Everton Independent Research Data


Everton Res 1, Leeds Utd Res 1
Sep 1 2005 Daily Post
EVERTON new boy Matteo Ferrari made a goal scoring start to his Goodison career with the equaliser against Leeds United Reserves at Haig Avenue. The Roma defender, on a season-long loan, scored with 15 minutes left to earn Andy Holden's side a share of the points. Everton had Richard Wright and Li Tie also on duty but it was the Italian defender who impressed the Southport crowd with a determined performance which saw a disallowed goal in the first half and some top class offensive play. First team manager David Moyes was at the game to watch Andy Holden's side in action and said afterwards how pleased he had been with the Italian new arrival. He commented "He did very well, it was great that he was able to come in and play so well with the young kids and of course he scored a lovely goal. I was pleased as he took it very well." Leeds started the brighter and had a couple of first half chances to take the lead but Ferrari and Vaughan also proved a threat for the home side. The Italian went close with a header following his disallowed effort just on the half hour. Leeds went in front just after the break, a free kick eventually falling to Robbie Blake, who drove his shot past Wright. The visitors should have increased their lead through Rob Bayly and Ian Moore but Wright was on hand to keep them out. However, despite their dominance, the Yorkshire side failed to finish Everton off and Ferrari pooped up with the equaliser on 75 minutes to square the game. Alan Kearney could well have won the game in the 90th minute but shot wide of the target.
EVERTON: Wright, Wynne, Wilson , Ferrari, Hughes, Phelan, Hopkins (Downs 17), Tie, Vidarsson (Kearney 48), Anichebe, Vaughan: Subs: Lake, Wright, Holt

Van der Meyde completes move but Moyes misses out on striker
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Sep 1 2005
NEW arrival Andy van der Meyde believes Everton can enjoy another successful season - despite David Moyes drawing a frustrating blank in his attempts to sign a striker. The Holland international was yesterday given the all-clear to complete his move to Goodison after the club declared themselves satisfied with the results of his medical. The 25-year-old, who has signed a four-year deal, has joined from Inter Milan for a fee of £1.8million which will increase with appearance-related bonuses. Van der Meyde will not be available for selection until the end of September due to the groin injury that threatened his transfer and has sidelined him since April. But the winger is confident that, once fit, he can help Everton continue their progress of recent seasons under Moyes.
"I am very happy today," said van der Meyde. "I am happy I can play for Everton because it is such a nice club and I hope I can show my football again because it has been a long time for me. "I really want to do some nice things here. I believe in the team and the club and the trainer and I believe it will be a good year for us. "In the last few years the club has been getting better every year and I am happy I can play for Everton." The signing of the versatile midfielder represents something of a coup for Moyes, who has tracked the player for more than a year. Van der Meyde was worth £5million when he joined Inter from Ajax, but saw his value diminished after injury and loss of form blighted his spell at the San Siro. He became Everton's eighth signing of a productive summer in the transfer market, following the recent additions in the past week of Matteo Ferrari and Nuno Valente.
Moyes had been hopeful of also capturing a striker before the closure of last night's deadline, but extensive efforts ultimately proved futile. Everton enquired about in-demand David Nugent of Preston North End, only to withdraw their interest after the Lancastrians slapped an astonishing £5m price-tag on the 20-year-old. A late move to sign Robbie Keane also drew a blank, while attempts to bring in a forward from abroad were hampered by varying complications. It means Everton go into the autumn with James Beattie, Marcus Bent and Duncan Ferguson as their only recognised senior strikers. Moyes will make a fresh move to bolster his shot-shy strikeforce when the transfer window reopens in January.

Blues star's devotion to Down's Syndrome daughter
Daily Post
Sep 1 2005
Football star Kevin Kilbane speaks to Jessica Shaughnessy about his daughter, who suffers from Down's Syndrome EVERTON midfielder Kevin Kilbane is like any other doting father of a beautiful and happy baby girl. The Republic of Ireland international and his wife Laura were overjoyed after the birth of their first child, but the very next day doctors dealt them an unexpected blow - Elsie had Down's Syndrome. Speaking for the first time about his daughter's condition yesterday, he said: "We were devastated - as any parent would be. "We had no idea, we thought everything was fine. It was frightening because we didn't know what the future would hold. "I feel guilty for the things I felt then. Elsie is a wonderful little girl, she is doing brilliantly. She is really joyful and brings so much joy into our lives." Yesterday Kilbane also revealed that Elsie, who is now 17 months old, will be joined by a little brother or sister in October. He said he and his wife had no doubts about having another child even though there is a risk it would also have Down's. Kilbane added: "There is a high chance that the baby might have Down's Syndrome too, but that doesn't matter to us. We are really looking forward to having a new addition to the family. "If we had known that Elsie had Down's Syndrome when Laura was pregnant, it wouldn't have made a difference, especially knowing what we know now. "This is just the way things are. We feel lucky that we have Elsie. She is very strong."
He continued: "People sympathise with us when they find out that our child has Down's syndrome, but we don't feel that we need sympathy. They just have to meet Elsie and then they can see that she is a special little girl. "It doesn't annoy me that people do that. That is the way people are. If they don't understand something completely, they think it is bad. If we can educate them, then it is making a difference." Kilbane spoke out about his daughter at a charity golf tournament yesterday held in the idyllic surroundings of Mottram Hall, near Wilmslow. The event was held to raise money for Charnwood, a nursery school and family centre for both mainstream children and children with special needs, which Elsie attends. The 28-year-old, who comes from Preston, fronted the event, held at Mottram Hall Hotel, which was organised by his agent Proactive Sports' parent company Formation.. Charnwood is one of the two beneficiary charities chosen by the company for the year.
The charity is currently raising money for a sensory garden, which will include a Willow Dome and an extendable caterpillar designed to stimulate children's senses. Kilbane said: "I am really pleased that the company is supporting Charnwood. It is a fantastic place. Elsie has been going there once a week and she has been doing brilliantly. I don't know exactly how much we will raise. I was initially hoping it would get £7,000, but I think it will be more than that. "It is a really worthy cause and Charnwood has been so much help to us, They treat everybody there as individuals and that is what children like Elsie need." Kilbane, who now lives in Cheshire, was joined on the day by a host of team mates, including retired captain Steve Watson, Marcus Bent and the club's £6m striker James Beattie, as well as Everton manager David Moyes. He said: "I am so pleased that so many people have come along to support it. Obviously, it will be a great day of golfing." The winger, who says he hopes for a "long and happy future" at Everton, says his colleagues also gave him tremendous support when Elsie was born, particularly Moyes, who coached Kilbane as a youngster and was one of the first to call. He said: "Everton is a special club and the manager and the players all have a great relationship. It's great to be in a place where you feel you have their support, both on the pitch and off. "They were all really good to me when Elsie was born. That helped me enormously. It was quite a difficult time. It was a matter of adjusting to a new routine, but then I think that everybody who has a child experiences that." Kilbane said looking after Elsie is no different to looking after any other child, so much so that it is easy to forget the full implications of Down's Syndrome. He said: "I would say to people who are in the same position to enjoy what they have. That's is what we are doing. We don't want to think too much about the future and what it holds for Elsie. We are enjoying life now."
KIlbane joined Everton from Sunderland in August 2003 as part of a £1m deal. During his first season, he earned the nickname Zinedine Kilbane because of his pace and skill.

Ball exits Rangers as Jeffers joins
Daily Post
Sep 1 2005
PSV Eindhoven have signed Rangers defender Michael Ball on a two-year deal. Rangers had been desperate to get the 25-year-old ex-Everton left-back Ball off the wage bill as he was one of the last big earners of the Dick Advocaat era. He had moved to Ibrox in the summer of 2001 in a £4million deal which would have risen to £6.5m had certain clauses been met. Rangers have signed Charlton's former Everton striker Francis Jeffers on loan. "It's a big day for me - one of the biggest in my career." he said.

Dutch star plans to add extra dimension
Sep 1 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ANDY VAN DER MEYDE is ready to provide Everton with a cutting edge after he became the Blues' eighth and final signing of a hectic summer. After being priced out of moves for Preston's David Nugent and Robbie Keane of Spurs, Everton were forced to admit defeat in their quest to sign a new striker before the transfer window closed. Cash-strapped Preston were looking for £5m for a 20-year-old they bought for £100,000 from Bury in January, while Spurs wanted double that figure to part company with Keane. But in van der Meyde, they have brought someone to Goodison Park who can provide the guile and goals that have been missing so far this season. Having already agreed personal terms last Friday, the Dutch international put pen-to-paper on a four-year deal yesterday after no problems emerged from the results of a second blood test. It will be two of three weeks before van der Meyde is fit to play as he continues his rehabilitation from a groin problem and he understood why so much time was taken over his medical. Once he is given the green light to resume he fully intends to start making up for lost time by providing the Blues ' attack with an extra dimension. "My first priority is to do well with Everton," said van der Meyde, who cost the Blues £2m. "I want to be important for Everton "Now it is time for me to do some good business. It is time for me to give 100 per cent. Then we will see what happens. "I trained too hard for the medical and it appeared my liver was not right. The sudden intense activity seems to have been too much for my body to cope with, but everything is fine. "I have spoken a couple of times with the manager. He can put me on the left, on the right or behind the strikers. He can use me where he wants. "I can play on the left and come in on the right and score goals. On the right, I can provide good crosses for the front men. "A lot of players want to play in England. It is very hard, the best league in the world, and here you can show who you really are if you can show you can cope with the standard of the football." Capped 18 times by his country, van der Meyde helped Holland to the semi-finals of Euro 2004 after an impressive first season with Inter Milan following a £5m move from Ajax. Things, however, turned sour for him at the the San Siro and he was delighted when David Moyes renewed an interest in the 25-year-old that stretched back 12 months. Now, van der Meyde is determined to repay the faith Moyes has bestowed in him by helping fire Everton's bid to build on their success of last season. "I am just so happy I can play for Everton and do good things for them," he added. "I was always a fan of the English football. I watched the games on television. I loved everything about the football. "I always dreamed of playing in England and now is my chance.Hopefully, I can become an important player for Everton. "Last year the side finished fourth. I want to do that again and maybe we can do a little bit more so we can play in the Champions League again. "I hope we just play good football, have good games, give the fans a lot of fun and maybe make a big story here next season." * Everton's new yellow third kit is available to pre-order today from the club's megastore ahead of its release on September 22. Fans who pre-order will be guaranteed to receive the kit the day it comes out. The second silver kit, meanwhile, went on sale today.

Light load for senior Blues
Sep 1 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
A LARGE proportion of David Moyes' senior Everton squad is away from the club's training ground this week on international duty. But that does not mean there's nothing going on at Bellefield.
Evertonia visited assistant manager Alan Irvine to get the lowdown on the work the remaining senior players have to do during an international break. "It is very difficult from a coaching perspective during an international break," he said.. "You can speak to coaches all over the country and they will tell you that nobody is really too sure how to handle these breaks for the best. "Obviously, you have to take it as you find it at the time and we feel our lads probably need a little bit of a breather.
"What we have done during this particular break is give the lads Sunday and Monday off, brought them in to train Tuesday, Wednesday and today and we are giving them a long weekend off over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. "That will give them a chance to get a little bit of a break and maybe take the family away if they feel they want to do that. It will give them a rest physically and mentally." Last week was certainly a gruelling one for the Blues, with three tough away fixtures to contend with at Bolton, Villarreal and Fulham in the space of six days. And so the relaxed workload on the training ground this week for the likes of Nigel Martyn, Mikel Arteta, Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman and Duncan Ferguson has been welcomed. The focus of the work has been on fitness rather than tactics, with so many of the club's senior players unavailable. Irvine explains: "Tactical coaching is a nonstarter really when so many of the players are away. "We worked quite hard on leg weights for the lads on Tuesday, but that is something we can afford to do because even if they are a little bit stiff they don't have a game at the weekend. "Next week will be a normal week as much as possible in terms of training, although we will not be able to prepare tactically for the game until all the lads get back from their international matches."
* EVERTONIA is the new members club for Everton supporters of all ages. It offers a host of benefits, including the chance to buy general sale tickets before anybody else for all Goodison home games.
Membership of Evertonia costs £19.99 for adults and £9.99 for juniors (under 16s).

Ferrari marks Blues debut with equaliser
Sep 1 2005 Liverpool Echo
MATTEO FERRARI came to Everton Reserves' rescue as he marked his first appearance in a Blue shirt with the equaliser against Leeds United at Haig Avenue. The Blues also had Richard Wright and Li Tie on duty but it was the Italian defender, on loan from Roma, who impressed the watching David Moyes with a determined performance which saw a disallowed goal in the first half and some top class offensive play. "He did very well," said Moyes. "It was great that he was able to come in and play so well with the young kids. "Of course, he scored a lovely goal too. I was pleased because he took it very well." Leeds started the brighter and had a couple of first half chances but Ferrari and Vaughan also proved a threat for the home side, with the Italian having a header disallowed on the half hour. Leeds went in front just after the break, a free-kick eventually falling to Robbie Blake, who drove his shot past Wright. The visitors should have increased their lead with chances for Rob Bayly and Ian Moore but Wright was on hand to keep them out. However, despite their dominance, Leeds failed to punish Everton further and Ferrari made them pay with the equaliser on 75 minutes, hammering home a volley from inside the box. It wasn't a great performance by the Blues' second string but Ferrari's showing was a real bright spot on transfer deadline day.
Everton: Wright, Wynne, Wilson , Ferrari, Hughes, Phelan, Hopkins (Downs 17), Tie, Vidarsson (Kearney 48), Anichebe, Vaughan: Subs Unused: Lake, Wright, Holt.

The jury
Sep 1 2005 Liverpool Echo
What is your opinion of Everton's summer spending? THE usual criticism of Everton's board was once again in full flow this summer, from those who claim to be in the know. So it is nice the board and to a certain extent the manager has come up trumps. The money has been spent wisely, unlike when we last had a spending spree during the summer months five years ago. Moyes has spent in areas that needed reinforcing and the signings he's made are of genuine quality and not 'has beens'.
He has brought the age of the squad down, replacing players like Stubbs and Watson with younger, fitter players coming into their prime like Kroldrup and Ferrari to name but two of the summer acquisitions. He's brought in experience in Phil Neville, who it seems will be moulded into a future Blues captain.Then he's kept the key players from last season happy and the fans happy with the extension to Tim Cahill's contract.
STILL no new striker, but as for the rest of the new faces, I like international play-ers I've never heard of so welcome Ferrari, Valente and Kroldrup. Ferrari was born in Algeria, Andy Gray likes Valente and I've just returned from a holiday in Denmark where Odense-based Blues Ole and Barry rave about Kroldrup. That's the sum of my knowledge on that trio, but they are clearly quality.
As is the more familiar face of Phil Neville. It's a symptom of football's tribalism that we hadn't realised his ability before now. Our creative signings are less convincing. I can't recall being overly impressed with Simon Davies at Tottenham and Van der Meyde flatters to deceive. His end product for Holland in the European Championships wasn't good enough. I don't see how a poor season in Serie A will have improved him.
A LOT has been made over the summer of the players who chose to join other clubs, but this just shows that we are now competing for better players who have more options. It's important we continue our improvement on the pitch so as to make better play-ers more likely to want to play for us. A good run in the UEFA Cup this season and requalifying for it again are a must for this to happen. Moyes has again shown that he will not waste the cash he is given to spend and his summer signings are all good quality purchases. Valente, Ferrari and Kroldrup give us more ability and cover at the back. Neville has come in and proved all his doubters wrong with some excellent performances. On the wings Davies and Van der Meyde will give us better options, but what we are still lacking is a goalscorer.
THE summer signings can be described as sensible rather than exciting. You can now see how Moyes has gradually built up the strength of the squad so that we now have four centre-backs, two of whom can play at full-back, a creative midfield player in Arteta and a wide right player in Davies.
With Van der Meyde we will have even more competition and more pace. Neville can play in several positions and may prove to be our most valuable signing. With players able to swop roles we are not far from Jose Mourinho's ideal of two players for every position! The glaring omission is of course a mobile striker who can score goals. It's a shame the rumoured Robbie Keane deal didn't come off. He would have been an excellent signing for us. In the meantime there is enough about the team to do well in the 5-4-1 formation.

Moyes gets Silva lining to transfer frustration
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Sep 2 2005
EVERTON have alleviated their deadline-day frustration by beating Manchester United and Real Madrid to the signing of a highly-rated Brazilian - although he will not play for the club until at least January. Midfielder Anderson da Silva, 23, has been training with the club for several weeks after becoming a free agent when his contract at La Liga side Racing Santander expired earlier this summer. During that time, da Silva managed to impress David Moyes and the Goodison club have now agreed a longer-term arrangement with the player, who as well as United and Real had also attracted the attentions of Deportivo La Coruna and Celta Vigo. Da Silva's lack of international status meant he would be denied a work permit, however, scuppering his chances of an immediate move to the Premiership. Everton have negotiated that complication by buying the play-er's rights off his former club, Uruguay's Nacional Montevideo, and agreeing a deal that will see him immediately go on loan to Malaga until December 31. That spell will hopefully enable da Silva to secure an EU passport by the new year - he has already chalked up two years of Spanish residency with Racing - allowing him to then complete a move to Goodison. Last night da Silva, who can play either as an attacking or defensive midfielder, said: "I have joined Malaga to help the club and to demonstrate I am worthy of playing in the Premier League with Everton. "I am hoping to play in Malaga's friendly game against Newcastle this week." Da Silva will be on a non-contract basis until he qualifies for a passport, but as Everton now have ownership of his rights they will have control over him. Should he impress when he finally moves to Merseyside, Everton will then be in a position to tie him to a contract. Everton chief executive, Keith Wyness, added: "We have come to an agreement with the Uruguayan club National Montevideo with regard to us bringing Anderson da Silva to Goodison Park at some point in the future. "As part of that agreement it was decided to allow the player to join - on loan - the Spanish Primera club, Malaga. Anderson da Silva is a highlypromising young footballer and we shall closely monitor his progress during his time in Spain. The news is some consolation for Everton, who endured a frustrating final day of the transfer window on Wednesday with failed late moves for Michael Owen, Robbie Keane and David Nugent.

Only time will tell if striker woe will hurt
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Sep 2 2005
WHO would have thought this time last season that Everton would be purchasing three internationals the week before the end of the transfer deadline and yet the fans would still be disappointed? That's what has transpired though, as the usual rumours did the rounds linking the Blues with all sorts of strikers, in particular Robbie Keane and David Nugent, but ultimately it seems there was no-one available who fitted the bill for David Moyes. Well, that's not strictly true, there was one who matched the rather exacting criteria of 'dead fast and scores loads of goals' but he eventually ended up being sheepishly paraded in the North East in front of 20,000 people with nothing better to do. Apparently Moyes rang Michael Owen at the 11th hour and asked him if there was anything he could do to bring him to Goodison Park. Presumably the ex-Anfield favourite said something along the lines of: "Match Real Madrid's asking price and my wage demands for starters."
While everyone would have liked us to sign some jet-heeled goal machine it obviously wasn't to be.
After Owen, the alternatives were few and far between when it comes to real quality. Milan Baros was the obvious one, but ultimately it seems that Moyes didn't think he represented value for money. Only time will tell whether he was right, although every time he scores for Aston Villa you can guarantee that eyebrows will be raised around Goodison Park. As for the players who did sign - Matteo Ferrari,, Nuno Valente and Andy van der Meyde - they are all internationals signed from clubs operating at the highest level of European football. Other than that though they represent unknown quantities to a certain degree, especially given that neither van der Meyde nor Valente has played regularly in the last year. The squad is undoubtedly stronger now though, and it needs to be borne in mind that the present forwards managed to get us to fourth in the league last season. At least by keeping his powder dry Moyes might be in a position to get a player he really wants in January. Hopefully when the transfer window does reopen he'll still be able to tempt new targets with European football. The UEFA Cup draw against Dinamo Bucharest has been labelled as a tricky one, but in reality the Blues should have more than enough to progress, especially now Pierluigi Collina has retired.

Neville hopes for starting place
By David Prior, Daily Post
Sep 2 2005
PHIL NEVILLE is confident his international experience will see him handed a start against Wales tomorrow. The Everton midfielder has won 52 caps for England and, with his brother Gary sidelined, is thought to be leading the race for the right-back slot for the Millennium Stadium World Cup qualifier. In-form Charlton defender Luke Young has emerged as a surprise threat to Neville, but the Mancunian hopes coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will opt for his experience. He said: "Hopefully experience will get me into the team. But sometimes experience goes out of the window. "You need to be playing well at the time, Luke Young is playing well for Charlton. But I am playing regularly for Everton and the manager has good options in that position." Liverpool's Jamie Carragher, meanwhile, is hoping to make a good impression if called upon at centre-back. "Over the past 12-18 months I have been happy with my form and now want to take things to the next level and play more regularly for England," he said.

Blues in double injury boost
Sep 2 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY and Per Kroldrup are ready to provide Everton boss David Moyes with a timely boost. Neither Carsley nor Kroldrup have played so far this season but both players stepped up their respective rehabilitation programmes at the club's Bellefield training complex this week. Influential midfielder Carsley suffered a recurrence of the knee problem during a friendly against Fenerbahce last month that had seen him stretchered off in the final game of last season against Bolton. Happily, though, Carsley has taken a significant step on the road to recovery and hopes to provide Moyes with a selection poser in the near future. "I have set dates before when I have been coming back from injury but when you do that, you only end up getting frustrated," said Carsley. "I am close, though. I'm having some more sugar injections to stiffen my knee, so I should be able to step it up again next week." Kroldrup, meanwhile, became Everton's most expensive summer signing at £5m when he arrived from Udinese in June, but has spent the last month kicking his heels in frustration. A hernia operation meant the closest he has come to making his debut was being named on the bench for the home leg of the Champions League qualifier against Villarreal. The Denmark international, however, has progressed in the last couple of weeks and while next Saturday's Premiership date with Portsmouth could come too soon, Moyes anticipates that it won't be too long before Kroldrup is involved again. "We are starting to get some faces back in," Moyes confirmed. "We have had some good news with Per and he is beginning to make a bit of progress. He'll be rejoining us soon." The return of Kroldrup and Carsley means that competition for places is going to be fierce. Moyes added: "Overall, maybe in the next week or two, competition will start to get much tougher. The play-ers will find if they play well, they will be in the team but if they don't we can look for alternatives. "We are going to have to start getting results now. We have played three Premiership games and lost two, so I am disappointed with that." * Everton's Premiership clash with Manchester City has been put back 24 hours because of the Blues' UEFA Cup involvement. The game at Eastlands will now start at 11.15am on Sunday, October 2 because Everton play Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday, September 29. It will still be shown live on Sky Sports' Premiership Plus channel.

Blues Silva lining polishes in Spain
Sep 2 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ANDERSON da Silva hopes his loan move to Malaga will provide a springboard to Everton's first team in the future. Having spent several weeks training at the club's Bellefield training complex, the Brazilian midfielder - who left Racing Santander as a free agent over the summer - joined Everton on transfer deadline day after impressing manager David Moyes Da Silva also attracted interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid but his lack of international experience meant he would be denied a work permit, thus scuppering his chances of making an immediate impression in the Premiership. Everton, however, have worked hard to negotiate that complication and managed to strike a late deal to buy da Dilva's rights off his former club, Uruguay ' s Nacional Montevideo. He will now head to Malaga until December 31 at least. Should things go to plan, da Silva will hopefully then be able to secure an EU passport by January - he has already chalked up two years of Spanish residency with Racing Santander - which would allow him to complete his move to Goodison Park. And while he is away, the 23-year-old - who operates primarily as a defensive midfielder - is determined to prove he can become a valuable member of Moyes' squad. "I have joined Malaga to help the club and to demonstrate I am worthy of playing in the Premier League with Everton," said da Silva, who was also courted by Deportivo La Coruna, Celta Vigo and Osasuna. "I am hoping to play in Malaga's friendly game against Newcastle later this week." Da Silva will be on a non-contract basis until he qualifies for a passport but as Everton have ownership of his rights, they have ultimate control over him. Only if he impresses when he eventually arrives on Merseyside will the Blues then tie him to a contract. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed: "We have come to an agreement with Uruguayan club National Montevideo with regard to us bringing Anderson da Silva to Goodison Park at some point in the future. "As part of that agreement, it was decided to allow the player to join - on loan - the Spanish Primera club Malaga. "Anderson da Silva is a highly-promising young footballer and we shall closely monitor his progress during his time in Spain." The move for da Silva takes the Blues' summer spending to £20m.

Moyes set to throw Vaughan into fray
Sep 3 2005 By David Prior and Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES intends to throw teenage prospect James Vaughan into more regular first-team action after drawing a blank in his attempts to bring in a striker during the transfer window.
Despite extensive efforts, Wednesday night's deadline passed with Everton failing in moves for a series of frontmen. Late moves for Michael Owen, Robbie Keane and David Nugent all came to nothing, meaning the Goodison club must sustain their twin assault on the UEFA Cup and Premiership with only Duncan Ferguson, James Beattie and Marcus Bent as recognised senior strikers. Moyes is therefore hoping to use 17-year-old Vaughan, who memo-rably became the Premiership's youngest ever scorer on his debut against Crystal Palace last season, on a more regular basis after being impressed with the way he has performed during limited opportunities as a substitute. Moyes said: "James may be given a few games, but we'll try and do the right thing for him. "He came on against Fulham and showed the qualities that he has got, and he's not an awful long way away. He needs a bit more time. "We're probably pushing him along a bit quickly but every time he comes on he livens things up." Vaughan, who signed a new two-year contract in the summer, has made just three late second-half appearances for the first XI but is already a regular part of the England Under-19 set-up. His stunning contribution in the 4-0 trouncing over Crystal Palace in April brought Vaughan, then 16, to national attention but Moyes has been reluctant to over-expose him since. However, given the hectic programme Everton now face until the transfer window re-opens again in January, Moyes is hoping to fast-track Vaughan's progression to regular action. The Scot added: "He's more in and around the first team now, training with them, and hopefully that can help bring him on. He'll play for the reserves and we'll use him in the first team."
Meanwhile, Moyes has confirmed Andy van der Meyde will be sidelined for at least a month with the groin injury that threatened his deadline-day move to Goodison. The 25-year-old Holland international signed a four-year deal following an anxious wait as Everton assessed the results of his medical. The club chose to proceed with the transfer, but the winger will have to wait for his bow in a Blue shirt. "Andy won't be available for something like four weeks so we have got to be patient," said Moyes. "It took a while for us to get him but I am delighted that he is here." Fellow new signing Per Kroldrup is also expected to make his long-awaited Everton debut later this month as he steps up his recovery from his hernia operation. "We are starting to get some faces back in," said Moyes.. "We have had some good news with Per and he is beginning to make a bit of progress. He'll be rejoining us soon." Lee Carsley, who has been sidelined since suffering a recurrence of a long-standing knee problem in the friendly defeat against Fenerbahce in late July, believes he too is close to a comeback. "I have set dates before when I have been coming back from injury but you only end up getting frustrated," said Carsley. "I am close, though. I should be able to step it up again next week."
* EVERTON'S involvement in the UEFA Cup has led to their Premiership clash with Manchester City being put back 24 hours. The game at Eastlands is now scheduled for Sunday, October 2 with an early 11.15am kick-off. Everton will entertain Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday, September 29.

Neville eager to rubbish the United myth
By John Curtis Daily Post Correspondent
Sep 3 2005
DEFENDER Phil Neville believes he is dispelling the myth he was only selected for England because he was a Manchester United player. Neville won more than 50 caps for his country while with the Red Devils before making the switch to Everton in the summer to obtain regular first-team football.
He has operated largely in midfield under David Moyes but, with brother Gary injured, could yet get the nod over Charlton's Luke Young for the right-back slot for the World Cup qualifier with Wales in the Millennium Stadium. The one player he will have to try to combat is former club-mate Ryan Giggs. Neville said: "We've all got our own personal agenda sometimes and my agenda when I come away with England is first and foremost to get into the team but, in a year like this, it is to make sure we qualify and I get into the World Cup squad. "There are four games left. After that, we can all think about the places for the World Cup. This is probably the first time in a long time that I've met up and felt that I've earned it in a way. "Maybe that is not the right phrase because you earn every England cap but in a way that I come here full of confidence knowing that I've played the last five games and am as fit as everyone else. "In the past I've probably always been playing catch-up when I've met up. It is different now and it is a nice feeling. It gets rid of that theory that I was only picked because I was a Manchester United player. "Games breed confidence and there is nothing better than playing and then meeting up with England knowing you've played okay for your club side.
"I do prefer midfield but right-back is the position I played at Manchester United for most of my career so, in terms of experience in one position, right-back is the one so I don't see that being a problem." Neville has warned England to be wary of Giggs as Wales attempt to pull off a major upset. The Everton player knows better than most the threat an on-song Giggs can provide after more than a decade as club-mates at Manchester United. Neville is unlikely to be in constant direct confrontation with Giggs who is expected to be given a roving role rather than operate on the left flank. But Neville knows England have to be on their toes to snuff out the threat Giggs can still provide for John Toshack's side even at the age of 31. "Ryan provides the ultimate challenge, especially for a fullback. You talk to players from other clubs and Ryan was the one player they dreaded and hated playing against most," he said. "In a one to one battle with a full-back he provides the ultimate test

Gattuso's fear of Everton winger
By Alan Easel, Daily Post
Sep 3 2005
ITALY midfielder Rino Gattuso believes Scotland have a potential secret weapon in Everton's James McFadden. The former Rangers star has revealed the anxiety within the Azzurri camp over the winger's potential to damage their defence. Gattuso is familiar with most of Walter Smith's squad from his time in Glasgow in the late 1990s and of utmost concern is the impact that the mercurial McFadden could have on Italy's World Cup hopes at Hampden. Coach Marcelo Lippi has a conundrum in the right-back area having fallen out with Roma's Christian Panucci and exiled him from the squad. Cristian Zaccardo of Palermo will be the likely deputy against Scotland but he has failed to convince in his five international outings thus far. "I think McFadden could be a danger to us," said Gattuso. "He is a big player for Scotland and could cause our defence problems. He is very tricky and also scores goals and this game could suit him. "He will be inspired by the crowd at Hampden and I know he likes to play on his marker and try to get past him. If he plays we will have to be careful." Gattuso is an avid viewer of Scottish domestic football and has been startled by the shock start to the season which sees both Rangers and Celtic trailing Hearts. "I saw Rangers win one week ago against Celtic then lose 3-0 against Hibs," continued midfielder Gattuso. "That is strange but maybe Walter will use more players from Hearts, Hibs and Motherwell now because so many teams in Scotland are playing very well. "As I have said many times before I have big respect for Walter as he gave me my chance in football."

Weir simply the best - Smith
Sep 5 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON skipper David Weir has been hailed as the ultimate professional by Scotland manager Walter Smith. Former Blues boss Smith brought Weir to Goodison Park from Hearts in February 1999 for a bargain £250,000 and managed to coax the 35-year-old out of a self-imposed international exile. Weir refused to play for Scotland in 2002 after a bust-up with then manager Berti Vogts following a 2-2 draw in the Faroe Islands but has not looked back since Smith took over at the helm last year. He was once again outstanding during Scotland's 1-1 draw with Italy at Hampden Park on Saturday and Smith is adamant that Weir made the right decision to resume international duties. "It must have taken him a lot of thinking to give up playing for Scotland," said Smith after handing Weir his 40th Scotland cap. "I know him and he wouldn't have made that decision without a relevant reason. I have never asked him about that but he has been terrific since he has come back. "And everybody that has worked with him at managerial level will tell you you will not find a better professional." Typically, the self-effacing Weir played down his role against the Azzuri but was left thinking what might have been after Fabio Grosso equalised Kenny Miller's first-half goal late in the game. The draw keeps Scotland second from bottom in Group 5 and has effectively ended their chances of qualifying for next summer's World Cup via the play-offs. But Weir believes Scotland can take plenty of positives from the display and hopes that Smith can build a team spirit similar to the one David Moyes has been building at Goodison in recent seasons. "We probably would have settled for that," said Weir, who is also Scotland's captain. "A draw against Italy is no bad result but the way the game went, we were looking to win it. "We put on a good performance and worked really hard. Kenny Miller ran rings around and he looked dangerous. Italy are top class and you need to be on your toes but we did well." "We are building a great team spirit and getting better game by game," said Weir. "We are going into games feeling that we can get a result and we are looking more consistent now. "That wasn't always the case. It is still early days, whereas at Everton we have had it building for two years. It gets better and better at the club and hopefully that will be the case with Scotland."

Bolton Reserves 0, Everton Reserves 1
Sep 6 2005 Daily Post
LI TIE and Everton made a happy return to Leyland last night as the club's reserves recorded a 1-0 victory over Bolton in a Barclays Premiership Reserve League Northern Section game that also saw John Ruddy make his debut in a blue shirt. It was in the corresponding reserve league fixture in January last season that Everton's Chinese midfielder, in only his third game back from a broken shin, aggravated the same injury, sidelining him for the remainder of the campaign. The midfielder has still to make a return to first-team action in the Premiership - his last appearance dating back to January 2004 against Arsenal - but he has been an ever--present in each of the reserves' league games so far this term. And last night he was the midfield linchpin once again as Andy Hold-en's side recorded a 1-0 victory that belied the superiority of the visitors. Academy prospect Alan Kearney was left frustrated last week when an injury-time miss at Haig Avenue denied him his first goal of the season and Everton a 2-1 victory over Leeds. He wasted no time making amends against Bolton at Leyland, firing into the roof of the net from a Victor Anichebe centre inside two minutes to set the reserves on the path to their second victory of the season. But it was the sight of John Ruddy making his first appearance in a Blue shirt that was equally satisfying for the Everton fans who made the short journey to Lancashire. The 18-year-old keeper, signed from Cambridge during the summer, showed great composure in goal and produced an acrobatic save in the second period when called into action. His distribution was top class, as demonstrated by the 45-yard throw he produced in the opening minute to set Paul Hopkins on his way for an attacking move that ultimately led to Kearney's goal. There were further chances in the opening period for Everton to extend their lead but Bolton's defence managed to deny the visitors. Rhys Powell cleared a Hopkins header off the line and also diverted a centre from Li Tie away from Anichebe. Try as they might, Everton couldn't add to their advantage in the second half. Howarth saved twice to deny first Hopkins then Anichebe. Anichebe did get the ball in the net in the 59th minute but his close-range tap-in was disallowed because referee Evans ruled Hopkins had fouled Howarth in the build-up. The loss of skipper Mark Hughes midway through the second half because of injury buoyed the home side. And it took a Li Tie block to prevent a powerful Robert Sissons shot finding its way to the target 15 minutes from time. But the visitors held on for all three points.
EVERTON: Ruddy; Wynne, Hughes (Holt 68), Wright, Wilson; Phelan, Li Tie, Harris, Kearney; Anichebe, Hopkins. Subs: Lake, Downs, Irving, Morrison.

Unlucky Naysmith hit by new surgery blow
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Sep 6 2005
GARY NAYSMITH'S immediate future has been thrown into doubt by a "serious" infection that means the Everton defender must undergo yet more surgery on his injured ankle. The Everton defender had been scheduled to return in around a fortnight but all such hopes have now been discarded by a dangerous infection the 26-year-old contracted after undergoing a second operation last month.
That operation, after his initial surgery back in May, was to remove a small piece of bone but the subsequent wound led to a far more serious problem that was fortunately caught early by the Goodison club. Despite that, however, it is unclear when the Scotland international will be able to return and Everton head physio Mick Rath-bone couldn't believe the full-back's poor fortune.
He said: "Gary has had an incredible stroke of bad luck. He developed a deep infection after his previous operation. It didn't settle with antibiotics so it had to be opened up again, explored and cleaned out. "Obviously, something like that is potentially quite serious. It looks like he is going to be okay and he will recover but it is another stroke of bad luck for him." Coming so soon after the knee injury that has prematurely curtailed Alessandro Pistone's season, the news is a further setback for David Moyes who, despite the recent acquisitions of Matteo Ferrari and Nuno Valente, has relatively thin defensive resources to call on. For Rathbone, Naysmith's latest misfortune is more of a personal blow for a player who last appeared for Everton in their 4-0 win over Crystal Palace back in April. "It is a real shame for the guy," added Rathbone. "He has had so many problems over the last six months and everybody feels bad. He is in hospital for a few days to make sure the ankle remains clean. We are hoping he will have a full recovery. "Any kind of deep infection can be serious, especially with a professional footballer. They opened up the wound last week, cleaned it all out and left it open. They are monitoring it every day and hopefully on Wednesday it will be closed again and he will be completely okay. "But it was a terrible scare for everybody and it was a terrible blow for him bearing in mind the infection percentages. But he is a tough lad and a fighter. Everybody is very upset for him because he is such a popular guy."

Get a Benni on
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Sep 6 2005
Get a Benni on
SO it seems West Ham are the latest team in the Premiership to be messed about by Porto over Benni McCarthy! It has happened to Everton, Villa before us, Blackburn and now, having done a medical at West Ham, they withdrew at the 11th hour. Poor guy!
K Wright (via e-mail)
Lucky Blues
THE sad truth is Everton were very lucky to finish fourth last season and with teams like Spurs, Boro, Bolton and even Charlton with better squads than ours, we could be in for a lot of heartache.
There needs to be some heads rolling, methinks. Especially at the top.
Karl Pritchard, Old Swan
Newcy frown
WHY on earth would the best manager in the Premiership - David Moyes - want to go to Newcastle?
It's a club that any real football supporter from followers of Harlepool, Bury, Arsenal or Rangers knows is a joke without a punch-line. The only trophies they win are players who become bigger than the club itself?
P Jack (via e-mail)
Best in years
ALTHOUGH Everton failed to sign the elusive striker, David Moyes has signed top players to boost our squad. This team is the best one we've had on paper for a long time and given time I think our play will reflect this.
Michael Hall, Widnes
Good buys
I CAN'T believe all the talk of it being a bad summer at Everton. Van der Meyde is true quality, as is Ferrari. And why do people rate Kevin Kilbane? He is the worst Everton player since Mark Pembridge. He is slow and a poor passer.
K Manny (via e-mail)

Carsley return joy for Moyes
Sep 6 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today paid glowing tribute to Everton's unsung hero Lee Carsley and admitted he cannot wait to welcome him back into the first team fold. The Blues midfielder has not played since tweaking knee ligaments during a pre-season friendly against Fenerbahce in August but has made significant progress in the past couple of weeks. Should everything go according to plan, Carsley - a shining light in Everton's push for the Champions League last year - could be ready for duty before the end of the month after having a course of injections to strengthen his damaged knee. And with a hectic run of fixtures looming, Moyes is delighted that the 31-year-old will soon be able to bolster a squad that has been hit hard by injuries so far this season. "We will be glad to have him back around the squad," said Moyes. "He is a terrific character and he became someone last year who we relied on so much. "The way he plays and what he gives the team sometimes went unnoticed but come the end of the season, the supporters really appreciated him. "Obviously his goal against Liverpool turned him into a cult hero, but he is someone whom when we play him will do the best he can. "He developed as the year went on. People will see now that we have got Phil Neville, who can do a similar job, so we have got competition. "Cars will certainly be needed with the amount of games that we have got coming up." Those words will come as much-needed boost to the Republic of Ireland international, who has been forced to sit and suffer through Everton's opening five games. He does, however, accept that there will be no easy way back into Moyes' starting line-up. "It's a big challenge," said Carsley. "The gaffer has made a few signings but we needed to strengthen over the summer. "Last season we finished fourth, but time will tell if the squad is stronger than it was last season. "I just can't kick a ball. That's the only thing that is stopping me. "If you saw me outside, you would think there was nothing wrong. It's just the actual striking the ball. That's the final little bit."

Naysmith will be back - Rathbone
Sep 6 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON physio Mick Rathbone is backing Gary Naysmith to battle back from his latest crushing injury blow. The Blues defender requires a third operation in the space of five months on his injured ankle after developing a serious infection following surgery in September. That operation, after an initial procedure back in May, was to remove a small piece of bone but the subsequent wound led to a far more serious problem. Fortunately it was detected early by the Blues' medical staff.. It is unclear when Naysmith will be available for first team selection again and the news comes as a devastating setback for the 26-year-old, who had hoped to return to full training in a fortnight. This news comes as another unwanted headache for Everton boss David Moyes, given he saw Alessandro Pistone's season brought to a premature end against Bolton last month. He does, though, have cover following the recent signings of Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari. But Rathbone believes the Glaswegian's strength of character will stand him in good stead during his period of rehabilitation and is backing him to make a fully recovery. Everybody is very upset for him because he is such a popular guy," said Rathbone. "He is a tough lad and a fighter but it was a terrible scare for everybody and terrible blow for him bearing in mind the infection percetages. "Any kind of deep infection can be serious, especially with a professional footballer. This had the potential to be serious. They opened the wound last week, cleaned it all out and left it open. "They are monitoring it every day and hopefully on Wednesday it will be closed again and he will be completely okay. "It is a real shame for the guy. He has had so many problems over the last six months and everybody feels bad. He is in hospital for a few days to make sure the ankle remains clean. "It looks like he is going to be okay and he will recover but it is another stroke of incredible bad luck for him." While Naysmith ended all speculation about his future in the summer as he signed a new contract that ties him to the Blues until 2008, he was desperate to banish the memories of last season. He became frustrated by a lack of first team opportunities owing to the form of Pistone and it appeared that Naysmith would have to move on, after making just 15 appearances. However, he held clear the air talks with Moyes in the summer and returned to pre-season training anxious to show he could become a first team regular. "I spoke to the manager in May and I had to admit it was the worst season of my career, " Naysmith said recently. "While it was the best in terms of success as a team, personally it was the worst for me since turning professional as a 17-year-old. "But I was delighted we got things sorted out with a new contract because I always wanted to stay. It was a horrible time to be injured."

Keeper Ruddy shines in reserves' triumph
Sep 6 2005 Liverpool Echo
JOHN RUDDY capped his first competitive appearance in an Everton shirt with a clean sheet last night as the reserves won 1-0 at Bolton. Ruddy was signed from Cambridge United for £250,000 at the end of last season and was ear-marked as a star of the future by manager David Moyes. The teenager produced a composed display last night that showed his experience from regular first-team football at Cambridge has served him well. For much of the evening he was little more than a spectator as the Toffees took the lead after just two minutes through Alan Kearney and dominated the opening hour. But when the home side turned the tables in the final 30 minutes at the Lancashire FA headquarters in Leyland it was Ruddy and the young defence in front of him who came to the fore. They frustrated Bolton in their search for an equaliser to secure the three points their performance merited. It was a young Everton team, with only midfielder Li Tie having represented the senior side in a competitive match. Academy prospect Kearney netted early on, firing into the roof of the net from a Victor Anichebe centre. There were further chances in the opening period for Everton but Bolton's defence denied them. Rhys Powell cleared a Hopkins header off the line and also diverted a centre from Li Tie away from Anichebe who was eagerly waiting to turn the ball in at the back post. The Blues were on top, but there was a timely reminder from striker Johann Smith on 35 minutes of how perilous a one-goal lead can be as the striker fired a shot against the inside of the upright. Try as they might, Everton couldn't add to their advantage in the second half. Howarth saved twice to deny first Hopkins and then Anichebe. Anichebe had the ball in the net in the 59th minute but it was ruled out because the referee ruled Hopkins had fouled Howarth in the build-up. The loss of skipper Mark Hughes midway through the second half because of injury buoyed the home side. And it took a Li Tie block to prevent Robert Sissons equalising late on.
Everton: Ruddy; Wynne, Hughes (Holt 68), Wright, Wilson; Phelan, Li Tie, Harris, Kearney; Anichebe, Hopkins. Not used: Lake, Downs, Irving, Morrison.

Moyes: I will keep the faith in tactics
Sep 7 2005 By David Prior Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES is reluctant to dispense with Everton's 4-5-1 formation despite his side's shot-shy opening to the new campaign. The Goodison club's failure to accrue another striker during the transfer window has focused the spotlight on just where the goals will be coming from over the ensuing months. A solitary goal is all Everton have to show for their first three Premiership games, and concerns have been raised that Moyes's determination to persist with a five-man midfield is limiting his side's scoring opportunities. But Moyes has defended the formation - and claimed its deployment at both Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge provided ample evidence of its worth.
He said: "More teams are playing five across the middle these days. There has been a big change in the Premiership about the systems teams play. "Look at Manchester United and Chelsea, they both play with one up front and they are two of the best teams in the country. "Maybe it is making this a bit less entertaining, but teams have to play to their strengths." The Scot added: "The midfield has improved. We have a good blend with Phil Neville, Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill and Simon Davies has improved us too. "Maybe teams are setting up more technically than in the past and people need to start bearing that in mind." One member of that midfield whom Moyes is looking forward to seeing again soon is Lee Carsley. The Republic of Ireland international has been out since the pre-season trip to Istanbul to play Fenerbahce because of a recurrence of the knee ligament injury sustained at Bolton on the final day of last season. Carsley should be back by the end of the month, and Moyes said: "We will be glad to have him back around the squad. He is a terrific character and he became someone last year who we relied on so much." Moyes continued: "The way he plays and what he gives the team sometimes went unnoticed but come the end of the season, the supporters really appreciated him. Cars will certainly be needed with the amount of games that we have got coming up." Carsley's international team-mate Kevin Kilbane, meanwhile, will make history if he starts for Brian Kerr's men against France tonight. The Goodison midfielder will equal Pat Bonner's Irish record of 34 consecutive international appearances in competitive matches if he plays at Lansdowne Road.
The 28-year-old's place in the side was in major doubt at the weekend after he was sidelined with a virus but he has recovered in time to be in contention for the game. Kilbane said: "I have been asked about it over in Ireland a few times but I have just got on with it and never looked too far ahead.
"It is good, it is really good just to get close to it. It started at West Brom and has gone through the whole of my Sunderland career and now my Everton career so it has been a long time."

Smith: I had no problem with keeper Myhre
By Chris Roberts, Daily Post
Sep 7 2005
SCOTLAND manager Walter Smith has denied any feud with Thomas Myhre after the Norwegian goalkeeper accused him of treating him unfairly during his time at Everton. The 31-year-old looked set to become the natural successor to Goodison Park legend, Neville Southall, when Howard Kendall signed him for £800,000 from Viking Stavanger in November 1997. Myhre helped maintain the club's Premiership status on the last day of the same season in the draw with Coventry. After Kendall departed in the wake of the disappointing campaign, Smith took over. Myhre kept his first-choice status for Smith's first season with the Blues, but found himself out in the cold the following year with Paul Gerrard preferred by the Goodison manager. The Norwegian was farmed out on loan to the Ibrox club before temporary spells with Birmingham, Tranmere and FC Copenhagen. Myhre secured a permanent exit from Everton in November 2001 when he joined Besiktas, but maintains there was "bad chemistry" with Smith.. The Charlton goalkeeper is now hoping to deny the Scotland coach any hope of claiming a play-off berth tonight. But Smith has shrugged off Myhre's claims, insisting there is no animosity on his part. He said: "I know Thomas very well. Every time he came in, he did an excellent job and is a very good goalkeeper. "I always like to think we had a decent relationship with all the players. "I had a slightly awkward time at Everton where I had to transfer a lot of players because of the financial difficulties, but our relationship was good. "I don't know anything about what he's been saying and I always felt we had reasonable relationship. Maybe I didn't pick him as much as I'd have liked, but he was injured a fair bit."

No place for Stevie, but Keane and Southall are in
By Alan Easel, Daily Post
Sep 7 2005
JAMIE CARRAGHER has selected an all-time great XI - with Neville Southall included but Roy Keane preferred to his Liverpools team-mate Steven Gerrard. The 27-year-old Anfield defender, who played in England's 1-0 win over Wales at the weekend, chose only Manchester United's Keane from the Premiership for the team he picked for FourFourTwo magazine. Rather than selecting Gerrard, David Beckham or Frank Lampard, Carragher went for Newcastle chief Graeme Souness, France playmaker Zinedine Zidane and former Liverpool winger John Barnes in his midfield, along with Keane. "Souey had everything," said Carragher. "Obviously Steven Gerrard is a great player and maybe in years to come he can compare to Souness, but I've seen videos of Graeme and he was probably more like Roy Keane and Glenn Hoddle rolled into one. "The Manchester United skipper (Keane) may be a little short of Souness in the passing department but he has so much drive, he can get forward into the box to score vital goals, and he can also put his foot in." Carragher's four defenders all played for AC Milan at some point of their careers, the club Liverpool beat in the Champions League final in May. Full-backs Paolo Maldini and Cafu played in the epic clash in Istanbul, which Liverpool won on penalties despite going 3-0 down by half-time, while Marcel Desailly and Franco Baresi complete the back four. Carragher added: "Baresi bossed simply the best club side I have ever seen - the Milan team of the late 1980s and early 1990s. "Basically he told the rest of them what to do and he was the main man in defence." Everton favourite Southall was Carragher's goalkeeper, while he opted for Marco van Basten and Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish up front. Arsenal's Thierry Henry was on the bench, alongside Carragher himself.

Cahill clocks up air miles
Sep 7 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL faces another gruelling trek around the globe in November - after Australia qualified for a World Cup play-off. Everton's influential midfielder, who scored for the Socceroos in their 7-0 stroll against the Solomon Islands in Sydney on Saturday, played again yesterday as the Australians won 2-1 in Hondiara to complete a comfortable 9-1 aggregate victory. But they will now face the fifth-placed South American team - currently Uruguay - in a two-legged playoff on November 12 and 16. Saturday, November 12 has been set aside for international fixtures, but the second leg comes just three days before Everton's trip to West Bromwich Albion. The Blues are already concerned by the amount of football and miles Cahill has clocked up, and two more fixtures in the southern hemisphere will not please boss David Moyes. Cahill has not enjoyed a complete summer break for two years - taking part in the Confederations Cup this summer and the Olympic Games the summer before. The midfielder is currently on his way back to England to prepare for Saturday's visit of Portsmouth. Republic of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane, meanwhile, hopes to make history for his country tonight. The Everton winger will match Pat Bonner's record of 34 consecutive international appearances in competitive matches if he plays against France in tonight's World Cup qualifier. Kilbane has recovered from a virus which affected him at the weekend and said: "It is really good just to get close to it. It started at West Brom, went through the whole of my Sunderland career and now my Everton career." If all goes according to plan, Kilbane will break the record outright in Cyprus next month. David Weir, meanwhile, is also away on international duty with the Scots in Norway, along with James McFadden. Simon Davies is with the Welsh squad, Phil Neville with England and Nuno Valente in Russia with Portugal.

McFadden told: Quit Blues to save career
Sep 7 2005 Liverpool Echo
TERRY BUTCHER has told James McFadden he must quit Everton in a bid to save his career. The Motherwell boss reluctantly agreed to sell McFadden to the Goodison club for £1.2million two years ago. The 22-year-old was tipped for the top after emerging as one of Scottish football's most exciting talents for club and country. But limited displays for Everton have led to the midfielder restricted to the Scotland bench, too, and Butcher says the time has come to move on. He said: "He is very frustrated and, for his own career, he will have to get away and start playing regular football. "James has not played regularly for two years. That hinders your progress, no matter what club you are at, and no matter how good a player you are. "He needs to get first team football so he can improve."

