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Diego Costa shows 'no respect' in transforming Chelsea
ROBERTO MARTINEZ did not intend it as a compliment but in accusing Diego Costa of showing Everton no respect he unwittingly highlighted just how the striker has already transformed Chelsea.
By: Paul Joyce
Daily Mail Mon, September 1, 2014
The Everton manager branded Costa "childish" for his baiting of Seamus Coleman in the aftermath of the defender's own goal, a moment which prompted a melee as Tim Howard rushed to confront the £32m forward during the Toffees' 6-3 loss at Goodison Park.
"I've been in the British game now for almost 20 seasons and I know the football culture," said Martinez. "With players from Spain and South America, it can take time to adapt.
"But he needs to understand we are quite unique in our league; we are very honest and quite respectful with each other. "Making fun of a disappointing action is not a reflection of the class that he has. He's a top player and he's been a top player for a while and has had to fight a lot for what he's got. "His career deserves a lot of credit so it's a real shame when you've got a childish reaction like that." Yet of all Costa's responses, the clinical finishes bookending this remarkable encounter made the biggest impression as he ruthlessly feasted on Everton's defensive deficiencies.
A year ago Jose Mourinho left Goodison Park defeated and concerned about having the wrong "profile" of players, a group too light in striking talent and too obliging when it mattered most.
Diego is enjoying the nature of this competition Four goals in three matches from Costa lays the foundations for the sort of end-of-season haul which no Chelsea player could boast last term, one which can win titles, and the former Atletico Madrid star's work-rate further underlined the intensity at which he performs. Mid-way through the first-half he tracked back to halt Coleman and it was this that was arguably more revealing than the subsequent argy-bargy between the same players which led to Costa being booked and plotting his revenge via a mouthful of invective.
Mourinho claimed, with some justification given the number of Everton players who surrounded Costa, the hosts had sought to goad their rival in the hope his temperament would snap.
Other opponents will no doubt do the same, though any prospect the Chelsea manager will help out by withdrawing his talisman for his own good was quickly rejected. Coleman's inadvertent touch into his own net sparked a crazy spell of five goals in 10 breathless minutes to add to the strikes from Costa, Branislav Ivanovic and Kevin Mirallas in the opening half. "Diego is enjoying the nature of this competition," said Mourinho, who has found his cause celebre for the campaign given he is still unhappy Costa was booked for simulation on his debut against Burnley. "What he is not enjoying is the fact that he comes clean and comes to play football.
"He comes to play football and to give a spectacle, but people have been chasing cards for him like they did in this match and, in fact, the referees are moving in this direction, too, because he has had two yellow cards in three matches, which is hard to understand.
"Imagine the millions watching around the world and, because Everton players are chasing the player to get cards, I take him off.
"I don't think that is fair. I don't think this is what the people want. I don't think this is what the Premier League wants." Steven Naismith, Nemanja Matic, Everton newboy Samuel Eto'o and Ramires all traded blows until Costa completed a nine-goal blizzard in the closing stages.
As Chelsea maintained their impressive start to the season, Everton remain without a win and their defence was a shambles. Indeed given their dire pre-season, Martinez's side has not won any football match since the final day of the last campaign.
Borrowing a little bit of Costa's devilment would do them no harm.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard 5, Coleman 6, Jagielka 4, Distin 4, Baines 5; McCarthy 5, Barry 5; McGeady 6 (Eto'o 70 7), Naismith 8, Mirallas 7; Lukaku 5 (Besic 89).
Booked: Howard Goals: Mirallas (45), Naismith (69), Eto'o (76). Next up: West Brom (a) Sept 13.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois 7, Ivanovic 7, Cahill 6, Terry 6, Azpilicueta 6; Ramires 7, Matic 7; Willian 7 (Mikel 75 6), Fabregas 8 (Drogba 89), Hazard 7 (Filipe Luis 83) Costa 9.
Booked: Costa, Ramires, Fabregas Goals: Costa (1, 90), Ivanovic (3), Coleman (68 og), Matic (74), Ramires (78) Next up: Swansea (h) Sept 13.
Referee: Jon Moss (Tyne and Wear).
Stat of the day: It took former Chelsea striker Fernando Torres 39 games to score four Premier League goals for the club. Diego Costa has taken just three matches.

Ryan Shawcross too expensive for Everton as club can only offer £8m for Stoke captain
Everton had enquired about 26-year-old defender ahead of deadline day
But they can only offer £8m which won't be enough for Potters captain
Roberto Martinez interested after 6-3 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday
By Simon Jones for MailOnline
Daily Mail, 1 September 2014
Everton look set to be frustrated in a last-ditch attempt to sign Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross.
Roberto Martinez made a late enquiry for the 26-year-old defender after watching his side conceded six against Chelsea. But Everton can only offer up to £8million for Shawcross and Stoke will not sell for that price. Shawcross, who signed from Manchester United in 2008, has made over 200 Premier League appearances for the Potters. Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin are the current first choice pairing for the Toffees, while John Stones is a promising deputy.
But Everton fans were made to worry when Chelsea cause havoc at the back on Saturday.

Everton FC 3 Chelsea 6 - Greg O'Keeffe tries to understand a head-spinning Goodison afternoon
September 1 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Blues defending hard to rationalise as Chelsea run riot
Even when heads had finally stopped spinning, ears had ceased ringing and it was clear that the Goodison Park scoreboard hadn’t gone haywire, it still didn’t make sense.
Everton, a team which had the third meanest defence in the Premier league last season, had shipped six goals. Yes, those goals were conceded to a side which already has the air of Champions-elect in August, but there’s no mitigation to explain away what happened at the Old Lady on Saturday.
Defending like Sunday morning amateurs, losing runners, trying to play misjudged offsides and sometimes simply passing the ball to the opposition – it’s just not Everton. The Blues have been many things over the last decade, but they’ve almost always been solid to begin with.
Even last term when Roberto Martinez inherited David Moyes’s players and began to turn them into a more expansive unit, they managed that transition without sacrificing their solidity.
But such defensive resilience seems like a distant memory so far in the current campaign.
After conceding damaging and preventable late goals in their opening games against Leicester City and Arsenal, Martinez vowed that things would change. Change they did – this time they got the Keystone Cops moments out of the way within the first three minutes. If you’d been stuck in the queue for a pie and a Bovril, only making it to your seat by 5.33pm, you’d have had to rub your eyes as you gazed at that scoreboard. It was an audacious afternoon; whether it was the shocking manner in which the Toffees let Chelsea get in behind them and rattle six past Tim Howard, or the often breathtaking way they attacked themselves, putting three past Thibaut Courtois as they chased the game admirably. But any amount of eulogising Everton’s attacking – and it deserves plenty of merit – simply cannot make the way they lost this game any more palatable.
One suspects Jose Mourinho had looked into one of the darkest moments of last season for Everton when preparing his side. Wary of what the Blues did to Chelsea last term beating them at Goodison and then largely outplaying them at Stamford Bridge, he knew he needed a game-plan.
And he may have found one by watching the DVD of a night many Blues wish they could erase form their psyche – January’s 4-0 derby defeat at Anfield. Granted that awful evening saw Martinez bereft of several key performers and forced to field others who were, at best, half-fit.
But that’s not what Mourinho will have noted. The Portuguese will have watched how Liverpool tore into their city rivals from the opening whistle. How they got in their faces instantly and refused them time to settle, pressuring them straight away with quicksilver counterattacks and runners finding gaps in behind their defence. You see, Everton are formidable opponents if they’re allowed to dictate the pace of the game and settle into their slick passing rhythm.
Stand-off and admire their pretty passing and they’ll eventually take you apart.
But, to pinch a line from Dad’s Army, they really don’t like it up them. Hence the Londoners flew at Everton and, courtesy of some alarmingly poor decisions from skipper Phil Jagielka, and then the linesman for the second, Everton were facing an uphill task from the off. Jagielka has been one of Everton’s most reliable and consistent performers for a long time. He’s an excellent captain and any murmurs that he is past his best are premature. However, it’s clear he’s struggling for form after a testing summer when he embarked on his major international tournament with England, and then with barely a break found himself back in the thick of a Premier League campaign. If only he had the international break to rest properly and get the current mini-malaise out of his system instead of playing a meaningless friendly and then potentially starting a qualifier for Euro 2016.
Everton can only hope he plays his way back into his groove on international duty.
That’s not to say the captain was solely responsible for what happened on Saturday.
Everton were too slow to put pressure on the ball in general when Chelsea probed, something plainly evident when Nemanja Matic was allowed plenty of time to progress forward and pull the trigger for his side’s fourth via an unfortunate deflection.
Chelsea were ruthless with their finishing but they had to rely on an offside strike, an own goal and a deflection along the way. At least by contrast the Toffees scored three wonderful goals. They were also denied, by a stunning Courtois save, what would have been a goal to stand proudly alongside any of the great moments Goodison has witnessed over the years, when Seamus Coleman combined with Samuel Eto’o and the impressive Kevin Mirallas looked to have netted with an astonishing flick of his boot. It wasn’t to be, and the Blues were left chasing the game, something they’d been used to from the third minute. Not many sides will score three past Chelsea.
But no teams with genuine top four pretensions can afford to concede 10 goals in the space of three games. That has been Everton’s lot, and Martinez will now have a fortnight to figure out what’s going wrong and find a solution. That’s at least one positive of the international break.
The Catalan will need all the time he can get to get his head around this one.
So will every Blue who stumbled more than a little dazed out of Goodison on Saturday evening and made a mental note to avoid Match Of The Day.

Everton launch late bid for Stoke's Ryan Shawcross
Stoke will demand at least £15 million for the England international and have no intention of selling a key player so late in the window
Wanted man: Ryan Shawcross (right) is a target for Everton
By John Percy
1 september 2014 Liverpool Echo
Everton have registered late interest in Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross, but it is understood a deal is highly unlikely. Stoke would demand at least £15 million for the England international, who was excellent in the win against Manchester City, and have no intention of selling a key player so late in the window. There could be a surprise deal, however, with Stoke reviving their bid to sign Liverpool's Oussama Assaidi. Peter Odemwingie damaged his knee in the win at the Etihad and initial fears are he could miss the rest of the year at least. Assaidi's move collapsed over personal terms earlier this summer but he could join on loan.

Everton FC: Martinez will use break to reflect on side's 6-3 drubbing by Chelsea
August 31 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Catalan will try to mend collapse in Toffees' defence
Roberto Martinez needs most of this international break to try and get his head around what happened against Chelsea.
But when he has finished sifting through the wreckage of this astonishing, baffling and maddening defeat, and understood why it went so spectacularly wrong, Martinez will be desperate to have his players back at Finch Farm. Particularly his defence. Everton had the third meanest backline in the Premier League last season yet after shipping 10 goals in their opening three games this time around, some searching questions have to be asked. And the answers swiftly found.
Martinez could not hide from the fact that these are troubling times at the back for the Blues and has hinted that changes will be made when they go to West Bromwich Albion on September 13.
The Catalan was at pains to insist this was not the time to point the finger at individuals but afterwards it was difficult to ignore the ones that struggled. Phil Jagielka, a consistent and dependable captain, looks to be feeling the effects of having played in a major international tournament this summer for the first time in his career. The Everton captain made an ill-judged attempt to play offside in the first 30 seconds and paid a hefty price as Diego Costa charged through to score. Everton never fully recovered and two minutes later Chelsea doubled their lead.
It set the tone for a crazy and unpredictable game and ultimately was a mountain the Blues could not climb. Going forward, Everton are playing with verve and a quality that has put to bed concerns over last season’s lack of punch in the final third but their defence looks somewhat lightweight.
Everton had to wait until their sixth game of last season to reach such a goals tally but were into mid October before they had been breached for a 10th time. Steven Naismith, who bagged their second, gets better and better and few teams will manage to score three times against Chelsea this season – yet an equally low number will allow themselves to be hit for six. Martinez, with understandable reason, says the goals Everton conceded on Saturday night are less of a concern to him than the four the shipped against Leicester City and Arsenal because at 2-0 down inside three minutes against Chelsea, the Blues had no other choice than to go for broke.
Everton have a different mindset under the Catalan.
David Moyes’ critics would argue he would settle for a 2-0 defeat at such a stage in the game and focus on stemming the tide. Not Martinez, he wants to win and will risk a drubbing if that’s what it takes. As hard as it is to swallow – and fully comprehend – it is an occupational hazard when employing such a bold mentality. But not even the ever-optimistic manager would try and convince anyone that such an approach can provide full mitigation for the nature of this defeat.
Worryingly, Martinez says his defenders are gripped by fear and that their problems are more psychological than physical. The linesman didn’t help their cause early on as he ruled Branislav Ivanovic onside for Chelsea’s second but then he did the Blues a good turn; first missing Tim Howard’s handball outside the area and then judging Costa to have strayed offside Jagielka was dispossessed by Nemanja Matic. It was that kind of wild game and when Kevin Mirallas leapt gracefully to met Seamus Coleman’s cross an already absorbing game was set up for a cracking second 45. By this point, Everton had gained a semblance of control and put a cap on the mayhem that is not usually associated with their matches. The Blues shot out of the traps for the second-half, got at Chelsea and Goodison responded. The atmosphere was incendiary as Everton pursued an equaliser with rabid intensity. Chelsea and Costa in particular, were losing their cool but the got a slice of fortune when Coleman diverted Eden Hazard’s cross past Howard.
The altercation between the players which followed seemed fitting for such a rudderless game. And following so sense of order, Naismith quickly got one back for the Blues, Matic was then afforded too much time to make it 4-2, Samuel Eto’o made it 4-3 on his debut before Ramires grabbed Chelsea’s fifth. Mirallas was denied a second by a wonderful Thibaut Courtois save but it was to be their final act of defiance. Muhamed Besic’s daft backheel allowed Jon Obi Mikel in, he fed Costa and the snarling Spaniard made it 6-3. The cruel, but apt, image in the aftermath pictured Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and Howard all on their backsides as Costa wheels away in celebration. It was that kind of day. Now Martinez has to make sense of it.

