warnings yesterday after one of Europe's richest clubs were linked with one of Europe's finest players in a national newspaper. Moyes, Kenwright, Rooney's agent Paul Stretford and even Chelsea have all distanced themselves from the tale, which claimed Roman Abramovich is preparing a £35million raid in January. And Kenwright echoed the feeling of many Evertonians last night that he might as well 'pack in' if the club sold off their prized asset. The Blues' deputy chairman said: "I'm getting a bit fed up of saying this, but Wayne Rooney is not for sale. "I suppose people will say 'How could you turn down £35m?'. But the answer is easy. You just say 'No'. "Sure, that sort of money would revitalise Everton but I look at David Moyes and can't help thinking that the job he is doing is revitalising Everton anyway. "We are not about quick fixes here. We are working for the future and Wayne Rooney will be part of that future." Kenwright added: "If we let him go then I and everyone else may as well pack in. It is simply not in any scenario of mine or David's to sell Wayne Rooney." Rooney's future will be the topic of intense speculation with talks on a new Goodison contract due to get underway before the end of the season. And an exasperated Moyes reaffirmed he would quit if Rooney was allowed to leave the club. The Blues manager admitted: "I said when I came to the club that I was happy to work with no money and I'm continually happy to work with no money. I'll try and do the best I can with the players I've got." Moyes continued: "But I said that I wouldn't want a team taken away from me or broken up. "If Everton consider themselves one of the big clubs in the country their job is to keep their big players and that's why it's my job to try and make sure we have a team, in the future, which can get themselves back in among the top teams.
"At the present time we'd be lying if we said we were that. That's the way we all see it as a football club, that's the way I want to make it and where I want to take the club. "We're not going to do that by letting any of our players go. We wouldn't be doing it anyway because Wayne Rooney's too valuable to us and at the moment I've got no intention of selling any players which I want to keep. If you actually knew where the story came from and how it came about it's the biggest cock and bull story I've ever heard." Chelsea's acting chief executive, Paul Smith, stated: "We've not spoken to Everton about any of their players and it's not a question of negotiating. "It's too far from the transfer window to get on with the job of compiling our target list. No-one is included and no-one is excluded, as it's far too premature." Ironically Moyes will be without Rooney this Sunday due to suspension. Tomasz Radzinski also gave the Blues boss a scare yesterday when he limped out of training. But the Canadian forward is expected to be fit to face Southampton, while Alan Stubbs could also play despite suffering a groin strain at Spurs.
Rooney is priceless to Everton
Oct 17 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
YOU CANNOT put a price on certain players' heads. I don't for one moment see Everton selling Wayne Rooney to Chelsea for £35m. They won't be tempted at any price. If they were, they could be certain of a fans' backlash. Roman Abramovich has a fortune to spend and thinks he can get whoever he likes. Chelsea are perhaps looking at Everton's financial situation and think they can prise Rooney away. Bu t they were unable to buy Patrick Vieira from Arsenal and they won't get Rooney either. Perhaps it's just coincidental that Chelsea are rumoured to be interested just when Everton and Rooney are talking about a new contract. In football, players are often linked to another club while negotiating a new deal with their current one. It certainly gives their agents more bargaining power because the current club does not want to lose their player. Either way the agent gets his pay day. A move to Chelsea would not be good for Rooney's development, either. Chelsea have a lot of talented footballers and there would be no guarantee the lad woul d be p laying regularly. I have said all along that Rooney's main aim is to establish a regular starting place at Everton. He has still to do that. Rooney has loyalty and I cannot see him moving from Goodison.
Sue the player THERE has been a lot going on in football off the pitch, from rape allegations to Rio Ferdinand's drug test. It makes you wonder how clubs will cope financially if they are without players for a lengthy period, either through bans or prison sentences. They would be unable to play an individual because of something that happened off the field, yet the player would still be expecting to receive a wage. The way football is going clubs must be thinking of ways in which they can recover some of the money they have invested in the player. In my view the only way is to sue the guilty player.
Football back - at long last
AT LAST club football is back and Everton have a very difficult home game against Southampton on Sunday. I was impressed by the Saints when they visited Goodison last season. Tomasz Radzinski was Everton's hero that day, but it is a pity Wayne Rooney is not available for a starting position up front. Before a game you always look at the team sheet and pick out the likely threat. Rooney played well for England in Turkey and, rightly or wrong-ly, the opposition would have been fearing him more than Radzinski. I'm sure David Moyes is frustrated he does not have the option to include the lad in the starting line-up.
We'll prove strike power - Radz
Oct 17 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON now have the kind of strike power which would make French air traffic controllers green with envy. And so it speaks volumes for Tomasz Radzinski that he is the only one of the six senior forwards in the Goodison ranks to have started each of the club's eight top flight matches this season. But the 29-year-old is dismissive of his extended run in the side, preferring to talk about the need for both himself and the team to find the consistency required to guide Everton up the table.
Expectation can be a heavy burden to shoulder. The success of last season for both Radzinski and the club means both have had to endure heightened levels of expectation. Radzinski insists both he and the team are more than capable of dealing with the increased pressure - and they intend to prove it against Southampton on Sunday. This season we are still trying to find the right combination of players and a consistent rhythm to our game," said Radzinski. "Maybe on Sunday it is going to be a new beginning to our season and will jump start things for us to make sure we are going to be in the top half of the table and not the bottom half. "Teams know now what to expect from Everton. "We were probably one of the hardest working sides last season and we need to maintain that. "If we can continue with that then any side will have difficulty beating us." It was in the corresponding fixture against the Saints last season that Radzinski netted two late goals to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win. He finished the season as top scorer on 11 goals and was named Supporters' Player of the Year. He is disappointed that he has only netted twice in the opening eight games this season.
He adds: "Getting the Player of the Season from the fans gives you an extra boost but it also gives you the extra responsibility of showing the award was not a fluke. "I think people have seen more of the real me in the last year because I have not had injury problems but I should still be more deadly in front of goal. "It is definitely something we are working on because the game is getting faster and more difficult. "The half chances that we create you have to finish. You can't afford to miss too many half-chances, never mind the big chances. Whoever makes the most out of the half-chances does well in this league. "It is great to have always been in the squad this season. So far it has been a good season for me but it hasn't been great. "I want to be scoring more. But as long as we have mid-field players who can push forward and help us get the points then that is fine. "With my pace, I can use it to run into channels and maybe create some more space for other players. "The season is long and if we steer clear of injuries that will help us get somewhere this year. "Now we have six strikers and if they are all available that is a lot of competition and it means everybody has to be on top of their game. "If everybody is fit then the results will come." That wealth of attacking options means Radzinski has already been partnered by three different players this season. Chadwick, Rooney and Ferguson have all played alongside him. And if Big Dunc doesn't prove his fitness before Sunday Radzinski is set to have a new companion up front, with both Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers in contention. Radzinski said: "The result is the most important thing. I don't really care who plays or who doesn't as long as we get the result." A repeat of last season's dramatic finale wouldn't go amiss, although Radzinski points out: "I would rather we won the match within the opening hour and not in the last few seconds."
Save Blues' scriptures
Oct 17 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IF you know your history . . . Everton know their history better than any other Premiership club - or could do. True Blue collector Dr David France has sought out and created the most extensive, impressive and jaw-dropping collection of football memorabilia ever individually assembled.
It is a collection auction house Christie's has conservatively valued at £400,000. The centre-piece is a volume of official club ledgers encompassing the years 1886 to 1964. Presumably tossed out when the Goodison Park Main Stand was rebuilt in 1970, Dr France stumbled across one in an antique shop and made it his life's mission to complete the set. It took him 20 years of considerable cost, endeavour and heartache (the final piece of the jigaw cost him a cherished Dixie Dean medal) to complete. But it now forms an unbroken 27-volume run of the minutae of the day-to-day running of one of English football's grandest institutions. Every board decision is chronicled - from the decision to change the shirt colours to Royal Blue, the signing of Dixie Dean, the construction of the double-decker stands by renowned architect Archibald Leitch, preparations for the 1966 World Cup - and most priceless of all, the acrimonious split which led to Everton leaving Anfield and the formation of Liverpool Football Club. Also included are a vast number of rare football programmes, including more than 100 from the pre-Football League era, season tickets which go back to the days when Everton played at Stanley Park and even invoices for the construction of stands at Anfield. Such a collection clearly belongs at Everton. But Dr France is anxious to avoid the collection being separated and sold piecemeal - the route Christie's suggested they would take if they were to act as vendors in any future sale. Dr France is emigrating to Canada - and the collection will not be crossing the Atlantic with him. But as a lifelong Evertonian he wants the Blues to buy the collection from him . . . and place it on public display. The transfer could even be self-financing. How about putting the items on display (perhaps in that programme shop on the corner of Gwladys Street and Bullens Road) and charging supporters a nominal sum for entrance? If Everton don't buy this collection, a host of individual collectors will. Maybe even one from across the park. Part of the new Anfield development is an updated museum. Imagine the centrepiece being a document which details the split of 1892? Actually if your persuasion is of a Royal Blue hue maybe you won't want to think about that. Come on Everton FC, this is a real S.O.S - Save Our Scriptures!
Blues fans fly to Chile for title celebration
HERE'S a headline one half of Merseyside despaired of ever seeing again. Everton Crowned Champions. Everton, the other one, clinched the Chilean Primera B title on Wednesday. Trailing 3-0 at home to bottom club Lota Schwager, they came back to win 5-3 and clinch promotion. Then they won 2-1 at Ovalle to clinch the title, watched by Blues Tony Onslow, Tony Baena and Ian and Kerry Wilson. Members of Los Ruleteros, the Mersey society set up to follow the fortunes of the other Everton, they took advantage of the break in the real Blues' fortunes to fly to Chile.
Gerrard offers stability
CHRISTMAS 1997 saw the sound of Jingle Bells, Mary's Boy Child and that ubiquitous Slade number replaced by a more unfamiliar sound around Goodison Park. It was the clunks of thousands of jaws hitting the floor at the identity of Everton's new captain. But if Howard Kendall gambled by naming Duncan Ferguson as his skipper, he hit the jackpot. Ferguson's first match wearing the captain's armband saw him celebrate his first senior hat-trick. And in the weeks after that he produced the most consistently impressive form of his entire Everton career. The change in Ferguson's entire mind-set while wearing the armband justified the decision. Gerard Houllier could be said to have taken a similar gamble in selecting Steven Gerrard as his new skipper. Aggressive, occasionally reckless and headstrong, I believe Houllier's decision to install Gerrard as skipper is an inspired one.
Wearing the armband should also help him count to 10 on those occasional moments when the red mist descends. And, of course, it virtually guarantees he will put pen to paper on a new contract. Houllier's decision offers Liverpool stability and enduring leadership for several seasons to come.
Everton 0, Southampton 0 (D, Post)
Oct 20 2003 Andy Hunter Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
FORTY-FOUR days in a perspex box without food and yet David Blaine can count himself the luckiest man alive after stepping outside just after this match had finished. The American illusionist would have begged for another lengthy stint hanging above the Thames if he'd emerged from his starvation exercise in time to catch one of the Premiership's worst games. Plenty of Evertonians would probably have volunteered to join him too. Their team's season has swung from high to low with alarming regularity so far and yesterday, against Southampton, they delivered another performance to forget. Before it began David Moyes declared this campaign would be tough and the prediction is proving spot on, but when even the basics - such as passing - go AWOL his team are not given themselves a chance to make progress. A third clean sheet on the run at home, better defending and a point their display barely merited were the positives Moyes desperately wanted following the lame capitulation at Tottenham. But otherwise there were precious few positives to emerge at Goodison as Everton, and not a Southampton side beaten in Bucharest in midweek, looked tired in both mind and body with the settled, flowing pattern of 12 months ago fading further into the memory. There's something about Goodison games live on Sky on a Sunday: they're usually dreadful. This was a worthy addition to the catalogue of horrors. It's football's chicken and egg debate, who should inspire who - the players or the fans? On this occasion both parties failed to play their part, the atmosphere in the crowd more akin to a quiet night in the morgue before kick-off and then nothing of note to inspire afterwards. In fairness, the spectators may all have just had a premonition about what was in store with both Wayne Rooney and Kevin Phillips sitting out with suspension. Everton enjoyed the greater possession in the first half, though by constantly giving it away, straight out of play or falling over that became an irrelevant statistic. The 'new' front two of Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers (right) were also the sharpest players on the pitch, yet the Blues simply couldn't get enough control of the game or the ball to supply them. Moyes' men were guilty of trying to walk it through to them too often, a route that almost paid off in the 42nd minute when Thomas Gravesen flicked the ball into Campbell, who was adjudged offside before he found the back of the net. But otherwise Southampton were content to soak up disjointed pressure before the break and hit their hosts on it. Nigel Martyn produced a fine save to parry Brett Ormerod's shot on the turn but almost cost his side the lead four minutes later when he completely miscued a clearance to James Beattie, whose angled chip floated mercifully wide of the far post from 30 yards.
An immaculate intervention by Gary Naysmith prevented the England international pulling the trigger inside the area sixty seconds later as the Saints' threat started to increase. To be fair, despite their display, the Blues had their own half chances to break the deadlock too. The lively McFadden fired in two dangerous shots from the corner of the box, one saved, the other deflected out for a corner, while Campbell should have done better than to shoot wide when Claus Lundekvam's clearance cannoned into his path eight yards out. By now the home crowd appeared even more resigned to the torture and so decided to take a perverse pleasure out of it instead, saving their cheers for a true centre-half's shot from the recalled David Weir, which almost hit the corner flag and the commencement of Operation Goodison. And the mood hardly lifted in a second half where the clearer chances all fell Everton's way either, as Southampton became the first side to settle and finally suggested they could make the home side pay for their inadequacy. Beattie grew increasingly dominant in the aerial battles and Gordon Strachan's side produced the only football of note, easily bypassing a lightweight Blues midfield. Yet despite a number of towering headers from their big centre-forward and one shot over from Rory Delap, the visitors came off second best in terms of the opportunities created. In the 54th minute McFadden missed a glorious chance to open his Everton account when the best opening of the game went begging. Steve Watson and Gravesen combined on the right, the source of the Blues' best play, and though the Dane's sweeping cross sailed past Campbell it landed perfectly for the young Scot only for his shot to end well wide of the gaping far corner. Twelve minutes later, and still under the cosh, the Blues had another great chance to hit Southampton on the break. Sadly the result was just the same. Jeffers, an increasing influence in Everton's performance, delivered a perfect chip from the by-line. The ball dropped on to Watson's head but from just three yards out the hat-trick hero of Goodison's last home game nodded wide.
Watson did convert from 18 yards seven minutes from time only for the goal to be ruled out for a foul on Michael Svensson by Gravesen, who was also guilty of blazing 'The worst free-kick in history' - according to one text message - high into the Gwladys Street with a packed six-yard box waiting for it to arrive. It was Southampton, however, who were running the game, without ever stretching Martyn in the Everton goal as the tedium continued. There wasn't even a dire referee's display from Matt Messias to get wound up about, so bang went the chance to use the line 'He's not the Messias, he's a very naughty boy'. And the entire afternoon was encapsulated in one final moment when England Under-21 international David Prutton managed to clear the Park End Stand with a 90th minute volley. No one rushed to get the ball back.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Naysmith; Watson, Carsley (Linderoth 63), Gravesen, McFadden (Kilbane 65); Campbell, Jeffers. Subs: Wright, Unsworth, Li Tie.
SOUTHAMPTON (4-4-2): Niemi; Dodd, Lundekvam, M Svensson, Higginbotham; Telfer, A Svensson, Delap, Fernandes (Prutton 54); Beattie, Ormerod. Subs: Jones, Hall, Tessem, Griffit.
REFEREE: M Messias
BOOKINGS: Everton's Carsley (foul); Southampton's M Svensson (foul), A Svensson (dissent)
The man in black who lived story of Goodfellas
By Andy Kelly Daily Post Staff
Oct 20 2003
GOODISON Park has welcomed many legends over the years but the guest of honour in the Alex Young suite on Saturday night knew little or nothing about football. Henry Hill, New York mobster turned state informer and the inspiration for the classic film Goodfellas, was making his first visit to Liverpool for a much-anticipated after-dinner speech. Such is the legend surrounding Hill that, even at £50 a go, tickets were a sell-out weeks ago. He shot to notoriety in 1980 when he broke the sacred Mafia code of silence - Omerta - and turned state's evidence on senior members of the notorious Lucchese crime family to escape a prison sentence for drug pushing. Hill, who remains on a Mafia hit-list more than two decades after turning "stool pigeon", was forced to enter the Federal witness protection programme and take on a new identity. It was after entering the programme that Hill wrote Wiseguy, later made into the Oscar-winning movie, Goodfellas, by acclaimed director Martin Scorsese, with Ray Liotta playing Hill. Now 60 and having left the witness protection programme after 21 years, Hill was free to take up an invitation from Liverpool businessman Neil Clegg to talk about his fascinating life. So more than 200 people gathered to hear tales of the men who had been brought so vividly to life by the likes of Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci and Paul Sorvino.
But, rather bafflingly, the diminutive Hill, dressed appropriately in black, seemed reluctant to share the stories which everybody was so desperate to hear. Having seemingly partaken rather too liberally of the hospitality, his Brooklyn East drawl was at times virtually incoherent, and he talked more about his appearance on Richard and Judy than his escapades with Jimmy Conway.
It was clear though that he had turned his back on his old life. "I lived in fear of my life every day. Crime doesn't pay - period," he said. The natives grew restless. "What's it like to be a rat," shouted someone at the back. "Better than being a fing big mouth putz," replied Hill. Thankfully the evening was turned round, thanks to a brilliantly entertaining auction hosted by Frankie Hargreaves, which included signed Goodfellas prints, one of which made £ 1,500. Original watercolours from Hill proved rather less popular, reaching just £5. "They'll be worth 40 times more when I get whacked," joked Hill. One, a mess of red, apparently represented someone's brains - "It's my therapy," said Hill.
Visibly relaxing, he proved much more interesting in a later Question and Answer session which the audience took over themselves. What was it like to turn his back on all the friends he had grown up with when he turned state's evidence? "It was hard, you know I could not forgive myself for 10 or 15 years. I could have put a gun in my mouth every day," he said with visible emotion. "I laid my life on the line every day for these guys but, when you hear your friend (Jimmy Conway), planning to kill you on the FBI tapes and your boss giving it the go-ahead, you just think f--- 'em. They had killed 11 of my friends, two of their wives and my family would have been next." And was de Niro's portrayal of Jimmy Conway a realistic one? "You know, Jimmy was a homicidal maniac but an absolute genius. I spoke to de Niro about five times before every scene and he nailed it." The most exciting news was Hill's revelation that he is completing the follow-up to Wiseguy, which is expected to be the basis of a Goodfellas II film.
Corruption probe on stadium firm
By Chris Brown, Daily Post
Oct 20 2003
A COMPANY which wants to build a joint stadium for Liverpool and Everton football clubs is under investigation for corruption in Japan. Kajima, the world's third largest construction firm, last month put forward a plan for the two teams to share a ground on a site between Stanley and Waterloo docks where landowner, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board (MDHC), wants to redevelop 90 acres of derelict space. A matter of days after the announcement, on September 30, Kajima was raided by officials from Japan's Fair Trade Commission probing bid rigging in the northern city of Niigata.
The FTC raided about 40 firms and Niigata city hall because it suspects the firms colluded to rig the outcome of civil engineering tenders. Kajima said it was prepared to help finance a new shared stadium for Everton and Liverpool football clubs. But it now appears unlikely to happen due to the advanced nature of Liverpool's plan for their own ground at Stanley Park. The move on Kajima in Japan follows a similar FTC investigation in Miyagi Prefecture, when Kajima was accused of secretly rigging tenders for civil engineering contracts last year. Although in June the FTC reprimanded 29 firms including Kajima, it did not have enough evidence to take the matter further. Liverpool released further details of its plans for a new 60,000-seat stadium in Stanley Park earlier this month and it seems increasingly unlikely that either Merseyside club would be interested in the Kajima offer. That spells bad news for the Japanese firm's proposals, which included guaranteeing the price the two clubs would have to pay for the new stadium with any cost overruns met by Kajima Urban Development. The group would also allow its own assets to be used to guarantee bank loans raised by the clubs. Kajima has already courted controversy in Britain when it won five privately-funded school deals in the last 18 months despite a "Stop Kajima" campaign highlighting its presence in Burma. No-one from Kajima UK was available for comment last night while a spokesman for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company said he was unable to comment on anything regarding Kajima.
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 20 2003
DAVID MOYES admitted Everton are failing to live up their own expectations after being held to a dour goalless draw by Southampton yesterday. The Blues lie 13th in the Premiership after a second disappointing display in succession. And manager Moyes (pictured), who lost Lee Carsley with a medial knee ligament injury, believes his side are struggling to match the benchmark they set for themselves following last season's impressive climb. The Blues boss said: "There is a bit of expectation on us now. I wouldn't say it's from the supporters, it's more from myself and the players and we are not quite fulfilling it at the moment. "We all believe we can do better, which is a good thing, but the table is a fair reflection of how we've been so far and we can do better. "We are taking note of where we are in the table. We would like more points but we didn't play overly well today. "If I knew where we've gone wrong in the last two games I would have changed it. You go through periods in a season where you are not firing and we are not firing." Despite being second best to Southampton the Blues had the better chances to win the game, missing two through James McFadden and Steve Watson. Moyes added: "It wasn't great but we are looking at the positives and we kept a clean sheet and had the chances to have won. "We had to put up with a lot of pressure, which you don't really want at home, but we created the better chances. Goals change games and the way we look at things, although not the performance, but maybe if Watto and James had scored from their chances in the second half it would have been different. "James found it hard at Tottenham and again today but that's what wide players are like, up and down. "He is young and new to the club and we will give him the benefit of the doubt and the chance to settle down."
Midfielder Carsley could be out of action for weeks after aggravating the ligament injury that kept him sidelined for the first five weeks of the season. The extent of his latest setback should be discovered later today. "Lee sustained some medial ligament damage and it looks like it's a recurrence of the same injury he had early in the season," Moyes added. Duncan Ferguson (left) is expected to be fit for next week's trip to Aston Villa after recovering from a chest infection. He was close to selection yesterday. As for Saints boss Gordon Strachan, it was a case of more frustration after his club's UEFA Cup exit at the hands of Steaua Bucharest in midweek. He said: "We have had two performances now in a week that encapsulate our season. They have both been frustrating.
"We are fine for most of the pitch, but we lack that final pass and final shot which can turn a good performance into a great one. "Yes, it is frustrating, but I am consoled by the fact that the lads are trying their level best to put it right. "But it is how they handle pressure at vital moments that is the key, at the moment we are not doing that well. "We made far more chances than Everton, just like we made far more chances in Bucharest. The result there was a farce. "And I do not think we were affected by the long journey, we finished strong against Everton in mind and physically." Southampton defender Michael Svensson was disappointed the Saints had not been able to build on a strong defensive display. He said: "It was difficult, they are a good side. We defended really well all over the pitch but we couldn't score. "We wanted to win, as always. It is a point but we'll look at the game as one we should have won."
By Keith Dolan, Daily Post
Oct 20 2003
THE boos that greeted the final whistle at Goodison were possibly borne out of frustration. Being realistic no-one could fault the Everton players for effort. Both sides achieved so much last season on the back of a decent work ethic, but yesterday neither really allowed the other to get the upper hand. They effectively cancelled each other out. This was a game where a little extra quality in the final third could have made all the difference. Wayne Rooney, of course, could have provided this, although Southampton were also missing Kevin Phillips. Had Radzinski been fit Southampton would have been forced to defend deeper to combat his pace. This would have created space for the likes of McFadden to run at them. For periods of the game the Saints put us under a fair amount of pressure, particularly with aerial balls into the box. It was certainly positive to see how well Yobo and Weir coped with this threat, although I'm sure they will face stiffer opposition than Beattie and Ormerod before the end of the season. On the down side our midfield again looked sluggish.
Despite technically being one of our better players, Gravesen seems to want to take too many touches and makes a large number of unforced errors. At times he appears to be on a completely different wavelength to the rest of the side. Everton still had the better opportunities with Campbell shooting wide from close range in the first half and Watson missing an open goal with a header in the second. We also had the ball in the net three times, on each occasion the officials having spotted an infringement. On another day we could have scraped a 1-0 win and we would all have gone home happy. At least we can be satisfied knowing that 'Operation Goodison' was completed successfully yet again!
Everton 0, Southampton 0 (Echo)
Oct 20 2003 Scott Mcleod Reports From Goodison Park
BY 6pm yesterday even the Rugby World Cup encounter between Georgia and Samoa seemed appealing. Not all goalless draws are uninspiring and dour. Unfortunately, this one was. But there is always somebody worse off than you. So if you were at Goodison yesterday, spare a thought for Everton owner Bill Kenwright. Not only did he sit through what was a match of undoubted mediocrity, he had to do so while suffering the agony of a slipped disc. A few weeks ago Evertonians were provided with a Sunday afternoon treat when they witnessed a demolition of Leeds. That game became a distant memory yesterday. If you are among the 'glass is half full' fraternity, then the point earned against Southampton was very much welcome after the heavy defeat at Tottenham a fortnight ago. You would be pleased that the defence kept a clean sheet for only the second time this season, and for the second consecutive home match. You would explain that the better chances fell to the home side, who demonstrated that they can compete against strong Premiership opposition in the absence of key players like Tomasz Radzinski, Alan Stubbs and Wayne Rooney.
And you would point out that it is a reflection of how far the Everton squad has come during David Moyes' tenure that, despite the absence of three regular forwards, they were still able to field a strike-force most sides in the top flight would be more than happy to call their first choice pairing.
But not even the ultimate optimist would be able to argue successfully that this was a good match.