Stylish win will silence Blues' doubters
Sep 7 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
EVERTON must win their next game with style and conviction if they are to silence doubters. We have a good squad minus a proven striker. They have to play to the strengths of the existing squad, which means running off the ball, quick accurate passing and goals from midfield, with Arteta and Cahill coming through on the burst.
Roger Walsh,
THE BLUES left it far too late to make a bid for Robbie Keane last week. Even if we could have brought in Nugent from Preston, a 20-year-old from The Championship who has never played in the top flight, would always have been a gamble. What we need is a guaranteed goalscorer. That said, now the transfer window is closed, we should just put all our efforts on getting behind the boys at the weekend.
Jonathan David,
PHIL NEVILLE'S determination to play in the centre of midfield for the Blues and the selection of Luke Young for England at the weekend shows just what a good buy Moyes made in the former Man United star. Neville would have stood much more of a chance of playing for England instead of Charlton's right-back had he asked the manager to play him in defence, but he clearly puts club before country and that is just the kind of player we want at Goodison.
Bill Lightfoot,

Naysmith will get time to recover
Sep 8 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will give Gary Naysmith as much time as he needs to recover from his latest crushing injury setback. The Everton left-back faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after the club's medical staff discovered an infection in an ankle wound following surgery last month. He has now had three operations on his injured ankle since May. Given that Naysmith was not far off a return to full training, the news has come as a hammer blow both to player and a manager who also lost Alessandro Pistone to a season-long injury a couple of weeks ago. But having signed Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari to provide cover, Moyes will not be rushing Naysmith back ahead of schedule and has made it clear to the 26-year-old that there is no pressure to meet any deadlines. "It has been horrible for Gary, really," Moyes said today. "He was so desperate to be back for pre-season training and he had done quite a lot of running work but his ankle just didn't feel quite right. "We checked it out again and saw that the wound had become infected. He said after the second operation that he felt the wound was still seeping a little bit but we managed to get to it quickly. "Hopefully now this will be the end of it. Losing Sandro meant there would have been opportunities for Gary to get himself into the team but we have lost both of them now. "Football being the way it is means an opportunity as opened up for someone else and we have now brought in Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari for a little extra cover."

Ray and Rehn.. gone and almost forgotten
Sep 8 2005 By Philip J Redmond, Everton supporter
THIS Saturday against Portsmouth we're likely to see the debut of at least one of David Moyes's recent overseas signings. Nowadays no-one bats an eyelid when a continental star signs on the dotted line for Everton and it's easy to forget it's only 16 years since the Blues first dipped their toe into the foreign market. It was the summer of 1989 when Colin Harvey brought in two young foreign players, neither of whom would walk into a Goodison hall of fame. First up was the Swedish midfielder Stefan Rehn who cost about half a million pounds from Djurgarden but whose 12 months at Goodison were a nightmare. The record books state that Rehn started two games and made four substitute appearances for the Toffees, but speak to Evertonians and there's only one of those brief cameos that anyone ever remembers. It was October 1989 when Millwall came to Goodison and were beaten 2-1 by a late Norman Whiteside goal in a bruising encounter. Stefan came on midway through the first half to replace an injured colleague and was immediately shadowed by the Londoners' combative midfielder Terry Hurlock. By the hour Rehn was hawked off after been completely intimidated by the curlyheaded Cockney destroyer. This game would come to be Stefan's Everton watershed and he soon condemned as being too lightweight for the English game. Marginally more succesful was Dutch under-21 international Ray Atteveld, Harvey's £250,000 acquisition from Haarlem of Holland. In just under three seasons at Goodison, Ray made 53 starts and 12 sub appearances and weighed in with two goals, a mis-hit cross against Derby and a 25-yarder against Leeds in a League Cup game which the Blues lost 4-1 at home. Atteveld, a right-back or defensive midfielder, certainly wasn't a bad player but he suffered in a side that was a pale imitation of Howard Kendall's mid-80s dream team. The great man himself obviously wasn't too impressed with the Dutchman as he packed him off to Bristol City during his second spell in the Everton hotseat. Atteveld duly sank without trace. Since those early experiments, Everton have signed numerous internationals from all over the world, with many being unqualified sucesses and great crowd favourites. It'll be interesting to see how Messrs Ferrarri, Nuno Valente and van der Meyde fair at Goodison. I'd expect them to outlast poor Stefan Rehn.

The Jury
Sep 8 2005 Liverpool Echo
Everton missed out on a striker in the transfer window, so can James Vaughan have a bigger role to play?THE early promotion of young strikers has brought immediate reward in recent years as Francis Jeffers and Wayne Rooney both made impressions. But, unfortunately, they then left Goodison. The fortunes of Danny Cadamarteri and Michael Branch, however, suggest that this is not necessarily always the best policy. James Vaughan would be best served with a year's loan in the Football League, gaining the sort of experience that reserve team football does not provide. Leon Osman's spell at Derby is evidence of the benefits of a loan but, with a lack of striking options, Vaughan will be in David Moyes' thoughts until January at least, and with the 4-1-4-1 system, mainly as a substitute. His contribution should be in the Carling Cup and, should we reach them, the UEFA Cup group stages. His pace and energy is a useful quality to have, but at his age the emphasis should be on nurturing him and not destroying him.
JAMES VAUGHAN should be given the opportunity to play in the starting line-up to gain vital experience so he can mature into a great striker. From what I've seen of him, he has the determination to prove himself at this level, as well as the desire to give his best in a blue shirt. His pace is just what we need up front as most of our strikers are target men. If we played Vaughan in a twin strike-force it would give support to our other strikers, who have shown in recent games that they desperately need it. Everton have a history of producing youth players, especially strikers, as we've seen in players like Branch, Cadamarteri, Jeffers, Jevons, Rooney and Chadwick. However, they have moved on with varying degrees of success. In the end, it's all down to the manager and I'm sure Moyes will know when the time is right for Vaughan to perform in the first team.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
Everton missed out on a striker in the transfer window, so can James Vaughan have a bigger role to play? JAMES VAUGHAN can have a bigger role to play at Everton this season, especially before January, seeing as we only have three strikers on the books. But we must not put too much pressure or expectation on him. From what I've seen of him, he could be a good poacher, but he doesn't have the physical or mental maturity of someone like Rooney at the same age. We have a habit of throwing in young play-ers and building them up, only to see them fail and fade away - Branch and Cadamarteri spring instantly to mind. I think Vaughan should be used sparingly before Christmas, starting or coming on from the bench, mainly in the Carling Cup. David Moyes can blood him slowly, and then if we buy a striker in January he could go back to the reserves to go on loan to have more first team football. That's, of course, unless he has stunned us all and scored a hatful of goals!
IN the absence of new strikers it is hard to wonder where Everton's goals are going to come from. We don't have a choice in having to rely on James Vaughan. It would be good if he could continue his progress in the Reserves, but we only have a couple of strikers available. One of them is a great target man who we seem to be depending on a little bit too much recently; the other fights for everything but he just hasn't quite got what it takes to be an Everton player. The other is a £6m flop. Vaughan could provide a different system that we haven't seen at Everton since Rooney left, but he must not be compared to Rooney as he is a one-off. I just hope he doesn't make the same mistakes. The signs Vaughan is currently showing are very positive. He provides pace and power and every time he has played for Everton he has given 110%.

Your chance to win Everton's special kit
Sep 8 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIA members have the chance to win Everton's new third kit. The eye-catching amber and blue kit will not be available in stores until September 22, but you can get yours by answering the following question: Who scored Everton's winning goal at Bolton on August 21? Send your answers, along with your Evertonia membership number, to Dawn Farrelly, Marketing Department, Everton FC, Goodison Park, L4 4EL. The winner will be selected on Friday, September 30, so you still can still join Evertonia and be in with a chance of winning! We have also selected the winners for our derby mascot competition. We received a huge number of entries for the chance to be Everton's mascot or Toffee Lady for the Goodison derby in December. The winners are: Toffee Girl - Emma Stewart age 9 and Mascot Matthew Stewart age 7, both from Whiston. Don't forget Evertonia members receive two week ticket priority, so ensure you get your tickets before they go on general sale by joining Evertonia - visit our website or call 0870 442 0202 for further details.

Ex-Everton star exposed as drug dealer
Sep 8 2005 By James Glover, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton player Mark Ward was facing jail today after admitting he was a drugs dealer. Liverpool crown court heard he was arrested after more than four kilos of cocaine was found at a house in Prescot in May. The 42-year-old exfootballer pleaded guilty via video link from Walton jail to possessing cocaine with intent to supply. Judge John Phipps told him: " With an offence of this type a prison sentence is inevitable." The court heard that acting on intelligence police raided the house in McVinnie Road on May 12. Ward said he had rented the house for a drugs gang to use for the manufacture of crack cocaine. He told police he knew what was going on at the house but did not agree with it. Henry Ryding, prosecuting, said: "The Crown does not accept this or any of the matters put forward in mitigation of his position." However, two further charges of possession of crack cocaine and being involved in the production of class A drugs were dropped. Mr Ryding said that police would be taking Ward back to court under the proceeds of crime act to try to seize assets they say were paid for through crime. Ward, of Fazakerley Road, Prescot, was remanded in custody to reappear for sentence on October 4. At the time of the raid police said they had found up to £2.5m worth of the raw and refined drug and the equipment to produce dealer-sized packages. Police said the cocaine recovered was of such a high quality that it would have been combined with 27kg of benzo-caine also seized to make crack cocaine. They also said they had found around 0.5kg of crack cocaine but are unable to confirm that substance. Ward totted up a total transfer value of nearly £3m during his 16-year career as a professional footballer, taking in seven league clubs. His first rung on the ladder was a three-year spell with Everton as an apprentice, leaving for Oldham in 1983. Ward came back to Goodison Park in a £1.1m move from Manchester City in 1991, scoring one goal in his 82 league appearances.

John takes winning start in stride
Sep 8 2005 Liverpool Echo
MONDAY night marked John Ruddy's first appearance in an Everton shirt following his summer signing from Cambridge United. Evertonia caught up with the 18-year-old goalkeeper after the 1-0 reserve team victory over Bolton for his reaction. He said: "I was delighted to keep a clean sheet. I picked up where I left off with Cambridge. "Obviously, it was my first game in five months so it was difficult to get back into it. "But I felt I adapted myself well and it was good to get a game under my belt." Ruddy is a young player tipped for a big future at Goodison by manager David Moyes. The Blues' boss said: "John is a long-term signing but he has got plenty of potential. "We know that goalkeepers do develop a bit later."But he again has all the attributes and has already got quite a bit of league experience after last season with Cambridge."

No rest for Nuno as Pompey debut awaits
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Sep 9 2005
NUNO VALENTE looks set to be thrown straight into Everton's starting line-up against Portsmouth tomorrow - just 24 hours after joining up with his new club. The £1.5million signing from Porto will only meet his new teammates this morning but the injuries to Alessandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith means he will have barely enough time to learn their names before tasting a first slice of Premiership action. Valente has been on international duty with Portugal since clinching his move to Goodison a fortnight ago and arrived on Merseyside for the first time only yesterday. Assistant manager Alan Irvine said: "He has a great pedigree, he played for Porto and is the regular left-back for Portugal. "We have not seen him here yet other than during his brief visit for his medical, so we are looking forward to finally welcoming him properly to Bellefield. "Friday will be the first time he will see us and his new teammates and he is likely to be thrust into action on Saturday afternoon."

With Pistone's knee injury already having ended his season and Naysmith's return to fitness delayed indefinitely by an infection caused by ankle surgery, Irvine is confident Valente has the experience to cope with the hectic start to his Goodison career. "Everyone knows we have been looking for left-backs through the summer," added Irvine. "Gary Naysmith has had numerous set-backs with his ankle injury and then having resigned Alessandro Pistone, he then suffers a serious injury and will be out long-term. "So it was fortunate for us that a player of Nuno's calibre was available at very short notice." Naysmith has now undergone a further operation on his ankle, his third since May, but the arrival of Valente and Matteo Ferrari means he will not be rushed back to fitness. Manager David Moyes said: "It has been horrible for Gary, really. He was so desperate to be back for pre-season training and he had done quite a lot of running work but his ankle just didn't feel quite right. "We checked it out again and saw that the wound had become infected. He said after the second operation that he felt the wound was still seeping a little bit but we managed to get to it quickly.
"Hopefully now this will be the end of it. Losing Sandro meant there would have been opportunities for Gary to get himself into the team but we have lost both of them now. "Football being the way it is means an opportunity as opened up for someone else and we have now brought in Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari for a little extra cover." Another on the over-populated injury list, James Beattie, is close to full fitness after his recent to injury and is in with a slim chance of figuring tomorrow.

Drug-dealing ex-star facing long jail term
Daily Post
Sep 9 2005
He has shamed club, say fans. Graham Davies reports A FORMER Everton star is facing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment after yesterday admitting to being a drug dealer. Mark Ward, who played for the club during the 1980s and 1990s, faced his lowest moment as Liverpool Crown Court heard how he rented a house for a drugs gang to manufacture crack cocaine. Last night, supporters' groups spoke of their shock and disgust at hearing of the star's spectacular fall from grace. Dressed in a white T-shirt and appearing via videolink from Walton Prison, Ward, 42, from Prescot, yesterday cut a much different figure from the young midfielder once in demand among Premiership teams.
After the Liverpool-born player pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply, Judge John Phipps told him a prison sentence was inevitable. Last night, John Fitzpatrick of the Aintree Blues Supporters Club, said: "If he's a drug dealer, he deserves everything he gets, whether or not he played for Everton. "It's a shame that he's ended up going down this road, but it's of his own making. If he has brought shame on himself, then people can say he has brought shame on the club.
"I think people should no longer associate him with Everton." Paul Croft, of Croxteth Everton Supporters, said: "This has been a real shock for Evertonians. I've met him a few times at Everton dinners and he always seemed like a nice fellow, so this is unbelievable. "It's a real kick in the teeth for the club - there are some footballers you just don't expect to be involved in drugs." John Munro, of Everton Southport Supporters' Association, added: "If he goes down, there is no sympathy for what he's been doing, but it seems sad that someone who had so much going for him has ended up like this. It makes you wonder how he got to that stage. "Maybe jail will do him some good." Ward was arrested after four kilos (9lb) of crack cocaine was discovered during a police raid on the house he rented in Prescot in May. A large amount of an agent used to cut pure drugs was also discovered.
Ward admitted knowing what was going on in the house but denied being the owner of the drugs and said he did not agree with the operation. Henry Ryding, prosecuting, told the court: "The Crown does not accept this or any of the matters put forward in mitigation of his position." He added: "The defendant played an active role in the cutting and distribution of drugs within that premises and their onward distribution thereafter." However, two further charges of possession of crack cocaine and being involved in the production of Class A drugs were dropped. Mr Ryding said police would be taking Ward back to court under the Proceeds of Crime Act to try to seize assets they say were paid for through crime. Defence barrister Nicholas Johnson said: "The question is whether or not he had a proprietary interest in the drugs, or was he keeping the drugs for somebody else?

"Precisely what he was doing in the premises doesn't matter. More to the point is whose were the drugs?" Ward was remanded in custody to re-appear on October 4 for a hearing to determine what role he played in the drug operation, after which he will be sentenced. At the time of the raid, police said they had found up to £2.5m-worth of the drug and the equipment to produce dealer-sized packages. Police said the cocaine recovered was of such a high quality that it would have been combined with 27kg of Benzocaine also seized to make crack cocaine. They also said they found around 0.5kg of crack cocaine but are unable to confirm the substance. During his 16-year career as a professional footballer, Ward played for seven league clubs, with his total transfer value reaching nearly £3m. He began his career as a teenage apprentice with Everton, leaving for Oldham in 1983.
Ward won semi-professional honours for England as a rising name in the football world. He came back to Goodison in a £1.1m move from Manchester City in 1991. He made 89 appearances before a transfer to Birmingham in 1994. He retired in 1997.

Pompey points will help propel charge
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Sep 9 2005
WHILE Europe beckons again, with next Thursday's UEFA Cup first leg away in Bucharest, tomorrow's home game against Portsmouth is an important one for the Blues. Despite some decent performances so far in what has felt like a fragmented start to season - there doesn't feel like there's been a good run of games yet for teams to pick up any rhythm - the stark fact remains that of the five matches played so far, Everton have won one, drawn one and lost three. Granted, Villarreal and Manchester United represent teams as good as we're likely to face all season, but that only serves to emphasise that David Moyes' team have to make sure they pick up points against the likes of Pompey. Or as the pundits refer to them 'the so-called lesser team, no disrespect'. Our progress last season was built on taking the points that we expected to take, like the six from Portsmouth, as much as beating the likes of Liverpool and United. We couldn't really have asked for a tougher start to the season, and it certainly seems unlikely that we will be troubling the upper reaches of the table as early as we did last time around, when we built up the big stash of points that saw us through the relative slump that occurred after Christmas. There's no reason why we shouldn't expect to start moving up towards the right end of the table eventually though, especially if the new signings fit in and adapt to English football straight away. Andy van der Meyde is probably the one who the fans are most looking to see, as he seems the one most likely to add a bit more of an attacking dimension to the side. Moyes said in midweek that he has faith in the 4-5-1 system that more and more teams are adopting at club and international level, and that's fair enough, but it's clear that those sides who do the best with it - the likes of Chelsea - do have more attack-minded players on the flanks.
Those wide-men look to get up and support the target-man as often as possible, with the formation becoming almost a 4-3-3 when they are in possession, and presumably Moyes is planning something along similar lines for Everton when the Dutchman is fit, with either Kevin Kilbane or Simon Davies on the opposite side. Until then though, hopefully the players presently at the manager's disposal will have enough about them, whatever the formation, to get our season underway in earnest.

We'll add to Pompey woe vows Moyes
Sep 9 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes has backed his squad to deal with the burden of expectation as they prepared to take on Portsmouth at Goodison Park.Alain Perrin's side have been in wretched form, picking up just one point out of 12, meaning Everton will start hot favourites to take three points off Portsmouth as they did when the teams last met.However, Moyes - who is likely to give a debut to new signing Nuno Valente just hours after he flies in to Goodison - has been encouraged by the way Everton have played during the opening exchanges. He believes more of the same will be good enough to register their first win. "It was an important win against them last season and I remember it well as it was such a vital, late goal," said Moyes, recalling Leon Osman's last gasp winner against Portsmouth in January. "Every game is a must win. Every game you go out to try and do your best but this is an important game. It's easy for us to say that we have had a tough start to the season. "Most people do appreciate that. But now we get to a situation where we have got to play teams who folk are saying if Everton are what they are then they have got to get results. "But Portsmouth have brought in a few players in the last week or two, so they are looking to make improvements as well. "We do know the difficulty of the game but we have also got to make sure that we go about doing our job the best we can. If we keep performing the way we have, I'm sure the results come along." Moyes, nevertheless, knows Portsmouth will make things as hard as possible for Everton and place the onus on the home side to attack. The manager will have to make at least one change to his team as Phil Neville serves a one-match ban but will not make any decisions until he has checked the fitness of his international players. Valente was only due back at Belle-field today after being away with Portugal and Moyes has slight concerns about the exertions his players have had to deal with recently. "Any Premier League side going away from home will try and make it difficult, with the exception of two or three teams who have got the ammunition to attack all the time," Moyes pointed out. "It will be a tough game. We know that. Portsmouth have got a new manager and they are desperate to get up and running as well. "We have only played three games this season but it hasn't stopped for the players. The players here are on a real heavy shift and it is all completely new to them. "That's especially so when you think about the Champions League games, the friendlies, the World Cup matches and the opening to the season we've had. Most of them have been big, big games."

Osman up for goal mission
Sep 9 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HAVING played host to two true footballing sides so far this season, Everton can expect a completely different challenge at Goodison Park. While Villarreal and Manchester United were comfortable in possession, happy to prod and probe until an opening appeared, Portsmouth will arrive on Merseyside with one thing in mind - survival. Without a win in their opening four Premiership fixtures, Portsmouth are sure to make life as difficult as possible for Everton, content just to smuggle a point back to the south coast. So given the Blues have also struggled in front of goal so far this year, it could make for a difficult afternoon. Leon Osman, however, is confident Everton will be up to the task. Osman, after all, has fond memories of Portsmouth's last visit to Good-ison as he popped up with an injury time winner that breathed fresh life into Everton's Champions League push. That goal ensured the 24-year-old grabbed the headlines after the game. He, though, is quick to point out it was the determination and resilience of David Moyes' men that saved the day. "It was a game in which we felt we were always on top and we should have been winning quite comfortable," recalled Osman, who chipped in with another six valuable Premiership goals last season."But as time ticked by, it looked like it wasn't going to be. But then the ball fell to my feet just in the nick of time and thankfully I managed to put it away."Christmas is always a difficult period but with us having such a small squad it was more difficult for us than some other teams. "The gaffer freshened things up that night with a few fresh faces and it worked for us because we were the team still going strong in the 94th minute." Success, nevertheless, breeds expectancy and Osman appreciates that many people will have the Blues down as 'home banker' material against a Portsmouth side seemingly short on confidence. "They have had a shaky start and these are the teams that come to Goodison who we are always expected to beat, especially as we did so well last season," Osman continued. "People come here and think they can just shut up shop and hopefully get a draw. That leaves the onus on us to break teams down and that's what we'll be trying to do." With Phil Neville suspended, Osman is likely to play alongside Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta in the centre of midfield, should Moyes keeps faith with the 4-5-1 system he has deployed thus far. It is a style of play that has allowed Everton to enjoy plenty of possession in the majority of their matches but results show that substance - a cutting edge - has been missing from the style. All the more frustrating, then, that the Blues have had to wait two weeks to get their last performance against Fulham out of their system because of the break for internationals. Osman says the squad has reconvened with an appetite to put things right. "For all the games we have played so far, we have done all the pressing and we have had a lot of good play except for the Fulham game," he said. "We have had a lot of chances and not got the wins that we might have deserved. Against Fulham we had pretty much all the play and no chances. "That's football, though, and we are all desperate to get back out there, create the chances that we usually do and then put some away." Osman was one of the few Everton players not to be called away for international duty, allowing the chance to recharge his batteries after a hectic and demanding start to the campaign. But having had the chance to reflect on the first five games, the Blues midfielder stresses that there is nothing better than being involved in big matches on a regular basis. "That's what we played so hard for last season," Osman, who signed a new extended contract during the summer, pointed out. "It was to be involved in the big games and we have had a few of them to start the season off. Results haven't always gone our way but we will be trying to put that right. "If you want to be up near the top of the league and challenging for things, you are going to be playing big games every week. That's the way it is and it's how we like it."

He lived life on the edge
Sep 9 2005 By Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
HE WAS the home-grown player with the bubbly personality who loved a good time. On the pitch Mark Ward was respected for his never-say-die attitude, and in the dressing room he was loved for his down-to-earth charm. But behind the smile hid a potential for self destruction which ultimately led to his downfall. Liverpool-born Ward joined his boyhood heroes Everton from Manchester City in 1991. A protege of Howard Kendall, he quickly won over the Goodison crowd with his workmanlike displays and useful goals. One ex-team-mate, who asked not to be named, said: "Wardy was always close to the edge in a way, but he was never into drugs when he was playing. "He charged head on into things on the pitch and was like that off it. Some of the people around him were obvious wrong 'uns who we all used to steer clear of." After hanging up his boots in 1997, Ward's world was rocked by a painful divorce. Despite a short stint in lower league management with Northwich Victoria, things started to unravel. "Just when he was coping with the transition from being a player to being a non-player his marriage broke up," added Ward's ex-teammate. "That process is hard enough as it is and he probably needed a bit of support then. After that he fell into depression." Family-man Ward emerged from the divorce with a substantial chunk of his career-savings gone. He turned to gambling and began to pick up debts. His solicitor Len Font said: "He got himself involved in something that was completely out of his depth. "Bad investment and divorce ate into any nest-egg he might have had." Liverpool University football expert Dr Rogan Taylor sums up the scenario. "There is evidence that likens playing professional football to drug addiction. The problem is, as every player will say, the greatest thing is playing and they often don't realise it. "Leaving the game must be hard to take and some are more successful at dealing with it than others." I can't condone what has happened - no-one can. But he's a lovely lad, and a mate
EX-TEAM-MATES of Mark Ward today reacted with shock and sadness at his fall from grace. They described the former left-winger as a loveable rogue who kept the the dressing room in high spirits with his sense of fun. Former Toffees skipper Dave Watson, who captained Ward, said he was devastated when he learned of the drugs arrest. He said: "He was the character who was always keeping the dressing room going. He was such a likeable, wholehearted lad. "I think Mark had gone through some tough times and while I can't condone what he has admitted to, I remember the great bloke he was at the club." John Ebbrell, a member of Joe Royle's famous Dogs of War side, also has fond memories of playing alongside Ward.He said: "I can't condone what has happened - noone can. But I love the bones of Mark. He's a lovely lad, and a mate."Former Everton manager Howard Kendall refused to comment on the court case but praised the on-pitch performance of the winger."I signed Mark twice and that should prove that I always thought very highly of him as a player."Other former players were less complimentary. One simply said: "What he's admitted is disgraceful and he's let himself and the fans down by dealing in drugs."
Prison term 'inevitable'
SHAMED ex-footballer Mark Ward today faced jail for dealing crack cocaine in Merseyside. The former Everton star was arrested after a massive haul of the class A drug was found at a house in Prescot in May. He pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with inent to supply at Liverpool crown court yesterday and was told a prision term was "inevitable". Drug squad officers acting on intelligence raided a house in McVinnery Road on May 12. Ward said he had rented the house for a gang of dealers to hide their stash of drugs and money. He told police he knew what was going on at the house, but did not agree with it. Henry Ryding, prosecuting, told the court: "The Crown does not accept this or any of the matters put forward in mitigation of his position." Two further charges of possession of crack cocaine and being involved in the production of Class A drugs were dropped. Mr Ryding said police would be taking Ward back to court under the Proceeds of Crime Act to try and seize assets they said were paid for through crime. Ward, of Fazakerley Road, Prescot, was remanded in custody to reappear for sentence on October 4. At the time of the raid police said they had found up to £2.5m worth of the raw and refined drug and the equipment to produce dealer-sized packages. Police said the cocaine recovered was of such a high quality that it would have been combined with 27kg of Benzocaine also seized to make crack cocaine. They also said they had found around 0.5kg of crack cocaine but are unable to confirm that substance.

Foreign legion
Sep 9 2005 Liverpool Echo
PORTSMOUTH boss Alain Perrin may field an entire team of non-British players against Everton tomorrow. Chelsea, Arsenal and Bolton have done so in the past, and Portsmouth could become the fourth Premiership club to select an all-foreign line-up. Portsmouth have players from 19 countries and Perrin insisted: "If it is in the best interests of the team I will play with a team full of foreigners."

Cost of football just a ticket to deride!
Sep 9 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT wasn't a misprint. You really can buy a ticket for Everton's match in Bucharest next week for £3.50. And the price printed for the visit to Arsenal four days later was also correct - exactly ten times the price at £35. While Bucharest is far from typical of European football, the price disparity does conveniently highlight the vast difference between the cost of watching football in Europe. We are being ripped off - and a few worrying gaps on our terraces suggest some fans have had enough. Newcastle, home to 'the most passionate fans in the country' (copyright Sky) couldn't sell out an FA Cup semi-final last season - against Manchester United. Newly-promoted Sunderland kicked off their Premiership adventure against Charlton this season with 15,000 empty seats in the Stadium of Light. Aston Villa were 10,000 down for the opening day visit of Bolton, while Fulham entertained Birmingham in front of just 16,000 spectators. The gaps in the Championship crowds were even more noticeable - Sheffield United topping the early table, in front of rows and rows of empty seats at their 28,000-capacity Bramall Lane ground. While Tony Blair still tries to play the populist vote by embarrassingly booting balls wide of a goal in China, the Liberal Democrats have spotted the rip-off. Spokesman for Sport, Don Foster, revealed last month that: An Arsenal season ticket is 10 times more expensive than an AC Milan season ticket. On average, a season ticket to watch an English Premiership side costs six times more than a Serie A side (and that includes both Milan clubs, Juventus and AS Roma), more than five times that in France, and three times that of a Spanish season ticket. In other words you can watch Real Madrid for about £200 a season, but it will cost you £600 for a similar privilege at Sunderland. There are signs of a fans revolt. Gates were down on average last season. Many fans refuse to travel any more given the exorbitant cost of a day out - especially in London (Chelsea charged up to £48 last season, Tottenham and Crystal Palace up to £40). Here on Merseyside it has been a full calendar month since Everton last played a home match. They entertain Portsmouth tomorrow, where mindful of falling gates, and maybe sympathetic to the high price of watching football, Everton have offered half-price tickets to season ticket holders. They are still well short of capacity. The highest average attendance in Europe is not Manchester United, Real Madrid nor Barcelona. It is Borussia Dortmund - and the Bundesliga boasts easily the best average gates in Europe. Just look at their opening day of the season - Bayern Munich 66,000, Hamburg 41,877, Koln 50,000, Eintracht Frankfurt 42,000, Schalke 61,210 - and that's with Dortmund playing away from home - they attracted 81,000 the following weekend. The Bundesliga is also one of the cheapest leagues to watch in Europe. That is surely no coincidence. Southern discomfort is so amusing THE reaction to England's defeat in Belfast on Wednesday should worry the FA, more than the actual embarrassing scoreline itself. The burberry wearing, George Cross waving Chavs of the southern counties might have prickled with indignation. Up here most people laughed. They chuckled at preening, overpaid prima donnas being brought crashing back down to earth - and simply breathed a sigh of relief that Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Phil Neville came back to Merseyside uninjured. Few fans have an affinity with international footballers any more. Northern Ireland's more modesty paid artisans deserved the plaudits. What's the colour of your sky, Freddy? FREDDY SHEPHERD undoubtedly played a blinder in luring Michael Owen to Tyneside - until he opened his mouth, that is. "Alan Shearer reminded Michael Owen he had this same decision a decade ago when he left Blackburn and could have gone to Manchester United. He chose Newcastle and look what it has done for him." Yes, just look. While United have raked in five Premiership titles, two FA Cups and a European Champions League, Newcastle have, err, won nothing. They did reach the final of the tournament that doesn't have a trophy in 2001, mind, the Intertoto Cup. Maybe that's what Freddy meant.
Ref's word must be law
FIFA ordered a replay between Bahrain and Uzbekistan this week, because the Japanese referee made "a technical error." A penalty was disallowed because an attacking player encroached into the penalty area, but rather than order a retake, the official awarded a free-kick to Bahrain. Now I have some personal experience here. I suffered a similar fate many years ago when my clinically converted penalty for Leisure Sport in the Southport and District League was disallowed, because "the goalkeeper moved." My perhaps overly vehement suggestions that we would be there all night, because the goalkeeper would always move and I would always score, did not receive a sympathetic hearing from the rattled ref. Of course my retake was saved, the subsequent red card I received ensured I had plenty of time to consider the repercussions of dissent. And the match was never replayed. Which should also have been the outcome of the Bahrain debacle. Was the Japanese referee's technical error any more inexplicable than the phantom foul Pierluigi Collina claimed he saw last month? The referee's word should be law. Even when he's hope-lessly wrong.

Keep your nose out of Blues business
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Sep 10 2005
DAVID MOYES has hit back at Terry Butcher after the former England captain claimed James McFadden's future would be best served by leaving Goodison. Motherwell manager Butcher, who sold McFadden to Everton for £1.25million in 2003, believes the winger's career has stalled on Merseyside and his hopes of regular international action for Scotland depend on him establishing himself elsewhere. Moyes, however, is pleased with McFadden's steady development at Goodison - the 22-year-old played all 90 minutes of Scotland's excellent World Cup qualifying victory in Norway on Wednesday - and has urged Butcher to concentrate on his own players. "I wouldn't comment about players at other clubs," said Moyes. "I think the job's too hard, certainly at my club.
"I've tended to find that it's enough to concentrate on one job and one group of players, but maybe he's able to do that. "I would never dream of commenting about other people's play-ers."

Butcher has garnered something of an outspoken reputation through various media outlets in recent weeks, and as well as his comments regarding McFadden has also vented strong opinions about Sven-Goran Eriksson. And Moyes added: "Maybe Terry finds his job easy at Mother-well and has got time to comment on England managers and England players and Scotland players. "James certainly has a big future, and he's never been far away from Everton's line-up. He'll be a part this year, and the fact he's come on in quite a few games this year will continue and hopefully his progression will continue. "He came from Scotland as a young player and we have to try and keep developing that. He's a young player and it's a big step up for him." Moyes continued: "We've been relatively pleased with the things he's done and he's always been there or thereabouts the team or the squad. "We're all probably still making our mind up about where his best position is. He can play wide on the right, wide on the left, he can play through the middle. We need the versatility, that's why he was used in different places for us last year and will be used in different places this year for us." McFadden received further support yesterday from Moyes's successor at Preston, Billy Davies, who has been linked with a loan move for the player. He said: "He's a player I'd love to have at Preston North End, don't get me wrong, he's a wonderful football player but he's with a big club at the moment and, as far as I'm concerned, I don't really see anything much taking place because of the club he's at and the situation. "James McFadden is a player I rate very highly, he's a player I admire and he's a player I think would be wonderful for Preston but that's as far as it goes. "There has been no contact and no other movement apart from an admiration from me to him. He was a pleasure to work with when I was at Moth-erwell and it would be great to see somebody like James McFadden at Deep-dale but that's as far as it goes. "It's only an admiration from me. Like many other players in the Premiership there are loads that we'd like to have at Preston." Everton resume their Premiership campaign today at home to lowly Portsmouth, looking to secure a first home win of the season. Moyes is hopeful Nuno Valente, a £1.5million purchase from Porto, will make his debut - although the left-back gave his new side a scare yesterday when he turned up at Belle-field with an ankle knock picked up in midweek international action. He should be fit, and is desperately needed with Alessandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith injured and Phil Neville suspended. Striker James Beattie returned to training on Thursday after suffering a toe injury in the opening-day defeat by Manchester United, but is unlikely to be risked even on the bench with the prospect that he will travel in the squad for the UEFA Cup tie with Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday.

Vaughan surgery blow for Everton
By David Prior, Daily Post
Sep 10 2005
EVERTON were last night dealt another serious injury setback with the news that James Vaughan requires knee cartilage surgery. The 17-year-old striker, who had been in line for more first-team action over the coming weeks, will now be sidelined for between six and eight weeks. Vaughan picked up the problem while on international duty with England under-19s, but Everton's medical staff were only able to make a full diagnosis yesterday. Moyes said: "James twisted his knee during duty with the England U19 team. After further investigations and a scan he will require a cartilage operation and is likely to be missing for between six to eight weeks." Vaughan's injury is the latest to hit the Everton squad this season following long-term victims Gary Naysmith, Alessandro Pistone and Lee Carsley. Fellow Goodison striker James Beattie has also been sidelined in recent weeks by a toe injury.

Everton 0, Portsmouth 1 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Sep 12 2005
THE City of Manchester Stadium has never seemed as far away to David Moyes as it did on Saturday evening. It was exactly a year ago when Everton's fine opening to the season was further underlined by a win at Manchester City, in which Tim Cahill announced his arrival at the club by scoring the winner before receiving the daftest of red cards for his subsequent celebration. Fast forward to present day, however, and things couldn't be more different. Everton continue to stumble through a stuttering start to this campaign, reaching a new low at the weekend with a first league defeat in almost 48 years to struggling Portsmouth. And Cahill, hampered by the twin responsibilities of international football and having to again shoulder the burden of goalscoring from his shot-shy striking team-mates, has thus far shown little of the quality that thrust him to Premiership prominence. If, as Moyes insisted before the match, Saturday represented the "proper" beginning to his team's season, the evidence suggests Everton supporters are in for yet another autumn of toil and turbulence, their full-time boos and jeers passing verdict on a desperate display. It really was that bad. It's one thing to be outpassed by Villar-real and undone by the superior nous of Manchester United, but to be embarrassed at home by a Portsmouth side that had won just two points out of 33 on their travels and hadn't won away since Boxing Day last year? The grumbles were justified. Five defeats from six games so far this season does not make for good reading, no matter who the opposition have been. The players are adamant dressing-room morale remains unaffected and they are confident the corner will be turned, but Saturday's performance gave little impression of this happening any time soon. With the honourable exception of the excellent Joseph Yobo, not one of Everton's players did themselves justice. Each fell way below the standards they have set themselves over the past 12 months; individually and collectively, they were poor. Yes, it came after a trying international week for many of the players - which went some way to explaining the home side's slow start to the match - but the same could be said for Portsmouth. Everton must now call on the team spirit that provided the backbone to last season's success to help them overcome this testing period. Of course, the irony is that this display should come on the afternoon when Moyes, admittedly by default with Lee Carsley still injured and Phil Neville suspended, appeased those who have been clamouring for Everton to play two in attack. But rather than increase his team's attacking options, it served only to achieve the opposite while the lack of a holding midfielder exposed the defence to the pace of Portsmouth's Lomana Tresor LuaLua who, dropping off debutant striker Dario Silva, was afforded the freedom of Goodison in the first half. "We played a system that we felt suited us, but maybe people saw Everton have a reason for playing the way they do," said Moyes. "The absence of Phil Neville, and Lee Carsley for that matter, was a key factor and we looked a little bit open at the back because we did not have that holding midfielder. "Everyone has been going on about us playing two up front but let's be fair, it did not work. I had to play two up top and I don't think it was working at all." Moyes may have been surprisingly swift to dismiss the experiment afterwards, but he knows it is folly to rule out a future return to the more conventional 4-4-2, particularly once James Beattie reaches full fitness. That, though, will require something that is currently in short supply at Everton and will be until January at the earliest - strikers. Such is Moyes's predicament that, despite being clearly unfit, Beattie was thrown on during the second half to aid the search for an equaliser. James Vaughan's injury could not have come at a worse time.
Of the two forwards that started, Marcus Bent's nuisance value far outweighed his goal threat while the sands of time are now catching up with Duncan Ferguson, the big man's mind willing but the body unable, and his luck out following his unfortunate headed own goal on the hour that ultimately decided the game. That said, the service to the front men was woeful. The threat from the flanks was practically non-existent - new arrival Andy van der Meyde cannot be fit soon enough - while, as the deeper of the central midfield pairing, Mikel Arteta was too far removed from the attacking play to impose any influence on the game apart from at set-pieces. And once Everton went behind, it was back to the old faithful of belting the ball up into the box in the hope of Ferguson causing some mischief. Predictable, depressing and, once again, futile. But what of Cahill? The Australian had travelled halfway around the world and back to play in his country's World Cup qualifiers against the Solomon Islands, and it showed in a jaded performance. Yet the midfielder has looked out of sorts throughout these opening weeks and, after almost non-stop football for two years, he would benefit from a rest. Elsewhere, Nuno Valente experienced an eye-opening first taste of the Premiership.

The Portuguese, carrying a knock from a midweek international, struggled to meet the pace of the game early on, hardly surprising given his lack of match fitness at club level. He will improve.
Despite Everton's faults, credit must go to Portsmouth who, in the first half in particular, belied their lowly league placing with some fine play. In LuaLua they had the game's stellar performer, and with Liverpool reject Salif Diao bossing midfield - yes,, you read that right - they were hugely deserving winners. They dominated a first half in which the home side were simply outclassed. Martyn produced a fine save on 10 minutes to deny Silva after a neat one-two with Gary O'Neill, the keeper made a more routine stop from Laurent Robert, Brian Priske struck a long-range effort off target and another good Portsmouth move ended with Diao hooking a decent opening over the bar. Everton finally roused themselves into action towards the end of the half with Arteta forcing a ginger-tip save from Jamie Ashdown from a free kick before another set-piece from the Spaniard found Bent, who brought the best out of the Portsmouth goal-keeper. However, those chances sandwiched an even better one for the visitors, with Martyn only able to watch as LuaLua's 25-yard curler sailed over his head and crashed against the crossbar. Moyes's side began the brighter after the interval, Ferguson seeing a header from an Arteta corner cleared off the line by Priske and Dejan Stefanovic making a brilliant tackle to deny Cahill a shooting chance, but they fell behind on the hour when a Robert corner from the right was curled wickedly into the six-yard area and, challenging with Stefanovic, Ferguson only succeeded in heading the ball into his own net. Moyes made a triple substitution in an attempt to change the pattern of play, and while Everton dominated the final 20 minutes they lacked the finesse to force the equaliser. Beattie headed into the sidenetting, Valente fired in a brace of shots from range and another Ferguson header from an Arteta corner was clutched by Ashdown at the second attempt in the final minute. Now European football and a visit to Dinamo Bucharest await on Thursday. And unless Everton can rediscover their form quickly, their hard work of last season could soon go completely to waste.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Valente; Davies (McFadden 66), Arteta, Cahill, Kilbane (Osman 66); Ferguson, Bent (Beattie 66). Subs: Wright, Ferrari.
BOOKINGS: Davies, Valente (both fouls).
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): Ashdown; Priske, Stefanovic, O'Brien, Vignal; O'Neill, Hughes, Diao, Robert (Vukic 72); Silva (Viafara 71), LuaLua (Karadas 79). Subs: Westerveld, Griffin.
BOOKING: Hughes (foul).
REFEREE: M Atkinson
ATT: 36,831
NEXT GAME: Dinamo Bucharest v Everton, UEFA Cup, Thursday 7.45pm

Moyes hints at giving jaded Cahill a break
Sep 12 2005 By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES has admitted he may be forced to drop Tim Cahill if the Australian does not rediscover his goalscoring touch soon. And the Everton manager has hinted the midfielder may have to review his international commitments if they continue to affect his displays at Goodison. Cahill was again a subdued performer on Saturday as Everton slipped into the bottom three of the Premiership after a damaging 1-0 home defeat to Portsmouth. Everton have now lost five of their six games this season and scored just three goals in that time, with last season's top scorer Cahill having failed to net this campaign. The 25-year-old returned only late last week from a gruelling trip to play in both legs of his country's World Cup qualifying play-off against the Solomon Islands. And after having played for Australia in this summer's Confederations Cup and last year's Olympics, Moyes concedes a lack of sufficient rest may be hampering Cahill. "I am concerned," said the Everton manager. "He's not as dynamic maybe as he was, but we've seen that for a wee while. "Because we know he can score a goal you don't want him not in your team, but maybe we have to look at giving him a rest somewhere along the line. "We might have to do that to get the benefits later on in the season. Let's be fair, it's difficult when you've flown back from Australia and have to play again today, but you can't make excuses. He's going to have to improve his form and it's the same for many. "We employ him, he's paid by us, so we expect his performances to be for us. I might need to look at (the situation) if I don't see much improvement, but it would be wrong to single him out. "He gives us much more with what he's got. He could have got a couple of goals against Manchester United, he had a chance against Villarreal early on, maybe if he had got those goals we might be looking at it differently and saying he was back on song but because his goals really are a big part of his game, if he doesn't score them then you look at his performances slightly differently." Of Cahill's international commitments, Moyes added: "I think he will need to start looking at how it is going to affect him. "To be fair, the boy's played a lot of football, the Confederations Cup, the Olympics, he's not had a break, but we've got to be careful we don't keep saying it to him and that's actually the reason why. We have to tell him the opposite."
Moyes was hugely disappointed by Everton's display against Portsmouth, who had not won a Premiership away game since Boxing Day last year. With holding midfielders Lee Carsley injured and Phil Neville suspended, the manager opted to dispense with a 4-5-1 formation and play two in attack. Moyes has admitted that Everton's lack of goals could mean another change in tactics and formation. He said: "It's a concern we are not getting any goals. I don't have many options, although I can play Leon Osman and James McFadden up front and I'm going to have to consider them all now."

Yobo looks to a Euro tonic to lift gloom
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Sep 12 2005
JOSEPH YOBO admitted Everton owe their supporters a result in Bucharest after their dismal showing against Portsmouth. David Moyes's side travel to Romania to play Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday in the UEFA Cup after slipping into the Premiership bottom three following the 1-0 home defeat on Saturday. And Yobo admitted: "We have let the fans down. But we have got a game coming up on Thursday and we are going to get together as a team and show our strong mentality and try and get something out of the game in Bucharest. "Like the fans, we are disappointed with the start to the season. "We have talked between ourselves and we are eager to get out on Thursday and try and put a smile on the fans' faces because it has not been a good start to the season." Everton have now lost five of their six games this season, and Yobo continued: "I think we have been playing well and been unlucky not to win the games, but not on Saturday "We have been playing very well in the opening games and have been passing the ball around well, and we tried to do that again in the first half but we didn't create enough chances. "In the second half we tried to change our pattern of play and look for big Dunc. "Normally teams struggle against us when we hit the long balls but it didn't work out for us. Portsmouth were better than us on the day." Everton have scored only three goals in those six defeats, but centre-back Yobo is backing the strikers to come good.
"As a defender, when we score goals it takes the pressure off us and now that we are not scoring it makes things harder for us," he said.. "You can't put the blame on any one person, though. Duncan was trying to clear the ball but he was unlucky it went in. "We have a lot of good players up front and it's just not clicking for them at the moment. "They have a lot of goals in them, and hopefully in the next game we can start scoring and picking up points." Of the poor start to the season, Yobo added: "I don't think it's a matter of teams knowing what to expect from us. "This season we have played very well and have proved to people we can pass the ball. We have played better football but haven't really got the points. "Last season, a lot of teams came here and struggled. But after this defeat, better teams (than Portsmouth) are going to have confidence now to come here and get a result. "But we will bounce back strongly after this. We are very comfortable playing at home with the crowd behind us. "Even when we don't play well, we can get points at home and it won't be a problem."

Pain could wipe out all the gains
Sep 12 2005
View from the stands by Mark Mckenna Everton supporter, Daily Post
THAT was painful. When the players came out, I was certain it would be impossible to see anything more distressing than that woeful rhubarb and custard Portsmouth kit in a long while. Ninety minutes later and this X-rated performance proved me wrong. There can be no doubts that the better team won. Going into the game, we were all convinced this would be a cast-iron victory. As became apparent from the first whistle, the players also had this approach and thought they simply had to turn up to win. Everton were completely void in quality, movement and vision, but credit has to go to Portsmouth for their first half display. It was embarrassing to contrast the slick and imaginative link play between Lua Lua, Dario Silva and Robert with our one-dimensional long ball game. We desperately missed the presence of either Phil Neville or Lee Carsley in the centre of the pitch to orchestrate proceedings. Although he's only been here a couple of weeks, we missed the influence Neville has in talking to players and stepping up the tempo of the team. Only Arteta and Yobo came out of this one with genuine credit. His positional play will improve as he gains more experience, but Nuno Valente showed promising signs. Just as the excellent early form last season saw us become a fixture in the top six, a few more results like this could see us with too much ground to catch up on the likes of Tottenham and Charlton in the upper echelons. I hope the fear of facing Moyes's wrath again ensures a much-improved performance out in Bucharest on Thursday. If we witness anything like this display, then last season's efforts could be wasted.

Everton 0, Portsmouth 1 (Echo)
Sep 12 2005 By Dominic King at Goodison Park
HAVING spent most of last season convincing sceptics they didn't occupy a false position in the Premiership, Everton now face a battle to prove exactly the opposite. The league table tends to have an uneven look about it in the opening weeks of each new campaign and this one is no different, with Charlton and Manchester City among the early pacesetters, while Wigan are level on points with Arsenal. Trouble is, though, the table makes uncomfortable reading for Evertonians today and, after another galling defeat, this time at the hands of a poor Portsmouth side, those same sceptics will insist that David Moyes' men deserve to be in the bottom three. Moyes has spent much of the last few weeks pointing out that Everton have got the points their opening performances have deserved and, to a certain extent, that is true. It was significant, then, that the manager offered no excuses at the weekend. He knew, as did everyone else gathered inside Goodison Park, that Everton produced one of their poorest performances for some time against Portsmouth, arguably the worst since the shambolic 5-1 defeat at Manchester City in May 2004.
It was impossible to defend them. Portsmouth, after all, arrived on Merseyside with an abysmal away record and the Blues, in theory, should have had little trouble brushing a team comprised of misfits, cast-offs and journeymen to one side. Since beating Crystal Palace at Sel-hurst Park last Boxing Day, Portsmouth have played 12 times away from Fratton Park in the league and cup. Their record? Eleven defeats, one of which was at Goodison in January, and a draw. Given they had not beaten Everton in the league since November 1957, it was little wonder that bookmakers gave such long odds against Alan Perrin's men heading back to the south coast with three points. That they did was as much down to Everton's ineptitude, rather than Portsmouth producing anything spectacular. Yes, they may be neat in possession, but it would take huge optimism to forecast anything other than a relegation battle for them. How, then, did Everton make Portsmouth look like world beaters for 45 minutes? How did Pompey's defence look so comfortable sitting on a one goal lead in the final half hour? Why did the Blues fail to create one significant scoring chance from open play? Supporters have bemoaned long and hard the failure to sign a striker during the summer months, but how can the front men score goals if nothing is being created other than from set plays?
Everton could have fielded Michael Owen and Robbie Keane against Portsmouth, yet the scoreline would have probably stayed the same simply because there was no guile in midfield, though the admirable Mikel Arteta tried to provide it. Tim Cahill, so dynamic last year and the man who often provided a cutting edge, looks jaded, though that is not surprising considering the amount of football he has played during the last 18 months. The Australian international hardly had the ideal preparation for Portsmouth's visit considering he flew around the world and back to play twice for his country in the space of 72 hours. He needs a rest to get back to his best. Simon Davies and Kevin Kilbane also looked heavy-legged, and while Arteta did his best to galvanise things, he could have done with the support of either Lee Carsley or Phil Neville, both of whom were forced to watch the misery unfold in the stands. It became apparent from as early as the ninth minute that things would not go according to plan for Everton after Gary O'Neil skipped past Nuno Valente and teed up Dario Silva, from whom Nigel Martyn made an excellent save. Valente, looking short of match fitness, will get better but, nevertheless, he will want to erase his first game in an Everton shirt, as much of Portsmouth joy in the first half came with O'Neil scampering past him. One such run ended with Lomana Lua Lua crashing a shot against the bar. That fright briefly galvanised a response from Everton and either side of the break they went close with an Arteta free-kick that Jamie Ashdown saved well and a Duncan Ferguson header that was cleared off the line from Arteta's corner.
Once Portsmouth had gone ahead through Ferguson's own goal, however, it was quite clear that Everton were bereft of ideas and they became too reliant on the long ball to the Scottish striker, with which Portsmouth dealt comfortably. So, another defeat, and one that leaves Everton stuck in the bottom three alongside the shambles that is Newcastle United and a Sunderland side who will be relegated before the clocks go back. Those who have seen Everton play recently will know they are a much better side than that and there is sufficient quality in the squad to ensure that their stay in the drop zone is a brief one. That said, it is worrying that the Blues have lost 13 of their last 19 competitive games, and even more disturbing has been the recent inability to create chances. It means that Moyes and his staff are in for a busy time. The hard work begins now.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Valente; Davies (McFadden 66), Arteta, Cahill, Kilbane (Osman 66); Ferguson, Bent (Beattie 66). Subs: Wright, Ferrari.
BOOKINGS: Davies, Valente (both fouls).
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): Ashdown; Priske, Stefanovic, O'Brien, Vignal; O'Neill, Hughes, Diao, Robert (Vukic 72); Silva (Viafara 71), LuaLua (Karadas 79). Subs: Westerveld, Griffin.
BOOKING: Hughes (foul).
REFEREE: M Atkinson
ATT: 36,831

We'll make amends, vows Martyn
Sep 12 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
NIGEL MARTYN has promised Everton supporters a much improved performance in Bucharest to atone for their wretched display against Portsmouth. The Blues keeper could understand fans venting their frustrations after the 1-0 defeat, as David Moyes' men looked a pale imitation of the side that finished fourth in the Premier-ship last season. Though Everton have shown promise on occasions this year, they have struggled in recent weeks and Martyn admitted it was hugely disappointing they couldn't impose themselves on Portsmouth. However, the chance to make amends comes quickly for Everton with Thursday night's UEFA Cup tie against Dinamo Bucharest and Martyn is sure there will be a completely different approach. "The supporters see the fixture list and see Portsmouth at home as a match we should be winning," said Martyn, one of a handful of Everton players who emerged from the game with credit. "It is. But the fact is you have to give them some credit because they played well. But we weren't at the top of our game and that is the most disappointing thing. "We tried to pass the ball in the same way we have been doing. However, when a team doesn't come out, it is difficult to pass the ball through them. We didn't have any width or get any crosses in. "We tried to play through the middle but it was all too tight and when we tried to get down the sides, we couldn't do that either. "Bucharest will be a different type of game because there will be more onus on them to attack, so there should be more space for us to exploit and let's hope that's the case." Perhaps the most frustrating part of this latest reverse was the inability to create any clear cut chances, and Martyn accepts that is something that needs to be worked on swiftly. Everton's attack became all too predictable towards the end but the former England international believes valuable lessons can be learned from Portsmouth's approach. "It was very disappointing," Martyn added. "They have come and hit us on the counterattack and caused us a lot of problems, especially in the first half. "They came to frustrate us but, to be fair to them, I thought they did counter very well. Their front players were quick and got in behind us and got crosses in.
"They played the way we would have liked to have played. "They handled Duncan really well and though he won most headers in the second half, the ball just wasn't dropping for us like it did last season."