Everton FC defensive problems are psychological insists Roberto Martinez
August 31 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
And Toffees boss will wield axe unless his players overcome their 'fear'
Roberto Martinez is refusing to rule out making changes in Everton’s defence following their defeat to Chelsea and warned: “Nobody is guaranteed their place.”
The Blues shipped six goals in an astonishing game at Goodison Park on Saturday evening and Martinez admits his defenders are gripped by “fear”. Chelsea blitzed Everton inside the opening three minutes to establish a 2-0 lead and leave the home fans stunned.
Kevin Mirallas’s header reduced the deficit just before half-time and helped set up a ding-dong second half where six goals were scored – including five in a frantic 10 minute period.
Everton, who boasted the Premier League’s third meanest defence last season, have now conceded 10 goals in their opening three games and Martinez is worried. “One aspect that is very important is to have a competitive edge with your team and your selection,” he said. “If we keep conceding goals like that then the competition for places needs to be open and allow football to make those decisions. We have very good centre-halves that at the moment are not playing, we’ve got two or three players per position and that is going to accelerate the competition for places.
“But we have a lot of games coming up and it is that competition we need to see how the players react and perform. “Saturday was a great game to watch for the neutral but we had to chase it and that opens the game. That puts the emphasis on the two boxes but we should never ever defend it in that manner. Nobody is guaranteed their place in the team and the aspect of a good team is to have options and competition for places. This will be important.” Martinez added: “We take responsibility as a team. “This is not about individuals and it would be wrong to highlight individuals.
“It is more a feeling that we need to get rid of. “The confidence in our attacking was fantastic for long spells and we look like a team with real confidence. “We got on the ball and were brave and there were many aspects for everyone to be very proud. “Defensively, we are not a team that concedes four goals in the opening two games. “That is more a worry than the six goals we conceded on Saturday because up to that point we had to make it that sort of game to get back into it against a team like Chelsea who are going to make it very, very difficult for you to break them down.” Martinez believes Everton’s defensive problems are rooted in something psychological rather than physical. “We have not made changes from last season and have continued with that back five,” he added. “There is a lot of experience in that back five and if you look at the number of games they have played then it is not a normal situation to be in. “We didn’t defend with confidence. Everything went around Tim Howard and ended up in the back of the net.
“That is not down to the technicality of how you defend or the balance of the team, it is more of a psychological aspect that we need to get restructured very quickly and make sure in the next game we show a real resilience and show the real strength we have as a team which is keeping 15 clean sheets like we did last season. “Now is the wrong time to start an international break.
“A lot of players are joining their national teams which is a real shame because these are the moments you need to share together and work hard at it.
“But we will make sure we don’t have that fear of conceding goals.
“We need to stop it straight away.”
Asked if he planned to sign any defenders before the transfer window shuts tonight, Martinez said: “No, I think we have got top defenders in the line-up and top defenders in the squad so I don’t think there is any need to bring anyone in.”

Football fan groups 'disappointed' with response to call for cheaper Merseyside derby tickets
September 1 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Mark Johnson
Spirit of Shankly and Blue Union hoping for "reciprocal" ticket price reduction between Liverpool and Everton
Merseyside football fans’ groups said they were disappointed by Liverpool and Everton’s response to their plea for them to cut the cost of tickets for away supporters at this season’s derby matches.
The Blue Union and Spirit of Shankly both wrote to top executives at their respective clubs with a proposal for a “reciprocal” ticket price reduction deal for the Anfield and Goodison matches.
Both fans groups took the action because they felt that attending top flight football matches was becoming unaffordable and they hoped that the ‘friendly derby’ could be at a friendly price for both Reds and Blues. However the replies from LFC chief executive Ian Ayre and EFC’s director of marketing and communications Richard Kenyon indicated that the clubs did not back the fans’ idea.
Mr Ayre’s response said: “Whilst we appreciate you sharing the idea and welcome collaboration between both sets of fans this is not an initiative we will support. “The clubs of the Premier League have debated ticket pricing and away ticket pricing many times and agreed collectively to support an initiative which provides discounting at clubs discretion from a £200,000 allocation by each club as you indicated. “Like any business, we set budgets ahead of our year/season and provide for all income and expenditure. As part of this we invest in player transfers and salaries for the season as well as continuing to invest in making improvements to our stadium and other general expenditure you would expect of a large football club. “Having set our budgets and expectations for the 2014/15 season, we don’t envisage any other discounting for any fixtures other than our planned discounts in the domestic cup competitions and our allocation of the £200,000 away match discounts all designed to support fans.” In pictures: fan groups united for price protest march earlier this month
Mr Kenyon said: “While we have no plans for any reciprocal arrangement for the matches against Liverpool, we clearly understand the importance of making football as affordable as possible. We have a number long term, sustainable strategies in place to make sure that we continue to make watching Everton accessible. “Our benchmarking against other Premier League Clubs and feedback from our fans indicate that our strategies are both reasonable and effective. “On the subject of the Away Fan Initiative, our commitment to affordability and ‘the fan experience’ already goes way beyond any statutory requirements. I believe we are due to meet in the next few weeks so perhaps I could share some of our work in this area with you in more detail then?”
A joint statement from the fans’ groups – entitled The Greed of Modern Football – explained that the responses were “symptomatic of the failings of governance in football”.
The statement read: “Disappointingly, but not unexpectedly, the responses from both clubs were dismissive and negative. It is clear that they feel enough is already being done. That, in spite of further ticket price increases, £200,000 a season out of tens of millions is enough?
“We will continue working together and continue to lobby our individual clubs to take action. We will work with the Premier League to develop proposals for a reduction in ticket prices. And we will pursue the political route, calling for greater regulation and improved governance of football that puts supporters at its heart, giving us a powerful and permanent voice. “We are fully aware that change will not occur overnight, but we will not sit back and wait for something to happen.”
The fans groups have now vowed to speak to the sponsors of both clubs and TV broadcasters for help. Roy Bentham, SOS committee member, said the issue had the makings of a long and sustained campaign, but ultimately it will be one of “the most important in the history of the modern game”.
He added: “One thing’s for sure. Collectively, we’re not going away”. Dave Kelly from the Blue Union added: “We did not think the matter would be remedied immediately, but the campaign will go on. Our campaign is going from strength to strength and fans from other clubs are coming together and acting collectively on the matter too.”

Roberto Martinez criticises Diego Costa’s "childish reaction" during Everton v Chelsea clash
September 1 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
"Reacting to the goal and making fun of a disappointing action that’s not a reflection of the class he has"
Manager Roberto Martinez has labelled Diego Costa’s celebration to Chelsea’s third goal against Everton as a “childish reaction”.
The striker goaded Seamus Coleman after the Blues right-back had diverted Eden Hazard’s cross past Tim Howard to make it 3-1 to the visitors. Costa had been booked 10 minutes before the goal after a long-running tussle with Coleman boiled over, and so the Chelsea man took extra delight in the manner of his side’s third goal in their 6-3 win. Howard raced from his line to confront Costa and a small altercation ensued with the Everton keeper receiving a yellow card.
Martinez was disappointed with Costa’s behaviour and says it is not befitting of the Premier League or of the £32m striker. The Blues boss said: “I’ve been in the British game for nearly 20 seasons and I know that the footballing culture in Spain and South America and I know that foreign players take time to adapt. So I understand it from that point of view but he needs to understand that we are quite unique in our league. We are honest and quite respectful with each other and you don’t see that sort of behaviour in our league to develop. “Reacting to the goal and making fun of a disappointing action that’s not a reflection of the class he has. “He’s a top player and been top player for a while now has had to fight for what he has got so his career deserves a lot of credit. But it is disappointing when you get a childish reaction like that.” Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has accused the Blues of trying to get Costa booked. He said: “Diego is enjoying the nature of this competition. “What he is not enjoying is the fact that he comes clean and comes to play football.
“He comes to play football and to give a spectacle in these three matches but people have been chasing cards for him like they did in this match.”

Everton take Pat Ryan Cup in Netherton
September 1 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Disability Sport: C Band defend their title with determination
Everton in the Community’s Pan Disability C Band geared up for the defence of their Bibby Maritime Northwest Ability Counts League title by bringing home the Pat Ryan Cup.
The three-team tournament, staged at Goals in Netherton, was decided on a round-robin basis with the top two advancing to contest the final. Liverpool County FA 1 (LCFA) and Skelmersdale Aces provided the opposition on a day in which defence largely triumphed over attack.
C Band marksman Lee Fairclough did find the net twice though, including a composed finish in the tournament final. Midfield ace Joe Carberry was also on the scoresheet. Neither of the aforementioned stars could breach the LCFA backline in game one however, as both coaches employed effective tactics to nullify each other’s attacking threat.
Blues custodian Peter Marr had to be alive in the second half though, with two smart saves.
Carberry and Fairclough clicked into gear in game two and produced link-up play which had Flinn nodding in admiration. The Aces did take a surprise lead in the first half but the champions replied with two quick-fire strikes to turn matters back into Everton’s favour.
Fairclough was afforded far too much room for a striker of his pedigree and finished with aplomb before Carberry benefitted from a fine team move to give the Blues their first win of the day and guarantee a final place. Another war of attrition with LCFA was the order of play for the showdown, in a game which echoed the previous encounter. Chances did begin to materialise as legs became weary, and with penalties looming Fairclough gave his side the lead with a first time strike from a Danny Jones cross. LCFA weren’t in any mood to give up, but found Marr in impenetrable form between the sticks which ensured the trophy would be heading to Goodison.

Everton FC transfer gossip: Blues priced out of Ryan Shawcross move; Holtby joins Hamburg; Cerci off to Atletico
Sep 01, 2014 Liverpool Echo
Your first round-up of deadline-day EFC transfer rumours
Everton look set to be frustrated in deadline-days moves for Ryan Shawcross and Lewis Holtby, according to reports.
The Daily Mail claim the Blues made a late enquiry for Stoke City captain Shawcross.
However, they can only offer up to £8m for the centre-back - and the Potters will not sell for that price. Another player being linked with a deadline-day switch to Goodison is Spurs’ creative midfielder Lewis Holtby, though he seems set for a move to Hamburg.
Sports Mole said Roberto Martinez saw Holtby as a replacement for the injured Ross Barkley and was eager to take the 23-year-old on a season-long loan. However, the player has since been pictured in Hamburg where he is expected to undergo a medical before signing for the German club.
Torino forward Alessio Cerci - a target for the Blues, Arsenal and Manchester United - is on his way to Atletico Madrid, according to The Express. A fee of £15m was reportedly enough to tempt Torino to sell the Italy international to the La Liga champions.

Duffy completes permanent move to Blackburn
Shane Duffy has signed a three year deal with Blackburn Rovers this morning (Monday).
by Simon Collins
01 September 2014 Liverpool Echo
Derry man Shane Duffy has completed his transfer from Everton to Blackburn Rovers this morning, the defender signing a three year deal with the Ewood Park club.
The 22 year-old centre-half signed on the dotted line on ‘Transfer Deadline Day’ after completing a medical and joins the English Championship side for an undisclosed fee, understood to be in the reigion of £1.5 million. Duffy departs Goodison Park having made 10 senior appearances - six of which were as a substitute. He joined the club’s academy aged 16 and made his first team debut against AEK Athens in December 2009. After a serious injury while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland which saw him require life-saving surgery, he resumed his career with a loan spell at Scunthorpe. He was recalled early by former Blues boss, David Moyes and subsequently made a Premier League debut in January 2012. But he wasn’t able to nail down a regular starting spot under Moyes or successor Roberto Martinez and was loaned to Yeovil for the 2013/14 season, making his senior international debut earlier this summer. It will be the first player Rovers have paid cash for this summer and boss Gary Bowyer
A product of Foyle Harps, Duffy’s move could earn the Derry & District club in the region of £60,000.
The towering defender, who is on standby for the Republic of Ireland squad which faces Oman in a friendly in Dublin on Wednesday, and a Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia on Sunday, will wear squad number 22.

Blackburn Rovers complete the signing of Everton defender Shane Duffy
Rovers complete the signing of Everton's Shane Duffy
Monday 1 September 2014 Lancashire Telegraph
Last updated 1 hour ago by Paul Wheelock, Blackburn Rovers reporter
BLACKBURN Rovers have completed the signing of Everton centre back Shane Duffy.
The 22-year-old, who played one game on loan for Burnley in 2011, moves to Ewood Park on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee. Republic of Ireland international Duffy, who watched Rovers go down to a 3-1 defeat at Wolves on Saturday, said: "I'm delighted and I'm over the moon to be here. "It was tough decision to leave Everton of course but it was a chance to come to a great club and play football - that's my main aim and that's what I want to do." One player on his way out of Rovers is Jack O'Connell. The 20-year-old is set to re-sign for Rochdale on loan until January. O'Connell helped Rochdale, managed by former Rovers defender Keith Hill, win promotion to League One last season while on loan at Spotland.

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley wants Roberto Martinez reunion at Everton
Sept 1 2014 Daily Mirror
By David McDonnell
The England international has been the source of a big from Aston Villa and is interesting others - but he wants to move to Goodison Park
Tom Cleverley's future is still unresolved - with the Manchester United midfielder keen on a loan move to Everton. Cleverley, who has been told by United boss Louis van Gaal he can go, wants to be reunited with Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park. England international Cleverley, who missed out on the World Cup squad in Brazil this summer, played at Wigan under Martinez during a loan spell from United. Cleverley is said to be keen on the prospect of linking up again with Martinez, amid interest in him from Aston Villa, Hull and Valencia. Sources close to Cleverley have indicated the player has no intesrest in going to Hull or Valencia, and that Everton is his first-choice, with Villa second. United are keen for Cleverley to go to Villa, who have offered around £7m for him, as they seek to recoup cash to offset their big summer spending. A loan deal for the 25-year-old midfielder would cost Everton £2m-3m, as well as his £50,000-a-week wages, with a view to a permanent deal next year.