The Blues simply did not do themselves justice yesterday. Moyes insisted in his programme notes that he had seen a response in his players over the last couple of weeks to the embarrassment of the Spurs defeat. But it didn't materialise here. At best, the passing lacked fluency. At worst, it was woeful. Too often the midfield relinquished possession cheaply. And when they did get forward to create chances - and there were three or four really good opportunities - the finishing was rotten.
James McFadden, Steve Watson and the returning Kevin Campbell were all guilty of putting chances wide of the target when it seemed easier to score. But had they found the target, there would have still been no escaping the fact this was way below what we have come to expect from Moyes' Everton. Yes, Southampton are a strong side and difficult to break down. But on home soil the Blues should be putting teams like that to the sword. It was a year ago yesterday that Wayne Rooney signalled his arrival on the national stage with a goal of sublime quality to clinch an unforgettable 2-1 victory over Arsenal. This game desperately needed a similar moment of inspiration from somewhere. Unfortunately, Rooney had to settle for a place in the stands because of the one-game suspension picked up following his fifth booking of the season at White Hart Lane.
And with all due respect to Tobias Linderoth and Kevin Kilbane, it was hard to imagine Everton's second-half substitutes producing something magnificent to lift the gloom around Goodison. The two players who provided the greatest threat were up front. Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers.
But they didn't see enough of the ball. It was during Walter Smith's reign that they last played together up front. But you would have thought it was only last week, so tuned in to each other's play was the duo. If only their teammates had been equally intuitive. During the first half the passing from both sides was, at best, patchy. Thomas Gravesen, who was the best of the bunch at White Hart Lane, was the worst culprit yesterday. When he is on form his passing can be sublime. But when he is out of sorts, as he was yesterday, his desire to be inventive tempts him to play suicidal balls which surrender possession in key areas of the pitch. With the influential Dane failing to hit his best form and many of his teammates treating the ball like a hot potato, it was no surprise that they struggled to maintain a passing game. It was only when Jeffers and Campbell combined that you sensed something could happen. One such moment materialised in the 16th minute. A Steve Watson throw-in fell to Claus Lundekvam but his attempted clearance was straight at Jeffers, who guided the ball into the path of Campbell. The striker turned sharply to evade Michael Svensson but his shot from eight yards skipped agonisingly wide of the post. There were to be more chances squandered by Campbell, who was making his first senior appearance of the season. Sixteen minutes before the break he couldn't react fast enough to a drilled cross from the right edge of the area by David Weir. He did demonstrate he still has an eye for goal in the 42nd minute, latching on to a neat through ball from Gravesen before chipping the ball beyond Antti Niemi and into the corner of the net. But an offside flag ensured the Toffees didn't go in one-up at the interval. Had they done so, it would not have been undeserved, despite the quality of the football on show. When they did manage to string more than three or four passes together it was Everton who looked the more dangerous. All the Saints could show for their efforts, by contrast, was a snapshot from Brett Ormerod which Nigel Martyn did well to parry. It was Niemi who was the busier of the two keepers. He was twice forced into good stops to deny McFadden his first Everton goal and also managed to frustrate Jeffers in the eighth minute when he tried his luck from the edge of the box following a Michael Svensson error. But the best chance of the lot during the opening hour of the contest didn't even call the keeper into action. The ball was chipped to the back post by Gravesen. It evaded a host of defenders as well as Campbell before falling to McFadden unmarked eight yards out. With time to pick his spot, the 20-year-old snatched at the chance and dragged his left-footed half-volley wide of the far post. The failure to convert chances meant that, as the game wore on, the anxiety around Goodison Park increased. Were the Blues going to be punished? In James Beattie, the Saints certainly had a striker capable of doing just that. A targetman from a bygone era, it was his aerial ability which allowed him to outleap both Gary Naysmith and David Weir early in the second half, connecting with an early cross and sending a header inches over the bar. It was an alarm call which the Blues needed to heed. And with 25 minutes remaining Moyes tried a new combination in a bid to pick the lock. McFadden was withdrawn and replaced by Kevin Kilbane moments after the manager had been forced to replace the injured Lee Carsley with Tobias Linderoth. Both players were still getting into their stride when they witnessed Steve Watson head wide of the post from two yards out in the 72nd minute. As misses go, it was a bad one. It was made worse by the fact the Blues spent much of the following 15 minutes camped in their own half defending against a Southampton side revitalised by their own good fortune at the back. It wasn't until Kilbane sent a left-foot effort just over the bar from 25 yards 10 minutes from time that Everton regained the momentum which, for much of the match, had made up for the lack of quality in their play. This display was as far removed from the 4-0 drubbing of Leeds as you could care to imagine. But still the Blues had enough about them to suggest a victory was within their grasp. By 6pm yesterday, that was a straw worth clutching at.
Nic back to stake a claim
Oct 20 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
NICLAS ALEXANDERSSON returned to Goodison Park today after turning down the opportuntiy to extend his loan spell at West Ham. Manager David Moyes allowed the Swedish international to move to Upton Park on an initial one-month deal because the winger was not a key part of his first team plans. But Alexandersson has decided to come back to Everton in order to fight for a first-team place. New Hammers boss Alan Pardew had been keen to extend Alexandersson's stay at the first division club. Alexandersson has made eight appearances for the Hammers, three as a substitute, and was only on the losing side once. But the 31-year-old was not eager to relocate to London permanently. Meanwhile, the Blues have received a boost in the wake of yesterday's goalless draw with Southampton. The medial knee ligament injury which forced Lee Carsley to leave the action midway through the second half is only minor. The Irish international should be ready to return to training after resting the injury this week. Manager David Moyes was not pleased with the quality of the performance from his side yesterday. He said: "We are big enough at this club to not try and hide behind anything when we have not played well. "It was an improvement on the Tottenham game but way down compared to the way we played against Leeds. "It wasn't because of a lack of attitude, but a lack of quality on the day. " We got a clean sheet, which is something to build on, but our best players just didn't play as well as we know they can."
Moyes hails attack force
Oct 20 2003 By Stuart Rayner, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES praised reunited strike partners Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers for their workrate against Southampton, but admitted his side is yet to hit the heights of last season. It was a disappointing afternoon for Everton as they failed to put on their Sunday best for the watching television cameras. The game was Campbell and Jeffers' first in tandem for the first team since April 2001, but they failed to mark it with a goal in a low-key 0-0 draw. Moyes looked to have an embarrassment of riches up front when he secured the loan signing of Jeffers in September. But with Tomasz Radzinski succumbing to a calf strain, Duncan Ferguson hit by a chest infection and Wayne Rooney suspended, the Blues boss was forced to call on Campbell and Jeffers. "I think they were both as little bit rusty not having had too many games," Moyes admitted. "But they both worked very hard for us and did their best. I'm pleased that both of them were such willing workers and they both lasted the 90 minutes, which was important." And although Moyes was clearly disappointed with his side's showing, he still felt that they should have claimed all three points, particularly as Steve Watson and James McFadden both missed good opportunities. "We had to put up with a lot of pressure in the second half, which you'd hope we wouldn't need to do at home, but I still thought we had the better chances," insisted Moyes. "Maybe if Watto and James had slotted their chances away in the second half it might have been a little bit different." But the manager was willing to forgive an indifferent performance from winger McFadden after an eye-catching start to the Scot's Goodison career. "He found it hard at Tottenham and he found it hard today as well," Moyes said. "But I think wide players are sometimes a little bit up and down , and because he's young and because he's new, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and chance to settle down."
Moyes was prepared to admit, though, that last season's seventh-place finish had raised high hopes - in his own mind. "I think there's a bit of over-expectation," he conceded, "but I don't think it's even the supporters, I think it's probably myself and the players who are expecting us to do better. Really that's a good thing."
Jeffers: It was great to play alongside Kev
Oct 20 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
FRANCIS Jeffers went back to the future yesterday as he returned to the Everton starting line-up alongside Kevin Campbell for the first time in 31 months. His 90 minute run-out against Southampton was the 22-year-old's first start since his arrival on a season long loan from Arsenal at the end of August. Now he intends to build on that appearance by earning a permanent transfer to Goodison. He said: "It was great to play with Kevin again. We showed at times we were back to our old selves linking up well. "It feels like I have never been away. This is my home and this is where I want to play my football. Hopefully I can impress and stay here for a long time. The gaffer has been great, he is really enthusiastic and he is always on to you, which is what I need. "I am sure he will improve my game." Jeffers was happy to be alongside Campbell again but was frustrated he didn't get the chance to get his name on the scoresheet as the Blues were held to a goalless draw. He added: "Sometimes it is like that but when that is the case you have just got to work hard for the team. The chances fell to Kev and Steve Watson but on another day they will fall to me. "I am just happy to be getting myself back into the swing of things. I think the last game I started in the Premiership was against Charlton for Arsenal some time in March. "I feel alright because the two reserve games I have played brought me on a bit. All I need now is a little run in the team. "I got a little bit of nerves before the match, but nothing more than usual. I enjoyed it." The goalless draw leaves Everton 13th in the table and in need of a run of good results to put them in the top half of the table. There was disappointment amongst the players that they did not get the win they were so desperate for after the dismal 3-0 defeat at Tottenham two weeks ago. Jeffers explained: "I didn't play (at Spurs) but listening to the lads around the dressing room it was disappointing. And so it was important not to lose. We would have liked the win but it was one of those days. "The lads are working hard in training, much harder than when I was last here. I think that was shown last season. "Southampton are a hard working team and they came to destroy our play. They managed to do that, so fair play to them. That is why they are such a good team and a lot of it is down to the manager. "They are pretty similar to us. We are a hard working team but I think we like to play a bit more than them. They stopped us from doing that. "You have got to take the pluses from every game. Obviously there weren't many to take from Spurs. "In this match we had the best chances overall and we worked hard as a team. "But it was probably a fair result because there wasn't much in the game."
Blues marooned without strikers
Oct 20 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE muffled bang which echoed around Goodison Park some 20 minutes after yesterday's televised drudgery ended, was surely the Sky TV executive who recommended this wretched affair as Sunday afternoon entertainment. On a weekend which boasted Arsenal v Chelsea, a North-east derby and an all-Brum set-to, Everton v Southampton was always a high risk strategy. It was a gamble which failed. To be fair, goalless draws under David Moyes are very much a rarity, but the only players who came out of this stalemate with their reputations enhanced were not involved. The unpredictability of Wayne Rooney and the pacy outlets offered by Tomasz Radzinski were sorely missed. Radzinski's value to Everton's cause has been championed on these pages before - and is probably the single biggest reason why Rooney has not made more first team starts. But yesterday his absence stood out like a 1,000 kilowatt beacon. The accelerative bursts which see defenders turning uneasily on their heels were missing, as was the sense of nervousness his presence creates in opposition defences. It was ironic it was Southampton who were the visitors. His explosive finish to last season's corresponding fixture turned the match in Everton's favour. They did create chances yesterday, very good ones in fact. But James McFadden and Steve Watson both had cause to rue the presence of the giant TV screen. They squandered close range sitters, which looked more and more glaring every time they were shown to a Goodison audience which was gradually having the life squashed out of them. Radzinski's calf strain and Ferguson's groin-chest difficulties offered Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers the chance to resurrect the potent partnership last seen at Goodison Park two-and-a-half years ago. But while Campbell in particular showed signs that he is not ready to be put out to pasture just yet, the pair were lacking in match practice and sharpness. They weren't helped, mind, by a playing surface which appeared to have been watered with cooking oil. At least the matchday programme was interesting. Angrily responding to the misguided speculation that Chelsea were chasing Wayne Rooney, David Moyes penned the following reaction. "We can't believe everything we read in the newspapers. "The building blocks in my first year have now been laid with the players producing a higher standard of performance and subsequently have won back the trust of the supporters, who in turn are seeing an Everton team capable of competing once again.
"The introduction of youngsters such as James McFadden and Joseph Yobo, together with some of our home-grown talent and supported by some excellent senior professionals, will continue to push this club in the right direction." The words held a ring of truth, apart from that bit about not believing the papers, and it is to be hoped that yesterday's game was just a blip on the road to redemption. The same could be said about Thomas Gravesen's display. The Dane undeniably possesses quality and vision. But yesterday he passed like a nervous Mastermind contestant, i.e. frequently and inaccurately. And only he can explain what he was trying to achieve in the final minute of the match. Presented with the chance to fire a free-kick into a packed Southampton penalty area, he decided to shoot - hopelessly and horribly into the Gwladys Street crowd. Let's just put it down as one of those days - for him and for Everton.
Let clubs carry out drug tests - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 21 2003
DAVID MOYES believes the Rio Ferdinand farce could have been avoided if football clubs were given the power to carry out their own drugs tests. The Everton manager has offered a fresh view on the latest controversy to afflict the game by insisting responsibility for testing be given to clubs rather than UK Sport. And Moyes believes the current problem could be solved by having compulsory drugs tests written into every player's contract. I feel players should be allowed to be randomly drug tested at the discretion of the club," said the Blues boss. "But we are under rules which don't allow us to do so. "I find it incredible that it isn't now part of every football player's contract that they must, at any time, receive a drug test or a breathalyzer from the football club. "Everybody knows the damage that alcohol and drugs can do to your body." Moyes also confirmed his opposition to the planned showbiz party to mark Wayne Rooney's 18th birthday this weekend. Robbie Williams and Atomic Kitten are said to be on the celebrity guest list with Hello magazine reportedly lined up to cover the occasion - coverage at odds with Moyes' protective policy. And the Blues manager said: "I disagree with his people over this. I would not mind if it was just family and friends. I have done everything I can to try and avoid publicity. "And the thing that comes to my mind is trying to remember David Beckham's 18th birthday party or Ryan Giggs'. Can you? No. Exactly." Midfielder Lee Carsley, meanwhile, is not facing a lengthy spell out despite aggravating his medial knee ligament injury against Southampton on Sunday. The Irish international is a doubt for Saturday's trip to Aston Villa but could be back in training after a week's rest. Niclas Alexandersson has returned to Everton for 'personal reasons' after rejecting the chance to extend his loan spell at West Ham.
He made four starts and three substitute appearances at Upton Park. Everton chief executive Michael Dunford said: "West Ham United did contact us about the possibility of extending the loan but Niclas has decided he wants to return."
Italian job has United on rack
Academy Football With Chris Wright Daily Post
Oct 21 2003
ITALIAN striker Patrice Pascucci hit his second goal in a week to complete a fine comeback by Everton under-19s against Manchester United in the FA Premier Academy League on Saturday.
Neil Dewsnip's side earned a share of the points in a 2-2 draw despite being two goals down at half-time. Brian Moogan hit his third goal from the penalty spot to reduce the arrears after Gavin Lynch had been brought down. Then 10 minutes from the end, 18-year-old Italian forward Pascucci grabbed the equaliser by slotting home after his initial header from was saved. Dewsnip said: "I was very pleased with the performance but disappointed with the scoreline. It was our best performance of the year in terms of the technical side. "We showed great mental strength to get it back to 2-2 and if the game had lasted another five minutes we would have won it. "Brian Moogan led by example. He gave a mature performance." Everton under-17s made it eight wins from nine matches with a 1-0 victory at Leeds to consolidate their position at the top of the Group A table. Substitute James Vaughan grabbed his first goal of the season 15 minutes from time as Gary Ablett's side completed an early Academy League double of the Yorkshire side. Christian Seargeant fed Vaughan just inside the box and, after turning his marker, he lifted it over the advancing keeper. Coach Ablett said: "It was a good workmanlike 1-0 win. It could have been better, but I think there was only ever going to be one team who was going to win and that was us. "But we could have made it easier for ourselves by scoring a couple more. "We were missing our goalkeeper Craig Gallagher, who is a very important player for us. He was out with a bad hamstring and Sean Wright was ill."
* EVERTON schoolboy mid-fielder Scott Phelan scored England under-16s' second goal and set up another in a 4-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the opening match of the Victory Shield at Rushden and Diamonds Nene Park. Phelan was joined in the side by two Blues colleagues, defenders John Irving and Lee Molyneux.
EVERTON U19s: Lake, Flood, Potter, Gerrard, Fox; B Moogan (Jones 80), Brown, Barry Martland (Jones 85); Lynch, Pascucci. EVERTON U17s: McCall, Wynne, Hughes, Kearney, Boyle, Seargeant, Harris, Wilson, Morrison (Vaughan 68), Johnson, Hopkins.
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Oct 21 2003
CAN I wake up yet? How boring was the Everton match on Sunday? The team, bar one or two players, were a shambles. What was Thomas Gravesen playing at with that free-kick towards the end of the game? I know we were missing at least three vital players, but surely we are better than that? Aren't we?
Barry Knowles, Wirral
AGONISINGLY painful to watch. A lacklustre performance with a non-existent and unimagative midfield. The passing was atrocious. Everton FC are in desperate need of a creative midfield, a centre half, and a forward who can score more than six or seven goals per season. Bottom of the table material on this showing. On a brighter note, UP POMPEY.
J Dolphin, (via e-mail)
EVERTON should learn from Southampton's performance at Goodison for when they go on their own away trips.The Saints gave us a passing lesson at times and while clear-cut chances were few, the way they kept the ball was superb. Meanwhile our own Gravesen and many others wasted it - Saints were very impressive.
John Clarke, Liverpool
Davis a must
OUR midfield is dire! Li Tie should be given a game and Osman, plus Clarkey. We need someone in the middle who can get a foot on the ball. We need Sean Davis without a doubt come the transfer window and Koumas would not go amiss either!
Johnny Benson, Liverpool.
Keeper is Wright back in the frame
Oct 21 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT will step up his challenge for a return to the Everton first team tomorrow night.
The 25-year-old goalkeeper will play for the reserves at Birmingham. It will be his first game since September 13 after suffering a recurrence of the knee injury picked up at Charlton in August. The England international has seen his first team place taken by Nigel Martyn, who was signed from Leeds on transfer deadline day. He faces a struggle to regain his first team spot from the 37-year-old. Manager David Moyes has been happy with the form of Martyn, who has kept three clean sheets in five starts for the club. He said: "Nigel has done well and has been solid and reliable in the games he has played. Richard is back in full training and should play tomorrow night." Meanwhile, James McFadden is suffering from an ankle problem which has forced him to withdraw from the Scotland Future squad which is playing Germany this week. Joseph Yobo is also receiving treatment for a bruised foot but neither are serious injury worries. Meanwhile, the Everton boss is concerned over Wayne Rooney's 18th birth-day party next week. Robbie Williams and Atomic Kitten are believed to be among the guests but Moyes believes the attention will not be good for Rooney. He said: "I don't think he needs this. "It wouldn't be the advice he would get from me. I disagree with his people on this occasion. It smells too much of publicity. "The thing that comes to my mind is trying to remember David Beckham's 18th birthday party or Ryan Giggs'. Can you? No. Exactly."
Hibbert dreams of England call
Oct 21 2003 J Blue, Liverpool Echo
EACH month we are giving JBlue members the unique opportunity to find out more about their favourite players. Here 11-year-old David Murphy, of Huyton, puts Blues defender Tony Hibbert (pictured) under the spotlight.
What is David Moyes like as a manager?
The gaffer is a great motivator on the training pitch. He works the squad hard during each session and rewards players where he sees it.
Did you always want to be a footballer?
Like every young lad I dreamed of being a professional footballer.
Did you play football at school?
I played whenever I could and I was in the team at Thomas Beckett school.
Have you always been an Everton supporter?
I've supported Everton since I was a young kid.
What was it like to play your first game for them?
To play for them for the first time was such an unbelievable feeling.
What other sports do you watch or take part in?
I don't really play many other sports, but I do watch a lot of them on the television when I have any spare time.
Who was your hero when you were young?
I didn't really have any when I was growing up, but I did admire the Everton team of the 1980s.
Do you have ambitions to play for the senior England team?
Every player dreams of playing for his country and I'm no different. I have had a taste of international football by being called up for the under-21s. Hopefully if I continue to do well for Everton there might be a chance of making the full squad.
What do you think you would be doing now if you were not a footballer?
I didn't really think about anything other then becoming a footballer, though if I hadn't made it profession-ally I would probably be working for my dad.
What kind of music do you like and who are your favourite artists?
I don't have any favourite type of music. I like all kinds.
Clubs should hold drugs reins - Moyes
Oct 21 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes believes football needs a radical overhaul of its drink and drugs regulations, allowing clubs to test their own players. The Rio Ferdinand fiasco has raised the issue to the top of the agenda. The Manchester United defender's failure to attend a mandatory drug test organised by UK Sport cost him a place in the England squad for the crucial Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey earlier this month. And if the FA find the player guilty of willfully avoiding the test, then he could be facing a two year ban from the game. But the Blues boss believes such a situation could have been avoided if control over drug testing was handed to the clubs, who are currently prevented from testing players by FA guidelines. He said: "I find it incredible that it isn't now part of every player's contract that they must - at any time - receive a drug test or a breathalyser test from their football club. "You can't jump to conclusions, and I am certainly not suggesting anyone is guilty of anything. But on the issue of testing it would help the clubs and help the players - everyone knows the damage that alcohol and drugs can do to your body. "The build up to the England game was blighted by off-field events and, personally, I feel the rules should allow players to be randomly drug tested at the discretion of their club. At the moment, clubs are bound by rules which prevent them from testing their players."
* Meanwhile, eight years after Everton last lifted a piece of major silverware, the men who made it possible were reunited at a gala dinner in the Adelphi last night. The FA Cup winning side from 1995 were in attendance for the event to celebrate their famous Blue Nose victory over Manchester United at Wembley. But Paul Rideout, the man who secured the 1-0 victory with a headed goal in the second half, was unable to attend. Now living and working in the United States after retiring from the game two years ago, the former striker, who also played for Tranmere Rovers, couldn't make it over for the event. Duncan Ferguson was also an absentee.
Alpay in running to make Rooney reunion
By John Curtis, Daily Post
Oct 22 2003
ALPAY could face Everton this Saturday after returning to training with Aston Villa yesterday for the first time since his run-in with David Beckham. But there was no showdown meeting with Villa manager David O'Leary over whether he has a future with the Midlands club. O'Leary and Alpay exchanged pleasantries in a brief informal chat before the Turkish international joined in with his teammates at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training complex. There was no question of any major policy decision being taken today over what lies ahead for the player. It now remains to be seen whether O'Leary will bring Alpay back into his plans for Villa's home game with the Blues - where he would come up against Wayne Rooney, who was alleged to have leapt into the defender's running row with England skipper Beckham. But the 30-year-old is not part of the Villa reserve team squad for tonight's encounter with Middlesbrough. Even if O'Leary does make his mind up privately to wash his hands of the player, the former Leeds boss is set to keep any such thoughts to himself until there comes a time when Alpay can be offloaded. Hertha Berlin are interested in acquiring the services of Alpay who can talk to foreign clubs in the January transfer window and can leave on a free transfer when his contract expires next summer. Alpay caused a storm of controversy when he goaded Beckham after the England captain missed a penalty in the Euro 2004 qualifier in Istanbul and then was involved in another confrontation with the Real Madrid star in the players' tunnel at half-time.
Alpay is already unpopular with many of the club's supporters and was booed during the recent home game with Charlton. O'Leary's response was to give Alpay a few days break with his family and he was not considered for selection for the goalless derby with Birmingham at St Andrews last Sunday. Even if he toes the line, it is hard to see Alpay wearing a Villa shirt again and in any case O'Leary's first-choice defensive partnership has been Olof Mellberg and Ronny Johnsen.
I'm praising Goodison and Moyes to the skies
Oct 22 2003 By Chris Wright, Daily Post
ONCE a Blue, always a Blue is something Phil Redmond adheres to. The 38-year-old writer on fanzine When Skies Are Grey says he has been an avid Evertonian all his life. And having read The End fanzine, Redmond was naturally happy when When Skies Are Grey became what he feels is an Everton version of that. He penned his first article for the fanzine in the '80s, and along with Graeme Ennis took over as editors around issue 15 almost 12 years ago. He has followed the Blues religiously through plenty of good and not-so-good times and he recalled his initiation into the Everton faith.
He said: "I have supported the Blues all my life. My dad was a Blue and I saw my first game in 1973 against Sheffield United. The main thing that sticks in my mind is that is was a sunny day and how green the pitch was. Obviously then we only had a black and white telly so it was something new.
"I don't really remember too much about the game. We were in the Upper Bullens, but I do remember Joe Harper got the winner and Tony Currie got sent off for whacking somebody.
"When I was very little I probably wasn't into football but I remember my dad went to this place called Everton and I knew that it affected his mood. And it has affected my mood as well. "I was hooked from day one. At seven or eight my routine was pretty fixed. Sat in front of a radio with Grandstand on with the sound down, and everything was around the Toffees. "From the first time I went I was mad on it, but for a few years the match was for birthdays and Christmas - special treats."