Danger signs in defeat that was just wretched
Sep 12 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RARELY can an early September match against Portsmouth have proved so pivotal. A win, against a team with a solitary away point since Boxing Day, and the massed ranks of Evertonians would have been shrugging and asking what all the fuss was about - ensconced safely in the top half of the table, rub-bing shoulders with Arsenal and riding high above their neighbours Liverpool once again. But instead defeat - a miserable, wretched, thoroughly deserved defeat - sees Everton languishing in the bottom three and, most worryingly, wondering where their next goal is coming from. Everton's previous losses this season had followed a similar theme - solid, purposeful performances let down by the lack of an incisive thrust in front of goal. But when that performance level drops in every other area, as it did so spectacularly against Portsmouth, the lack of a killer touch in front of goal becomes even more apparent. Pompey regularly ripped holes in Everton's rearguard, especially down a horribly exposed right flank, where Nuno Valente was often caught out of position. In midfield, the workmanlike Mikel Arteta apart, Everton were outfought and outthought - some statement when you consider Salif Diao was at the heart of it. And up front, well, Duncan Ferguson managed a few towering headers from hopeful punts, while Tim Cahill was denied what would have been Everton's first Premiership penalty at Goodison Park for two years, but that was it. Quite what David Moyes can do to rectify the problem is unclear. His candid comments after Saturday's woeful display suggested that we can expect a quick return to last season's successful 4-5-1 formation, certainly in Bucharest on Thursday. But the problem he has then is one that has troubled him for 12 months. When Wayne Rooney decided that " Once a Blue, Always a Blue" wasn't strictly true in his case, that left Marcus Bent as the only player capable of effectively playing the lone, front-running role. And he is mis-firing at present. James Beattie does not possess the mobility or the pace to do the job well, Ferguson ditto, and James Vaughan now tragically finds himself on the treatment table for the next few months. Add to that a shattered Tim Cahill, so often the hero arriving late in the penalty box last season, but the edge taken off his game so far by two consecutive summers of arduous international football and a series of trans-global flights, and you have a team clearly short of goal threat. Moyes pointed out on Saturday that James McFadden and Leon Osman could also do jobs in the forward line if necessary. But that's a little like saying Steve Watson could, too.
All three would, willingly, but their talents are better suited elsewhere. One simple fact remains: Everton's next home match against Wigan Athletic is now as close to a must-win game as you can have on September 24. By then, the Blues could be safely in the group stages of the UEFA Cup - and Saturday's shaky debutant, Valente, happier with some training sessions and some more football under his belt. But perhaps the busiest personnel at Goodison in the next three months will be the club scouts -scouring Europe for a goalscorer.

Blues find a boy wonder
Sep 12 2005 By Mike Hornby, Liverpool Echo
TODDLER Billy Corfield put aside years of hospital treatment and looked forward to a future on the football pitch. Billy, three, met Everton's David Moyes and James Beattie on a trip to the Blues' Bellefield training ground. The youngster was invited along after Moyes read in the ECHO about Billy's fight against liver disease. Billy became the first boy in the world to survive a usually fatal urea-cycle defect. Against all the odds, he received a clean bill of health from medical experts who say he is one of a kind. His successful fight for life is bringing hope to millions of other liver disease sufferers. His mother Vicky, 21, from Stockbridge Village, said: "When we found out that Billy was cured we wanted the whole world to know that there is hope. "When he had his picture taken for the ECHO, the only thing he wanted to wear was his beloved Everton kit. "David Moyes saw the story and invited us along - it was brilliant and Billy had a wonderful time." Boys with urea-cycle defect suffer high levels of ammonia, causing brain damage and death, the only hope is that the child will reach an age when a liver transplant can be carried out. He had the pioneering operation when he was one week old. Now Billy is fully cured, able to grow up without dialysis or a transplant.

Blues boss concerned by Cahill failure to find form
Sep 12 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES may have to consider handing Tim Cahill a rest cure if the Blues are to enjoy a goals return from the Australian international later in the season. Last season's top scorer has not enjoyed a summer break from football now for two years. After playing in the Olympic Games last year and the Confederations Cup competition this summer, he also spent 56 hours in the air last week in order to play two World Cup qualifiers for his country against the Solomon Islands. Boss Moyes admits he is concerned at the effect the international commitments are having on Cahill. "Yes, I am beginning to worry about Tim. He is maybe not as dynamic as he was last season, but we have seen that for a wee while," he explained.. "But because we know he can score you a goal you don't want him not in your team. Maybe we will have to look at giving him a rest somewhere along the line so we can get the benefits later on in the season. "Let's be fair. It's difficult when you have flown back from Australia and have to play again today. "But we can't make excuses. We employ him. He is paid by us and we expect his performances to be for us. "It's something I might need to look at if I don't see much improvement, but it would be wrong to single him out. "If you think about it he could have scored a couple against Manchester United, he had a chance against Villar-real early on and maybe if he'd have got those goals we'd have been looking at it differently and saying he was back on song. "But because his goals are such a big part of his game, if he doesn't score then you look at his performances slightly differently." Moyes admitted that with Phil Neville back from suspension for the trip to Bucharest in midweek, he would almost certainly restore the 4-5-1 formation he used away from home last season. "We have played a system which we thought suited us and maybe people might look at us today and say maybe Everton have got a reason for playing the way they have played," he added.. "I think we were right to play two up, but I don't think it was working.
"We didn't start at a good tempo, we didn't play forward enough. We didn't put them under any pressure. We hardly got any balls in their box in the opening 35 minutes. You have to get the ball in the opposition box to score goals. It's a concern that we are not getting any goals." Moyes also confirmed that James Beattie was only on the substitutes' bench because of a lack of strikers.
"Beattie only trained Thursday and Friday and was never close to play-ing," he said. "If we had had James Vaughan available we wouldn't even have put him on the bench."

Valente to use his European experience
By Paul Walker Daily Post Correspondent
Sep 13 2005
NUNO VALENTE is hoping his European experience will help Everton in their quest for Continental glory which starts in Bucharest on Thursday. Valente has already tasted European success, winning both the UEFA Cup and Champions with Porto under the guidance of Jose Mourinho. And the fullback, who made his Goodison debut in the disappointing defeat to Portsmouth at the weekend, hopes to use that experience to aid his new club. The Portugeuse left-back, who celebrated his 31st birthday yesterday, is keen for more success in Europe. And Thursday's UEFA Cup first round first leg match against Dinamo Bucharest will be his first taste of what he hopes will be many matches for David Moyes's side in Europe. He said: "Thursday will be my first match in the UEFA Cup with Everton but my spirit is to win cups. I have experience of winning cups in Europe. "I hope my experience will help but the most important thing is being together as a team and working hard as a team. It is very important to win the first game in the UEFA Cup and to do that we must be together." Meanwhile Everton's veteran stars have vowed to lift their colleagues ahead of the UEFA Cup trip to Dinamo Bucharest this week following the dreadful display that saw the team lose at home to Portsmouth at the weekend. Everton have won only one of six games this term and looked short of confidence and ideas as Pompey won their first game of the campaign and their first at Goodison Park since 1957. Experienced skipper David Weir and keeper Nigel Martyn know they must take the lead to ensure Everton do not fail in a second European competition this season, having already exited the Champions League at the qualifying stage. Weir said: "I will try to lift them, but the way the lads are they don't need lifting. "They know it is a setback but they are a good bunch of lads and they know we can't change what has happened now. We just have to put everything into the next game to put it right." He added: "Bucharest is a now a huge game for us. Every game is big for us though and they are coming thick and fast. You cannot let the disappointments lie. "We have to pick ourselves up, get on with it and focus on the big game coming up. We need to put in a big performance to repay the fans." Martyn also accepts there is a need for leadership, adding: "The supporters see the fixture list and see Portsmouth at home as a match we should be winning. "Certainly the lads will need lifting, but they know how important the game in Romania is on Thursday. "Portsmouth didn't really come out against us so it was hard to pass through them. Bucharest will be a different type of game because the onus will be on them to attack, so there should be more space to exploit. Let's hope that's the case." Everton will have Phil Neville back for the European match - the utility man was suspended for the Pompey clash. And midfielder Tim Cahill will have had more time to recover from his gruelling trip back from Australia last week where he played two internationals against the Solomon Islands and only arrived in England on Thursday evening. Cahill has been playing almost non-stop for two years because of international commitments, and Moyes said: "It is difficult to perform when you have just flown back from Australia." He added: "Certainly we missed Phil Neville, but he will be back for the Bucharest game, which is now more important than ever."

Back manager
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Sep 13 2005
Back manager
FANS who are slating the manager at the moment should shut up and be realistic. What, are you expecting to get in the top three this year? Get real: the top 10 will be good enough. We overachieved last year. So these fans who are constantly whining should go over the park where expectancy is the norm.
Colin Lyons (via e-mail)
Strike out
THERE is only one person to blame and that's David Moyes: 35,000 Evertonians knew we needed a striker, but the one man who decides Everton's fate decided otherwise.
E Madden, Liverpool
Even chance

MAYBE David Moyes should only manage in seasons that start with an even numbered year. 2004-5 - fourth, 2002-3 - seventh. But in 2003-4 - 17th what for 2005-6?
D Statham (via e-mail)
Tommy gone
IT WAS the same as the Fulham game. Left to right and right to left with no killer pass and no killer instinct. It is clear to see ever since Gravesen left we have not only been missing a goalscorer, but we are badly missing a midfield general to sort it out.
Terry Smith, Liverpool
Give me job
WHAT a joke, played four, lost three. I could do a better job of managing this lot.
We are not even using the battling ways we are famed for. We should draw 0-0 if we can't score.
W Duncan (via e-mail)

Valente will come good says Yobo
Sep 13 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO is backing Nuno Valente to become a Premiership success folllowing his baptism of fire against Portsmouth. Portugal international Valente made his debut for Everton in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat having had just one training session with his new teammates following his £1.4m move from Porto. Though he looked short of match fitness, Valente - a Champions League and UEFA Cup winner - did enough to suggest he has the ability to flourish in the English game. And having chaperoned the 30-year-old through a testing first 90 minutes in a Blue shirt, Yobo expects the athletic left-back to show his star quality on on a regular basis. "Nuno has just come in and only trained with us once before Portsmouth and that wasn't even a long session," said Yobo, one of Everton's top performers in the opening weeks of the campaign. "But he showed against Portsmouth that he is a good player. He has won the Champions League during his career and it is good to have him. "He has seen how we play now and he did very well because it is not easy to make your debut in the Premiership, even in front of your home crowd. "We have seen his qualities close up and we all know that he is a good player. As soon as he is match fit, he will add more to his game and he is going to be a big help to us." While the pace of the Premiership may have taken him a little by surprise, Valente has no regrets about accepting David Moyes' invitation to join Everton.
His career in Portugal came to an unsatisfying end following a fall-out with Porto's directors - they wanted him to retire from international football - but the move to England has lifted his spirits.
Now he wants to show Blues supporters what he can really do in the coming weeks and months, certain that Moyes' team have significant improvement in them "I enjoyed my first match in English football," reflected Valente, who stung Jamie Ashdown's hands with a 30-yard piledriver late on.
"It is a dream for me to play in England and it is a great shame we didn't win, but I just have to keep working. It was a really good atmosphere and that is what I had been looking forward to.
"I am very happy to be at Everton and I hope to help the side do well. We will improve after Saturday's result."

Dinamo Bucharest ticket details
Sep 13 2005 Liverpool Echo
TICKETS for Everton's UEFA Cup clash with Dinamo Bucharest at Goodison on Thursday September 29 are on sale now. Season ticket holders can purchase their own seat at a discounted rate of £20 for adults and £10 for juniors, upon production of cup priority voucher number 20. General sale starts on Monday September 19 where prices will rise to £25 for adults and £12 for juniors.
Admission to the game at Goodison will be by ticket only and tickets will not be available on the night.

Time to end famine with cup challenge
Sep 13 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TWENTY eventful years have passed since Everton made their sole appearance in a European final and confirmed themselves to be one of the finest sides on the continent. Bar one fleeting appearance in the Cup Winners Cup since that memorable night in Rotterdam, followers of the Blue faith have been forced to endure a famine. Seasons trickled by without Everton - betrayed by topsy-turvy league form - ever really getting the chance to re-establish themselves back amongst Europe's elite. Now, though, opportunity knocks on Everton's door. Their Champions League adventure may have ended in the cruellest fashion last month, but the UEFA Cup provides healthy compensation.
True, David Moyes' men have yet to set the world alight in the Premiership this season and have struggled to recapture the sparkling form that secured them a fourth place finish last year.
European football, however, can prove to be the catalyst to help Everton take their next positive step down the road of progress. Again, they have been handed a tricky qualifying assignment - Dinamo Bucharest are no strangers to playing in Europe and a hostile reception will await the Blues in Romania. However, Dinamo have never beaten English opposition in five attempts and are a poor imitation of the side that reached the 1984 European Cup semi-final. Provided Everton err on the side of caution in the first leg, they should not have too much difficulty seeing Bucharest off in the return on Merseyside and booking their place in the group stages. It has been too long since Goodison Park has bounced in anticipation of welcoming one of Europe's leading lights. The last time that happened was when Andy Gray, Graeme Sharp and Trevor Steven put Bayern Munich to the sword on April 24, 1985 in that never-to-be-forgotten Cup Winners' Cup semi--final. Nevertheless, should Everton clear the Bucharest hurdle, the chances of enjoying one of those special European evenings - the kind when the atmosphere lifts the hairs on the back of your neck and the famous old stadium crackles with anticipation - will infinitely increase. Take a glance through the teams competing and there is plenty to get excited about. Monaco, Seville, Bayer Leverkusen and Sampdoria are just four of the leading competitors. But make no mistake about it - Everton are not in this competition just to enjoy a couple of foreign jaunts and dip their toe in the water. The only intention is to make as big a splash as possible. A squad that was short on numbers last season has been handsomely boosted with eight new players - many of whom are European veterans - arriving during the transfer window. Phil Neville and Nuno Valente are both former winners of the Champions League, while Andy van der Meyde regularly hit the high spots with Ajax and Inter Milan. The presence of those players, along with veterans such as Nigel Martyn and David Weir, will be vital to help guide those squad members who are short on European experience.
While it promises to be an adventure on the pitch, there are one or two things that Everton will have to keep their eye on to ensure that the UEFA Cup can become a welcome attraction. For starters, the prize money on offer is nowhere near the levels of the affluent Champions League and the Goodison coffers will only start to swell if Everton reach the last eight and beyond. Also, playing on a Thursday night creates a problem in that many Premiership matches will now be moved back to Sundays, affecting attendance and TV games being changed. That said, the concept of being involved in the UEFA Cup is one that everyone connected with Everton Football Club will embrace. Having seen the reputation of the competition tarnished in recent years, the powers that be are eager to promote the image of the UEFA Cup and it can be guaranteed that the final in Eindhoven's Phillips Stadion will be a glittering affair. The challenge, now, is for Moyes and his players to make up for lost time and ensure that this return back onto the European scene will be the first of many in the years to come.

Bad luck forces Moyes' men to join second tier
Sep 13 2005 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
HAD Lady Luck been on their side, surely Everton would still be competing in the Champions League. It is doubtful they could have had a tougher draw in the third qualifying round. Villarreal proved they are a formidable side by finishing third in Spain's La Liga last season and their quality was certainly there for all to see when they arrived at Goodison for the first leg of the qualifier.
Evertonians had waited 34 years for a crack at the European Cup, but the Spaniards left the Blues with a mountain to climb after a superb demonstration of pass and move football. Villarreal moved the ball around at a bewitching pace. Luciano Figueroa, once of Birmingham City, took his opening goal magnificently. And the finish from Josico for the second, a 16-yard diving header, took the breath away and capped a wonderful move fashioned by Juan Riquelme. Debutantes Phil Neville and Simon Davies helped keep the Blues in contention, however. The Former Manchester United man was outstanding in the centre of midfield, shielding his back four and offering support to the attack. Davies' scampering forays down the wing were always promising, while striker James Beattie scrapped and battled for everything. He certainly deserved his goal, a scruffy strike that briefly pulled the Blues level. Everton rightfully flew to Spain for the second leg in optimistic mood, but once again luck was against them. David Moyes' men fought tooth and nail to complete mission impossible, but were ultimately denied by a diabolical refereeing decision by Perluigi Collina.
Everton's effort and desire deserved more, especially after fighting back from Juan Pablo Sorin's deflected 20th minute goal that strengthened Villarreal's grip on the tie. Backed by a huge travelling army of fans, the Blues refused to lie down. And after Mikel Arteta curled a wonderful free-kick past keeper Marian Barbosa, the visitors looked the more likely side to score a second. Eleven minutes after Arteta's strike Everton thought they had done just that, but sadly Collina intervened. As Duncan Ferguson put the ball into the back of the net, the Italian official baffled everyone by ruling Marcus Bent guilty of a foul on a defender. TV replays proved there had been no infringement. Desperately chasing the goal needed to force extra time, Everton were then caught on the counter attack in the dying minutes and Diego Forlan tapped home to kill off Everton's dreams. The Blues' performance meant they could return home with their heads held high, although Moyes was livid with the referee. The manager said: "It was a definite goal. There is no denying he has made a big mistake. We went for it towards the end and to get that goal chalked off, it was not right. "It makes the result hard to accept. It was a real tough game for us. I don't think we were the better team on the night, but we were never out of it."

I will help put Blues back on the map vows Arteta
Sep 13 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STANDING in a corridor deep inside the El Madrigal Stadium last month, the normally mild mannered Mikel Arteta was struggling to keep a lid on his emotions. With Everton's Champions League dream having been dashed in the most controversial manner, the Spanish midfielder was indignant with the refereeing of Pierluigi Collina. Try as he might, Arteta could not work out why the world's top official had disallowed a Duncan Ferguson goal and was furious that the Blues had been deprived of a place in the group stages. His frustration was understandable. He had scored Everton's goal against Villar-real to earn parity in the second leg and delivered the corner from which Ferguson thought he had scored. At the same time, though, the 23-year-old was quick to recognise that all was not lost. A place in the UEFA Cup, after all, was not something to be dismissed lightly. Three weeks on, that view hasn't changed. Arteta, in fact, shares an excitement and anticipation similar to all his teammates that the UEFA Cup could work wonders for Everton. Of course, it will take time for the painful memory of the goal that never was to ease but a resounding victory over Dinamo Bucharest would go some way to helping. That is why Arteta, a naturally confident character, will board the plane to Romania with a sense of optimism, certain the experience against Villarreal will stand them in good stead. "It was difficult against Villarreal because they are a very good side," said Arteta, recalling the 4-2 aggregate defeat. "They counter attack if you give them space and they were so dangerous. "They had great players and it was really difficult to decide how to play against them because they showed that they can do a lot of great things. "But we were unlucky because their first goal in the second leg was a deflection. But we are Everton and we will forget about these things. We will keep going and keep believing. "We always protect each other and that is a great thing. We have a tremendous team spirit. We are disappointed and we are frustrated because we did everything we could to get through. "But it is like the gaffer says. We should be proud of what we have achieved and hopefully now we can go on and do great things." Despite his tender years, a glance through Arteta's playing portfolio shows he already has a wealth of European experience and has played at some of the biggest stadiums on the continent. Having begun his career in Barcelona's youth academy, Arteta moved to play for Paris St Germain in Le Championnat and within a week of signing made his debut as an 18-year-old in a 1-1 draw with AC Milan in the San Siro. "It was one of the greatest experiences I could have wished for," Arteta,, a midfielder who plays with grace and style, recalled. "I was only 18 when I arrived in Paris. Then, one week later, I was playing in the San Siro. "It was incredible. I was never expecting to play in this type of game so soon but we did well and ended up drawing 1-1. There were so many good players in Paris at that time. "Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka, Ronaldinho and Laurent Robert were all in the squad. But that sort of fixture helps build team spirit and character. Looking back it was a great experience." There have been other memorable moments, however. During a spell with Glasgow Rangers, he scored a penalty against FC Copenhagen to send Rangers through to the Champions League group stages. He also appeared in both their games against Manchester United that season. But that is in the past and Arteta's sole focus now is to help the Blues pen a glorious new chapter in their illustrious history. There is no doubting the Champions League would have offered the perfect stage to do that, yet - as Arteta points out - there is still plenty of high-class opposition waiting in the UEFA Cup. A difficult start to the season could be quickly eradicated with a couple of authorative performances against Bucharest and the man who arrived from Real Sociedad is up for the challenge of helping Everton put themselves back on European football's map. "This is a real chance to show what we can do and I hope that we can manage the situation," said Arteta,, one of Everton's eight summer signings. "If we can win this tie, there is a big prize for us. "We are going to have more pressure on us than we had last year because people are now expecting more from us but we have to accept that and build a team around this pressure. "When you don't win, regardless of how you have played, you still go home and feel really angry. What is important is to try to get the results and if you play well then that is even better. "But now the most important thing is to get results. The lads are prepared. I am enjoying playing with our new play-ers. We have changed things from game to game depending on the opposition we have been playing but it is looking good. "We have brought in good quality players and once they have settled I think the team is going to feel the benefits. "We need to work hard on the ways we are going to play but we have a strong team with plenty of options and we are looking forward to the matches."

Dinamo feel pressure pile up
Sep 13 2005 By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
DINAMO boss Ioan Andone has enjoyed considerable success over the past five years but he has found himself under increasing pressure this season. The former Romania international made the move from Sportul Studentesc and replaced Cornel Dinu at the helm in October 2000 with Dinamo struggling in 10th place. He turned things around and helped the club lift the Romanian Cup in his first season, and a steady stream of silverware followed. In 2001/02 Dinamo won the title, the following year the cup, and in 2003/4 pulled off a memorable league and cup double, finishing six points clear of deadly rivals Steaua. Last season, they lost their league crown to Steaua by a single point, but eased the pain by lifting the cup. In the curtain-raiser for this season, Dinamo registered a 3-2 win over Steaua in the Romanian Super Cup final, but since then Andone's side have failed to shine. Twelve points out of a possible 15 leaves them just a point behind Steaua, but the fans are restless. Following a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Farul, Dinamo bounced back with 2-0 win at Poli Iasi, but the manner of the win failed to impress. At a recent board meeting former boss Dinu was appointed as the club's technical manager and Nicolae Badea, president of the board, handed manager Andone the dreaded vote of confidence. He said: "We want to reconfirm very clearly that Andone is still the trainer and he has the same responsibilities. "Our objectives haven't changed and the trainer needs all the support he can get, both from the executive management and the board."
Executive president Ioan Becali added: "We already have a trainer and we don't want to let him go. We will announce it if we want to dismiss him. We won't do it in secret. "We have Dinu and he will participate more in training sessions and tactical meetings, but Andone will still have responsibility for the results."
DINAMO Bucharest are one of three big clubs based in the Romanian capital. Formed in May 1948 by government decree, the team used to represent the police force. Nicknamed the Red Dogs, the club's colours are red and white. Dinamo were the first Romanian club to ever take part in the European Cup when back in August 1956 they faced Galatasaray. The first of their 17 Romanian Championship titles was won in 1956. Their glory years were through the 1970s and 1980s as they battled with arch rivals Steaua for supremacy. From 1992 they endured a barren spell which ended in 2000 with a league and cup double. Since then they have claimed two more league titles. Dinamo have won the Romanian Cup on 12 occasions and five times in the past six seasons. Bucharest rivals Steaua and Rapid are also involved in this season's UEFA Cup.
DINAMO added to their squad this summer with the acquisition of Romanian striker Florin Bratu from Nantes. Bratu moved from Rapid Bucharest in 2003 to Galatasaray in Turkey but left a year later to ply his trade in France. He turned down the chance to return to Rapid before signing for Dinamo. The Red Dogs also boast top marksman Claudiu Niculescu and talented Romanian international midfielder Vlad Munteanu. Skipper Florentin Petre and defender Gabriel Tamas are also current Romanian internationals. And despite the pressure currently on his shoulders, boss Ioan Andone believes Dinamo can end Everton's European hopes. He said: "Everton is not Chelsea, Manchester or Arsenal, but they are a strong team in England. Qualification depends very much on how we approach the first leg. "I'm convinced that Dinamo and generally all the Romanian teams can impose themselves in the confrontation with English teams like Everton if they give it their best.
"We hope to win on our own field, and then with a little bit of luck we can qualify."
DINAMO have met English opposition on five previous occasions in European competition and have yet to taste victory. In the first round of the Cup Winners Cup in 1968 they were knocked out 5-1 on aggregate by West Bromwich Albion. Two years later in the UEFA Cup their reward for beating Panathinaikos was a meeting with Liverpool but they were beaten 1-0 over two legs. Then in 1982/83 Dinamo were knocked out in the third round of the European Cup by Aston Villa. The following season they enjoyed their best run in the competition as they secured a semi-final clash with Liverpool. The Reds narrowly won the first leg at Anfield 1-0 but Dinamo's hopes of an upset were dashed in the return leg as Ian Rush's double sealed a 2-1 win. Liverpool went on to beat Roma on penalties in the final. The Romanians had a second chance to secure a first appearance in a major European final in 1990 but Anderlecht triumphed in their Cup Winners Cup semi-final. Dinamo's last meeting with an English side was in August last year when they lost their battle with Manchester United for a place in the lucrative group stages of the Champions League. United won the first leg in Romania 2-1 and then regis-tered a commanding 3-0 victory at Old Trafford. Alan Smith bagged a brace and substitute David Bellion added a third. Dinamo's consolation was a place in the UEFA Cup but they crashed out at the first hurdle, losing 3-1 on aggregate to Partizan Belgrade. Dinamo booked their place in the first round of this season's UEFA Cup with a 4-3 win on aggregate against Omonia Nicosia in their qualifier. Despite falling to a 2-1 defeat in Cyprus, Dinamo's 3-1 first leg victory ensured they went through 4-3 on aggregate. A goal from Vlad Munteanu and Ianis Zicu's brace in the first leg helped Dinamo bounce back after falling behind early on. To the increasing disassisfaction of the fans, Dinamo opted to sit back in the second half and protect their advantage.
The Romanian supporters reacted violently, throwing lit torches into the middle of the small band of Cypriot fans. Ten visiting supporters were taken to hospital suffering from burns.
EVERTON may notice some strange pre-match rituals in Bucharest. The Romanians are deeply superstituous and clubs like Dinamo hold blessings to ward off evil spirits and hire priests to bless their stands. It's a far cry from the days of communism when open expressions of religious faith were illegal. "It was not allowed to make the sign of the cross with our fingers," Dinamo boss Ioan Andone said. "But all of us made the sign with our tongues inside our mouths." The national team's bus never reverses when players are aboard and nobody is allowed to whistle while on it. Each player must step first with his right foot on to the field and they all put some grass from the pitch into their shirts.

Taxi! - but make sure you're not taken for a ride!
Sep 13 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BUCHAREST cannot even begin to lay claim to its old Twenties nickname of "the Paris of the Balkans." It is, however, no longer the living nightmare it became under the Ceausescu regime. Despite its obvious poverty, the city has been almost completely rebuilt since the 1980s and is now a Latin version of a Soviet city. There are modern hotels, night clubs, restaurants, internet cafes and ... yes, the ubiquitous McDonalds. Evertonians gained some small insight into the economy of Bucharest when the club printed ticket details for the first leg. A stand seat in Dinamo Bucharest's Stefan cel Mare Stadium costs just £3.50. Taxis are also absurdly cheap - but there is a shortage of them - and travelling fans are advised never to get into an unmarked cab; you will be conned at best, driven to a less than pretty area of town, beaten up and robbed at worst. Fans travelling independently are also advised not to use the cabs lining up outside the airport. They cost three times the price of a normal Bucharest cab firm, like Meridian or CrisTaxi. These firms are not allowed to wait outside the terminal, but will park opposite if they are telephoned. Other surprises can be found at smaller Romanian grounds, where sunflower seeds (seminte) are hawked around the ground by gypsies. But with Dinamo's ground being in the capital, Everton fans may be able to buy simple sandwiches and soft drinks . . . or, if they are really lucky, find a street-trader grilling up Turkish-style meatballs. Of course, it is the action on the pitch which will really interest Evertonians - and Dinamo fortunes slumped during the Nineties when they only won two titles, before changes were made to improve things. Virtually all the top stars were sold to foreign clubs -folk hero Florin Raducioiu joined West Ham - and fans believed the revenue generated was squandered by the bureaucrats who run the club. Discontent among supporters spilled over into crowd violence - a stand at rivals Steaua's ground in 1997 was set alight - and,, in 1997, their once proud European record hit rock bottom when they were knocked out of the UEFA Cup in the preliminary round by KR Reykjavik, the club Everton beat home and away two years earlier. Since then, however, Dinamo have rallied. But Blues fans will be hoping for a happy away day to Bucharest - on and off the pitch - and plenty more trips to follow!

Top pedigree that can prove so valuable
Sep 13 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HAVING arrived at Goodison Park festooned with medals, the influence of Nuno Valente will be crucial as Everton reacquaint themselves with European football. Snapped up by David Moyes just before the transfer window closed, Valente signed for the Blues on the back of a glowing recommendation from Jose Mourinho. It is not hard to see why. During his time with FC Porto, Valente became one of Mourinho's most valued foot soldiers, a key cog in the defence around which he built his team. Standing alongside Paolo Ferriera, Ricardo Carvalho and Jorge Costa, the Portugal international helped his unfashionable side defy the odds to become one of Europe's leading lights.
Strong in the tackle and always eager to get forward, Valente was rewarded for his sterling service with winners' gongs in the UEFA Cup, Champions League and World Club Champion-ship.
The high point, of course, was the 2004 Champions League victory over Monaco, when Porto cruised to a 3-0 win in Gelsenkirchen's Arena AufShalke. That final certainly finished on a better note for Valente than the previous season in Seville, when he was sent off for two bookable offences against Celtic in the UEFA Cup. He had, though, made a significant contribution to that 3-2 win, particularly with two goal-line clearances from Henrik Larsson. Things, nevertheless, turned sour for Valente and he was forced to move after falling out with Porto's directors, who wanted him to retire from international football. Their loss will be Everton's gain, particularly if they are faced with demanding trips to some obscure destinations. His experience will be vital. "I am very excited to have the chance to play in the Premiership," said Valente, who has been capped 20 times by Portugal and made his Everton debut against Portsmouth. "When I knew that I had to leave Porto, I wanted to test myself in another country and England was top of my list. Jose Mourinho told me Everton are a good club and I am grateful for his input." As is Moyes. Having lost Sandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith to long-term injuries, he could not believe his luck at signing a man with such a wonderful pedigree and is delighted to have him. "Nuno has got that little bit of experience and that will do us no harm. At the moment, it seems very much like a good deal. "I spoke to Jose Mourinho and he gave him a glowing report. He really did speak very well of him. He also recommended us to him, which was nice. "We all need a little bit of help sometimes when we are bringing players in. We knew all about Nuno playing in Portugal and we knew all about his quality. "What we didn't know enough about was his character, but Jose gave us a glowing report and that was good enough for us."

Blues motivated by Spanish heartache
Sep 13 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THE opportunity to lead Everton on a first Champions League adventure may have been dashed but David Moyes insists the UEFA Cup can still launch the Blues into a new successful era. While the manner of Everton's defeat against Villarreal still rankles Moyes, he is refusing to dwell on what might have been had fortune favoured his battling side in the El Madrigal Stadium. Some critics, of course, will argue that Everton will never get as close again to getting through to the Champions League group stages and they have missed their chance to tackle Europe's elite. Moyes, unsurprisingly, sees things in a completely different light. As a man who would never settle for second best, he won't be happy until matches against the continent's finest are commonplace.
Having seen the way Blues supporters made Goodison Park bounce when Villar-real came to town last month, Moyes wants to repay their faith by giving them more such occasions in the future.
So while Evertonians must wait patiently for another crack at the Champions League, Moyes is determined to maximise the potential of the UEFA Cup by ensuring there are no slip-ups against Dinamo Bucharest. "The job is to get a situation where this is a regular occurrence," said Moyes.
"Probably the hardest part to take is that we haven't been able to give the supporters more of the Champions League this season. "What we saw in Villarreal choked me. It really choked me that we couldn't give them more of what we had that night. The atmosphere at home against Villar-real was just as incredible really. "It made me realise what managers talk about when they discuss qualifying for the Champions League because it is the best competition to be in. "But we are going to try and make the UEFA Cup the best competition by getting through to the group stages and having a long run." Though the cast list of clubs in the UEFA Cup may not be as glamourous as its more vaunted sister competition, there are still plenty of distinguished names with whom Everton can lock horns providing they can see off Bucharest. Marseille and Monaco, Champions League finalists in 2004, head France's entry, Sampdoria and Roma are two of Serie A's representatives, while Hamburg and Hertha Berlin are participants from Die Bundesliga. They are all clubs with rich European pedigree and Moyes is desperate to create great nights against such opposition that will be talked about for years to come. "We want to get other big teams to Goodison Park," he continued. "But more importantly we need the experience of European football. We have missed out on that for so long.
"Certainly this group of players and myself as a manager need that experience as well because if it is not for this year, it will be for the coming years. "I know all about the great nights here, such as Bayern Munich 20 years ago, and my aim is to give those experiences back to the supporters. "European football offers a new challenge for most people at this club but it is obviously something that we want more of. We want to become accustomed to playing it." Nevertheless, Moyes and his players can be excused for having the occasional wistful thought about the Champions League, particularly when the name Pierluigi Collina is mentioned. Had the Italian official not disallowed what appeared to be a perfectly legitimate Duncan Ferguson goal in the second leg of the qualifier against Villarreal, the UEFA Cup would not have been on Everton's agenda. But, as it stands, Moyes will head to Romania with the rest of his squad determined to take the opening that lies in front of them - hopeful that all roads lead to the Phillips Stadion in Eindhoven next May. "If we had finished fifth or sixth last season and we were in the UEFA Cup, we would be thinking it was marvellous and we do," Moyes noted. "But I think we are still a little bit sore about the Champions League.
"I haven't quite got my head around not being in that competition, with the thrill and the buzz we had from that. "It still hurts me because Everton have waited an awful long time to get into the Champions League and we might have to wait an awful long time again. "There is no doubt that Villarreal were a good side and we had it tough. "We scored a goal that had given us an opportunity - maybe to score a third or force extra time - to get back to level pegging. "That is all we could have asked for before the game started. That rankles because it was a mistake by the referee. "I make mistakes but when I do I put my hands up. "But we won't dwell on it and we have got a lot to look forward to in the UEFA Cup because this is another chance. "We are in the UEFA Cup and we have got to do everything that we can to make sure that we get into the group stages. "We had to try and win the qualifier against Villarreal but we couldn't do that and we know that we are going to have a difficult task in Bucharest."

'This is what we worked so hard for'
Sep 13 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
GIVEN that FC Copenhagen and Cork City were two possible rivals, it would have been understandable had there been one or two groans when Everton were pitted against Dinamo Bucharest in the UEFA Cup. As the players were still coming to terms with being knocked out of the Champions League, facing up to a trip to the ramshackle, 15,000 capacity Stefan cel Mare stadium in Romania instead of heading to Milan or Madrid for some must have felt like they had lost a winning lottery ticket. Leon Osman, however, is only too happy to point out that was not the case at all. While the Champions League is the competition which everyone wants to be in, a place in the UEFA Cup is certainly no booby prize. The squad worked tirelessly last season to qualify for Europe, proving the doubters wrong in the process and that is why David Moyes' men are determined to make the most of each task that is put in front of them, no matter how far they have to travel.
"Out of all the English teams in the UEFA Cup, I think we got the toughest draw," said Osman,, who had no hesitation in extending his stay at Everton during the summer. "But that happens and we have got to knuckle down now over the two legs and make sure that we get the right result. "We worked so hard last year as a team and on a individual level, I got a reward for it. I'm delighted to be here with everything that is going on." Osman has no complaints about when or where Everton play in Europe, and you are unlikely to hear him grumbling about the speed at which fixtures have come up during the opening weeks of the season. With Champions League qualifiers and Premiership matches to contend with, there has been little chance to catch breath but the 24-year-old is revelling in the hectic pace. As he rightly suggests, the more games Everton play will show they are enjoying more and more success. "That's what we played so hard for last season," Osman continued.. "It was to be involved in the big games and we have had a few of them to start the season off. "Results haven't always gone our way but we will definitely be trying to put that right in the next couple of weeks. "If you want to be playing up near the top of the league and challenging for things like we want to, you are going to be playing big games every week. That's just the way it is and it's how we like it." The belief and assurance in Osman's voice reflects the mood that sweeps around the club's Bellefield training retreat at present. Finishing fourth in the Premiership last season has done wonders for the confidence of the squad and they are comfortable with their status as one of the top clubs in the league. Nevertheless, the challenge - as manager David Moyes has stressed - is to make sure Everton consolidate the progress they have made over the past 12 months and use this campaign to build for the future. Because now the players and supporters have had a taste of what it is like to rub shoulders with the best in Europe, they want it to become a regular occurrence
"If you had said at the start of last season that we would have been coming into this year playing in Europe, we would have been delighted," said Osman, whose ability to pop up with vital goals has made him a valuable member of Everton's first team pool. "It's a big step for the club. But hopefully it's not just a one off and we can show that it is going to be a stepping stone rather than anything else. "We want to progress from here. The fans were unbelievable in Villarreal and the atmosphere was something else. We want more of that in the future. "It seemed that we had more fans in their stadium than they did. If we progress that could become a regular thing."

Competition boosted by prestigious names
Sep 13 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE UEFA Cup may be the bridesmaid - but it is a particularly well groomed, splendidly turned out version this season. A look at the teams making up the first round draw made last month shows that Everton will not have it easy in Europe's secondary competition. Three European Cup winners, eight other European Cup finalists and the reigning UEFA Cup holders were all in the draw - and that's even before the third placed teams from the Champions League drift into the competition. That unwanted European derby match is still a possibility! Some of the more prestigious names who joined Everton in the first round draw included, Sampdoria, AS Roma, Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen. Hamburg, Marseille and Steaua Bucharest's reputation may have dimmed in recent years, but they still remain instantly recognisable European names. Older Blues fans will know all about Feyenoord - the Dutch team who have twice previously put Everton out of European competition. But before Everton can even contemplate reaching the group stages of the UEFA Cup - and a guaranteed four games - they must overcome Dinamo Bucharest, European Cup semi-finalists themselves as recently as 1984. That semi-final clash against Liverpool came in an age when a trip to Romania certainly raised eyebrows at least. The country then was in the iron grip of cruel dictator Nicolae Ceausescu - and army team Steaua Bucharest were his team. Dinamo were the team of the feared Securitae - the brutal secret police - and they met in the final of the 1986 Romanian Cup final.
The army team, Steau, led 1-0 when Dinamo equalised in the last minute. Steau claimed the goal was offside, but the referee signalled extra-time. Valentin Ceausescu, son of monstrous dictator Nicolae, sent a message down from the stands and the Steau side refused to take to the field. With players standing around and the referee trying to persuade Steau to continue, the TV screens around the country went dead. Everyone knew Valentin was behind the protest, but it didn't do to criticise a Ceausescu live on television. Dinamo defender Ioan Andone made a silent protest by dropping his shorts and mooning at Ceausescu junior. It couldn't have been fun sitting on the Romanian FA committee ruling on that incident. A verdict in favour of Dinamo would enrage the Ceausescus. But on the other hand Dinamo were the team of the feared Securitae secret police!
A replay would have raised eyebrows at UEFA. Dinamo were awarded the game as Steau were ruled to have forfeited. But to appease Valentin and family, a scapegoat was made of mooner Andone, who was banned for a full season. Modern Bucharest may not live up to its 1920s nickname of "The Paris of the Balkans," but neither is it a living nightmare any more. Poverty is still a major problem, but players who drop their shorts are unlikely to be banned for an entire season.

How slow starters rose to shine
Sep 13 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHEN Everton claimed their only European trophy 20 years ago, they grew into the campaign.
Held to the narrowest of margins in the opening round by the students and part-timers of University College Dublin, they rapidly gained confidence and eventually flourished. Inter Bratislava were beaten narrowly away, then comfortably at home. Fortuna Sittard followed and after stubborn resistance at Goodison, were eventually undone by a second half Andy Gray hat-trick. Everton never looked back - and Gray hopes that the modern Blues can grow into their European campaign the way the class of '84-85 did. He also hopes that nobody endures the same experience he underwent in the second leg of that Sittard clash. A glance at the record books will show that Andy Gray was named, but not used, as a substitute in the second leg of the quarter-final in Holland. According to Andy, now a highly regarded Sky TV analyst and Echo columnist, there was a very good reason for his non-appearance on the pitch. "I didn't play in Sittard because we were 3-0 up from the first leg and I had some trouble with my knee," he recalled. "Howard just said 'There's no point risking you because we've got important league games coming up. This game's won.' I was actually sub,, although I wasn't supposed to be sub. It's a funny story. "We're in the coach going to the game and Howard had taken me, Kevin Sheedy, Adrian Heath and one other, I think, who weren't playing. He'd taken us for the ride. "That's the kind of club it was. He's taken us for the trip. We're sitting in the coach and Howard's head's popped up. He said 'Andy can I have a word with you?' The four of us had been out having a few drinks the night before, enjoying the hospitality of the Dutch, because we weren't required to play. "Howard called me down and said 'I'm not too sure about this. I think I've made a mistake in the number of players I've brought. I don't think I've got enough. I'll have to make you sub.' "I said 'Howard, you can't make me sub! I was having a few drinks last night.' "He said 'It's alright. We're 3-0 up. This team has no chance of getting back in the game, but just on the off-chance they do, we'll stick you on the bench. "Don't say anything to anybody.' "So I ended up on the bench. The lads were killing themselves laughing." There was a happy ending that night, Everton winning 2-0 to secure a comfortable 5-0 aggregate passage into the semi-finals - then at the end of the season when Howard Kendall's side lifted the European Cup Winners' Cup.. Gray would be thrilled to see David Moyes' men add the UEFA Cup -- safe in the knowledge his own place in the history books is secure. "Nobody else can ever be the first Everton side to win a European competition. We were. No-one can take that away from us," said Gray,, proudly. "To a man we knew that if we managed to win that night we were going to create history, and I think everyone wanted it to be. "In 100 years' time people will still be looking at my name and saying 'Yeah, that's a piece of Everton history.' " Hopefully, David Moyes' men can add to that history this season.

Byrne's late double keeps Blues' cup hopes alive
Sep 13 2005 Liverpool Echo
LOCAL sides took a break from league action on Sunday as the Premier League Cup took centre stage. Everton beat Aston Villa 6-4 in a game which saw England defender Rachel Unitt face her father Terry, who is the manager of Aston Villa ladies. Everton didn't have the best of starts to the game. Despite having a host of chances to score, the Blues conceded two goals from Villa's Amber Quick and Shona Franklin in the opening 19 minutes. Franklin was a thorn in the Everton team, as her darting runs threatened the Blues defence regularly. The Toffees did find their goalscoring touch after their tenth shot on goal, when Chantelle Parry's effort took a massive deflection and looped into the net. Everton captain Leanne Duffy then levelled matters before half-time with a six-yard tap-in. The second half saw the Blues take the lead through a left-footed thunderbolt from Parry, her second of the game and then extended the advantage through Fara Williams to make it 4-2. A two-goal margin should have been enough but Villa pegged the Toffees back with goals from Hayley Packer and the ever-dangerous Franklin. But it was Everton's Tammy Byrne who saved the Blues from extra time, as her two late strikes put the them into the next round. Tranmere also booked their place in the second round with a 2-0 win over Brighton. Poor finishing in the first half meant the scores where level at the break. But goals from Vicky Abbot and Denise Campbell in the second half gave manager Shirley Waring her third win in three successive matches. The same couldn't be said for Liverpool as they failed to overcome Doncaster Rovers Belles, losing 4-3 on penalties. They did take a well-deserved 2-1 lead into the interval with two goals from winger Jade Thomas. But it was Doncaster's Michelle Walsh who added to Vicky Exley's earlier goal to bring the scores level. The deadlock couldn't be broken in extra time, so penalties ended the Reds' Cup hopes for this season. All three sides now face tough league matches this weekend, with Everton away to Sunderland, Liverpool taking on Nottingham Forest and Tranmere host Wolves.

Everton Res 1, Newcastle Res 0
Sep 14 2005 Daily Post
EVERTON striker James Beattie came through a reserve team test last night, giving manager David Moyes a lift ahead of Thursday's UEFA Cup tie with Dinamo Bucharest. Beattie played 45 minutes of the Blues' second string game as Andy Holden's side ran out 1-0 winners in the Barclays Premier Reserves against previously unbeaten Newcastle United at Haig Avenue. The Everton front man looked to have benefited from another run out in his quest to regain full match fitness ahead of the Blues trip to Bucharest in the Uefa Cup. Despite Beattie's presence it was Chinese international Li Tie who provided the winner with a terrific goal just after the break. Newcastle, with no fewer than four first team players in their side including Titus Bramble and Lee Clark, had much the better of the first half and went close with efforts from Finnigan, Baxter and Atkin within the first half-an-hour.
Blues keeper John Ruddy was in good form to deny all three goal scoring opportunities. Laurence Wilson was also on hand to clear Robbie Elliot's effort away from the goal line. Beattie had a couple of chances but neither troubled the United keeper. After the break it was a different story and Everton's early dominance paid off when on 52 minutes Li Tie cracked home a tremendous drive from 30 yards out after picking the ball up in midfield. Newcastle continued to cause Everton problems but with Anichebe as the lone striker after Beat-tie's departure Everton held on for a hard-fought victory.
EVERTON RES: Ruddy, Wynne, Wilson, S Wright, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Li Tie, Beattie (Hopkins 46), Anichebe, Kearney. Subs: Lake, Downs, Vidarsson, Phelan.
NEWCASTLE RES: Caig, Baxter, Elliott, Bramble, Edgar, Gate, Atkin (Cave 58), Clark, Finnigan, O'Brien, Marshall (Farman 58). Subs: Smith, Shanks.

Beattie's Dinamo fillip for Everton
By David Prior, Daily Post
Sep 14 2005
JAMES BEATTIE last night came through a reserves' run-out to suggest he may be ready for a start in Bucharest tomorrow night. The striker, who had been out for a month prior to his brief role in Saturday's Premiership defeat to Portsmouth, played the first half of the second string's 1-0 win over Newcastle. Beattie will travel with the squad that flies out to the Romanian capital this morning ahead of their UEFA Cup tie against Dinamo Bucharest. New arrival Andy van der Meyde, however, is still a month from fitness. The 25-year-old Holland winger has yet to figure since he moved from Inter Milan last month as he has been troubled by a groin injury. Moyes said: "Andy is probably about a month away. I know he is hoping to be back in two weeks but he needs a lot of practice."
Yesterday van der Meyde admitted: "The injury has left me frustrated as it is a dream to be involved in the Premiership."

Blues told to be on guard in Bucharest
Sep 14 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today issued a warning to his Everton players of the threat that Dinamo Bucharest pose to their European ambitions. The Blues boss paid a flying visit with his assistant Alan Irvine to the Romanian capital on Sunday and saw Dinamo warm up for tomorrow's UEFA Cup qualifying clash by thrashing FCM Bacau 6-0. While Bacau may not be one of the leading lights in Romania's top flight, Moyes was impressed with the way Dinamo, inspired by Vlad Muntaneau, looked to get forward at every opportunity. Moyes also identified a number of players capable of wrestling the initiative away from Everton and knows his side must be at their best if they are to return home with their ambitions intact. "They were very offensive and while I'm not so sure how good the opposition were on the night, they have got some very good attacking players and they like to get forward," Moyes noted. "Every year, they are always in one of the competitions and they have got a little bit more experience than what we have at the minute. "The stadium is poor and there is a big running track around it. There are no stands and it is just seats all the way around but the fans are still quite hostile. "It's not like anything we have experienced before, not even the Villarreal trip or anything we may have experienced in any Premier League game." Though the onus will be on keeping a clean sheet, Moyes knows an away goal would change the complexion of the tie, giving them a real chance of qualifying for the group stages. Dinamo have had five cracks at English opposition down the years but never won and Moyes wants Everton to impose themselves if and when the chance allows. "We know it will be a tough game," said Moyes. "We need to come away from Bucharest with a good result and we would like to try and score there to give us a chance when we come back here. "The away goal is very important now. We want to go there and make sure that we give ourselves a real chance in the second leg. "They look like a very good home side and they are certainly capable of causing us problems. We will need to be on guard." With Phil Neville available after suspension, there will be at least one change to the side that started the 1-0 defeat against Portsmouth at the weekend, as the manager reverts back to 4-5-1. That was certainly one of the worst performances Moyes has seen from his players for some time but he remains confident they will bounce back in Bucharest. "We are looking forward to the game," he added. "We are looking forward to being in Europe again. "It's what we worked so hard for last season and this is a second chance at it. "European football offers a new challenge for most people at this club but it is something that we want more of. We want to become accustomed to playing in it."