Everton may be returning to European football in the continent's secondary competition, but they have been drawn in a group worthy of the Champions League.
30 August 2014 Liverpool Echo
Everton may be returning to European football in the continent's secondary competition, but they have been drawn in a group worthy of the Champions League.
Also in this section
The Europa League draw in Monaco on Friday afternoon was unkind to Roberto Martinez's side, who came from pot three to line up against Lille, Wolfsburg and Krasnodar.
With a side who finished third in Ligue 1 last year, one that came fifth in the Bundesliga and a gruelling journey to a distant Russian outpost, Group H is sure to be a tough ask for the Toffees between now and Christmas. representatives
England's other representative, Tottenham, face top seeds Besiktas in Group C, the same side that North London rivals Arsenal beat 1-0 over two legs in their Champions League play-off. Celtic, meanwhile, will play Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb and Astra in Group D.
All three sides will go in with the ultimate aim of making the final in Warsaw next year, with victory in this year's competition coming with the added incentive of a guaranteed place in the Champions League play-offs.
Besiktas, spearheaded on the field by former Chelsea forward Demba Ba, are Tottenham's biggest threat in a group rounded out by Serbia's Partizan Belgrade and Asteras Tripolis of Greece.
Group H: Lille, Wolfsburg, EVERTON, FC Krasnodar.
Group C: TOTTENHAM, Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade, Asteras Tripolis
Group D: Salzburg, CELTIC, Dinamo Zagreb, FC Astra

Forshaw completes Wigan move as Brentford receive record fee with Everton picking up sell-on
London 24 September 2014
Adam Forshaw has completed his move from Brentford to Wigan for an undisclosed club record fee.
The League One Player of the Year has not been seen in action since the Bees lost 4-0 in a friendly to Osasuna on July 29, as the first Latics’ bid was rejected. A second bid received later that week was also dismissed as ‘unacceptable’ as manager Mark Warburton insisted that the west London club receive an appropriate fee for Forshaw. Eventually, the Bees accepted an offer for the 22-year-old on August 25, but it has taken a week for the move to be completed. The midfielder moved to Griffin Park from Everton in the summer of 2012, having impressed on a loan spell the previous season, and the Toffees are set to pick up approximately 40 per cent of the transfer fee.
He made 82 appearances in League One for the west London club and played an instrumental role as the Bees returned to the Championship for the first time in 21 years. Reports had suggested that the Bees had accepted an offer of £2-3million for Forshaw but Warburton insisted it was higher after last week’s 1-0 defeat to Fulham in the Capital One Cup. “Anyone who thinks we’ve let him go for £2m or £3m is living on a different planet,” he said at the time. “The owner is happy with the deal which tells you a lot.” Brentford’s previous record sale was £2.5m as Hermann Hreidarsson joined Wimbledon in 1999.

Everton FC transfer deadline day gossip: Blues eye Cleverly, Nastasic, Holtby and Shawcross
Sept 1 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Peter Guy
Latest Reds and Blues transfer rumours
Meanwhile, Everton are hoping to complete several deals before the transfer window closes, according to the ECHO’s Blues correspondent Greg O’Keeffe.
A loan move for Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley could be in the offing. Blues boss Roberto Martinez worked with the 25-year-old England international when he was manager of Wigan.
Martinez could also move for a defender if one becomes available on loan, with Manchester City’s Matija Nastasic a rumoured target. Meanwhile, The Daily Mail say the Blues have made a late enquiry for Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross. However, they can only offer up to £8m for the centre-back - and the Potters will not sell for that price.

Shane Duffy 'sad' to leave Everton FC but 'excited' about new challenge at Blackburn Rovers
Sept 1 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Defender says: "I can't thank everyone at the club for what they have done for me from the first day I got there"
Shane Duffy admits he is sad to call time on his Everton FC career but is excited about a new challenge at Blackburn Rovers. As the Echo revealed on Friday, the central defender has joined the Ewood Park outfit after struggling to find regular first team football at Goodison. Duffy, 22, joined the Blues in 2008 but only managed 10 senior appearances during his time on Merseyside.After his switch to the Championship was officially announced earlier today, he tweeted a message to Evertonians. He wrote: 'I'm very excited about the new challenge in my career and I can't wait to get going. "Sad about leaving Everton but can't thank everyone at the club for what they have done for me from the first day I got there. "The fans have been amazing and I will always follow Everton. I would like to wish everyone at the club every success and hope everything goes well." The fee agreed between the two clubs is undisclosed but the ECHO understands it is an initial payment of around £500,00 which could eventually rise to £1.5m in potential add-ons.

Duffy signs for Blackburn to ends his days at Everton
By Aidan Fitzmaurice – 30 August 2014 Irish Herald
IRELAND international Shane Duffy has sealed a move away from Everton and will drop down into the Championship to kick-start his club career in a £1.5million transfer to Blackburn Rovers.
Duffy, 22, has been at Everton since he was 16 and made his debut for the Toffees back in 2009. But he has struggled to get first-team games for the Goodison Park outfit and has now signed for Blackburn on a three year deal, Duffy expected to be on the bench for today's clash with Wolves.
The Derry native, who made his senior international debut for the Republic in the summer tour of the USA, made just 10 appearances for the Blues and got most of his first-team experience in loan spells with Burnley, Scunthorpe and Yeovil Town. Duffy was much sought-after at international level as he was on the bench for the Northern Ireland senior side as a teenager, but he was recruited to the Republic's set up and won 20 caps at U21 level. Initially promoted to the senior squad under Giovanni Trapattoni he had to wait until last June for his first senior cap as the lack of first-team opportunities saw him move down the ladder as players like Richard Keogh got an opportunity.
Blackburn are fourth in the Championship table after four games but boss Gary Bowyer is keen to add some steel to his defence and Duffy fits the bill.

Porto's Rolando poised for £8m Everton move after agent arrives at Finch Farm
EVERTON are close to signing £8m-rated Portuguese international Rolando.
By: Jamie Anderson
Daily Mail : Mon, September 1, 2014
Reports claim the player's representatives have arrived at Everton's training facility, Finch Farm, to discuss a permanent deal.
The 29-year-old has made 19 appearances for the national side, but was overlooked for the last two World Cup finals. Having notched up 112 appearances, Rolando has been a stalwart at the heart of Porto's defence, but despite his service he's been overlooked by a succession of managers leading to his impending Estadio do Dragao exit. Everton fans are desperate to see a centre-half arrive at Goodison Park after a couple of shaky performances from club captain Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin. The youthful John Stones and new boy Brendan Galloway are full of potential and are likely to form a partnership for the year's ahead, but with the Europa League beckoning Everton need experience now. It remains doubtful that the Toffees will sign Rolando on a permanent deal having spent £28m on Romelu Lukaku, but a season-long loan remains entirely conceivable.
Roberto Martinez will hope to wrap-up the deal shortly with just six-hours of the transfer window remaining.

Everton still hoping to land Henan despite signing for Olympiakos
September 1 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Blues were trying to arrange for an immediate season-long loan
Everton FC still hope to land Belgian starlet David Henen on loan – despite the teenager having just completed a move to Olympiakos. The Blues have been targeting the Belgium U-18 international all summer, and he has spent the last month training with the U21s at Finch Farm while negotiations with Anderlecht continued. However as those talks became more protracted it looked increasingly unlikely Roberto Martinez would be willing to pay the £3m being demanded for the gifted but unproven youngster. That opened the door for Greek side Olympiakos to do a deal with Henen’s representatives, and they managed to clinch his signature late on Monday. However, with the player’s heart set on a move to Goodison, the Blues were trying to arrange for an immediate season-long loan which would allow him to continue his development on Merseyside.
The ECHO understands that is something Henen’s agent was open to last night, and Martinez was happy to proceed in the hope that the forward could develop into a potential option for the first team after Christmas, Henen had repeatedly expressed his wish to join Everton on social media, and had even been pictured in the directors’ box at Goodison park during Leon Osman’s testimonial against Porto (left). Martinez had previously insisted that the powerful attacker was one for the future even if he could lure him to Merseyside, and he is likely to be kept out of the spotlight at first,
“He’s a young, talented footballer who represents Belgium in the lower teams,” said the Blues boss earlier in the summer. “He has had good experience in going to France. “He is a bright boy and we feel he is something different that we haven’t got in the under-21s so we are hoping he is going to be giving us something different in that group.” Henen, who has also been linked with Arsenal in the past, spent the majority of last season on loan at Monaco.

Everton still hoping to land Henan despite signing for Olympiakos
Sept 1 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Blues were trying to arrange for an immediate season-long loan
Everton FC still hope to land Belgian starlet David Henen on loan – despite the teenager having just completed a move to Olympiakos. The Blues have been targeting the Belgium U-18 international all summer, and he has spent the last month training with the U21s at Finch Farm while negotiations with Anderlecht continued. However as those talks became more protracted it looked increasingly unlikely Roberto Martinez would be willing to pay the £3m being demanded for the gifted but unproven youngster. That opened the door for Greek side Olympiakos to do a deal with Henen’s representatives, and they managed to clinch his signature late on Monday.
However, with the player’s heart set on a move to Goodison, the Blues were trying to arrange for an immediate season-long loan which would allow him to continue his development on Merseyside.
The ECHO understands that is something Henen’s agent was open to last night, and Martinez was happy to proceed in the hope that the forward could develop into a potential option for the first team after Christmas, Henen had repeatedly expressed his wish to join Everton on social media, and had even been pictured in the directors’ box at Goodison park during Leon Osman’s testimonial against Porto (left). Martinez had previously insisted that the powerful attacker was one for the future even if he could lure him to Merseyside, and he is likely to be kept out of the spotlight at first,
“He’s a young, talented footballer who represents Belgium in the lower teams,” said the Blues boss earlier in the summer. “He has had good experience in going to France. “He is a bright boy and we feel he is something different that we haven’t got in the under-21s so we are hoping he is going to be giving us something different in that group.” Henen, who has also been linked with Arsenal in the past, spent the majority of last season on loan at Monaco.

WATCH: Greg O'Keeffe reflects on Everton FC's transfer deadline day
Sept 2 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
Blues missed out on Tom Cleverley but David Henen could still arrive on loan
Everton FC correspondent Greg O'Keeffe says Everton's hopes of signing Tom Cleverley were dashed after Manchester United demanded a permanent deal. The Blues showed interest in bringing the midfielder on loan at Goodison Park, but United valued him at around £7m.
"It was going to be on loan from Everton's point of view but having spent the best part of £155m, United would only want to listen to permanent offers of about £7m," said Greg.
"Cleverley really wanted to link back up with Roberto Martinez after playing there at Wigan on loan." Greg also revealed the Blues missed out on signing David Henen from Anderlecht, but are set to bring him in on loan regardless. Henen appears to have moved to Olympiakos in a £3m deal, but he could still line up for Roberto Martinez's side this season. "It looked like another one would go west, they couldn't agree a deal – but we understand Everton will still get him on loan," added Greg.
"It's a complicated one and we're yet to hear how or why that's happened."