One birthday present he fondly remembers was his first season ticket, when he watched a much-maligned Gordon Lee side play some great football but fail to deliver the success the supporters craved. He said: "I got a season ticket, ostensibly for my 14th birthday, but my dad got it for the start of '79-80 season. The players I liked then were Bob Latchford, Andy King and I always liked Martin Dobson as well. "I remember them signing him and they paid massive money, £300,000, and it was a record cash deal at the time. And as I got older at the back end of his career I was 11 or 12 and he was just a stylish footballer. "To be honest with you the late '70s Everton team was very good. I think Gordon Lee gets a bad press really. I think he was unlucky. The popular image is that Gordon Lee had a dour team, but you have to bear in mind the season Latchford scored 30 goals I went to five or six games, but every one was high scoring. We drew 4-4 with Newcastle, we beat Coventry 6-0 and got webbed by United on Boxing Day. "There were a lot of goals and they were a good team to watch." Redmond added: "There are lots of games that stick out from different eras. As a kid there was the one when Andy King got the winner in the derby - that was great. It had been seven years and it was the first time I had seen them win a derby. I remember going into school on the Monday shouting my mouth off. "The famous one is the Bayern (Munich) game but also the Coventry and Wimbledon games for different reasons. But one game that sticks in my mind as a teenager was against Southampton in the Cup in about '81. The crowd scenes that night were unbelievable. They didn't make it all-ticket and it was a full house and we won in extra-time, Eamonn O'Keefe scored. It was a game that sticks in your mind for that, but it made me think 'Christ, the support this club has got'. "I have spoken to people from other clubs and other fans and they don't realise how big Everton is until they actually go there. "I remember when we beat Villa in '87 when we won the league and Sheedy scored and again the thing that sticks in my mind was the support because there were about 10-15,000 Everton there." With the Blues going through a resurgence under current boss David Moyes, with crowds again flocking to Goodison, talk of new stadiums and groundshares has been at the forefront. But Redmond is firmly against any move away from the Blues' spiritual home. He said: "I certainly would be totally against any groundshare and to be honest I have always been totally against leaving Goodison. I don't see the need. "There are so many memories there. It is part of Everton's history. The advertising covers up most of it now but you can see photographs of Dixie Dean scoring for Everton with the Bullens Road stand behind him. Kids can look at that and relate to it. And now they see Wayne Rooney or whoever. "There are loads of reasons for not leaving. Goodison must be the best ground in the league for having a pint. You go down the Kings Dock or Speke or whatever where will you get a drink and meet up before a game.
"Certainly during the lean years that social side of it has kept the support there. People have their own routine they've followed for years and it is a big part of going the match." And in Moyes, Redmond feels they have also found their spiritual leader. He said: "Moyes has had to do a great deal to change things. Our argument with Walter Smith was that he did have a nucleus of good players there. Moyes has come in and disciplined them and organised them and got them fit. He is up there potentially with Howard Kendall as a great Everton manager. "I have never met David Moyes, but you do find yourself agreeing with what he is saying. He seems to be able to attach to what fans think. "With Walter Smith it never seemed his heart was in it. He sat behind excuses all the time and ended up lowering expectations. "But with Moyes, there was one incident that sums him up. It was after they beat Newcastle at home. We were in Orry's after the match. I think we finished their title challenge. Everybody was singing. I looked like we were going to qualify for Europe and the big screen was up. "David Moyes came on to give an interview and the place went silent. Everyone was shushing everyone up saying he's on. And I always laughed at the old Shankly thing, but to be honest that's how I equated it. I imagine that's how Liverpudlians were like with Shankly. Hanging on his every word."
Gravesen in Euro gloom
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 22 2003
EVERTON'S Thomas Gravesen has suffered a Euro 2004 blow eight months before the tournament begins. The Blues midfielder had a one-match international suspension hanging over his head - and has now been informed he must miss Denmark's opening game at the European Championships.
Gravesen was red-carded in the final minute of Denmark's 1-1 draw in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a result which sealed their passage to Portugal next year. Following some confusion over when the player would serve his suspension, UEFA have now informed the Danish FA that his one-match ban will be served at the finals. Denmark coach Morten Olsen admits he was not surprised by the announcement. "It's UEFA regulations and naturally we'll suffer the consequences of the ruling," he said. Gravesen has also accepted his punishment, but believes his absence will not affect the team.
"It was solely about qualifying in the match against Bosnia, and it's cost me a suspension," Gravesen said. "Obviously it's frustrating but we can't do anything about it. We have so many good players in the team anyway, that it won't be a problem for the side."
Radzinski's close to return
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 22 2003
DAVID MOYES hopes Tomasz Radzinski will be back to add extra firepower to Everton's goal-shy attack this weekend. The Blues have failed to net in their last two disappointing outings against Tottenham and Southampton but welcome Wayne Rooney back from suspension against Aston Villa this Saturday. And the Everton manager has not given up on having a full compliment of strikers available as the Canadian international and Duncan Ferguson target a return in the Midlands.
Radzinski missed Sunday's drab draw with Southampton with a calf strain and is yet to return to full training. But Moyes revealed: "Tomasz is doing a lot better and hopefully he'll join in training shortly, although we will leave it until later in the week before he gives it a go. He is not feeling any pain in his calf when he's walking now, as he was last week, which is a positive sign for us and hopefully he'll have a chance." Rising midfield star Stephen Pearson is not set to follow James McFadden from Motherwell to Goodison Park. Reports yesterday claimed Blues boss Moyes had sent his Scotland scouts to watch the 21-year-old produce a star performance against Rangers on Sunday, where he scored in a 1-1 draw. Pearson is out of contract next season and is attracting interest from a host of Premiership clubs, including Leicester who had a £250,000 offer rejected by Terry Butcher this summer. But last night Goodison counterpart Moyes insisted Pearson does not figure in his immediate plans. "We have no interest in the player at the present time," said the Everton manager, who still hopes to go back for Sean Davis when the transfer window reopens.
Niclas Alexandersson, meanwhile, plans to return to Sweden when his Goodison contract expires at the end of the season. The Swedish international, who has barely played for the Blues under Moyes, this week rejected the offer of another month's loan with West Ham and now faces another stint in the reserves. Alexandersson, who was accused of "dropping a bomb on us" by Hammers boss Alan Pardew with his decision, said: "The club wanted me to stay another month but I have not been able to see much of my family this month and it was hard for me to do a second month under those circumstances." The 31-year-old added: "This is my last year at Everton so I will almost certainly be going back to Sweden after this season. I might finish with a year or two playing over there but time will tell that." Alexandersson will be joined in the reserves at Birmingham tonight by Richard Wright, who has spent almost six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury. The 25-year-old's place has since been taken by Nigel Martyn and could prove hard to win back as the 37-year-old has kept three clean sheets in five games so far.
Moyes goes Stateside
Oct 22 2003 By David Randles, icLiverpool
LISTEN in tonight as Everton manager David Moyes gives an exclusive interview to American Radio Show, World Soccer Weekly. The Los Angeles based programme will be talking to the Blues boss about former US loan signing Brian McBride as well as life at Everton and what it is like to be a Premiership manager. After working with McBride when he was in charge at Preston, Moyes brought the American international to Goodison Park last season to appease a striker crisis as the Blues looked for a UEFA Cup spot in the run in to the season. McBride scored 4 goals in 8 games (1 as a substitute) to keep the Blues on track before missing out to Blackburn on the last day of the campaign, by which time McBride had returned to Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew.
As well as finding out how McBride is getting on now, World Soccer Weekly host, Steve Cohen will be asking Moyes about the rising star of Wayne Rooney as well as his progress since taking the helm at Goodison. The interview with David Moyes is likely to be broadcast at around 7pm (GMT) and can be accessed by clicking the link below:
Moyes' strike force
Oct 22 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes is aing to have a fully-fit squadron of strikers to choose from as the goal-shy Blues head for Aston Villa this weekend. The Blues, who are searching for their first goal in a month, have failed to find the target in their last two matches and were without Duncan Ferguson, Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski for last weekend's clash with Southampton. Rooney has now served his suspension for picking up five yellow cards this season, while Ferguson and Radzinski are both fit again. The Scot was close to being available on Sunday after recovering from a chest infection and Radzinski has responded well to treatment on the calf strain, after just failing a late fitness test before the match. Kevin Campbell and Francis Jeffers were both handed their first starts because of the selection problems and earned praise from David Moyes for their performances. But he could now be tempted to shuffle his pack. He said today: "I don't want to be playing the same person in every match, particularly a centre-forward. "We need to be able to change things around and as we have noticed in the last week or two with injuries and suspensions it is just not possible."
Rooney will return to the squad on Saturday - a day after his 18th birthday Moyes added: "Wayne is challenging with the rest of them for a position." Before last weekend, Radzinski was the only striker to have figured in every Premiership game for the Blues this season and the manager hopes he will be available. He added: "Tomasz is doing a lot better but we will leave it until later in the week before he gives it a go. Meanwhile, Niclas Alexandersson will be back in reserve action tonight at Birmingham after rejecting the chance to extend his loan spell at West Ham. The Swedish international is out of contract at the end of the season and said: "I will almost certainly be going back to Sweden for a season or two."
We out-numbered the home fans
By Phil Redmond, Daily Post
Oct 23 2003
THE LAST time we beat Aston Villa on their own turf was back in the days when we had a team to be proud of. A momentous occasion when the title was all but sealed, a whole 14 years ago. 1986-87 was a bit of a weird season. Howard Kendall's squad had been decimated by injury for much of the campaign, but somehow we'd kept in touch with the leaders and during the late autumn/Christmas period had turned in some dazzling performances, with Kevin Sheedy completely unstoppable.
This season was more about the Harpers and Powers of this world - it was the efforts of these more unsung heroes that had kept the Toffees in with a shout. Everton had also suffered a slump in form in the new year, partly due to the enforced absence of Sharp and Sheedy, and for a while it looked like Liverpool were set to win the title again. With spring breaking however, something incredible happened: the Toffees hit form again and for the first time in living memory, Liverpool started cracking under pressure. The Reds lost a number of games that they would normally win and the old Ian Rush record of Liverpool never losing when he scored was blown out of the sky by Arsenal and Charlie Nicholas in the League Cup final. The previous Saturday, the Blues, now in pole position, had wiped out West Ham 4-0 at Goodison with a dazzling first half performance and up to 16,000 Blues travelled down to Villa Park to see if the run could continue. Villa themselves needed the points as they were scrabbling round at the bottom in an ultimately futile battle against relegation. Villa Park was a depressing place to visit in those days with gates down to the 15,000 mark, but for the Toffees it was home from home after two successive semi-final wins in the previous two seasons. And so it was, on a boiling hot Easter Saturday, that Birmingham witnessed a Royal Blue invasion. Indeed, I'm sure there were more Evertonians inside the ground than Villa fans. Everton had all the old Witton Lane standing area plus three quarters of the Witton Lane stand. There were also big groups of Toffees in the North and Trinity Rd stands, and every boozer was mobbed out with raucous, singing Toffees. There was an expectant atmosphere and an abiding memory is of Villa's Steve Hunt kicking everything that moved as Billy McNeil's men fought desperately for their first division lives. The decisive goal came early in the second half, when Dave Watson nodded down a free kick and my favourite player from that era, Kevin Sheedy, half volleyed in from the edge of the box in typical fashion. I sometimes watch that goal on the club's 86-87 video and it never fails to make me smile.
On the Monday, Wayne Clarke's hat-trick saw off Newcastle at a packed Goodison while Liverpool went down at Old Trafford. A certain game at Carrow Road was just around the corner.
Rooney and Heskey set to escape UEFA punishment
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 23 2003
EMILE HESKEY, Wayne Rooney and other England stars are expected to escape UEFA punishment for their part in the Turkish tunnel bust-up. But the Football Association could still face a general charge of failing to control their players in the recent explosive Euro 2004 qualifier. The deadline for the FA and the Turkish Football Federation to submit evidence to UEFA about the incident during the match in Istanbul passes today and a decision on any charges is due by Monday. UEFA's disciplinary team have already reviewed video evidence and received referee Pierluigi Collina's report, and unless there is dramatic new evidence from the two FAs, charges against individual players are unlikely.
The TV pictures are inconclusive and Collina's report is understood not to have mentioned any individual player as being guilty of violent behaviour. That will come as some relief to Gerard Houllier, who appealed for Heskey not to be singled out over the incident, while Rooney was also alleged to have had an off-camera row with Alpay. More likely is action against both FAs for failure to control their players - action that usually results in a fine. If charges are brought then they will be heard by a UEFA disciplinary panel on October 30, which will also deal with action against the Turkish FA in relation to flares being lit and a couple of missiles thrown onto the pitch.
Flats plan wait for Blues star
By Deborah James And Emma Gunby, Daily Post
Oct 23 2003
EVERTON FC striker Duncan Ferguson may be lightning fast on the pitch, but off it he is having to learn the art of patience. The Blues hero is facing a five-month wait to find out if he will get the go-ahead to build a block of flats in the grounds of his home in Formby. A public inquiry is to be held into whether the star should be granted planning permission to build a two and three-storey block of 12 apartments in his own garden. Ferguson, 32, fell foul of his neighbours in April when he announced a plan to build the flats. They claim it would lower the tone of Victoria Drive, known locally as "millionaire's row". The £35,000-a-week former Scottish International bought the plush property for £2.1m just over two years ago. Earlier this year, he demolished the main five-storey building, landscaped the area, and moved into another house within the grounds with his wife and daughter. In June, councillors granted permission for Ferguson to build a detached house next to the property, but they blocked the flats proposal, despite a recommendation in his favour from Sefton Council planners. The committee voted 11-1 that the proposed development would have been "out of character" for the affluent suburban street, after neighbours handed in a petition with more than 70 signatures. Several had earlier turned out in protest outside the house during a planning visit by councillors, and a handful attended the planning meeting to voice their objections.
It is estimated the development would net Ferguson £2.4m in rents or sales of the units - but it could be some time before he can start building. Now he has lodged an appeal against the July decision and councillors last night heard the case will go to public inquiry, expected to be heard in March.
Neighbour Trevor Douce, who led the neighbour's revolt, said: "It doesn't come as a surprise.
"We were hoping it wouldn't happen but now it has we will be contesting the appeal. "We haven't yet seen what the grounds for appeal are as they will not be made public for the next few weeks.
"But a number of local residents have retained the services of a planning consultant to act on our behalf over this issue. "We still object to the proposal which we feel would be out of place." Blues boss must solve defensive dilemma
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 23 2003
DAVID MOYES will have to solve a defensive dilemma away at Aston Villa this weekend. Alan Stubbs, a regular until missing Sunday's Southampton draw through injury, is in line for a recall after making a rapid recovery from the groin strain suffered at Spurs. But with replacement David Weir and Joseph Yobo forming a solid central partnership against the Saints at Goodison the Blues manager may be spoilt for choice at the back. Everton's defence has come in for sharp criticism this season but Moyes was quick to praise his rearguard following Sunday's drab display. "The clean sheet was a positive after we were forced to put up with a lot of pressure from Southampton in the second half," he said. Yobo has been suffering from a bruised foot this week but that is not expected to keep him out of the trip to Villa. ichard Wright also began to press his claims for a recall last night when the Everton keeper returned from a six-week lay-off in the reserves 1-1 draw at Birmingham. Li Tie and David Unsworth, both unused substitutes against Gordon Strachan's side, were also involved. As was Niclas Alexandersson, back from his loan spell at West Ham.
Birmingham Res 1, Everton Res 1
Oct 23 2003
ALEX Nyarko scored another spectacular goal for Everton Reserves to earn them a valuable point against Birmingham City Reserves at Solihull Borough FC. The Blues fielded Richard Wright returning from injury, David Unsworth and Niclas Alexandersson, following his return from a loan spell at West Ham. Wright showed some good touches in goal while Alexandersson was involved in a lot of Everton's attacking play. The Blues dominated the first half and should have gone in front after 12 minutes when Alexandersson put in Li Tie but the Chinese star shot high and wide.
Brian Moogan came close on half an hour with a shot which whistled past the post. But it was Birmingham who found the net first with a goal seven minutes after the break. Clinton Morrison's cross was finished with a diving header from the six-yard box by Luciano Figueroa.However it wasn't long before the visitors were on level terms, Nyarko found space 25 yards form goal and curled a beautiful shot around Nico Vaesen. The Blues should really have gone in front on 72 minutes when Alexandersson's cross was met by the head of Patrice Pascucci, which forced a good save from Vaesen. Li Tie's shot was then blocked on the line. Down the other end Figueroa was denied by by a brave save from Wright while Jovan Kirovski saw a header go inches wide. Li Tie should have won it for Everton in the last minute, again Alexandersson was the provider, but the Blues midfielder couldn't keep his shot down. Ghanaian international Nyarko continues to prove his worth to Blues boss David Moyes with another good performance. Wright, who is hoping to force his was way back into first-team picture, said: "It was good to get back with 90 minutes and it is important now that I challenge to get my place back in the first team. Hopefully I can be involved at Aston Villa on Saturday." BIRMINGHAM CITY RESERVES: Vaesen, Kenna, Sadler, Carter, Purse, Painter, Hughes (Birley 81), Kirovski, Figueroa, Morrison, Mottram. Subs: Vaughan, Hall, Courtney, Bagnall.
EVERTON RESERVES: Wright, B Moogan, Unsworth, Clarke, Gerrard, Nyarko, Alexandersson, Schumacher, Pascucci, Li Tie, A Moogan. Subs: Barry, Turner, Hughes, Wilson. Lynch.
Rooney's made Blues world famous
Oct 23 2003 Liverpool Echo
THE Rooney factor is already benefiting Everton's recruitment of youngsters. Ray Hall, director of the club's academy, travels the world in search of youngsters with the potential to be a success at Goodison. Since the emergence of Rooney last season, Hall has noticed a change in the way the club is perceived overseas. He reveals: "The emergence of Wayne has certainly raised the profile of the club worldwide. "People around the world had heard of the club but nobody had quite taken an interest the way they do at the moment. "Rooney-mania is everywhere." And now Rooney is a first-team regular for both the Blues and England, Hall believes the standards he has set will spur on young players at the academy now. "He has set the bar," he adds. "There will be other players who will go on to play in the Premiership who won't achieve that height but will still be terrific players.
"The search now is to find somebody who will take the bar higher. "It will be hard to find somebody like that but that will happen because football doesn't stand still."
Moyes will make most of Rooney
Oct 23 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY the boy becomes Wayne Rooney the man tomorrow. But the striker's 18th birthday will not bring a change in the way he is handled by manager David Moyes. The Blues' boss has been fiercely protective of his young prodigy since his appointment as manager early last year. And he believes the player needs that protection now more than ever. Last season there was a spring in Rooney's step after exploding onto the scene as a 16-year-old. But 12 months on, the striker is having to come to terms with life under the intense spotlight of the media and an expectant public - not just in Liverpool but throughout the country. That could explain why, according to the manager, the player has struggled on the pitch this season. "So far this season Wayne's form has not been too good and I would imagine every Evertonian you speak to would say the same thing," Moyes points out. "With maybe the exception of the game at Charlton, I think Wayne has been a little bit below the standards he has set and he is very aware of that. "I think that is why there has been a lot of frustration in his play. "When you are so young you don't really understand what you have come into and don't think quite so deeply about how it will change your life. "As time goes on it becomes a bigger drain mentally. "This year players have decided to get stuck right into him. "I would say the situation I am in with Wayne would be something that is new to nearly every manager in Britain, with maybe the exception of Alex Ferguson. "Nobody has had a talent like Wayne Rooney in this country for a long, long time. "It is 16 months ago that he first came into the senior squad. "He impressed us not just with his ability but because he is someone who wants to be a football player.
"He worked hard to get to the level he has got to and, coupled with his natural talent, it has been great to work with him." But Rooney's emergence as an England regular has led to a host of other commercial opportunities. These are the kind of outside pressures which trouble the manager.
But he is in no doubt that the lad from Croxteth has not fallen into the trap of believing the hype.
He adds: "The management problems I have with Wayne are to do with outside influences. "It has been a really big climb for Wayne in a short period of time and it is so important that you don't lose your roots, your values or sight of the reason why you got there in the first place. "There have been great signs from Wayne this season that he has not been changed by it. "He has travelled to the reserve games, we have seen him in on his day off and he is the first on the training ground. But it is really important that the people who influence him make sure that is the way he remains. "Wayne Rooney wants to be talked about for his football - not for endorsements or anything else. "Even without endorsements, football can take care of you financially these days. At this present time he is doing well as a footballer but in the future we hope to see him doing even better." Moyes continues to decline any requests for interviews with the player. It is a situation the shy Rooney is happy with.
Rooney has been nicknamed 'Roondog' by his team-mates because of his imposing frame and fearless approach. But off it he is a quiet lad who is taken aback by the attention. Moyes explains: "In time Wayne will do all his own inter-views and his own talking. But at the moment it has suited Wayne that it has been this way. "And we have tried to make sure he is not involved with too many commercial activities. "I am keeping a tight grip on it because I want the boy to concentrate fully on his football. "I look around at the top players in the country and I don't see them using all their time getting involved in off the pitch activities. "The way the modern game now is, the training is much tougher, the games are much faster and you need to be able to recover. "Rest is as important as anything." This season Rooney's frustration at his on-field treatment has spilled out on occasions.
His combative response, both with his tackles and his mouth, meant he had to sit out last weekend's game with Southampton after picking up five yellow cards from just nine appearances. This new pressure is something Moyes is helping him come to terms with. "On the field he has taken most things in his stride over the last year," Moyes admits. "When he first came in to the team the physical demands were probably my biggest concern. "There are very, very few 16-year-olds who could deal with the demands of Premiership football. "But with Wayne it only took me a few weeks to realise he had the necessary attributes. "Physically he is coping but at this present time he is having a few problems because people are marking him much more tightly and they are giving him more physical treatment. "And there have been a few occasions where he has reacted to that. He has to learn to use his physical strength and realise people are out there to put him off his game.
"This year players have decided to get stuck right into him. And there have been times when Wayne has reacted. "We have told him that it is something he will have to get used to because this is the level he is playing at now."
Faddy injury worry
Oct 23 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN is facing a race against time to play at Aston Villa on Saturday as he struggles to overcome a foot injury. The 20-year-old Scot has not trained this week because of the knock he received during Sunday's goalless draw with Southampton. He had to pull out of the Scotland Future squad for their B international with Germany and manager David Moyes says his delayed recovery is a concern. He revealed: "At the moment Faddy is struggling with his foot. He has not trained this week but he has a chance for Saturday." The Blues have been boosted by the return to full training of Alan Stubbs. He has recovered quicker than expected from the groin strain picked up at White Hart Lane and has provided the manager with a headache for the trip to Villa Park. David Weir stepped in to replace Stubbs against the Saints at the weekend and the duo kept a clean sheet.
Said Moyes: "The clean sheet was a positive after we were forced to put up with a lot of pressure from Southampton in the second half." Richard Wright felt no ill-effects from his return to competitive action for the reserves in last night's 1-1 draw at Birmingham. The 25-year-old is now set to step into the squad this weekend after recovering from a knee problem. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney, along with his England team-mates, is expected to escape punishment for the tunnel bust-up in Turkey. But the Football Association could face a general charge of failure to control their players in the explosive Euro 2004 qualifier. The deadline for the FA and Turkish Football Federation to submit evidence to UEFA about the incidents during in Istanbul passes today and a decision on any charges is due by Monday.
Wayne has a life to lead but has to make sacrifices
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 24 2003
GORDON TAYLOR, head of the Professional Footballers' Association, would probably dance bare-footed over hot coals before criticising a player. Thrust back into the spotlight by the England team's recent dalliance with industrial action, Taylor once again confirmed his union's reputation for sticking by their members even when most of the wider world argued that they had mislaid their marbles. So it makes something of a refreshing change to hear the PFA deviating from their usual hymn-sheet and conceding that there are occasions when the player doesn't actually know best.
Today Wayne Rooney will be blowing 18 candles out on his birthday cake, something usually undertaken amid a backdrop of school exams, adolescent frustrations and that first legal pint.
Nothing 'usual' is likely to accompany this Croxteth lad again, however. Already set up for life, he is the boy who got off his BMX to score the winning goal at Goodison. The mascot who became the hero in barely six seasons. And now the man whose party entertainers a week on Saturday will be Robbie Williams and Atomic Kitten. Therein, of course, lie the pitfalls that David Moyes fears. In an age when young footballers' extracurricular activites are scrutinised to numbing length by the media, there are few stories on Fleet Street that would out-price a tale of England's brightest hope becoming entangled in, well, the sort of things most 18-year-old's become entangled in. Moyes' exasperation at this burgeoning side of Rooney's life are well documented already. Only this week he said: "The thing that comes to my mind is trying to remember David Beckham's 18th birthday party or Ryan Giggs'. Can you? No. Exactly." Sir Alex Ferguson's handling of those two players represents very much the model that Moyes aspires to for Rooney. And Moyes' attempts at keeping Rooney out of the limelight and away from potential minefields have been applauded by the PFA, albeit with the expected caveat. Deputy chief executive Mick McGuire believes the Blues boss is absolutely right in following the Ferguson route: but added that Rooney does have 'a life to lead'. McGuire said: "I think David Moyes is spot on in looking after Rooney the way he does. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson with the strong discipline he has used with Giggs, the Nevilles, Scholes, Butt, etc. "The way he has introduced him is commendable. What we've seen recently is that the young players are the focus of attention with the media when they go out, and the manager has a very important part to play. "He's already starred for England at 17 and he has an outrageous talent, but it needs to be honed." But McGuire added: "Wayne has got a life to lead, but then he's got to make sacrifices. He should have an enjoyable 18th and Saturday night is up to the player. "The fact that the party is going to be full of stars has got nothing to do with anything, as long as it's controlled. We can get too hyper about the whole thing, but I can appreciate David's concerns and also see the lad's position." But while McGuire can understand Moyes' concerns, he firmly believes that Rooney should be allowed to enjoy the perks of his rapidly-found fame: in a controlled way: and indeed "exploit" the opportunities that will undoubtedly come flowing his way. McGuire added: "It's the natural thing that the advisor becomes involved with all sides. As long as they are the right people, and there's nothing to suggest Paul Stretford is not the right type of man. "But neither Stretford nor Moyes could totally control an 18-year-old. So far Moyes has been exemplary. Everything we have read about so far has been about things on the field. He's used him sparingly. "As long as the player focuses on football then everything else takes care of itself. But there's nothing wrong with exploiting off-field activities. "A player has an eight-year career on average: they will maybe have a 15-year career but on average it is eight. "There are very few players who have that chance. There are probably 60-70 players who have that opportunity out of over 2000 members. "What's wrong with a player advertising a certain sponsor? "Nothing, as long as it doesn't impinge on the football, because they know that if they don't do it on the pitch then that sponsor won't be knocking on their door next year or the year afterwards."
1985: Born October 24 in Liverpool.
2001: Progresses through the Everton Academy ranks and scores eight goals during the club's run to the final of the FA Youth Cup.