Valente can use Euro experience
Sep 14 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
NUNO Valente hopes his vast European experience will help him to play a leading role as Everton bid to secure a place in the UEFA Cup group stages. Having made his debut for the Blues in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat against Portsmouth, the Portugal international is set to continue at left- back in tomorrow night's awkward looking tie against Dinamo Bucharest. The Romanians are a formidable unit on their own turf and David Moyes was given plenty to think about when he and his assistant
Alan Irvine saw them put six goals past FCM Bacau without reply last Sunday night. But though Valente knows his new side can expect a hostile reception in Bucharest, as a former UEFA Cup and Champions League winner, he is ready to take extra responsibility to give Everton the best possible chance of securing a first leg lead. "Dinamo are a strong team," said Valente, who also has winner's medals from the UEFA Super Cup and World Club Championship. "They will be a difficult team to play against and they have useful players. "Teams from Eastern Europe always tend to be strong. From my experience playing in Europe, I know that it is really important for us to achieve a good result in the first leg to give us every possible chance. "I have won the UEFA Cup and it is a great competition. I have special memories about it. This will be a different match to what we are used to but we are a good team with good players and we have a winning mentality." Valente, a £1.4m signing from FC Porto, only had one training session with his new team-mates before being pitched straight in against Portsmouth, because he had been away on international duty with Portugal. He was given a rude awakening to how quick the pace of the Premiership is at Goodison but while he admitted that it will take time to get use to, the 31-year-old has no regrets about making the move.
"The English league is much more competitive than Portugal," he said. "Physically, you always have to give 100 per cent because the pace is very fast. In Portugal, the game is more technical and completely different. "But I think I can bring a lot from the technical game and use it to my advantage over here. But I love the English game. I have seen it is very important for the fans to have this kind of game being played. "I have come here for a new challenge but believe we can win things and I want to help this team win titles. I am very happy to be here. I can see there is a great spirit in the squad and that is important. It is just like Porto."
* Evertonians not making the trip to Bucharest for Thursday's UEFA Cup game can watch all the action at Goodison. The club will open its doors for the game, offering fans the chance to watch all the action on big screens in the People's Club Lounge (formerly Legends) and in the company of Blue heroes of the past. The evening includes a buffet supper and raffle. Entry costs £10 per person and to book your place ring 0151 330 2220.

Give newcomers time to settle in
Sep 14 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
WITH all the new players David Moyes has brought in over the summer, it is bound to take time for the side to gel. While we can't afford to be patient for ever, the signs are there that we can emulate the achievements of last season. In Nuno Valente and Per Kroldrup, Everton have acquired two great defenders, while I'm sure Andy van de Meyde will show his worth in the weeks to come. The one department we're lacking in quality is upfront. While Beattie and Bent will graft all afternoon, neither provide the potency of a 20-goal a season striker. David Moyes has had to be patient in getting the players he wants this summer, so the least we can do is allow them time to fit into the Everton ethos.
Carl Reynolds, Merseyside
I DON'T think Everton have become a bad team overnight. We have shown some fine football over the last few games. The games against Bolton and Portsmouth were obviously poor though. I think it might be that the players are a bit out of pace after the terrible pre-season, when we were only just able to field a team. With the squad hopefully being stronger after several additions, we should start getting better results over the next few months. In Moyes we trust.
John Barker, Litherland
EVERTON are just a striker short of being very good. Don't forget we've got Kroldrup and Van der Meyde to come in yet. Cahill is pooped and will improve and Beattie will get better.
Barry Lightfoot, Birkenhead
OKAY, hands up, we lost 1-0 against Pompey, but it's not the end of the world. The way I look at it, we've got the defence and midfield but currently lack attacking skills. I think Nuno Valente played well and will make an impact at the club. I can't understand why Moyes won't play Matteo Ferrari as I feel he'll also make an impact.
All we can do now is wait patiently and hope the Blues win their UEFA Cup game.
Tom Longhurst, Huyton
LAST season's incredible fourth place was achieved by some brilliant battling away wins but more important was how we turned Goodison into a fairly impressive fortress. Am I the only Blue to fear a poorer finish this season? 'Fortress Goodison' has been breached three times already. Our home form must improve.
Alan Parry, Liverpool
Call on reserves
WHERE are the reserve strikers - yes, the ones playing for Everton Reserves and no doubt scoring goals. Why do we have to have makeshift strikers? We have brought in new blood before and they held their own until the regular strikers where fit. Come on Davie, give some of them a chance. Better than playing men out of position in the hope they come up with the goods, which sadly they are not!
John Johnson, Kirkby

Beattie continues comeback as Li Tie stuns Magpies
Sep 14 2005 Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE put himself in contention for a starting spot against Dinamo Bucharest after he played 45 minutes of Everton Reserves' victory over previously unbeaten Newcastle United at Haig Avenue last night. The Blues striker benefited from another run-out as he attempts to regain full match fitness ahead of the UEFA Cup clash in Romania. Despite Beattie's inclusion, it was Chinese international Li Tie who provided the winner for Andy Holden's side with a terrific goal just after the break. Newcastle, with four first team players in their side, including Titus Bramble and Lee Clark, had much the better of the first half. The Magpies went close with efforts from Finnigan, Baxter and Atkin during the opening half hour. Blues keeper John Ruddy was in good form to deny them, while Laurence Wilson was also on hand to clear Robbie Elliot's effort away from the goal line. Beattie had a couple of chances but neither troubled the United keeper. After the break it was a different story.
Everton's early dominance paid off when Li Tie cracked home a tremendous 30-yard drive after picking the ball up in midfield. Newcastle continued to cause Everton problems but with Victor Anichebe as the lone striker after Beattie's departure, the Blues held on for a hard fought victory.
EVERTON: Ruddy, Wynne, Wilson, S Wright, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Li Tie, Beattie (Hopkins 46), Anichebe, Kearney. Subs not used: Lake, Downs,Vidarsson, Phelan.
NEWCASTLE: Caig, Baxter, Elliott, Bramble, Edgar, Gate, Atkin (Cave 58), Clark, Finnigan, O'Brien, Marshall (Farman 58) Subs not used: Smith, Shanks.

Silence can be golden for Everton - Neville
Sep 15 2005 By David Prior in Bucharest, Daily Post
PHIL NEVILLE last night backed Everton to quell Dinamo Bucharest's notoriously hostile supporters - and finally kick-start their stuttering season. The Goodison club, in the Romanian capital for their UEFA Cup first round first leg, are looking for the good performance that will extinguish the memory of Saturday's disappointing home defeat against Portsmouth. Victory in the tie will also send David Moyes's side through to the group stages, so guaranteeing a further four games in the competition.
And Neville believes Everton's team spirit can help them to a good result in the first half of that job.
"We have a very strong team spirit," said the 28--year-old. "And when people write us off that's when we're at our best - you only need to have a look at last season. "Saturday was a one-off in relation to our performances this season, we're not far from scoring goals and producing victories and it's the perfect chance to kick-start our season and maybe take us into some good league form as well." Neville knows all about the kind of intimidatory atmosphere Everton will face having been a part of the Manchester United squad that played at the Stefan cel Mare Stadium during the Champions League group stages last year. Several Dinamo fans were also arrested during their recent UEFA Cup qualifier against Omonia Nicosia of Cyprus, and Neville admitted it was important for Everton to use the oppressive conditions to their advantage. "The away leg will be the toughest leg, they are very good technically, with very hostile fans who support the team a lot," he said. "It's our job to try and quieten the crowds, for us the result is the most important." Neville, who returns after missing Saturday's defeat through suspension, said Everton needed to reproduce the kind of performance that almost saw them pull off a second-leg victory in their Champions League qualifier in Villarreal. "We have to make sure that we reach the levels we attained in the second half against Villarreal," he added. "We got a taste for it in Villarreal, and for us all there it was an unbelievable experience. These big European nights are what you come into football for. "I'll have to pass on my experience, but the team already has a lot of experience as there are a lot of international players in the team. There might be times where some of us have to pass on our experience but I don't imagine any problems in that respect." Everton's hopes of a positive result in tonight's game received a setback yesterday when James Beattie was declared unfit to travel. The £6million frontman had come through a 45-minute run-out for the reserves on Tuesday night but he suffered a reaction to his recent toe injury overnight and did not fly with the rest of the squad. Nevertheless, Moyes is still confident his side have the armoury to hurt their hosts. "I go there knowing that it's a tough game, but if we play we'll cause them problems," added the manager. "First of all we need to make sure that we stop them playing, and when we get back to Goodison we'll see how good a team they are then." Aside from the fans, Moyes had to fend off some hostile questioning from the local Romanian media last night, many of whom seemed to be under the impression that Everton were a club mired in crisis. "We finished in fourth place last year, which was a place above Liverpool, who won the Champions League," Moyes retorted. Moyes should revert to the 4-5-1 formation tonight - having played with two up front against Portsmouth - and the only real uncertainty surrounds Tim Cahill. Moyes may decide to rest the Australian, who has accumulated 60 hours on a plane during the past two weeks, and plump for the fresh legs of Leon Osma

No stone left unturned to provide season's platform
Sep 15 2005 By David Prior, Daily Post
A FORMER bastion of European Communism may not quite be the glamorous destination fans had imagined when securing a return to Continental action last May. But as David Moyes well knows, it's among the grey slabs of Bucharest that Everton's season could well hinge. After a start that threatens to dismantle the good work of last season before the leaves on the trees have turned red, tonight's clash at the Stefan cel Mare Stadium is suddenly the subject of the kind of significance normally attached to a do-or-die sixpointer in April. For now, all that matters is ensuring victory come the second leg in two weeks' time.. Moyes's preparations under-line the importance with which he credits these two encounters. Not content with the numerous videos he'd been given on Dinamo, the Scot decided to take a closer look for himself and so, along with assistant Alan Irvine, boarded a three-and-a-half hour flight to the Romanian capital shortly after Saturday's dispiriting defeat against Portsmouth. Having watched tonight's opponents despatch six goals past FCM Bacau, he rose at 6am on Monday morning to catch a flight back to Liverpool - only to discover the said journey had been cancelled. Bleary-eyed, his recce to the Balkans finally ended several hours later.
"It was a monster," admitted Moyes. It's a sacrifice that could bring sizeable reward, though. Progression through this round will deposit Everton in the relative safety of the group stages, where five matches are guaranteed and Moyes and co will to some extent be able to enjoy the fruits of last year's labour. Failure, on the other hand, would render their efforts essentially worthless. "We need to try and get through over the two legs," insisted Moyes. "It would feel as if we'd wasted what we worked so hard for last year and what we craved for all year. "Now we're out of the Champions League we've got to make sure we get through in the UEFA. If we can win it in the first leg we'll do so, but if we can't do that then we'll try and get into a situation where we can win it in the second. "I want to make sure we get a good result. Getting an away goal is so important, but they're an offensive team, so while there's chances to score against them they're a threat going forward."
When the draw for tonight's clash was made in Monaco last month, there were many unknown sides in the perspex bowl that would have left Everton quietly forecasting a hassle-free success.
Like Villarreal, though, the name Dinamo Bucharest wasn't one of them. A glance back through the record books reveals a proud heritage for a side borne out of the still suffocating legacy of Nikolai Ceausescu's dictatorship. Tickets start at £3.50 for the impoverished locals tonight. Dinamo's success does not belong in a distant age. Twenty-one years ago, the Red Dogs returned from a European Cup semi-final clash at Anfield with only a 1-0 defeat but saw their hopes of a first final dashed in the return leg by Ian Rush. A second last-four appearance followed in 1990, this time against Anderlecht in the European Cup Winners Cup, but again they were denied. Perhaps a more relevant gauge as to their current pedigree can come from last season's Champions League double-header against Manchester United. Having gone behind away from home, Phil Neville's former side eventually nicked the tie 2-1 before claiming an altogether more comfortable victory, 3-0, at Old Trafford. Reassuringly for Everton, Dinamo's results since would suggest those apparently close contests against the Mancunians were more a reflection of the weakened sides fielded by Sir Alex Ferguson, who was consulted by Moyes ahead of tonight's tie. The way a section of Romanian fans rioted during their 4-3 aggregate win over unknown Cypriots Omonia Nicosia - Dinamo needed to qualify for this first round - would seem to support suggestions of a team in relative decline. Such thoughts have fostered no complacency in Moyes, though. In fact his scouting mission confirmed that Dinamo, with playmaker Vlad Muntaneau pulling the strings, pose a definite threat.

"They're a very good side going forward with some exciting, quick players who can cause you problems," added Moyes. "At home I think they'll be a hard team to contain. "It is a tough game. They're not of Villareal standards, in my eyes, but nevertheless they've got international players and on their own patch it'll be a tough game." Made even tougher, undoubtedly, by the added pressure ladled on to the side by their dismal start to the campaign - even Dinamo manager Ioan Andone has got in on the act, deriding Everton as being "in bad shape". "After the way we played on Saturday I would have to say he'd got that one right," said Moyes. Of their five defeats from six games, Saturday's defeat to Alain Perrin's lowly Portsmouth was by far the most damning, and it's a result Moyes is desperate will provoke a reaction tonight. "We've played well this season with the exception of Saturday. I've looked at the performance again and I've got my own ideas about why we didn't get the result, and I've told the players and I'm looking for a good response."

Kendall's conquerors show Eastern promise
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Sep 15 2005
WITH all thoughts on Europe this week, now is as good a time as any to recall Everton's last meeting with an Eastern European team in European competition. Back in October 1984 Everton faced a daunting week, a week which would eventually prove pivotal in shaping the season. First of all Everton were at Anfield in the first of the season's derbies. They would then travel to Czechoslovakia to meet Inter Bratislava before returning to Goodison for a clash against title favourites Manchester United. After a shaky start Everton were running into form. But nobody predicted how it would all work out. First up was the derby and Graeme Sharp's famous volley, Bratislava was next. Like tonight's game in Bucharest, this was an impossible one to call. Czech football had a decent reputation and the Blues were inexperienced in Euro combat and had made heavy going in beating Irish minnows UCD in the first round. The Toffees would also be followed by only 100 fans in Bratislava. In those days of Communist rule, it was extremely expensive and prohibitive to travel behind the Iron Curtain. All in all, it looked a daunting task. But we needn't have worried as Howard Kendall's Everton were more than up to the challenge and Paul Bracewell's early header was enough to give the Blues a decisive lead to bring back to Goodison. Everton, with Peter Reid magnificent in midfield, never gave the Czechs a sniff, as Neville Southall was rarely threatened.
This was the week when Kendall's young team arguably grew up and proved to everybody that not only were they up there with the best in England, but Europe too. The win in Bratislava boosted confidence to the point where the Blues were able to return to Goodison and wallop United 5-0 with another never-to-be-forgotten performance to crown an incredible week.

We'll do it for fans, vows yobo
Sep 15 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO today issued Everton's supporters with an apology and has promised the players are ready to atone for their wretched display against Portsmouth. Tne of the few players to emerge from the latest defeat of the season with credit, Yobo cannot wait to get back into action against Dinamo Bucharest in tonight's UEFA Cup first round tie. While the Blues have been struggling for goals in recent games, the Nigerian international is convinced that it is only a matter of time before his side turn the corner and start scaling the heights again. "We are going to bounce back strongly," said Yobo. "We know we let the supporters down and we owe them a performance in Bucharest. We will come together as a team, show a strong mentality and I'm sure that we can get something out of the game and put a smile on their faces again." Since gifting Wayne Rooney a goal on the opening day of the season with a woeful back pass, Yobo has been one of Everton's most consistent performers and has recaptured the sparkle in his game that was missing at times last season. His form has delighted David Moyes and the manager believes the edges on this rough diamond of a defender are slowly but surely starting to be polished. "He is beginning to mature," said Moyes. "It was his concentration that we needed to work on and that's a very difficult thing to do. You can work on improving people's passing or heading or positional play. "But what Joe has got to do is make sure that he concentrates for the full 90 minutes because he has got all the attributes to become a top defender. We have always said that. "Hopefully, with age and games under his belt, that will come in time and he will get better. I said that a while ago and I'm hoping that will be the case. The best centre-halves are the ones with experience. "They know where to stand. They don't put themselves into positions where they can be left vulnerable. That all comes with experience and knowledge and playing a lot of games." Yobo, though, is refusing to rest on his laurels and will only start to feel better once Everton have regained the winning habit - with Dinamo offering the perfect opportunity. "We were not very happy with the way we played on Saturday, especially as it was in front of our home crowd," said Yobo. "We know that we are better than that. "Maybe some of the players were not 100 per cent after the internationals and were carrying little injuries, but that isn't an excuse. We can do much better than we did against Portsmouth."

200 Everton fans stuck at airport
Sep 15 2005 By Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
TROUBLE flared at Liverpool John Lennon Airport after a flight due to take Everton fans to Romania for tonight's UEFA cup tie was cancelled. Tempers frayed when more than 200 supporters waited more than five hours, only to be told there was no plane. The flight, chartered by the club, should have taken off at 7.30am but by 12.30pm fans were still waiting. According to the fans they were then told to head for Gate 14 but were shepherded into a room where the news that they would not make it to the Dinamo Bucharest match was broken to the angry crowd, many of whom had been drinking since arriving at the airport. Jonathan Deus, 23, an estate agent from Mossley Hill, said police with dogs then appeared and began grabbing fans and removing them. He said: "It was madness. Everyone was shouting and it kicked off and then the arrests started. "It's understandable that they don't want trouble in the airport but it's mayhem. "People are really upset. There was so much anticipation over this trip. We should have been having a drink in a square in Bucharest by now." Everton club stewards were booked on to the flight but fans say they disappeared before the police arrived. The fans should have been on an Air Scandic flight this morning but the company went bust yesterday. Swedish-based Viking Air offered to provide cover but they said the plane that should have left East Midlands airport for Liverpool to pick up the Everton fans had been grounded by East Midlands airport authority. East Midlands airport said they impounded the aircraft due to a "commercial issue". Merseyside police said one arrest had been made and fans had been ejected from the airport. The flight was booked through Everton's official travel club. Fans paid £300 each for the day trip.

Blues out to prove point
Sep 15 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpoo Echo
HAVING sat through one of Everton's worst performances in recent years at the weekend, it is little wonder Ioan Andone flew back to Romania in high spirits. Offering the assessment that the Blues are in "bad shape" and upbeat about his chances of qualifying for the UEFA Cup group stages, the Dinamo Bucharest manager is convinced the Red Dogs are ready to add to Everton's woes. As Andone has talked up the chances of his side in the local media, David Moyes had to deal with some hostile questions from Romanian journalists last night, many of whom demand explanations as to why the Blues were engulfed by a "crisis". True, five defeats in six games this season may not give the best impression but Moyes - a man who always relishes a challenge - simply smiled at his inquisitors and offered an explanation that Everton aren't exactly in "bad shape". "We finished above Liverpool in the Premiership last season and they won the European Cup - that's not so bad, is it?" he asked one particular nuisance. Moyes, though, knows it is time for Everton to start showing the quality which secured that famous fourth place finish to quiet the likes of Andone. "After the way we played on Saturday, he has probably got that right about us," said Moyes. "But if he'd seen us play against Villarreal or in one or two other games, he might think differently. "They have got some quick players, exciting players who can cause you problems. At home I think they will be a hard team to contain. "Bucharest are not of Villarreal standard, though. Not in my eyes. But they have international players and they are on their own patch. "I think we have played well this season with the exception of Saturday and we haven't got some of the results we have deserved. I have got my ideas about why we didn't play well and I have told the players. "I will be looking for a different performance, a different reaction and then hopefully a more positive result. We couldn ' t have been much more positive against Portsmouth, though. We played with two up front." Having worked so hard for so long to get Everton back into the big time, Moyes and the rest of his staff are anxious not to blow the golden chance that stands in front of them by doing anything reckless in this impoverished corner of Eastern Europe. Provided they can avoid defeat in the ramshackle Stefan cel Mare Stadium, Everton should be able to negotiate the second leg without much trouble and Moyes intends to do everything he can to maximise their chances of progress. Everything points to Moyes' reverting to his favoured 4-5-1 formation, with Phil Neville in the mid-field holding role and Marcus Bent likely to be the lone striker. Moyes said: "If we don't get through, we will feel as if we have wasted what we had worked so hard and craved for last season in making the Champions League.
"Obviously we are out of that and now we have to make sure we get through in the UEFA Cup. I'll make sure we have got a chance of winning the tie after the first leg. I want to come home with a good result. "The Champions League is water under the bridge and we have moved on. Of course, it is still tinged on our thoughts but there is nothing we can do about that. "I have looked at the players and I think they are ready to go."

We are at our best when the world is against us - Neville
Sep 15 2005 Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE has rubbished suggestions that Everton are in crisis and believes a UEFA Cup victory over Dinamo Bucharest will kickstart their season. The Blues have lost five of their six competitive games this season, but Neville and the rest of the squad are in confident mood ahead of tonight's match. England international Neville already has experience of playing in the Stefan cel Mare Stadium - he was part of a Manchester United team that won there 12 months ago in the Champions League - and is sure to fulfil a key role on his return from suspension. Having missed Saturday's disappointing 1-0 home defeat against Portsmouth because of a red card against Fulham, the 28-year-old is itching to get going again and feels a first leg win would go some way to silencing Everton's detractors. "The gaffer has talked to us a lot about the Portsmouth game since the weekend and we have got it out of our system," said Neville, who has been an instant hit since his £3.5m move from Old Trafford. "The biggest thing that I have noticed since I have been here is the tremendous team spirit amongst the players and how quickly they can get over any disappointments they may have to deal with. "We are at our best when it is us against the world and I think that will be the case when we play Dinamo Bucharest. This is a massive game for this club. We have waited such a long time to be involved in European competition. "We do not want to throw the chance awa-pressure game but these are the games that you want to be involved in as a player. If you do not want to be in these games, you should not be a footballer." While Neville is ready to resume first team duties, one man who will not be involved tonight is James Beattie. The striker has suffered a reaction to his toe injury after playing for the reserves on Tuesday and needs more time to recover. That may have come as a blow to manager David Moyes but Neville is backing the Blues to pull together by making light of an awkward fixture that is fraught with difficulties and is sure to be played in an intimidating atmosphere. "The supporters are passionate about their team here and I remember from last year that they always get behind their players," said Neville. "They are hostile but that is only because they want their team to win. "It is our job to make sure that we silence them. We want to progress into the group stages and play against the big clubs. "We know that a good result against Bucharest tonight will give everyone a lift and that's what we want."

Time to spike snipers' guns
Sep 15 2005 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
DRIVING away from Goodison Park last Saturday night it was hard to believe some callers to the local radio phone-ins. Moyes must go. Kenwright must go. The board must go. Will the last one out please switch off the floodlights . . It may not have been every Evertonian feeling so furious or so hopeless. But there were enough of them to leave Football Echo columnist Barry Horne almost lost for words in reply over the Radio City airwaves. Of course, such drastic demands from fans are ridiculous. It's barely mid-September, the Premier League (Chelsea apart) has not started to take shape, and Everton, with eight or nine new faces in the squad this season, are about to embark on stage two of their first European campaign for 10 years. Yet it would be a bit too easy to totally dismiss the more anxious and vocal fans as fickle nutcases or panic merchants. Because this has to be a season when the Blues show the yo-yo years are over, with signs of steady progress which will see them finish comfortably at the right end of the Premiership table again. Right now, supporters demanding to see a positive pattern of progress emerge this season are feeling bitterly disappointed and fearful. Why? Because just four months ago Evertonians were celebrating finishing above the old enemy and were joyfully anticipating Champions League football. A cruelly tough qualifying draw against one of the best sides in Spain, allied to a disgraceful refereeing howler by Pierluigi Collina, killed that dream before it lived. A home league defeat to Manchester United might just be forgivable, but losses at Fulham and at home to Portsmouth - defeats which have Everton third from bottom - are not.. And so the early frustrations of the fans, even those who went overboard after Saturday's dismal defeat to Pompey, are not to be too readily scoffed at. A result tonight in Romania and a performance poles apart from that served up against Portsmouth, will help spike the guns of the more extreme snipers. As will a repeat effort at Arsenal on Monday. But whatever the outcome of the next five days, it is far too early for Everton fans to even start to lose faith in Moyes. Yes, the manager is expected to deliver this time and is likely to be judged in a more rounded way given this is his fourth full season in the job, and he's generally been able to build the team he wants. But if it's true you don't become a bad player overnight, then the same goes for a manager. Some fans can perhaps be forgiven for firing a shot across the bows given their current disappointment. But they should be careful their missiles do not misfire and hole the good ship Goodison before she's had a chance to really set sail this season, under a man who deserves far more support and patience than some seem prepared to offer.

The Jury
Sep 15 2005 Liverpool Echo
How should Everton line-up in Bucharest tonight? THE ideal policy for David Moyes would be to try and replicate the formation that brought us so many 1-0 away wins last season. However, without Tim Cahill functioning adequately, it's hard to know what to expect. At least we don't have to score and a 0-0 draw will do us just fine. That's just as well considering the current form of our strikers.
Of course we'll have to show at least some sort of attacking ability and I think McFadden deserves a start. Whoever is selected, I just can't believe they will repeat last Saturday's dismal performance.
The Romanians aren't what they used to be. On the UEFA list of unseeded teams that we could have faced in this round, Dinamo Bucharest appear half way down the ratings. So, on paper, this shouldn't represent that difficult a test. But, then again, neither did Portsmouth.
THE performance on Saturday was summed up pretty well by David Moyes' after-match comments. One concern is how jaded Tim Cahill looked after his international trip but with the games coming thick and fast now would not be the best time to rest him. Tonight, you would expect Everton to raise their standard of play considerably, and get back to playing a more controlled game of football.
With the expectation levels raised after the great finish of last season a good result tonight will be needed in order to put our season back on track. Being patient, defending well and hopefully scoring a goal or two will help relieve the pressure on the players and ultimately instil a bit of confidence.
THE much heralded 4-4-2 didn't exactly produce a goals fest on Saturday. While it is tempting to suggest that this was never likely to be the case when the strikers in question were Bent and Ferguson, it is more likely that Moyes will tinker with the system rather than the personnel and revert back to good old 4-5-1. The return of Neville should strengthen things in front of the back four, but conceding goals has never really been our problem. With Cahill likely to be rested, the question of goals still seems some way from being answered. The UEFA Cup hasn't exactly whipped up excitement among Evertonians so far. Its convoluted format makes a trip to Eindhoven in May seem unlikely at best. However, progress to the group stage could provide a much needed boost to our league form. A couple of goals can't be too much to ask, can it? But, then again, let's face facts - Marcus Bent is no Darren Bent.
THE most obvious change that has to be made after the defeat against Portsmouth is to go back to the tried and tested 4-5-1 formation. There are two main reasons why this formation suits us better - Bent and Cahill. Bent is always more lively and makes more runs when playing on his own up front, and he doesn't link up well with Ferguson when they play together. Cahill also looks average when we play 4-4-2, but when he gets a free role it allows him to get into the box and score goals. The lack of creativity against Portsmouth would normally be a worry ahead of an important European game, but with us playing the away leg first it shouldn't be too much of an issue. A 0-0 draw would be acceptable as we should be confident of winning the home leg, unless UEFA decide to bring Collina out of retirement to ref it!

Laudrup was my hero - Kroldrup
Sep 15 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
THIS week Evertonia catches up with summer signing Per Kroldrup in the first of a regular series of player profiles. The 26-year-old Denmark international was signed from Italian Serie A side Udinese for £5m in June. He is currently sidelined following a hernia operation last month but is closing in on a return to full fitness. Here he provides an insight into his likes and dislikes, including his admiration for ex-Denmark star Michael Laudrup. First car: The first car I actually owned was an Audi A6. When I was in Denmark I drove my father's car so I didn't get my own car until I moved to Italy. Dream car: I am not really into cars. I know some players are, but for me it is just important that it is comfortable. I have had an X5 that was very comfortable. Now I am driving another A6. Favourite band: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are probably my favourite. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. Nick Cave is a bit dark, but it is not a reflection of what I am like! Favourite thing to do on a day off: I like to read, relax and maybe play a bit of golf from time to time. I didn't play much for two years because the players didn't really play it in Italy but I am just picking it up again now. Golf has grown very popular in Denmark over the last 10 years. Thomas Bjorn has been a big influence on that. There is a lot of interest in the Ryder Cup and I follow that a lot. Pre-match superstitions: I don't really have anything I do before a game. I am not superstitious. Best player you have played against: Probably Adriano or Shevchenko. Adriano plays at Inter and Shevchenko at AC. They are two very different players but so good in their own ways. Adriano had a spell against us at Udinese last year when he scored with virtually everything he got. He is strong, has an incredible shot and is a very complete player.
But Shevchenko is so fast and always scores. He is a goal machine. Favourite sportsman from another sport: It is probably between Tiger Woods and Andre Agassi. Tiger has this great hunger to be the best. But he also has his feet on the ground. I remember recently he narrowly missed out at a tournament and as he walked back to the clubhouse he saw this little girl and he was smiling and talking to her. He is a great pro but he still has humility. Room mate on away games: It has been Simon Davies from day one. We arrived at the same time and we are both very similar. He is a calm, laid back guy. Worst dresser in the squad: I wouldn't know who to say - yet anyway. I need time to judge. Player you idolised as a youngster: In Denmark I watched a lot of English and Italian football. AC Milan were a great team at that time with Baresi at the back and Van Basten up front. But in terms of Danish players, it has always been Michael Laudrup. He is a big star in Denmark and he would be the one for me. Michael has a huge name in Denmark and nobody has ever said anything bad about him, he is just a true gentleman. Wherever he played he did well and won championships. He was incredible.
* EVERTONIA is the new members club for Everton supporters of all ages and offers a host of benefits. Full details about Evertonia are available on evertonfc.com Membership of Evertonia will cost £19.99 for adults and £9.99 for juniors (under 16s).

Dinamo Bucharest 5, Everton 1 (D,Post)
By David Prior at Stefan Cel Mare Stadium, Daily Post
Sep 16 2005
HUMBLED. A DREAM earned over a season of dedication and spirit washed away in 45 minutes of madness. David Moyes has up until now found many positives in a season that going into last night could boast just a solitary win from six games. Saturday's defeat to Portsmouth, he and his players had assured, was simply a blip ahead of the good things that were surely about to flow. How misled we were. Nothing could possibly dis-guise this abject failure. Everton were out-classed and out-fought to such an extent that they are now, surely, out of Europe. How? It's difficult to know where to begin. Ten long years have passed since Everton last faced the altogether different challenges inherent in Continental action, but the stirring performance in Villarreal seemed to prove that they had a team that could still cope admirably with them. On this evidence, evidently not. Against a team of mostly home-grown unknowns, amid an 'intimidating' crowd of barely 15,000, Everton collapsed to such an extent that the still locked-in supporters booed David Moyes throughout his cross-pitch walk to the post-match press conference. And that was polite compared to the treatment handed out to the shell-shocked players on the final whistle. The players, certainly, deserved the barracking. Not just for the complete lack of organisation and backbone that accompanied their post-interval capitulation, but also for the manner in which they utterly squandered the sizeable advantage given to them by Joseph Yobo's earlier away-goal equaliser. A manner that, in the context of a twolegged affair, was nothing short of irresponsible. Yes, Dinamo played in an unexpectedly accomplished fashion, and yes, they converted virtually all of their chances. But having seen them convert six goals in their last outing on Sunday, Moyes will have surely warned his players of the pitfalls that awaited them should their defence fall below watertight. If he did, no such message got through. All the qualities that made Everton the proud if derided masters of the one-nil last season were stunningly absent. And while singling out individuals seems churlish given the extent of the team's failure, Jose Mourinho should expect to lose what Merseyside friends he has left for recommending Nuno Valentes to the Everton manager.
So what now? Of course, last night could have set up one of the greatest ever Goodison nights should Everton complete a turnaround of epic proportions in a fortnight's time. But given their current record for four-goal winning margins, such a result seems wholly improbable. What is undeniable now is that, after what he admitted was the worst result of his management career, Moyes faces the biggest test of his Goodison tenure. How he manages the fall-out from this night and how he refills the drained confidence in his players will have a cascading effect on the rest of this season. Fourteen defeats out of 20 games is a harsh but nevertheless undeniable statistic that reflects an alarming decline that began long before this season's first ball was kicked. A decline is now what it is, and last night must be the lowest point. Otherwise there are far worse moments awaiting Everton this season. After Saturday's dismal defeat to Portsmouth, the need for a reaction had been spelled out by Moyes in no uncertain terms. Three players, however, were denied the chance to contribute to that cause personally, with Phil Neville, James McFadden and Leon Osman coming in for Mikel Arteta, Kevin Kilbane and Duncan Ferguson. Much of the pre-match build-up had surrounded the renowned hostility of the Bucharest crowd, but judging by the way Everton's travelling throng were shunted into virtual isolation in the far corner of the Stefan cel Mare Stadium, the Romanian authorities clearly had different priorities. Everton won the game's first corner, and after McFadden had swapped short passes with Neville, the Scot picked up the return ball and swung in a left-footed cross that almost doubled as a cross, evading Uladzimir Gaev's far post by less than a yard. Neville, whose absence against Pompey had been keenly felt, was reinstated in a holding position just in front of the back four and his presence was reassuringly asserted by a couple of timely interventions inside the opening 10 minutes. Alongside him, Tim Cahill was encouragingly more alert, at least in the early exchanges. Fresh from Moyes's scathing weekend assessment of the toll being taken by his wearying travel schedule, the Australian's inclusion was somewhat of a surprise, but there was no questioning the sprightly way in which he charged down Gaev's attempted kick after 12 minutes, the ball almost ricocheting into the gaping net. Everton at this stage were slowly assuming a hold on the game, with Joseph Yobo going closest with a sharp long-range effort, but they were fast-tracked into a more proactive approach when the Romanians went ahead after 27 minutes. The Goodison men struggled to deal with their swift counterattack, and Florentin Petre, who'd been played on by Yobo, was able to find Claudiu Niculescu in the box for the striker to bundle home. In such a crucial match, it was just the kind of start Everton did not need.
Fortunately, they took it as their cue to step up the pace and barely two minutes later were level.
Simon Davies's free-kick from the right was commandingly won by Yobo, and his diagonal header bounced down and into the net, Leon Osman following up for good measure. The Nigerian's goal, his first for 16 months, also provided Everton with the away goal Moyes had hoped for. The Romanians were proving to be unexpectedly skilful opposition, however, and after seeing out the half without further threat to their goal they emerged for the second half a renewed force and within six minutes were back in front. Again Everton proved themselves vulnerable to their rapid counter-attacking, but in truth the goal was of an exceptional quality. The excellent Niculescu, surging down the left flank, turned in a cross that was clipped first-time beyond Martyn by Zicu, who'd found space between David Weir and Yobo. Cue disintegration. Suddenly, Everton's confidence seeped away like a burst dam and the control that they had shown for large parts of the first half disappeared. Wave after wave of Romanian attack broke Everton's porous defence, but nobody could have predicted the extraordinary way in which Dinamo were then able to probably settle the tie. With 70 minutes gone, another Bucharest attack saw the ball spill out to Petre, who was in oceans of space on the right. Petre was able to control the ball and then pick his spot, unleashing a clinical drive that buried itself inside Martyn's far post. Four minutes later and it was four. This time the substitute, Florin Bratu, found himself in an acre of unmarked territory inside the box, and again his despatch into Martyn's net was as clinical as it was dispiriting for the increasingly disillusioned away support. Ferguson's header almost gave the Merseysiders some late hope, the Scot stinging Gaev's gloves after Kilbane's corner, but the respite was to be brief. With seconds left on the clock, Dinamo surged back up field and Bratu ran on to slot past Martyn. Everton were a mess, and their European dream is in tatters.
DINAMO BUCHAREST (4-4-2): Gaev, Goian, Tamas, Moti, Christian Pulhac, Petre (Galamaz 83), Margaritescu, Plesan (Vlad Munteanu 78), Grigorie, Zicu, Niculescu (Bratu 61). Subs: Guso, Balan, Cristea, Baltoi.
BOOKINGS: Grigorie, Goian.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Nuno Valente, Osman, Neville, Cahill, Davies (Kilbane 73), McFadden (Ferguson 78), Bent. Subs: Wright, Ferrari, Li Tie, Arteta, Hughes.
BOOKINGS: Cahill, McFadden
REFEREE: Gianluca Paparesta (Italy)
ATT: 11,500
NEXT GAME: Arsenal v Everton, Premiership, Monday 8pm

Moyes: Lowest point of my managerial career
By David Prior, Daily Post
Sep 16 2005
DAVID MOYES described last night's humiliation in Bucharest "as the lowest point" of his managerial career. A second-half capitulation means the Goodison club must win the return leg by a four-goal margin to prolong their stay in European competition. Joseph Yobo had given Everton a valuable away goal equaliser but four goals from the rampant Romanians condemned Moyes's men to defeat.
Everton manager Moyes refused to condemn his players publicly despite last night's humiliating 5-1 defeat to Dinamo Bucharest in the Stefan cel Mare Stadium. The Goodison side fell away after a decent first-half performance to leave themselves facing an uphill task in the second leg on September 29 if they are to reach the second round of the UEFA Cup. After last night's first round, first-leg humbling he said: "There will be no public condemnation of any of my players - but privately we will speak together and we will stick together. "In the first half we did a good job and we could have been in front - but we were not at it in the second half. "It's maybe my lowest ebb as a manager, as bad a night as I have had." The Scot continued: "In the first half we controlled the game but in the second half it was too easy for them to score. "I feel for the fans and it's my responsibility to raise morale in the camp - it's my team out there." But he put things in perspective, adding: "A crisis is what has happened in New Orleans - you can't associate it with football." As for an unlikely second-leg comeback, he continued: "It's too far away to look at the second leg. "I'll have to see what I can do to make things better - but there are other important games to think about (Everton are at Arsenal on Monday)." However, Moyes hinted fitness could be an issue with his players as he said: "Maybe we have to look at the standard of our fitness because we seem to run out of legs.
"We can't kid ourselves - I felt we played well in the opening part of the season without winning but last Saturday the performance and the result were not good (Everton lost 1-0 at home to Portsmouth)." Moyes added: "After tonight's performance you have to say we have made a terrible start to the season - and I have to do something about it." Meanwhile David Weir apologised to the Everton fans after the Goodison side's European hopes were left hanging by a thread. Unless Everton produce a stunning second leg comeback on September 29, their hopes of an extended run in Europe will be over. And Weir said: "We fell apart in the second half - we're really sorry for the fans. "Not sure need to speak about what went wrong now but it's not acceptable and we are very disappointed." Asked if he believed the team could still progress after last night's drubbing, he added: "We'll do our best to turn the tie around." A delighted Dinamo coach Ioan Andone felt Everton's failing was their reaction to going behind. It was something he had seen when he watched Saturday's 1-0 Barclays Premiership defeat against Portsmouth at Goodison Park. He said: "I saw them against Portsmouth and they had the same type of reaction in the second half. After Portsmouth scored they could have scored three or four more times."

JLA chaos as Everton fans are left stranded
By Sam Lister Daily Post Staff
Sep 16 2005
CHAOS erupted at Liverpool airport yesterday after 164 Everton fans were told they would miss their team play in Romania because an airline had gone bust. Police with dogs were called in to throw out supporters after angry scenes when they were given the news following a five-hour wait. The group were due to fly out of John Lennon Airport at 7.30am to watch the UEFA cup tie with Dinamo Bucharest last night, which Everton lost 5-1. But at 12.30pm fans, some of whom had been drinking since early morning, were then told to head for Gate 14 where they were shepherded into a room and told the flight had been cancelled. Jonathan Deus, 23, an estate agent from Mossley Hill, claimed police with dogs then appeared and began grabbing fans and removing them. He added: "It was madness. Everyone was shouting and it kicked off and then the arrests started. It's under-standable they don't want trouble in the airport, but it's mayhem. "People are really upset. There was so much anticipation over this trip. We should have been having a drink in a square in Bucharest by now." Nasiye Hill, 34, from Prescot, is an Everton season ticket holder. Alongside a handful of other disgruntled blues she got a taxi from the airport to Goodison to complain. She said: "The whole thing has been yet another farce from the People's Club. We've been kicking our heels at the airport all day and nobody has offered us a drink of water." Liz Wyman, 34, a librarian, said: "It was shameful the way the police were talking to us. They told us to get out of the way of the other 'decent' people. "We were there all day and we never even got a cup of tea or a sandwich. I got to the airport at 4.40am and I've had to take two days off work and spend £300 for nothing."
Fans paid £300 each for the trip booked through Everton FC Travel Club. They should have boarded an Air Scandic flight but the company collapsed on Wednesday. The Travel Club, operated by ATP International, was told the aircraft was under lease from Viking Air, who had agreed to operate the flight in place of Air Scandic. The scheduled pilot had called in sick, delaying it while a replacement was found. But the aircraft was then impounded by East Midlands Airport. Merseyside Police arrested one fan and confirmed they ejected other supporters from the airport. Last night, the club announced it would give fans a full refund. Company secretary Mike Beacher said: "We naturally regret what happened and we can only apologise to those fans who were unable to travel out to Bucharest." ATP chief executive Graham Ramsey said: "I would like to apologise to all the Everton fans who were unable to watch their team play tonight. "Everyone at Everton FC, ATP International, Starflight Aviation and Viking Air all worked extremely hard to try and resolve the problem, but events conspired against us." A spokesman for the airport said: "There had been no trouble at all in the morning but understandably they were very angry when they were told there would be no flight.
"We called the police as a precaution and took the fans to an area near the exit to give them the news for safety reasons."

Dinamo Bucharest 5, Everton 1 (Echo)
Sep 16 2005 By Dominic King
HURTLING towards oblivion almost as rapidly as they scaled the heights, Everton today face up to three very different challenges after one of the worst nights in this proud club's history. Given a hiding by a slick, quick Dinamo Bucharest side that seems to effectively end all hope of progress in Europe, David Moyes' men must first dig deep to find a performance against Arsenal next Monday night that can stop this worrying rot from spreading further. Secondly, the ambitions and objectives that everyone spoke so enthusiastically about at the start of campaign that promised so much must be quickly redefined. Stability needs to become the new buzz word at Goodison Park in the coming weeks. The third and final task, however, is arguably the one that will be most difficult to achieve. While relations between the players and supporters is not beyond repair, the former group has to act quickly to mend thousands of broken hearts. As they trudged over to the small section of visiting fans who had made the long journey to Romania, heads bowed in shame, Everton's squad were left in no doubt about what the general consensus of opinion was on their efforts. "You're not fit to wear the shirt" was one of the few printable chants. How the 200 supporters who failed to leave John Lennon Airport because of the financial troubles of one airline must have breathed a belated sigh of relief. They will get a refund. After witnessing a display that can at best be described as woeful, so should the ones who were subjected to the misery. Coming on the back of last Saturday's home defeat against Portsmouth, this simply was not good enough. As he suggested in his post-match press briefing, an ashen- faced Moyes stressed that crisis is the wrong word to describe Everton's current plight. Quite right. Calamity is much more suitable. Six defeats from their first seven competitive matches of the season is a damning statistic, as is the fact that the Blues have only managed to score four times in that period, two of which came from set plays. Draw your own conclusions. From now on, there can be no more talk about last season's fourth placed finish. As magnificent as that achievement was, today it counts for nothing. In the space of 45 kamikaze minutes, Everton managed to undo all their efforts of the past 12 months. Clubs who wish to make progress do not hark back to great feats from yesteryear, they look at scaling the next peak which is why Everton's recent exploits should have been a springboard to bigger and better things. Not this.
Even the most optimistic follower of the Blue faith will accept that the club's European adventure is not going to last longer than another 90 minutes at Goodison Park later this month following a capitulation against Dinamo which beggared belief. The frustration of Portsmouth still fresh in his mind, Moyes made three changes to his starting lineup, bringing Phil Neville and Leon Osman back and handing a first start of the season to James McFadden. His tinkering was rewarded with the response Moyes craved, Everton quickly setting out to stamp their authority on the game and silence a vociferous home support in the Stefan cel Mare stadium. Dinamo's ground is named after the man who ruled Moldova in the 15th century but the ramshackle nature of the place suggests that it was built around the same time and not been redeveloped since. A cabbage patch pitch also made things difficult for the Blues but their start was bright. McFadden, eager to make a positive impression, and Joseph Yobo both tested Bucharest keeper Uladzimir Gaev from distance. It was surprising, then, that Everton fell behind so cheaply. Not for the first time this year, the defence was slow to react to a ball played in behind them and Florentin Petre squared for Claudiu Niculescu to bundle home from close range. But fears that Moyes' men would struggle were allayed emphatically and immediately. Simon Davies slung a free-kick in from the right which Yobo met with a towering far post header to restore parity, giving Everton what appeared a crucial away goal. Few, however, could have predicted what would ensue after the break. Once Ianis Zicu had scored a fantastic second for the home side, the confidence drained from Everton's shattered players and Dinamo created chances at will. Unable to cope with the pace and intensity of the Romanians' attacks down the flanks - Nuno Valente and Tony Hibbert will want to forget this experience as quickly as possible - the Blues were torn asunder. Tormentor in chief Florentin Petre added a third with a magnificent drive from distance before substitute Florin Bratu administered the fatal blows in the final 15 minutes. Game, in all probability tie, over. Moyes now faces the onerous task of trying to rally his troops but that will certainly be no easy assignment, as the most worrying aspect of this defeat was the way confidence evaporated in seconds. Once Everton had gone behind for a second time, the team lost its shape, its belief, it lacked direction and Dinamo - recording a first victory against English opposition in six attempts - exposed a chronic lack of pace in the Blues' defence. Significantly, Dinamo coach Ioan Andone revealed after the game that he expected such a reaction from Everton, having seen them against Portsmouth. Others will also have noted their Achilles heel. If they are not to become easy pickings for all and sundry, the players need to show their mettle as quickly as possible. It won't be easy but surely the fighting spirit is alive and well in the camp - isn't it? Provided they do that, it is not too late to regroup and show last season was not a flash in the pan.
But until the club discovers the ingredient which made them such an irresistible force, that will not happen. These are certainly worrying times.
BUCHAREST (4-4-2): Gaev; Goian, Tamas, Moti, Pulhac; Petre (Galamaz 82), Margaritescu, Plesan, Grigorie (Muntaneu 78); Zicu, Niculescu (Bratu 68).
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Valente; Osman, Cahill, Neville, McFadden (Ferguson 77), Davies (Kilbane 71); Bent.
GOALS: Dinamo - Niculescu (27), Zicu (51), Petre (70), Bratu (74, 90). Everton - Yobo (29)
BOOKINGS: Plesan (34, foul)
REFEREE: Gianluca Paparesta (Italy)

My biggest test - Moyes
Sep 16 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has began facing up to 'the biggest challenge of my managerial career' following Everton's humiliating defeat in Europe. The Blues boss must coax his players out of a slump which threatens to destroy their season. And following last night's embarrassing 5-1 defeat against Dinamo Bucharest - a result that virtually eliminates Everton from the UEFA Cup - he must start with Monday's daunting trip to Arsenal. Moyes' mission will not be an easy one after a performance that has fractured the players' relationship with furious supporters who vented their feelings in Romania and questioned their desire to play for the club. Having entered the campaign with so much to look forward to, Moyes agreed that the immediate objective must be damage limitation and it will take all of his managerial skills to bring Everton back to their best. "It is my job and my responsibility to lift the players because they are my team," said Moyes. "There will be no public condemnation of the players. Privately we will speak together and we will stick together. "We will try and improve. Crisis is something that has happened in New Orleans, not in football. I thought we played well in the opening part of the season without winning. "Last Saturday (against Portsmouth) wasn't good, so after the Bucharest performance and result, you have to say that we have got off to a terrible start. We don't hide things here. We are up front and we say it. We will try and do something about it." Moyes was, though, unable to identify why Everton fell apart so spectacularly in the second half, especially as he had been pleased with the levels they had reached during the opening 45 minutes.
Conceding three times in the final 20 minutes means the Blues will have to beat Dinamo 4-0 at Goodison Park in two weeks to qualify for the UEFA Cup group stages but Moyes accepts it looks like a mission impossible. "The first half we did a good job and played well enough maybe to be in front but the second half was the complete opposite," he noted. "I couldn't put it down to anything. Maybe that is the lowest I have ever felt during my managerial career. It was as bad a night as I can remember. "The first half you would have said that we played well and were probably in control of the game. "But the second half was too easy for them to score. I understand exactly how the fans are feeling and know what they are going through. At this moment in time, I have to look at what I can do to make things better. "I have said plenty to them in the past but tonight I don't think that any words I give them would be good enough."

I'm so sorry for the fans, says Weir
Sep 16 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR apologised to Everton fans after the Blues' European hopes were left hanging by a thread following the heavy defeat to Dinamo Bucharest. Unless Everton can somehow produce a stunning second leg comeback on September 29, their hopes of an extended run in Europe will be over. Weir said as he trudged off the pitch last night: "We fell apart in the second half - we're really sorry for the fans. "I'm not sure I need to speak about what went wrong now - but it's not acceptable and we are very disappointed." Asked if he believed the team could still progress after last night's drubbing, he added: "We'll do our best to turn the tie around." Blues boss David Moyes said of the second leg in just under a fortnight: "When the tie comes around, we will play the game and see what happens. "But at this moment, I have got a lot of other important games to think about before that. "Maybe we have to look and see if our fitness is correct." Meanwhile, Moyes' opposite number Ioan Andone revealed that he felt Everton would crack under pressure after picking up valuable lessons from his trip to Goodison Park last Saturday. But even Andone didn't envisage such a result.
"This is probably the best game we have played since I have been here," he said. "I saw Everton at the weekend and they had the same type of reaction when Portsmouth scored. I expected to win because they are not quite right."