TL Evans: a fine footballer and a fine man
by Rob Sawyer (research by Marcus Heap and Ian White)
Published on the 02 September 2014
This article covers the life of TL ‘Leslie’ Evans who was born in 1890 and died in 1945, and was written by Rob Sawyer, an amateur sports journalist/historian and member of the Everton Football Club Heritage Society. It was prompted after the society received an enquiry from Geoff Evans about the sporting exploits of his father, TL Evans, and, once written, sent on to Isle of Man Newspapers for publication.
A century ago, as the First World War broke out, the custodian of Stockport County’s goal was one of the most notable sportsmen to come from the Isle of Man: Thomas L. Evans – ‘Leslie’ to those that knew him well. Leslie was born in Chester in 1890 into a family of wine merchants but his father relocated the family to the Isle of Man in 1903.
He developed into a talented sporting all-rounder: adept at running, swimming, badminton, tennis, golf, football and even billiards. By the age of 22 he had won The Times Cup 200 yard race in the Manx Swimming Championship for the third consecutive year. He would continue to swim in the sea in later life – even on Christmas Day – and was an organiser of the annual Ramsey Swimming Gala. His son, Geoff, recalled watching him in the 1930s: ‘He was like something else – effortless at the front crawl – like a torpedo through water.’ The Ramsey Courier recorded his athletic prowess in the 1910 Courier Marathon Race from Ramsey’s Market Place to Andreas in adverse weather conditions: ‘Evans was racing Karran. They had not left Regaby behind any distance before a heavy shower commenced, Evans sought the shelter of a hedge . . . when the rain took off Evans returned to the roadway and the couple ran shoulder to shoulder again. ‘Evans would outpace his rival to win in 28 minutes and 37 seconds.’ At 5ft 10in tall, Leslie became established as Ramsey Football Club’s goalkeeper and, in November 1912, he sailed to Merseyside to try and establish himself as a professional footballer. As an amateur he made two reserve outings for Everton FC, against Glossop and Bradford. Liverpool’s Evening Express newspaper reported on the Glossop match: ‘Everton, with a view to strengthening their reserve team, gave a trial to no less than four recruits in today’s game. Everton: Evans, goal, Simpson, and Williams backs, McCulloch A. Browell (captain), and Gosling, half-backs Chedgzoy, Robinson, Gaul, Wright and Lightfoot.
‘The Blues’ custodian easily accounted for a couple of long shots by the visitors’ centre. Nearing the interval Wright barely missed with a header, and at the other end Evans saved brilliantly from Bradley.’ Although Leslie impressed in the two fixtures, the Everton board chose not to offer him professional terms. Leslie was ‘thanked for his services’ but the board minutes of December 3, 1912, recorded that ‘the player’s application for an engagement was declined’. Despite this knock-back Leslie remained with Everton on amateur forms for several months. In February 1913 the goalkeeper guested for Stockport County in a fundraising match against Stockport Police.
He had a ‘splendid game’ according to press reports and so impressed the Hatters’ manager Harry Lewis that the Stockport board moved to secure his release from Everton.
The next season, Leslie made his County debut in a 2-1 victory over Leeds City on September 13, 1913, whereupon he became a near-ever present in the first team for two seasons in the Second Division (County would finish 12th and 14th). In April 1914, the Cheshire Football Echo’s ‘Half-Back’ columnist eulogised about the County goalkeeper:’ Since his promotion to the first team he has come on by leaps and bounds. I very much doubt there is a finer custodian in the Second Division.
‘A quiet, good living youth, he is one of those who should make his mark in the profession he has chosen. Two of Evans’ saves at Huddersfield on Saturday were as brilliant as I have yet seen any goalkeeper make.’ The press back home in the Isle of Man followed his progress with interest and the May 1, 1914, edition of the Ramsey Courier noted: ‘It is a source of much gratification to his many friends in Ramsey to hear of Leslie Evans’ success ... at no time has the ex-Ramsey custodian shown better form than lately.’ The Great War led to a hiatus in competitive football. Tommy, as he was known in Stockport circles, would never add to his peacetime tally of 1 FA Cup and 72 league appearances. He made his final competitive appearance in a 2-2 draw with Wolves in April 1915.
Having enlisted as a dispatch rider in the Army Service Corps, Leslie reached France in the autumn of 1915 and distributed messages from a signal centre to the front line at The Somme.
Speaking to the Ramsey Courier, he described the harsh realities of war service: ‘So far I like army life but shan’t [sic] be sorry when it is all over and I can get back to “footer” again. I will close as I have got a chance to get some sleep which I badly want as I have not had any for two nights.’
While en-route to Ramsey during a period of leave he made an appearance for Stockport on New Year’s Day 1917 – appropriately in a friendly fixture against his former team Everton at Goodison Park. The Merseyside club ran out 5-2 winners with Clennell hitting all five for ‘The Toffees’.
Despite the scoreline, press reports were fulsome in their praise for Leslie: ‘Goalkeeper Evans played a capital game and a full length save from Clennell gained him applause, as did also a save from Kirsopp.
‘It is worthy of mention that Evans is home on leave after a long spell in the trenches. Therefore his form was surprisingly good. Of course, he relished the muddy area in which he operated today.’
Leslie would turn out again the following Christmas Day as Stockport won 5-2 in a friendly match at home to Rochdale. For reasons unclear, Leslie did not pursue his football career after the war – perhaps the events he had witnessed had changed his perspective on life.
He made a farewell appearance at Stockport’s Edgeley Park ground in a Wartime League, Lancashire Section, in a 3-0 defeat by Burnley on March 15, 1919. Back in the Isle of Man Leslie went into business in 1920 – co-founding Martin and Evans Ltd (Haulage Contractors) in Ramsey.
The company offered charabanc tours of the island with Leslie often at the wheel. Out of the holiday season work focussed on haulage work for farms. Sadly the business failed to flourish and was voluntarily wound-up early in 1923. Subsequently Leslie worked as a manager at Knowles’ Garage and then travelled the UK in a van promoting the island for the Manx Publicity Board. In his spare time he served as secretary of the Royal British Legion in Ramsey and as a town commissioner.
On the sporting front, Leslie would occasionally play in, and even referee, matches in the island. Stockport County had retained his professional registration resulting in a protest (eventually thrown out) by Wanderers when he turned out for Ramsey in an Isle of Man League match in 1921. Subsequently the English FA agreed to re-designate Leslie as an amateur.
Manx football could be uncompromising and Leslie was the victim of some tough tactics when playing as a left winger in a Northerners versus Easterners game in April 1921.
The Isle of Man Examiner reporter was there: ‘Leslie Evans fractured his nose in two places and had to leave the field. After being attended to, he returned but while heading a ball ... was again laid out. Again he was carried off but once more he returned and this time played valiantly to the end.’
In his later footballing years Leslie turned out for Braddan until injury forced his retirement. He also played cricket for Ramsey. When hostilities broke out again in Europe, Leslie re-enlisted as a Lieutenant with the 30th Kings Regiment – this time remaining on the home front.
His son, Norman, would also enlist and served in the Middle East. Leslie aggravated an old hip injury when a Bren Gun carrier overturned, and was demobbed. Subsequently he was booked in for a hip operation at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital in Leeds. While waiting for the operation he did a spot of cricket umpiring at Headingley.
Tragically Leslie died in the hospital on October 23, 1945, after suffering a post-operation relapse.
His untimely passing, aged 55, was profoundly felt back in the Isle of Man where his sporting endeavours, sense of fair-play and community work had made him a popular, respected figure.
His body was returned to the island by steamer, whereupon a cortege took him to Ramsey via Laxey. The coffin was covered in the Union Flag and wreathes laid by the family.
Present were Leslie’s father, Fred, and his sons, Norman and Geoff. Sadly Leslie’s wife Nellie (nee Miller) had passed away in the early 1930s.
Tributes were paid with Ramsey FC describing him as ‘one of the most outstanding footballers and sportsmen the island had known in the last 50 years’.
Norman, like his father, was a multi-talented sportsman, who played in goal for Ramsey when they won the Isle of Man First Division championship in 1952. He is also believed to have been on Tranmere Rovers’ books at one stage and played for the RAF team during his national service. Away from football he also participated in water polo, diving and shooting.
Geoff would eventually settle in Marple and, although not a huge football fan, still makes occasional pilgrimages with his family to Edgeley Park – the scene of his father’s finest footballing honours.

Everton FC loan watch: John Lundstram can't stop Blackpool from crashing to defeat; Matty Kennedy plays but Hibernian lose
Sept 2 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
Lundstram and Kennedy start for their perspective clubs but can't prevent them from crashing to defeat
Everton FC loanee John Lundstram couldn't stop Blackpool from going down to a 2-1 defeat to Millwall on Saturday. The Tangerines have yet to pick up a single point in the Championship this season and, despite a spirited effort, that losing streak continued at the New Den.
Lundstram tried an outrageous effort from his own half in the first period of the game - but he failed to get the right distance on the shot despite David Forde straying from the Millwall goal.
Jose Riga's side found themselves two goals down just after the break but a goal from controversial striker Nile Ranger dragged Blackpool back into the game. As they pushed for an equalizer, Lundstram's free-kick was turned over by Andrea Orlandi and, despite a spirited effort, Blackpool couldn't draw level. Matty Kennedy suffered a similar fate for Alan Stubbs' Hibernian as they went down 2-1 to Alloa Athletic in the Scottish Championship. Stubbs' men are hovering just about the relegation zone and defeat to Alloa leaves them with just one win in four games - and that came on the opening day. Kennedy, though, did provide the assist as Jason Cummings opened the scoring early on for the visitors. But it wasn't enough and Alloa fought back to score twice and take the three points.

Everton FC: what we learned from the transfer window
Sept 2 2014 Liverpool Echo
By David Triggs
What did Blues fans learn from a record-breaking summer at Goodison?
Despite a frustrating deadline day, the transfer window as a whole brought plenty of good news for Everton.
The club record capture of Romelu Lukaku in a £25m transfer was the headline story, but deals were also done for Gareth Barry, Muhamed Besic, Christian Atsu and veteran Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o. And while efforts to sign Tom Cleverley came to nothing, Belgian wonderkid David Henen was snapped up on loan hours after the transfer window closed. Here are four things EFC fans learned from the transfer window.
The Blues have pulling power
Rewind to July 30, 2014. Romelu Lukaku boards a plane and tweets out a picture of himself along with the words “time to begin a new chapter”. As it turned out, the plane was destined for Merseyside - and Lukaku was about to pen a new chapter of his career with the Blues.
The signing of the 21-year-old Belgian - in a club record £25m deal from Chelsea - was hailed as a statement of intent from Everton, the kind of transfer which had been all too rare in recent seasons.
Big fees had been shelled out in the past, but nothing on this scale. Having spent a successful loan spell at Goodison last season, Lukaku was the Blues’ number one transfer target this summer. There were plenty of times when it looked like they might not get him, as rival clubs jostled for his signature while the World Cup rumbled on. But Everton got their man. Just as they had done with Gareth Barry, another loan star from last season who was persuaded to sign on a permanent basis.
Roberto Martinez still has an eye for a bargain
For all the big money shelled out on Lukaku, Blues boss Roberto Martinez remains adept at sealing deals at the other end of the transfer scale. The performances of Muhamed Besic for Bosnia at the World Cup confirmed for Martinez that he was a young midfielder who could add some industry, bite and skill to his engine room. At just £4m - small change by today’s standards - Besic was signed from Hungarian side Ferencvaros. Some promising pre-season displays followed and there looks to be plenty more to come from Besic, despite him blotting his copybook with a careless mistake in Saturday's 6-3 loss to Chelsea. Having proved himself a master of the loan market last season, Martinez restricted himself to a single temporary signing this summer - and Blues fans have yet to see enough of Chelsea’s Christian Atsu to know how good he can be.
Big deals don’t have to cost the earth
Has there ever been a more high-profile free transfer in Everton’s history than the signing of Samuel Eto’o? The 33-year-old is a legend of the game, a three-time Champions League winner with a CV and medal collection very few players can match.
A free agent since leaving Chelsea at the end of last season, he was snapped up by the Blues in the final week of the transfer window and confirmed that class really is permanent with a superb headed goal on his debut, against former club Chelsea. With the Blues facing a heavy fixture schedule this season due to their involvement in the Europa League, Eto’o will get plenty of game-time - and his experience will be vital. You can’t always get what you want
For all the good business conducted by the Blues this summer, deadline day itself turned out to be something of a disappointment.
Manchester United held firm over Tom Cleverley (Everton wanted him on loan, the Red Devils wanted a permanent transfer), while no defenders were added to the squad despite the Blues shipping 10 goals in their first three Premier League matches.
Martinez, as he stated publicly at the weekend, will keep faith with the players who formed the league’s third-best defence last season. There was even a twist in the David Henen saga. The young Anderlecht attacker - who had seemed on the verge of joining Everton for weeks - ended up signing for Olympiakos, only to be loaned straight to the Blues on a 12-month deal.
So he will pull on the blue shirt this season - but belongs to the Greek side.

Ian Snodin: I've never seen a game like Everton v Chelsea
Sept 2 2014 Liverpool Echo
by IanSnodin
"I think everyone has to shoulder some of the blame for a game which was just not like Everton"
In all my time at Goodison Park I’ve never known a game like Saturday.
It was an incredible match, thrilling for the neutral I’m certain, but deeply disappointing for everyone of a blue persuasion. If anything I thought we were in for a tight game between two really good sides which would ultimately be won by one moment of class.
Instead we saw an unbelievable spectacle unfold.
I was only getting over the shock of seeing us go a goal down when Chelsea scored another and that set the tone for an afternoon of goals and confusion. Even the scoreboard struggled to keep up at one point. Chelsea are obviously a quality side; a big, strong unit who seem to have discovered some fluidity and attacking finesse to go with their usual solidity and power.
That’s why it was great to score three against them, because you won’t see many teams do that this season, but there won’t be a single Evertonian taking too much consolation from that because conceding six was terribly hard to take. I would never had envisaged a back five as experienced as ours would be taken apart like that. But saying that I don’t think it’s as simple as just isolating it on the defensive players and pinning the blame solely there. In the modern game you defend from the front. The strikers have to work hard to close down and prevent the opposition from pushing forward and you need a tireless shift from your wide players too. I think everyone has to shoulder some of the blame for a game which was just not like Everton.
That’s not me trying to paper over our defensive failings. We look frail at the back and Roberto Martinez will know something has to be done. Unfortunately he now has the frustration of having to wait during the international break to get his players back and begin to sift through what went wrong and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We made it so hard for ourselves and whenever we got back to within touching distance courtesy of some great attacking play we went and shot ourselves in the foot at the other end. My concern is that over the years Everton have always been renowned for being hard to beat, solid at the back and knowing how to defend.
You look at the first three games of the season and you wonder why that defensive nous seems to have vanished? It’s difficult to fathom out because last season we received acclaim for keeping so many clean sheets. It doesn’t matter that Jose Mourinho’s men are going to take some beating in the Premier League this term. We expect to give any side a challenge in our own back yard.
Evertonians will want that familiar sense of security back and fast because you can’t hope to finish in the top five if you’re going to make a habit of conceding soft goals like we have done too many times this season.
Now I know why he Costa fortune
Tim Howard and Seamus Coleman may not have been in the mood to agree with me on Saturday night, but I think Diego Costa is terrific – a proper centre forward.
He looks like he loves to wind up opposition players, and he went too far by celebrating in Seamus’ face, but he’s not there to be liked by his rivals. There’s no good being nicey nicey.
As a centre forward you can’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers and he does that but he’s much more than a bruiser. His work-rate is impressive in both boxes and he looks like a great finisher.
I’m not a massive fan of Spanish football so I hadn’t seen much of him before, but now I know why Chelsea were willing to pay £32m.
Impressive performance from Mirallas
It wasn't all doom and gloom at Goodison at the weekend.
I thought the performance of Kevin Mirallas was a real positive.
Steven Naismith provided yet another impressive display, and yet another well-taken goal to boot. But for me Mirallas was the Blues’ star man. I think he’s come back from the World Cup with a real belief in himself and a growing sense of his importance to the Everton team.
He realises that he’s a top player and if he can play like he did against Chelsea in eight out of 10 games rather than four out of 10, then he’ll be on course for his best season yet at the club.
Who knew he was so good in the air as well? What a header!
Tough day for big Rom
It was a frustrating afternoon for Romelu Lukaku against his old club.
He hit the bar with a great header but otherwise struggled to make much of an impact and was generally well-marshalled by Gary Cahill who will have had the advantage of playing against him often in training. Cahill and John Terry are very experienced and seemed to have the measure of Rom, and they made it difficult for him to get to his best levels.
At least Samuel Eto’o got his own back with a great header, providing a lovely end-product to an unusually ordinary Baines’ free-kick.
Eto’o looked full of confidence and class, and should prove a useful addition.
I had to get Stu to zip it!
Me and Graham Stuart tried our hand at the latest craze to hit Liverpool this week – the zip wire.
I was full of confidence as usual and thoroughly enjoyed it, waving to the people below and wishing it went a bit faster.
But Diamond was the opposite. He was terrified and I had to coax him to go through with it once he’d climbed to the top. You have to step off a platform and just let yourself go, but he was having major doubts. As for me I was enjoying every minute, not least the realisation that by the time you’re reading this Yorkshire will probably have defeated Lancashire in the cricket. The Mighty Tykes will take some stopping at this rate.