2002: Handed place on substitutes' bench for Everton's 1-0 Premiership win at Southampton in April by boss David Moyes but does not take the field.
August 17: Makes Premiership debut in Everton's season-opening 2-2 draw at Southampton.
September 14: Booked for first time in Everton's 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
October 1: Scores first goals at senior level with two in 3-0 Worthington Cup win at Wrexham.
October 19: Nets first Premiership goal with stunning late winner as Everton overcome champions Arsenal at Goodison Park.
November 3: Scores the goal which beats Leeds at Elland Road.
December 14: Scores one goal and sets up the other as Blackburn are beaten 2-1 at Goodison Park and Everton end a three-match losing streak.
December 26: Receives first red card of his Premiership career at Birmingham.
2003: Receives fifth yellow card in New Year's Day clash with Manchester City, adding a one-match suspension to the three-match ban he would serve for being sent off against Birmingham.
January 14: Football Association confirms Rooney will not be called into the England Under-20 squad for a tournament in the United Arab Emirates, much to the relief of Everton.
January 17: Signs new deal to stay at Everton until the end of 2005-06 season.
February 8: Named in 27-man England squad ahead of February 12 friendly international against Australia at Upton Park.
February 12: Rooney becomes youngest player to win a full England cap when he appears as a second-half substitute against Australia.
March 23: Scores in 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at Highbury. Called into the England squad for Euro 2004 qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Turkey.
March 29: Comes on as a substitute for the final 10 minutes of England's 2-0 win in Liechtenstein.
April 2: Named in starting line-up for crucial Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey at the Stadium of Light and shines as England win 2-0.
April 10: News emerges Rooney's family home Croxteth was targeted by vandals who fired paint-filled pellets, which hit the wall and the family car on the driveway.
April 27: Misses out on the PFA Young Player of the Year award to Newcastle midfielder Jermaine Jenas.
May 11: Picks up a medial knee ligament injury in Everton's 2-1 defeat by champions Manchester United at Goodison Park on the final day of the Barclaycard Premier-ship season, ruling him out of England's trip to South Africa.
August 26: Scores first his Premiership goal of the season with the equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Charlton Athletic.
September 6: Scores for England in a 2-0 win in Macedonia to become his country's youngest ever goalscorer.
September 10: Scores his second England goal against Leichtenstein in a 2-0 victory at the Walkers Stadium, Leicester City.
October 4: Collects his fifth booking of the season as Everton slump to 3-0 defeat at Tottenham, meanign he is suspended from the Southampton match.
October 11: Helps England to qualify for the Euro 2004 European Championships after a 0-0 draw with Turkey in Istanbul confirms qualification.
October 24: Celebrates his 18th birthday.
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Oct 24 2003
IT SEEMS that there is a striking dilemma for the Villa game. They are all fit and have all shown good, if not earth shattering, form this season. Rooney should start somewhere, either in the gap or up front. I like the prospect of him in the gap, winning and spreading the ball before bursting into the box. If he can play in Istanbul he can play anywhere in the Premiership and still have enough left for a dust-up at the end. It is when he comes off the bench when his team is down and out that he gets into trouble. Give him a leading role.
Steve Jones, (via e-mail)
Drug free zone
THE ONE good thing to come out of Sunday's match is the certainty that Everton's players are obviously not taking performance enhancing drugs.
Derek Walker, (via e-mail)
CAN anyone have 'too many striker options' as has been quoted recently.When I was a kid teams had two full backs, three half backs and five forwards. Result? Entertaining football.
Paul McDermott, Liverpool
Lay off Unsworth
DAVID Unsworth has done so much for the club. He's been a true Blue. He's served Everton for some time and should stay.
Eddie Astley, Liverpool
I'M NOT sure we have the players to support Rooney in the hole position. The three in midfield fill me with dread considering they can't even pass to each other when there are four of them.
Frank Mahone, (via e-mail)
Put on Tie
WHY HAS David Moyes not picked Li Tie over the last few weeks? Every other midfielder has been given a chance. We fought long and hard to keep him and now he can't even get on as a sub when our centre midfielders are just not performing. Gravesen needs to be dropped along with Watson. The midfield should be McFadden on the left, Carsley on the right, with Linderoth and Li Tie in the middle. Rooney should also go straight back in the team with Jeffers.
Peter Bernard, Liverpool
KEEP up the good work Wayne. Happy 18th and all the best to your family.
Philip Stockholm, (via e-mail)
MY birthday falls on the same day only I am one year older and haven't quite got your skills!
T Booth, Birkenhead
LET'S hope you're celebrating many more in the Royal Blue of Everton.
Dave Bridge, Liverpool
Raise toast to Wayne staying a Blue
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien Daily Post
Oct 24 2003
SO much for the post-Tottenham backlash - Everton's performance in front of the Sky cameras on Sunday was anything but super. In last season's corresponding fixture Tomasz Radzinski was the difference between us and Southampton, and how we missed the little Canadian and Wayne Rooney this time around, as once again both sides laboured manfully but ultimately cancelled each other out. Francis Jeffers and Kevin Campbell worked as hard as anyone, especially considering how little football they've played this season, but neither has the pace or the trickery of the two R's, the players upon whom so many of our game plans are based. Fortunately both are available for tomorrow's game at Villa Park tomorrow, and if we win then birthday boy Rooney can look forward to celebrating afterwards with his first ever pint of mild or bottle of champagne. Thankfully David Moyes, while not voicing his displeasure at the scale of Rooney's birthday bash, has been strenuously denying that there is any basis to the stories linking his prized asset with a move to Chelsea, or anywhere else for that matter. What was most surprising about these rumours was not that they seemed to appear from nowhere, that's par for the course, but rather the way in which a number of Evertonians responded to them. For instance, on Radio Five, John Duncan from the Observer reacted immediately by saying that if an offer in the region of the rumoured £35 million came in for Rooney then we should take it. Incredibly, he doesn't appear to be alone in that view. Indeed, Everton supporting rugby player Austin Healey concurred on the same show.Quite frankly, in a world where footballers are constantly berated for showing a lack of pride, for being mercenaries and not caring about their clubs anywhere near as much as the fans do, how could anyone contemplate parting with Rooney? For his commitment and affinity with the fans alone it would be a crime, but add to that the fact that he's as good a young player as there is in the world at the moment, and the thought of selling him for any amount seems tantamount to lunacy. Granted, we could probably increase the size of the squad with the money, but does that necessarily mean we'd have a better team? Take a look across the park, where two local lads are head and shoulder above their expensive teammates, and see where buying a load of 'good squad players' gets you - you end up with more mediocrity to pick from and a massive wage bill. A player like Rooney comes around once in a lifetime, if you're lucky, and if you've got any sense at all you keep hold of him and build a team around him.
Improvement for Blue boys
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 24 2003
EVERTON under-19s look to make it five games unbeaten in the FA Premier Academy League at Bolton Wanderers tomorrow (kick-off 11am).Neil Dewsnip's side have answered their coach's call since they slumped to a 4-1 defeat at Derby County last month. Last week's stirring come-back which earned them a point, and probably deserved more, against Manchester United leaves the Blues in buoyant mood going into tomorrow's clash. But they are still looking for even more improvement. Coach Dewsnip said: "If we can turn some of these draws into wins that would be ideal. And that would be the aim starting this weekend. "But in the main we are very pleased with the boys. They are playing very well. "And there are also a number of players getting chances in the reserves, so it is so far so good." The Blues are almost at full strength again with only Wales youth international Craig Garside, who is a long-term casualty, missing from tomorrow's squad. Everton under-17s look to keep ahead of the chasing pack in the Academy League Group A by recording their ninth victory from 10 games this season at Sheffield United. After completing their first League double of the season with last week's 1-0 victory over Leeds United, Gary Ablett's side go in search of a second in Yorkshire. The Blues beat the Blades 2-0 on the opening day of the season with goals from Michael Johnson and Andy Fowler. And Ablett will be hoping for something similar as they look to consolidate their position at the top. Ablett said: "We beat Sheffield in the first match. It was a very physical game and it is something we will have to match before we are allowed to play. "We can't complain at the moment. The lads are confident and that comes from winning." Last Saturday goalkeeper Craig Gallagher was missing with a hamstring problem and England youth international defender Sean Wright was out through illness. Both players have resumed training this week and the Blues are hopeful they will be fit to return.
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 24 2003
DAVID MOYES will today congratulate Wayne Rooney on his 18th birthday - but warn him of the perils of losing sight of his roots. Everton's star striker officially becomes an adult today, over a year after being catapulted into the limelight courtesy of his superb last-minute Goodison winner against Arsenal. During that time Rooney as emerge as one of England's most famous - and most marketable - young sportsmen, a point emphasised by the teenager's star-studded birthday party at Aintree Racecourse a week tomorrow. Moyes however has never been more aware of the need to keep his highly-sought-after commodity as protected as possible. The Blues boss said: "It has been a really big climb for Wayne in a short period of time and it is so important that you don't lose your roots, your values or sight of the reason why you got there in the first place." In a style that has echoes of Sir Alex Ferguson's handling of Ryan Giggs - albeit the pressures on Rooney are considerably greater today - Moyes still refuses all Rooney interview requests and there are few signs he will change his approach in the immediate future. So far, though, Rooney appears to be heeding his manager's advice and Moyes revealed that the player himself has still proved himself to be totally committed to the club. He added: "There have been great signs from Wayne this season that he has not been changed by it. "He has travelled to the reserve games, we have seen him in on his day off and he is the first on the training ground. But it is really important that the people who influence him make sure that is the way he remains. "It is 16 months ago that he first came into the senior squad. "He impressed us not just with his ability but because he is someone who wants to be a football player. "He worked hard to get to the level he has got to and, coupled with his natural talent, it has been great to work with him. "Wayne Rooney wants to be talked about for his football - not for endorsements or anything else. "Even without endorsements, football can take care of you financially these days. At this present time he is doing well as a footballer but in the future we hope to see him doing even better." Moyes though did admit that Rooney has been playing below his best this season, and confirmed his disliking for the increased number of non-football activities he has recently become involved in. Moyes added: "The management problems I have with Wayne are to do with outside influences. I am keeping a tight grip on it because I want the boy to concentrate fully on his football. "I look around at the top players in the country and I don't see them using all their time getting involved in off the pitch activities. "The way the modern game now is, the training is much tougher, the games are much faster and you need to be able to recover. Rest is as important as anything." He added: "So far this season Wayne's form has not been too good and I would imagine every Evertonian you speak to would say the same thing. "With maybe the exception of the game at Charlton, I think Wayne has been a little bit below the standards he has set and he is very aware of that I think that is why there has been a lot of frustration in his play. "When you are so young you don't really understand what you have come into and don't think quite so deeply about how it will change your life. As time goes on it becomes a bigger drain mentally. This year players have decided to get stuck right into him. "I would say the situation I am in with Wayne would be something that is new to nearly every manager in Britain, with maybe the exception of Alex Ferguson. Nobody has had a talent like Wayne Rooney in this country for a long, long time."
It's a very happy birthday to Roo
Oct 24 2003 Liverpool Echo
AS Everton and England footballing sensation Wayne Rooney turns 18 today, Paddy Shennan speaks to his former classmates EVERYONE wishes it was them, but nobody is bitter. Everyone is made up he's done so well." Lee Murphy certainly isn't bitter, he's honest. His former school-mate is big news and earning big money - a reported £13,000 a week - for doing what he's always dreamed of doing: playing for Everton and England. Meanwhile, those who decided to stay on at De La Salle School in Croxteth are working towards achieving their own ambitions - on £0 a week. Wayne, contrary to popular myth, isn't the only teenager celebrating his 18th birthday this year. And he isn't the only teenager who feels awkward about being the centre of attention. Lee Murphy, who is hoping to get a sport-related job after taking A levels in PE and IT at De La Salle, was 18 yesterday. His best mate, Peter Perez, who is 18 tomorrow, was the goalkeeper in the quadruple-trophy-winning Liverpool Schools' Football Association Under 11s city team in the 1996/97 season, for which Wayne scored a record 72 goals. He can be seen, as a fresh-faced 11-year-old, standing alongside Wayne in our previously unpublished team photograph, kindly supplied to the ECHO by Peter's mum, Marie (Tranmere Rovers player Chris Dagnall, incidentally, is on the far right of the middle row). Peter later had unsuccessful trials with Manchester City and Oldham Athletic and still plays football (inappropriately enough, for an Evertonian, on the Bill Shankly playing fields in West Derby) - for Sunday league team Properties. "I'd love to be able to play for Everton and England," says Peter, who is unemployed and lives on the Boot estate in Norris Green. "But I'm really happy that some-one I know and used to play football with has made it. I think it's sad that people who don't even know Wayne say things about him. There's a lot of jealousy, especially in Liverpool. "We had a great team in the under 11s - we only got beat once. Everyone knew Wayne was going to make it because he had the same qualities he has now - he was very skilful and very strong. "But it's still weird seeing him playing for Everton and England - the two best teams in the world." He adds: "Wayne is a bit of a quiet lad. I still see him around and he's not the type of person who'd ever blank you." In the upper sixth form at De La Salle, his former schoolmates dis-play similar down- to- earth qualities.
Kop season-ticket holder Joseph Bagan, who won't be celebrating his 18th until next June, was in Wayne's form - and also played inter-form football with him: "I remember he once played in goal and rolled the ball out to himself and then beat everyone to score. "Although he was quiet, he was a popular lad and, out of everybody in the school, he was the one who was going to make it as a footballer." Of himself, Joseph says: "I'm studying history, English and general studies and then I want to go on to college to do a course in plumbing. That's the trade I want to go into." Jonathan Heaton, an Everton season ticket holder, will be 18 in February. He says: "I was in Wayne's history class and played a bit of football with him - and now I'm watching him playing at Goodison." The student, who is doing A levels in PE, leisure and recreation and general studies and is thinking of either continuing his sports studies at university or joining the police, adds: "People here are just pleased for Wayne - no one is envious." John Williams, 18 in May, is studying geography, history, IT, philosophy and ethics and has ambitions to be an electronic engineer in the army. And, like Wayne, he's prepared to graft: "I'll start at the bottom and, hopefully, work my way up to the top. I've heard it's good money!" Of Wayne's monthly windfall, the true Blue adds: "I just think 'Well done to him!'"
Craig Hughes, who will also be 18 next May, is taking A levels in history, English, leisure and recreation. He says: "I watch Liverpool when I can, but I'm happy for Wayne - although he's just another Blue when we play Everton." Nick Torpey, the head of sixth form and assistant head teacher who's been at De La Salle for more than 30 years, is delighted with Wayne's progress - just as he has been delighted with what has been acheived by other past pupils, including Wayne's team-mate, Francis Jeffers, former Everton captain Mike Lyons, Wigan Athletic manager Paul Jewell, former Tranmere Rovers and now Ipswich Town defender John McGreal and Olympic high jump bronze medal-list Steve Smith. "There is always pride when former pupils achieve their goals," says Mr Torpey. "It's important to have aspirations and to succeed at what you are good at - Wayne is doing that and we hope all our students will be able to do that." Happy birthday Wayne - and best wishes to all those Merseysiders who are looking forward to their own coming of age.
Radzinski and Ferguson in race against time
Oct 24 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
STRIKERS Tomasz Radzinski and Duncan Ferguson were today facing a race against time to oust birthday boy Wayne Rooney from the Everton starting line-up at Aston Villa. David Moyes was running the rule over the pair plus three other crocked stars as he looks to guide Everton back to winning ways at Villa Park. Ferguson and Radzinski, plus wide man James McFadden could return to boost the Blues' firepower if they recover. Richard Wright is looking to oust Nigel Martyn from the goalkeeping spot after five weeks out with knee problems, while Alan Stubbs has recovered from a groin strain to give the manager a selection dilemma in defence. Ferguson has been suff ering from a chest infection, while Radzinski has been out with a calf strain. Moyes said: "We will have a look today in training. We will give Duncan and Tomasz Radzinski every chance of being fit. James McFadden had a foot injury and we will give him a chance. Alan Stubbs has trained for the last two days and seems fine. He is available. "Richard Wright played in a reserve game in mid-week and we are not sure how his knee was. He will be assessed this morning. We hope he will be okay. "Some of the lads have not trained as much as we would have liked. We need to look at them in training today." Midfielder Lee Carsley will miss the trip to Villa Park after suffering medial ligament damage against Southampton last Sunday. Moyes added: "We are working very hard to try and improve our performances to get more points on the board. "Hopefully Aston Villa will be the first of the sides against who we put that into action. "We are looking for our performances to improve. You only get a good run together once you have good performances." Meanwhile, Everton's clash Premiership clash against Manchester City has been moved back 24 hours to Sunday, December 7 and will be televised live as a pay-per-view on Sky Plus. Boxing day's trip to Manchester United will also be screened live.
Martyn out to gain the upper hand
Oct 24 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
NIGEL MARTYN knows only too well what to expect from a side managed by David O'Leary.
Having been handed the task of guarding the Leeds goal during O'Leary's four years in charge at Elland Road, the 37-year-old gained a thorough understanding of how the Irishman likes a side to play the game. He hopes to put that knowledge to good use for Everton tomorrow when the Blues face Aston Villa at Villa Park. “I think David O'Leary's appointment was a good one for Aston Villa," admits Martyn. "They needed to get themselves a settled manager. They've been through a few troubled years and I think he's the guy who would get them back to being good team again.
"I would have thought he'd be wanting to attack us. "His theory, especially for home games, is that you have got to stamp your authority early and we have got to counter that." Martyn could be in for a busy afternoon if that ploy proves successful for Villa. But if his recent form for the club is anything to go by, the former England international is up to the challenge. Since coming into the side to replace the injured Richard Wright, Martyn has notched up three clean sheets from four matches. It is that kind of solid defensive line which will be required tomorrow. Villa has proved a difficult stomping ground for Everton. They have not won there since the championship-winning season of 1987. The keeper is eager to do his part tomorrow, but refuses to take the credit for the decent defensive record of recent weeks. "It is nice to keep three clean sheets in four starts but a large part of that is not down to me, it is the way the back four and the four in front of them have defended really well," he adds. "Especially the Southampton game. I thought they probably edged it but we defended very well and I was left with literally one shot to save. "They have been really solid really and our only hiccup was against Tottenham." That was the Blues' last awayday. Tomorrow a display more in keeping with the recent home formis required. Both clubs are eager to climb the table after a disappointing return of nine points from their opening nine games. And Martyn admits it is in his own best interest to help the Blues frustrate O'Leary's men further. Following the Irishman's sacking at Elland Road the keeper found himself out in the cold. Terry Venables came in and made Paul Robinson his number one choice. As a result, his full debut for Everton at Middlesbrough last month was his first Premiership start for almost 18 months. Wright returned to action for the reserves at Birmingham on Wednesday night and is expected to be in the squad tomorrow. But Martyn is not willing to give his place up just yet, having spent so long out of action. He adds: "Being out for a year was so disappointing and just to have an opportunity to play, even though it has only been four or five games, I am really enjoying it. "Of course I am not going to give my place up without a fight.
"That is what we want, competition for places. We have got that now in every position and the people who are playing know that they can't afford to slip up because there is somebody waiting and I'm in the same boat as everyone else."
Manager warns of burnout by 23
Oct 24 2003 Liverpool Echo
ON the day Wayne Rooney celebrates his 18th birthday, Everton boss David Moyes has revealed his fears over the striker suffering burnout. Moyes' caution is based on his concern that if Rooney plays too much, too young, he will be a spent force by his early 20s. "I have no idea when his peak will come but I would hate to think it will be at 18," said Moyes. "If that was the case then I would be very concerned because we don't want him burned out by the time he is 23 or 24. "I keep telling people his development will continue and he will get better but it is inevitable there will be periods when he is up and periods when he is down. "We all have a responsibility to help him. But the biggest responsibility of all is Wayne's. "He has to realise that people are out there to try and distract him. "He has to make sure he doesn't become another player who was great at 16 or 17 but who doesn't fulfil when he is 22, 23, 24." To ensure Rooney continues his development, the manager has sought the help of some of his senior squad players. He adds: "When he first came on to the scene there were an awful lot of stories about him and a lot of attention so I asked people like David Unsworth, Alan Stubbs and Kevin Campbell to make sure the boy is doing the right things.
"I might not be around all the time but they can still clip him round the ear if he is not doing the right things." But while the manager has taken steps to keep Rooney on the right track, he is also comfortable with the fact the player has the right attitude. He explains: "Wayne supported Everton from the terraces for home and away matches. It wasn't too long ago he was walking up the street with the rest of the supporters going to the games. "You can become a great footballer but you won't become a great man if you don't understand how much the fans who come to the game on a Saturday give up to do that. "Thankfully, Wayne has been brought up in an environment where he knows what it is like."
Ignore sales pitch, Wayne
Oct 24 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
THE best place for talented young players is the football field. Wayne Rooney turns 18 today and already he is a national celebrity in demand every minute of every day. That is the biggest challenge facing David Moyes, not the amount of time the lad spends on the field. I don't think a young, fit lad like Rooney can be over-played. When I was a lad, overdoing it was playing two games in the same day, not the same week. And Rooney certainly has the physique to cope with regular football.
But what the manager is correct to be very wary of is the problems money, celebrity and the constant requests to endorse products and make public appearances can bring. David Beckham is constantly doing adverts and putting his name to products - but what he looks forward to most is that 90 minutes on the football pitch. But he has had time to come to terms with that aspect of football stardom in the modern game. That is time Moyes is keen to give Rooney, and rightly so.
Home is where the points are EVERTON will be looking to improve their home form. Two wins from five home matches is not the kind of return David Moyes will be happy with. Picking up three points at Goodison on a regular basis is the key to avoiding any unnecessary trouble in the bottom half.
West Ham provided the perfect example of what can happen when things don't go right at home during last season. Upton Park had always been a tough place to go but that was not the case last year. That struggle to pick up results on home soil left them languishing badly early in the season.
They were never able to recover from it. Everton will not get into that kind of predicament this season. But if they want to match last season's success more points need to come at Goodison.
Without solid home form the best they can hope for is mid-table obscurity. Be quick to move up
TOMORROW'S trip to Aston Villa is a very big match for the Blues. The Blues are closer to the bottom three than the top three. It is still early days in the season and things can change very quickly.
But what worries me is that Everton are alongside clubs like Blackburn, Villa and Spurs who are also strong enough to string together some good result s and climb quickly up the table. None of those sides should be in the position they are in. And it is only a matter of time before they start pick-ing up the results which will take them away from the trouble. Everton cannot afford to allow those sides to be quicker off the mark when it comes to finding form.
Addicks good for Blues
FACING Charlton in the Carling Cup is good news. Too often in recent seasons the minnows have proved Everton's undoing. Playing another Premiership side next Wednesday should focus their minds.
Ex-teacher John just knew Rooney had it
Oct 24 2003 Liverpool Echo
JOHN HENNIGAN was the head of Year 11 during Wayne Rooney's final year at De La Salle school.
A PE teacher and Park End season ticket holder, he is ideally placed to gauge the progress of the young striker (pictured above top row second from the left) since he left school 18 months ago.
Hennigan said: "We always knew at the school that Wayne was going to turn professional. "But there was no way we could foresee he was going to do so well that he would become a regular England international by his 18th year." Hennigan has been teaching at De La Salle since 1983. He has seen some fine sporting talent pass through the school, including Francis Jeffers and Steve Smith. He adds: "If you compare him with Francis Jeffers, they are very different. "I took Francis' team when he was at the school. He was a player with very fast feet. "But if anything he has always been a bit lightweight, whereas Wayne is physically strong." There could be a new Rooney in the public eye if events at De La Salle this week are any sign. "His brother Jonathan scored the winner for us in the Under-13s cup this week against Campion," Mr Hennigan revealed. "It was a cracker from 25 yards."
'We can take Rooney beyond greatness'
Oct 24 2003 Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT has sought to reassure Everton fans that Wayne Rooney will celebrate many more birthdays at Goodison Park. Only last week newspaper reports linked the forward, who turns 18 today, with a big money move to Chelsea. But the club's owner insists not even a bid of £35m for the youngster would convince the Blues to part with a player who is as true a Blue as Kenwright himself. "I have said many times that there will always be one person who makes the decisions on the players, on who we buy and who we sell, and that is the manager," insists Kenwright. "We are as one when it comes to Wayne because he is very special to us. "He does seem to be a feet-on-the-ground lad and his family have their feet on the ground. And his agent Paul Stretford has told me time and again, Wayne wants to stay at Everton, he wants him to stay at Everton and his family want him to stay at Everton." That delights Kenwright, who cannot say enough about what the teenage prodigy means to him and the club. "It is difficult to put into words what Wayne Rooney means to an Evertonian," he added. "When you read the articles about other clubs or one particular other club wanting to pay millions for him I have to say I don't blame them - but he is ours. "To get that across to a non-Evertonian is difficult to quantify but if you are an Evertonian you know just what it means to see that boy in a blue shirt and to realise he wants to be in the shirt. "When I first started watching Everton as an eight-year-old I didn't want anyone who wasn't a Scouser playing for Everton. And then when I was 10 I accepted the fact that maybe English players could play for my team. "Then I grew to accept we could have Irish, Scottish and international players. But Wayne is bringing the whole thing full circle. "We have got a kid who is just like I was at that age, but obviously with infinitely more talent. He is an Evertonian who started on the terraces and who has worshipped the players in the way I did and who has dreamed of playing for the club and scoring for the club." In his role as a West End theatre producer, Kenwright regularly works with and socialises with some of the biggest showbiz names. But he insists there is no bigger star than Rooney. And he makes sure everybody he meets knows it. He explains: "Next weekend I have a huge opening night on Broadway for a new production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. It will be a big star-studded event and the show stars Ashley Judd. "Because of that I have had bigwigs from Broadway coming over to see me and I have talked to every one about Wayne Rooney. I tell them that of every star I have ever worked with, there is nothing comparable to this boy and what he means to the people who idolise him. "David Cassidy had a following that was second only to The Beatles in his heyday in the 70s and it is that kind of hero worship Wayne Rooney has now and it is going to become worldwide.