You've left fans broken-hearted
Sep 16 2005 Comment vy David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES got one thing right in Bucharest last night. "A crisis is what has happened in New Orleans," he said. "You can't associate it with football." Undoubtedly true. But try telling that to the hundreds of fans who spent upwards of £500 a go to travel to one of Europe's less desirable capitals to support their team. Tell it to the thousands of embarrassed Evertonians who slunk into work today having seen their club humiliated on national television. And tell it to the schoolkids who went to bed in tears last night, fearing the schoolyard jokes and insults they will have faced today.
"Crisis" is too strong a word to use.. But shambles, collapse, meltdown for this utterly wretched mess of a performance are not. The biggest shock is that it was all so unexpected. Everton had controlled large portions of the first half against an ordinary looking Dinamo Bucharest side, when the only problem appeared to have been the glaringly obvious lack of a decent striker to finish off some solid approach play. But it looked like the players had been drinking Horlicks at half-time, laced with Mogadon. The defensive display after the break was appalling. Nuno Valente has undoubtedly been a top-class left-back - he holds a Champions League winners medal, after all.
But he has yet to show Evertonians anything other than a worrying ability to drift out of position infield, and a shameful dive to get out of the way of Petre's fierce shot for the third goal. Can you imagine Dave Watson trying to dodge a football heading for his own goal? No? I can't either. Maybe the Portuguese international should be sat down and handed a video of Everton's last European campaign in 1996 to show the levels of commitment Evertonians require from their players.
But it is wrong to single out one player. The defence was sloppy, the midfield left the defence exposed - and once again the only threat up front came from Duncan Ferguson's head. That only leaves Nigel Martyn as a man who didn't do much wrong - and he must wonder just what he has done to deserve this. But the management team also has to accept a blame which must be collective. David Moyes has been a breath of fresh air at Everton. A vibrant, purposeful, uncompromising force for good. But his decision not to sign a striker before the last transfer window is looking increasingly costly. If the Blues are going to persist with 4-5-1, James Beattie is not the man to exploit the limited opportunities it throws up - while we have seen little sign yet that the form Marcus Bent displayed before Christmas last year was anything but a flash in the pan.
But the Blues have to get on with it. They have to muddle through until the next transfer window with the players they have at their disposal. They somehow have to go to Arsenal on Monday and do everything in their power to avoid another humiliation. Because that was how most Evertonians were left feeling this morning. Humiliated, shocked, worried. The blame for that has to be shared throughout the club. The last time Everton lost a match 5-1, the players were castigated on these pages and the manager exonerated. This time the blame must be collective - as must the response.

Angry scenes as Blues fans miss UEFA Cup showdown
Sep 16 2005 By Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
Stranded at the airport, rounded up by police, their flight cancelled. And they were the lucky ones . .
EVERTON fans stranded when a flight to Bucharest was cancelled will receive a full refund, vowed club and travel company officials. Angry scenes erupted at Liverpool John Lennon airport yesterday when 164 fans were told their plane had been impounded almost six hours after it was due to have taken off. They had paid £300 for a travel package through the club to see their team's UEFA Cup qualifying tie with Dinamo Bucharest Merseyside police arrested one fan and escorted the rest from the airport. Everton and travel company ATP International apologised for the fiasco and club secretary Mike Beacher said: "All our supporters are entitled to a full refund of all monies paid to us for the trip. We can only apologise to those fans who were unable to travel to Bucharest." The club arranged two flights for fans yesterday. The first left early in the morning and the second should have gone at 7.30am. But their plane belonged to Air Scandic, which had gone bust on Wednesday.
Officials arranged for Viking Air, which leased the plane to Air Scandic, to provide a replacement aircraft. First the Viking Air pilot called in sick and then the plane was impounded by East Midlands Airport due to "commercial issues." Fans, some of whom had been drinking since early morning, said they were left in the dark for most of the morning about what was happening. At 12.30pm they were shepherded into a baggage reclaim area and surrounded by police, said Jonathan Deus, a 23-year-old estate agent from Mossley Hill who was booked on the cancelled flight. They were then told the flight had been cancelled, provoking angry reactions: "They penned us in. Everyone started shouting and kicking off and then the arrests started," said the season ticket holder. A Merseyside Police spokeswoman said: "Fans were angry and disappointed, but were well behaved and there was only one arrest for a minor public order offence."
* All fans should get an automatic refund from travel company ATP.

We have to find a cutting edge - Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Sep 19 2005
DAVID MOYES admits Everton must rediscover their creativity or risk extending their desperate start to the season. The Goodison club make the daunting journey to Arsenal this evening having lost six out of seven games so far this campaign, languishing in the Premiership bottom three and on the brink of an exit from Europe. Moyes and his players are still coming to terms with their demoralising 5-1 UEFA Cup first round first leg defeat at Dinamo Bucharest last Thursday, a result which, barring a remarkable turnaround in next week's return tie, has seem-ingly ended their interest in European football after a 10-year wait. The goal in Bucharest was only their fourth of the season, with only one - Marcus Bent's winner at Bolton Wanderers last month - coming in four league outings.
And Moyes has conceded he must increase Everton's attacking threat ahead of tonight's final-ever league visit to Highbury. "We are aware we need a greater cutting edge up front," said the Everton manager. "We need to get James Beattie back fit, but until then we have to find a way of scoring goals. Having said that, we still have to make sure we aren't conceding any. "I've got to try and find a winning formula within the group of players that we have got here." Beattie will again be sidelined for Everton as he continues to recover from the toe injury sustained in the opening-day defeat to Manchester United. The striker made a second-half substitute appearance in last week-end's home defeat to Portsmouth, but complained of a reaction following a midweek appearance for the reserves and missed the trip to Bucharest. "He is still not happy with his toe," said Moyes.. "We thought he would be ready after he played for the first team last weekend and he had no reaction.
"But after we gave him 45 minutes in the reserves he felt the injury. He still needs a little more time." Moyes is likely to make a number of changes from the side that was beaten heavily in Romania, with Mikel Arteta in line for a recall after being an unused substitute in midweek.
"Mikel should be okay," added Moyes. "He had the flu in midweek. I could have taken a chance and played him, but I didn't think that would be the right decision to make for someone who is only 70% fit." Matteo Ferrari, signed on loan from Italian side Roma last month, is challenging for a debut in a defence while Phil Neville will return to league action after missing the Portsmouth defeat through suspension.

Moyes mission to live up to great expectation
Sep 19 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
EUROPEAN football was the only thing on the jubilant Everton's players minds when they last made the trip south to face Arsenal in May. Less than four months later, and while Continental combat remains at the forefront of their thinking, the emotions could not be any more contrasting. Holding court to the Press in preparation for tonight's encounter, David Moyes wore the look of a man still struggling to come to terms with what transpired in Bucharest on Thursday, an evening when the hard work of a whole season was potentially undone in the space of just 45 second-half minutes.
Everton had journeyed to Highbury in the penultimate game of the last campaign having confounded even their own expectations by securing fourth place in the Premiership and a shot at qualification to the Champions League. With the foot most certainly eased off the gas, they were thrashed 7-0. Embarrassing? Without doubt. But ultimately the result mattered not one iota.
Not so this evening. With the Champions League now just a distant dream and the UEFA Cup threatening to follow suit, an already demanding visit to Arsenal has assumed a whole new dimension for Moyes and his players. The defeat at Dinamo Bucharest - the club's heaviest ever in Europe - has brought into sharp focus what has been a hugely underwhelming start to the campaign.

Six defeats in seven games this season, 14 losses out of the last 20 outings; the statistics make for sobering reading. It may not be a crisis yet, but it is veering dangerously close towards becoming one. Moyes has often spoken about a primary aspect of his job as Goodison manager being to increase the level of supporter expectation and then thriving on the challenge to meet those new demands. That is the test that now lies in wait for Everton. And despite the inauspicious beginning to the campaign, he has backed his team to respond. We have set ourselves a big task after how well we have performed last year, and I'm sure we are more than capable of reaching that level again," says Moyes. "This is a test now. We were maybe up against it last year, and now we are up against it again and hopefully we can fight back and show what we are really made of. "We couldn't have asked for a harder game than at Arsenal, but maybe that's exactly what we require. "It is important that we get a performance from the game and regain some of our pride and come out of the game with something to show that it more like the Everton we know." Bucharest, though, continues to rankle. Moyes came in for vociferous abuse from a section of the travelling support in Romania, but the manager brushes aside the suggestion of the defeat affecting him more than most.
"It's not about me, it's about Everton Football Club and it's about us getting things together," he says. "We have to keep things into perspective. We lost that game very poorly and we have lost other games this season, but you have to look at the opposition we have faced. We have played some good teams in the opening part of the season, so let's not go over the top. "I'm only interested now in getting some wins and getting the team back on track." Moyes, who is seeking his 50th Premiership victory as Everton manager this evening, added: "I thought we had done job well in the first half and were perhaps a little bit disappointed not to be in front in the game. But the second half was not us. "But it has gone now. We can't do anything about it until the second leg comes around. We'll move now on to the next game and try and prepare for a tough game against Arsenal.
"We have to make sure that what happened in Bucharest doesn't happen again. "We feel we are hard to beat and it was a strange night in the end. On the night their finishing was exceptional, the second and third goal in particular were terrific finishes, but that's no excuse for us not being able to stop it. "We had lots of opportunities to clear the ball for some of the goals but produced poor pieces of play in trying to stop them. "There will be no criticism of the players. It has gone. I will take the responsibility for it, as we all will. We have to move on. We are not here to dwell on it."
Moving on sees Everton at High-bury this evening for the final ever time in a league match, with Arsenal ready to move into their new Emirates Stadium for the start of next season. And the Goodison club could be forgiven for wishing the old venue good riddance, having lost on their last nine visits. Indeed, Everton have won just one of their last 17 visits to the capital. Arsene Wenger's side have experienced an indifferent start to the season by their standards, losing their last Premiership game at Middlesbrough and struggling to over-come minnows FC Thun in the Champions League in midweek. However, Moyes warns: "Arsenal haven't been at their best so far this season, but everybody is aware of what they are capable of. That is the fear. If they strike it hot, they can become a very good team. But I can only think of my own players at this moment, and try and get the best out of them. "There were quite a few reasons for our performance at Highbury last season, but when it happened it was really sore. We've taken a few sore ones recently, so hopefully we are due to get a few good results shortly. Certainly, Thierry Henry missing would be a bonus." Given the tumultuous events of the last few days, Everton will feel they deserve that small mercy.

Campbell to provide missing 'charisma'
Sep 19 2005
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
ARSENE WENGER declared fit-again Sol Campbell is ready to provide the stature and charisma missing from the Arsenal side in the absence of Thierry Henry. Campbell made his first start of the season in the first Champions League group tie against FC Thun, having recovered from a calf injury.

Having also been sidelined for half of last season with ankle problems, his place in both the Arsenal and England teams came under threat and he was left out of the FA Cup final side. However, while that placed question marks over Campbell's future, Wenger is relieved to have him back in action ahead of tonight's clash against Everton at Highbury, with Arsenal needing a victory to keep leaders Chelsea within sight. "Sol came through last Wednesday's game fine. That is good news for England and for Arsenal. He was technically clean and looked sharp physically. Overall, I was pleased with his game," said Wenger. "I felt that we had conceded some easy goals recently and that he could help to correct that. "We didn't get the results we should have got away from home and that is certainly down to not being as offensively sharp as we were, but we also gave some easy goals away. "Look at the four goals we've conceded since the start of the season and none of them was really inevitable."
Arsenal's defensive problems have contributed to their poor start to the season, with two defeats in their opening four games. While they have two matches in hand on Chelsea, they already trail the leaders by 12 points. To make matters worse, with former captain Patrick Vieira having been sold to Juventus and Henry, his successor as skipper, still missing with a groin injury, Arsenal have been short of natural leaders on the pitch. "You miss a bit of stature, that kind of charisma that is around there when you walk onto the pitch, just because of the size of the team and the names of the players," admitted Wenger. "But Sol gives you that presence."

Solidity at back to provide platform for space raiders
By Colin Harvey, Daily Post
Sep 19 2005
HIGHBURY might not be Everton's first choice of venue for their next match after the midweek mauling in the UEFA Cup, but the players will need little motivation to put their season back on track than on a ground where they will also want to wipe out the memory of last year's 7-0 defeat.
The home team, too, have not had the greatest of starts with a defeat at Middlesbrough last week being followed by a fortunate victory over FC Thun in the Champions League and the hiccups in their own form will not have helped the Gunners' confidence. Everton will want to get back to basics and become very solid again.
THE return of Sol Campbell meant no place for Pascal Cygan, who has shown himself prone to make mistakes. The Arsenal full-backs like to push up an awful lot and that can leave the centre-backs in a manfor-man situation at the back with a lot of space around them. Middlesbrough were able to hit them on the break and when Cygan produced a weak header out, Steve McLaren's side capitalised by scoring. With the likes of Robert Pires and Freddie Ljung-berg preferring to tuck in, there will be spaces out wide for Everton to exploit. if they can break down the attacking forays of the full-backs, they will find space behind them to utilise.
THERE has been a lot of talk about which formation Everton should adopt, but I still feel 4-5-1 will suit their personnel better at Highbury. Arsenal move the ball about slickly with the kind of one-touch football that can carve through a team, but Everton will be looking to flood the middle of the park to cut down their options. Arsenal like to play the ball into feet but Everton will be looking to ensure that when a home player looks up they will see a sea of Blue shirts that will make it much harder for them to pick out a target. Arsenal tend to break through the middle rather than looking to get down the flanks and whip in a cross and Everton will have to be wary of their quick movement in and around the box. It is vital Everton defend as a unit and we do not see the kind of spaces Dinamo Bucharest were able to take advantage of last Thursday. They must keep their shape because Arsenal are not the sort of team to start lumping the ball forward if things are not going their way. They will try to work the ball on the ground throughout.
EVERTON will not want to get pulled around like they did against Bucharest. On the second goal, for instance, Tony Hibbert missed out near the halfway line and that meant Joseph Yobo was pulled out to challenge Niculescu going down the flank. When he got a cross in Yobo was then out of position, when you would want him to be the man cutting out the danger. That allowed Zicu to get in front of David Weir and clip home the ball. Jose Antonio Reyes will fill the Thierry Henry role by playing up on the defenders with the either Dennis Bergkamp or Robin Van Persie being the player to pull off the backline. But Everton should not be lulled into following them because that is when spaces will open between defenders and Arsenal's quick passing style is ideally suited to make the most of them.
JOSE ANTONIO REYES - a player with pace to trouble defenders and showing promising early season form.
Overall verdict
EVERTON will do well to return with a point, but it is important they do not suffer another morale-sapping defeat. Colin Harvey was talking to RICHARD WILLIAMSON

Arteta boosts Blues
Sep 19 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been given a welcome boost with the news that Mikael Arteta is set to return to the side at Highbury. The 23-year-old Spanish playmaker was forced out of the Blues line-up last week against Dinamo Bucharest after picking up a bug on the morning of the game. But he has now recovered and seems certain to be back in action against Arsenal to add some much-needed guile to the midfield. Following the woeful 5-1 defeat in Bucharest manager David Moyes has indicated that he is ready to make changes to his starting line-up now that his squad is almost at full strength. The Everton boss must also decide whether to persevere with Nuno Valente at left-back or take him out of the firing line following the Portugal international's uncomfortable start to life in the Premiership.
Moyes, however, is looking forward to the return of Arteta and has been delighted with the way his £2.5m summer signing has begun the campaign. "I'll have a look because anyone who is fit will have a chance of being selected, " said Moyes. "It was unfortunate that Mikel missed out the other night because he has started the season well and we have been pleased with him. "He has become a play-maker for us. He is always looking to get on the ball and we will always encourage players who are like that to try and do what they are doing. He never hides from the ball and he is always looking for options. "He has done very well for us. It will be good to get him back in there, alongside Phil Neville who gives us that bit of professionalism in the middle of the park." Moyes, meanwhile, will not need to tell his players that they owe the supporters a much improved performance at Highbury as they bid to exorcise the memory of the last time Everton faced Arsenal. The Blues were beaten 7-0, having just secured fourth place in the Premiership last May, and Moyes will urge his play-ers ahead of kick-off to respond in the best possible manner by showing that was a freak result.
"We know that we can perform much better than we have done and if you have got talent, it tends to rebound," said Moyes, whose side have lost six of their opening seven games. "It comes back and you don't lose it overnight. Hopefully we will get that reaction that I know they are capable of against Arsenal. Football is a terrific game for lifting you up and knocking you down. "Last year we were knocked quite regularly and we relished proving everyone wrong. That result against Arsenal is still a little bit raw and it was difficult to take. The scar is still visible and hopefully we can do something about it. "We want to regain a bit of pride in our recent performances. If we can do that it would be a positive step. "But isn't this the best type of game to come back in? The players have got a chance to show what they are about."

Now it's time to hold our nerve
Sep 19 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STARTING with six defeats in seven games and looking worryingly short of goals, Simon Davies is aware that critics have already begun to pen obituaries on Everton's season. Knocked out of the Champions League, their UEFA Cup dreams in tatters and stuck in the bottom three of the Premiership, it is not surprising that confidence has taken a battering at Goodison Park in recent weeks. Now, though, is not the time to start wallowing in self-pity and ahead of tonight's crucial game against Arsenal, Davies is calling for his team-mates to hold their nerve and show the spirit that has served them so well in the past. Aware that every second of every fixture will be scrutinised while this wretched run continues, the Wales international knows the pressure is on Everton to produce at one of the most daunting arenas in the Premiership. There is nothing like a trip to Highbury, however, to raise the hackles in Davies - formerly of Tottenham Hotspur - and he is relishing the chance to prove wrong the doubters who have written Everton off. But while the Blues will argue they are in a false position at present, the £3.5m summer arrival from White Hart Lane knows his new club cannot afford to leave it too late to start their revival, such is the cut-throat nature of the top-flight now. "We are eager to win games, get points on the board and get up the table because if it goes on much longer the pressure will increase after each game," said Davies.
"We are aware of that, but with hard work combined with the ability we have I am sure we can get something from the games we have coming up. But it has been a very tough start to the season.
"The Premier League is getting stronger every year and apart from the top two or three sides you don't see many sides winning games by three or four goals. Most games are tight. "We have had some narrow losses in the league but had those results been different the confidence would have been there in our play. At the minute people are talking about our lack of goals and that may be playing on people's minds a little bit. "But once the first goals go in, I am sure we will go on a run and the goals will start to flow. Goals win games and that is what it is all about. It is not good enough just to be playing well. "We cannot let ourselves get too downhearted because football is cyclical. There are highs and lows and we have got to make sure we keep doing the right things and prepare properly for the games and then the results will start to come." If they are to deliver a result that will stop the rot, Everton will not have any margin for error against an Arsenal side who themselves cannot afford to make any slip-ups if they hope to catch runaway leaders Chelsea. Shorn of the injured Thierry Henry and without Patrick Vieira, sold to Juventus in the summer, perhaps this is the best time for Everton to face Arsene Wenger's men. After all, there will be no pressure on the Blues as no-one expects them to win. Of course, it will be difficult but it is not beyond the realms of possibility and Davies has taken encouragement from the way Arsenal have faltered in recent games against Middlesbrough and FC Thun in the Champions League. "You have to take a different approach into away games than you would at home," Davies continued. "When you go to somewhere like Arsenal you know you will have to weather a storm in the first 20 minutes because they come at you. "But if you get past that period you can get into the game more. It doesn't matter who you are playing, you need to take that approach into games and expect more pressure on you.
"Highbury is always a difficult place to go. But they are not having the best of times at the moment either and they lost at Middlesbrough last week. "Thierry Henry will be out, too, so we have got to look at the positives going there. "It will be weird going there and it not being a derby match. But whenever you play the top sides away, they are always high-intensity games. And you want to test yourselves against the best by going there and doing well." Results apart, Davies has had a difficult start to life at Goodison Park because of a shin splint problem and has been substituted in every game he has played. But the 25-year-old believes the club's medical staff can find a remedy, even though it will take time. "It has been difficult but the manager and the physios have been brilliant," said Davies. "They know that sometimes I may need a couple of extra days after games rather than hammering them, the shins flaring up and then me having to miss games. "The club have been really good and at the minute are on top of the battle. "Hopefully that can carry on and we can start getting some goals and playing well."

Arsenal 2, Everton 0 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at Highbury, Daily Post
Sep 20 2005
WHAT a difference a year makes. This time 12 months ago, Everton had registered a victory over Middlesbrough that moved them up into the top four and a Champions League qualification berth they would never relinquish. This morning, only the rank awfulness of Sunderland prevents Moyes's side from propping up the whole of the Premiership. Out of the Champions League, heading out of the UEFA Cup and for much of the proceedings at Highbury last night, simply out of their depth.
Certainly, it's come to something when Arsene Wenger jocularly declares himself "ashamed" by the manner of his team's win with Arsenal's goals having both arrived courtesy of a towering Sol Campbell header from Jose Antonio Reyes's expert free-kick delivery. Any type of victory would do for David Moyes at present. The Everton manager may have put on a brave face afterwards and said the right things, but he accepts he is now facing the biggest challenge of his managerial career to resuscitate his ailing team. While there was never any chance of a repeat of the 7-0 embarrassment on their last visit here in May that took the immediate shine off last season's fantastic achievement - there were mitigating circumstances for that, of course - the lesson was no less emphatic. Moral victories are worthless. True, Highbury has never been a happy venue for Everton - nine straight Premiership defeats in this part of North London testament to that - but the very least Moyes demanded ahead of last night's game was that his team delivered a performance to restore a pride battered by that humiliating 5-1 defeat at Dinamo Bucharest last Thursday. After all, Wenger's side have hardly hit the heights this season, evidenced by last weekend's defeat at Middlesbrough and their subsequent struggle to over-come minnows FC Thun in the Champions League. But from the moment Campbell beat Nigel Martyn to the ball to head home on 11 minutes, there was never any sign this was going to be anything other than a victory for the home side. Everton's second-half revival of sorts, while earning praise from their manager, was nothing more than damage limitation.
It's now seven defeats from eight games this season, 15 from their last 21 and with just one Premiership goal scored in five. If Everton were not already in the midst of a crisis, it's difficult to argue against it now. Familiar failings were again exposed. A lack of cutting edge, a lack of midfield creativity, a lack of pace in defence, a chronic lack of confidence. Look around the team and it's difficult to assign specific blame for the current malaise. Their success last season was a collective endeavour and similarly they must share the blame for their sorry start to this campaign. Nevertheless, some are suffering more than others. Age is finally catching up on David Weir, Tony Hibbert continues to look a shadow of the player being tipped for England duty mere months ago and either Tim Cahill has taken Australia's Ashes defeat a little too personally or the travel-weary midfielder is in dire need of a rest. No laughing matter for Moyes, though, as last season's achievements continue to unravel. One shudders what might have transpired last night had Thierry Henry been fit. The Everton manager had resisted the obvious temptation of ripping up the team that capitulated so dismally in Bucharest, instead opting to make just minor adjustments to the starting line-up. Nuno Valente was relieved from duty after his traumatic baptism, with Matteo Ferrari stepping in at left-back for his debut following his summer loan move from Roma. Mikel Arteta, fully recovered after the bout of flu that consigned him to the role of unused substitute in midweek, returned in place of Simon Davies. Everton started the brighter and after James McFadden burst forward and laid off for Marcus Bent to shoot wide from 20 yards, the Scottish midfielder was unfortunate to see no-one on hand to convert his teasing cross. Alas, like much of what has gone on at Goodison this season, it proved to be a false dawn as Arsenal clicked into gear to deliver a taste of their joyful brand of football that stands alone amid the turgidity of the Premiership at present. That said, it was from a set-piece that they went ahead on 11 minutes with the usually-reliable Nigel Martyn partially at fault. McFadden felled Reyes on the right and from the Spaniard's deep delivery, Sol Campbell beat the Everton goalkeeper to the ball and powered a header home. Everton's response was to attempt to ruffle the home side, and although Phil Neville caught Robert Pires with one challenge robust enough to force the Frenchman to depart moments later, it made little impact as Arsenal assumed almost total control. Neville's Manchester United connections ensure he was jeered throughout, but he earned rightful praise from his manager for the way he stuck to his task as Everton threatened to be completely overrun. Even with Neville's industry, the first half was in danger of turning into a glorified training session for the home side, and after taking a delightful pass from Reyes in his stride, Robin van Persie ghosted past Weir only to hit the outside of the post with his angled drive. It was only delaying the inevitable, and on the half-hour Arsenal doubled their advantage with a carbon copy of their first goal. This time Leon Osman upended Reyes on the left of the penalty area, and the Arsenal man dusted himself down and curled in an expert free-kick that Campbell, rising above Weir and Ferrari, again headed past Martyn.
A goalmouth scramble initiated by an incisive run into the box from substitute Alexander Hleb caused yet more frenetic Everton defending and, after exchanging passes with Freddie Ljungberg on the right and continuing his run into the box, centre-back Kolo Toure nearly conjured an outrageous goal with an audacious backheel that drifted across Martyn and wide. Things could only improve for Everton after the interval, and at least they managed to make Jens Lehmann break sweat with an Osman shot that flew over and hopeful efforts from Bent and McFadden that the Arsenal goal-keeper held comfortably. Reyes and van Persie both tested Martyn but, victory never in doubt, Arsenal took their foot off the gas as Everton scrapped and showed commendable spirit to prevent a repeat of last season's abject surrender. Another Reyes free-kick caused the visitors' only major moment of panic in the second half, when Martyn's punch clear fell at the feet of Ljungberg on the edge of the area and the Swedish midfielder thrashed in a snapshot that rattled off the crossbar.
Next up is Wigan Athletic at Goodison on Saturday. Defeat to their newly-promoted North West neighbours is simply unthinkable.
ARSENAL: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole, Ljungberg, Fabregas, Silva, Pires (Hleb 29), Reyes (Song Billong 86), Van Persie (Bergkamp 67). Subs: Senderos, Almunia.
BOOKINGS: Fabregas, Reyes
EVERTON: Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Ferrari, Osman, Cahill (Ferguson 67), Neville, Arteta (Davies 85), McFadden, Bent (Kilbane 81). Subs: Wright, Nuno Valente.
BOOKINGS: Cahill, Neville, Hibbert.
REFEREE: A Wiley (Staffordshire)
ATT: 38,121
NEXT GAME: Everton v Wigan Athletic, Premiership, Saturday 3pm

Moyes anxious to end Everton's losing habit
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Sep 20 2005
DAVID MOYES admitted Everton must break their losing habit as quickly as possible or risk further Premiership misery. The Goodison side slipped to their fifth successive defeat last night when a pair of Sol Campbell headers gave Arsenal a 2-0 victory at Highbury. It was Everton's seventh loss in eight games this season and leaves them marooned in the Premier-ship's bottom three. And having seen his side slip to a 10th consecutive defeat at the North London venue, Moyes conceded his team must start winning games and scoring goals soon. "Confidence is the problem," said Moyes. "While you can get into the habit of winning, you can do the same with losing and we need to get out of that. "We have come here before and been opened up more than we did tonight, so we have to take positives for that. We stopped them in the second half but we couldn't make any opportunities at all of our own. "We are short of goals this season and goals win games." Moyes added: "It has been a shock what has happened (so far this season). We hoped to build on what happened last season, but we can't lose sight of what an achievement it was last season. "I'll keep driving on to make sure we can do it again. I'm still hopeful we can do okay." Fears of a repeat of May's 7-0 thrashing at Highbury were raised when Arsenal raced into a two-goal lead inside a half-hour, with both Campbell's goals coming from free-kicks by Jose Antonio Reyes.. But Moyes praised his players for the way they dug deep in the second half to prevent another hefty defeat following last Thursday's damaging 5-1 reverse at Dinamo Bucharest. "I said to the players at half-time to show a pride in the jersey and show what it means to play for Everton and see if we can turn it around," added the Scot. "Given the week we have had and the results we have had recently here, we didn't want to get beaten by a lot of goals again. "The longer it went on, the more I wanted to get towards their goal and brought more forwards on while still trying to make sure we didn't concede any more goals. "The players have restored some pride. It has been a tough week and Everton's players stood up to it and that's the way I saw it tonight." Of the goals, Moyes added: "They were two killer blows. They aren't normally the goals you associate with Arsenal. "We are not happy that we lost two goals like that. We are normally very good in those situations although they were two towering headers.
Moyes added: "I thought we should have blocked him off earliy and stopped him getting his run in and we didn't get a gauge on him earlier." Moyes singled out man of the match Phil Neville for praise, and said: "It is important to have Neville around. "He took the fight to Arsenal and maybe we could have done with a few more taking the fight to them. He stood up and was counted and didn't shirk the challenge." Meanwhile Everton midfielder Lee Carsley is ready to end his self-imposed international exile. The 31-year-old Irishman announced his decision to take time-out from the international game last season to focus his attentions on playing for Everton. But a year on and Carsley, who is still recovering from a knee ligament injury, admits he is now ready to make himself available to Ireland coach Brian Kerr once again. He said: "It's been something I have been thinking about for a while. "There is no point in ringing Brian tomorrow because I'm not fit. But as soon as I am playing again, I will be straight on the phone saying I want to be considered for Ireland squads.
"Despite what people might think, there was no bitterness between Brian and myself when I left the set-up, he told me I had to do what I thought was best. If Brian feels I am playing well enough and can add something to the squad, I am sure I will be in. Carsley's decision to come back will be a boost for Ireland ahead of next month's crucial World Cup qualifier against Cyprus. Ireland will be without Roy Keane for the game after the Manchester United midfielder sustained a broken foot in Sunday's Premiership game at Anfield. But Carsley insists the up-coming fixtures and the chance to qualify for next summer's World Cup have not led to his decision. "I am in a totally different frame of mind to last year," he added.. "I'd been travelling with Ireland for seven years, often without playing. It was getting to the stage where it felt like a routine rather than a thrill. "Every player should feel honoured and excited when they are picked for their country's squad. I wasn't feeling like that so it was more honest to take a break from. "The enthusiasm to be part of it is there again now. It's up to me to make the first move and ring Brian and tell him how I feel about it now."

Feeling Blue
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Sep 20 2005
Feeling Blue
WE can forgive a lot but not players who have no pride in the Everton shirt. It's a long time since I felt as low as this - similar to the Middlesbrough result with Walter Smith. It's all very well saying The Messiah will do the trick but he is the one that's been in charge over the last 20 games not just the last seven. It's always the next game that things will be okay.
P Seagrave (via e-mail)
Forget fourth
THE sooner we forget last year's fourth place the better. Moyes talks about more guile and goal threat. Well, you will not get it playing 4-5-1. We haven't got the players to play that system. Last year was a novelty but teams are switched on.
T Neal, Liverpool
Gravesen back?
I HEARD a rumour - a fairly unreliable one - but Tommy Gravesen might be looking for regular football and Everton have the first buy-back option. Please bring back the Mad Dog.
Harry Black (via e-mail)
IF I ran my company the way Kenwright, Wyness and Moyes ran our beloved club it would be up the creek without a paddle. Moyes is responsible for performance and results and is not delivering. Four wins in 22 competitive games is dire by any standards. He is incompetent in the transfer market and wears cardigans.
F Smythe-Tomkins, Formby

Arsenal 2, Everton 0 (Echo)
Sep 20 2005 By Dominic King at Highbury
DIFFERENT opposition, different venue but same old problem - the lack of a killer instinct is threatening to tear Everton's season apart beyond repair. Since the transfer window closed for business last month, irate supporters have bombarded websites and jammed talk show phonelines to complaint about David Moyes' failure to sign a striker during the summer. Given Everton have only mustered four goals in eight competitive fixtures thus far, two of which came from set plays, it is a valid and familiar gripe. Nevertheless, it is not the only reason the Blues find themselves in their current predicament. No. Everton will continue to struggle until they discover the rare breed of player who can add guile and invention to the engine room, the type who can pick holes in the opposition's defence at will. But, as there is an embargo on transfer deals until January, Moyes must now find a new style of play for Everton because with each game and each defeat in recent weeks, the Blues have become more and more predictable. Against Arsenal last night, Everton had plenty of possession - particularly in the second half - but they never once looked capable of fashioning an opening for lone striker Marcus Bent to latch on to. As tirelessly as he worked up front, he effectively faced a hopeless task trying to outfox Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, especially so considering he had very few passes off which to feed. He could have been partnered by Michael Owen, Robbie Keane and Dirk Kuyt at Highbury yet once Campbell put Arsenal in front in the opening exchanges, there was only going to be one winner and Moyes had no trouble agreeing with that assertion. Though he was happy with the effort his players put in, as well as the way they passed the ball in the second half, Moyes knows there is much work to be done at Bellefield this week ahead of Wigan's visit to Goodison Park on Saturday. Because sitting in Sky's studios, tucked away in one corner of Highbury, was a certain Paul Jewell and there is no doubt that the Wigan manager will have learned a great deal from his trip to the capital. It is, of course, early days and there are still 32 Premiership games to go but the longer Everton continue in this form, the more uncomfortable life will become. As has been proven in recent years, teams have a habit of staying in the same position. After all, it was exactly 12 months ago that Moyes' men recorded a victory over Middlesbrough that took them into the fourth spot that they would never relinquish. Clearly, things must change. And quickly. Certain players have hinted that Everton's current predicament has already set the alarm bells ringing but the only way they will be silenced is if the players dig deep, stick together and they develop a more expansive style. Now is not the time to start wallowing in self-pity. Yes, the start to the season has been catastrophic with European and domestic dreams hanging in tatters but there is time to get things right, providing changes are made. While many have grumbled that the Premiership has now become a humdrum, tedious affair there can be few complaints about the way the artists of Arsenal play. This is pass and move, not pass and snooze.
Zipping the ball across Highbury's perfectly manicured pitch with pace and panache, Wenger's men simply had too many gears for Everton. Trouble was, they barely had to get out of second to collect maximum points. Flicking aside Everton's challenge with the contemptuous ease, it became painfully obvious in the opening exchanges that the Blues would be in for a heavy shift. Effort and diligence alone are not enough to survive a night in this part of North London. So it proved. Bent may have had the first attempt on goal of the game, a strike from distance that whistled past Jens Lehmann's upright, but that merely served to coax the home side out of their shell. It was no surprise, then, that Arsenal poked their noses in front on 11 minutes, the only shock was the scorer's identity - Campbell marking his first Premiership start of the campaign with a glancing header from Jose Antonio Reyes' free-kick. Nigel Martyn will have been unhappy with his role in that goal but he was powerless to prevent the second on the half hour, Campbell again leaping majestically to bullet another perfectly placed Reyes centre into the back of the net. There must have been some fearing at that a massacre similar to the one last May was on the cards, particularly as Everton could not get near the dancing feet of Reyes, Robin van Persie and the magnificent Gilberto. Provided they are kept apart in the cup competitions, this will be the last time Everton have to visit Highbury but few tears will be shed considering the Blues have lost each the last 10 games they have played at the famous old ground. With Campbell's goals effectively stopping the game as a contest, the pace dropped in the second half and that at least allowed Everton to regain their composure, even if it meant sacrificing all thoughts of adventure. Following the capitulation in Bucharest, the Blues do deserve some credit for not collapsing again because one wonders what the knock-on effect might have been had Arsenal embarked on on a goal-spree. But with Wigan next on the agenda, it is high time that Moyes and his men rediscovered their ability to find the target and develop the cutting edge that is sorely missing - otherwise they face the prospect of a long and very bleak winter.
ARSENAL: Lehmann; Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Cole; Ljungberg, Gilberto, Fabregas, Pires (Hleb 29); Van Persie (Bergkamp 67), Reyes (Song 86).
EVERTON: Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Ferrari; McFadden, Neville, Osman, Cahill (Ferguson 67), Arteta (Davies 84); Bent (Kilbane 80).
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
BOOKINGS: Arsenal - Fabregas (2, foul), Reyes (65, foul). Everton - Cahill (35, foul), Neville (35, foul), Hibbert (50, foul).

We'll pull each other out of slump - Bent
Sep 20 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT is calling on Everton's players to show a siege mentality so they can banish talk of a Goodison Park crisis. Following last night's 2-0 reverse against Arsenal, the Blues have now lost seven of their opening eight fixtures this season and Bent admitted that wretched run has led to confidence in the dressing room taking a hammer blow. "We have had a slow start," said Bent, Everton's star performer at Highbury. "We have been beaten seven times when we should have pushed on and got results. It hasn't happened like that and it is still early doors. "There is a bit of panicking going on and there is some confidence lost at the moment. A few people are feeling tired. People will ask how we are feeling tired but we are mentally tired more than anything. "But we are a together bunch. We will pull each other out of it. Every game is difficult and we will give Wigan every respect because they are professionals and have just got into the Premiership. "We are looking forward to Saturday, though, because we think that is where our season is going to start. We lost 2-0 against Arsenal but we can take some confidence. We tried to do things right." The only way Everton will improve their current position is if they start scoring goals again and as the man who has been deployed as a lone striker, Bent agreed that a lack of opportunities is a cause for concern.
He, though, believes the system that David Moyes plays will come good again, as soon as the players receive an injection of confidence - which three points against Wigan would certainly provide. "We aren't creating many chances at the moment and that is frustrating," said Bent. "We played one up front last season and it worked. It still can work. We just need to find our form at the minute. "I thought we started quite well. It gives you a bit of confidence when you pass the ball around but it was disappointing to give the goals away that we did, because we are quite good from set pieces.
"But it was better. Last year we lost by a big margin at Highbury. Hopefully we can take some confidence because we have got Wigan coming up on Saturday. That isn't going to be a pushover but we have got to go and get three points."

Lack of chances worries Moyes
Sep 20 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was once again left to bemoan a lack of firepower as Everton's Premiership goal drought continued against Arsenal. While he took encouragement from the way his side played in the second half at Highbury, the Everton manager accepted their ambitions were restricted to damage limitation after Sol Campbell scored twice in the opening 45 minutes. The Blues have scored just four times in eight competitive games this season but only one of them - Marcus Bent's winner at Bolton last month - has come in the Premiership, leaving a concerned Moyes with plenty to think about. He said: "We never accept defeat, whether it be from Arsenal or whoever else we play. It's not my style. But we never really looked like we could score a goal and that for me is disappointing.
"It's hard at the moment because we need to keep them out. We just didn't really look as if we had enough threat in and around their box to get a goal. James Beattie and James Vaughan would have played some part but they are injured." Moyes believes his squad can take heart from the way they matched Arsenal's effort in the second half but is aware that it will take more than hard work to stop the rot. "At least the players can say they showed how much it means to play for Everton. They kept at it and they never let their heads go down. I'm pleased with them for that reason and hope-fully it is something to build on."

Carsley eyes Irish return
Sep 20 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY is ready to end his international exile. The influential Everton midfielder won the last of his 29 Republic of Ireland caps in a 1-1 Lansdowne Road draw with Russia in September 2003 but asked manager Brian Kerr not to consider him for duty 12 month ago. Though he was a regular in squads, Carsley had become disillusioned with the fact he was not playing in any games and the amount of time he was spending away from his family. Once he has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him out this season, Carsley will let Kerr know he wants to come back. "It has been something that I have been thinking about for a while," said Carsley. "There is no point in ringing Brian tomorrow because I am not fit. "But as soon as I am playing again, I will be straight on the phone saying that I want to be considered for the Ireland squad. There was no bitterness between Brian and myself when I left the set up. "He told me that I had to do what I thought was best. If Brian feels that I am playing well enough and can add something to the squad, I'm sure that I will be back in. I'm in a totally different frame of mind to last year." Carsley is unlikely to be involved in Ireland's forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Cyprus and Switzerland but the 31-year-old has made it clear that he wants to be involved in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Blues ticket news
Sep 20 2005 Liverpool Echo
General Sale continues from the Park End Box Office, 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Wednesday and 9.30 am to 6pm Thursday and Friday. Supporters can also call Dial-A-Seat on 08707 383786 or go online at evertonfc.com.
No tickets will be available to purchase on the night of the game. Stand tickets priced £25 (adults) and £12 (over 65s/under 16s) are available on general sale.
Stand tickets priced £27 (adults) and £14 (over 65s and under 16s) are currently available to season ticket holders upon sole production of voucher no 35 from the Park End Box Office during normal office hours. Joe Mercer and People's Club members should present voucher 35 from their season ticket books. All other executive members need to present cup priority voucher 4 from their season ticket books.

Blues go top after taming Black Cats
Sep 20 2005 Women'S Football By Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Ladies climbed to the top of the FA Women's Premier League following a 3-0 win at Sunderland. The game was a stalemate until five minutes before half-time, when Fara Williams closed the ball down on the edge of the Sunderland box and her deflected shot made its way into the goal. Sunderland's Karen Scorer was sent off for dissent, believing that Williams had handballed earlier in the move. More chances were created after the break and it wasn't long before Everton doubled their advantage. Chantelle Parry latched onto a ball over the top of the Sunderland defence to fire inside of Helen Alderson's near post. And the game was over four minutes later when Williams collected the ball 25-yards out and rifled a low right-footed shot into the net. Everton manager Mo Marley was delighted with the result: "It's pleasing that we have got three points, a clean sheet and scored three goals away. There are lots and lots of positives." Liverpool suffered their second league defeat at home to Nottingham Forest in the Northern Division. Jade Thomas opened the scoring for the Reds with a right-foot screamer just before half-time. But joy turned to despair in the second half, as two strikes from Natalie Clarke dealt Liverpool's promotion hopes a bitter blow. Tranmere picked up a point with a 1-1 draw at home to Wolves. The hosts took the lead when Kelly Jones latched onto a Sue Ken-wright pass to shoot home from the edge of the box. But Wolves had the better of the second period and equalised through forward Becky Hall.

Derby dinner date
Sep 20 2005 Liverpool Echo
CROSS park rivals Dave Watson and Jan Molby will share the mic on Friday, October 14, at a sportsman's dinner. The last Everton skipper to lift silverware and the Reds midfield genius are the guest speakers at the Devonshire House Hotel, where they are joined by comics Sean Styles and Willie Miller. Tickets cost £38 each or £420 for a table of 12 from 0151-924-6444.

Middlesbrough Res 2, Everton Res 0
Sep 21 2005 Daily Post
EVERTON RESERVES completed a miserable 48 hours for the Good-ison club by going down 2-0 away at Middlesbrough at Billingham Synthonia's ground in the FA Barclays Premiership Reserve League North. The night certainly started well enough for Andy Holden's side as Christian Seargeant saw two good efforts go begging while James Harris had a shot blocked by a Boro defender. However, after that initial burst Everton were then on the back foot for the remainder of the first half and the home side took full advantage. Blues goalkeeper John Ruddy almost handed Boro a gift, as he dropped a right-wing cross and was grateful to central defender Sean Wright, who headed an Adam Johnson chip off the line. Long-range shots from Johnson and Lee Cattermole were blocked by Ruddy as Boro looked for a way through. Boro's pressure finally paid off in the 35th minute when Danny Graham drove a low shot past Ruddy to open the scoring. A curling shot from Johnson had Ruddy at full stretch a few minutes later but soon after Boro did make it two. Adam Johnson cut in from the left through a crowd of bodies and, with the aid of a deflection, sent a left-footed shot beyond Ruddy from the edge of the box. A fine block from David Wheater on the edge of his penalty area prevented a low shot from Seargeant from troubling Knight as the visitors looked to reduce the arrears early in the second half. Everton's second-half performance was much better and they should have at least earned a point, having more possession and the better chances with Alan Kearney twice wasting excellent opportunities. Substitute Aiden Downs had Knight at full stretch in the closing stages and Everton went close again as Matthew Bates cleared off the line to deny Victor Anichebe, while the striker saw a powerful header deflected just wide less than a minute later.
Boro might have got a third in injury time when Johnson almost beat Ruddy, but a low drive from the edge of the area was blocked by the goalkeeper at full stretch.
EVERTON: Ruddy; Wynne, Wilson, Wright, Hughes, Phelan, Seargeant, Harris, Hopkins (Downs 46), Anichebe, Kearney. Subs: Lake, Boyle, Vidarsson, Holt.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Knight; Hines, Grounds, Cattermole, Bates, Wheater, Liddle (Thompson 82), Kennedy, Graham, Craddock (Owens 67), Johnson. Subs: Pennock, Cooper, Burgess.

Cup exit triggered our slide - Bent
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Sep 21 2005
MARCUS BENT has admitted Everton are still struggling to come to terms with their "soul-destroying" Champions League exit last month. The Goodison outfit slumped to their fifth successive defeat with a 2-0 setback at Arsenal on Monday night, their seventh loss in eight games so far this season. Bent has conceded there is a growing sense of panic among the playing staff at their current predicament, with only rock-bottom Sunderland below Everton in the Premiership table. And the striker believes the team's desperate start can be traced back to their controversial Champions League exit against Villarreal, when Duncan Ferguson's late second-leg header - which would have brought the aggregate scores level - was disallowed by referee Pierluigi Collina for an apparent foul by Bent. "To play in the Champions League and go out in the way we did was soul-destroying," said the Everton forward. "We knew they (Villarreal) were a massive side, could play football and it was going to be hard. "There is a bit of panicking going on, there is a lot of confidence lost at the moment and a few people feeling tired. "Fans will say 'how can you be tired at the moment it's only the first couple of games'. But sometimes you can be emotionally and mentally tired after a lot of travelling." Those travels included a UEFA Cup journey to Romania last week, where Everton were hammered 5-1 by Dinamo Bucharest to almost certainly end their hopes of an extended run in Europe. The domestic form of David Moyes's side has been scarcely better, with Bent's matchwinner at Bolton Wanderers on August 21 their only Premiership goal of the season.
And the striker admitted: "We are not creating much at the moment either and that is frustrating."
Bent continued: "There are a few new players but I don't want people to think we are making excuses. "We are a little bit low but we will pick ourselves up. We are a together bunch and the only thing we can do is go training and try to put it right. "If we knew what was wrong, we wouldn't have started the way we have. We get statistics every week about our work-rate and they are always high. "Maybe it just the way we are playing football, the way we are going about it. A few too many mistakes, and that is what we have to work hard to put right. "But we played one up front last season and it worked really well. And it still can work. Tim (Cahill) is a good player and he showed his worth last year. He will come good, although he's not playing badly now. "I keep going back to last year, because that is the main factor, that is where we achieved something. "We know we can get back to that." A sign of Everton's present malaise is the fact Bent termed the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal as "a bit of a bonus", referring to their last visit to Highbury which ended in a 7-0 humiliation. "Arsenal are a great side, but we lost by a big margin last year, and with the way we have been playing the past couple of weeks, to lose 2-0 at Highbury was a bit of a bonus for us," said the striker.
Bent also moved to defend manager Moyes, who came in for criticism from the travelling supporters in Bucharest last Thursday following their second-half capitulation. "That is just life in football," he said. "There is no explanation for it. Sometimes you get stick for no reason. "That will be put right by hard work and staying together. We have shown that we can do that. "We are looking to Saturday against Wigan because that is where we think our season will start. "We have got to get confidence out of the game."
* ANDY VAN DER MEYDE and Per Kroldrup will be appearing at the Liverpool city centre Everton store - by Central Station - between 4pm and 5pm tomorrow afternoon to launch the club's new third kit.

Carsley sets eyes on UEFA return
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Sep 21 2005
0ShareLEE CARSLEY is hopeful he can help Everton complete an unlikely European rescue act.
The midfielder has been sidelined so far this season since suffering a recurrence of a knee ligament injury during the pre-season friendly against Fenerbahce in July. But Carsley has now targeted the UEFA Cup first round second leg at Goodison against Dinamo Bucharest next Thursday for a comeback, with Everton looking to overturn a 5-1 deficit. "Hopefully I will be back in a week or two," said Carsley. "I would like to be available for the Bucharest game." The 31-year-old, who has declared his intention to come out of international retirement, is hoping to be fit for the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifiers against Cyprus and Switzerland next month. "I hope to resume full training and take it from there. I'm not making any predictions about being ready for Cyprus (for Ireland) but if things did work out, my passport is on ice waiting to be picked up!"

Neville was trying to injure me, says Pires
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
Sep 21 2005
ARSENAL winger Robert Pires has accused Everton midfielder Phil Neville of trying to injure him during their clash at Highbury. Pires hobbled off during the first half after a late tackle by Neville, who - especially as a former Manchester United player - was booed throughout the game by the Arsenal fans. The Frenchman later claimed: "I tackled to get the ball but he didn't. He made the tackle to catch me and he did." Arsene Wenger was still hopeful Pires could recover in time to face West Ham this weekend, predicting he "should be all right" for the game at Upton Park. The French winger was, meanwhile, quoted as revealing: "I tried to play but the pain was too bad." Everton manager David Moyes had earlier hailed Neville as the battling "British lad" around whom his side could base their recovery act. Moyes declared: "We know the reasons for the rivalry but he didn't shirk it. "He didn't hide, he got kicked but he got up and got on with it and didn't complain or feign injury. Good on him, a good British lad! "He was competitive, took the fight to Arsenal and I was pleased with him. Maybe we could have done with a few more like him. He made sure that he stood up to be counted." The Football Association are unlikely to investigate the incident as referee Alan Wiley decided not to take any action against Neville, who was later booked for a foul on Robin van Persie. Neville's teammate Tim Cahill has been accused by Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg of kicking the ball into the Swede's face during the same match. "I wasn't entirely pleased," said Ljungberg. "There were a few pushes and when I fell down the ball was in my face. "Then he kicked the ball into my face. That is why I was a little bit angry. There is no injury though. I guess I have a wooden skull." Meanwhile, teenager Cesc Fabregas has vowed to heed the warnings of Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry for Arsenal's young stars to put the team before their own "egos" or the temptation to "showboat". "Dennis is one of the most wonderful players, you ever seen. If he gives you advice, you have to take it as the experience he has is unbelievable," he revealed.
"If he says something like that, it is true, because you are young and you want to do things for your own and you don't think of other people. "But it's great as we can learn from players like him, Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell. "They are great, experienced players and have played at World Cups."

Premier League to probe fall in crowds
By Martyn Ziegler, Daily Post
Sep 21 2005
PREMIER LEAGUE chiefs are to study whether rising ticket prices and television coverage have contributed to an apparent slump in top-flight attendances at a special meeting next month.

The league's attendance working group, which is headed by chief executive Richard Scudamore, will deal with the concerns of several club chairmen who are seeing a dwindling number of fans coming through the turnstiles. Blackburn chairman John Williams, a member of the working group, saw just 20,725 fans turn up for Sunday's home match with Newcastle, 9,000 fewer than last season.
Williams said: "We in the Premier League have had 10 great years, a fantastic success story, but we are certainly going through the doldrums now. We have to do something now because by the time you see the bandwagon it's too late. "Richard Scudamore is going to reconstitute the working group and it's time to sit down and go through a whole plethora of things that might be done. "The wheels have not come off but the product does need a good service - it needs tweaking rather than major surgery." Sports minister Richard Caborn said he too was concerned by the fall in numbers.
Caborn said: "I'm pleased the Premier League have taken this initiative."