Eto'o oozes class and still has that killer instinct, says Baines
Sept 2 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Left-back was impressed by club's latest signing from his first training session at Finch Farm
Leighton Baines says Samuel Eto’o oozes class and still has the killer instinct that made him one of the world’s best strikers.
The left-back was impressed by Everton FC's latest signing from his first training session at Finch Farm, and predicts that age won’t stop him being a shrewd signing for the Blues.
Baines, 29, hailed Eto’o’s first goal, a thumping header against Chelsea which provided a high point during an otherwise difficult afternoon which saw the Blues lose 6-3, and predicted it will be the first of many. He said: “From his first training session he looked sharp. I know it sounds stupid but even the way he passes the ball is done properly. He moves in the right way. It sounds like small things but he just looks a good footballer and he can’t half finish as well. “He’ll always have that goal-scoring instinct. His movement will always be good. We’ve seen bits of it so far in training and then against Chelsea that he can make an impact.” Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez insists that he will be using the international break to get Eto’o up to full match fitness. With the former Cameroon striker a free agent and training alone in Paris before his move to Merseyside last week, there had been questions raised over whether he would need time to get match-fit. Eto’o announced his retirement from international football last week, leaving him free to work on his sharpness at Finch Farm throughout the next fortnight. And the Blues boss wants his new capture back in top condition quickly, with seven games in the space of 22 days on the horizon once domestic football resumes a week on Saturday at West Bromwich Albion. “That’s a real bonus for us,” he said. “To see Samuel already in such a good moment of form and making such a good introduction into his Everton career. “He’s fitted into the dressing room really well so I am really happy to see him have that big impact and we have to work extremely hard to get him up to speed so he can play 90 minutes in every game.” Aside from his headed goal, Martinez says Evertonians saw in Eto’o’s 20-minute cameo what he will bring to the team. He added: “I thought he played with real experience, real know-how and you could see that every time he got involved in the action there was real meaning behind it.”

Gibson raring to go for Ireland
Belfast Telegraph
02 September 2014
Darron Gibson admits it is a case of "now or never" as he attempts to establish himself as a regular in the Republic of Ireland team.
The 26-year-old Everton midfielder will pull on the green shirt for Wednesday night's friendly against Oman at the Aviva Stadium 10 months after his last appearance there ended in agony as he suffered the cruciate ligament injury which has sidelined him for much of the intervening period.
Injuries and Gibson's disenchantment with former manager Giovanni Trapattoni have limited the senior international career to 21 caps, and he knows his latest opportunity under current boss Martin O'Neill is one he cannot afford to pass up. He said: "Being out for 10 months last season gave me a lot of time to think about things, and I think this is now or never, really, to be honest with you, so I am looking forward to the task ahead. "It just made me realise that I'm not getting any younger. I need to start playing games and I need to start doing well for myself. It's a big opportunity for me."
Gibson's misfortune struck in October last year when he collapsed in agony during the first half of Ireland's 3-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Kazakhstan and was carried from the field on a stretcher. Scans quickly confirmed damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, condemning him to surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation. The former Manchester United midfielder had only just returned to the Republic fold having been recalled by caretaker manager Noel King following Trapattoni's exit. Gibson travelled to the Euro 2012 finals, but did not taste a single minute of action in Poland and Ukraine, and his response was to reluctantly make himself unavailable to his country. As a result, he is eager to make up for lost time with the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign due to get under way in Georgia on Sunday. Gibson said: "It was the second game back, wasn't it? It was tough for me, I was devastated when I did it. But the staff and players at Everton helped me through it. "Being out for 10 months is tough. The hardest thing was going every week to Goodison [Park] and watching the lads knowing I should have been playing, and there was not really much I could do about it. "But the physios are good there and the staff are good, and they helped me through it. "It is very hard. You want to be playing and training every day. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of months, I got round the idea that it was a long-term injury and I just got my head down and focussed on getting through it, and thankfully I've come out the other end."

Darron Gibson to return to Ireland team after a year out
The Everton midfielder is set to start tomorrow night’s friendly against Oman
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, Irish times
Darron Gibson will return to the Irish team against Oman tomorrow evening almost a year after he tore his cruciate ligament playing against Kazakhstan, an injury that left him sidelined for the rest of last season. Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said that Gibson would be one of a number of players whose match fitness he would gauge by giving them starts in the home friendly with Kevin Doyle, Stephen Ward and James McClean amongst the others who could potentially benefit.
James McCarthy appears to be out of the game, though, with O’Neill suggesting that the Everton midfielder, who was struggling this morning with blisters on his feet, will be left to concentrate on being fit and available for Sunday’s first qualifying game against Georgia in Tbilisi.
Jon Walters also missed the bulk of the squad’s training session this morning with a strain that required a scan yesterday but the Stoke City striker is expected to be fine by the weekend and could still feature against Oman. O’Neill hinted that Shay Given and Rob Elliott will share the goalkeeping duties and the 38 year-old veteran of 125 international looking likely to start as the manager continues to weigh up the scale of his potential to contribute over the weeks and months ahead.
“We’re fine,” said O’Neill when asked how he feels the squad stands five days ahead of the start of the new campaign, “even if one or two might not have have played. Seamus Coleman has come back strong from his hamstring injury which is what you’d have wanted. “James McCarthy is a concern and Jeff Hendrick went off playing for Derby after 25 minutes which is disappointing because he had been getting stronger and more confident. But those types of set-backs.... everyone has them, they’re going to happen. This is not a defence mechanism. We’re strong, ready to go.”
Gibson described the news that he is set to start against Oman as “a big opportunity,” and said that his long spell on the sidelines recovering from last year’s knee injury had left him with a great deal of time to reflect on his relative lack of progress at this level. “It made me realise that I’m not getting any younger,” said the 26 year-old. “That it’s now or never. I need to push on and play more games.”

Belgian teenager David Henen a last-minute loan signing for Everton
• He will go into the Under-21 squad, says Martínez
• Anderlecht were going to sell player to Olympiakos
The Guardian, Tuesday 2 September 2014
Everton made a last-minute addition on transfer deadline day with the loan signing of the Belgian teenager David Henen.
The 18-year-old had been training with Everton until recently but his parent club, Anderlecht, decided to sell him to the Greek side Olympiakos on Monday. However, Everton struck a deal to bring the youth international forward back to England for a season-long loan, although the paperwork was not completed until late in the day. The club have confirmed the deal has now been ratified by the Premier League and Henen will link up with Everton’s Under-21 side after playing for Belgium Under-19s in Serbia during the international break. “As we had said previously he’s someone whose potential we recognise and at this stage he will go into the under-21 development squad,” said the manager Roberto Martínez. “We’re looking forward to working with him this season.” Martínez had also tried to bring in the Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley after it became apparent the 25-year-old, in the final 12 months of his contract at Old Trafford, was available. United had agreed a fee with Aston Villa and the player was set to undergo a medical until Martínez, who previously had Cleverley on loan for a season while at Wigan, stepped in.

Gibson recalls ‘devastation’ of cruciate injury
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 Irish Examiner
As competitive international games go, it was about as close to a meaningless friendly as you can get, but Ireland against Kazakhstan at the Aviva Stadium last October — the dead rubber game which brought a doomed World Cup qualifying campaign for both nations to a close — turned out to be a red-letter night, in the worst possible way, for Darron Gibson.
Just a little over half an hour into the game, the Everton midfielder’s knee buckled in a challenge for the ball and, in evident distress, was stretchered off in front of his watching club manager Roberto Martinez. Then came confirmation of the seriousness of the damage done — a cruciate ligament injury which would require surgery and, ultimately, sideline the player for 10 long months.
Tonight, against Oman, in the same stadium, Gibson will finally make his return to the Irish team but, though he knows exactly where on the pitch the incident happened, he won’t, as they say, be going there. “I thought about it to be honest but, no, I don’t think there is any point,” says the Derryman. “I’m past the injury and my knee feels good. I know exactly where it is but I won’t be thinking about it.” That game last October was only Gibson’s second for Ireland in what was his first comeback to international football, after his fury at not being selected for the final game of the Euro 2012 finals, prompted him to withdraw his services until a new manager had replaced Giovanni Trapattoni.
After the Italian’s departure, caretaker boss Noel King duly recalled Gibson for the final World Cup qualifying games against Germany and Kazakhstan but, following his long lay-off, it’s only now, under the new regime of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, that Gibson feels he finally has a real chance to stake a claim to a permanent place in the Irish midfield. “Obviously being out for 10 months last season gave me time to think about things,” says the 26-year-old. “I think it’s now or never, really. (The injury) made me realise I’m not getting any younger. I need to start playing games. I need to start doing well for myself. “The manager hasn’t seen me play for a while so tonight is a good opportunity. It’s a big opportunity. I’ve played in all the pre-season games and I’ve got through pre-season without anything. The knee feels good, I feel fit. I’m looking forward to it.”
Recalling that black night last October, Gibson says: “It was my second game back. It was tough for me. I was devastated when I did it. The staff and players at Everton helped me through it. It’s been tough but the physios have been unbelievable and they made it quite easy for me.
“Low moments? There’s been a few, to be honest with you. I struggled at the start mentally but I had to get used to the idea. I think the hardest thing was going every week to Goodison and watching the lads and knowing I should be playing and there wasn’t really much I could do about it.
“It is very hard, you want to be playing and training every day and it takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of months I got my head around it being a long-term injury and getting through it. Thankfully I came out the other end.”

Everton FC's Leighton Baines says Samuel Eto'o oozed class from first training session
Sept 3 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
England and Everton defender full of praise for new signing and claims he still possess a killer touch
Leighton Baines says Samuel Eto’o oozes class and still has the killer instinct that made him one of the world’s best strikers.
The left-back was impressed by the club’s latest signing from his first training session and predicts that age won’t stop him being a shrewd signing for the Blues. Baines, 29, hailed Eto’o’s first goal, a thumping header against Chelsea at the weekend. He said: “From his first training session he looked sharp. I know it sounds stupid but even the way he passes the ball is done properly. He moves in the right way. It sounds like small things but he just looks a good footballer and he can’t half finish as well. “He’ll always have that goal-scoring instinct. His movement will always be good. We’ve seen bits of it so far in training and then against Chelsea that he can make an impact.”
Meanwhile, Roberto Martinez insists that he will be using the international break to get Eto’o up to full match fitness. Ex-Cameroon star Eto’o announced his retirement from international football last week, leaving him free to work on his sharpness throughout the next fortnight.
“That’s a real bonus for us,” Martinez said. “To see Samuel already in such a good moment of form and making such a good introduction into his Everton career. “He’s fitted into the dressing room really well and we have to work extremely hard to get him up to speed.”

Everton FC's Darron Gibson says spell out injured has given him new hunger to shine
Sept 3 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Blues midfielder believes its a case of 'now or never' in a bid to lift career as he aims to put his injury nightmare behind him
Darron Gibson admits it is a case of “now or never” as he attempts to establish himself as a regular for club and country. The 26-year-old Everton midfielder will pull on the green shirt for tonight’s Republic of Ireland friendly against Oman at the Aviva Stadium 10 months after his last appearance there ended in agony as he suffered the cruciate ligament injury which has sidelined him for much of the intervening period. Injuries and Gibson’s disenchantment with former manager Giovanni Trapattoni have limited his senior international career to 21 caps, and he knows his latest opportunity under current boss Martin O’Neill is one he cannot afford to pass up. He said: “Being out for 10 months last season gave me a lot of time to think about things, and I think this is now or never, really, to be honest with you, so I am looking forward to the task ahead.
“It just made me realise that I’m not getting any younger. I need to start playing games and I need to start doing well for myself. It’s a big opportunity for me.” Gibson’s misfortune struck in October last year when he collapsed in agony during the first half of Ireland’s 3-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Kazakhstan and was carried from the field on a stretcher. Scans quickly confirmed damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, condemning him to surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation.
The former Manchester United midfielder had only just returned to the Republic fold having been recalled by caretaker manager Noel King following Trapattoni’s exit. Gibson travelled to the Euro 2012 finals, but did not taste a single minute of action in Poland and Ukraine, and his response was to reluctantly make himself unavailable to his country. As a result, he is eager to make up for lost time at Goodison and with Ireland, particularly with the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign due to get under way in Georgia on Sunday. Gibson said: “It was the second game back, wasn’t it? It was tough for me, I was devastated when I did it. But the staff and players at Everton helped me through it.
“Being out for 10 months is tough. The hardest thing was going every week to Goodison (Park) and watching the lads knowing I should have been playing, and there was not really much I could do about it. “But the physios are good there and the staff are good, and they helped me through it.
“It is very hard. You want to be playing and training every day. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of months, I got round the idea that it was a long-term injury and I just got my head down and focussed on getting through it. Thankfully I’ve come out the other end.”
O’Neill, who replaced Trapattoni in November last year, will have Gibson at his disposal for the first time this evening, and he is looking forward to having another potential key player in his squad.
The 62-year-old said: “He hasn’t played that much, but he’s a very, very talented player. He looks comfortable, he looks in really decent shape. I am actually looking forward to seeing him play.
“Ideally, he would like to break in and get into Everton’s side – I think he is pretty well close to that.”

Everton FC's Darron Gibson says spell out injured has given him new hunger to shine
Sept 3 2014Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Blues midfielder believes its a case of 'now or never' in a bid to lift career as he aims to put his injury nightmare behind him
Darron Gibson returned to action for Everton against Tranmere during pre-season.
Darron Gibson admits it is a case of “now or never” as he attempts to establish himself as a regular for club and country. The 26-year-old Everton midfielder will pull on the reen shirt for tonight’s Republic of Ireland friendly against Oman at the Aviva Stadium 10 months after his last appearance there ended in agony as he suffered the cruciate ligament injury which has sidelined him for much of the intervening period. Injuries and Gibson’s disenchantment with former manager Giovanni Trapattoni have limited his senior international career to 21 caps, and he knows his latest opportunity under current boss Martin O’Neill is one he cannot afford to pass up. He said: “Being out for 10 months last season gave me a lot of time to think about things, and I think this is now or never, really, to be honest with you, so I am looking forward to the task ahead. “It just made me realise that I’m not getting any younger. I need to start playing games and I need to start doing well for myself. It’s a big opportunity for me.” Gibson’s misfortune struck in October last year when he collapsed in agony during the first half of Ireland’s 3-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Kazakhstan and was carried from the field on a stretcher. Scans quickly confirmed damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, condemning him to surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation.
The former Manchester United midfielder had only just returned to the Republic fold having been recalled by caretaker manager Noel King following Trapattoni’s exit. Gibson travelled to the Euro 2012 finals, but did not taste a single minute of action in Poland and Ukraine, and his response was to reluctantly make himself unavailable to his country. As a result, he is eager to make up for lost time at Goodison and with Ireland, particularly with the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign due to get under way in Georgia on Sunday. Gibson said: “It was the second game back, wasn’t it? It was tough for me, I was devastated when I did it. But the staff and players at Everton helped me through it. “Being out for 10 months is tough. The hardest thing was going every week to Goodison (Park) and watching the lads knowing I should have been playing, and there was not really much I could do about it. “But the physios are good there and the staff are good, and they helped me through it. “It is very hard. You want to be playing and training every day. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of months, I got round the idea that it was a long-term injury and I just got my head down and focussed on getting through it. Thankfully I’ve come out the other end.” O’Neill, who replaced Trapattoni in November last year, will have Gibson at his disposal for the first time this evening, and he is looking forward to having another potential key player in his squad. The 62-year-old said: “He hasn’t played that much, but he’s a very, very talented player. He looks comfortable, he looks in really decent shape. I am actually looking forward to seeing him play. “Ideally, he would like to break in and get into Everton’s side – I think he is pretty well close to that.”