"Even his name is right. It is the most fabulous name. It could be the name of the lead character in an Elvis Presley movie. It is a combination of John Wayne and Mickey Rooney. A mixture of the guy who rides in on his trusty horse and saves the town-folk and an all- singing, all- dancing entertainer.
"When I talk to people from the US that is how I describe him - think of a combination of John Wayne and Mickey Rooney. "I have got a lot of experience of dealing with superstars and I have got a feeling this boy can cope. This boy will be around for a long time. "I have watched him since he was 10 and I feel such a bond with him. You feel like he is your son, your brother and your idol all rolled into one. He has just brought something to Everton that is unquantifiable. "If you look at Francis Jeffers and what happened to him when he went away and then the joy he displayed at coming back, it tells you about the magic of this club. "The club is like one big family and it is like home to all Evertonians. If I wasn't the main shareholder of the club and just somebody who cared for the future of Wayne, I would say that this is where he should be. "Not only can he take us to greatness, we can take him to greatness and beyond."
It's Wayne's whirl
By Andy Hunter Daily Post Staff
Oct 25 2003
FOOTBALL ace Wayne Rooney has sold the publicity rights to his star-studded birthday party in an exclusive deal which will raise tens of thousands of pounds for Alder Hey hospital. Famed celebrity magazine OK! will be featuring the party, which already has boybands Westlife and Blue on its guest list, in its glossy pages. Local girls Atomic Kitten, his teammates from Everton and England, and television and music stars are also invited. Sadly, pop superstar Robbie Williams, who received an invitation after becoming close friends with Rooney in recent months, is unable to attend as he is out of the country. As revealed yesterday in the Daily Post, the striker became the first celebrity patron for the Liverpool children's hospital as he celebrated his 18th birth-day yesterday. It is hoped he will raise the profile of the specialist children's hospital, boosting awareness of its work and assisting in fund-raising. Rooney said last night: "The party will help raise money for Alder Hey.
"It is close to where I live and it is where I used to go if I was sick as a child so it's nice to be able to give something back." The celebrity-packed bash will take place at Aintree Racecourse next weekend. Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford, added: "The party is easily explained. Wayne's parents wanted to throw a party for him and asked for our opinion on it. "I felt it would be difficult for Wayne to have a normal 18th, that is, going around town with his mates. "So, at the family's and Wayne's behest, we decided to hold a party that would benefit others. "Alder Hey had approached us about Wayne becoming a patron there and he was immediately interested in the idea. "He comes from an area with tough financial circumstances and he knows what it's like to be on the other side of the fence. "The party is not Wayne promoting himself as a showbiz personality, but he is using that fame to generate funds for Alder Hey hospital. All the money and funds from the party will go to the hospital." And Mr Stretford says the star player's actions are to be applauded. He added: "One minute we are castigating players for not living their lives the way we want them to as role models, and here is a lad of 18 taking a responsible position. "There is an exclusive buy-up by a celebrity magazine and all that money will go to the hospital. These things go on but he is not putting that money into his own pocket. "He has a social awareness, he believes he can help others.
"This one event alone will raise tens of thousands of pounds for Alder Hey and Wayne should be applauded for having the common sense to realise this is a good way of giving something back. A number of celebrities are going with great emphasis on those from the North West and Liverpool in particular. "Atomic Kitten, Blue and Westlife will be there, but so will all his family and friends. Robbie Williams is a genuine friend of Wayne's but he is out of the country on the day of the party.
"David Beckham has a game on the Sunday so I very much doubt if he'll be able to make it."
Blues' Dubai destination
Oct 25 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are planning a money-spinning trip to the Middle- East during next month's international break. David Moyes is hoping to take his squad to Dubai for warm-weather training and team bonding. They are looking to play a local club side during their stay. Details of the trip, which follows Everton's stuttering start to the season, are yet to be confirmed and there remains a possibility the venture may not materialise. Players on international duty, including Wayne Rooney, are not expected to attend. The squad are expected to deaprt after the Blackburn game on Monday, November 10. It follows the success of the pre-season trip to Austria in the summer and will allow for new players signed this season to integrate further with the squad. The deal to take the club to the Middle East has not yet been officially signed and fans are urged not to make any travel plans until the club make an official announcement. That should come within the next few days.
* Everton's reserve match against Blackburn Rovers has been moved from this Tuesday to Thursday, October 30. Kick-off is 7pm at Haig Avenue, Southport. And the home fixture against Leeds United reserves has been moved from November 11 to February 11 2004.
Aston Villa 0, Everton 0 (D, Post)
Oct 27 2003 David Prior Reports From Villa Park, Daily Post
BARELY a stone's thrown away from Villa Park, there was a seven-goal thriller featuring one of the most spectacular comebacks in modern times. Ever had the feeling you've been cheated? The tannoy announcement of Wolves' dramatic recovery against Leicester at Molineux earned by far the loudest noise at Villa Park all afternoon, that is of course if you discount the incessant din of grinding teeth and wailing yawns that accompanied the kind of encounter that made Everton's previous goalless draw against Southampton seem an unforgettable classic. Not that David Moyes cares one jot. This was entirely about the result, with entertainment about 14th on the Scot's priority list.
And for a side who had taken just three points out of a possible 33 from their Premiership trips to Villa, Saturday was very much a case of job done. But what a tear-inducingly boring job. "We would like to entertain," assistant boss Alan Irvine claimed unconvincingly afterwards. "But when you are going through a bit of a hard time you at least want to start with a solid performance. "It was important that we came away and were solid. We built up a good sequence of results last season on the basis of being very difficult to overcome and confidence and good performances come from that foundation." The 'back to basics' theme was noticeably prevalent in Irvine's press conference thoughts. Certainly Moyes and Irvine have been forced into something of a rethink to try and arrest Everton's nauseous lurching - wonderful one week, woeful the next - that had characterised their early-season form. The realisation that last season's form was not simply going to be transferred to this term has gradually dawned. Spurred into action by that nine-minute horror show at White Hart Lane, Moyes has patched up his leaking defence. All he needs now, as Everton's lean scoring spell enters its fifth hour, is to sort out the other end. It took 19 minutes before any sort of moment of interest arrived, with what turned out to be Everton's closest effort of the match. Wayne Rooney (above left), fresh into adulthood, had been returned to the starting lineup after a substitute role at Tottenham and suspension against the Saints, but it was his striking partner for the day Kevin Campbell who almost broke the deadlock. Thomas Gravesen's corner was powerfully turned goalbound by the 32-year-old's head, but Thomas Sorensen was alert in the Villa goal and he palmed the effort away. Rooney himself had little service all day, but what opportunities he did have were mostly snuffed out by the nononsense Dion Dublin, valiantly filling in at centre-back now Alpay is off Villa's payroll. "He was asked to play a slightly different role, a little deeper than he normally plays," revealed Irvine of the player whose birthday on Friday had ensured an even larger share of the spotlight this week than normal. "He didn't get a great deal of service and he fed off scraps, but he contributed to the team performance which was solid if not exciting." Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel received a player of the month award on the pitch before the game, and promptly had a shocker.
His first of a heaving portfolio of fluffed chances arrived after 21 minutes, with Gareth Barry and the impressive Peter Whittingham combining down the left before the latter supplied the Colombian with a perfect pass which was wastefully glanced wide. Eight minutes later and Angel was again at fault, miskicking when Gavin McCann's header had left him unmarked eight yards out. Such inadequacy in front of goal was the hallmark of the afternoon for both sides, although judging by the way the home team were heartily booed off at the end of both halves the fare was clearly nothing out of the ordinary. Eight goals in 10 league games would justifiably be the bane of the home fans' moans. At the other end, Gravesen (left) and Campbell again combined with the striker blasting an 18-yard effort just over the bar when he probably had time to weigh up a subtler option. There was a scare for the Blues nine minutes before the interval when Whittingham - who a couple of seasons ago played opposite Rooney in the final of the FA Youth Cup - clattered a post with a fierce left-foot shot, the ricocheted ball narrowly evading the incoming Angel. The second half at least temporarily threatened to be a more rousing affair than the first. With Kevin Kilbane well involved on the left, Everton had their best period of the game once Tony Hibbert had narrowly avoided heading into his own goal from Mark Delaney's deflected cross. Ten minutes after the break and the visitors had their best move of the game. Campbell spread the ball wide to Kilbane, who then delivered a superb low cross that Rooney, sliding in, just failed to make contact with. Everton were finally moving with a bit more purpose, but there was little suggestion that a goal was imminent. Nor that Moyes was particularly concerned with getting one. Duncan Ferguson came on for a typically snarling 20 minutes, seemingly intent at one stage to force a red card out of referee Andy D'Urso after picking up a needless yellow for a sustained minute of spleen-venting. Any ideas that Moyes was scenting more than just a share of the spoils were soon scotched, however, with the returning Alan Stubbs brought on for Li Tie, who after looking impressive in the reserves in recent weeks, had a largely disappointing day epitomised by one kamikaze hoof back towards his own defence that left Joseph Yobo unnecessarily vulnerable. But it's another clean sheet and another point. It's not pretty, but Everton are at least hard to beat again. For the time being, the thrills are elsewhere.
ASTON VILLA (4-4-2): Sorensen; Delaney, Mellberg, Dublin, Samuel; Whittingham, McCann, Barry (de la Cruz 82), Kinsella (Hitzlsperger 45); Angel, Vassell. Subs: Postma, Allback, Ridgewell.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Hibbert; Kilbane, Linderoth, Li Tie (Stubbs 80), Gravesen; Rooney, Campbell (Ferguson 70). Subs: Wright, Jeffers, McFadden.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Ferguson (dissent).
REFEREE: Mr A D'Urso.
Watson op leaves Moyes short of options
By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
Oct 27 2003
DAVID MOYES has been left with a selection shortage in midfield ahead of the biggest week of the season so far for Everton. Steve Watson underwent a double hernia operation on Friday and is now expected to be out until early December. He had played through the pain barrier recently but finally conceded defeat against the problem after training on Thursday. With Lee Carsley already sidelined along with Alessandro Pistone, Moyes has a lack of options on the right of midfield ahead of Wednesday's Carling Cup tie with Charlton and the visit of Chelsea on Saturday. The manager said: "The timing is certainly not ideal because this is a big week for us and we are short of players on that side. "We already have the likes of Lee Carsley and Leon Osman still out injured and Niclas Alexandersson picked up a knock on his foot in the reserves last week. "But it is something that had been troubling Steve for a while and it got to the stage where he couldn't go on any longer. We had no choice. "He is expected to be out for between four and six weeks and it leaves us really short on that side. "Thomas Gravesen played on the right on Saturday but it was in more of a narrow role. James McFadden could also come in and play there." Moyes must decide which player will get the nod for Wednesday night's tie against a Charlton side which has impressed in recent weeks. He added: "Charlton are playing really well and I think they have improved since we played them earlier this season. "Scott Parker and Claus Jensen have been doing well for them in midfield and it will be a difficult match. "But at this stage of the competition last year we went to Newcastle and won."
Rooney keeping his famous feet firmly on the ground
Andy Hunter Talks To Wayne Rooney, Daily Post
WORD FROM THE WISE: David Moyes continues to protect Rooney from the football's pitfalls IF THE smallest details reveal the real picture then Wayne Rooney's insistence fame and fortune will not corrupt him should be taken as gospel. Last Friday, when Rooney came of age, offered Evertonians more cause for celebration than next week's 18th Aintree extravaganza ever could - except for those with an invite of course! As the lottery winner who shoves their partner out of the back door while professing the millions won't change them can testify, it's easy to proclaim normality perched on a comfortable bank balance. Yet Rooney has emerged unscathed from an extraordinary year that would test the limits of the worldly-wise. He has signed lucrative sponsorship deals with global brands Nike, Mastercard, Ford, Coca Cola, EA Sports and Pringles, turned down another worth £3million, made the short trip from a Croxteth council estate to an exclusive West Derby residence and passed his driving test. But you didn't have to look far for evidence the quiet, shy, grounded Rooney remains. The thing he misses most about his awesome fame is that he can no longer enjoy a kickabout with his mates on the street. He scuppered plans by his Everton teammates for a surprise party in the Bellefield canteen by turning up first for training - again - so was already in his tracksuit by the time the balloons arrived in the back of a van. Small signs admittedly, but enough to suggest fulfilment of a lifetime's ambition with Everton and not joining the Chelsea glitterati is still top of the striker's agenda. "I never thought I would achieve everything I have done this year," admits Rooney, giving only his second-ever newspaper interview - again to the Daily Post.
"It does feel a bit mad being England's centre forward at 18 but I wouldn't say it has changed me at all. I'm no different from how I was before all this started. "Things have obviously changed around me over the last year, that's the only thing. Twelve months ago I could do what I wanted and play footy in the streets with my mates but I can't now. I miss that. "That side of things has changed, but otherwise I've still got the same mates as before and I like to do the same things, so I don't think I have changed as a person." Professionally, however, Rooney insists there remains room for development. He explained: "It has been a great year for me but at the same time I am always looking to improve and I hope to achieve more. I've done all right in some games but not as well as I should have done in others, so there is room for improvement obviously. "My aim is still to do as well as I possibly can with Everton. Hopefully I will get into Europe with Everton soon and win the European Championships with England next summer. "That would be a great achievement for everybody involved and would cap a great year. I feel at home in the England set-up now. I think I've settled in well. "But this is still just the beginning for me. I am still young and I have an awful lot left to learn. I know I can improve my game a lot too. After I come off the pitch I am the first to question how I've played. I know what I've done well and I also know how I can do better." Though closeted by his manager and agent, Rooney has witnessed the downside of fame in an incredible 12 months during which he has rewritten the history books of both Everton and England. But he shrugs: "I still find it very funny some of the things that are written about me, especially one this week that my party would be fancy dress and I was going as Oliver Hardy! That's probably been the daftest so far."
Again though, it is on the playing side where Rooney's main concerns lie. As David Moyes forewarned, the striker's second season in the Premiership season would prove far harder than his incredible debut. Fitness and temperament problems have been as much a feature of this campaign as flashes of brilliance have been and, as Rooney admits, they have taken their toll. He added: "Obviously I'm disappointed when I'm on the bench but I know it's for a reason and that the other players out there are doing the job. I'm still young so it's part of the learning process for me and it is the manager's decision anyway so I can't argue. "As soon as we start getting a few more goals I'm sure the team will start doing well and my confidence will come back. My confidence has been a bit of a problem this season, mainly because I haven't scored many goals." There, in the striker's own words, is the reason why Moyes has continually preached caution in the face of mounting expectation, even at the expense of appearing as the lone killjoy. "We do expect a lot from Wayne," said the Blues manager. "That's why we have to be careful with him and keep things in perspective. "It has been difficult managing it all at times but I wouldn't swap it for the world, in fact I wish we had another 10 or 12 like Wayne. We know there are other pressures on him from being such a talent. "We don't think about him as anything else but a fantastic footballer. We don't think about the boy, the age he's at mentally and the tough period of his life he is going through. "Even senior players have dips in confidence. His has not been as bad as my words might have made out, but he just needs to get up and running." Moyes would no doubt agree, but it is away from Premiership and international arenas where the biggest dangers facing Rooney reside. So far there has been little evidence on the corporate side of the high profile attached to six major sponsorship deals. That, insists his agent Paul Stretford, is another sure sign ProActive are handling their star correctly.
"We are breaking new ground here," explained Stretford. "He is only 18 today and had already achieved phenomenal success. That success can only continue by what he does on the pitch. Therefore David Moyes has the most important view on that. "His profile will lead to sponsorships. We have agreed sponsorships that are unprecedented for an 18-year-old which David Moyes is happy about and if he believes it will conflict with what he wants from him on the pitch, we won't do it. "In fact only this week we turned down a sponsorship deal that would have been worth £3m because David didn't want him involved with that product. If all this is not managed right it will be a distraction to Wayne. He does have some commitments that are unprecedented because of his age, but I don't think we will go beyond what is already in place now." Endorsements are on hold but ProActive still have the small matter of next week's lavish bash to attend to. For Rooney and Everton, the 18th celebrations will hopefully flow in the games before next Saturday's party - in the Carling Cup on Wednesday and, ironically, Chelsea at the weekend. But as Rooney states: "The party will help raise money for Alder Hey. "It is close to where I live and that's where I used to go if I was sick as a child so it's nice to be able to give something back." As far as Everton are concerned, he already has.
It's Wayne's whirl
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 27 2003
FOOTBALL ace Wayne Rooney has sold the publicity rights to his star-studded birthday party in an exclusive deal which will raise tens of thousands of pounds for Alder Hey hospital. Famed celebrity magazine OK! will be featuring the party, which already has boybands Westlife and Blue on its guest list, in its glossy pages. Local girls Atomic Kitten, his teammates from Everton and England, and television and music stars are also invited. Sadly, pop superstar Robbie Williams, who received an invitation after becoming close friends with Rooney in recent months, is unable to attend as he is out of the country. As revealed last Friday (24 Oct) in the Daily Post, the striker became the first celebrity patron for the Liverpool children's hospital as he celebrated his 18th birth-day yesterday.
It is hoped he will raise the profile of the specialist children's hospital, boosting awareness of its work and assisting in fund-raising. Rooney said last night: "The party will help raise money for Alder Hey. "It is close to where I live and it is where I used to go if I was sick as a child so it's nice to be able to give something back." The celebrity-packed bash will take place at Aintree Racecourse next weekend. Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford, added: "The party is easily explained. Wayne's parents wanted to throw a party for him and asked for our opinion on it. "I felt it would be difficult for Wayne to have a normal 18th, that is, going around town with his mates. "So, at the family's and Wayne's behest, we decided to hold a party that would benefit others. "Alder Hey had approached us about Wayne becoming a patron there and he was immediately interested in the idea. "He comes from an area with tough financial circumstances and he knows what it's like to be on the other side of the fence. "The party is not Wayne promoting himself as a showbiz personality, but he is using that fame to generate funds for Alder Hey hospital. All the money and funds from the party will go to the hospital." And Mr Stretford says the star player's actions are to be applauded.
He added: "One minute we are castigating players for not living their lives the way we want them to as role models, and here is a lad of 18 taking a responsible position. "There is an exclusive buy-up by a celebrity magazine and all that money will go to the hospital. These things go on but he is not putting that money into his own pocket. "He has a social awareness, he believes he can help others.
"This one event alone will raise tens of thousands of pounds for Alder Hey and Wayne should be applauded for having the common sense to realise this is a good way of giving something back. A number of celebrities are going with great emphasis on those from the North West and Liverpool in particular. "Atomic Kitten, Blue and Westlife will be there, but so will all his family and friends. Robbie Williams is a genuine friend of Wayne's but he is out of the country on the day of the party.
"David Beckham has a game on the Sunday so I very much doubt if he'll be able to make it."
Fans forum - Aston Villa (away)
Oct 27 2003 By Alex Okell, Daily Post
ANOTHER disappointing performance from the Blues, but a result that on reflection, is satisfactory.
We have an awful record at Villa Park and probably would have welcomed a point on Saturday morning, yet I can't help but feel that last season we would have snatched all three. Villa didn't really test Nigel Martyn, possibly down to their own inadequacies, and possibly down to the fact that Joseph Yobo and David Weir were immense. A contender for Yobo's best game for Everton. The new midfield of Gravesen, Linderoth, Tie and Kilbane was better, but there's still a lot of work needed and a long way to go. Gravesen was again poor, and cannot seem to replicate the form that he shows for Denmark. Up front, Kevin Campbell had our only chances and was average, heading one against the bar and hitting a shot narrowly over in the first half. Wayne Rooney probably put in the worst performance that I've ever seen from him. He looked slow and short of ideas and imagination. A shadow of the player who exploded onto the Premiership scene last season.
Irvine's angst at Watson op blow
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 27 2003
STEVE WATSON has undergone a double hernia operation - and will be sidelined until early December. The Blues midfielder went under the knife at the weekend after finally admitting defeat in his battle against a niggling groin problem. Watson has been hampered by the injury during the past few weeks but has played through the pain barrier. However, the Blues' top goalscorer with five goals this season decided to accept the inevitable after last Thursday's training session. Watson should return to Bellefield later this week to begin a six-week rehabilitation programme. Assistant boss Alan Irvine said: "He's had an operation - a hernia operation. "He's been having this particular problem for some time, but he's just played one game too many. "We were hoping that Steve would be okay for another couple of weeks, especially with the break coming up, but he's had the operation." The surgery ruled Watson out of a reunion with former club Aston Villa on Saturday, after which Irvine praised Everton for their "back to basics" performance in securing a second successive clean sheet in a dour draw at Villa Park. With Wayne Rooney back in the side a day after his 18th birthday, David Moyes' men delivered a stubborn display to frustrate the Midlanders and claim a rare point at Villa for the Blues. Kevin Campbell came closest to scoring for the visitors with a first-half header but neither side enjoyed many chances in the Birmingham drizzle. Irvine, though, was satisfied that Everton appear to have solidified the defence that leaked three goals in nine minutes during their previous away trip, to Tottenham. Irvine said: "It was a back to basics performance. We were pleased that we were as solid as we were throughout the game. "We would have taken a point beforehand, on the back of the two results that we've had against Tottenham and Southampton. "We came hoping for a very solid performance and I think that's what we got. "I don't think that we were really in a great deal of trouble at any point during the game. Having said that, I don't think we caused Villa a great deal of trouble either." Blues have now gone more than three games without hitting the target, but Irvine felt it was important the team regained their reputation as being difficult to beat, something which had taken a battering in the early weeks of the season. He added: "It was a better all round display. "Obviously, we didn't create lots of things, but we had one or two chances - Kevin Campbell came as close as anything, but we were hoping that we would get back to what we were doing last season when we went on such a good run. "In that period, we won a lot of games 1-0, but we weren't setting out to do that. We were setting out to be difficult to beat and that's what we were trying to do against Villa." Although Wayne Rooney was not on the scoresheet, Nigel Martyn believes the 18-year-old is back on track after his public dressing down by manager David Moyes over his form this season. Martyn said: "He is not going to score a wonder goal every game but his allround play was very good. "He linked in well, passed it well and kept the ball for us. He had a good performance and that's what we need from him. "I think he has taken the manager's comments on board."
Aston Villa 0, Everton 0 (Echo)
Oct 27 2003 Scott Mcleod Reports From Villa Park, Liverpool Echo
IT would have been hard to argue with David Moyes' assessment last week that Wayne Rooney has not done himself justice so far this season. But it is not just the young England starlet who has yet to find his best form. As a team, Everton have struggled to find consistency in their opening nine games. It has left them in 13th spot, just a few points above the bottom three. A couple of years ago being in that position would have come as no great surprise. But David Moyes' standards have been set higher than that. The combination of his leadership and the talent within the squad means the Blues should be alongside Fulham and Birmingham in the top half of the table, setting the cat amongst the pigeons with the big-boys. The failure to do that in the opening couple of months has led to a reevaluation from the coaching staff. Alan Irvine admitted that point on Saturday following the goalless draw with Aston Villa. The squad has gone back to basics in an attempt to rediscover the consistency and form which made last season such a success. And at Villa Park the signs were there that they are moving in the right direction. The result may have been the same, but the performance was a big improvement on the showing against Southampton last week. The midfield worked hard to protect the back four and the solid organisation ensured it was a frustrating afternoon for Aston Villa But now the team must get the balance right between defence and attack.
Four clean sheets from the last five matches is an impressive statistic. But the forwards need to be provided with more ammunition if hard-fought draws are going to be turned into well-deserved victories. Rooney gave a rare interview on Friday and conceded that he needs to score more goals and produce his best form more regularly. That assessment can be extended to the entire squad. He and strike partner Kevin Campbell were given few opportunities to score at Villa Park. And that was not through a lack of effort. The duo worked hard for the cause and proved an effective first line of defence. If only they had been given more opportunity to demonstrate their grasp of the goalscoring art. Rooney had to create his own half-chances, while Campbell was unlucky with the two sniffs of goal he was given. When you have a player with the ability of Rooney you should be getting the ball to his feet more often. But on Saturday it was a case of needs must. The team needed to become hard to beat again. The 3-0 trouncing at the hands of Tottenham underlined that fact. In midfield on Saturday Everton may have lacked invention but they were resolute and organised. Tobias Linderoth rarely grabs the headlines but he always gets on with the job in hand with the minimum of fuss. Back in the side in place of the injured Lee Carsley, that is precisely what he did. And with the mercurial James McFadden having to settle for a place on the bench, Kevin Kilbane brought experience to the left flank. His was a selfless display. He provided excellent cover for Gary Naysmith but he also worked tirelessly to provide some degree of cutting edge. The Irishman endured a lot of criticism during his time in the North East. And when he was signed from Sunderland on a hectic day of transfer activity earlier this season his was the acquisition which received the least attention. But the Everton boss knew what kind of player he had signed. Having worked with him at Preston, he knew Kilbane is a player who always gives his all and who always does his best to fulfill the job asked of him. That was the case on Saturday and he deserves credit for his display. Twice he fired inches wide of the post in the opening half and after the interval it was his teasing, low cross which presented Rooney with his best chance of the game. Unfortunately, the teenager missed the cross by inches as he slid into the six yard box. By that stage of the game, early in the second half, it was clear the striker's were in for a fruitless afternoon. On the rare occasions when the ball did find its way to Rooney he found himself up against the mighty frame of Dion Dublin. The big striker was used as an emergency centre-back in the absence of Ronny Johnsen and following the departure of Alpay. He may be carrying quite a bit of extra weight nowadays, but in defence his experience and aerial power was put to good use in negating what threat Everton could muster. It made for a frustrating afternoon going forward for the 18-year-old and his team-mates.