Belief key to Wigan test says Moyes
Sep 21 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is urging his players to keep cool as Everton begin the task of turning their season around against Wigan. Having lost seven of their eight competitive fixtures so far, this weekend's home game against Paul Jewell's newlypromoted side has taken on critical importance. The Everton manager is well aware the pressure is mounting to bring an end to a run of results that has left their campaign in tatters. Striker Marcus Bent admitted after Monday night's 2-0 defeat against Arsenal that there is a sense of panic in the dressing room and confidence has taken a hammering in recent weeks. But Moyes will tell his players to draw on their experiences of last year by telling them to have belief in their to ability to stop the rot from spreading further. "I'm sure between the boys and myself we all feel quite low about the way things have gone over the last week or two," Moyes said today. "We will be aiming to put it right as quickly as we can but I certainly won't be putting any pressure on one game in the early part of the season. "It's an important game. We know that. But all games are important. If we had won against Portsmouth a couple of weeks ago, we might have been looking at things differently. "Wigan will be a tough test for us, though. We can take heart that Arsenal didn't make too many clear cut chances against us. We need to try and use that as a positive.
"People who know us, know that we have got it in the bag to respond. The disappointing thing is that we haven't created enough opportunities or taken them when they have come along."
Moyes took some criticism for his approach in the second half at Highbury but insists that performance - like so many others this year - does not present an accurate reflection of their ability.
"People won't judge us on the Arsenal game and people won't judge us on the Wigan game," Moyes added. "That would certainly be the wrong way to look at it. "We won a lot of games last season and finished fourth. But I accept it and I'm a big enough boy to know exactly what happens in football. "In the main, I know most things about the players and I know how they react. It's a big test and that's what football does to you."

Moyes hails his British bulldog
Sep 21 2005 By Mark Bradley, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes hailed Phil Neville's battling "British" qualities amid accusations from Robert Pires he was deliberately injured by the Everton midfielder at Highbury. Pires hobbled off during the first half after a late tackle by Neville, who - especially as a former Manchester United player - was booed throughout Monday night's game by the Arsenal fans. The Frenchman later said: "I tackled to get the ball but he didn't. He made the tackle to catch me and he did. I tried to play but the pain was too bad." Moyes, who was unaware of Pires' claims, nevertheless highlighted Neville as the type of player around whom he could build his side's recovery act. He insisted: "We know the reasons for the rivalry but he didn't shirk it. He didn't hide, he got kicked but he got up and got on with it and didn't complain or feign injury. Good on him, a good British lad! "He was competitive, took the fight to Arsenal and I was pleased with him. Maybe we could have done with a few more like him. He made sure that he stood up to be counted." The Football Association are unlikely to investigate the incident as referee Alan Wiley decided not to take any action against Neville, who was later booked for a foul on Robin van Persie. Moyes would certainly not want to lose his holding midfielder, with Everton having now lost seven of their first eight games in all competitions. The Everton boss also revealed it could be another four weeks before new signing Andy van der Meyde is likely to be ready for his first-team debut. "He is back running now but when he has done his pre-season work and then some reserve fixtures, it could be four weeks before he plays for the first team," said Moyes. "But he could become a very big player for us because of his pace. He could give us an attacking option that we don't have at the moment. "You could see the Arsenal players who can go past people at pace and are capable of running with and without the ball. I hope Van der Meyde could give us that."

Who wants European Cup glory?
Sep 21 2005 By Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
THE job isn't quite done yet, but congratulations to David Moyes and his stout fellows for their refreshing anti-European policy. Many of my fellow Evertonians are still scratching their heads about what went on in Bucharest last Thursday, with one big puzzler being "How did we get beat 5-1 when Richard Wright and James Beattie weren't on the pitch?" More optimistic Blues, however, are assuming their team's pathetic second half performance was part of a cunning masterplan. Most commentators are claiming that an entire season of struggle, which ended with Everton finishing fourth, has now been wasted. What nonsense - and almost as funny as all those jokes that have been flying round, courtesy of the Everton-obsessed Reds. You know the ones: "The worst performance in Europe since Jemini scored 'nul points' in the Eurovision Song Contest" and "Everton's new sponsors are easyJet, because they're in and out of Europe in three hours." But it really is about time people started looking at the bigger picture. By finishing fourth, we foolishly believed we had secured a spot in the Champions League qualifiers at the expense of Merseyside's second best team (to be fair, there is a decent chance they might overtake us this season).
That will teach us for attaching importance to the rules of a competition! And so, when the Blues' Champions League adventure ended in Villarreal, Evertonians would surely have been justified, not for the first time, in taking their places on the moral high ground. From there, they could look down at the sordid mess and ask: "How many times can a competition be devalued? First, it was somehow won by a team which spent last season battling it out for fifth place with Bolton Wanderers - then the organisers moved the goalposts so they could defend it. "All of which means it's not a competition worthy of my dignified club's participation." And so to the UEFA Cup, which we ought to be rid of a week tomorrow when Dinamo Bucharest arrive at Goodison to claim their fools' prize.
This time, we should say: "Who wants to watch their team play UEFA Cup games on Thursdays, when it means we'd have to watch the subsequent Premiership games on Sundays?" In addition, no more European excursions will mean no more ticketing fiascos (a la Villarreal), or flight fiascos which leave hundreds of fans stranded at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (a la Bucharest). Also, of course, there will now be a dramatically reduced risk of any Blue being banged up for a crime he or she didn't commit while on foreign shores. And finally, no more ITV2 coverage should mean fans will no longer hear former Blue-cum-TV-pundit Trevor Steven getting Everton's Marcus Bent mixed up with Charlton Athletic's Darren Bent. Convinced by the arguments? No, nor me. But it was worth a try.

Paying the price for not buying
Sep 21 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES should have spent £6m-10m on a striker. Obviously every purchase carries a risk, but being knocked out of Europe and having a relegation battle both cost you money and damage your reputation. Lose the next three league games and Everton are back to square one.
Robert Smith, Crosby
EVERTON showed a bit of heart in the second half against Arsenal but too many players aren't delivering. McFadden peaked in Scotland and should go back there. Hibbert is being found out by skilful forwards. Fielding Duncan was pointless. I don't remember one cross in the entire game.
Are Trevor Steven and Kevin Sheedy busy this weekend?
Kevin Cosley, via email
I AM not prepared to pay good money to watch that rubbish. It was 56 minutes before our first shot on target against Arsenal with us earning no corners at all during the match. We only got away with 2-0 because Arsenal didn't extend themelves. I can accept getting beat but I at least want to think we have a chance to be entertained. I fear that Wigan will beat us.
Dan Guthrie, Huyton
I NORMALLY have something more constructive to say but I just cannot muster any more than, in the words of Brian Clough, "bloody rubbish". We are in a bad way and I struggle to see more than six points from the next six games. Look at the facts; 15 defeats in 21 games is the stuff of relegation and you can only see that run continuing.
Neil Colquhoun, Liverpool
DAVID MOYES' team must start playing controlled football and there will be no better time than this weekend. If Everton do not win, they are in dreadful trouble and it will prove that the current set-up has lost the plot. Moyes is the man at the helm and he must show his motivational and leadership qualities.
Roger D, Llanfairfechan
CAN someone please tell me what the point is in using 4-5-1? It hasn't worked since Thomas Gravesen left. If you are not conceding goals you have a chance of nicking one and taking the points, but how often have we kept clean sheets since Christmas? Moyes must play a more adventurous formation to move forward.
Barry Holland, Formby

Moyes ready to give jaded Cahill a break
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Sep 22 2005
DAVID MOYES is ready to remove Tim Cahill from the Premiership firing line in an attempt to rekindle the midfielder's form. The Australian international has looked a shadow of the player who finished as Everton's top scorer during a hugely successful debut campaign following his £1.5million transfer from Championship side Millwall last year. Cahill has yet to find the target this season, with the exertions of playing almost non-stop football for two years seemingly taking their toll. And now Moyes is prepared to give the midfielder a much-needed break. This season he has been an been ever-present, apart from the final 23 minutes at Highbury on Monday. Moyes hinted after the home defeat to Portsmouth earlier this month that Cahill would benefit from a rest, but his importance to the team made him difficult to sideline. However, with Lee Carsley closing on a return to first-team action, the Everton manager will give Cahill the opportunity to recharge his batteries. Carsley has targeted a comeback in the UEFA Cup first round second leg game with Dinamo Bucharest next Thursday, but the trip to Manchester City the following Sunday is a more realistic date. Cahill's Everton debut was delayed for a month last year while he represented Australia in the Olympic Games, and he was again selected for international duty during this summer's Confederations Cup and recently spent 56 hours travelling by air to play in a twolegged World Cup qualifying playoff with the Solomon Islands. The 25-year-old is also certain to be called up for Australia's final World Cup play-off in November, which will involve travel to South America and then his homeland before returning to England. Moyes, meanwhile, has sought to take the pressure off his players ahead of Saturday's important Premiership home fixture with promoted Wigan Athletic. The Goodison outfit have lost four of their opening five league games but Moyes believes his players are capable of responding positively after Monday's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal. "We will be aiming to put it right as quickly as we can but I certainly won't be putting any pressure on one game in the early part of the season," said Moyes. "It's an important game. We know that. But all games are important. People who know us, know that we have got it in the bag to respond. People won't judge us on the Arsenal game and people won't judge us on the Wigan game." Alessandro Pistone has under-gone successful surgery to save the knee cartilage he damaged at Bolton last month. In the first of two operations on his injury, the 30-year-old was treated by famed knee specialist Dr Richard Stead-man in Colorado. "The surgeon managed to save the cartilage," said Everton head physio Mick Rathbone. "There had been fears it may have needed to be removed. Repairing the cartilage is good news for Sandro in the long-term. He will go back to America next month to have the cruciate reconstruction and he is almost certainly going to miss the whole season."

No regrets as Taylor looks to add to Everton misery
By Graham Chase Daily Post Correspondent
Sep 22 2005
FORMER Tranmere Rovers starlet Ryan Taylor has no regrets over his aborted move to Everton ahead of his visit to Goodison Park on Saturday. The 21-year-old returns to Merseyside with newly-promoted Wigan Athletic for the first time since his summer transfer from Prenton Park.
Yet Taylor could have been in the home dressing room had David Moyes's side been successful in their attempts to sign the England under-21 international. Instead, after Everton failed to agree a fee with Tranmere and Norwich City's interest ended in similar fashion, Wigan stepped in and signed the right-back in July for a fee that could rise to £1.25million. Now Taylor - a boyhood Liverpool fan - believes the Latics can heap further misery on the struggling Goodison outfit. "The whole club itself is looking forward to the weekend," said Taylor. "It's like a derby but if I was an Everton fan I wouldn't be looking forward to it. "They're second to bottom of the league and they've been beaten a few times in the past few weeks so they've got to worry about us and we don't have to worry about them." Of Everton's summer interest, he added: "I knew a few offers had been rejected, then I found out an offer had been accepted and (Tranmere manager) Brian Little said it was Wigan. I came down here and one of the first things I said was 'give me that pen'. I wasn't turning this down because I don't think I could have come to a better club." Taylor admits he may not start at Goodison at the weekend but regardless, it will be a big day for his Kirkby family, whose loyalties are split between Liverpool and Everton. "A few of my family have already got tickets for the blue end, but I've got a few tickets for the reds to be in the Wigan end," he added. "I played there for my school when I was about 10 but to go to Goodison Park and play against Everton, being a red, that's something I won't forget in a long time." While Everton have lost seven of their previous eight matches, promoted Wigan have picked up seven points from their first five Premiership matches and have not lost since August 20. Despite moving up two divisions from League One, where he scored 10 goals from wing-back last term, Taylor has been involved in every Latics squad so far this season, with manager Paul Jewell using him in a mid-field role. Taylor, who started in the crucial 1-0 win over Sunderland and was employed in central midfield in the 1-0 Carling Cup win over Bournemouth, is satisfied with the progress he is making at his new club. "The gaffer's brought me in from a lower-league club and I agree with what he's doing," said Taylor, who was called up to the England U21 squad for the first time for the European Champion-ship qualifiers against Wales and Germany last month. "He hasn't thrown me in at the deep end and said: 'Come on, perform for me'. "I haven't been here too long, I've got a four-year contract, and within a year I want to establish myself as a regular. "The decision I made was the right one and I won't moan being on the bench and coming on in the Premiership. "Our main aim this season is to stay up and things are looking good for us. Teams have come here and not enjoyed playing against us."

Cup encounter ends in late controversy
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Sep 22 2005
SATURDAY sees the first top-flight meeting between Everton and Wigan. In fact, we've only met once before in a competitive fixture, in January 1980 in the fourth round of the FA Cup, a tie which caught the imagination of the north west. Wigan were only in their second season as a league club and after a respectable start were looking for bigger and better things. In the third round they'd beaten the then second division Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to secure a dream tie at Goodison.
Everton, meanwhile, were having a nightmare in the league as Gordon Lee tried to rebuild his team after many of the stars of the title-challenging class of 77-79 moved on. In the third round Everton had comfortably despatched fourth division Aldershot 4-1 at Goodison. Wigan may have been in the same division, but the very nature of the tie meant that they would provide a much tougher obstacle. The Latics had plenty of Scousers in the team, all desperate to prove a point. Inside Goodison there was a fantastic atmosphere as David tried to upstage Goliath. The game itself was a tough, sometimes nasty affair and in truth the eventual 3-0 scoreline possibly flattered the home side. Wigan had a decent chance early on when Martin Hodge had to save bravely in a goalmouth scramble before teenage winger Joe McBride turned home a low Garry Stanley cross. After the break, the Latics remained lively until Bob Latchford headed home a McBride corner and the Scot also created the cross for the third, a cracking drive by Brian Kidd. That should have been that, but in the final minutes, a free-for-all in the Wigan box ended with Kidd receiving his marching orders. The ensuing controversy took the shine off what should have been a great occasion. The Blues went on to reach the semi-finals, where they faced West Ham. On that occasion, another transgression by Kidd would arguably cost Everton the tie, but that's another story.

Watchdog kicks off at match kick-offs
By Martyn Ziegler Daily Post Correspondent
Sep 22 2005
PREMIER LEAGUE chiefs have been warned by the head of football's watchdog body that attendances are being affected by the number of top-flight games being moved from the traditional Saturday, 3pm kick-off. Professor Derek Fraser, chairman of the Independent Football Commission (IFC), met Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore yesterday and the apparent slump in attendances was discussed. However, Fraser believes the fall is not simply due to high ticket prices, although that can also have an affect. He said: "From what fans are saying to us, there are fewer complaints about the absolute level of ticket prices and more about the timing of games. "That appears to be the biggest bone of contention - particularly when the date or kickoff time is changed after the initial fixture list has been announced and they have, for example, booked a cheap rail fare. "Moving away from a Saturday afternoon kickoff can cause problems to fans. "And this is something that has increased with the current television deal and if clubs are in the UEFA Cup. "For example, Middlesbrough have just one Saturday 3pm kick-off from the start of the season until January." Fraser's talk with Scuda-more was one of his regular meetings with the heads of the leagues and the FA, and he was told that the Premier League's attendance working group would be looking at the whole issue next month. The IFC chairman added clubs had to be thinking about attracting a new generation of fans but that ticket prices alone were not to blame. Fraser added: "I'm not going to condemn football for being over-priced but clubs need to look closely at affordability and getting the right balance for different sorts of supporters. "We have suggested that clubs think about the longer term as well as the short term and if there are not appropriate prices for youngsters they are not developing the next level of the market. "It is not just about price though. "Blackburn have suffered one of the biggest percentage drops in attendances but they have among the cheapest tickets in the Premier League." In terms of prices, Fraser said the most complaints he had heard were about Chelsea. He added: "The most common theme with regard to prices is away supporters complaining about Chelsea with the cheapest tickets being £45. "We have been told of Newcastle fans who go to every away game refusing to go to Chelsea because of the cost."

Southall caps go under the hammer
Daily Post
Sep 22 2005
TWO international caps awarded to former Everton and Wales goalkeeper Neville Southall went under the hammer in Anglesey last night. Welsh caps are rarer than England international caps as the Welsh FA awards one a season to a player compared to one per game across the border.
The auction, the first ever devoted to soccer and other sports including cricket and rugby, was at the Morgan Evans showroom in Gaerwen. It also included special edition bowls and pots presented to Southall to commemorate Everton winning the FA Cup in 1984 and for winning the then Championship in 1987. The auction included over 150 items including signed soccer shirts, match programmes - some from the 1966 World Cup - and football annuals. There were also autographed cricket bats. A Morgan Evans spokesman said: "The items came in from various collectors so we thought we would put them together."

Moyes in pledge to get back on track
Sep 22 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today backed his Everton players to dig deep and deliver the performance that will end their slump against Wigan on Saturday. Much has been made of the Blues' poor start to the season but Moyes has no intentions of dwelling on the past and has been busy plotting how to start the club's autumn revival. Paul Jewell's newly-promoted side are the visitors to Goodison Park at the weekend but while they have got their campaign off on a solid footing, Moyes is relishing locking horns with his old friend. "We will do what we can," said Moyes. "We know how good we are and the talent of the players is there. When you have talent like that, it will always show through."
Moyes, however, knows it is imperative that Everton end a run of seven defeats in eight games as quickly as possible, though is well aware of how difficult Wigan will make things. "We would like to get back on form and get ourselves a result," the Everton manager added. "It certainly won't be easy. Wigan know what winning is like because they have carried their form over from last season.
"They will be reasonably happy with the start they have made. "I speak to Paul quite a lot and he has done a very good job since he has been there. "He has had tremendous backing from his chairman and good on him for doing it at a club like that. They may have surprised a few people but they haven't surprised me because they had done well against Premiership sides in cup competitions."
There are still a number of tickets available for the game and Moyes believes Everton supporters can play a key role in helping galvanise the players back to winning ways. "I have never had any doubt about the supporters being behind the team," Moyes said. "They have been through bad times in the past, so they know what it is like. But they support the team no matter what." Meanwhile, Per Kroldrup and Andy van der Meyde will be at the Everton Superstore in Liverpool city centre (outside Central Station) this afternoon between 4.00pm-5.00pm for the launch of the Blues' new third kit.

Carsley backs Cahill to find goal touch
Sep 22 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY knows exactly what Tim Cahill is going through. Recently restored to the Irish international fold, the Everton midfielder enjoyed one of the most consistent seasons of his career last year after deciding to take a break from national commitments. But despite the impact the sabbatical had on his club form, Carsley doesn't believe Cahill is ready for a similar spell on the sidelines. Cahill spent 56 hours on a plane in the build-up to the home defeat by Portsmouth. Australia's participation in the Confederations Cup and the Olympic Games means he hasn't enjoyed a proper close season for three years - and manager David Moyes admits he may have to pull the little Aussie out of the firing line to let him recharge his batteries. Carsley, however, thinks too much is being made of Cahill's travel plans. "I don't think there's any big deal about Tim being tired," he said. "If he'd scored - and he could have had four goals already with a bit of luck against Manchester United and Villarreal - people would have been raving about him again. "We are not scoring goals as a whole. As opposed to Tim not scoring, noone's scoring." In between scoring Everton's first and last goals of their most successful season in the Premiership era, Carsley barely missed a game last season - an unsung anchor who allowed players like Cahill and Thomas Gravesen to grab the headlines. "I definitely benefited from taking a year out from international football," he admitted.
It wasn't tiredness, however, but frustration that was at the root of Carsley's international disaffection. "I was finding that I was going away and not really enjoying it," he went on. "I thought what's the point? "But now my enthusiasm is back. I'm 31 now, so I want to try and go out on a high note." First, though, Carsley wants to get his season started. An injury sustained in the final, meaningless match of the season at Bolton, meant spending summer on the treatment table and missing the Champions League qualifiers - and the matches which have seen Everton's Premiership season slump to a lacklustre start. "I'm probably about two weeks away from being ready for first team contention," he explained. "I've been running now for about four or five weeks so it's just the last bit of ball work I need. "It's been very hard for me on the sidelines. I'm not a good watcher at the best of times and the fact that it's not started too well has made it worse. "There's certainly no different atmosphere at the training ground, but obviously we are missing something at the minute - the results will tell you that. "It's not panic stations by any means, but the sooner we sort it out the better."

Midfielder lifts disabled squads
Sep 22 2005 Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY, once fully fit, could be the man the Blues turn to in their current crisis, but in the meantime he has been putting his time to good use helping Everton's award winning disability programme. The Blues now have eight official disabled teams representing the club competitively - including amputee, deaf, partially sighted and pan-disability teams. It is an inspiring setup, and one Carsley enjoys aiding. "I probably enjoy these events as much as the kids," he says, "although I probably have more of an impetus than most because I have a disabled child myself and I understand how much these events need publicity. "That's probably why I have a little more enthusiasm. It's good for them to come down to a Premiership team's training ground rather than just the local park - and all the kids here today are big Evertonians as well, which helps! "I was involved with it a lot last season and I know we won quite a prestigious award. Every football club should be doing something like this. Giving up a little time is the least players can do."

Sports minister praises Blues' disability project
Sep 22 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON received backing from Sports Minister Richard Caborn this week for the work the club does in the community with people with disabilities. Evertonia caught up with the Labour minister for a chat about the initiatives the club has put into place. "I have been very impressed with what I have seen at Everton," he admitted. "In fact, I didn't realise the extent or the depth of the facilities here for people with disabilities. "You have more than 100 young people with varying disabilities being coached here with eight teams representing the club. "But you are also reaching out to more than 10,000 people in the community and that is fabulous. You just have to watch one of your coaching sessions to see that the quality of life for these young people has been changed. "You always see the bad news on the sports pages but stories like this should be focused on more often."
Everton are now the world leaders for providing football for disabled people, with the club's eight squads ranging from impairment specific such as the amputee and deaf teams to pan-disability squads. But the club's work does not stop with those eight teams. Everton coordinates the North West regional league for disa-bled teams. It is the first league of its kind in the country, with 26 teams registered across four ability bands. There are also 10,000 recreational participants from special schools and day centres who are now able to take advantage of free coaching and tournaments provided by Everton. The Sports Minister believes it is a blueprint that should be adopted throughout the Premiership. He continues: "I didn't realise the extent to which this scheme, that is supported by the Football Foundation, was out-reaching into the community.
"With help and support from the FA and the Football Foundation there are now Everton coaches who can go out into the schools and touch people's lives. It is something we can all be proud of here.
"Everton have developed a model here that can be used throughout the game."
* AS Richard Caborn can vouch, Everton places great importance on its young members.
And Evertonia is no different. The exclusive members club for Evertonians is offering special discounted rates for all new members of its junior section. Junior Evertonia members are given two £5 off vouchers when they join. The vouchers are for the forthcoming Premiership home games against Middlesbrough and Fulham. Junior Membership costs £9.99, so by redeeming the vouchers they are joining for free!

The Jury
Sep 22 2005 Liverpool Echo
Just what has happened to Everton? AFTER the humiliation of Bucharest, it was almost a relief just to see us avoid capitulation against Arsenal. What disappointed me most was that Arsenal were not made to work hard for the goals they scored, as we looked a very small and weak side when defending set pieces. It is imperative now though that everyone connected with the club holds their nerve, as the gradual return of the likes of Beattie, Kroldrup, Carsley and Van der Meyde can only improve matters. A support unified behind the team on Saturday is also vital. Despite a good start, Wigan are clearly beatable, but the crowd must show patience with a squad and manager that need the time to overcome their problems. It is now the responsibility of the players to stop merely talking about ending the run of poor form and recover some lost respect through results on the pitch.
IT'S not gone according to plan so far this season but I'm not too bothered really. Should I be concerned about our dramatic dip in form? Should I worry about winning only one game in our first eight of the season? Should I be worried about the fact that we've only scored one goal in the league all season? No, and I'll tell you why; because the ones who actually play for the club aren't bothered either. They like to talk the talk, saying "we'll do it for the fans", but have they this season?
You get sick of the excuses and it comes to a point where you think 'what is the point?' Why should I spend money, time and devotion on something I'm not getting anything back from? If the performances were there then I'd be a lot more supportive but it's come to a point where I'd rather watch Coronation Street than Everton.
KEN STEWART, Thatto Heath
ANOTHER terrible result follows a terrible week for Everton football club. Not only are the players failing to perform on the pitch but the club is in turmoil off the pitch. The failure to provide fans witha decent travel package to Bucharest is only the start of the problem. To hear about what happened at John Lennon Airport was not a surprise! What was a surprise was the result in Bucharest. We started the game quite well, and Bucharest did look rather poor but we came out second half and produced one of the worst performances I can ever recall. David Moyes looks to be making history, as one of the best managers the club has had and the worst manager the club has had. This week is make or break. We need to feel proud when supporting our club, instead of being embarrassed yet again, by players, management and the board.
THE season couldn't have started any worse for us. The Champions League proper was snatched away from us and the safety net of the UEFA Cup was thrown away. But is it really as bad as it seems? All Evertonians will admit that we overachieved last season and yet after what is being called a disastrous start to this season we are only three points worse off than from the same five games last season. We have already played three of the top six teams from last season and we have a game in hand against a newly promoted team. The lack of goals and confidence is a major worry but calls for Moyes' head are verging on the ridiculous. Wigan on Saturday is a big game for us, we have to put the start of the season behind us and push on from here. The performance on Saturday doesn't interest me, but three points is a must.

Football to rise above tactical apprehension
Sep 22 2005 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
IT'S as if people suddenly believe football has been damaged for good by terrified managers and their fear-factor formations. Logic suddenly dictates it's far more important to avoid defeat than to seek victory. After all, there are 38 games in a season. Draw almost every one of them and you'll probably still avoid relegation. Phew! Messing about out there and taking silly risks to create chances is to be avoided at all costs. Far too cavalier and irresponsible, that stuff. Just pack the midfield, leave one man up front and hope you'll get a lucky break which allows you to doggedly defend your advantage. However, football has a wonderful way of putting paid to such boring, best laid plans. Call me an optimist but I believe it will soon do exactly that. Going out to not get beaten may well be what many teams are doing right now. But football, as someone once said, is a funny old game. And it simply can't be controlled quite so easily in the long term. Because the beautiful game has a mind of its own and will have its own ideas, ultimately. Jamie Carragher is right when he says with a smile that defenders perhaps deserve a bit of credit right now, and that in truth the current stalemates are just a phase the Premiership is going through. As was United boss Alex Ferguson, when he stressed players are at peak fitness right now, with the lesser able managing to thwart the more able, a fact that will change as time and toil take their toll, and as That's the way to do it now and make sure, above all else, you survive in the Premiership. pitches soften towards the winter - wearing out limbs and creating space for talent and adventure to flourish. The fact is that what we're getting now in the Premiership is a pretty ordinary and unsavoury appetiser. But it has to change. The main course will surely be much more tasty when it's served up. Because ultimately, football's faint hearts never win - or lose - anything much. So when the coming battle does take shape, those managers and teams with real ambition may not exactly throw current caution to the wind, but they will take calculated, sensible gambles. Because they will simply have no other choice.
Look at Aston Villa this week. Three-one down to Wycombe, after a nice steady 'take our time' approach had backfired spectacularly by half-time. They responded to a right rocket from manager David O'Leary with seven second half goals which turned it into an 8-3 victory - their biggest win in 40 years. Spurs, similarly, bided their time strategically against Grimsby, only to concede in the second half and go out of the Carling Cup. You can bet Martin Jol won't be quite so cautious come the next cup tie. So you can bemoan the death of flowing football all you like, curse our bosses for killing the game, and lament the fact that, in the first few weeks of the season, crowds and goals are generally down. But football has had a funny habit of taking care of itself down the decades, and it will do so again. Because this fascinating game is far bigger than the players who populate it or the tactics which spoil it. And rest assured, before too long, it will ensure normal service is resumed.

Our team spirit is still good, says Scot
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Sep 23 2005
JAMES McFADDEN insists Everton's squad still retains the team spirit that drove them to the heights of fourth place last season. David Moyes's side are desperate to end a run of five consecutive defeats by claiming all three points from their Premiership clash at home to Wigan tomorrow.
The Goodison club's superb team spirit was credited as a significant factor in their surprise qualification for the Champions League last term. But despite their disappointing start to the current campaign, McFadden claims that spirit is just as strong. "The spirit from last season has not disappeared," said the Scottish winger. "Ever since I have been at the club the spirit has been great. It has always been there and we will need to be calling on that spirit again because if you look at the results it is disappointing. "We showed last year we have the heart and the bottle for a fight. Maybe this season is kicking off a bit later for us but let's try and put things right on Saturday and go on another good run." McFadden, who has started the last two games for Everton, felt his team-mates were in need of a bit of luck to drag them out of their slump. He added: "There have been times when maybe we haven't had the breaks and things have gone against us when maybe they shouldn't have. "But at times you need a bit of luck. There were occasions last year when maybe we didn't play to our best but we came away with the victory. This season we have been playing well enough in the main and yet have been getting beaten. "A little bit of luck allied with hard work will be the formula that we need. "At Arsenal we tried to avenge the Bucharest defeat but it would be ideal for us to do it in front of the home fans on Saturday." The injury situation that has so hampered Everton's start is gradually easing, meanwhile. Lee Carsley (knee), Per Kroldrup (hernia) and James Beattie (toe) are all closing in on fitness, although none of the trio are likely to be fit for tomorrow.
Head physio Mick Rathbone commented: "Lee Carsley, Per Kroldrup and James Beattie are all making very good progress and they should be back within the next couple of weeks."
Andy van der Meyde, who has been sidelined by a groin injury since moving to Goodison from Inter Milan last month, is expeted to be ready by early October.
* WALSALL manager Paul Merson has signed Everton goalkeeper John Ruddy on a month's loan.
The England under-19 keeper is expected to make his Saddlers debut at Scunthorpe on Saturday.

Everton will come good, warns Latics manager
By Simon Stone, Daily Post
Sep 23 2005
PAUL JEWELL is tipping Everton for an autumn revival and the Wigan chief just hopes his team are not the first victims. Jewell takes the Latics to Goodison Park tomorrow hoping to inflict more damage in what has been a miserable start to the season for David Moyes's boys. Out of the Champions League, on the brink of elimination from the UEFA Cup and second bottom of the Premiership pile with just three points from their opening five fixtures, Everton are in a very sticky mess. Yet Jewell, a Liverpudlian whose family lies firmly in the red half of the city, has too much respect for Moyes and his play-ers to think they will be struggling for long. And by the winter's end he expects to see Everton pushing for a European slot. "I think we all accept Everton are in a false position at the moment," he said.. "They have far too many good players to be down among the dead men for long. "Expectations are high because they did so well last season when they were supposed to be in turmoil following the sale of Wayne Rooney. "They have to hit form at some time and although I hope their bad run continues this weekend, I expect them to be pushing for a European place come May." Jewell was reminded the Everton fans have not forgotten where his allegiances lie by directing some good natured banter towards him when he turned up at Highbury on Monday to combine a timely scouting mission with some television punditry for Sky Sports.
"I have never had a warm reception from the Gwladys Street End and I don't expect that to start now," he smiled.. "They know I am a Liverpool man but I recognise what a fantastic club they are and what terrific supporters they've got." After lamenting the shoddy Carling Cup display against Bournemouth in midweek, Jewell has confirmed he will make wholesale changes, with his starting line-up more like the one which earned a late draw with Middlesbrough on Sunday. The result extended Wigan's unbeaten run to three, cementing the Lancashire outfit's position in mid-table, although, according to the Latics manager, that is nothing to get too excited about. "You can't give the tables any credence just now," he commented. "It's nice to be where we are after five games but we will know how good we are after 38. "It's only when we get to Christmas we will be able to work out whether we are in a relegation fight or pushing to finish in the top six."

Take a break
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Sep 23 2005
Take a break
IT'S about time Tim Cahill got a break - he deserves it. That would then leave an open gap for either Li Tie or Lee Carsley when he's fit, who are both willing to make an impact. Let's all get behind the club, even if you think we won't get far in the Premiership, because that's what a true Blue does.
Moyes is determined to make a change so let's sit back and watch - who knows, we could finish at least fifth this season.
Nick Stubbs, Merseyside
Trust in Moyes
HOW can people say that Moyes has no tactical knowledge? When he took over he changed from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 and it worked for a while. Then he went back to 4-4-2 when teams got to know it. He then changed to 4-5-1 before anyone else used it and it worked. The only thing I will say against him is that it's time for another change because teams have worked us out - he should change to 4-4-2 and risk Ferguson up front even if he gets injured.
In Moyes I trust... so should you.
C Bullen, Formby
Missing Lee
TO say we have missed Lee Carsley would be a massive understatement. I have the feeling we will do well this year, if we can just pick up as many points as possible between now and the transfer window opening in January. On the subject of Moyes been tactically inept, this is rubbish and anyone that watches Everton and football in general will know that we play a system that Mourinho plays at Chelsea and Ferguson plays at Old Trafford.
Anthony J Quinn, Walton
HOW can anyone in their right mind say the midfield and defence are okay? When we do not create any chances for the lone striker and are conceding goals more than any other Everton team I have watched in more than 50 years, I don't think so. Terry Sims, Childwall
Five to go
GET rid of Ferguson, Kilbane, Osman, McFadden and Pistone. All not up to the Premiership, especially Ferguson - the world's worst striker and the biggest waste of money ever seen.
Jack Barrowmore, Caldy
Keep the faith
COME on, let's get behind the lads and remember we're Everton FC - the greatest and proudest club in the world. We all know we'll come good in the end. So come on you Blues, let's hammer Wigan.
Kristian Brown, Liverpool

Get back to basics to stop the season turning ugly
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Sep 23 2005
EVERTON could probably do with a win tomorrow. If they don't get all three points then things could turn very ugly indeed. And after that disaster against Portmouth, followed by the indescribable second-half display in Bucharest, a home victory looks anything but a certainty. In some ways Monday night at Highbury was almost an irrelevance; we get beat there even when we're playing out of our skins so the only surprise when we dipped this time around was that we managed to keep the scoreline down to 2-0. In fairness to the players there was no cave-in like the one in Romania, they did work hard until the final whistle, but we all know that if they had posed any threat whatsoever to Arsenal's lead then the Gunners could have comfortably stepped up the pace and scored more. But it's against the likes of Wigan, especially at Goodison, where we have to start reproducing the goods on a regular basis. All the talk is about formations and the failure to bring in a striker in the summer, but first and foremost the team simply need to get back to basics and doing the things that brought them success last season, i.e. making sure that they close down their opponents. It's easier said than done against Arsenal or Manchester United, but 90% of teams in the Premiership will panic when put under sustained pressure. The Blues failed to work hard enough against Portsmouth and as a result allowed a limited side to knock the ball about, grow in confidence and control the game. Paul Jewell will be hoping that they do the same tomorrow. He will also be telling his players that as long as they hold firm for the first 20 minutes - as Everton will undoubtedly come out flying - then the crowd's enthusiasm will quickly turn to frustration. And the fans have certainly got plenty to be unhappy about, but we have to be careful that we don't become our own worst enemies. The likes of Nuno Valente or Matteo Ferrari haven't exactly set the world on fire, but they're new to English football and certainly won't be helped to settle if they've got the Paddock screaming at their every touch. So we, the supporters, can play a big part in helping get Everton's season back on track, starting with tomorrow's game.

Per on course to lift Blues
Sep 23 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PER KROLDRUP has handed Everton a massive fitness boost by making his return to full training.
Having been struck down with a groin injury before Everton's first Champions League qualifier against Villarreal, the Danish international has yet to play a competitive game for the Blues. But following surgery to remedy what turned out to be a hernia problem, Kroldrup has delighted the club's medical staff with the speed of his recovery. And though he is refusing to set any dates for when he will be available again, Kroldrup has hinted it won't be too long before he finally gets to make his Everton debut. "It is coming along all right," confirmed Kroldrup, a £5m summer signing from Udinese. "I have started back training and I am happy with that. "It has been frustrating to be on the outside, especially when your team is not doing so well. It has been a long six weeks.
"I have got a lot to prove because I have just arrived but I am just eager to get back into the team and get some games as soon as possible. "Having been forced to sit and suffer during his new club's miserable start to the season, Kroldrup is particularly frustrated that he hasn't been able to help. In his eyes, however, the situation is not as bleak as many have suggested. "It is no secret the start to the season has been disappointing," he said. "But we are all confident that we can turn it around and get some results quickly. Hopefully, we will win on Saturday. Meanwhile, David Moyes believes one goal will make all the difference to his side's confidence as they look to get things back on track against Wigan tomorrow. Everton have only poked their noses in front once this season - in the win at Bolton - and Moyes reckons the players' belief will come flooding back if they repeat the feat at Goodison Park. "It was a start and the players showed that they care," said Moyes, referring to the second half performance against Arsenal on Monday night. "It's not that I thought they haven't at any other time. But it really showed on the night that they want to do everything they can to stop things getting any worse."

It's crazy to say Everton are a club in crisis
Sep 23 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpoo Echo
WHILE Everton's miserable start to the season has been greeted with hysteria in certain quarters, it is refreshing to digest James McFadden's thoughts on the situation. Conscious that critics have been sharpening the knives in light of some poor results, the Scotland international knows the pressure on Everton to deliver has significantly intensified in recent weeks. Out of the Champions League, on the brink of elimination from the UEFA Cup and stuck in the relegation zone, McFadden accepts the Blues are in a unpleasant predicament. But, as he rightly points out, they are not stuck in a hole from which they cannot escape. After all, it is only the end of September and there are still many more hours of football to be played. So when the word 'crisis' is used to sum up the current state of affairs at Goodison Park, McFadden affords himself a wry smile before offering a personal eloquent view bursting with sense. Knowing three points against Wigan will put things in a completely different light, the 22-year-old believes it is only a matter of time before Everton resume business as usual and sanity is restored. "It's part and parcel of football, " McFadden observed. "Things don't go for you occasionally and you just need to keep the spirit and attitude right. "There are worse places you could be and worse things that could happen. Of course, football is important. But it is a sport and for people to say things like crisis is a bit over the top. "Crisis in football is when teams are going up the wall and out of business. That's a crisis. A bad start to the season is a little hurdle that you can get over. "We are only five games into the season. There's another 33 games to go. We'll see where we are the end but I'd think we won't even remember the start we've had. "Wigan are on seven points. If we beat them we'll be on six, so for them to have had that good a start? Well it's just crazy. But that's the way football is. "People demand that you win every game but unfortunately that's not possible for any team. We've had a start but we've got every opportunity to put it right."
Starting tomorrow against Wigan. Having adapted quickly to life in the Premiership, Paul Jewell's men will present a stiff test as they look to get established in the elite. McFadden, though, sees this as the game that could provide the perfect antidote to Everton's late summer ills and is eager to make a significant contribution. After playing a bit part in the first few fixtures, the Glaswegian started the last two games against Dinamo Bucharest and Arsenal and should continue that run at Goodison Park. "Obviously I'm pleased to be back in and playing," McFadden said. "I think we can only take encouragement from the second half against Arsenal but to lose goals at set pieces, well it's not really us. "That's not something we are used to doing, so it was disappointing from that aspect. We didn't really create too many great chances, either. " But the Arsenal game is finished with and we have now got to look to the Wigan game and put things right. We need to move on and there is no point on dwelling on things. "We lost the game and we need to put it right. Wigan is going to be a big game and one that we should be looking to win. "We have got to look at it like that because we haven't started off great. There are certain points in the season when you can say there is a turning point and hopefully this can be it for us." Since signing from Motherwell two years ago, McFadden's main role has been that of a substitute with 33 of his 53 appearances coming from off the bench. Understandably, he is desperate to prove that he is more than just a bit part player but makes it quite clear that the team's wellbeing is the only thing that matters at present. "I've not really started too many games so I'm still trying to catch up in terms of match fitness. That will come with games," continues McFadden, who has been capped 21 times by his country. "I felt a wee bit better in the game on Monday night, so hope-fully if I am involved on Saturday then I will be able to step it up another level again. "But I think everybody has got a point to prove after the start that we have had. Personally, it's not about proving a point, it's about staying in the team and I just want to do well for everyone here." He is not the only one. Manager David Moyes is sure to have his players pumped up for the off tomorrow and while he respects the threat Wigan pose, McFadden knows the game has to be all about Everton. The time has come to stop the rot. "They have started well," he noted. "They only lost to a great goal against Chelsea but apart from that, they have had a great start. "They will have taken a lot of confidence from that and they have gone on to pick up a couple of results. But hopefully we can stop them and get our season going again. "This needs to be the point where we build a base for ourselves and springboard our season. You always try your hardest to win every game but I'm sure that we'll pick up."

Any witch way to lift curse of left!
Sep 23 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
I THINK, perhaps, it is time for a slightly deranged looking witchdoctor to wander onto the Goodison turf. He should shake a stick at the Goodison Road Park End corner flag, then wander diagonally across and slaughter a chicken at the Street End, just like they do at Fenerbahce. He could mutter a few phrases in a forbidding and unfamiliar tongue, shriek loudly, then declare Goodison free from all evil spirits. Because Everton's left-back berth is definitely looking cursed - and that brand of black magic is infinitely preferable to the brand Matteo Ferrari sprinkled over the Highbury turf on Monday. To be fair to the Italian, he is more at home at centre-back, he was making his debut against Arsenal, and was still a hundred times more effective than his predecessor, Nuno Valente.
In his two displays so far, the man recommended by Jose Mourinho has looked increasingly like the result of a favour for an old and trusted servant. But Valente's early form is merely confirmation of the horrors Everton have endured at left-back since Andy Hinchcliffe was sold. Even then, when the Blues could boast an England international left-back on their books, only one of the four Everton managers who coached him managed to coax consistent performances from his complex mindset.
But there were worse . . . much worse. There are a legion of young Evertonians who actually believe the Blues once employed a footballer called Bloody Burrows (or worse!), such was David's impact on the Goodison crowd. He was sold by Joe Royle, after enjoying the remarkable statistic of having been booked in almost every one of his 19 appearances for the club. His career was positively long lived, though, compared to Kenny Sansom. The little Londoner had been a classy, composed full-back in his prime . . . at Arsenal. In his six-match Everton career he was a spent force, possessing the shape of a filled-to-capacity beer keg and the mobility to match. He did score on his home debut, though, unlike Pat Heard, who looked completely lost in an Everton shirt, but managed to claim a European Cup winners' medal with Aston Villa. Terry Phelan was responsible for an amusing departure - when Walter Smith wouldn't give him his boots back - but little else,, and the unfairly derided Mitch Ward made two appearances at left-back for the Blues - at West Ham and Barnsley - and, like the rest of his Blues' career, was solid if unspectacular. But left-back has been a problem position for a succession of Everton managers. David Unsworth was the last victim of the Goodison boo-boys, while Alessandro Pistone was rapidly heading that way this season before his untimely injury. In the words of the song, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." If only somebody had Pat Van Den Hauwe's telephone number . . .

'Relegation peril creating caution'
Sep 23 2005 Liverpool Echo
WIGAN boss Paul Jewell has admitted the desperate fight for Premiership survival is causing some managers to abandon all notions of entertainment. Jewell believes the financial consequences of dropping back into the Football League are so horrific, clubs are prepared to do anything it takes to ensure they avoid it. "There are 10 or 12 teams fighting just to survive and the pressure is so great managers are almost thinking providing entertainment is not part of their job," he said. Jewell insists his own intentions are to play an open, expansive game and while he hopes that tactic inflicts more misery on Everton tommorow, he cannot see David Moyes' side being stuck in the relegation zone for long. "I think we all accept Everton are in a false position at the moment," he said. "They have far too many good players to be down among the dead men for long."

Blues can head weekend betting
Sep 23 2005 You Bet! with Adam Oldfield, Liverpool Echo
Blues can head weekend betting EVERTON have a great opportunity to turn around their disappointing form when they entertain Wigan tomorrow. Despite the Latics making an impressive start to their first ever campaign in the top flight, expect the Blues to pick up a victory at 10-11. For a 45-1 six timer with Blue Square add wins for Newcastle (v Man City); Southampton (v Plymouth); Sheffield United (v Derby); Swansea (v Notts Forest) and Wycombe (v Mansfield).
Reds can break Chelsea's run
CHELSEA'S unblemished start to the season has prompted William Hill to go 9-1 on the defending champions completing the Premiership campaign unbeaten. Jose Mourinho's men, yet to concede a goal, are also quoted at 300-1 to win every league game this season and 1,000-1 to keep a perfect goals against record. Liverpool, however, are 6-4 favourites to be the first team to breach the Chelsea defence when they meet on October 2. Aston Villa, who travel to Stamford Bridge tomorrow, are 3-1 to get on the scoresheet, while Manchester United are 11-2 to provide the first dent in the Londoners' armoury on November 5. First team to score against Chelsea (Hills): 6-4 Liverpool; 3-1 Villa; 11-2 Man United; 7-1 Everton; 10-1 Bolton; 16-1 Blackburn.

Neville fires riposte at 'insulting' winger
Sep 24 2005 By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
PHIL NEVILLE believes Everton must rediscover their Goodison fear factor - as he revealed his disgust at the "in-sulting" Robert Pires. Midfielder Neville will assume his usual central midfield role for today's home encounter against promoted Wigan Athletic with David Moyes's side attempting to arrest a slide that sees them ensconced in the Premiership bottom three. Everton have failed to score a league goal in more than five hours, lost seven out of eight competitive outings and have not registered a victory on home soil so far this campaign. The foundations for last season's fourth-place finish were built on a strong record at Goodison and Neville has called on his team-mates to ensure the stadium becomes an intimidating venue for visiting sides once more. "When teams come to Goodison Park they expect to get battered, and we need to make sure they aren't disappointed in that respect," said the 28--year-old. "That's what I expected when I came here as a Manchester United player. We need to get back to that, where teams were fearful of coming here. "It's been a difficult start but the mood hasn't changed in the place. There is a lot of positive thinking, we firmly believe we are in a false position. We see this is a blip rather than a crisis. "People are talking about a crisis here and that is wrong. It is too early in the season to be talking about that or to be panicking. Disappointing is the correct word. I still think we will be pushing for a place in Europe."
As a former Manchester United player, Neville came in for plentiful abuse from the home supporters during the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Monday, exacerbated by a challenge on Robert Pires that eventually forced the Frenchman off through injury. Pires subsequently claimed Neville deliberately intended to hurt him, comments that were yesterday met with a strong rebuke from the England international who also pointed the finger at Arsenal's suspect disciplinary record - Robin van Persie's Champions League red card against FC Thun last week was their 60th dismissal under Arsene Wenger. "For me to make a tackle on someone, that is normal," said Neville of his tackle on Pires. "But because certain players made a meal out of it and the fans were on my back, perhaps more was made out of it than it should have been. "It didn't surprise me one little bit (that Pires complained). Some clubs have different agendas. I make a tackle, win the ball, the referee doesn't give a foul, I don't get booked, and all of a sudden I am a thug. "A few days before that, one of their play-ers nearly takes some-body's head off, and they are pleading innocence. How many times have we seen that over the years from Arsene Wenger and Arsenal Football Club?" Neville, who was booked later on for a foul on van Persie, added: "Arsenal are a great team and Robert Pires has come to this country and put in some unbelievable performances. But in English football you have to tackle, and sometimes when you play against these kind of players, they think that you aren't allowed to tackle them. "Everton's strength and my strength is tackling. It may be a more English type of game, but you can't stand off against Arsenal because they will kill you. We were aggressive on Monday night and they still managed to knock the ball around. "My record in football, with just that one sending off against Fulham, suggests I am not a dirty player. For him to come out and say I deliberately tried to hurt him is, to be honest, insulting. "I think Arsenal's players must have it in their contract that you aren't allowed to touch them. You only have to look at Arsenal's disciplinary record to suggest the problem lies within and not outside the football club. "It's been going on for 10 years. Like any manager, Arsene Wenger defends his own players, but there are times when you have to be more honest." Everton's striking woes could be deepened by the absence of Duncan Ferguson this afternoon, who is doubtful with a back injury sustained during the Arsenal game. Long-term absentee Lee Carsley remains sidelined, although Per Kroldrup has made a return to full training following a groin injury. Despite Everton's poor start to the season, Moyes said: "I've not felt I have been in the firing line."

I am loving every minute of playing for Everton
Sep 24 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
HAVING grown accustomed to life in the Premiership fast lane with Manchester United, where finishing second was considered failure and two seasons without a trophy a major crisis, Phil Neville could be forgiven the odd grumble at Everton's current predicament. Arriving with Champions League football within tantalising reach and targets set on improving on last season's fourth-placed finish, the 28-year-old's decision to move from Old Trafford emphasised the new-found ambition at Goodison. Eight games later, and it's fair to say things haven't quite gone according to plan for David Moyes's side. But while Neville now faces an altogether different challenge in helping his new club kickstart their spluttering season, he is far from unhappy with life on Mersey-side and is convinced Everton can turn their season around and be challenging at the right end of the table come May.
"The question I am most asked at the moment is whether I regret moving to Everton," says Neville.. "My answer is that I am loving every minute of it. I love coming into work. "The only downside has been the results so far, but that is the one thing we can put right. Everything else has been perfect. I am having an absolutely fantastic time here. "The quality of the squad is up there with the top clubs in the Premiership. That is why I don't think anyone is panicking. The squad was good last year and the manager has added to that. There's no reason why we can't have another successful season."
After spending much of his final two seasons at Old Trafford on the sidelines, Neville admits he is already reaping the rewards of being elevated from a bit-part player at United to a key first-team member at Everton. "Your mindset is lot better when you are playing more regularly," he says.. "You don't have to think about things as much and everything comes more naturally. "Your fitness is better and so is your confidence, and it's probably the first time in my career that I have had that.
"Since David Moyes has taken over, you can see the fight that he has instilled into the players, and I need to make sure the fans see that I am willing to join that fight." Neville certainly demonstrated that during Monday's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, where he was the team's star performer with a combative display that ruffled the feathers of Robert Pires and Robin van Persie. And he says he is thriving on the extra responsibility handed to him by Moyes as an integral member of Everton's five-man midfield. "When you are playing central midfield, you are seen as one of the leaders on the pitch," says Neville. "You are in the centre of the action and it's up to me to help organise things.
"As a midfield player, that is your job. It means you have to be more vocal and I am enjoying that extra responsibility. But at times like this, every player has got to lead." Everton will be striving to avoid a sixth successive defeat when they entertain Wigan Athletic in the Premiership this afternoon. The last time they suffered such a losing streak was over the Christmas and New Year period during the 1996-97 season. And Neville admits: "I don't think I've ever lost this many games at this stage of the season before with my previous team, where losing two or three games was considered a crisis. "But I put my life into Everton now so I don't think about what has happened in the past. The disappointment at losing a game here is no different to losing at Manchester United.
"A lot has been written about the manager being under pressure, but it is up to the players to put things right on the pitch. There have been injuries and new players settling in, which has meant we've had a stuttering start. Once the play-ers start coming back from injury and bedding in then we'll have more consistency in our play." Everton have struggled to find the target in the league this season - Marcus Bent's matchwinner at Bolton Wanderers last month their only goal - but Neville believes defensive solidity holds the key to a Premiership revival. So far, they've only kept one clean sheet. "People go on about not scoring goals but it is also important to keep a clean sheet," he says. "The success last season was built on the fact we kept clean sheets and nicking wins by scoring one goal. "The feedback from the lads here is that we do need to keep things tighter at the back and start keeping clean sheets and see if we can nick a goal. "The team that scores first normally goes on to win the game, because it is so difficult to break teams down at the moment." Even in his short time at Goodison, Neville has been impressed by the allencompassing management style of Moyes that bears more than a passing resemblance to that of his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, another Scot. "There are many similarities between the two," he insists.. "He likes to get involved in everything. I saw him the other day trying to sort out suits for the play-ers, and I was thinking that surely there was someone else at the club who can do that. "But that's what Alex Ferguson used to be like. It's only since he's got older that he's changed. "The one thing that has struck me about David Moyes is that he is a fantastic coach. He gets involved in the coaching sessions and is very hands on. He is a manager that is desperate for success and is desperate to learn." Given the early stage of the season, Moyes has been at pains to play down the importance of today's game. But Neville concedes Everton need to start winning games if they are to avoid being dragged into a lengthy struggle to drag themselves up the Premiership table. "It is a big game for us," he says.
"It does feel like a six-pointer. Winning does breed confidence and we do need a victory soon. We need to bring more confidence back into our play, and we are not playing with the same freedom we showed last season or the beginning of this season. "We had a difficult start to the season but we had confidence because we thought we had put in some good performances, but the Fulham and Portsmouth games knocked us back a bit. "You hear it so many times in football that a three or four-goal win can be the spark to a season. We know it is going to be a tough game against Wigan.
"They have had a good start, and I saw the game against Chelsea on the opening day and that was probably Chelsea's hardest game of the season so far. "Generally, the teams that are promoted come up with a lot of confidence and all credit to Wigan for what they have done. "They will be coming to Goodison Park thinking they can get a result."