Darron Gibson says it is "now or never" as he recovers from injury agony
Sept 3 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Everton and Republic of Ireland midfielder: "I need to start playing games and I need to start doing well for myself"
Darron Gibson admits it is a case of “now or never” as he attempts to establish himself as a regular for club and country. The 26-year-old Everton midfielder will pull on the green shirt for tonight’s Republic of Ireland friendly against Oman at the Aviva Stadium 10 months after his last appearance there ended in agony as he suffered the cruciate ligament injury which has sidelined him for much of the intervening period. Injuries and Gibson’s disenchantment with former manager Giovanni Trapattoni have limited his senior international career to 21 caps, and he knows his latest opportunity under current boss Martin O’Neill is one he cannot afford to pass up.
He said: “Being out for 10 months last season gave me a lot of time to think about things, and I think this is now or never, really, to be honest with you, so I am looking forward to the task ahead.
“It just made me realise that I’m not getting any younger. I need to start playing games and I need to start doing well for myself. It’s a big opportunity for me.”
Gibson’s misfortune struck in October last year when he collapsed in agony during the first half of Ireland’s 3-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Kazakhstan and was carried from the field on a stretcher. Scans quickly confirmed damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, condemning him to surgery and a lengthy period of rehabilitation. The former Manchester United midfielder had only just returned to the Republic fold having been recalled by caretaker manager Noel King following Trapattoni’s exit. Gibson travelled to the Euro 2012 finals, but did not taste a single minute of action in Poland and Ukraine, and his response was to reluctantly make himself unavailable to his country.
As a result, he is eager to make up for lost time at Goodison and with Ireland, particularly with the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign due to get under way in Georgia on Sunday.
Gibson said: “It was the second game back, wasn’t it? It was tough for me, I was devastated when I did it. But the staff and players at Everton helped me through it.
“Being out for 10 months is tough. The hardest thing was going every week to Goodison (Park) and watching the lads knowing I should have been playing, and there was not really much I could do about it. “But the physios are good there and the staff are good, and they helped me through it.
“It is very hard. You want to be playing and training every day. It takes a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of months, I got round the idea that it was a long-term injury and I just got my head down and focussed on getting through it, and thankfully I’ve come out the other end.”
O’Neill, who replaced Trapattoni in November last year, will have Gibson at his disposal for the first time this evening, and he is looking forward to having another potential key player in his squad.
The 62-year-old said: “He’s obviously a very, very decent footballer. He hasn’t played that much, but he’s a very, very talented player. He looks comfortable, he looks in really decent shape. I am actually looking forward to seeing him play. “Whether he thinks half of a game or something like that is enough for him, I don’t know – most players always feel they are properly fit and fine. These are the sort of decisions that the two of us will consider, maybe not just necessarily for this game, but for the tournament ahead. “Ideally, he would like to break in and get into Everton’s side – I think he is pretty well close to that – and that would be good, that would be great. But I think it’s just a matter of taking a little bit of time.”

View from Gwladys Street: an Everton FC fan's verdict on the loss to Chelsea and the Blues' transfer window dealings
Sept 3 2014 Liverpool Echo
By David Triggs
EFC supporter Mark Ellis talks to us about where it went wrong against Jose Mourinho's men and what he makes of Roberto Martinez's summer signings
Every week, the ECHO gets the views of an Everton fan to gauge the feeling among supporters over the week that's been and the week ahead. Today we speak to Mark Ellis, a regular contributor to the website, about Saturday's heavy home loss to Chelsea, Samuel Eto'o's debut and the Blues' transfer window dealings.
Where did it all go wrong on Saturday?
Saturday was a real shock to the system. I think the late goals conceded against Arsenal and formerly Leicester knocked what confidence the defence had completely for six.
The players couldn’t get to grips with our system which, combined with the collective poor form, most notably of Jags who hasn’t been the same player since his hamstring injury last season, left us at the mercy of Mourinho’s team. The team as a whole isn’t defending well and we seem to be lacking the fitness to close opponents down as the game wears on. Given Chelsea’s quality in attack, it was a disaster waiting to happen. On balance, this is the same defence which performed so well last year so hope remains they can turn this around and, for the sake of our season, they simply have to. What did you make of Samuel Eto’o’s contribution? Can he be a star at Everton?
I thought it was wonderful to see him attacking the Gwladys Street in the famous royal blue. The reception he received was one of the most vociferous I’ve heard at Goodison. He looked a class act. His interplay was impressive and eye for a pass majestic. One ball to Lukaku, who just failed to get on the end of it, had quality stamped all over. His goal was ridiculously well taken having been on the pitch for only five minutes and I cant wait to see him feature in the next match. With the signing of Eto’o I firmly believe we have one of the bargains of the window. He is the type of signing that will improve the performances of others and I have no doubt the the likes of Mirallas, Barkley, Naismith and Lukaku will love playing alongside him. I have to admit I had reservations when he was initially linked, but I’m happy to be fickle and admit I was wrong. Great business!
Were you sorry the Blues failed in their deadline-day bid for Tom Cleverley?
Personally, no. I didn’t think he was good enough to help us push on as a club. Is he better than what we have in his position? I doubt it. I appreciate Roberto likes him and he sees things in players the rest of us don’t, but I feel we were covered in that area of the squad. With Ross Barkley coming back, hopefully sooner rather than later, I just didn’t see the point in signing Cleverley.
What do you make of the David Henen loan deal?
As crazy as our defending! I’m still trying to get my head around this one. He was training here, posing for photos with Tim Howard in the gym and appearing in the Main Stand at Goodison. Suddenly and out of nowhere, we are loaning him from Olympiakos. It does not make any sense to me. I do believe Henen will join us permanently eventually, if not were simply doing Olympiakos’ work for them and handing them a player with a year's development under his belt. Easily the most ridiculous transfer saga I have ever seen at Goodison. Is Roberto Martinez right to have faith in the defenders who are already at the club? He is in one respect, as these guys defended magnificently last season and deserve to be given a chance to continue that form this season as well as building on their collective understanding. But maybe the clean sheets accrued last season has clouded Roberto’s judgement somewhat. Aside from signing Stones it has been a few years since we have addressed the centre back slot. And as with every aspect of the Premier League, if you stand still you go backwards. It’s clear we have to get it right defensively, not just the back four but also as a team. We have to match our attacking ruthlessness with the same kind of ferocity in our defending. Starting at West Brom.
What do you make of Everton’s dealings during the transfer window as a whole?
It’s really difficult to complain too much. We attracted some great quality to Goodison and improved the squad slightly on last season but given we have Europa League football on top of everything else, I don’t think it was unreasonable to see a couple more signings arrive before the deadline.
Despite the Lukaku deal we haven’t spent as much as people think. Defensively we needed freshening up and Distin, Jags, Stones and Alcaraz would have benefited from the competition. A decent reserve goalkeeper - Robles just doesn’t inspire confidence for me - would have been ideal. Overall we did lots of great things in the transfer window but the overriding feeling is it may not be quite enough to push us on to the next level.
I hope I’m wrong.

Young Lions: Everton FC players called up early by England
Sept 3 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
A look at eight Blues players who represented England at an early age
John Stones will make his first start for England against Norway at Wembley this evening, just a few months after turning 20. It will be the classy young Everton defender's third cap in total, the other two being won when he appeared as a substitute during the Three Lions' World Cup warm-up matches against Peru and Ecuador. Stones is merely the latest in a long line of Blues players whose talent was spotted early by England, leading to call-ups before the age of 23.
Some went on to have long international careers. Others very definitely did not.
Here are eight Blues who landed early England calls.
Dixie Dean
Age on debut: 20
Caps: 16
Dean made his international debut aged 20 in 1927 - by which time he had already scored more than 60 goals in just four seasons as a professional. It took him just 10 minutes to score in a 3-3 draw with Wales at Wrexham’s Racecourse ground. He scored again just before the hour mark.
Dixie would only represent England 15 more times in his career, but his goalscoring ratio was one to be proud of. He scored 18 goals in just 16 games for his country, including hat-tricks against both Belgium and Luxembourg.
Brian Labone
Age on debut: 22
Caps: 26
Everton great Labone made 26 appearances for England over an eight-year spell after being handed his debut aged 22 in Walter Winterbottom’s side to play Northern Ireland.
England triumphed 3-1 and when Alf Ramsey took the job later that month, Labone remained a favourite in the side. The big centre half chose love over England duty in 1966, missing the World Cup because he was getting married that summer.
He went on to partner Bobby Moore at the 1970 World Cup and bowed out from international duty after England were knocked out by West Germany.
David Unsworth
Age on debut: 21
Caps: 1
Everton’s current under-21 coach made his one and only appearance for the Three Lions aged just 21 in June 1995, fresh from winning the FA Cup with the Blues.
Unsworth had already finished third with England’s under-20 side at the FIFA World Youth Championships in Sydney in 1993 before he was called up to Terry Venables’ side.
Gary Neville and Stan Collymore joined “Unsy” in pulling on the England shirt for the first time and, despite a victorious debut in a 2-1 over Japan, he never played for England again.
Michael Ball
Age on debut: 21
Caps: 1
Another in the “one-and-done” category for the Blues, Ball’s single England cap came as a substitute against Spain in February 2001.
The Crosby youngster had impressed during his four years in Everton’s first team and was one of many players experimented with during Sven-Goran Eriksson’s tenure as England boss.
England won 3-0 that night at Villa Park, with goals from Emile Heskey, Nick Barmby and Ugo Ehiogu sealing the win for the Three Lions - but it wasn’t enough to win Ball another cap as his career was ruined by injury after heading north of the border to Rangers in 2001.
Wayne Rooney
Age on debut: 17
Caps: 95
Australia’s 3-1 defeat of England in February 2003 was one of the most inauspicious results of Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England reign. The Swede changed the whole team at half-time as England suffered embarrassment against the Aussies at Upton Park.
However, there was a silver lining for the Three Lions, as 17-year-old Rooney emerged from the bench for the second half and helped set up former Blue Franny Jeffers to pull a goal back.
Jeffers never played for England again, Rooney, on the other hand, has now made 95 appearances for his national team, scoring 40 goals - and tonight he becomes the full-time England captain.
Gary Stevens
Age on debut: 22
Caps: 46
Stevens had Bobby Robson in a muddle when he made his international bow in a 2-1 defeat to Italy in 1985 - because he appeared alongside Tottenham’s Gary Stevens in the starting line-up.
Stevens (the Everton one) impressed Robson enough in those early appearances for the Three Lions to cement his place as England’s first choice right-back and played in the 1986 World Cup, reaching the quarter finals before being undone by Maradona and the “Hand of God”.
Stevens played in the 1988 European Championship and was in the squad for the 1990 World Cup.
Jack Rodwell
Age on debut: 20
Caps: 3
Rodwell caught the eye on his England debut, replacing Phil Jones in the second half of a 1-0 victory over World Champions Spain.
He’d earned the call up from Fabio Capello after two eye-catching seasons with the Blues. The Italian was so impressed he handed Rodwell a start three days later against Sweden, but the then-20-year-old missed a few decent opportunities as England crashed to a 1-0 defeat.
He earned his third and, to date, last England cap in a 2-2 draw with Brazil later that year - and will be hoping a career resurgence with Sunderland can catapult him back into contention.
Ross Barkley
Age on debut: 19
Caps: 9
The latest youngster to come off Everton’s conveyor belt of talent, Barkley’s excellent form at the start of Roberto Martinez’s first season saw him called up to Roy Hodgson’s England squad in August 2013.
The following month Barkley made his full debut against Moldova in a 4-0 win, before heading to the World Cup in the summer. The subsequent retirement of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard from international duty has left England's midfield in need of a new creative force - and Barkley will be one of the players expected to provide it, though he is currently injured.

Everton FC legend Graeme Sharp hails compatriot Steven Naismith
Sept 3 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Blues legend impressed by striker's aerial ability
Andrew Teebay
Graeme Sharp is delighted to see compatriot Steven Naismith riding high in the Premier League scoring charts this season. But while Naismith has won over Everton FC fans after a difficult start to his Goodison career, Sharp believes there is one aspect of his game which is still overlooked.
“People forget about his aerial abilities but being a centre-forward myself it’s something I’ve always recognised,” said the Goodison legend. “If I was playing alongside Steven Naismith I would know for a fact he is going to win his flick ons nine times out of 10 because his aerial ability is fantastic.
“Sometimes it infuriates me when I see him going for headers and I know he’s going to win it and nobody reacts to it. He’s been excellent and he thoroughly deserves the credit he’s getting at this moment in time. “The other day when the fans sang his name will have done him loads of good as well. “I’ve never had any doubts he was a decent quality player and I’m pleased to see him doing well.” Naismith has scored in each of the Blues opening three games this season.
Only Chelsea’s £32m hit man Diego Costa has scored more – and Sharp added: “I think he’s been fabulous from day one. “He wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea when he arrived and supporters didn’t really take to him but I’ve said time and time again his workrate and his commitment was exceptional. “He’s probably a player’s player and some supporters didn’t recognise what he did. But I’m delighted for him now. He’s playing really really well and he’s on fire in front of goal. His finishing is excellent. “He is a real threat.”