Maybe it would have been a different story had Campbell been more fortunate in the 19th minute. Rooney had a shot from the edge of the box deflected behind for a corner. At the second attempt Thomas Gravesen curled the ball into the near post and Campbell was able to guide it with his head towards the top corner at the near post. Thomas Sorensen thwarted him, pawing the ball onto the post and away to safety. Campbell had the beating of the keeper 14 minutes later but, after latching on to a neat lay-off inside the area from Kilbane, he curled his left-foot drive inches over the bar. They were the most clear-cut chances for the Toffees. For the remainder of the afternoon they had to settle for snap shots from distance. And because of their determination to keep out Villa in the second period, a lack of support for the forwards meant that even those chances soon started to dry up. And so, with both sides negating each other, it was no great surprise that it ended goalless.
Like Everton, Villa found the woodwork in the opening half. Peter Whittingham, who had an excellent opening 45 minutes, struck the base of a post with a left-foot effort from 18 yards. He was also frustrated by a good parry from Nigel Martyn. But other than that there was little for the home fans to get excited about. It was a similar story for the travelling Evertonians. But at least they will have been able to spot an improvement after the Southampton game.
ASTON VILLA (4-4-2): Sorensen, Delaney, Mellberg, Dublin, Samuel, McCann, Kinsella (Hitzlsperger 45), Barry (De la Cruz 81), Whittingham, Vassell, Angel.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Naysmith, Gravesen, Linderoth, Li Tie (Stubbs 80), Kilbane, Campbell (Ferguson 70), Rooney.
BOOKED: Ferguson (80).
REFEREE: Andy D'Urso.
Blues go back to the future
Oct 27 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
Alan Irvine has worked well alongside David Moyes but insists the Blues must improve EVERTON have gone back to the future in the search for the consistency they need to climb up the Premiership table. Assistant boss Alan Irvine admitted the Blues were pleased with the point they earned at Aston Villa on Saturday. After the 3-0 defeat away at Tottenham and the lacklustre hom performance against Southampton, he revealed manager David Moyes and his coaching staff had set their sights on getting back to basics in the hope it would bring about a return to the form which put the club in the top six for much of last season. He said: "We won six games in a row 1-0 last season. It wasn't what we set out to do. We would have liked to have won those games 3-0 or 4-0, but the fact is we were difficult to beat and always capable of scoring at the other end and we would hope that is where we can get back to. "We would much rather be a bit more consistent. We do spend a lot of time on the training ground working on the basics and we felt we weren't doing those things as well as we would have liked recently. "We just happen to be on the back of a couple of disappointing results and we decided we needed to get back to doing the basics really well and hope that the confidence and the good performances flow from there. "We would have taken a point before the game, although we hoped that by not giving anything away we would then manage to get something at the other end. "We were pleased with the clean sheet. In the last away game we were well beaten at Tottenham and so it was important we came away and were solid. "It was also on the back of a disappointing performance against Southampton so overall we were pleased with the display. It was very solid. "Obviously we would have preferred to be a bit more creative but we would have taken a solid performance before the game. "We would like to entertain and play attractive, flowing football but when you are going through a little bit of a hard time, as we have done in the last couple of games, then you want to make sure at least you start off with a solid performance. "We built up a good run of results last season on the basis of being very difficult to beat. Of course, confidence and good performances come from that foundation." As a result, birthday boy Wayne Rooney was given little opportunity to weave his magic. As an attacking force, Everton were not at their best and the 18-year-old received little of the ball, despite being played in a slightly withdrawn position behind strike partner Kevin Campbell. Irvine explained: "Wayne was asked to play a slightly different role. He was playing a little bit deeper than he normally plays for us and at one point also had to play wide in a three as we tried to change things to give Villa a couple of more problems and he didn't get a great deal of service. "The problem when you have a man in the hole is that you have to have plenty of the ball to feed things through to him. He did have to feed off scraps a little bit but he contributed to the team performance which was solid, if not exciting."
Fans brave chill to meet Rooney
Oct 28 2003
WAYNE Rooney yesterday praised hundreds of fans who queued for several hours on a chill autumn day to see him. Supporters from across Merseyside queued at Liverpool city centre's HMV store where the young Everton striker signed copies of the latest football computer game, FIFA 2004. "I'm always glad when the fans make the effort to turn up and support me," he said. "Some of them have been waiting for a few hours. "It's always good to meet people face to face and I hope they enjoy the game." FIFA 2004 is the latest game by developers EA Games. The series has been running for ten years and the company is the biggest computer games manufacturer in the world.
A spokesman for EA, Glen O'Connell, said: "He played it a couple of weeks ago - and not surprisingly played Everton versus Liverpool with another friend. "But when Wayne actually saw the finished result it was a bit of a shock for him because it was like looking in a mirror. "He's actually quite shy and looked embarrassed when he saw just how realistic the character was. "It was too identical and it freaked him out. " One fan who was pleased to see Wayne was Paul Singer, 22, from Bromborough. He said: "It was just really good to be able to meet him and get him to sign the game.
"He didn't say much to me, but I did thank him for that goal against Arsenal."
The trouble with Wayne Rooney.......
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Oct 28 2003
AS an out and out football man, I am sure the past week has driven Everton boss David Moyes to distraction. In the build-up to an important game at Villa Park, the big talking point of the week was Wayne Rooney's coming of age and the guest list for his 18th birthday bash. It is the kind of fuss surrounding one of his players that Moyes would gladly have done without, but that is the kind of hype surrounding Wayne's world. He doesn't necessarily go looking for it, but it doesn't always help Everton in their job of turning Wayne into the footballing superstar he can be. But in today's society footballers have become pop stars, especially as so many of the music acts are just manufactured and are all much of a muchness. At the moment there are not many bigger names than Wayne.
It was nice to see his gesture of support for Aldey Hey and using his new-found fame to give something back. Over the years, players from both clubs have given their time to the hospital - and other charities - but it did not always hit the headlines. Proactive have an important role to play in Wayne's development by ensuring he is in a position to concentrate as fully as possible on his football. It's all well and good taking up one or two offers, but nothing should take Wayne away from his first priority of developing into a top class footballer. He has not been firing on all cylinders so far and, a bit like Everton, is suffering from second season syndrome. It shows just how well the management at Everton did last year to raise the team's level of performance and then produce it on a consistent basis. It was an outstanding achievement. The last two goalless draws would probably have gone Everton's way 1-0 last year, but they have again started to prove difficult to beat, which all teams aspire to. The task facing Moyes and his coaching team is to find a creative spark to make the most of the strongest array of striking options the club has enjoyed for some years. It is ironic that with so many top strikers on the books, Everton have gone three games without a goal but the trick is finding the right combination for the right circumstances. And the supply line is important, too. Thomas Gravesen continues to frustrate, dominating a game for spells but then going missing for others. James McFadden has made a bright start, but after the early hype it is no surprise that a young player then struggles to maintain such high standards consistently.
I am sure Moyes saw the Scot as one for the future and expected there to be dips as well as highs, which is why you don't see managers going overboard. But if Everton can add someone like Sean Davis in the transfer window, there is enough for the manager to work on for the Blues to climb the table again.
The trouble with Wayne Rooney.......
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Oct 28 2003
As an out football man, I am sure the past week has driven Everton boss David Moyes to distraction.
In the build-up to an important game at Villa Park, the big talking point of the week was Wayne Rooney's coming of age and the guest list for his 18th birthday bash. It is the kind of fuss surrounding one of his players that Moyes would gladly have done without, but that is the kind of hype surrounding Wayne's world. He doesn't necessarily go looking for it, but it doesn't always help Everton in their job of turning Wayne into the footballing superstar he can be. But in today's society footballers have become pop stars, especially as so many of the music acts are just manufactured and are all much of a muchness. At the moment there are not many bigger names than Wayne.
It was nice to see his gesture of support for Aldey Hey and using his new-found fame to give something back. Over the years, players from both clubs have given their time to the hospital - and other charities - but it did not always hit the headlines. Proactive have an important role to play in Wayne's development by ensuring he is in a position to concentrate as fully as possible on his football. It's all well and good taking up one or two offers, but nothing should take Wayne away from his first priority of developing into a top class footballer. He has not been firing on all cylinders so far and, a bit like Everton, is suffering from second season syndrome. It shows just how well the management at Everton did last year to raise the team's level of performance and then produce it on a consistent basis. It was an outstanding achievement. The last two goalless draws would probably have gone Everton's way 1-0 last year, but they have again started to prove difficult to beat, which all teams aspire to. The task facing Moyes and his coaching team is to find a creative spark to make the most of the strongest array of striking options the club has enjoyed for some years. It is ironic that with so many top strikers on the books, Everton have gone three games without a goal but the trick is finding the right combination for the right circumstances.
And the supply line is important, too. Thomas Gravesen continues to frustrate, dominating a game for spells but then going missing for others. James McFadden has made a bright start, but after the early hype it is no surprise that a young player then struggles to maintain such high standards consistently.
I am sure Moyes saw the Scot as one for the future and expected there to be dips as well as highs, which is why you don't see managers going overboard. But if Everton can add someone like Sean Davis in the transfer window, there is enough for the manager to work on for the Blues to climb the table again.
Pascucci on mark again
Academy Football By Ian Doyle Daily Post
Oct 28 2003
YOUNG Italian striker Patrizio Pascucci continues to make the right impression at Everton. The 17-year-old - snapped up by David Moyes this summer after being out of contract at Lazio - has found the net on a regular basis for the Under-19s Academy side. And Pascucci was on the mark again on Saturday as the Blues eased to a 2-0 win at Bolton. The Italian scored his third goal in as many games. Damon Martland sealed a welldeserved victory with a sublime chip on the hour. Gary Ablett's under-17 side followed up their win against Leeds United last week with another success at the expense of Yorkshire opposition. Sheffield United were the victims, with the Blues recording a ninth win in their last 10 meetings with the Blades. Scottish youngster Patrick Boyle scored twice as Everton strolled to a 3-1 success, with Michael Johnson netting the other goal.
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Oct 28 2003
Davis a must
DO WE need Sean Davis . . . too right we do!
R Cornwall, (via e-mail)
ALL THE hysteria about Rooney's birthday was ridiculous. He has a very long way to go to prove himself as a world class player. For goodness sake, Dion Dublin had him in his pocket for 90 minutes at Villa Park.
M Laverton, Merseyside
IT'S times like this that highlight just how incongruous it is to have transfers between clubs restricted to limited periods during the season. Everton are clearly in dire need of a creative spark in the midfield NOW, yet we are confronted by the ludicrous phenomenon of having to wait until the New Year before the manager can try and strengthen the side. The needs of each club aren't constant at all times, which is why there should be an unfettered policy with regard to the hiring and transfer of players. We can but hope that our team's fortunes don't take a downward turn on the basis of this myopic rule. Jim Johnson, Liverpool
WHY CAN'T Everton FC do what Liverpool FC are doing and knock down a lot of surrounding properties to allow them the space to rebuild Goodison Park? This would save the club millions of pounds to spend on the players that David Moyes needs to get the team on track for the future.
Ray Graham, Ormskirk
WHERE are all the goals? We play too deep and are desperate for a half decent midfield to support our forward line. Simple as that.
Dan Tarbuck, (via e-mail)
Bridge too far
SO IT'S Chelski's of Moscow this weekend and no doubt the national press will be salivating over the prospect of Wayne Rooney turning it on in front of Russia's Roman emperor Mr Abramovich. I say let them. It's no coincidence that most of these so-called reporters are based down south and are cosying up to Chelsea's every whim. I hope Rooney gets a hat-trick and then signs a five-year contract with us. Wayne is a Scouse Blue through and through. There's no way he'll want to go down there with all those southern softies drinking Babycham and spiking his hair like something off Pop Idol. Wayne's one of us.
Steve Blakelock, Norris Green
I AGREE with Eddie Astley's comments about David Unsworth in the Daily Post last week. Unsworth has always been faithful to Everton and a true Blue. The fans should get off his back, there are worse players at the club.
Nicki Welch (via e-mail)
IT seems unfair to make David Unsworth the scapegoat for all Everton's ills.
Jack Richards (via e-mail)
Moyes facing Yobo absence blow
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 28 2003
EVERTON are resigned to losing Joseph Yobo for up to six weeks next year after he was named in Nigeria's provisional squad for the African Nations Cup. The Blues' centre-half, ever-present for David Moyes' side this season, could be missing from early January until mid-February if Bryan Robson's side progress in Tunisia. Yobo is in a 35-man provisional squad, selected by the Super Eagles' caretaker coach Taimo Ogunjobi prior to Robson's arrival. He will almost certainly be part of Nigeria's final plans for the tournament, which takes place from January 24 to February 14. That will develop into a six-week absence if the Nigerians insist their Englishbased players take part in a training camp ahead of a competition they are among the favourites to win. Moyes would then be without the star centre-half for a spell that includes Premiership games against Liverpool and Manchester United, plus the fourth and fifth rounds of the FA Cup should Everton progress that far.
The Blues manager is facing more immediate problems ahead of tomorrow's Carling Cup clash against Charlton Athletic at Goodison with Steve Watson, Lee Carsley, Scot Gemmill, Alessandro Pistone, Leon Osman, Nick Chadwick and Niclas Alexandersson all out injured. Pistone did return to Bellefield yesterday following his recent hernia operation, but it will be at least a fortnight before the Italian is challenging for a place again. “I feel good," said the defender. I've just started running and from now on it's all about trying to get fit again and hoping everything goes well. "It's all about progressing. "I think in about two weeks I'll be ready to play with the reserves."I know it will be a battle to get back into the first team but you have to face it. "It's part of your job. You just have to try to be back as soon as possible and be prepared to wait for your chance."
Echoes of the Blues - 2004 calendar
October 28 2003 Liverpool Echo
WELCOME to this chance to enjoy our superb Everton calendar, Echoes of the Blues.
Down the years, the Echo's photographers have been there to capture all those great Goodison moments. Now we've brought together many of these priceless pictures for you to enjoy once more.
Celebrate the 1963 and the 1970 League Championship triumphs all over again with Harry's Catterick's heroes, and revel in the famous FA Cup win of 1984 when Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray showed the way against Watford at Wembley. We've got the Blond Bomber Dave Hickson. And of course the Golden Vision himself, Alex Young; plus the three men many experts believe formed the best midfield trio in post-war Britain - Ball, Harvey and Kendall. Recall the magnificent team of the eighties, and relive the moment in 1985 when Kevin Ratcliffe led the Blues to the Championship and the European Cup Winners Cup double. Enjoy again the style and power of 70s hero Bob Latchford and salute once more his magnificent achievement of 1978, when he hit 30 league goals in the league campaign. And of course, we'll start at the top, with Dixie Dean - the greatest centre forward in the history of the game. Our historic January pictures capture the pace and the power of a sporting legend whose 60 league goals in one season will never be surpassed.
Radz boosts Moyes' cup run plans
Oct 28 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has called on his players to carve out a memorable Carling Cup campaign.
And the goal-shy Blues are likely to have Tomasz Radzinski back to boost their firepower as they entertain Premiership rivals Charlton in the third round tomorrow night. In a cup competition which Everton are seeking to win for the first time, the manager believes an extended run will lift his players' confidence after an inconsistent start to the season. After three league games without a goal, the Blues should be boosted by the return of Radzinski from a calf injury, with his pace and directness bolstering the attack. Moyes said: "Tomasz Radzinski will hopefully be okay. "We will see how he is after a day or two's training. We are going to try and do our best and get a result in the cup. We want to try and get through. "It's an opportunity for us to build a little bit of confidence and get back to the form we were in. I have seen signs we are heading in the right direction. At Goodison we tend to have a decent home record and we want to maintain that." Added the Blues boss: "Every manager wants a good cup run and I'm no different. "You always want to do well in the competitions you enter. The only managers who maybe don't treat this competition seriously are the managers in the Champions League. "They possibly feel they have other priorities. I don't think anyone else can afford not to treat it seriously." With Kevin Kilbane cup-tied, Moyes must further juggle his injury-hit midfield. Steve Watson, Lee Carsley, Scot Gemmill, Alessandro Pistone and Niclas Alexandersson are all out injured, and Moyes will remind the fit midfielders that they have the perfect opportunity to nail down a regular first-team spot. The manager added: "We want people to put their names on the shirt and do enough to stay in there. "At the moment there are one or two positions that could be changed around as we look to try and find a winning formula. It's performances I'm looking for. "It's been disappointing we have not scored more goals. We perhaps need to get the ball in the opponents' box more." Meanwhile, Everton look like they will be without Joseph Yobo for six weeks from January after the defender was named in Bryan Robson's provisional Nigeria squad for the Africa Nations Cup.
Kilbane gutted to give up place
Oct 29 2003 by Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
CUP-TIED Kevin Kilbane has revealed his frustration at once again having to hand his first-team place to James McFadden. Everton's Irish international is ineligible for tonight's Carling Cup third round tie against Charlton at Goodison (kick-off 8pm) because he played in an earlier round for Sunderland.
The 26-year-old's place will go to McFadden, who was given his first start for the Blues in the last round against Stockport because Kilbane was cup-tied. The 20-year-old Scottish international impressed that night, earning a run in the team at Kilbane's expense. Kilbane finally regained his first team spot last weekend at Aston Villa but now has to step to one side again. "I think over the next couple of weeks Faddy will probably be looking to build on another good performance tonight, so it is disappointing to miss out," admitted Kilbane. "Sitting in the stands is frustrating. You're in the side again and then all of a sudden you're missing out on another game. There are expected to be only a couple of changes from Saturday's starting line-up tonight. The other switch could be up front, where Kevin Campbell is now a serious doubt because of the toe injury he sustained at Villa Park on Saturday. If he is not given the green light to play, his place in the starting line-up could go to Tomasz Radzinski, who is back after a calf problem, or Duncan Ferguson, who netted twice in the 3-0 victory over Stockport in the last round. Everton have slashed ticket prices for tonight's match in a bid to encourage a big turnout. Tickets will cost £15 for adults and £5 for children and senior citizens. They will be available from the turnstyles. Ian Ross, the club's Head of Communications, said: "We had a crowd of nearly 20,000 for the last round and we will be hoping for more tonight because it is Premiership opposition. "We want to encourage our younger fans to come along and maybe see the senior side for the first time.
Nyarko set to end his Blues exile
Oct 29 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
ALEX NYARKO'S two-year exile from the Everton first team could finally end tonight. Manager David Moyes may be forced to turn to the troubled African star to plug his injury ravaged midfield in the Carling Cup third round tie against Charlton Athletic at Goodison Park. The Ghanaian international (pictured) hasn't played for the Blues since that infamous incident at Highbury in April 2001 when a frustrated fan confronted him on the pitch. Nyarko vowed never to play for the club again and has had two years out on loan, but Everton have failed to find a permanent buyer. However, since his return to Merseyside in the summer he has impressed with his performances and goals for the Blues' reserves. Nyarko also travelled for the first time this season with the squad to Aston Villa last weekend. A string of injured midfielders, including Lee Carsley, Steve Watson, Scot Gemmill, Niclas Alexandersson and Leon Osman, plus Kevin Kilbane out cup-tied, could see Nyarko handed a place in tonight's match. Blues assistant manager Alan Irvine said: "Alex Nyarko is very much in our thoughts. He's playing very well right now. He's put in some terrific performances in the reserves and Alex is very close to being selected. "He's definitely in the frame. He's been talked about a lot in recent weeks. It was very close to Alex playing at the weekend and he'll be very close to playing in this game as well. He's performed very well in the reserve games and in training on a daily basis."
Nyarko's Everton career appeared over following that incident at Arsenal, when a fan very publicly questioned his commitment and tried to swop shirts with the player. The £4.5m Walter Smith signing then endured failed loan spells at Monaco and Paris St Germain. Now 30, he has tried to bury the hatchet since his return to Merseyside. Irvine added: "We have no grudge to bear with Alex anyway because we weren't here when what happened happened, so we simply saw Alex coming back as being another player for us. "We hope that he does continue to perform as he has been doing recently and that he will get the opportunity and hopefully take that opportunity."
Rooney's priceless goal gift
Oct 29 2003 By Len Capeling, Daily Post
IN David Moyes' cash-strapped world, Chelsea's summer spending would have to last him for the next 20 years at least. But what wouldn't he give for the contents of half of Roman Ambrovich's bottomless wallet, with the Russian billionaire showing no sign of calling a halt to Chelsea's bid to buy themselves the Premiership. Saturday gives us the first chance to compare the team that David built with the fantasy side conjured up for Claudio Ranieri out of the pages of world soccer. Last season Everton created the bulk of the chances against Chelsea BC (Before Cash), and yet still managed to lose 3-1. On this occasion Moyes will possibly pray for Chelsea to claim all the openings, only for a pre-party Wayne Rooney to put his priceless signature on the game with one of his winning special deliveries. The problem for Moyes - as with most other Premiership managers - is figuring out which Chelsea XI are likely to take the pitch. After all, Ranieri has the luxury of choosing from two outstanding defences, two distinctive midfields, and at least a couple of forward lines.
The Romanian striker Adrian Mutu has stood out in recent games with his goal-taking and goal-making, and already looks a world-class operator. So, knowing Claudio Ranieri's taste for tinkering, expect to see Hernan Crespo partnering Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink or Eidur Gudjohnsen or neither of those options. No such complications for David Moyes. He already knows his starting line-up, give or take a position or two, and will hope for better things from from his underperfoming players. This could be a day for Rooney, I suspect, against a club who've made no secret of their desire to take the player to Stamford Bridge long term. A packed Goodison will concentrate on the present, not the future, and on the need to get out of reverse gear. Perhaps Big Dunc can help.
IF Wayne Rooney's 18th birthday bash was part of a movie instead of a potential photo-shoot for Hello or OK! magazine, the director would zoom in on a line of privet hedges. He would hold the shot for a second or two until a portion of the privet stealthily edged its way towards the merrymakers. After a close-up of various celebrity guests making short work of the champagne, we would cut back to the hedging and get a glimpse through the foliage of David Moyes lifting a pair of high-powered field glasses to his worried eyes. Well, how else is he going to keep watch on his prize player come Saturday night? Unless, of course, he's got an invite, in which case disguise won't be needed.
Addicks' Hunt boost
Oct 29 2003 By Alistair Grant, Daily Post
A WAVE of emotion swept through Charlton yesterday in the wake of Andy Hunt's successful comeback from serious illness - with Alan Curbishley enthusing about the prospects of the striker resuming his career. Hunt, 33, quit football in May 2001 suffering the debilitating effects of post-viral fatigue syndrome. The man who scored 135 goals in 385 appearances for Newcastle, West Brom and Charlton has been training with the Addicks for a fortnight and last night kicked a ball in anger for the first time in more than three years. He impressed in a 90-minute workout for the reserves in their 1-0 victory against Southampton. Hunt's appearance bolstered the attendance at The Valley and sent a feel-good factor running through the club ahead of Charlton's Carling Cup clash with Everton at Goodison Park tonight. Boss Curbishley said of Hunt's bid to become a professional footballer again: "It'd be brilliant if it happens." He added: "Andy had been out of the game for two years but started training with us two weeks ago as he wanted to see if he could still do it." Hunt, who began his comeback two months ago when he realised he could run without problems, will continue his fight for fitness at the Addicks' New Eltham training complex in south-east London later this week. Curbishley's men head for Merseyside for a third-round tie bidding to equal their best-ever performance in the League Cup - a fact which underlines their abysmal record in the competition. The Londoners have never been beyond the fourth round, endured the humiliation of a penalties defeat against third division Oxford in the second round last season and only squeaked past Division Two outfit Luton 8-7 on spot-kicks at the same stage this year. Curbishley, whose side drew 2-2 with Everton at The Valley in August, said: "We'll play a strong side. It'd be brilliant to get through to the next round and that's what we're after. "There's no danger of me putting out a weakened or changed team as I don't have enough fit players for that to happen. "It was a really tight one at The Valley earlier in the season. Wayne Rooney scored a fantastic goal in what was a really good game." Mathias Svensson could feature in a Charlton game for the first time in six months at Goodison Park. Paolo di Canio (hamstring), Shaun Bartlett (ankle), Carlton Cole (hip) and Kevin Lisbie (knee) are likely to miss the game. On-loan centre-back Chris Perry is available after permission from Spurs.
Alex 'in frame' for cup
Oct 29 2003 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON outcast Alex Nyarko could be in line for a remarkable Carling Cup comeback tonight.
The Ghanaian midfielder last appeared at Goodison Park in the Easter Monday derby defeat by Liverpool two-and-a-half years ago. Five days later he was involved in the infamous bust-up with a fan at Highbury, who offered to swap shirts with the £4.5million signing after another poor display as Arsenal ran riot. Nyarko insisted he would never play for the Blues again Ð and Everton have been good to his word by trying to offload him to Monaco, Paris St Germain and a Chinese club in the subsequent years. With no permanent takers Everton were forced to bring the 30-year-old back into the fold this summer, but he is yet to add to the 24 appearances made under former manager Walter Smith. However, a string of impressive reserve team displays, a midfield injury crisis and the fact the transfer window reopens in two months' time could see Nyarko put back in the shop window in the third round clash against Charlton tonight. Everton assistant manager Alan Irvine confirmed: "He is very much in our thoughts just now, he has put in some terrific performances in the reserves and Alex is very close to being selected. "He is definitely in the frame. He has been talked about a lot in recent weeks and it was very close for him to have played at the weekend, and he will be very close to being selected for this one too. "He has done well in the reserves and in training on a daily basis." He added: "We have no grudge with Alex. Myself and David Moyes were not at the club when things happened before. "We see him coming back to the club as just another player for us to utilise. "We hope he does continue to perform as he has been recently and then he will get the opportunity and take it." Nyarko's chances have been improved by a midfield that has struggled to deliver sufficient ammunition to Everton's attack this season. Manager David Moyes has tried various permutations this season, but his right-hand man admits three games without a goal has heightened the need for a solution to the goals shortage. Irvine said: "We are concerned about the lack of goals. We need more. "When we scored four against Leeds we thought it was falling into place but we haven't scored since. That is disappointing. "We have been talking to the lads about getting into the final third and getting more balls into the box more frequently. That was the emphasis last year as well, especially in the early to mid part of the season when we got a tremendous amount of crosses into the box. "We need to be more adventurous at times. We went to Aston Villa keen to be solid and hard to beat. That is the foundation for our play. "We'd much rather win this in 90 minutes than go to extra time and penalties. But that applies to Charlton as well. I can't see either team sitting back and settling for a nil-nil. "The game down there was very good. We deserved the point we got and maybe should have had more, they scored with two penalties which on another day they may not have got. But they are a good side. "We always seem to have high tempo games against them and it will be close."