Everton 0, Wigan Athletic 1 (D,Post)
Sep 26 2005 By Ian Doyle at Goodison Park, Daily Post
THE natives are becoming restless at Goodison. Bill Kenwright, that famed Everton orator, was forced into an impromptu performance on the final whistle on Saturday after being accosted by a finger-jabbing supporter on his exit from the directors' box. Increasingly impassioned as his audience grew, the Everton chairman successfully soothed the remnants of a home faithful disgruntled by their team's abject opening to the campaign. It may not be so easy next time. There are none Bluer than Bill and while he shares the pain of those fans, the signs are that patience among the Goodison hordes is now wearing thin at the failure to build on last season's impressive achievements. A home defeat to Wigan Athletic would have been met with a chorus of disapproval no matter what the context. That it became Everton's sixth successive defeat - a run of misery last 'achieved' almost nine years ago - and their eighth loss in nine games this season, it's understandable why minor agitation is slowly morphing into major frustration. To be fair, Evertonians have demonstrated considerable restraint thus far. They accept the problems David Moyes must overcome - the injuries to key personnel, the bedding in of several new players, the failure to sign a striker during the transfer window - but sympathy can only go so far. Moyes knows this. Football is a results business, and the Everton manager accepts his team have fallen way below what has been expected from them this season. "I am disappointed that we are saying we were worth a point," he admitted after Saturday's third successive home Premier-ship defeat. "We should be winning games like that, I accept that." Apoint would indeed have been a deserved reward for Everton's efforts. Matters improved considerably from the capitulation in Bucharest and the meek surrender at Highbury, but the quality of opposition must be taken into account. Merseysider Paul Jewell, with no little help from moneybags chairman Dave Whelan, has constructed a hard-working outfit with pace aplenty on the counterattack that has already surprised, yet this is precisely the type of team Everton would have swatted aside barely five months ago. Not at the moment, however.
The lack of confidence that has swept through the side, from the shot-shy strikeforce to the increasingly leaky defence, has now affected the usually reliable Nigel Martyn, who followed his aberration for Arsenal's opener last Monday by spilling Henri Camara's shot for Damien Francis to slot home Wigan's winner a minute after the interval. "I would never rely on luck and I think you have to make your own, but maybe we do need some," added Moyes.. He's right. A debatable sending-off for the opposition, a questionable penalty award, an own goal, a deflected strike off someone's backside, just that one slither of fortune could be all it takes to kickstart their dismal season. And while one of Everton's main sponsors are the Whelan-owned JJB Sports, there was never a sniff of them receiving any favours from their North West neighbours on Saturday. Proof of that continuing bad luck came 12 minutes from time when it appeared Everton had scored an equaliser. James McFadden, effervescent throughout, cut in off the right to curl a left-footed cross into the area that the otherwise worryingly anonymous Tim Cahill reached with his head and, after the ball had dropped kindly, Marcus Bent slotted home under Wigan goalkeeper John Filan. Yet before celebrations could become too advanced, referee Rob Styles was signalling for a free-kick after Cahill was adjudged to have pushed Pascal Chimbonda. Television replays suggested the decision was harsh to say the least, but them's the breaks when you're flailing at the wrong end of the table. Despite his team's struggles, Moyes claims not be feeling any extra pressure, but his body language on the touchline betrays him. Prowling the technical area like a wounded lion, his exasperation at the current malaise is obvious. This is hurting him as much as it does the supporters, and he is striving for a solution. That said, eyebrows were raised when, in pursuit of parity, Duncan Ferguson's inevitable arrival from the bench coincided with the substitution of both Kevin Kilbane and Simon Davies, blunting the big man's aerial threat by depriving him of any decent service from the flanks. One of the few bright spots of a dark afternoon was the performance of McFadden. With Everton beginning the game with no recognised striker, the Scottish international was the furthest player forward, Leon Osman playing off him in a 4-4-1-1 formation that dispensed with the holding midfielder in Moyes's latest attempt to discover a cure for his team's goalscoring ills. McFadden, who had shone briefly at Arsenal last week, was much more consistent whether it was up front or, as in the latter stages, on the right flank. His game is only one way - towards the opponent's goal - and Everton benefited from this single-mindedness. "James was one of the best out there," said Moyes.. "He was positive all day and ran willingly, wanted the ball and there were a lot of good things that came from him. "We tried to change things in attack and we did well in the first half, but we did not give ourselves a chance in the second half by conceding that goal. Then we became anxious."
There was commendably little sign of such anxiety during a lively opening from Everton in which they showed more attacking zest and imagination than in recent weeks. The home side could have been ahead on 15 minutes when Mikel Arteta's inswinging corner was glanced on to the crossbar by Kil-bane, but Wigan served warning of their threat when, from a corner of their own, Nuno Valente was forced to clear Chimbonda's header off the line. The Wigan defender was then the subject of a penalty claim after his clumsy challenge denied Osman a shooting chance following McFadden's perceptive throughball, while Leighton Baines - formerly on Everton's books - threw himself in front of Davies's goalbound effort after goalkeeper Filan found himself in no man's land. Henri Camara and Davies then traded long-range shots before, in the best move of the half, the Welsh international crashed a first-time shot into the side-netting after racing on to McFadden's sublime reverse pass. So far, so good, with only a goal missing from Everton's improved first-half display. Forty-seven seconds after the restart, however, and that failure was made to prove costly. From the right, Chimbonda crossed in for Camara who, after exchanging passes with Jason Roberts inside the area, hit a shot from eight yards that Martyn couldn't hold and fell to Francis, who gleefully tapped in with Everton's defenders disturbingly static. Tails up, long-range Wigan efforts then rained down on Martyn's goal, Camara and Lee McCulloch coming close while Phil Neville was forced to hack a dangerous Francis cross clear from in front of the Everton goal. Rattled after falling behind once again, it took the home side until 71 minutes to muster a worthwhile response. Substitute Marcus Bent was inches away from converting McFadden's driven cross at the far post and, moments after his controversially disallowed effort, the Everton striker couldn't get enough purchase on another teasing McFadden delivery six yards out, allowing Filan to make a fine save. But with Ferguson under-utilised and Wigan content to sit back, that was the nearest Everton came to snatching a draw. Dinamo Bucharest are the next visitors to Goodison, where Everton must score at least as many goals as they have all season to keep their European dream alive. For Moyes, Kenwright and those suffering supporters, a victory by any margin will do at present.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Neville, Yobo, Weir, Valente; Davies (Ferguson 69), Cahill, Arteta, Kilbane (Bent 58); Osman; McFadden. Subs: Wright, Hibbert, Ferrari.
BOOKINGS: Davies, Ferguson (both fouls).
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Filan; Chimbonda, De Zeeuw, Henchoz, Baines; Bullard, Francis, Kavanagh, McCulloch; Roberts, Camara (Connolly 85). Subs: Pollitt, McMillan, Jackson, Taylor.
BOOKING: De Zeeuw (foul).
REFEREE: Rob Styles
ATT: 37,189
NEXT GAME: Everton v Dinamo Bucharest, UEFA Cup first round second leg, Thursday, 8pm.

Weir rues 'shock' start as Everton hit bottom
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Sep 26 2005
DAVID WEIR admits Everton's players are struggling to meet the expectation raised by last season's achievements - but believes they have the character to overcome their desperate start to the season. Sunderland's victory at Middlesbrough yesterday means the Goodison outfit, with just three points accrued from six games, prop up the Premiership for the first time in eight years. Damien Francis's 46th-minute strike was enough to give promoted Wigan Athletic their first ever victory against Everton on Saturday, in what was the hosts' eighth defeat in nine games in all competitions this season. It was also Everton's sixth consecutive defeat and fourth straight league loss, having still scored only one top-flight goal this campaign. At this stage last season, David Moyes's side had recorded 13 points and occupied a Champions League qualification berth they would never relinquish. And Everton skipper Weir concedes the increased level of expectation following that fine Premier-ship performance has become an extra burden for his confidencehit team-mates. "We've raised the bar," said the centre-back. "In the recent past, it's been a case of avoiding relegation and everything after that being a bonus. "Last year we raised the level of expectation, and people want the same from us again. But that is a big ask for us. The way we have started is going to make it difficult, but the players as a group want to achieve that kind of success. "The start has come as a bit of a shock to us. We were expecting better. From six games, we've only got three points, and that's not good enough. "When things are going well it's easy to turn up for training, but when things aren't going well that's when you find out the real character of people. But to be fair, with our lads there aren't any that have been found wanting in that department. In my opinion, everyone is giving their all." Nevertheless, Weir accepts that Everton are in the midst of one of their most challenging periods since his arrival at the club, and revealed the players have spoken about how they can resurrect a struggling campaign. "Without sounding too silly, we've had a lot of difficult times during my time at Everton, but this is one of them," said the Scottish international. "The quality we have got here should give us confidence. There are a lot of good players here and there are still many positives, so we are not going to start panicking. "There is a long way to go, but if we stick together, work hard and do the right things, then there is more likelihood of that happening. If we keep working, the luck will turn for us. "The players have spoken about where we think things are going wrong, and that's something we have to keep within the group. "It's the manager's job to make the decisions and pick the team, but once the players go over that white line they have to perform. "We get paid to win games and the bottom line is that we are not doing that at the moment." Weir also insists Everton are not earning the results their performances have warranted. "Last season, maybe we did sneak the odd victory that we didn't deserve and the opposite is happening this year, but that doesn't give us any comfort at the moment," he said. "It's a fine line between success and failure, and if we can manage to get ahead in a game and get that goal, it'll change the way we look at the game and it will give us a better chance. It was only a month ago we were in the Champions League.

"But that's the nature of football, you can't rest on your laurels and you can't take success for granted. There's always something coming along that will trip you up, and that's the situation we find ourselves in." Of Saturday's defeat against Wigan, Weir added: "When we went behind, I thought we suffered for a while, but in the first half I thought we played well without getting in front. "It is a difficult time for us at the moment. When we go behind in a game it takes us a while to get back on track, and that is something we need to look at." Everton, meanwhile, have been handed a home tie against Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup third round. The tie will be played in the week beginning October 24.

Moyes can pull us out of slump - Wyness
By Ken Gaunt, Daily Post
Sep 26 2005
KEITH WYNESS has backed David Moyes to lead Everton out of their early-season crisis. The Goodison club sit at the bottom of the Premiership after their eighth defeat in nine competitive matches. But chief executive Wyness insisted: "We are aware it is not the best of starts but David will come through it. "He is exactly the right type of character and personality. "We will talk about this (again) at Easter. We won't be in this position."

Moyes still not happy but Jewell is
By Ken Gaunt Daily Post Correspondent
Sep 26 2005
DAVID MOYES was left to rue a refereeing decision that could have salvaged a point for his troubled side, Paul Jewell broke into a smile as his unsung Wigan side moved on to the shoulders of Manchester United after victory at Goodison Park. Everton saw what would have been a late leveller from Marcus Bent ruled out for a foul by Tim Cahill. It meant Everton slipped to a 1-0 defeat.
Moyes thought Rob Styles was wrong to rule out Bent's effort after an apparent foul by Cahill on Francis. "I asked the linesman and he said it was disallowed for a foul but I don't think it was," said the Everton manager. "But we shouldn't be relying on those kind of decisions to win games.
"We could do with a goal from somewhere but it wasn't for the want of trying. "We were worth a point but we should be winning games." Everton are in free-fall after finishing fourth last season and the ground echoed to jeers from all corners at the end of the game. Moyes is anxious to get some kind of momentum going after seeing his team exit the Champions League and possibly the UEFA Cup. They face Dinamo Bucharest at home next Thursday and attempt to pull back a 5-1 deficit from the first leg in Romania. Moyes added: "We have to keep going. We played well in the first half. The players worked hard and were trying to score. It was a crazy five minutes after half-time. We went chasing it and Wigan had one or two chances themselves." Meanwhile Damien Francis's goal moved the Latics onto 10 points - one adrift of Manchester United who lost to Blackburn. And manager Jewell quipped: "I bet they are terrified of us!" He added: "While I am pleased with our start, there is still a lot of work to do and we can get better as well." No-one should now underestimate Jewell's side, who dominated the second half against Everton and condemned them to their sixth straight defeat.

Start winning to stop indignation
View from the stands by Miles Shackley Everton supporter, Daily Post
Sep 26 2005
THE good news is, we've only played six league games this season. The bad news is, nigh on a sixth of the season has passed us by. And I'm sure you don't need me to point you in the direction of the league table. Let's cut to the chase. No amount of hitting the crossbar, forcing keepers into good saves and having goals controversially disallowed ever won anyone anything other than the odd sympathetic nod. David Moyes said after Saturday's slump that we have to rely on ourselves and not the officials. That's correct. So when exactly are you planning on doing that, chaps?

Excuses can be made against Arsenal and Manchester United - they're quite good - but the other defeats have been simply unacceptable. When sides such as Wigan roll into town, you don't just expect them to be dispatched with the minimum of fuss, you demand it. Instead, we're yet to score in three home league games. With trips to Manchester City and Tottenham looming, followed by the visit of Chelsea, we could realistically be on three points after nine games. Relegation form, however you dress it up. There can be no hiding - the players that served us so well last season are not performing to the standard they set. And with the majority of Walter's old guard now swept away, this team is undeniably that of David Moyes. They take the plaudits when we do well, they all must share the responsibility when we don't. I don't know if the play-ers or manager read the paper, but if you do and those comments annoy you - and I hope they do,, because you ruined my weekend - there's a really easy way to knock me out of my haughty state of self righteous indignation. It's called winning.

Everton 0, Wigan Athletic 1 (Echo)
Sep 26 2005 By Dominic King
STUCK in a rut and with confidence shattered, it won't be long before one of the most maligned words at Goodison Park rears its ugly head - panic. While the Premiership season is still very much in its infancy, there can be no disputing that Everton's current predicament, the result of an inexplicably shambolic run of form, is cause for alarm. Few could have predicated that a side which finished in the top four last year and had grand ambitions for the current campaign would be rooted to the bottom of the table before the clocks go back. That, however, is the depressing reality which faces everyone connected with Everton Football Club today and the longer this nightmare sequence continues, the more agitated everyone will become. It has to stop. It wasn't that this latest defeat at the hands of a Wigan Athletic side high on enthusiasm but short of class was particularly bad. Performance wise, it was certainly a vast improvement on the woeful displays against Portsmouth and Dinamo Bucharest. The opening 45 minutes was as bright and encouraging as anything that has gone before this season and had either Kevin Kilbane or Simon Davies scored chances are Everton would have gone on to record a comfortable victory. But the problem is that the players have lost their belief. As they struggle to do the things which came so naturally last year, the more anxious the supporters become and that emits into Everton's play. It is a vicious circle. Winning became a habit last season, David Moyes' men managed to get themselves in the groove early on and in turn the supporters fed off the players' assurance, making Goodison one of the most intimidating arenas in the country. Even when they conceded goals, the Blues were never beaten. How things have changed. When teams have taken the lead against Everton this season, there has been an air of desperation to the vocal backing, as irritation and frustration set in. "The fans have never let us down in the past and I'm sure they won't in the future," captain David Weir offered. "I'm aware that fans' frustrations are part and parcel of the game but the more support you give us, the better it will be." For an angry, disgruntled finger-jabbing few, though, defeat against Wigan was the final straw and they made a point of telling chairman Bill Kenwright so at the final whistle as he left his seat in the directors box. Fortunately, he was able to calm them down with some words of reassurance but as a man who lives and breathes for Everton, Kenwright understands their ire. He also knows they will be impossible to appease the longer the Blues stay bottom. Perhaps, then, it is a blessing that the next two Premiership matches are away from home. On current form, few will give Everton any chance against either Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur and maybe the players will be able to relax a little. There were signs, especially in the opening 45 minutes, that there is something from which to build. Kilbane was lively, Davies caused problems and James McFadden was a breath of fresh air playing up front. It was curious, then, that Moyes chose to substitute both Kilbane, who rattled the bar with a header, and Davies after the break as his side tried in vain to cancel out Damien Francis' goal that came 45 seconds after the re-start. McFadden, nevertheless, refused to let his head drop and didn't deserve to finish on the losing side. If he carries on in this form, the Scotland international will certainly be able to hold down a regular starting place. The 22-year-old was unlucky not to grab an equaliser late in the day, thwarted only by a super save by John Filan, while Marcus Bent was a shade unfortunate to see a goal chalked off by referee Rob Styles after Tim Cahill's challenge on Pascal Chimbonda. There is, of course, plenty of room for improvement and the habit of giving soft goals away is particularly exasperating and the defence was too slow in reacting to the threat of Henri Camara and Jason Roberts before Francis scored. Also, it is a familiar gripe but the style of attack once Mikel Arteta had faded - the long ball to Duncan Ferguson - was again too predictable and Wigan's central defenders Stephane Henchoz and Arjen De Zeeuw had little trouble dealing with it. So the pain and suffering goes on. Heads may well shake in disbelief at the current plight, particularly as at this stage 12 months ago, Everton lay fourth after picking up 13 points from their opening round of matches. What they cannot do, under any circumstances, is allow themselves to dwell on what has happened during these recent catastrophic weeks. They need to stick together like never before and forget about their precarious position in the table. Because the longer Everton remain below the likes of West Brom and Sunderland, anxiety will increase and nerves will become more shredded, so three points against Manchester City next Sunday is now absolutely imperative. Then and only then will talk of the dreaded 'P' word start to be banished.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Neville, Yobo, Weir, Valente; Davies (Ferguson 69), Cahill, Arteta, Kilbane (Bent 58); Osman; McFadden. Subs: Wright, Hibbert, Ferrari.
BOOKINGS: Davies, Ferguson (both fouls).
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Filan; Chimbonda, De Zeeuw, Henchoz, Baines; Bullard, Francis, Kavanagh, McCulloch; Roberts, Camara (Connolly 85). Subs: Pollitt, McMillan, Jackson, Taylor.
BOOKING: De Zeeuw (foul).
REFEREE: Rob Styles
ATT: 37,189

Faddy can be the main man
Sep 26 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR today hailed James McFadden's return to Everton's first team and backed him to be the man who leads the Blues off the foot of the table. McFadden left Goodison Park clutching two bottles of Man-of-the-Match champagne on Saturday following his display against Wigan, but his efforts were not enough to stop Everton slipping to an eighth defeat in nine games. With Everton having been painfully short of goals all season, David Moyes is frantically juggling his pack to find a solution but Weir believes McFadden can provide the missing spark. Though he has only found the net once in the Premiership, McFadden's scoring record for Scotland is outstanding and Weir is adamant that he can transfer that ability onto the domestic scene. "James played really well and I feel sorry for him because he played his heart out, yet came away on the losing side," said the Everton skipper. "He didn't deserve that and it was very harsh on him. "But it is good for him to play and it is good to see him doing as well. He could be the spark for us to get out of this run. "You have seen him play for Scotland and he has scored goals against quality opposition. "We'll look at the positives but take the negatives on board and we realise that we have got to do better." Weir, meanwhile, is refusing to press the panic button after a sixth consecutive defeat. The last time the Blues recorded such a sequence of results was in 1996-97 and the 35-year-old admits that confidence in the dressing room has suffered. However, the Scottish defender says there is no point dwelling on what has happened and has urged his team-mates and supporters to look for positives, such as McFadden's lively showing. "When we went down, we suffered," said Weir, who has experienced plenty of highs and lows during his six years at the club. "But in the first half, I thought we did pretty well without getting in front. The way things are going now, it's not a great time.
"It's something that we need to look at because when we go down, it does take us a little while to get back on track. "But I think with the quality that we have got here, it should give us confidence and help us. "There are a lot of good players here. We are not going to start panicking, that's for sure." Blues Euro call EVERTON are urging fans to buy tickets for Thursday's UEFA Cup second leg against Dinamo Bucharest - with chief executive Keith Wyness insisting the tie is not dead. With the Blues trailing 5-1, and no cash admission allowed on the night, less than 15,000 seats have been sold. "There is a chance was can turn this around," said Wyness. "We know it's a slim chance, but we firmly believe it can be done. "But there will be less chance of it coming off if we don't have a noisy crowd cheering us on."

Goal-shy Blues are hurting - Moyes
Sep 26 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is hoping that chasing a lost cause in Europe can provide a platform for his players to rediscover their missing goal spark in the Premiership. The Blues take on Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday, trailing 5-1 from the first leg. But while progress into the competition's group stages is unlikely, the Blues boss hopes that the game will give his goal-shy players the chance to at least end their Goodison drought this season. "The first thing we have to do is get a good performance and a good result," admitted the Blues boss. "Perhaps the goals will start to come in that match. Who knows? "At the moment we have a job on our hands to lift the players. "We know they are a little bit down, but that is a good thing because they are hurting bad because we are losing. "They are hurting as much as any supporter or myself. "I don't think you can say any of those players were not trying to the very end to score a goal. "If they continue to show that they care and continue to try hard I am sure we will come out of it. "Obviously I'm disappointed personally because we are not winning games. But you keep getting on with it and keep doing what you think is right for the players." Moyes offered some sympathy to his defenders, for the pressure the goal drought was placing them under. "It's true that as a defender, when you feel that if one goal is enough to lose you the match, you are immediately under pressure. "We tried 4-4-2 today, or 4-4-1-1. People say the lack of goals is down to 4-5-1, but we didn't play that formation against Portsmouth or today. Maybe we haven't had the luck, but I don't want to rely on luck because I think you make your own luck. "The difference from last season is that we were perhaps getting a goal ahead and then trying to keep that lead, rather than losing the first goal and then not having the capability to get a goal back. "We have lost three games at home and we have not felt as if we could score a goal. It does become psychological, but the facts are we haven't scored any goals and we have to find them from somewhere. "We tried a new formation and I thought it looked quite lively to start with, but we didn't give it a chance in the second half because we lost a goal and had to chase the game.
"But I don't think there's a lack of belief." James Beattie will restart training again in the middle of this week, but Moyes admitted the club's record signing is still some way off full fitness. Marcus Bent, the only player to score a Premiership goal this season, was left on the bench on Saturday, but Moyes believes when he was introduced for the final half hour he should have been celebrating his second strike of the season. "When we were on top we didn't get the goal when we needed it," he added. "But I think we did score a goal. I have had a chance to look at Marcus Bent's goal again and I think it should have stood. The linesman gave the decision and when I asked him he said it was because of a foul. "I didn't think it was a foul, but we shouldn't be relying on a referee's decision to give us a goal. "I think we were worth a point, but I am disappointed to be even saying that because we should be winning games. In the end we would have taken a point, although prior to that we were hoping for all three. "I thought the players played well in the first half and showed plenty of spirit. If it hadn't been for a crazy five minutes after half-time we could perhaps have built on that."

Lack of pace up front was major failing
Sep 26 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IF Everton are "a club in crisis" - and even the nation's kindest arbiter of football opinion, Match of the Day, tells us they are - then it is a curious crisis. Statistically, Everton are in the mire. One goal from six games, bottom of the table - and Manchester City,, Spurs and Chelsea next on the fixture list. But performance-wise Everton haven't been significantly worse than last season. Perhaps that is why Saturday's near capacity crowd was remarkably tolerant of what they witnessed - until the expected boos at the final whistle. What they saw against an enterprising Wigan side on Saturday wasn't relegation football - even if Mike Walker's worst of-all-time starters were just one point worse off after six matches. But it was football lacking in incisiveness, football short on potency in front of goal, and most crucially football bereft of pace in the forward line. James McFadden was comfortably Everton's brightest performer. But it was his inventiveness and his eye for a pass which picked him out rather than an ability to get away from a defender. Wigan were organised and effective. But they also had pace in their forward line. And that made a huge difference. Whatever you think of Henri Camara - and it's best not to record Evertonians' views given his performances against them for three different clubs in the last three seasons - his pace can turn a hopeful clearance from the back into a threatening raid. It is an outlet Everton used to possess in Tomasz Radzinski. Marcus Bent's early season performances last term helped gloss over Radzinski's departure. But he is out of form and unhappy at present - and nobody else has picked up the mantle.
But that is only one area for improvement. Supporters are also entitled to ask 'have the players suddenly started believing they are better than they are?' Has last season's fourth placed finish and a brief flirtation with the Champions League gone to their heads? Some players' reactions will undoubtedly be prickly. I'm a journal-ist and have never played football at professional level, so what do I know? Which is why it was heartening to see the BBC's Lee Dixon pick out numerous examples of the space Wigan were given to work in on Saturday as a reason for their success. Every successful Everton side has taken hard work - in every department of the team - as a pre--requisite. The images are resonant. Paul Bracewell and Peter Reid touching hands as they charged to close down a Sheffield Wednesday defender, Joe Parkinson and John Ebbrell tackling the crisp packet, Reid turning in disgust after his incessant pressing only pushed Kevin Brock into making a back-pass.
That kind of relentless harrying was not evident on Saturday. Maybe it's a confidence thing. Maybe David Moyes is missing Lee Carsley's presence more than he'd care to admit. Whatever the reasons, it is a quality which is needed and quickly. The reappearance of some of the other stars sat grimly in the directors' box would help, also. James Beattie, Per Kroldrup, Andy Van Der Meyde, James Vaughan . . . Li Tie (alright, only joking). Two or three of those players would at least give David Moyes options, which he is fast running out of. A forward line of James McFadden and Leon Osman looked like a last throw of the dice. McFadden was very good, but in creating openings rather than getting on the end of them, while Osman was anonymous. It was surprising when the substitutes' board revealed Kevin Kilbane as the identity of the first player to get the shepherd's crook after only 57 minutes. A change was clearly needed, but Kil-bane had produced a number of crosses and come closest to scoring with a header which thudded against the bar. That moment underlined that luck has also turned its back on the Blues at present. There wasn't a great deal wrong with Tim Cahill's challenge which Marcus Bent tucked past Filan, but referee Rob Styles thought he had seen a push.
Duncan Ferguson was also booked for being 6ft 4ins tall and possessing a reputation as a bit of a lad.
That came in the 91st minute, but the most depressing moment of the afternoon was still to come.
After the final whistle blew, the tannoy announcer desperately tried to convince the exiting hordes that a ticket for Thursday's UEFA Cup tie was every Evertonian's must-have accessory. "There will be no cash admission on the night!" "We need your support!" "Tickets are only £25!" No-one listened. The stadium was almost empty by the time he had finished pleading. What Evertonians want most is something to cling to. So how about the history books? The last time Everton lost their opening three home matches to a season they went on to finish 16th in a 22 team division. A taxi was called for Johnny Carey halfway through October, mind. Such desperate measures won't be needed this time, but an improvement has to come from somewhere - and quick.

Blues face Boro test
Sep 26 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will entertain Middlesbrough in one of five all Premiership clashes in the Carling Cup third round. Liverpool must travel to Championship side Crystal Palace, the team they beat in the semi-finals on the way to winning the competition five years ago. Both matches will take place in the week of October 24, with Everton likely to face Boro on Wednesday, October 26. Other ties see Graeme Souness' Newcastle drawn to be the next potential giants slain by League Two Grimsby. Spurs crashed out at Blundell Park last week, and boss Russell Slade and his men are already preparing for another Premiership scalp. He said: "It's a terrific draw, and for Newcastle to come to Blundell Park will be fantastic, as it was with Spurs." Carling Cup holders Chelsea have a home draw against Charlton, whom they beat in the Premiership last week. Full draw: Doncaster Rovers v Gillingham; Bolton Wanderers v West Ham; Crystal Palace v Liverpool; Manchester United v Barnet; Chelsea v Charlton Athletic; Reading v Sheffield United; Fulham v West Bromwich Albion; Mansfield v Millwall; Sunderland v Arsenal; Everton v Middlesbrough; Wigan Athletic v Watford; Grimsby v Newcastle United; Aston Villa v Burnley; Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United; Cardiff City v Leicester; Birmingham v Norwich.

Only an anti-racism campaign could bring these together
Sep 26 2005 By Mark Johnson, Liverpool Echo
A CAMPAIGN to boot racism out of football is being supported by local stars. Footballers Djibril Cisse, Tim Cahill, Calvin Zola and rugby's Sean Long today join Merseyside police and local children for the launch of Kick It Out. With many people looking to sports stars as role models, campaign organisers believe high-profile sportsmen can help show racism the red card Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse said: "I urge all our supporters to back this campaign in the same way they supported the team during last season's epic journey which culminated in winning the European Cup." Everton's Tim Cahill echoed his Reds rival, adding: "We are acutely aware of football's unique power that must be used to educate future generations of the scourge that is racism." The campaign includes the release of a special Kick Out Racism wristband which will be available in each of the clubs' colours.
There will be talks held at schools about the devastating effects of racism. Schoolchildren have also been invited to submit entries for a poetry competition. Children with a flair for art are being encouraged to design entries for an anti-racism and anti-prejudice poster competition. The winning poetry and artwork will be featured in the clubs' football and rugby programmes. Each club has donated prizes which include match tickets, the opportunity to meet players and football shirts and memorabilia. Chief constable Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "The FA recognises there has been a problem with racism in sport and they are trying to do something about it. "Merseyside football is very much a way of life and we are working with the professional clubs and the county FA to encourage anyone who is a victim of racism, or who witnesses a racist incident, to contact the police." Vinny Tomlinson, chairman of the Merseyside police Black Police Association, said: "The school poetry competition is an excellent way to get children to think about racism."

No need for big change, insists Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Sep 27 2005
DAVID MOYES will resist the temptation for major change as he strives to kickstart Everton's poor Premiership campaign. The Goodison side slumped to the bottom of the table after the weekend's results following a 1-0 home defeat to promoted North West rivals Wigan Athletic. It was their eighth loss in nine competitive games this season, with Everton having now been beaten in 16 of their last 22 outings. But despite the poor run, Moyes insists he will not deviate from the tried and trusted methods that earned Everton a top-four finish last season. "It's not easy at the moment, but it has been difficult before and we will continue to do the right things," said the Everton manager. "There's no need for a big change. "We will do what we think is right and what we are doing now is what took us to fourth place last year and seventh a couple of years before that. But we know we've got to do better and start pulling some results out. "We couldn't fault the effort on Saturday but the quality maybe wasn't there. I was quite pleased with the first half. "We've only been in front one game this season, and we won it. We've lost three games so far this season 1-0, whereas last year we were winning them 1-0. Maybe that's the difference." Moyes did make some minor alterations on Saturday, notably selecting James McFadden as the main striker with Leon Osman in support.
McFadden responded with a man-of-the-match performance, and for Moyes the part-nership had a promising beginning. "We played James and Ossie up front on Saturday, and I think in the main both of them did quite well," he said.. "We have been looking for goals somewhere, and I felt it was the right time to change things a bit. For 45 minutes they both looked very lively and made opportunities for each other." Meanwhile, Alessandro Pistone is hoping his previous experience of injury woe can help him through his current spell on the sidelines. The Italian defender is likely to miss the remainder of the season after sustaining cruciate ligament damage in his right knee during last month's Premiership win at Bolton Wanderers. Pistone suffered a similar injury to his other knee earlier in his Goodison career, and is now drawing strength from his previous successful comeback.
"I have been through this before with my left knee," he said. "It is hard. That is why I am even trying not to watch too much football on television, but that is not easy because you always want to watch your team. "I have been in this situation on a few occasions. It is hard when you know you are going to be out for two or three weeks so when the time is so much longer it is so bad." Tim Cahill has been named in Australia's 25-man squad for a training camp in Holland ahead of the friendly against Jamaica at Craven Cottage on October 9.

Back us against Dinamo - Wyness
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Sep 27 2005
EVERTON have urged their fans to continue their "terrific" support as David Moyes's side attempt a memorable European comeback on Thursday. Everton face Dinamo Bucharest at Goodison trailing 5-1 from the first leg of their UEFA Cup first round tie. Although there is no cash admission allowed on the night, barely 16,000 tickets have so far been sold. And chief executive Keith Wyness has called on supporters to rally behind the players. "The game in Bucharest was a huge disappointment to anyone who made the trip or watching at home," said Wyness. "We are not out of the second leg and nobody here at this football club believes that. "I know David and the players believe that also and we will all be doing everything we can to progress. "There is a chance we can turn this around. We know it is a slim chance, but there will be less chance of it coming off if we don't have a noisy crowd cheering us on." David Moyes has praised the level of support in the defeat to Wigan, and said: "The support was terrific on Saturday. "They were behind us and they knew we needed it. They stayed with us and could see the players were trying their hardest to get that goal." Tickets for the game are available until 6pm on Thursday and are priced £25 for adults and £12 for concessions. They are available either online at evertonfc.com, through Dial-A-Seat on 08707 3837866 or in person at the Park End Box Office.

Fit-again Carsley confident of revival
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Sep 27 2005
MIDFIELDER Lee Carsley returned to full training for the first time this season claiming Everton can still match last term's fourth-placed finish. Carsley has not played since sustaining a bad knee injury in a pre-season game with Fenerbahce. He returns with Everton bottom of the Barclays Premiership for the first time in eight years and on the brink of their second European exit of the season. David Moyes pinpointed Carsley as Everton's unsung hero last season, and after defeat by Wigan in front of increasingly impatient supporters on Saturday, the manager will be delighted by the Irishman's return. Carsley believes Everton will soon be surging up the table, saying: "We are more than capable of finishing where we did last season, there is a long way to go yet. "We have to stick together and be strong and we know the next few games will be very tough. "If we can just play as well as we have been doing on occasions, I am sure that things will turn for us." Everton were knocked out of the Champions League at the third qualifying stage by Villar-real a month ago, and they are now expected to exit the UEFA Cup on Thursday when Dinamo Bucharest bring a 5-1 lead to Goodison Park for the second leg of their first-round tie. Everton follow that game with three away Premiership matches against Manchester City, Tottenham and Birmingham and a home match with Chelsea. Confidence has been affected by the poor sequence of results, and the club will lose out financially if Dinamo complete the job they began so well a fortnight ago. But Carsley is determined to rally his team-mates, adding: "We still have a fantastic squad and we have been very unlucky with injuries. "I am sure once we get our strongest team together and have a fully fit squad to choose from, things will not be a problem. There is certainly no 'panic stations' at Everton." Moyes needs his injured players back in action quickly to halt the worrying slide, and Danish defender Per Kroldrup is also training again after a hernia operation. Support for the struggling first team has also arrived from long-term injury victim Alessandro Pistone, who will miss the rest of the season after an operation to repair a cruciate knee injury. "The lads are a bit down and they know they can do better. They have had some bad luck on a few occasions, but it only has to change a little bit for things to turn around," said Pistone. "Even on Saturday there were a few good chances and the game would have changed if we had scored in the first half. "I can see the team are down a little bit mentally but they will bounce back."

Fit-again Carsley confident of revival
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Sep 27 2005
MIDFIELDER Lee Carsley returned to full training for the first time this season claiming Everton can still match last term's fourth-placed finish. Carsley has not played since sustaining a bad knee injury in a pre-season game with Fenerbahce. He returns with Everton bottom of the Barclays Premiership for the first time in eight years and on the brink of their second European exit of the season. David Moyes pinpointed Carsley as Everton's unsung hero last season, and after defeat by Wigan in front of increasingly impatient supporters on Saturday, the manager will be delighted by the Irishman's return. Carsley believes Everton will soon be surging up the table, saying: "We are more than capable of finishing where we did last season, there is a long way to go yet. "We have to stick together and be strong and we know the next few games will be very tough. "If we can just play as well as we have been doing on occasions, I am sure that things will turn for us." Everton were knocked out of the Champions League at the third qualifying stage by Villar-real a month ago, and they are now expected to exit the UEFA Cup on Thursday when Dinamo Bucharest bring a 5-1 lead to Goodison Park for the second leg of their first-round tie. Everton follow that game with three away Premiership matches against Manchester City, Tottenham and Birmingham and a home match with Chelsea. Confidence has been affected by the poor sequence of results, and the club will lose out financially if Dinamo complete the job they began so well a fortnight ago. But Carsley is determined to rally his team-mates, adding: "We still have a fantastic squad and we have been very unlucky with injuries. "I am sure once we get our strongest team together and have a fully fit squad to choose from, things will not be a problem. There is certainly no 'panic stations' at Everton."
Moyes needs his injured players back in action quickly to halt the worrying slide, and Danish defender Per Kroldrup is also training again after a hernia operation. Support for the struggling first team has also arrived from long-term injury victim Alessandro Pistone, who will miss the rest of the season after an operation to repair a cruciate knee injury. "The lads are a bit down and they know they can do better. They have had some bad luck on a few occasions, but it only has to change a little bit for things to turn around," said Pistone. "Even on Saturday there were a few good chances and the game would have changed if we had scored in the first half. "I can see the team are down a little bit mentally but they will bounce back."

Grave mistake
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Sep 27 2005
Grave mistake
LAST YEAR when we were gaining three points with the 1-0 scoreline, one player stood out - Thomas Gravesen. Since he left the decline has been swift and urgent resources are needed. The next four games look very tough and we need to win three to avoid Moyes coming under terrible pressure. Stick by him and he will turn it round. The board sell our best players and do not bring in the quality that he deserves.
Simon Reynolds (via e-mail)
Support act
LET'S fill Goodison Park on Thursday, then we know we have done our bit. The rest is up to the players!
Matt Jenkins (via e-mail)
Injury woes
DAVID Moyes has had bad luck with injuries, see Krodlrup, Carsley, Van de Meyde. Is anyone seriously saying that they won't make a difference. What has happened to the Sports Fortress Fund?
Chris MacDougall, Skelmersdale
Open season
OF COURSE Evertonians have got to get behind the team. Don't we always? But that is not to say that David Moyes is above criticism. By not bringing in a striker, by signing the likes of Valente, by re-signing Pistone, by leaving two strikers on the bench and playing McFadden and Osman up front, by making out that this problem only goes back to the start of the season when we all know it goes back to last January, he leaves himself wide open to criticism. And, if he doesn't get it sorted and soon then he will deserve to go. And for those asking who will take his place what about Burley, Curbishley, Allardyce, Reid, Venables, O'Neil or Warnock?
John Nelson, Wirral
Waiting in wings
I WISH people would lay off David Moyes and wait for the return of Beattie, Kroldrup, Van De Meyde, Carsley and Vaughan. Then people can sit in judgement. A few straight wins and we are back in with a shout and everyone will have forgotten about our start to the season.
Steve Davies (via e-mail)
Missing fans
RELEGATION will be a disaster for Everton and one that could potentially finish the club. Liverpool are already European champions (carrying the city name) and showing signs that they may sustain their success. This begs the question, who are the young Support act fans on Merseyside going to grow up supporting? They can't all be indoctrinated to support Everton by blue parents. Enough of them turned against the wishes of their parents in the 70s and 80s.
Ian Kingholm (via e-mail)

Kick It Out star tells of sadness at racist taunts
By Homa Khaleeli Daily Post Staff
Sep 27 2005
LIVERPOOL star Djibril Cisse revealed last night how he was shocked and depressed after racist taunts during a European soccer match. The Reds footballer spoke for the first time of his sadness at being heckled by Bulgarian supporters this summer. Speaking at the launch of anti-racism project "Kick It Out", the Liverpool FC player joined Tranmere Rovers and Everton footballers to condemn prejudice in sport. Cisse, who had to endure monkey chants during a game against CSK Sofia said: "When you are in the game you are focused and don't hear it. "But afterwards it made me sad. It was the first time it had happened to me." Cisse added: "For me this campaign is very important because racism is a big problem, not just in football but in normal life. "The fact we are all here is a real message. There's rivalry between the teams but to fight racism we have to forget everything about that." Cisse said he had no message for racists, whom he branded as stupid. He said: "To kids I would say to try and forget black and white and just be together. The solution is to be together and forget about race." Everton player Tim Cahill said he was thrilled to be part of the campaign. He said: " Fighting this scourge is one of the most important tasks facing us all in today's society, and we all have a responsibility to ensure our communities are safe and racism free. "Everton Football Club strongly support football's national anti-racism campaign, Kick It Out, and we believe it has, and continues to, make a difference. "It has enabled local partnerships to come together to send a clear and unified message that racism is not only unacceptable, it is criminal."
Soccer tournament in memory of Anthony
A FOOTBALL tournament is to be held in memory of murdered teenager Anthony Walker. The tournament on October 23 has won the support of the anti-racist charity Kick It Out, as well as Merseyside police and Liverpool and Everton Football Clubs. The event, involving teams from throughout the North West will be at King George V playing fields in Huyton, and follows the success of a basketball tournament held in honour of the schoolboy. Organiser Van Gaffney said: "I think Anthony would be pleased because it is about people working together no matter what their race.
"It's a chance for different cultures in the city to go to Huyton and say this is our culture and this is who we are. "It's also a chance for the community of Huyton to stand up and say we are willing to do something to tackle racism in our area."

Beattie set to answer Euro call
Sep 27 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE is set to be rushed back onto the substitutes bench on Thursday after only three days' training, as Everton seek desperate measures to try to solve their growing goals crisis. The Blues need four goals against Dinamo Bucharest to repair the damage done in a devastating first leg collapse two weeks ago. And with only one Premiership goal to their name all season, striker Beattie is being prepared for a swift return to action. The club's record signing started training again today after a lengthy lay-off with a toe injury and manager Moyes admits that Beattie's absence has been the one which has hit his side hardest this season. "We have been short of real competition all season up-front," said Moyes. "James has only started one game, and scored one goal, and that is what we are desperately short of at the moment. "We will see how he is after a couple of days training but there is a possibility we may need him to sit on the substitutes bench. "I am definitely going to try and get through in this competition. "If that doesn't happen, then we will look at it afterwards, but we will certainly be trying to score goals on Thursday - and hopefully keep Bucharest out at the same time." Injuries to players like Per Kroldrup, Andy van Der Meyde, Lee Carsley, Alessandro Pistone, James Vaughan and Beattie, mean that Moyes has effectively been juggling the same 14 players all season. That situation will continue on Thursday with Kroldrup only due to restart training tomorrow following surgery and the remaining players still some way off. "We will have the same group of players to choose from," added Moyes. "And we will have to see how we can mix them up as best we can."

I'll win back Blues place - Hibbert
Sep 27 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TONY HIBBERT has vowed to bounce back in the best possible manner after he was dropped from Everton's starting line-up for Saturday's defeat against Wigan. Having made a bright start to the season, Hibbert's form has tailed off in recent weeks and boss David Moyes decided to take him out of the firing line, putting Phil Neville at right-back instead as he tinkered with his system. While he was disappointed to find himself axed, the unassuming Hibbert knows the only way he will get back in is by knuckling down and showing Moyes on the training pitches at Bellefield that he is ready for business again. "You know that you can always try to improve and do better," said Hibbert. "But every player obviously enjoys playing more games, which is what we will start doing if we just keep together and keep trying to play our football." Though there is no doubting that Everton's current plight is a perilous one, Hibbert shrugs off talk of a crisis in the same confident, assured way that he managed to subdue numerous left wingers last season. Pointing to the resolution and togetherness in the ranks, the 24-year-old is adamant the Blues fortunes will change dramatically as soon as they manage to secure the goal and win that have been so elusive in the past month. But, nevertheless, Hibbert acknowledges there is little margin for error in the coming weeks because a glance at the fixture list - only two of the next six Premier-ship games are at home - suggests Everton could be in for a tricky time. "The fans know how it is and they have seen what's been going on," said Hibbert, who has notched up 119 appearances for his boyhood club. "The ones I speak to say the same as we do - keep at it and keep working hard. "Every game is tough in the Premier-ship. In all honesty we were expected to beat Portsmouth but we didn't. This run of fixtures we've got looks tough but we will be taking them one at a time. "The determination has been there all the time. People suggested that we wouldn't stay the distance last season but we did. Now they are saying it was a oneoff and we are determined to prove that it's not. "We just need to get a win. Things haven't gone our way but they will do. Once we get that win, we are more than capable of stringing a good run of results together. We've got a great bunch of lads here and the atmosphere will continue to be good."

Former Toffees confident slump will end soon
Sep 27 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WHILE the Premiership table currently has an ominous look about it, two Everton old boys are tipping their former club to make an imminent return to winning ways. Given they experienced some turbulent results during their careers at Goodison Park, particularly during Mike Walk-er's ill-fated reign, David Unsworth and Matt Jackson know full well what it takes to get away from basement trouble. But, significantly, both men are in no doubt that the current Everton squad has the appetite for a battle, suggesting the quality that took the club into Europe last year will eventually shine through. For Unsworth, now plying his trade with Sheffield United, he had to do a double take when he saw the result against Wigan flash through on Saturday evening and knows exactly why the supporters are concerned. "I honestly couldn't believe it because I thought that the Wigan game would be the result that kick-started their season," said Unsworth. "But they just can't seem to buy a goal. "They have got too many good players in my opinion to be down there for very long. Everton will always be my team and I am proud to say that. I don't feel sorry at the minute, I just feel frustrated like everyone else. "I can certainly under-stand the frustrations but everyone has just got to get behind the lads and fingers crossed they will turn things around again sooner rather than later." Jackson, meanwhile, returned to Goodison Park for the first time since he left for Norwich in 1996 as part of the Wigan squad that shocked the Blues. Though he was a nonplaying substitute, he was still afforded a generous reception by home supporters. Standing in the tunnel at the final whistle, he saw at first hand that confidence has been dented by six consecutive defeats but expects David Moyes' squad to close ranks and display the spirit that has served them so well in the past. "Maybe it is expectation," offered Jackson, a member of the 1995 FA Cup winning team.
"They had two tough draws in the Champions League and the UEFA Cup and it seems like everything is going against them at the moment. But it's all about sticking together and having belief in the team. "The lads have got to stick together and I'm sure they will get out of it but nevertheless it is sad to see. Hopefully it won't be long before they're out of that false position."

Beattie's desperate to provide goal return
Sep 28 2005
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
JAMES BEATTIE is desperate for the chance to end Everton's goalscoring misery - and could return to aid their desperate fight for European survival. The £6million man is battling for a place on the substitutes' bench for tomorrow's UEFA Cup first round return against Dinamo Bucharest, with David Moyes's side needing at least four goals after losing the first leg 5-1. Apart from a brief substitute appearance against Portsmouth earlier this month, Beattie has been sidelined for the past six weeks with a niggling toe injury. It has been the latest chapter of a frustrating Goodison career for the 27-year-old following his arrival from Southampton in January. But the striker has vowed to prove his worth, and said: "That (responsibility) has been the case since I have got here and I haven't been able to show anybody that I can handle it. "When I come back this time I want to have a run of games and start scoring and showing everybody what I can do. "The gaffer brought me in to score goals and I have always said that is what I can do. "One goal, or two or three could set it off and hopefully we can progress from there and not undo what we did last year." Moyes claims that Beattie's absence has been the one which has hit his side hardest this season. The Everton manager said: "We have been short of real competition all season up front. James has only started one game, and scored one goal, and that is what we are desperately short of at the moment. "We will see how he is after a couple of days training but there is a possibility we may need him to sit on the substitutes bench. "I am definitely going to try to get through in this competition. We will certainly be trying to score goals on Thursday - and hopefully keep Bucharest out at the same time."
* EVERTON'S Carling Cup fourth round tie with Middlesbrough will take place on Wednesday, October 26 (kick-off 8pm).

Kroldrup eager to hand Moyes fitness boost
Sep 28 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PER KROLDRUP is ready to step up his fitness programme to provide Everton with a much-needed injury boost. The Danish international started doing light work last week but made his return to full training yesterday following a spell on the sidelines with a hernia problem. Kroldrup, a £5m signing from Udinese during the summer, has used the time that he has been out to study the way the forwards play in the Premiership and believes he will have no trouble in picking up the pace of the game once he returns. "Everything is coming along right now and I am happy with the way things are going," he said. "It has not been easy to see what has been going on, so it has been a long six weeks that I have been out. I have got to prove my fitness but I am very eager to get some games again. "The start of the season has been disappointing but we're all confident that we can turn things around. Sometimes these things happen in football and you just have to keep working hard and get on the right track again. "Confidence is very important so when you lose you do not have that much confidence but you just have to keep on trying and I'm sure that the games will go our way soon." Kroldrup's only first team involvement so far has been as a nonplaying substitute in the first Champions League qualifier against Villarreal, and he is desperate to show Everton fans that he can make up for lost time. "I have been disappointed with how things have been, but I am confident we can do better and I will do better," he added. "I have watched English football for many years and it is different to Italian football but I know I have to prove myself. "I just want to wait and see, and take things one day at a time. I have not played for six weeks so my fitness is not at its maximum but I'm just eager to get going as soon as possible. "There is no point targeting a date. I just need to get ready and show that I can play a part."

Pride is at stake
Sep 28 2005 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have a mountain to climb in their second leg against Dinamo Bucharest - and I'm talking about Everest, not Ben Nevis. I think trying to pull back a 5-1 deficit will be far too big a task, given their current form, but there's no harm in going all out to salvage some pride. But they are going to have to go out in confident mood - there hasn't been much sign of that so far this season - win every tackle, create loads of chances and score goals. However, there is always the thought that another score by the Bulgarians will make it mission impossible, if it wasn't already. I remember a similar situation we faced at Anfield against Ajax. We lost the first leg 5-1 - and Shanks told everyone we would win the second leg 5-0! But, as we found, it's very difficult to turn round a 5-1 score. We were embarrassed by the situation, and just tried to avoid another hammering at Anfield. We drew 2-2, but they proved a very good side. I don't think the Blues have the players to do it - but best of luck.