England 1 Norway 0: Matchwinner Wayne Rooney is far from satisfied
Wednesday 3 September 2014
Captain and goalscorer Wayne Rooney admitted that England "could have done better" after they narrowly edged out Norway at Wembley.
The 28-year-old scored the only goal in the uninspiring win when he struck from the penalty spot in the 69th minute. Just 40,181 turned up to watch Roy Hodgson's side in the friendly match - the lowest England crowd at the new Wembley by more than eight thousand.
Following their disappointing World Cup campaign where they exited at the group stage, Rooney admitted his performance had been lacklustre. "I thought I could have done better. We all could have done better," Rooney said. "It's a night, first game after the World Cup and it was important that we got the win tonight, especially going into the game on Monday.
"In the first half we moved quite well but they made it difficult for us and sat back and created a few opprtunities in the first half. "In the second half we started really sloppy and that was disappointing as we wanted to go out and really take the game to them. "We got the win in the end and there are a lot of young players in this team and we will learn. They are still learning." England face Switzerland in a Euro 2016 qualification match on Monday and Hodgson may have to shuffle his pack as Gary Cahill came off late on with an ankle problem. The brass band behind the away goal and the man on the public address system raised spirits before Rooney led the team out for the first time as full-time skipper, but it did not take long for any enthusiasm to drain from the home supporters.
Per Ciljan Skjelbred brought Jack Wilshere down after he played a clever one-two with Jordan Henderson in the fourth minute. The supporters were hush with anticipation as Leighton Baines stepped up to strike the ball, but curling effort flew five yards over. The disappointing effort set the tone for what ended up being a dour first half. Norway broke up England's tentative attacks by any means. Skjelbred knocked Wilshere off the ball as he approached the box and the Norway captain stopped Leighton Baines in his tracks with a flying elbow.
Sturridge and Sterling were the only lights to brighten up the first period.
Sterling backheeled the ball into Sturridge's path, but the striker's shot was blocked inside the box.
Sturridge then cushioned a 40-yard diagonal pass from Sterling, but Orjan Haskjold Nyland pressured the striker into lobbing over the bar. Unlike England, Norway managed to register a shot on target, although it was a tame one from Tarik Elyounoussi, who volleyed straight at Joe Hart
England thought they should have had a penalty towards the end of the first half when Havard Nordtveit put in a late tackle on Wilshere, but the referee waved play on.
Then, in the final minute of the half, Hart, carelessly spilled Skjelbred's cross, almost dropping the ball into his own net. A few dissenting voices were heard at the half-time whistle. If the fans inside the stadium were hoping for an instant improvement after the restart then they were to be disappointed. The Three Lions were just as slow in their build-up play and they were very flat at the back. Hart saved a low drive from Mats Daehli and the England goalkeeper managed to deny Joshua King with an acrobatic dive. Some sloppy defending from Cahill allowed King to race into the box, but he could not convert. England were thrown a lifeline in the 67th minute when Omar Elabdellaoui slid in late on Sterling and the referee pointed to the spot.
Rooney stepped up and launched the ball past Nyland with his right foot.
The goal released the pressure and England finally started to play with attacking intent.
Welbeck, who came on for Rooney, drew a good save from Norway's goalkeeper.
Fabian Delph and Calum Chambers came on for their debuts and Cahill went off to receive ice to his foot. The game petered out and those that had remained in the stadium for the final whistle greeted the end with barely audible cheers.

England uninspiring as they defeat Norway 1-0 at Wembley
September 3 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Wayne Rooney penalty enough to give hosts victory
Wayne Rooney called it a new chapter. But this was very much the same old story for Roy Hodgson's England. What had been heralded as a fresh beginning after the embarrassment in Brazil served only to highlight the issues that continue to blight the national side.
At least Rooney could celebrate his first match as England's new captain with a 41 goal for the country as his penalty earned scarcely-deserved friendly victory over Norway.
But, save the impressive Raheem Sterling, there was little else to convince those who stayed away hadn't made the correct decision. The brass band entertaining arriving supporters underneath Wembley Way were always a touch optimistic with their rendition of 'Thriller'.
This was anything but, in front of a crowd of 40,181 – England's lowest since returning to the new Wembley in 2007. Such has been the reaction to the dismal showing from Hodgson's side during their brief World Cup campaign in Brazil during the summer. It will take time and positive results to regain the faith of the paying public. Good news, then, that the expansion of the European Championship finals to a bloated 24 teams and a qualifying group containing Switzerland, San Marino, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia mean it would take a series of catastrophic failures for England to miss out in 2016. However, such unattractive opposition makes for poor box office.
The job of filling Wembley will depend not so much on Hodgson's side negotiating their way to the finals but more the manner in which such progress is achieved. This, then, wasn't a great start for the supposed next generation given the recent international retirements of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. Much hope has been placed on the shoulders of Arsenal's injury-prone Jack Wilshere, paired here with Jordan Henderson in a new-look central midfield. But Wilshere, while undoubtedly talented, remains an enigma, and once again flattered to deceive.
Raheem Sterling, though, appears more the real deal for both club and country with every passing week. The Liverpool man was one of few England players to emerge from the World Cup with his reputation enhanced. And it was Sterling who marked a stellar performance by earning the decisive penalty midway through the second half. One aspect of Hodgson's squad that hasn't changed is his reliance on Merseyside's two Premier League clubs. Curious, then, the manager's ongoing inability to harness the essence of two of the top-flight's most entertaining teams to watch.
England's starting line-up contained three Liverpool players with Sterling joined by Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge, while Everton contributed Leighton Baines and John Stones, the latter given a full debut at right-back in what could be considered a pointer for Monday's opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland. Stones did little wrong, but in truth was rarely tested. With Norway rarely venturing out of their own half, England dominated first-half possession but had little to show for their efforts save the spark of Liverpool duo Sturridge and Sterling.
Having had one shot charged down after a forceful run, Sturridge fed Rooney inside the area only for the Manchester United man to miscontrol and then frustratingly undercooked a pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain after once again spooking the Norwegian back line. The understanding between Sturridge and Sterling has become a feature for Liverpool in recent times.
And it was evident in the 15 minute when Sturridge, cutting in off the right flank, found Sterling inside the area and raced on to the winger's return backheel but saw his shot blocked.
Sterling was again the creator 10 minutes later, his searching diagonal pass finding Sturridge behind the Norway defence but the striker's lob over goalkeeper Orjan Haskjold Nyland dropped on to the roof of the net. Moments later, Baines – who had twice been clobbered by the otherwise tame Norwegians – was the beneficiary of a Sterling assist but his angled drive was blocked by defender Havard Nordtveit. Norway's sole shot on target during the first half was an effort from range by Tarik Elyounoussi easily fielded by the otherwise bored Joe Hart. So it was some surprise when the visitors burst out of the blocks after the interval, Hart saving superbly to paw away Joshua King's header from a corner. Hart smothered another King effort after the Norway and Blackburn striker had embarrassed Gary Cahill, before out of nothing England were ahead on 68 minutes.
Henderson fed Sterling inside the area, and the winger drew a rash challenge from Omar Elabdellaoui. Rooney, also England's new penalty taker, stepped up to despatch confidently into the top corner. That was Rooney's last contribution, with replacement Danny Welbeck drawing a decent save from Nyland soon after his introduction.
Another substitute, James Milner, should have done better later on when fed by the effervescent Sterling, but that would have given the scoreline an unrealistic sheen.
As tales go, this was pretty much as expected.
ENGLAND (4-4-2): Hart; Stones (Chambers 81), Jones, Cahill (Jagielka 84), Baines; Sterling, Wilshere (Delph 69), Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Milner 69); Rooney (Welbeck 70), Sturridge (Lambert 89). Subs: Forster, Rose, Townsend.
NORWAY (4-1-4-1): Nyland; Elbadellaoui, Nordtveit, Forren, Linnes (Flo 36); Johansen; Daehli (Konradsen 57), Skjelbred (M Elyouhoussi 69), Jenssen (Pedersen 87), T Elyounoussi (Kamara 76); King (Nielsen 76). Subs: Jarstein, Hansen, Berge, Hagen, Samuelsen, Tettey.
REFEREE: Jorge Sousa (Portugal).

Steven Naismith is Scotland’s top man - McInally
Sept 3 2014 Scotsman
FORMER Scotland striker Alan McInally believes that Steven Naismith has earned the right to be regarded as the national team’s first-choice striker – ahead of £12 million man Steven Fletcher – for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign which kicks off this weekend.
Gordon Strachan named just three strikers in his squad for the Group D opener against Germany in Dortmund on Sunday night, with Naismith and Fletcher joined by Derby County’s Chris Martin. If the Scotland manager sticks with the 4-2-3-1 formation which has become his favoured strategy during his encouraging tenure so far, it leaves that trio battling for the lone front man role against the world champions. Fletcher had been regarded by many as a panacea for Scotland’s troubles when he was absent from the international scene for 18 months as a consequence of a fall-out with Strachan’s predecessor Craig Levein. But, since his return to the squad, the Sunderland player has failed to add to his solitary goal in 14 Scotland appearances so far. Fletcher has also struggled for form at club level and has not scored a senior goal since December last year. In contrast, Everton striker Naismith, pictured, has delivered a series of eye-catching displays for both club and country over the past 12 months. He has enjoyed an exceptional start to this season for the Goodison Park club, scoring three times in as many appearances, and McInally feels that he is now Scotland’s leading front man. “I think Naismith is now ahead of Fletcher in the pecking order,” said McInally. “If you had asked me that six months ago, I wouldn’t have said it. But Fletcher has had a few injuries and struggled a bit at Sunderland, while Naismith has been playing really well for Everton.
“He has started this season in great form, scoring goals. It depends on how Gordon decides to play against Germany. I think he’s said he won’t tinker too much with his formation. But against Nigeria in the last game in May, it was closer to a 4-4-2. But I think he might go with Naismith on his own up front, with someone else just off him.” Sky Sports pundit McInally, who represented Scotland at the 1990 World Cup finals while a Bayern Munich player, believes Strachan’s re-energised squad are facing Germany at the optimum time of the campaign. Joachim Löw, the Germany coach, has already expressed concern about what will be his team’s first competitive match since they lifted the World Cup in Brazil two months ago, claiming they have gone from “hunter to potential prey” against the Scots. “I think Löw is aware of the job Gordon has done with Scotland,” added McInally.
“Three years ago, I don’t think anyone would have given us a hope in hell to win a corner in the match, never mind anything else.
“What Gordon and Mark McGhee have done is make Scotland more like what we expect of them – better organisation and better confidence within the squad. I think Joachim Löw is aware of that.
“He will also be aware that we went to France and beat them 1-0 not so long ago. I also think he is trying to ensure his team are not complacent after winning the World Cup.
“I do believe it is the best time for Scotland to play this fixture. A few of the German players have retired from international football after the World Cup, including Miroslav Klose, which is a bonus.
“They also have a few injury problems, although obviously they will still put out a really strong team.
“They’ve got Marco Reus back, who is a magician, and with guys like Toni Kroos and Andrea Schurrle, they have always got a midfield which can really hurt you. “But there will probably be a bit of back-slapping and high-fiving going on among them this week in their first get-together since Brazil.
“That carries its own pressure for them and I’m quite happy that Scotland are getting them first in this group. “You don’t want to be going there near the end of the campaign, needing a result. Germany don’t really have any weaknesses. They are incredibly talented in every department.
“We can only hope that, as world champions, they go into it thinking they only need to give 75 per cent against Scotland. “If we can get something there on Sunday, it will put down a marker in the group and put a wee bit of extra pressure on Poland, Ireland and the other teams Scotland will be battling with for qualification. “There is a lot of optimism around the team at the moment and I don’t think it is misplaced. “We’ve got a decent squad, especially in the midfield area. Darren Fletcher is back playing for Manchester United, Graham Dorrans has started well at West Brom and Shaun Maloney always has a trick in him. “The middle of the park in international matches is really important, especially if you don’t have a truly world class striker who can win games on his own.
“The one disappointment for me is that Robert Snodgrass is out injured,” added McInally. “He is a big, big miss for Scotland and I’d be far more confident if he was available.
“It can be an intimidating stadium in Dortmund but I don’t think it will worry our players.
“If we go there and get our bottoms spanked, then it will bring us back down to earth. But I genuinely don’t see that happening. I think a draw is absolutely possible. But don’t get too disappointed if we lose, because it’s only the first game and no-one really expects us to get anything away to the world champions.” l Sky Sports is showing Uefa Euro 2016 qualifiers, Champions League, La Liga and Eredevisie on Sky Sports 5, its new home of European football.