Road to success
Oct 29 2003 Report by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON hope to use the Carling Cup as a platform for a new era of success under David Moyes, his assistant Alan Irvine insisted last night. The Blues' second in command was part of the side that reached the 1984 League Cup Final - the club's first showpiece occasion for seven years. Though they eventually lost the replay of the then Milk Cup Final to arch rivals Liverpool, Irvine remembers the belief the competition brought to Howard Kendall's emerging team. And ahead of a tough third round tie against in-form Charlton Athletic tonight the Scot admits he is desperate for a modern day repeat. Irvine declared: "This competition is very important to us here. If you are Arsenal or Manchester United and you have other distractions then this competition may not be a priority. "But for us it is a very, very important. It proved to be a spring-board for success in the 1980s and it would be great if it could act as a spring-board for more success now. "This is a very important competition for us and Charlton. I'm sure we are both looking at this competition as one we can win." Everton's attitude to the Carling Cup - a competition they have never won in any of its guises - will be confirmed with a strong side at Goodison. The Blues do have a lengthy injury list and Kevin Kilbane is cup-tied, but Tomasz Radzinski could be back to face the Addicks following a calf problem. But Irvine said: "Apart from Kevin Kilbane there won't be a lot of changes. We've got no major problems from the weekend. James McFadden didn't train today because of a dead leg, while neither did Kevin Campbell because of a sore toe. But we expect them both to be okay." McFadden was dropped to the bench in favour of Kilbane at Aston Villa on Saturday. But with the Republic of Ireland international out and Steve Watson injured there is an opening for the former Motherwell man on either flank. Irvine admitted: "James has had a few terrific performances and a few that weren't quite so good. "That is the nature of that type of player, hot and cold, and I am speaking from personal experience here! "The football is also different down here. I'm not saying it's harder or easier, just different from what he was used to in Scotland. "We've played him as a left-winger so far and he didn't play that role too often for Motherwell. But he is perfectly capable of playing there or in other positions too."
Everton 1, Charlton 0 (D,Post)
Oct 30 2003 David Prior Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
THERE was only one thing more unexpected than an Everton goal going into this fixture, and that was a Tobias Linderoth goal. David Moyes didn't care where it came from last night however, and the Scot's avowed intention to take the Carling Cup seriously resulted in a marked improvement, at least attacking-wise, on recent displays. Three hundred and fifty minutes without a goal is getting into the Northern Ireland league of profligacy, so it was with palpable relief that Swede Linderoth, a £2.5million purchase from Staebaek 20 months ago but restricted to just 16 starts in an underwhelming, albeit injury-prone, start to his Goodison career up to last night, nodded home four minutes before the break. It was a goal that owed everything to Wayne Rooney's snap volley, which fortuitously took a deflection on to the crossbar and straight into the path of the slight midfielder, who headed into the gaping goal. And it proved enough to see Everton through against a side that has won three of their five away league games so far this term and sit comfortably in the top half of the table. Moyes chose the occasion to hand Alex Nyarko his first start for the club - in preference to Li Tie - since his Highbury altercation with a fan two-and-a-half years ago. The ugly aftermath of that confrontation saw the Ghanaian vow never to play for the Blues ever again, but no doubt a reassessment of his alternatives and some impressive reserve displays brought his reincarnation last night. He was given the second loudest ovation next to Rooney when the teamsheet was read out prior to kick off, and his sure-footed display was awarded a standing ovation by the conciliatory Blues support when he came off at the death. Tomasz Radzinski failed to make his expected return, settling instead for a place on the bench, while James McFadden came in for Kevin Kilbane and Duncan Ferguson replaced Kevin Campbell. Aware no doubt that a fourth game without a goal would see their problem re-classed as a crisis, Everton began brightly, Thomas Gravesen turning inside on the right to deliver a fourth-minute cross that Duncan Ferguson caught sweetly with his head, but straight down the throat of Dean Kiely. Five minutes later and Rooney almost added to his collection of super-strikes - his last, and only goal this season came in glorious fashion in the August league game at the Addicks - but after charging down the right his attempted 20-yard chip was clawed out of the skies by Kiely. The game, in a welcome antidote to the pedestrian stodge served up in the games against Southampton and Villa, was proving a decent end-to-end affair. Unsurprising really, with Charlton having secured a win over Liverpool and a draw against Arsenal within the last month, and Jonatan Johansson should have done better after 10 minutes when attempting to cap Mark Fish's run. Johansson turned provider five minutes later only to see a free Hermann Hreidarsson head wildly off target. One pleasing aspect of Everton's recent form has been their return to some of the stubbornness that characterized last season. "Overall we've defended much better as a team of late," agreed Moyes in his programme notes. But there was a momentary flashback to the horrors of the White Hart Lane performance as David Weir planted a pass out of defence straight to a yellow shirt, with Jason Euell subsequently unleashed through the middle but thankfully for Weir and Everton blasting his shot straight at Nigel Martyn. The early purpose from both sides appeared to be petering out as the interval approached, but then came a minute that turned the game. At one end Radostin Kishishev's ball over the top caught out Everton's defence, leaving Euell free and surely about to put the Londoners ahead. The 26-year-old in fact did all that was asked of him, turning neatly and shooting low from eight yards, and he was not the only one in the ground stunned to see Martyn heave his 37-year-old body low to the ground and deflect the ball away for a corner. As so often the case, the significance of Everton's escape was fully realised a minute later as they went up the other end and scored. Gravesen's chip from the right was met fiercely by Rooney on the volley, the ball careering off a defender's legs on to the bar and then straight into the path of Linderoth, who gleefully mopped up from six yards with Kiely prone.
The second half saw no real let-up in the swift pace set by the first. Euell was inches wide when sliding in after Johansson's cross, but it was the home side who enjoyed their best period of the game with James McFadden instrumental on the left wing. Tony Hibbert pulled back a low cross from the right in the 63rd minute and Gravesen crisply volleyed towards goal, Kiely tipping over.
McFadden's corner six minutes later found the ever-eager head of Duncan Ferguson, the big Scot's effort being cleared off the line by on-loan Spurs defender Chris Perry. With 15 minutes to go Radzinski was brought on, and he almost capped his return with a goal but having surged through the middle tripped over on the edge of the penalty box. But despite several counter-attacks, Everton couldn't add to their narrow tally. Still, Everton are back to winning - and scoring - ways. Three hundred and 12 minutes without conceding a goal? That's a much better statistic.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Nay-smith; Gravesen (Li Tie 89), Linderoth, Nyarko (Stubbs 89), McFadden (Radzinski 75); Rooney, Ferguson. Subs: Jeffers, Simonsen.
CHARLTON (4-4-2): Kiely; Kishishev, Fish (Fortune 45), Perry, Hreidarsson; Stuart (Svensson 72), Parker, Jensen, Holland; Johansson, Euell. Subs: Powell, Campbell-Ryce, Royce.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Naysmith and Charlton's Parker.
REFEREE: Mr A Wiley.
Reliving the glory decade at Goodison
Oct 30 2003
IT was the greatest decade in Everton's history and the latest book release brings back all the wonderful memories. Everton in the 1980s, by Tempus Publishing, celebrates the decade when the Blues were one of the best sides in England and Europe. The paperback, written by Phil Thompson with the photo-graphs of Steve Hale, is available now in all good bookshops priced at £12.99.
But the Daily Post has teamed up with Tempus Publishing to offer you the chance to win one of six copies of the book in another great competition. Everton in the 1980s is a unique collection of images, stories and reports capturing the essence of the most prolific period in the club's history and is a must for all Everton fans. During the 1980s Howard Kendall's side won two championships, the European Cup Winners Cup and the FA Cup. Journalist Phil Thompson has been following the Blues ever since being taken to Goodison to see 'The Golden Vision' Alex Young in action during the early 1960s. His history of this glorious decade is accompanied by photographs, many of which are previously unpublished by award-winning photographer Steve Hale, who has been taking pictures of the club for more than 30 years. If you want to be in with a chance of winning one of the six copies, simply answering the following question: Who did Everton beat in the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup final? Then send your answer along with your name, address and daytime telephone number to Everton in the 1980s Book Competition, Daily Post Sport, LDP&E Ltd, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax to 0151 330 5091. Closing date is first post on Wednesday, November 5. Normal LDP&E competition rules apply.
Irvine praises Nyarko return
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 30 2003
ASSISTANT boss Alan Irvine hailed the comeback of Alex Nyarko after Tobias Linderoth's first Everton goal secured a fourth round Carling Cup tie against Middlesbrough last night. Linderoth's 41st-minute header proved enough to see off in-form Charlton in an entertaining clash at Goodison.
But the Swede's moment of glory was eclipsed by an encouraging return to the starting line-up of Ghanaian Nyarko (pictured), more than two years since an on-pitch controntation with a fan saw him almost quit the club. Last night though the Goodison crowd seemed willing to forgive and forget and gave the 30-year-old a standing ovation when he was substituted close to the end, the player himself responding with a beaming smile. And Irvine said: "Alex did very well. It was terrific obviously for him to get back in and terrific for him to perform in the way that he did. "We weren't here when what happened happened, so there are certainly no grudges to bear as far as we're concerned. "It's taken him a little while to get used to the way that we do things. "It's taken him a wee while to get back into playing in this country again, but his performances in reserve games recently - and in training - have been very good. "We've been talking about putting him in for a few weeks now and just felt that it was a good opportunity. He's certainly taken his chance." On the fans' reaction, Irvine added: "You don't know how they are going to react. He got a good reception before the game and obviously when he came off he got a terrific reception which was really pleasing and I'm sure that will make him feel good. "Having said that in pre-season he got a good reception when he played in one or two of the games as well." Everton ended their lean spell without a goal and instead now boast more than five hours without conceding. And Irvine said their poor attacking displays in recent weeks had been an issue they had addressed before the game.
He added: "We got the ball into the final third and into their box an awful lot more and that was something we'd been talking about and something I mentioned prior to the game, and we were pleased with the way that we got forward. "In the first half we had some good moves and created one or two good chances, in the second half we had to defend a bit more because as I said they threw people forward but we always felt that we might just get another chance. "I didn't know it had been his (Linderoth's) first goal in his Everton career so it was very timely. "We're delighted. That's another clean sheet and I felt that we defended very well." The trip to The Riverside for the fourth round was a tough draw, Irvine admitted. "We would rather have been at home, there's no doubt about that, and it is a hard game. "But I'm sure that Middlesbrough will have looked at it and thought that's a hard game for us too." Charlton boss Alan Curbishley was angry with the string of missed chances from his side, particularly from Jason Euell. "We had so many chances and played really well - but if you do not take those chances you get punished," he said. "You have to score when the opportunities are there."
Day Andy became a TV legend
Oct 30 2003
TWENTY five years ago this week, Andy King experienced an afternoon at Goodison that led to joyous celebrations among Evertonians everywhere at the time and gave the rest of the country a moment of comedy that's been getting laughs ever since. Millions of people know the former Everton midfielder King merely from the five seconds of his life that are endlessly replayed for our amusement on light entertainment TV shows. King is the hapless young footballer who is about to begin a post-match interview with the BBC's Richard Duckenfield and the TV crew when a heavy-handed police officer bursts on to camera. He pushes everyone off the touchline with words to the effect of: "You can't do that here, clear off." No compilation of embarrassing TV moments would be complete without it. The occasion was a Merseyside derby at Goodison in October 1978 and King had just given thousands of Evertonians something rare to cherish - a derby winner. His spectacular long-range strike secured Everton's first victory over Liverpool in 15 meetings. At the time, the goal meant a great deal to the Blue half of Merseyside's football followers who had grown weary of being second best to the Red brigade. The world had seen three different Popes, three US Presidents and three British Prime Ministers in the seven years since Everton had last defeated their neighbours.
The goal was the highlight of the first of two spells King spent with Everton. Between 1976 and 1980, he played 151 first division games for the Blues and scored 38 goals. King has been Swindon Town's manager since 2000 save for a six-month spell between the summer and December of 2001 when Roy Evans was briefly in charge. King is upbeat about Swindon's prospects this season even though a run of five consecutive defeats in Division Two was only halted last week by a goalless draw at home to Port Vale.
Bob is on the money at last
By Phil Redmond, Daily Post
Oct 30 2003
THIS week it's the eagerly- awaited visit to Goodison of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's newest plaything. In my day there have been a number of memorable games, although at times the newly-moneyed Londoners have proved something of a bogey team to the Toffees, particularly during the glorious mid-80s. One particular game that sticks in the memory was played at Christmas time 1984. Promoted Chelsea shocked the champions to be by edging home 4-3 in a thriller marked by two Graeme Sharp penalties, a hat-trick of outrageous quality by journeyman forward Gordon Davies and a stunning Goodison debut for a future Blues star, Pat Nevin. The floppy-haired winger arguably never played as well in an Everton shirt as he did for Chelsea that wet December afternoon.
Probably the most famous game against Chelsea at Goodison in the past 30 years came in April 1978 when, in an otherwise meaningless end of season game, Bob Latchford scored the two goals he needed to become the first player to score 30 league goals in a season for seven years. To younger fans this might not seem that significant, what with goal machines like Henry, Van Nistelrooy, Owen and Shearer doing the rounds. However, the 70s were a time of negative, defensive football and Bob's feat was almost unheard of. As a result, the Daily Express had put up a bounty of £10,000 to anyone who hit the magic 30. Now 10 grand might only be the weekly wage for your average Premier-ship plodder these days, but in 1978 Big Bob was probably pulling about £300 a week, so it was some incentive. Going into the game, Everton had already claimed a UEFA Cup place while the Cockneys had just about stayed up on their return to the top flight. Latch-ford, meanwhile, had been stuck on 28 goals for a couple of weeks and the magical 30 looked a tall order. However, just like Bill Dean 50 years earlier, Latchford achieved the impossible, although for a long time it looked like he might fall just short. Early goals by Martin Dobson and Billy Wright put the Blues in command, but despite a couple of near things the Latch could not end his lean spell. As I remember, Chelsea were awful and seemed ready for their fortnight in Majorca or wherever it was the likes of Ray Wilkins and Clive Walker went in those days. In the second half, vegetarian full-back Neil Robinson scored his only Everton goal before, with about 20 minutes to go, Latchford finally sent the crowd wild with a far-post header. A couple of minutes later he was there again, but Mike Lyons nipped in and scored, much to the chagrin of the 40,000 crowd. Sometimes though, these things are pre-ordained and with about 10 minutes to go the referee gave a highly-generous penalty after a push by comedy centre-back Micky Droy. I remember being barely able to look, but I'm sure that veteran keeper Peter Bonetti knew what side his bread was buttered and would've dived out of the way of anything at that point. As it was Latchford scuffed his kick horribly but it still found the bottom corner and Goodison erupted. For a success-starved 12-year-old like myself it was, at the time, worth at least one of Liverpool's European Cups. For Latchford it meant nothing but a fight with the taxman after he shared the lolly with his team-mates and got stung for the full amount. This, in the days of hyperinflation and super tax, was apparently no fun.
Everton 1, Charlton 0 (Echo)
Oct 30 2003 By Scott Mcleod At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
AS Guinness drinkers will testify, all things come to those who wait. And last night Everton's patience paid off many times over. The third round Carling Cup tie with Charlton provided the Blues with their first goal in 350 minutes of competitive football as they marched into the fourth round.
The goal came from the most unlikely of sources, Tobias Linderoth heading home to get on the scoresheet for the first time since being signed by Walter Smith for £2.5m in February 2001.
Add to that the fact Alex Nyarko was also involved in the action - his first senior outing since the dramatic events at Highbury in April 2001 when he vowed never to play football again -and it equated to a very memorable evening. For Linderoth, Nyarko and Everton, the waiting was worth it.
It may have been a bad night for the Blues of Westminster, but on Mersey-side David Moyes was one Blue leader with a reason to be cheerful as he masterminded the club's first home League Cup win over top flight opposition in 14 years. As promised, a splash of attacking colour had been added after the grey formof recent weeks. As a result, the bitter taste left by the turgid fare offered up in the last home game against Southampton was washed away by free-flowing football and a number of eye- catching performances. Moyes admitted earlier this week he was greatly impressed by the quality in Charlton's midfield. But last night Scott Parker and Claus Jensen played second fiddle to the returning Nyarko and the revitalised Linderoth. The unlikely pairing were top class. So much so that Nyarko - not so long ago a figure to be loathed by Evertonians - received a standing ovation when he was substituted minutes from the end. Why does the religious analogy of the prodigal son seem rather apt in refere nce to th e Ghanaian? With James McFadden showing glimpses of the player he will undoubtedly become and Thomas Gravesen at his most unpredictable, creativity and imagination were back in fashion. And what perfect timing. This was a big match for a number of reasons. Of course, all Evertonians want the side to do well in the cups. And in this competition, a decent run is ridiculously overdue. But this game was also important because the side needed to show it has still got its spark. With Chelsea coming to Goodison on Saturday, the sense of foreboding would have been unbearable had things not gone well last night. That they did had a lot to do with Linderoth, the quiet man of the Everton squad. He was tigerish in midfield but also a willing runner forward. His adventure paid dividends in the 42nd minute. It was no less than the Toffees deserved after a bright, energetic opening to the match. Gravesen squared a chipped ball from the right flank into the path of Wayne Rooney on the edge of the Charlton box. The 18-year-old produced a sweet volley which took a slight deflection before striking the underside of the crossbar.
Linderoth reacted quickest, heading into the net as the prostrate Dean Kiely looked on helplessly.
By that stage the Addicks' keeper had already been tested by decent efforts from Nyarko, Rooney and Gary Naysmith - another player who was in impressive form. Some of the passing moves in the final third of the field were top quality and, if only the final ball had been better, then the winning margin would have been greater. One flowing move in the 64th minute was mesmerising and would have provided McFadden with his first goal for the club had Naysmith produced a slightly better cross. Moments later, a Tony Hibbert drag-back was thumped from 20 yards towards the top right corner by Gravesen. Kiely was equal to it. But the keeper couldn't stop a near post effort from Rooney 14 minutes from time after a defence-splitting one-two with Gravesen. Unfortunately for Everton and the striker, the base of the upright could. Further chances came and went in open play and Duncan Ferguson was also unlucky with three headers from set-pieces. Despite only one goal, the entertain-ment was of a high quality. And Charlton's part in that should not be under-estimated.
After the well-organised but unadventurous football provided by Southampton and Aston Villa, Alan Curbishley's East Londoners arrived on Merseyside intent on playing attacking football. The fact Nigel Martyn was more than a match for everything that was thrown at him suggests he will ably continue to fill Richard Wright's boots in the continued absence of the Blues' number one. One stop in particular to deny Jason Euell in the 39th minute was outstanding. A hopeful punt upfield from Radostin Kishishev became a pass of supreme quality when it landed at the feet of Euell unmarked inside the Everton area. With the Everton defence caught flat-footed and vainly looking to the linesman for a flag, it was left to Martyn to brilliantly parry the striker's effort around the post for a corner. Euell was presented with an even better chance nine minutes after the break. Finally Martyn looked beaten. But thankfully the striker could only guide Johansson's right-wing cross wide of the target from just four yards. And the 37-year-old was never troubled unduly again, despite a lot of pressure from the visitors in the final 10 minutes. He still hasn't been beaten in open play at Goodison. Let's hope that situation is not changed on Saturday when the millionaires from Stamford Bridge come to town.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Naysmith; Gravesen (Li Tie 89), Linderoth, Nyarko (Stubbs 89), McFadden (Radzinski 75); Rooney, Ferguson. Not used: Simonsen, Jeffers.
CHARLTON (4-4-2): Kiely; Perry, Kishishev, Fish (Fortune 46), Hreidarsson; Jensen, Holland (Campbell-Ryce 82), Parker, Stuart (Svensson 72); Euell, Johansson. Not used: Powell, Royce.
REF: Alan Wiley
BOOKINGS: Parker; Naysmith
Wright faces fresh op
Oct 30 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S joy at progressing to the fourth round of the Carling Cup last night has been tempered by news of a further injury setback for Richard Wright. The 25-year-old has been dogged by a knee problem all season and is now facing the prospect of a second exploratory operation. The keeper went under the knife last month to try to discover exactly what the problem was with his left knee.
The operation revealed no major damage and after a couple of weeks rest he was able to return to full training. But the player has suffered a relapse this week. Assistant boss Alan Irvine revealed: "Richard is still having problems with his knee. We are going to have another look at it. It doesn't seem to be settling down in the way we hoped it would. "He is still getting a reaction but hopefully it will not be anything serious. Certainly nothing has been found so far and it will be a case of continuing with treatment." Wright is now facing the prospect of at least another three weeks out of action. If the exploratory surgery finally reveals a more serious problem, then the keeper could be out even longer. It means Nigel Martyn, signed on transfer deadline day at the end of August, is set to extend his stay in the first team. The 37-year-old has impressed in recent weeks and last night kept his fifth clean sheet in six matches. He has yet to concede a goal in open play at Goodison after more than 420 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Everton will hold their 124th AGM at Goodison tonight (7pm).
Moyes and Irvine are impressed by Nyarko
Oct 30 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ALEX NYARKO impressed the Everton management team as he made his first senior appearance for the club in 31 months last night. The Ghanaian midfielder's days at Goodison seemed numbered when he stormed out of Highbury in April 2001 following a confrontation with a fan on the pitch.
He vowed never to play for the club again and was soon on his way to Monaco and then Paris Saint Germain for extended loan periods. But now back at Goodison, he has been given a second chance to impress by manager David Moyes, and a series of impressive performances for the reserve team combined with a minor injury crisis in midfield led to Nyarko being selected alongside Tobias Linderoth last night. Assistant boss Alan Irvine admitted: "Alex took his chance very well. "Myself and David Moyes were not at the club when things happened before, so we have no grudges.
"He came in and played well. It was also pleasing to hear the crowd support him before the game and when he came off at the end. "It was terrific for him to perform in the way that he did. It has taken him a wee while to get used to playing in this country again, but his performances in the reserves and in training have been very good. "We have been talking about putting him in for a few weeks now and just felt that it was a good opportunity. He's certainly taken his chance." Nyarko could now have played his way into a regular spot in the team, although the availability of Kevin Kilbane, who was suspended for last night's match, could provide Moyes with a selection headache for Saturday's clash with Chelsea. Last night's 1-0 victory has earned the Blues a fourth round tie with Middlesbrough at the Riverside in the week beginning December 1. Irvine was pleased to see the Blues finally get on the scoresheet after three consecutive blanks before last night. He added: "We got the ball into the final third and into their box an awful lot more and that was something we had been talking about. We were pleased with the way that we got forward. "In the first we created some good moves and had one or two good chances."
Gregg must tell Blues his plans
Oct 30 2003 By John Thompson, Echo Sports Editor
THERE will be no shortage of topics on the agenda at Everton's annual meeting at Goodison Park tonight. Chief among them will surely be whether or not the board are prepared - and able - to back manager David Moyes by giving him the money to add that much- needed extra quality to his side.
Moyes spoke with more than a hint of frustration immediately after this season's drawn match against Newcastle at having been able to add to his squad, but at not having been able to actually improve his first choice team this season. His number one target remains Fulham's Sean Davis and let's just say the Blues boss will be more than disappointed if the cash isn't found to land a player he rates very highly for Everton in January. And who it is thought would love a move to Merseyside. But one topic on the agenda which should frankly intrigue share-olders and supporters just as much is the formal bid for re-election to the board by Paul Gregg. Supporters will have noticed that among the factors contributing to Ever ton's recently reported £13m annual loss was a cost of £700,000 paid to a company controlled by Gregg's family. Gregg was once seen as a crucial ally and influence alongside Bill Kenwright in the plan to move to a new stadium at the Kings Dock - a lamentably failed project which has in cash terms alone also cost Everton £1.4m in the past year. Consequently, many people had by now expected Gregg to relinquish his stake in Everton - and for his dalliance with the club to be long-since over. So the fact he is still around and seeking reelection and a continued involvement at Goodison is something of a surprise. Whether it is ultimately a pleasant surprise or not remains to be seen. Gregg is a very rich man and a business entrepreneur whose loose change could probably make a major difference to Everton's on-field fortunes. But it seems his pockets have hardly been jangling at the ready since he arrived. Quite what he intends to bring to Everton with another period of tenure at the top level remains to be seen. Of course Gregg still owns a sizeable stake in the club and can't just walk away that easily. But he will no doubt be anxious to explain to fans and shareholders alike just how he believes he can now help progress the fortunes of a great club which now stands at something of a crossroads both on and off the pitch. Sadly, the silence from a man who was so recently seen as pivotal to Everton's future has been pretty deafening.
Actions, we we know, speak far louder than words. But right now we'd all happily settle for a few words from Paul Gregg to pierce the silence. And then see if the actions follow.