Fans have every reason to panic
Sep 28 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
THINGS are not looking good for Everton's prospects for this campaign, even at this stage of the season. It is not just that they have had a poor start, but if you go back to the last 15 games of last season - only six wins - and just one win this time round and no wins in Europe, having played eight games. It tells its own story. Furthermore, when was the last time a team who finished fourth in the league had a minus goal difference? Bill Kenwright tells us to look at last season's position - fourth in the Premiership. That's okay, but go back another season and we finished fourth from bottom and just escaped relegation. It was David Moyes who said the league table never lies. Everton are now bottom and likely to stay there. People say it's too early to panic, but when is the right time? I suppose they said the same thing on the Titanic, and just look what happened to that. Phil Frederickson, Croxteth Park
DAVID MOYES said that people wouldn't judge him on the results against Arsenal and Wigan and, of course, he is absolutely correct. I'm judging him on his record since he came to Everton, not just his disastrous second year when Everton achieved the lowest points total in their history, but also last year when they beat Liverpool 1-0 at Goodison. Since then, they have won eight games out of the last 30 competitive matches. I'm also judging him on his dealings in the transfer market. To me, only Yobo, Arteta, Martyn and Neville, are better players than Everton already had. I'm judging Moyes on his team selections, his tactics and, more importantly, his manmanagement. He appears to have lost the dressing room, like he did the season before last. Not signing a striker in the summer was pure incompetence. I do not see the team or club any better off since he came. Moyes is not the only one to blame. Kenwright is more blameworthy as he appointed Moyes, and had a hand in Kendall (twice), Walker, Royle and Smith being made managers. I'm afraid the club is dying in front of our eyes.
Dave Abrahams, Liverpool 11
I LISTENED to David Moyes relating how Everton finished fourth last season and seventh two seasons ago. What about the abysmal 17th in the year between? Selective, or what? Apart from Wayne Rooney, who was far too good a deal not to make at £27m, no club should ever consider letting its best players leave. Yet this is what Everton and Moyes, in particular, did when Thomas Gravesen went. Since the January transfer window all the spirit and energy has evaporated. If the fans can see it, why can't the management? His record is the worst in the Premiership since January and, on the basis of entertainment and points won (or lost) he should be shown the door.
We all thought the 5-1 at City was sad, but Arsenal (7-0) and Bucharest (5-1) were even more embarrassing and humiliating. Just how long can this be allowed to go on without doing something about it? Moyes has said he is still doing and saying the same things as last season and the season before. Might I suggest, like his team, he has gone stale. Either change it or get out before it's too late. Situation desperate!
Ron Chambers, Anfield
THOSE teams not involved in Europe have more time to spend on their league campaign. Wigan and Portsmouth only have to think about the Premiership and can spend all week planning for one game. That was the position Everton were in last season and explains why the Blues were so strong.
Being in Europe this year has been Everton's downfall. Teams in Europe with smaller squads, like the Blues and Middlesbrough, always seem to struggle in the league.
John Garforth, Aigburth

Carsley hopes hit by injury setback
Sep 29 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
LEE CARSLEY is facing a further injury setback - as David Moyes challenged his Everton players to attack from the first whistle this evening. The Goodison outfit are aiming to overturn a 5-1 first-leg deficit when they entertain Dinamo Bucharest in their UEFA Cup first round second leg tie. Carsley had earmarked the encounter for a return after having not played this season since aggravating a knee ligament injury during the friendly defeat against Fenerbahce in July. But the 31-year-old now faces a further spell on the sidelines after Moyes admitted the Republic of Ireland midfielder may face surgery to cure the problem, with Everton's medical staff awaiting test results before deciding on the appropriate course of action. "We feel as though Lee might need surgery," said Moyes.. "He's not near to a comeback at the moment. He's not right, and while I can't say he definitely needs surgery it is a possibility." Everton must score at least four goals this evening to keep the tie alive against the Romanians, who warmed up for the game at the weekend by beating local rivals Rapid 5-2. And Moyes acknowledges that while his players believe they can join only four other clubs to have successfully fought back from a similar position in European competition, he admits a positive start to the game will be crucial. "If we can get an early goal it would be ideal," he said. "In a lot of ways, I think the players believe they have a chance of doing it. "We've not been able to get many goals this season, but if we can get a couple then it would put Dinamo under pressure. "In the first half of the first leg, we had one or two opportunities and looked pretty comfortable, but they had an injection in the second half and stepped up and we couldn't stay with that pace. "In the end, the defeat was horrible. "They have some very good forwards and technically they are very good finishers, and that was noticeable in the first game. But we have to go for goals."
With Everton having made a poor start to the season and suffered a heavy beating in the first leg, less than 20,000 supporters are expected at Goodison this evening. And Moyes said: "I'm slightly disappointed it won't be a full house, but I do understand why. We lost the first leg 5-1 and aren't playing particularly well. "But the other side of the argument is that we haven't been in Europe for a long time, the supporters have had a long wait, but we managed to do that last season." Everton could be without Simon Davies for the game after he suffered an ankle injury during training yesterday. "Simon has gone over on his ankle and he is a big doubt," said Moyes. "James Beattie has trained, but only enough to warrant a place on the bench. "He needs to get a week's training and maybe a reserve game under his belt. "He is not match fit yet, but we might need to use him if we're chasing the game."

If Liverpool can do it, we can - Moyes
Sep 29 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
EVERTON need only glance across Stanley Park for inspiration as they attempt to achieve mission improbable this evening. David Moyes's side welcome Dinamo Bucharest for their UEFA Cup first round second leg maintaining the belief they can overcome the 5-1 humbling from the first leg in Romania. Not surprisingly, the odds are stacked against the Goodison side with only four teams having previously managed to over-turn a four-goal first-leg deficit in 49 years of European competition. Moyes's former club Celtic came close to going one better in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League this season when they fell short in their effort fight back from a 5-0 thrashing at Artmedia Bratislava, winning the return game 4-0. But it is nearer to home that Everton can turn for an example of what can be accomplished in adverse circumstances in European football - Liverpool's Champions League triumph against AC Milan in May. "We can definitely take inspiration from what Liverpool did," says David Weir. "It was a massive achievement and it shows what can be done. "But we're not going to make big statements on what we are going to do, we just need to win the game first and foremost." Real Madrid were the last team to peg back a four-goal deficit when they knocked out Borussia Monchengladbach and went on to win the UEFA Cup in 1986. And manager Moyes says: "I hope that is a good omen. It is a big task but not an impossible one. Liverpool were 3-0 down with only 45 minutes to go. We have 90 minutes to get four goals back.

"We have to use that as an incentive to try to reduce the deficit. It is a situation where we are the underdogs. If we do come back it will be terrific night." Everton will have to reverse a desperate run of form if they are to stand any chance of extending their European adventure. The four goals they at least require this evening is as many as they have scored all season during a dreadful start that has seen them lose eight of nine games, fail to qualify for the Champions League group stages and tumble to the bottom of the Premiership. The second-half capitulation in Bucharest represented a low point, with Everton having looked comfortable before the interval. Since then, however, performances have improved even though results remain depressingly familiar. "It's going to be difficult, but we have got to start winning games," admits Weir.. "We will go out with intention of winning the game, and see where that takes us. This gives us an opportunity of a win against a good team. "Football can change really quickly. Although the first leg was a disaster, it is not impossible to turn it around. If they can score five goals in the first leg, there's no reason why we can't do the same in the second leg. "It doesn't matter where the goals come from. It's a team effort no matter what we are doing. The collective unit is responsible." Indeed, with Everton's continued participation in the competition having already been written off in many quarters, the fact little is expected from Moyes's side could work in their favour. "We've got nothing to hold back on, so maybe the pressure is off a bit," adds Weir. "Mentally, Dinamo have something to defend, so it will be difficult for them. "They are a good side and for us to pull it off would be a major achievement. But funny things can happen, and the fact teams have done it before will give us confidence. It's all about what we do at the night. Losing can become a habit and that's something we have to address.
"It's harder at the moment, but mentally as a group of play-ers we have to be strong. But we will always be positive." Striving to avoid a seventh successive defeat in all competitions, Everton are hopeful a victory of any sort tonight can kickstart their season in contrast to the heartbreak of the Champions League exit in Villarreal that Weir admits was difficult to overcome. "There's no doubt there is a hangover from Villarreal because we put so much into those games," he says. "But you don't get chance to rest on your disappointments in football, and that has been the case this season.
"The games have come thick and fast, if you suffer a hangover you lose a lot of games quickly.
"Last season we were striving to qualify for the Champions League, and we did that. This season is a new challenge with a different group of players, and we should be judged by what has happened at the end of the season and not the end of September." Everton were unfortu-nate not to glean any reward from the home defeat to Wigan Athletic last Saturday, and Moyes believes there is a new mood of determination in the dressing room to put matters right. "I've seen signs in the players in the last few days of a resolve, even a sparkle in their eyes that they might be on the road to recovery," says the manager.. "A realisation has maybe set in that they have not been doing enough, and they have to do more "Maybe with the pressure off a little we could relax a bit, but I'd like to think we'd approach the game in that way no matter what the score. I think we have been focused on every game but we have not been able to get the results." Moyes, however, concedes he has found Everton's struggles this season difficult to accept. "At the moment I'm not reading the papers," he admits. "But it is not about me. It is about Everton Football Club. But I'm steering the ship and I take responsibility for that. "Some of the results haven't been what we've wanted, and I've had to keep my own spirits high." And despite being on the brink of a second European exit this season, he insists: "Finishing fourth last season was not a wasted effort." Victory tonight, even if it does not maintain their interest in the UEFA Cup, will help Everton start proving their manager right.

It can be done... When Everton proved it's not over 'til it's over
Sep 29 2005
By David Prior, Daily Post
IF Everton want any inspiration for tonight's Herculean task, then they need only remember those remarkable events of May 14 1966. That was the day when the Goodison club, inspired by the relatively unknown Mike Trebilcock, pulled back from 2-0 down against Sheffield Wednesday to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1933. Trebilcock, a young Cornishman whom manager Harry Catterick had signed from Plymouth Argyle the previous New Year's Eve for £20,000, had only appeared in seven league games all season, but he was picked ahead of fans' favourite Fred Pickering. It was an inspired decision. The Owls had got off to a flying start and 13 minutes into the second half were 2-0 up. "It's Wednesday's Cup," screamed Kenneth Wolstenholme. It was to be one of the BBC commentator's less prescient moments. Within 90 seconds, Derek Temple's header was blocked and Trebilcock made no mistake from 12 yards to make it 2-1. Another five minutes later and the Blues were level. Alex Scott launched a free kick into the Wednesday area, which was not properly cleared by Sam Ellis, and Trebilcock crashed home from the edge of the area. Then, with 16 minutes remaining, Gerry Young in the Sheffield defence failed to control a bouncing ball and Temple raced clear and fired Everton ahead for the first time. They survived a frantic conclusion, and Brian Labone held aloft the trophy.

Power show charges up victory campaign
Sep 29 2005
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
WHEN championship-chasing Everton visited Maine Road in November 1986, it was City who were marooned at the bottom of the table. Indeed as Everton moved in on their second title in three seasons, City were heading for their second relegation in the same period. Everton, after suffering the devastation of losing the double to Liverpool in the last week of the previous season, were also facing an injury crisis of unheard of proportions, with over half of Howard Kendalls first choice Xl facing lengthy lay-offs. As a result, the champions of 86-87 had to rely heavily on a crop of bit-part players and short-term purchases like Neil Adams, Kevin Langley, Paul Wilkinson and a veteran utility player called Paul Power, whose arrival from Manchester City in the summer had raised more than the odd eyebrow. On a cold, crisp afternoon back on his old stomping ground, it was Power who stole the show and the points. Everton started much the stronger and it was no surprise when Adrian Heath captalised on a mistake by City keeper Perry Suckling to open the scoring. However City, with teenage winger David White causing mayhem down the right, came back strongly and before the break another youngster, Paul Moulden, levelled. The second half was a tight affair and Neville Southall had to be at his best to deny the lively City strikeforce. Everton would not be champions without a reason though and a quick break led to Graeme Sharp setting up Power to drive home from the edge of the box. The Evertonians present celebrated wildly, but also understood and indeed respected Power's decision not to follow suit after scoring against his boyhood team (Wayne Rooney take note). Indeed Power received a generous ovation from the whole crowd after being substituted near the end. Sharp laid on a second for Adrian Heath.

With fans support we can do it - Weir
Sep 29 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR today insisted Everton will roll up their sleeves to rescue their UEFA Cup dream - and backed Blues supporters to play a starring role against Dinamo Bucharest. Despite slow ticket sales, club officials now anticipate a crowd of more than 25,000 turning up to see whether David Moyes' men can over a 5-1 deficit from the first leg. While many feel the task is beyond the Blues, the belief in the camp is in stark contrast and Everton skipper Weir is confident fans will generate enough noise to intimidate the visitors. What would really aid Everton's cause, however, is an early goal and Weir says the onus is on the the players to give their followers something to hang on to. "Dinamo will feel that the hard work is done and it's up to us to go and change that," said Weir. "We need to put on a big show, play well and get back into the tie. "That's what we will try and do. We've got to respond to the disappointments we've had in a positive manner. We'll come out and fight and put ourselves back on track. "That's the way forward for us. The fans will be right behind us but if we get an early goal, any encouragement we give them will be better. "It will lift them, it will lift us and we'll be one step closer to getting through. As long as we put on a good show, that's all we ask really. But it's not impossible." With Everton chasing goals, Moyes is likely to play Duncan Ferguson alongside James McFadden up front, but will probably have to do without Simon Davies. The Wales international turned an ankle in training and is rated as a major doubt, which could open the door for Marcus Bent to return. Following a disappointing start to the campaign, Weir has made it clear it is time for the squad to stop the rot and get the kind of win that will give the club a significant lift.
"It's very important," agreed Weir. "The fans have backed us from day one and the bottom line is that we have not won enough this season. "As soon as we get back to doing that, especially at Goodison, the better. The European experience has been good and we will learn from it."
* With no cash turnstiles in operation, supporters can buy tickets tonight from the Park End box office until 6.00pm.

Our task is not a mission impossible
Sep 29 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LISTEN to the general consensus of opinion regarding Everton's hopes of UEFA Cup progression and you will discover the vast majority is split between 'slim' and 'none'. Even the most optimistic Evertonian, however, will have an overwhelming feeling that 'slim' left town the moment Florin Bratu scored for Dinamo Bucharest in injury time at the end of what can only be described as a catastrophic first meeting between the clubs. Having capitulated so spectacularly during a game in which they had looked so comfortable for 45 minutes, David Moyes' men must climb a mountain and more if they are to overturn a 5-1 deficit at Goodison Park this evening. But it can be done. And if supporters are looking for a glimmer of hope, how about hanging on to this statistic. The last team to reverse a four goal shortfall in the UEFA Cup - Real Madrid - actually went on to win the competition. In the days before the nauseating Los Galacticos nonsense, 1985 to be precise, Madrid lost their first match 5- 1 against Borussia Moenchengladbach in Germany but ran out 4-0 winners when the sides met again in the Bernabeu Stadium. They never looked back. That is exactly what Everton must do against Dinamo if they wish to progress into the UEFA Cup group stages, and while they acknowledge it is a tall order, manager Moyes and skipper David Weir are adamant it can be done. "We have given ourselves a bigger task than we would have hoped for," accepted Moyes, who greeted the information regarding Real Madrid with a warm smile. "But I hope that is an omen." The challenge now, then, is for Everton to begin the game with a high intensity, pressing their opponents into mistakes with the hope that an early goal will change everything. Then the task would not be so onerous. "It's not impossible at all," Moyes agreed. "What we need to make sure is that the game doesn't get slowed down too often, which I think there must be a good chance of that happening. I've got to be careful about that." If Everton can achieve what appears unachievable, there is no doubt that it would have a galvanising effect on a season that has spluttered from one low to another. A run of eight defeats in nine games has left Moyes baffled as to why his squad has lost its form so dramatically, but he is anticipating a bold show. "Goals change games and how they come about," said the manager, referring to the collapse in Romania a fortnight ago. "But I can sense it and see it in the players by the way they are training, the way they are reacting at the moment.
"I can see there is a sign there that hopefully they are going to try and show it. Whether it will be enough, I couldn't tell you, but hopefully there will be a positive response. "I knew that they could be a threat and they had good finishers, but probably at half-time, we were all a little bit surprised at how comfortable we were. Maybe we were just edging it. "Football, though, doesn't last 45 minutes. It lasts 90 and if they can do it to us, I'm hopeful that we can do it to them when they come to our place. We made mistakes leading to their goals but they took them really clinically. "If it had carried on like it had in the first half, it would have been a good result to take back to Goodison. But they picked up in the second half and showed their quality. " Given that some of Dinamo's players have hinted that they are all but through to the group stages, does the manager believe complacency will have a role to play? "No I don't think so," he responded. "Dinamo Bucharest have got some very good forward players and that's where their threat is. They showed that when we played them." Apart from Madrid, three other teams - Leixos, Valencia and Partizan Belgrade - have successfully managed to come from four goals behind, but it is nearer to home that Everton captain Weir is taking his encouragement. "We can definitely take inspiration from what Liverpool did against AC Milan in the Champions League last season," said Weir. "It was a massive achievement and it shows what can be done. "But we are not going to make big statements. We just need to win the game, first and foremost." Spurring Weir and his team-mates on is the fear of having to spend nights in front of the television during the winter when they could actually be playing in the UEFA Cup. This rugged competitor, then, will not stop going until it the task becomes irretrievable. "This is why you are in the game," the Scotland international continued. "You don't want to be sat at home on a Wednesday or Thursday night watching the other teams play."

We'll hit goal trail again - Yobo
Sep 29 2005 Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO today backed Everton's strike force to click back into action to save the club's UEFA Cup dream. During a miserable start to the season, the Blues have struggled for goals and have only managed to find the net four times in nine competitive games - and Yobo scored one of them during the first leg against Dinamo Bucharest. If David Moyes' men are to have any chance of getting through to the UEFA Cup group stages, they will have to match that tally in 90 minutes, but a buoyant Yobo believes it can be done. Casting aside the doom and gloom which has surrounded Goodison during this losing run, the 25-year-old agreed that Everton's players must build bridges with supporters - but says a thumping win over Dinamo can start making up for lost time. "When we are not scoring goals it is hard but we have got good players up front," said the Nigerian international. "Last year, teams came to play us at home and they did not have confidence.
"But we are going to bounce back, the players are strong and with the supporters behind us, we can do well. "We have let them down but we will come together as a team. We want to put a smile back on the fans' faces. You never know what can happen in football." Yobo's form has been one of the few plus points for Moyes in recent weeks and he has looked much more settled now that he is playing regularly at the heart of the defence. It is all a contrast to last season when the former Marseille man suffered from injury and was shuffled about to play in a number of different positions. That led to speculation about his future, but the affable Yobo never had any doubt about where he wanted to play his football. "I have always been happy here because the fans have shown me so much love and support," Yobo continued. "Last season was disappointing because I got injured and the guys that came in for me did well. It was very hard because the team was consistent. "I had a discussion with the manager and he understood where I was coming from. He knew that I wanted to play but we were chasing a European place. I had to give the lads my support. "I was happy here and never wanted to leave. I want to give my best to Everton and my country."

Time for Blues to get physical
Sep 29 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON legend Kevin Ratcliffe believes David Moyes' side can upset the odds tonight if they show 'the spirit of 85'. Ratcliffe was the skipper of the Everton side on the night Howard Kendall's side came back from a goal down at half-time against Bayern Munich to score three goals and book a place in the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup. The Blues have to produce a more dramatic turnaround tonight - albeit over 90 minutes. Ratcliffe knows the odds are stacked against the Blues. But he insists that the 'up-and-at-them' approach that served them so well on that famous night in April 1985 could help Everton achieve something special tonight. "The thing in 1985 is that we were a very strong, physical side," he said. "One of the great qualities of the side was that we could mix it.
"We could play very direct, we could play football and we could mix it as well. I think that is an attribute most good sides have got. "I think if we can get up and get at them it is something the continental sides do not come across every week. You look at the game in 1985 and there wasn't a lot of football played in the second half - we scored two goals from throw-ins. "But if it works and gets you through you have got to do it. "Sometimes you need to get a little bit physical. I remember last season's game against Manchester United at Goodison. Everton were terrific. They showed a lot of fighting spirit and they never let them settle. That is what they need to do in this game." Goals from Andy Gray, Graeme Sharp and Trevor Steven turned the tide in 85 and the Blues went on to lift the trophy by beating Rapid Vienna in the final. But that season's European dream was almost over before it had really got started, courtesy of a tricky first round tie against the University College of Dublin. Everton were expected to cruise past the part-timers. Instead, a goalless draw in Dublin was followed by a narrow 1-0 win at Goodison. In the latter stages of the game Dublin hit the woodwork twice. Had they scored the Blues would have been out. The test for Everton tonight is far tougher. But if they do progress to the group stage it could lead to a similar build up of momentum. For the full Ratcliffe interview see tonight's matchday programme.
* Evertonia is an exclusive members club for fans and is currently offering special discounted rates for all new members of its junior section. Junior members are given two £5 off vouchers when they join. The vouchers are for the forthcoming Premiership home games against Middlesbrough and Fulham. Usual prices are £17 and £19. Junior membership costs £9.99.

Everton 1, D Bucharest 0 (Echo)
By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Sep 30 2005
ULTIMATELY betrayed by 45 calamitous minutes in Romania, Everton's European dream has ended by providing emphatic evidence of the Achilles ' heel that is stifling progress. As manager David Moyes sifts through the broken dreams triggered by last night's UEFA Cup exit at the hands of Dinamo Bucharest, which followed hot on the heels of the Champions League defeat by Villarreal, one area will cause him most concern. While many supporters point accusatory fingers at Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright for failing to sign a striker during the transfer window, it should be noted attackers thrive on chances being created. Quite simply, Everton aren't doing that. For all the admirable effort the Blues put into reversing a four-goal first leg deficit, their inability to fashion opportunities to significantly trouble Uladzimir Hayeu in the Bucharest goal spoke volumes. Moyes knew it, as did his players. So, too, did the supporters, who travelled to Goodison Park hoping and praying for a miracle but were left frustrated knowing that their heroes should be in the draw for the UEFA Cup's group stages. Make no mistake about it, Dinamo Bucharest are not a good side. They have little or no chance of winning the competition yet it still beggars belief how Everton made them look world beaters when they first met in the Stefan cel Mare Stadium two weeks ago. If only Everton could have found the guile, an elusive spark in mid-field, to play those clever balls around the penalty area, then their chances of becoming the first team since Real Madrid 20 years ago to pull back a four-goal deficit would have dramatically increased. Boasting a defence which would have cracked under the right amount of prodding and probing, it is a damning statistic that apart from Tim Cahill's much-needed first half goal, Everton only managed one more shot on target in the remainder of the game. This is not a slight on the mid-field quartet that ran themselves to a standstill. Far from it. With the outstanding Phil Neville in the centre, Cahill was busy and bright, as was Mikel Arteta, while Kevin Kilbane was his usual honest self. Had Everton someone with the priceless ability to see another dimension (dare we mention the name of a certain Thomas Gravesen, currently warming the bench in Spain) it would have been a different story. No question.
Instead, the harum-scarum pressure which Moyes' men applied in the first half and caused palpitations in the Bucharest ranks became a little too predictable for Gabriel Tamas - more on him later - and Cosmin Moti to deal with. Such a shame. Still, this experience will stand Everton in good stead and there is no doubt that a win and a clean sheet is a welcome tonic ahead of Sunday's trip to Manchester City, as they begin the task of climbing off the foot of the table. Following a run of six consecutive defeats, it is high time that the folk of Goodison Park had something to hang onto, and that they got as Everton's players refused to accept the fact their ambitions had been ended.
The pace at which they played in the first half was, as Neville eloquently phrased it afterwards, 'a proper Everton performance'. Quick, intense, breathless; no challenge was shirked, no player was left to fight his own corner. Duncan Ferguson revelled in his role of being a human battering ram and was desperately unlucky to see a thumping header tipped over the bar. Neville drilled a shot inches wide. James McFadden screwed another effort wide when well positioned. Goodison may have only been half full but the hardy souls who turned out bellowed and bawled the Blues, making it seem as if the famous old ground was crammed to capacity. If they were going out, it wasn't with a whimper. Cahill raised belief to new levels when he launched himself through the air to turn Ferguson's knock down into the Park End net, after a tremendous cross from Arteta, but it was at this point Bucharest's ' spoiling ' tactics became so apparent. Moyes, who looked as if he kicked every ball and jumped for every header inside his technical area, had anticipated beforehand that the Romanians would try every trick in the book. Sadly, he was proven right. Led by the disgraceful Tamas, some of their behaviour appalled. While the time wasting was tedious and predictable, more sickening were television pictures capturing Tamas spitting at McFadden. He is also alleged to have spat at Ferguson. Even more appalling, nevertheless, was the challenge - a term that is used lightly - of Mihaita Plesan on Arteta, which left the Spaniard convulsing in the middle of the pitch in time added on after swallowing his tongue. Quite how French referee Laurent Duhamel only saw fit to brandish a yellow card, only he knows. It was both a cowardly challenge and a cowardly decision but happily Arteta's injury is not as bad as it first appeared. Adventure over, then, but this tie encapsulated everything about Everton's brief return to European football. Plenty of promising moments, plenty of effort but undone by mistakes at fatal times and an inability to turn the screw.
As Moyes has suggested in recent weeks, Everton are still very much a work in progress and it will take time to find the consistency that will see them regularly battling it out in the upper echelons of the Premiership. But providing lessons are learnt and a cutting edge can be found somewhere along the line, it need not be another 10 years before the Blues return to Europe. To quote a catchphrase from a well-known game show: 'David, it's over to you'.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert (Weir 24), Yobo, Ferrari, Valente (Bent 68); Arteta, Neville, Cahill, Kilbane (Beattie 68); Ferguson, McFadden.
DINAMO BUCHAREST (4-4-2): Hayeu; Pulhac, Tamas, Moti, Margaritescu; Petre, Grigorie, Galamaz, Plesan; Bratu (Chihaia 83), Zicu (Baltoi 75).
REFEREE: Laurent Duhamel (France)

Everton 1, D Bucharest 0 (Echo)
Sep 30 2005 By Dominic King
ULTIMATELY betrayed by 45 calamitous minutes in Romania, Everton's European dream has ended by providing emphatic evidence of the Achilles ' heel that is stifling progress. As manager David Moyes sifts through the broken dreams triggered by last night's UEFA Cup exit at the hands of Dinamo Bucharest, which followed hot on the heels of the Champions League defeat by Villarreal, one area will cause him most concern. While many supporters point accusatory fingers at Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright for failing to sign a striker during the transfer window, it should be noted attackers thrive on chances being created. Quite simply, Everton aren't doing that.
For all the admirable effort the Blues put into reversing a four-goal first leg deficit, their inability to fashion opportunities to significantly trouble Uladzimir Hayeu in the Bucharest goal spoke volumes.
Moyes knew it, as did his players. So, too, did the supporters, who travelled to Goodison Park hoping and praying for a miracle but were left frustrated knowing that their heroes should be in the draw for the UEFA Cup's group stages. Make no mistake about it, Dinamo Bucharest are not a good side. They have little or no chance of winning the competition yet it still beggars belief how Everton made them look world beaters when they first met in the Stefan cel Mare Stadium two weeks ago.
If only Everton could have found the guile, an elusive spark in mid-field, to play those clever balls around the penalty area, then their chances of becoming the first team since Real Madrid 20 years ago to pull back a four-goal deficit would have dramatically increased. Boasting a defence which would have cracked under the right amount of prodding and probing, it is a damning statistic that apart from Tim Cahill's much-needed first half goal, Everton only managed one more shot on target in the remainder of the game. This is not a slight on the mid-field quartet that ran themselves to a standstill. Far from it. With the outstanding Phil Neville in the centre, Cahill was busy and bright, as was Mikel Arteta, while Kevin Kilbane was his usual honest self. Had Everton someone with the priceless ability to see another dimension (dare we mention the name of a certain Thomas Gravesen, currently warming the bench in Spain) it would have been a different story. No question.
Instead, the harum-scarum pressure which Moyes' men applied in the first half and caused palpitations in the Bucharest ranks became a little too predictable for Gabriel Tamas - more on him later - and Cosmin Moti to deal with. Such a shame. Still, this experience will stand Everton in good stead and there is no doubt that a win and a clean sheet is a welcome tonic ahead of Sunday's trip to Manchester City, as they begin the task of climbing off the foot of the table. Following a run of six consecutive defeats, it is high time that the folk of Goodison Park had something to hang onto, and that they got as Everton's players refused to accept the fact their ambitions had been ended.
The pace at which they played in the first half was, as Neville eloquently phrased it afterwards, 'a proper Everton performance'. Quick, intense, breathless; no challenge was shirked, no player was left to fight his own corner. Duncan Ferguson revelled in his role of being a human battering ram and was desperately unlucky to see a thumping header tipped over the bar. Neville drilled a shot inches wide. James McFadden screwed another effort wide when well positioned. Goodison may have only been half full but the hardy souls who turned out bellowed and bawled the Blues, making it seem as if the famous old ground was crammed to capacity. If they were going out, it wasn't with a whimper. Cahill raised belief to new levels when he launched himself through the air to turn Ferguson's knock down into the Park End net, after a tremendous cross from Arteta, but it was at this point Bucharest's ' spoiling ' tactics became so apparent. Moyes, who looked as if he kicked every ball and jumped for every header inside his technical area, had anticipated beforehand that the Romanians would try every trick in the book. Sadly, he was proven right. Led by the disgraceful Tamas, some of their behaviour appalled. While the time wasting was tedious and predictable, more sickening were television pictures capturing Tamas spitting at McFadden. He is also alleged to have spat at Ferguson. Even more appalling, nevertheless, was the challenge - a term that is used lightly - of Mihaita Plesan on Arteta, which left the Spaniard convulsing in the middle of the pitch in time added on after swallowing his tongue. Quite how French referee Laurent Duhamel only saw fit to brandish a yellow card, only he knows. It was both a cowardly challenge and a cowardly decision but happily Arteta's injury is not as bad as it first appeared. Adventure over, then, but this tie encapsulated everything about Everton's brief return to European football. Plenty of promising moments, plenty of effort but undone by mistakes at fatal times and an inability to turn the screw.
As Moyes has suggested in recent weeks, Everton are still very much a work in progress and it will take time to find the consistency that will see them regularly battling it out in the upper echelons of the Premiership. But providing lessons are learnt and a cutting edge can be found somewhere along the line, it need not be another 10 years before the Blues return to Europe. To quote a catchphrase from a well-known game show: 'David, it's over to you'.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert (Weir 24), Yobo, Ferrari, Valente (Bent 68); Arteta, Neville, Cahill, Kilbane (Beattie 68); Ferguson, McFadden.
DINAMO BUCHAREST (4-4-2): Hayeu; Pulhac, Tamas, Moti, Margaritescu; Petre, Grigorie, Galamaz, Plesan; Bratu (Chihaia 83), Zicu (Baltoi 75).
REFEREE: Laurent Duhamel (France)

Moyes slams 'terrible challenge' on Arteta
By David Prior, Daily Post
Sep 30 2005
DAVID MOYES last night slammed the challenge that hospitalised Mikel Arteta as Everton slipped to a bad-tempered European exit. Arteta was detained overnight for observation after having suffered an on-field fit following a cowardly late challenge from Dinamo Bucharest midfielder Mihaiti Plesan in the 89th minute of Everton's 1-0 win in their UEFA Cup first round second leg tie. And James McFadden was left incensed after being spat at by Dinamo defender Gabriel Tamas in the first half as Everton fell to a 5-2 aggregate defeat. Plesan, who received only a yellow card, had made no attempt to win the ball when his shoulder clattered into the back of Arteta as they leapt for a header, sending the Goodison midfielder head first into the ground. Arteta was visibly distressed and having convulsions as he was being treated by the Everton medical team before being stretchered from the field wearing a neck brace and taken to hospital. Everton manager Moyes said: "Mikel had a fit on the pitch which had to be treated but he is okay and it looks more like a neck injury. "He will stay in hospital over-night for observation to make sure he does not have any problems. "I thought at the time it looked a terrible challenge. It was very late and I don't think the boy will have thought at any time he could have got near the ball. "It was a complete takeout. The challenges have got to be relatively fair and at least close to within the rules of the game and that wasn't. "I think if Duncan Ferguson would have done that to a player, then he would have been sent off. "They (Dinamo) probably thought we were quite rough and ready. We accept the challenges, but (Plesan) was beyond the call of being tough." Tim Cahill, who scored Everton's 28th-minute winner to end a run of six successive defeats, joined in the condemnation of the Romanian midfielder. "Everyone wants to put their foot in but he was about a minute late and elbowed him in the back," said the Australian. "When I saw Mikel shaking I was worried and that's why everyone reacted the way they did." Moyes praised his players, despite their failure to become only the fifth team in history to overturn a four-goal first-leg deficit in European competition. "The players did all that could be asked of them," he said.. "When you are 5-1 down you never know how they are going to react, but they made it as good a game as they could, and we were more attacking than we have been lately. "The plan was to get a second goal in the first half and try to get a grasp of things in the second half. We missed a couple of snips, and it was probably a night where we could not afford to miss those opportunities. "There was a terrific desire among the players to win back some pride after the first leg. It was a good night but it was not good enough. "We must have had 20 crosses in the first half and I was disappointed that we maybe did not make the most of them. There were a couple of crosses that just flicked off people and we also had Faddy's chance. I saw the own goal for Bolton earlier in the day, and thought we could do with some luck like that." But Moyes - who revealed Tony Hibbert was forced off in the first half with a knee injury - admitted Everton's UEFA Cup hopes had effectively been ended by their second-half capitulation in Bucharest. "We should not have been 5-1 down after the first leg, but anybody who had seen Dinamo before would have known they can be a threat going forward. But we know we should not have been in that position."
Everton now travel to Manchester City on Sunday hoping to avoid a fifth consecutive Premiership loss, and Moyes added: "I hope this win is a start. The players have shown what they can do and if they continue doing that, then they can win games in the Premiership."

Future looks brighter for proud players
Uefa Cup Comment by Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Sep 30 2005
EVERTON may not have created any history last night, but they at least showed signs of a brighter immediate future. Overturning a 5-1 first-leg deficit inside 90 minutes was always going to be a big ask, particularly for a side that had scored only four goals all season. And while David Moyes's side will undoubtedly this morning lament their depressingly early exit from European competition after such a long absence, they do so with pride having been partially restored following a season's opening that ranks among the very worst in Goodison history. They should also rue what might have been after having exposed the true worth of a spectacularly average, cynical and cowardly Dinamo Bucharest side, for whom heading appeared a previously alien concept and dirty tricks were considered fair game. On this evidence, that second-half capitulation in Bucharest seems all the more puzzling. Moyes had hinted at witnessing a more steely resolve among his players during training this week, and he wasn't wrong. Everton were not willing to be eliminated without a fight, and feeding off fine backing from supporters who retained a glimmer of belief, scrapped and dug deep for every ball. Mind you, a goal itself was reason enough to cheer, given Everton's shot-shy ways this season. After eight defeats in nine games and six successive losses, Moyes will be hoping this win can kickstart an underwhelming campaign. So too Cahill. The Australian has struggled to replicate his impressive debut season this time around, and while he was still way below his very best last night, he must hope his 28th-minute strike - his first goal since May - can signal a return to form. It was the same throughout the Everton team, where Matteo Ferrari was accomplished in defence, Nuno Valente continued his improvement and Mikel Arteta demonstrated his versatility with a fine performance on the right flank. However, it was a fired-up Ferguson upon whom the spotlight inevitably fell, and we were privy to both sides of the big man's unique game. His robust style gave the Dinamo defence a torrid time before he almost undermined his good work with an unnecessary elbow to the face of Gabriel Tamas late on that was fortunate to escape censure.
That, though, was nothing compared to the disgraceful last-minute challenge by Mihaita Plesan on Arteta that left the Spaniard in clear dis-tress. It was a worrying end to a night where the positives outweighed the negatives for battling Everton.

Leader wanted
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Sep 30 2005
Leader wanted
FOR ME, the problem with Everton over the last few years has been a lack of a talisman or a leader.
Gravesen was that figure last year and everything went through him. When the team was playing well we did not require any leadership presence on the pitch. However, when Everton find themselves in a rut - as they often do - who do they look to on the pitch to motivate them or give them a kick up the backside? We have seen a lacklustre first-half performance receive a Moyes blast at half-time and the performance improves at the start of the second half. But where is the Roy Keane-type figure who will set a standard and demand the others to follow him? We have a bunch of honest lads at Everton but we have no on-field leader who will rally his troops. Everton need a spark from somewhere but the players are too busy looking at each other hoping a colleague will provide it.
Robbie Greenslade,
Support act
I AM an Evertonian, I back the manager, the players and the club. While I am unhappy at recent results, the thought of not supporting my team at Goodison on a European night never entered my head.
Chris Blackburn
(via e-mail)
Cheap talk
EVERTON'S players need to stop telling us what they are going to do, and actually get some results on the pitch.
Mark Melling
(via e-mail)
Cut out boos
NO MATTER what happens, I don't want see the boo-boys get on the team's back at the final whistle.

Kicking a man when he is down just makes it harder for him to get back up. During the hard times, it's untity that gets us through.
D Newhouse
(via e-mail)
Time to act
I'M A lifelong Evertonian, aged 71, who puts his money where his mouth is. I've been a season ticket holder for many years and I believe that David Moyes is a very good Championship manager, who will never be out of work. What he is not, however, is a Premiership manager. Playing five across the middle home and away is a defeatist attitude. The summer signings have been abysmal, due to the fact of not being Premiership players and you get what you pay for in any walk of life. Bill Kenwright please don't leave it too late. I may not have much time left to appreciate our team.
Reg Taylor,
Firing blanks
MOST Evertonians who go to matches appreciate that the club is in deep trouble because we lack pace and quality in attack. There is some doubt about whether it was Moyes or the board who is to blame for the failure to sign quality strikers in the summer. What is now crystal clear, however, is that the lack of vision will cost the club millions in terms of lost European revenues and may ultimately cost us our place in the Premiership. Other clubs - Aston Villa,, Portsmouth, Bolton, Charlton - reinforced their attacks with astute and economical signings. Why didn't we do the same?
Keith Wyness tells supporters our form is a 'blip', which shows he should concentrate on his own job of generating funds for the club. We have had a problem scoring goals for 12 months and a team that cannot score is a team destined for relegation.
Jimmy Roberts
(via e-mail)

Effort was there, but too much left to do
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Sep 30 2005
FINALLY, a goal and a win at Goodison. Unfortunately though, the Blues weren't capable of producing the mother of all comebacks last night, despite their best efforts against a limited Dinamo side. The effort was there as Everton pushed for the four goals they needed, and for a brief moment towards the end of the first half it looked as if the recovery was on, but in the end it was all too much and for most of the second period it was clear that there was going to be no undoing of the damage inflicted during that fateful second 45 minutes in Romania. Indeed, for the final few minutes most of the fans inside Goodison would have been content with seeing one of the players go over the top and exact some retribution for the challenge which left Mikel Arteta flapping on the turf like a rugby league player at the fifth tackle. Thankfully the Spaniard is alive and well, which is more than can be said for our European campaign which is over almost before it began. What we're left with is, at the moment, a relegation battle. As we're rock bottom there's no point trying to kid ourselves any different - we need to get points on the board quickly if we're to avoid being cut adrift.
The stark fact is that we have just been comfortably beaten at home by Portsmouth and Wigan, two teams who most respectable Premiership outfits will expect to beat, especially at home. One consolation of not being in the UEFA Cup any more is that we will no longer have to play Thursday matches that leave little time to prepare for the weekend's league fixtures. Admittedly, Everton's against Manchester City has been moved back for TV, but only just, with Sky surpassing themselves in coming up with an 11.15am kick-off on Sunday morning. At that unearthly hour the powers-that-be at the City of Manchester Stadium will have to turn the canned crowd noises up to full volume just to wake the punter up, never mind create anything near a proper football atmosphere.
A year ago Everton survived being reduced to 10 men to take all three points from this game. We desperately need a return of that sort of defiant spirit if we're to take anything at all on Sunday.

You thugs!
Sep 30 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN has revealed his disgust at the disgraceful behaviour of Dinamo Bucharest's players after he was spat at during Everton's exit from the UEFA Cup. McFadden was one of several Blues incensed by Mihaita Plesan's outrageous shoulder barge on Mikel Arteta, that left the Spanish midfielder in convulsions after swallowing his tounge. But TV pictures also showed Bucharest defender Gabriel Tamas spitting at McFadden midway through the first half. It's also claimed Tamas spat at Duncan Ferguson later on in the game but, even though McFadden told referee Laurent Duhamel about what had happened, the French official took no action and refused to comment last night. Arteta, who was stretchered off with his neck in a brace, was taken to hospital to be treated for concussion and a precautionary check up, but happily he has not suffered any serious damage.
McFadden, however, was dismayed with Duhamel's handling of a game that Everton won 1-0 - a victory not enough for them to qualify for the UEFA Cup group stages as they went out 5-2 on aggregate. McFadden said: "The number four (Tamas) had a spit at me and the tackle on Mikel at the end was reckless. "From where I was standing it looked very stupid and we can't really accept those tactics. "We hardly touched them and they were going down and rolling about. But that's the way it is done and the same person who did Mikel (Plesan) had a bad tackle on me when he went over the ball. "The referee was in a good enough position for that one, too, so I don't know how he can say to me that it was a 50-50 ball. I've got a big lump on my shin and I think for him to say that is incorrect. "The spit didn't hit me but it was aimed at me. I was a bit far away, but you could see what he was trying to do. I had a word with the referee. "It was just disappointing. The same player spat at Duncan as well. But that's taking it away from the game. We've won the game, but we've not scored enough goals and unfortunately we're out." The Blues could not be faulted for the effort they put in, as they tried in vain to reverse a 5-1 first leg scoreline, but not for the first time this season they failed to press home their advantage when they were on top. Still, it was a significant step up on some displays in recent weeks, and McFadden is looking for Everton to take heart from their efforts and build on them against Manchester City on Sunday morning. "We gave everything and we are disappointed that we are not going through," said McFadden. "We got one goal but we should have got a few more. The performance deserved more than what we got out of the game.
"First half we were excellent. We didn't do much wrong but maybe that was the time when we had to get the goals. "Another one before half-time would have made it different. But we are pleased with how we stuck at it."
ECHO Sports Editor John Thompson says:
MIHAITI PLESAN'S collision with Mikel Arteta last night was not a tackle or even a challenge. It was a vicious, cowardly, premeditated and yobbish assault. It was as near as another player can get to mowing down an opponent from behind with a truck. Seeing Arteta convulsing in the centre circle, his legs twitching uncontrollably as a concerned army of paramedics and players surrounded him, was utterly sickening. Almost as repulsive was the 'couldn't care less look' on the face of Plesan, a player who minutes earlier went viciously over the top on James McFadden and who had already lunged in with intent high on Arteta. There is only one conclusion. This Romanian thug should not be allowed on a football field - and UEFA should come down on him now like a ton of bricks.
Like he did on Arteta.

Moyes will consider attacking options
Sep 30 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will consider keeping his new-look attack for the clash against Manchester City on Sunday as Everton attempt to lift themselves off the bottom of the Premiership. The Toffees are bottom for the first time in eight years, with Moyes' men losing their last four league games and scoring just once in all Premiership matches this campaign. Moyes changed his attacking line-up for last weekend's home defeat by Wigan, with James McFadden as a solo striker and Leon Osman in a supporting role. Moyes must decide whether to stick with McFadden and Osman at Eastlands or revert to his maligned long-ball game with a lone striker, or to give Beattie a chance to impress.
He said: "We played James and Ossie up front last Saturday, and in the main both of them did quite well. "We have been looking for goals somewhere, and I felt it was the right time to change things a bit. For 45 minutes they both looked very lively and made opportunities for each other." Blues skipper David Weir also feels the change in style has promise. He said: "James played really well and I feel sorry for him because he played his heart out, yet came away on the losing side. He didn't deserve that. "But it is good for him to play and it is good to see him doing so well. He could be the spark for us to get out of this run. "You have seen him play for Scotland and he has scored goals against quality opposition. We will look at the positives but take the negatives on board and we realise that we have got to do better." McFadden has become a regular for Scotland, scoring seven times in 21 internationals. But the 22-year-old has battled to make the first time at Goodison, and Saturday was only his 20th league start for the Blues.

Savage wake-up call for football
Sep 30 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IF Sepp Blatter wants to really improve professional football, how about something totally radical?
Like outlawing thuggery? Because that was what the majority of the supporters leaving Goodison Park last night were talking about. Not their first sighting of a Goodison goal this season. Not a succession of crosses and frantic scrambles into the Dinamo Bucharest penalty box. Not even an audacious attempt by James Beattie to score from 75 yards. No. All people wanted to talk about, in increasingly disgusted tones, was Mihaiti Plessan's deliberate and successful attempt to injure Mikel Arteta, the same player's deliberate and less successful attempt to break James McFadden's leg - and the several incidents of Bucharest players spitting at the faces of their opponents. The cynicism and the savagery of the Bucharest players was such that Everton could confidently claim the moral high-ground - despite Duncan Ferguson waving his elbows around all night like a ninja warrior on acid. He was booked - exactly the same fate which befell the cowardly Plessan who left Arteta twitching and convulsing on the floor after a mid-air shoulder-barge had the same whiplash affect as a 30 mph car-crash. There was some history between these two sides. But it was ancient history.
Before this UEFA Cup tie, the Blues last met Dinamo in a pre-season "friendly" 44 years ago - in New York. Ironically Everton won by the scoreline they needed last night, 4-0, but two players were sent off and afterwards Harry Catterick produced a long list of his play-ers' injuries which included: Alex Young (bruised face), Billy Bingham (bruised knee from being tackled from behind) and Jim Fell (cut thigh). Perhaps the Romanians simply don't like English clubs. Or maybe the football authorities are still too soft on teams which step out of line. Catterick threatened to withdraw his side's labour from the competition in 1961. There was no need for David Moyes to do likewise last night.
His team's performance in the second 45 minutes in Bucharest did that. But Everton did achieve some successes last night. They rediscovered a comfortingly familiar scoreline. Phil Neville wore the captain's armband for what will not be the last time, Tim Cahill broke his goalscoring duck and Beattie managed a half-hour cameo when he looked committed, energetic and eager to please.
All three will be increasingly important as Everton try to transfer last night's performance into the Premiership. Despite 101 minutes of almost incessant pressure, Everton still failed to make goalkeeper Hayeu produce a telling save. The crosses rained in, Ferguson won every aerial challenge (why didn't he start in Bucharest) and the tempo was intense. But there was little craft or cuteness around the penalty box - apart from the magnificently constructed goal which briefly raised hopes that an unlikely comeback was on the cards. It wasn't - and we were left to discuss matters altogether more sinister. Over to you Sepp.

The jury
Sep 30 2005 Liverpool Echo
What's your view of Everton's 1-0 victory over Dinamo Bucharest? SO EVERTON'S European adventure has come to an end. After a season of hard work, we managed to throw away our reward over four games. Now we are back to square one, where we can concentrate on the league and prove ourselves to the critics once again. The game against Dinamo Bucharest showed some promise. We reverted to 4-4-2 which did seem effective in the first half. It was pleasing to see Neville as captain. In recent games we've needed a true leader on the pitch and when heads have gone down, Neville's is still up. He has played his heart out for the club and thoroughly deserves to be captain. I believe our weakness lies in defence where Premiership sides have punished us. The most important thing is to build up confidence because we have the ability. Also, all the idiotic fans who want Moyes out need to keep their mouths shut.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
OUR European adventure is over but Everton restored some pride last night with a good performance. It was an overdue win but we should never have been in that position in the first place and that terrible second half in Bucharest cost us dear. I don't agree with those calling for Moyes' head.. I can't think of who we could bring in and a new man wouldn't be able to buy new players until January, so would have to work with the current squad. We need to stick together - Moyes and his players got us into this mess and they must get us out. The only thing I can have a go at Moyes for is not buying a striker in the summer. It's obvious we need a goalscorer. McFadden is doing well of late and we created plenty of chances last night but you could never see us scoring four goals. Let's hope we can use the result last night to get back on track in the league.

IT WAS a brave effort by Everton but it was always going to be difficult for us to claw back four goals.
We showed a lot of heart, pride and the fans were great but the momentum was lost when the second goal didn't come. The substitutions took a bit of width away from our game but as the tie slipped away so did the Blues' energy levels and goal threat. It's a shame we are out of Europe and only time will tell how much of a missed opportunity it is. The positive thing is that we scored a goal and played with the high tempo we expect from Moyes' team. Also, Ferrari looks like a good addition. We need to take these positives and apply them to the rest of our campaign, starting with a good performance against Manchester City on Sunday. It's vital we get some Premiership points on the board.
A WIN at last! Even though we have been knocked out of Europe, hopefully the victory will breed confidence. Breaking the long run of defeats, however, was overshadowed by the terrible challenge on Arteta. It was late, malicious, and there was no attempt to get to the ball. We are now going to be left without our best player from the first half for a number of games. The pace of the game in the first half was like how we played last season and that may be partly to do with the use of multi-balls which are now apparently banned in the Premiership! It definitely slows the game down when the players have to wait to get the ball back from the crowd. The support from the fans was fantastic and the continued togetherness is what's needed in the tough run to come. It was just a pity it wasn't a full house.

Price of loyalty . . .
Sep 30 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ONLY at Everton. Liverpool offered tickets for the difficult-to-sell visits of Total Network Solutions, FBK Kaunas and CSKA Sofia for a tenner and fiver. The lowest gate was 42,175. Everton charged full whack for a game they trailed 5-1, five days after a Premiership home game - and which was being shown live on TV, anyway. The gate was a predictable 22,000. Arsenal reacted to problems filling Highbury for Carling Cup ties by offering tickets for a fiver. Everton's response was different. They sent attractive girls wearing Everton strips into student pubs on Monday to offer a match ticket and a bottle of Chang for £15. It smacked of desperation. Why not reward the the people who might have come along - like the 37,000 who watched the Wigan defeat? Nothing imaginative was needed. Just give everyone a voucher offering a tenner off the next hard-to-fill game, like Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup. Premiership gates are down almost everywhere . . . except Merseyside. The two clubs bucking the trend could become a shortlist of one if Everton continue to treat their fans so unimaginatively.
YOU have to admire the sheer bloody-mindedness of the Everton programme printers. I know Duncan Ferguson's goal at Villarreal should have stood, you know it should have been allowed - only Pierluigi Collina didn't. But there, in strident bold letters on the results page of Saturday's match programme was Duncan Ferguson's name. If only they could be as cheeky with the Premiership table.
Why goals are so elusive
EVERTON wonder where all their goals have gone. The answer can be found in the record books.
Marcus Bent has managed one goal every 4.6 matches throughout his career; striking team-mate Duncan Ferguson a goal every three-and-a-quarter. James McFadden actually boasted a strike rate of a goal every 2.1 games - in Scotland. Since he moved to the Premiership, the decimal point has shifted a place, and he now has the alarming ratio of one goal every 21 games. An increasingly exasperated David Moyes even tried Leon Osman up front last Saturday, but he is an attacking midfielder with a record of a goal every half-a-dozen matches. Everton's goalscoring fortunes could rest on how quickly and successfully they can get injury-hit James Beattie - a goal every third game average - back in an Everton forward line, because the record books don't tell lies.

September 2005