Wayne's world party
Oct 30 2003 by Emma Gunby and Ian Leonard, Liverpool Echo
JUDGING by the hype, you'd be forgiven for thinking Elvis himself was turning up for Wayne Rooney's 18th birthday and engagement bash. So here at the Echo we've had a light-hearted look at the odds of who might turn up. Boyband heart-throbs Busted are the latest pop act to be lined up for the Aintree Racecourse party. Wayne is a big-fan of the boy-band and sent out a personal invite for them to play after seeing them at the Summer Pops earlier this year with girlfriend Colleen McLoughlin. The trio Charlie, Matt and James, are keen football supporters and the 18-year-old Everton and England striker is said to be their favourite player. No showbiz bash would be complete without the king and queen of kitsch, Posh and Becks. But they'll probably be no shows as David is playing for Real Madrid on Sunday. Other celebs are desperately trying to get their hands on invites to the party - the hottest ticket in town. The guest list already includes Westlife, Blue and Rooney's team-mates from Everton and England, and television and music stars. And Atomic Kitten have been offered £20,000-each to perform on the evening. In true showbiz style,exclusive photographs of the party, which takes place after Everton's Premiership clash with Chelsea, on Saturday, have been sold to celebrity magazine OK. But wealthy Wayne - who earns £13,000 a week - has not let all the showbiz glamour go to his head - he's donating all the money to Alder Hey Children's Hospital - where he is now a patron. A pal of the Rooneys said: "It is going to be an absolutely fabulous night.
"Even though there will be lots of celebrities Wayne has still invited loads of his old friends and family, he is not one to forget his roots. "It will just be a good old fashioned knees up." Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford, explained why down-to-earth Wayne sold the party rights to OK magazine.
He said: "I felt it would be difficult for Wayne to have a normal 18th. So, at the family's and Wayne's behest, we decided to hold a party that would benefit others. "The party is not Wayne promoting himself as a showbiz personality, but he is using that fame to generate funds for Alder Hey hospital."
Swedish ace could be on his way home
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 31 2003
IFK GOTHENBURG are ready to call time on Niclas Alexandersson's Everton career - as Richard Wright faces another spell on the sidelines. Alexandersson has been surplus to requirements at Goodison Park under David Moyes and has not made a first-team appearance since scoring in the FA Cup defeat at Shrewsbury in January. The Swede recently spent a spell on loan at West Ham United, only to reject the opportunity to extend his stay at Upton Park citing 'personal reasons' for his decision to return north. Now Gothenburg - where Alexandersson began his career - are considering a move for the 31-year-old when the transfer window re-opens in January. "The only serious thing that has happened is that we have contacted his agent to notify him of our interest," revealed Gothenburg director Mats Persso. Halmstad, another of Alexandersson's former clubs, are also interested in taking the midfielder back to his homeland. Wright, meanwhile, will see a specialist on Monday after suffering a setback in his recovery from the knee injury which has disrupted his season. The goalkeeper had been on the bench for the Blues' last two Premiership games against Southampton and Aston Villa, and played the full 90 minutes of the reserves' encounter with Birmingham City last Wednesday. But the 25-year-old complained of discomfort in the knee during training this week and was not considered for selection against Charlton in midweek, and is now facing the prospect of a second exploratory operation in six weeks. Wright was originally given the all clear after going under the knife in September to assess the damage. But the latest setback is likely to sideline the England international for at least three weeks - and possibly longer should the exploratory surgery reveal a more serious problem. "We have a problem with Richard Wright's knee," said Moyes. "We are not convinced by it. "He will see a specialist on Monday. We will make him kick a ball while a scanning machine is on him and see what the problem is. "Nigel Martyn has showed what a good goalkeeper he is, and we also have Iain Turner on the bench now. "We are pleased with the progress Iain has made. He is a young lad and he is still filling out and he still has a bit to learn. "We also have Steve Simonsen and Paul Gerrard is out on loan, so goalkeeper is actually one of our strongest positions." Carling Cup matchwinner Tobias Linderoth has vowed his best is yet to come after breaking his goalscoring duck for the Blues on Wednesday night. The Swede's diving header against Charlton secured David Moyes' side a fourth round clash with Middlesbrough next month. And the 25-year-old has called on the Blues boss to keep faith in the talents which persuaded Walter Smith to splash out £2.5million to bring the midfielder to Goodison Park from Norwegian side Stabaek in February 2002. "I think I need to play a lot of games and I will become better the more I play," he said.
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Oct 31 2003
SOUNDS like the Boy Rooney is rediscovering his sharpness and was unlucky not to score against Charlton. Here's hoping he nets the winner against the Wealthy Pensioners on Saturday and sparks our climb up the league table.
John Jones, Liverpool
Life of grim
I MUST say that David Moyes does not seem to be having the same effect on the team this season.
It's already looking grim, and I'm expecting the normal relegation fight which last season was the exception to. I hope I'm wrong.
F Boyd, Liverpool
Get rid of Wayne
AAGGGHHH!! My head hurts. Unreality is still biting. Two 0-0 draws against inferior opponents - these are points forsaken that may have kept us up. And what else do I read about? Rooney says he misses the kickabout on the streets. Rooney still has a celebrity party. Moyes allows him. Rooney is getting fatter. Rooney is getting increasingly disinterested. Moyes, unlike Walter, doesn't know what to do about it. We need to revert to reality. We need to sell Rooney and bank our chips.
A Rodney, via e-mail
GOOD to see they have given Nyarko a chance, our midfield has been terrible all season. So with a bit of luck he has taken his chance and give the midfield something that has been missing. Also Rooney and Ferguson looked good on Wednesday night - I think we should keep that forward line for Saturday against Chelski.
Ray McGanity, Kirkby
COULD last night's victory be the catalyst for the rest of our season? I think it may well be!
Martyn in fine form, Linderoth returning back to the impressive form of this time last year. The inspired signings of McFadden and Jeffers add a different dimension to the team. Injuries are now clearing up and now the return of Nyarko (who'd have imagined it?). Victory against Roman's men, and then four possible victories and we'll be back in the top seven like last year.
Marc Worcester, via e-mail
Patience the key against Chelski circus
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Oct 31 2003
Tobias Linderoth flies in to get the winner against Charlton WHAT a difference a goal makes. After yet another snoozathon at Villa Park it was good to see some measure of Everton's confidence returning thanks to strike ace Tobias Linderoth's header on Wednesday night. The work rate of the team has never been in doubt and even when we're not firing on all cylinders opponents are generally finding us a tough team to play against. That was the cornerstone of last season's good form, so if it continues and we can start nicking a few more goals as well there's no reason why we can't begin to move up the league table. Linderoth's winner against the Addicks, while welcome, was also reminder that other than Steve Watson very few of our midfielders weigh in and help the strikers with the goalscoring burden - in fact it's very rare we even see them have a decent effort on goal at all. However, will that now change with Alex Nyarko back in the first team squad?
The Ghanaian reminded everyone of his shooting ability with his screamer for the reserves last week and after a decent display against Charlton there seems no reason why he won't be making more appearances for the first team. In a midfield packed with grafters he's comfortable on the ball and offers Moyes something a little bit different. Obviously he still has a lot of proving to do, we need to know whether he can maintain that level of effort and commitment that he showed on Wednesday, but at least the Goodison crowd demonstrated that they are willing to welcome him back into the fold if he produces the goods. The Everton faithful are not renowned for their easygoing, forgiving nature so it was pleasing to see the ovation that Nyarko received when his name was read out and when he was substituted near the end of the game. Maybe there's hope for Niclas Alexandersson yet! While returning to winning ways against Charlton was pleasing, a sterner test for the Toffees comes tomorrow when the Chelsea circus comes to town. For all their big spending the west Londoners are still beatable. They have some excellent individuals, and can look great when everything's going their way, but do they have the same resolve and belief that comes from being a settled team like Arsenal? They've struggled in a few games this season and if Everton can remain patient - not go mad from the outset and run themselves into the ground in the opening stages like they did against Liverpool - concentrate at the back and be a bit more ruthless up front then a home win is more than possible. What a difference a goal makes.
Nyarko warned by boss Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 31 2003
DAVID MOYES has warned Alex Nyarko that he still has a long way to go before he can challenge for a regular place in Everton's first team. The Ghanaian was a surprise starter for the midweek Carling Cup victory over Charlton Athletic - his first senior appearance since the infamous bust-up with a supporter at Arsenal in April 2001. But despite his return to the first-team fray, Moyes has insisted the 30-year-old midfielder - who has spent loan spells with Monaco, Paris St Germain and in China during the past two seasons - has still to fully convince the Blues boss of his worth. "I had not seen Alex Nyarko play for Everton before, except when I was Preston boss when Everton beat us 5-0 in a pre-season friendly," said Moyes. "I remember that he played well that day. "We watched him regularly while he was at Paris St Germain last season and the reports that came back were not favourable. "Since his return, his attitude has been fine and I do not have a problem with him.
"But I think he has to earn the right to go into the side ahead of players who have done so well over last season. Alex still has a long way to go before he becomes a regular."
Money's not the answer
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 31 2003
EVERTON director Paul Gregg last night defended his decision not to plough millions of his own money into the club by claiming Roman Abramovich had " ruined the Premiership". Gregg , along with Keith Tamlin, was re-elected unopposed on to the Goodison board at the club's 124th annual general meeting last night. But the multi-millionaire entertainment guru came under fire from shareholders disappointed at his apparent unwillingness to dig deep into his own personal fortune to help the cash-strapped Blues. However, in defending himself Gregg instead pointed the finger at Chelsea's Russian billionaire owner Abramovich for moving the Premiership's financial goalposts to an unsettling degree. "We have to recognise that Everton Football Club are having a really difficult time at present," said Gregg. "We have seen what has happened to other clubs such as Leeds in recent times. It is a very difficult time for everyone. "It would be wonderful if we could all write out a cheque for whatever amount. "But everyone on the board is in business and we each have restraints on how we all deal with our personal finances. "The Chelsea situation has ruined the Premiership in that it has made it more difficult for the other 16 clubs (not counting Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool) to get up to that level. "I am in constant conversation with Bill (Kenwright) concerning the strengthening of the club and getting us back up to that level.
"It is not just about writing a cheque out." Everton's annual figures released last night confirmed they had made an overall loss of £13million for the last year - of which £1.2m was written off for the Kings Dock bid - with the club reporting a negative balance for the first time. Chairman Sir Philip Carter, however, insisted much work continues to be done in generating new income with the club investigating new sponsorship opportunities. "There are meetings ongoing in which new financial initiatives are under discussion," revealed the Blues chairman. "For example, a rights issue is only one of many areas we will be exploring." Carter added the planned £9million training complex in Halewood - which will house both the academy and the first team - is still on track. "We had a meeting last week and are confident about it," said Carter. "We can raise enough money from the sale of Bellefield to pay for the new academy complex."
* EVERTON last night confirmed that their tour to China - which was cancelled this summer because of the SARS virus - is likely to take place next year.
Everton stadium shock
Oct 31 2003
EVERTON FC last night revealed it would consider moving into a shared stadium with city rivals Liverpool - provided it was funded by the city council or public sector. Blues chairman Sir Philip Carter made the announcement to shareholders at the club's 124th annual general meeting. Everton officials are due to meet their Liverpool counterparts, the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) and Liverpool City Council within the next week for further discussions on a possible ground share. Liverpool have already submitted plans for a 60,000-seater stadium on Stanley Park, which is the only site being considered for a joint venture. But the Blues have privately intimated they would be prepared to share a stadium with their rivals provided there was a 50-50 split of financial input and ownership of the project. And last night Sir Philip confirmed the club would be interested in a ground share if it was suitable for the club, while reiterating a final decision would only be taken after consultation with Everton supporters. Speaking before a packed shareholders' meeting last night, Sir Philip said: "The position on the shared stadium is that both clubs were approached and asked if we were prepared to share a stadium. The question is still under consideration but we have only had one meeting so far. There is another planned within the next week with all parties concerned. We would only consider any more development if the financial situation suited us.
"But if the city council or public sector wish to spend their money and build the stadium and offer it to the club, we would be foolish not to consider it - and I underline consider it. "If there is a distinct advantage financially to Everton then we as a board must consider it. If it progresses further then we will take the matter out to the fans." Earlier this year the Northwest Development Agency urged the clubs to look at the possibility of ground-sharing and talks were held between the two camps.
Michael Dunford and Rick Parry, chief executives of Everton and Liverpool respectively, were told that up to £25m of public money could be available if they agreed to share a ground. Last night, shareholders were told Everton are continuing to investigate alternative sites for a new ground following the collapse of the Kings Dock project, but the Blues are also considering a renovation of Goodison Park. Reacting to the apparent thawing in Everton's position towards a ground share, Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey said: " If Everton are coming round to the idea of a ground-share with Liverpool, that is a small step forward. In principle, it clearly makes economic sense to have a stadium that could be shared by the two clubs and is not a huge drain on resources that could be invested in players."
Everton Res 1, Blackburn Res 1
Oct 31 2003
A YOUNG Everton Reserves side performed admirably despite suffering an early setback against Blackburn Rovers at Haig Avenue, earning a well deserved point. The visitors were ahead as early as the second minute when Jerome Watt fed Matt Jansen who coolly delivered a left-foot drive under Iain Turner and into the net. Just after the half hour Rovers should have been further in front, but Ciccio Grabbi's kick was well saved by Turner. It was a costly miss as two minutes later Everton went down the other end and won a penalty of their own, Leon Osman netting. EVERTON: Turner, B Moogan, Wilson, Gerrard, Clarke, Schumacher, Brown, Osman, Barry, Pascucci, A Moogan. Subs: Gallagher,Hughes, Lynch, Hopkins, Fox
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 31 2003
EVERTON boss David Moyes' team rebuilding plans became even more difficult last night when it was revealed he must sell before he can buy. Blues chairman Sir Philip Carter made the announcement at the club's 124th annual general meeting at Goodison Park. Shareholders heard Carter underline the financial restraints Moyes has been forced to work under will only become greater in the near future as Everton are forced to further tighten their purse strings. The Blues boss spent a total of £7million over the summer in bringing in four players - Francis Jeffers, Nigel Martyn, Kevin Kilbane and James McFadden - on deadline day and handing permanent deals to Joseph Yobo and Li Tie. But with only Mark Pembridge, Kevin McLeod and Keith Southern departing in that period, the outgoings have not matched the incomings. And now Carter has insisted there must be departures from Goodison before Moyes can bring in any new faces, with Sean Davis still his primary target. "Our primary objective is still to help David Moyes to build a team which can compete with the best in the country," said Carter last night. "But our financial position is extremely tight. We have to sell before we buy in our current situation." Moyes' task has been made even more difficult by the currently depressed transfer market and the fact many of his players are on long-term, high-earning contracts. Carter revealed: "At a recent meeting of Premiership chairmen, it emerged that 17 of the 20 Premiership teams are trying to sell players but they cannot sell them. There is no market at the moment." Moyes said: "Everybody must be thinking why we have not moved players out, but the simple reason is there is no market now. "The phone is not ringing and I am not getting clubs asking about our players, and if they are, then it is not a big name or a lot of money." However, the Blues boss insisted that he had received no formal offers for star striker Wayne Rooney - and would ignore any approach for his services. "I have had no phone call from anyone about the availability of Wayne Rooney and I have no intention of selling him," said Moyes.
"We do not sell our best players. Don't take the team away from us when we are building one."
Moyes again highlighted his need for reinforcements in midfield, with the Blues continuing to track Fulham star Sean Davis and West Bromwich Albion's former Tranmere favourite Jason Koumas.
"We are monitoring targets in central midfield," he confirmed. "I would hate to think there is any team who scouts more than we do. We do need a central midfielder but we have to raise the funds.
"Sean Davis has played four reserve games since his return from injury, and we have had people at all those games. Jason Koumas is an excellent talent and we have watched him but West Brom do not want to sell their best players."
Vital Blues end goal famine
Oct 31 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S lack of goals has raised concern among many fans, particularly ahead of the visit of Chelsea to Goodison Park tomorrow. Whatever line-up Claudio Ranieri puts out, it will be full of quality players. The Londoners can score from so many different positions. Frank Lampard is a particular danger. He has been in excellent form this season. Midfielders like him who contribute with goals are worth their weight in gold. Chelsea are likely to score, so Everton will need to get at least two to claim all three points. But where will two come from? The midfield has come in for criticism, this season and last, for failing to provide the creative spark to feed the strikers. Yet they have been working really hard to give the defence protection. One consolation for David Moyes is that his team has now kept three clean sheets on the bounce. The defence deserves a lot of credit for that. Whatever back four Moyes has employed, they have played the same way. A special mention must go to goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, who has instilled confidence in the team. You have to say what a great signing he has been. He made an understated arrival at Everton because it was felt he would be providing cover for Richard Wright. But as it turned out, he has been handed his opportunity quickly and has taken it. The biggest compliment is that no one has even mentioned he is 37 years of age. If Everton can keep a clean sheet against Chelsea, that would be a magnificent performance. Returning stars must take chance THE Carling Cup win over Charlton will have lifted Everton's confidence. After the game Alan Curbishley complained about his side's missed chances and I have noticed a lot of teams doing that recently after playing Everton. That must serve as a warning to the Blues. You cannot rely on Premier-ship play-ers missing chances against you. Sooner or later you will suffer. It was good to see a midfielder other than Steve Watson on the scoresheet.
Now it is up to Wednesday's goalscorer Tobias Linderoth to take his chance and cement a regular first-team place. The same is true of Alex Nyarko. Sooner or later the Ghanaian had to play again for Everton after the club failed to find a buyer for him during his two-year exile. There has been no doubting his ability, but it was his passion on matchdays the fans questioned. Against Charlton the supporters clearly appreciated that he wanted to play. Nyarko's reappearance is certainly a bonus for David Moyes.
Oct 31 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TOBIAS LINDEROTH is hoping history repeats itself at Goodison tomorrow when Chelsea come to town. The Swedish international was the star of the show on Wednesday night as the Blues secured a Carling Cup fourth-round slot courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Charlton. Linderoth's 42nd-minute headed strike, his first in an Everton shirt, was the difference between the two sides. It was also the Toffees' first goal in October. That is hardly the kind of attacking form which inspires confidence ahead of a home encounter with one of the most expensively-assembled squads in the history of world football. But Wednesday's confidence boost could work in Everton's favour. The Blues' last goals in the league came at Goodison against Leeds on September 28. Linderoth believes the timing of that 4-0 drubbing by David Moyes' men could be significant as he looks forward to tomorrow's clash. He explains: "It's important going into the Chelsea game with a good performance and a good result in midweek. "After the game against Stockport (in the last round), which we won comfortably, we went on to play really well against Leeds and we won that game, so hopefully the same thing will happen. "It's a big game and it's always nice to play against another big team.
"It's an exciting game for us all. But we need to build on the result against Charlton. I think we can do it." Having signed for the Blues 20 months ago in a £2.5m deal from Swedish club Staebaek, the midfielder has struggled to make his mark. Injuries and competition mean he has only started 17 matches for the club. But the confidence boost of netting his first goal for the club and being involved in all but two of the club's games this season has seen a transformation in his form. He adds: "It was great to get my first goal for the club. It's always nice to score - it's been a while.
"I can't actually remember when my last goal was. It's not usual for me to be that far up the pitch!
"A goal is always special, but to score the only goal in a cup game at Goodison, is extra special.
"I think I need to play a lot of games and I think I will become better and better the more games I play. "My main priority this season is to stay clear of injuries and hopefully if I can do that I will stay in the team." Testing himself against the international stars of the Chelsea squad will provide further evidence of how far he has come since the dark days of last season, when he made just three starts.
Before this season, Linderoth had been a fringe player, flitting in and out of the side. But so far this term he has been the regular face asked to contend with changes alongside him. He has played alongside Thomas Gravesen, Li Tie and Alex Nyarko at various times this season in the heart of midfield. "I think it's easy to adapt with whoever I play with in the centre of midfield, because we only have good players at the club," he points out. "They have to adapt to my style as well when they come into the team and, at the moment, it's working out alright for us. "We always try to work hard and to increase the tempo, to make it difficult for the opposition and I think we did that on Wednesday." Now they must repeat that high-tempo display tomorrow. They will also have to provide more of a cutting edge to their football. Linderoth freely admits he is not the kind of midfielder who scores on a regular basis. But if it is not going to be him getting on the scoresheet against Claudio Ranieri's men who will it be? That is the one aspect of Everton's recent form which concerns the Swede. He explains: "It's good for us to keep clean sheets in a lot of games, but we need that little bit of luck to score some more goals and hopefully, we will keep on winning after the game against Charlton. "We haven't been lucky in our last few games when it came to converting our chances, but I think that will come. "It's always frustrating when you can't score, but on Wednesday we did, so that came as a relief to us." That relief will be magnified if the scoring continues for Everton tomorrow.
EVERTON: (probable): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Naysmith; Gravesen, Nyarko, Linderoth, Kilbane; Rooney, Radzinski.
CHELSEA: (probable): Cudicini; Johnson, Gallas, Terry, Bridge; Geremi, Lampard, Makelele, Duff; Mutu, Crespo.
Moyes masterminds a millionaire rollover
Oct 31 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES' will put money worries to the back of his mind tomorrow as he tries to mastermind a home victory over the millionaires from Stamford Bridge. The Goodison clash with Chelsea will come less than 48 hours after Moyes was told by Chairman Sir Philip Carter at last night's AGM that he will have to sell to buy in order to continue his team building. That is in stark contrast to Claudio Ranieri's situation, where he has spent more than £100m since the summer arrival at Stamford Bridge of billionaire Roman Abramovich. Tomorrow Moyes insists money matters will be of little relevance as he sets out to prove he can lift Everton up to the upper echelons of the Premiership despite a restricted budget. Moyes told the ECHO: "This is the level of competition I hope to be managing at and a level I hope to get Everton to in the future. The more experience the players get of these games the better we will be. "The size of their squad means we just don't know what side they will play but whatever 11 they put out will cause us problems. "But after Wednesday we look to be moving in the right direction." Kevin Campbell is still a major doubt because of a toe injury but Tomasz Radzinski could return. Alex Nyarko will also be in the manager's plans tomorrow, but has been warned he should not expect to become a first-team regular just yet. Moyes explained: "Alex still has a long way to go before he is a regular. "He has to earn the right to go into the side ahead of players who have done so well over the last season." Everton will attempt to resurrect a move for summer target Sean Davis in January. But the club could not afford to complete the £5m deal for the Fulham midfielder if the window re-opened tomorrow. The manager and board will spend the next two months trying to make the move a possibility. Meanwhile, the Blues are expecting to receive planning permission for a new training centre at Halewood within weeks. Carter confirmed at last night's AGM that the state-of-the-art training base at Finch Farm will house the first team and the club's Youth Academy. It will be financed by the sale of Bellefield, which is a prime site.
The Blues are in talks to take part in a tournament in China next year and discussion have begun to extend the sponsorship deal with Kejian beyond this season.
Holden's Reserve side put Rover's stars in the shade
Oct 31 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S inexperienced Reserve side did manager Andy Holden proud with a creditable performance against a Rovers side laden with top stars. Dino Baggio, Corrado Grabbi and Matt Jansen were all involved for the visitors who were lucky to get a point. Rovers were ahead as early as the second minute when Matt Jansen slotted a left-foot drive past Iain Turner. Just after the half hour Rovers should have been further in front when Brian Moogan pulled back Paul Gallagher in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. However, Grabbi's kick was saved by Turner and Everton cleared the rebound. It was a costly miss as two minutes later Everton won a penalty of their own, Nils Eric Johansson pulled down Leon Osman and the Blues striker stood up to convert past Yelldell.
Holden's men should have won the game in the 61st minute when Pascucci played in Osman who curled his shot pass Yelldell only to see it come back off the post, Anthony Barry blazed over the rebound. EVERTON: Turner, B Moogan, Wilson, Gerrard, Clarke, Schumacher, Brown, Osman, Barry, Pascucci, A Moogan. Not used: Gallagher, Hughes, Lynch, Hopkins, Fox.
Gregg: I'm no Abramovich
Oct 31 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON director Paul Gregg has confirmed he is not about to use his vast wealth to bankroll a Roman Abramovich-style spending spree. Gregg was re-elected to the Blues board unopposed at last night's 14th annual meeting. The multi-millionaire entertainment guru was asked by one shareholder, ironically named Michael Owen, why he was not willing to use his money to ease the club's financial situation. The Blues recorded a net loss of £13m for the last financial year despite an operating profit. Gregg said: "It would be wonderful if we could all write out a cheque. "But everybody on the board is in business and have got personal restraints on how we deal with our finances. "The Chelsea situation has ruined the Premiership for the other clubs because it has created a massive hill to climb. "I am constantly having conversations with Bill Kenwright concerning the strengthening of the club and getting back up to that level. "It is not just about writing a cheque out." Meanwhile, Blues manager David Moyes has been told he must sell before he can buy because of the club's 'tight' financial situation. That was confirmed by chairman Sir Philip Carter last night, raising doubts over the likelihood of the club securing number one transfer target Sean Davis when the transfer window re-opens in January. Sir Philip told the AGM: "Our primary objective is still to help David Moyes to build a team which can compete with the best in Europe and the country.
"But our financial position is extremely tight. We have to sell before we can buy in our current situation." Moyes revealed he has had scouts at each of Davis' four reserve team outings since his return to fitness earlier this month. The answer for Everton could lie in a loan deal, which could be put together when the transfer window re-opens. Moyes admitted: "I am sure people want to know why we haven't sold certain players on but there is is no market right now. "I would like to change the squad around but I am not being asked about our players. If there is any interest it is very small money. "First division clubs tend to find they cannot afford the player's wages and so until people start coming out of contract there's not a lot we can do." Moyes will not be generating funds through the sale of Wayne Rooney. He added: "I have had no phone call from anyone about the availability of Wayne Rooney and I have no intention of selling him. We do not sell our best players."
Carter revealed that the summer outlay of £7m on Kevin Kilbane, Nigel Martyn, James McFadden and Francis Jeffers and the deals to make Joseph Yobo and Li Tie permanent members of the squad had left the club with little room to manouevre in terms of generating further transfer funds.