Respect given at last to Everton great Sandy Young
Scotsman 04 September
NO-ONE was pretending he had lived an unblemished life. But, when you are the person whose goal helped Everton lift the FA Cup for the first time, who scored the first hat-trick in a Merseyside derby and who represented Scotland on two occasions, you should not be buried in an unmarked grave.
This, though, was the fate of Alexander Simpson “Sandy” Young. Until yesterday, that is. For 55 years, since his death in 1959, Young had lain anonymously in the ground near the Edinburgh seafront at Seafield cemetery, known – if he was known at all – for his deeds at the start of the last century that were recorded in fraying newspapers. These achievements included striking the aforementioned FA Cup winning goal for Everton over Newcastle in 1906 which brought the trophy to the city of Liverpool for the first time ever. Indeed, Everton defeated Liverpool in the semi-final on the way to the Crystal Palace stadium, where finals were then held. Thirty minutes into the second-half of the final, and having already seen an effort ruled out for offside, Young struck the only goal of the game. “As sweet as toffee to the tongue/Was that one splendid goal by Young”, to quote a line from the back of the order of service sheet. These were handed out to a crowd of around 100 who gathered at Seafield cemetery yesterday, after the erection of a long-overdue headstone funded by the excellent Everton Heritage Society. Included in the assembled group were members of Sandy’s extended family, with one having travelled from Australia to be present.
Catherine Yarham arrived in Scotland on the eve of yesterday’s service and admitted she was suffering from “mixed emotions”. What injects Sandy’s life with the notoriety that perhaps accounts for the absence of fuss when he passed away is a dreadful episode in which he killed his brother John – Catherine’s great grandfather – in Australia, just ten years after making history for Everton.
“We went to the records office in Victoria and found the prison records,” Catherine recalled. “If you read the court inquest the two brothers sound like the town drunks, but the newspaper articles make it sound like they were more respected members of the community,” she added. “It sounds like Sandy was running football clinics in Victoria.”
The brothers quarrelled over money. Sandy, it has now been established, shot John, who was a dairy farmer, dead, before turning the gun on himself. He survived and was set to be tried for murder. However, he was saved from the death penalty because of the intervention of Everton officials. On the prompting of two of Sandy’s sisters, who travelled from Edinburgh to Liverpool to let the club know of his plight, Everton wrote to explain that he had been receiving treatment for mental health issues during his time at Goodison Park. Rather than murder, he was charged instead with manslaughter and given a three-year sentence, returning to Scotland in 1920.
These details were all recently discovered when Lorna Conaghan, a great great niece from Ayrshire, set the ball rolling after being inspired by the growing interest in genealogy. Previously, it had been thought that Sandy was hanged in Australia for sheep rustling. The breakthrough arrived when Lorna found a record of his death in Edinburgh. After so much misinformation, she not only now had a plot number in Seafield cemetery, but also that he had been buried “five feet deep”.
It was there that yesterday’s gathering took place. It was there that some family members met for the first time. And it was there where, following a burst of Flower of Scotland from piper Dan McIntosh, Everton Heritage Society chairman Paul Wharton spoke of the long connection that exists between the Goodison Park club and Scotland.
In total 173 Scots have played for the club, including the latest, the in-form Steven Naismith.
With 127 goals, including 12 versus Liverpool, in 314 games, Sandy Young joins the legendary Dixie Dean and Graeme Sharp, who was present yesterday, atop the club’s scoring charts. He deserves to be remembered as fondly as Goodison legend and namesake Alex “The Golden Vision” Young, who was also at Seafield to pay his respects.
Perhaps the most poignant presence, though, was 87-year-old Cyril Cleeton, Sandy’s nephew from Musselburgh. He remembers shaving his uncle with a single-edged razor in the little cottage in Westfield in West Lothian, where Sandy lived as a near recluse after returning from Australia. He had been brought low by guilt about his brother’s death and lack of funds – twice he was forced to write to Everton seeking financial assistance – as well as mental ill-health.
“I had no idea he was such a good footballer,” said Cyril. “I knew he had once played for Falkirk and Everton, but Everton played in a different country – we had no idea he was held in such great esteem. He didn’t talk about it.” There was something else he didn’t want to talk about. “While I was shaving him I noticed a gouge on his right cheek. ‘What happened there?’ He just said: ‘We don’t mention that’. Of course, it was the mark left when he tried to shoot himself after he had killed his brother.”

Everton FC's cut-price purchase of Seamus Coleman one of the best deals Blues ever done
Sept 4 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Irishman's first 100 Premier League starts have cost the Blues £600 each as the full-back has become crucial to Everton's ambitions
It stands as the best £60,000 Everton ever spent.
For half the weekly wage paid to, say, an Andy Carroll, the Blues picked up a timid Irishman whom now, five years on, is set to confirm his place as one of the finest full-backs in the Premier League.
Seamus Coleman’s rise to prominence is one of the few reminders that, even in the modern game, money does not hold the key to everything; that there is still room for hard work, a strong, positive attitude and a spot of man-management too. Everton pipped Ipswich Town and Birmingham City, among others, to sign the then 20-year-old from Sligo Rovers in January 2009.
If David Moyes’ legacy at Goodison has been the subject of some hasty revision over the past 12 months or so, this is one decision for which the Scotsman will never be faulted.
The man from Killybegs celebrated his 100th Premier League start for the club by netting in the 2-2 home draw with Arsenal a fortnight ago. Having started the opening game of the season on the bench due to a hamstring injury, his performance was typically energetic, the type to which Goodison has become accustomed. Against Chelsea last weekend, the Irishman provided another assist, for Kevin Mirallas, on a day when Roberto Martinez’s defence failed. Suddenly, Coleman is arguably Everton’s most important player. His effervescence, strength and delivery from the right is key to how Martinez’s side sets up. A former Gaelic footballer, he provides width, drive and industry in equal measure, and he is only likely to improve further in the future. The statistics, naturally, back this up. Last season, the 25-year-old provided six Premier League goals and two assists. That contribution significantly outweighs those made by Pablo Zabaleta (one goal, six assists), Branislav Ivanovic (three goals, one assist), Bacary Sagna (one goal, three assists), Rafael (no goals, one assist) and Glen Johnson (no goals, three assists). Indeed, only team-mate Leighton Baines, with five goals and five assists, provided a more potent attacking threat from full-back. And Baines takes the bulk of Everton’s corners, penalties and free-kicks. Coleman’s pass completion rate of 88.5%, meanwhile, made him the most reliable full-back in the league in terms of possession – a key requirement in a system such as the one Martinez insists upon at Everton. His cross completion rate, 30.7%, was the best of any player in the division. Baines, by comparison, had a completion rate of 17.7%.
The pair are already at it this season, executing pinpoint deliveries for Kevin Mirallas and Samuel Eto’o to score against Chelsea last weekend. In those two, Everton have as potent a full-back pairing as there is in Europe. They created an incredible 94 chances between them last season – Baines 49, Coleman 45. It is a number which dwarfs those of their contemporaries.
Not that it is all about attacking, mind.
Defensively, Coleman’s numbers are equally impressive; last season, he won 57% of his ground duels, 55% of his aerial duels, and 81% of his tackles. Strong, quick, technically accomplished and increasingly disciplined, he is the epitome of the modern full-back. Easy to forget that his initial emergence in the Premier League was as a raw right-sided midfield player. His presence for Everton this season will be key if Martinez’s side are to build upon the impressive progress made last term. With Romelu Lukaku signed on permanently, getting quality service into the Belgian will be a priority, and Coleman and Baines, with their purposeful runs and accurate delivery, are likely to provide the main supply line. “Seamus just grows month by month,” says Martinez. “He’s one of the best full-backs in world football. He is a good example of a footballer with an incredible attitude and appetite for the game. “I haven’t done anything to coax that out of him, per se. He knows his potential. He plays in a demanding position which needs you to be so good in many areas.”
Martinez adds: “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t get double figures in terms of goals.
“Obviously that’s not a target – a full-back never gets on the pitch to score a goal, but what’s true is he gets in such great positions. “I admire the way he experiments with his role and also looks for assists as well. He’s not a selfish player at all. “He’s scored six but he’s helped create a good number too. The most impressive aspect of all has been his decision-making.”
That opinion is shared by Roy Keane, assistant manager of the Republic of Ireland national team.
“Coleman and Baines are the best two full-backs in the Premier League,” says Keane.
“They get forward superbly and make huge influences on the game.”

Everton FC legend Peter Reid appointed manager of Indian Super League outfit Mumbai City FC
Sept 4 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
Reid takes over the Indian Super League outfit after working overseas with Thailand
Everton FC legend Peter Reid has been appointed manager of Indian Super League outfit Mumbai City FC. The former Blues midfielder managed Leeds United, Sunderland and England under-21s and was recently in charge of Thailand’s national team. The Indian Super League is a 10-week tournament aimed at boosting the profile of football in India.
Reid said: ”It’s a great opportunity to coach in the Indian Super League.
“I enjoyed working overseas with Thailand and am very much looking forward to this new challenge.” Other high-profile figures Zico, Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezuguet, David James and Luis Garcia are all set to be involved in the league.

Is Samuel Eto'o the biggest signing in Everton FC's history?
Sept 4 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
After the Blues brought in the three-time Champions League winner, the ECHO asks whether he is the biggest purchase ever at Goodison Park
Goodison Park was rocking under their famous floodlights after Steven Naismith put Everton FC within touching distance of Chelsea once more. So much so, the arrival of Samuel Eto'o was simply greeted with an extension of the roar which greeted Naismith's goal; the icing on top of the cake.
It wasn't quite bundling him through the back door of the Gwladys Street, but this was not the pomp and ceremony associated with a signing of such stature. No drum roll, no big announcement, no parade on the pitch at half time with scarf held aloft. Just a new signing coming on to help his side in their pursuit of an equaliser. Perhaps that was intentional from Roberto Martinez. Perhaps, despite everything Eto'o has won as a player – emphasis very much on the word everything – Martinez wanted to show how he was simply part of the team with no special treatment.
Or perhaps the Spaniard simply wanted a goal – something the striker delivered within six minutes of his arrival. Regardless, Eto'o is a player who commands respect. And while he didn't enter Goodison being carried in a sedan chair, his list of career achievements, as long as County Road, deserve respect. Three La Liga titles, one Serie A title, three Champions League trophies, two African Cup of Nations wins, four-time African Player of the Year and even an Olympic gold medallist.
And that's simply what sits in his top drawer. There's also the goals, the international caps and other personal accolades. Though it is something the Blues would be keen to play down, the inevitable question must be asked: is this the biggest signing Everton have ever made?
Some will point to the Cameroonian's age – 33 – as a reason against that. Some will argue how, no matter how bright his star was, his reputation has now dimmed. Others will reference how he has spent the past three years of his career - firstly as an expensive trinket for Dagestan billionaire Suleyman Kerimov at Anzhi, before becoming a verbal punchbag for Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.
There is no real formula to determining who Everton's biggest ever signing is; it is a subjective topic, one which would elicit 10 different answers from 10 different people.
But it is worth consideration.
If cost is important, then Tony Kay must be reckoned with. After nearly 200 games at Sheffield Wednesday and a huge reputation at left half, Kay became Britain's most expensive footballer when the Blues paid £60,000 in December 1962, one of the first of Sir John Moores' Mersey Millionaires.
Over a decade later, the Blues broke the British transfer record for Birmingham City striker Bob Latchford, paying a fee of £350,000. However, with the Blues finishing seventh in 1973/74 and Birmingham just staving off relegation, it was less of a coup and more an inevitability.
There was also Tony Cottee, who became the most expensive player signed by a British club in August 1988 following his £2.2m deal from West Ham – but again, the Hammers were in the lower regions of the top flight, and his record of 93 goals in 212 games would suggest he was always going to move to a bigger club. Eto'o was a free transfer, but he came from a side who finished third in the Premier League and were beaten semi-finalists in the Champions League – a much higher calibre of club than the aforementioned trio, with respect to David Blunkett, Jasper Carrott, Trevor Brooking et al. If it's calibre of club that counts, then Andrei Kanchelskis' move from Manchester United ranks highly. Having played for Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk, the Soviet winger moved to Manchester and was part of the side who began to dominate English football.
The fee of £5m was also the Blues' highest at the time; likewise, his style of play as a marauding, exciting, exotic winger, added to his allure.
Eto'o is no longer exotic after being beamed into millions of homes following increased coverage of European football. His move to Chelsea was his first in English football, but it didn't feel like it with his time at Barcelona and Inter Milan well-documented.
Of course, in terms of highest-profile, Eto'o is in the top echelon, jostling with Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola for that particular accolade.
Gascoigne was an icon and even though his hair had become an alarming tinge of white and he could no longer shimmy with ease, this was still Paul Gascoigne – 57 caps, 10 goals and countless memories - at Everton. Likewise, David Ginola was one of the decade's most recognisable players – even if that decade was the 1990s and he was signed in 2002. He didn't have as many international caps as Gascoigne, mainly because of personal disputes, and he didn't play at the World Cup.
But despite his thinning and greying hair and his tummy had become more portly, this was still David Ginola at Goodison Park. The signing of Daniel Amokachi is also one of the Blues' biggest. Not only was he a star at World Cup 1994 with Nigeria and had played Champions League football with Club Brugge (he was actually the first player to score in the revamped competition), but he was a black, African striker coming to a club who had been unfairly accused in some quarters of having a minority of racist fans. Amokachi became just the second black player after Cliff Marshall to play for the club. While race should never be considered as a determining factor, 1994 was a different time and it was a big moment for one of England's biggest clubs.
Where Eto'o stands amongst all these players is for debate.
He has the trophies, both as an individual and as part of a team; he has played for Barcelona and Inter Milan, winning the Champions League with both, as well as Chelsea.
He also comes not as a symbol of how the club is on the decline – Gascoigne and Ginola went hand-in-hand with that - but instead of how they are in the ascendancy and can attract a player of such quality. And although there is no deeper meaning to his signing as there was with Amokachi, it does – much like Romelu Lukaku – point to the rise of Everton under Martinez and the reputation the 'School of Science' now has once more.
Indeed, at £28m and with experience in the Champions League and World Cup, Lukaku himself could be considered alongside Eto'o, especially in terms of making statements.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest Eto'o is one the biggest signings in Everton's history, if not the biggest. Yet there is even more to say it won't be long until he's usurped, either.

The Evening Read: A century on, Sandy Young promise is honoured by Everton FC
Sept 4 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Poignant Everton grave rededication ceremony remembers 'greatest forward that has ever played under Everton's colours'
In the autumn of 1911 Everton FC Chairman James Baxter got to his feet at a club AGM and declared: “Everton have never treated their players like oranges. At the proper time, his service will not be forgotten.” Today, in a private cemetery in Edinburgh, The Toffees delivered on that promise. Alex ‘Sandy’ Young’ was the ‘his’ whose service Everton vowed to remember. And they did so at Seafield Cemetery in Edinburgh, in the presence of Young’s family, the Everton Heritage Society who rediscovered their former player’s pauper’s grave and a sizeable media presence.

More than a century after he last kicked a ball, and half-a-century after he died as a poverty-stricken recluse, Alex Young drew a crowd again – just as he had in the pre First World War era as one of the most celebrated centre-forwards of his day. At that 1911 AGM Evertonians were angry at Young’s sale to Tottenham. At the time he was the club’s all-time top scorer – by some distance – and at yesterday’s service renowned local historian Peter Lupson read out letters published in the Liverpool Echo at the time from angry fans. “A vast number of supporters will refrain from visiting Goodison Park next season if their favourite is missing from the home ranks,” read one.
“I myself (22 years a supporter) and many friends, Everton followers, have expressed the determination to withdraw our support if Sandy is not re-signed.” Another wrote: “I have been a regular attender at the Everton matches since the days of (Alec) Dick and (George) Dobson in the 1880s and I unhesitatingly affirm that Sandy Young is the greatest forward that has ever played under the club’s colours. Young has been and still is the club’s greatest asset.” Supporters made the journey to Seafield Cemetery yesterday to show that, even more than a century on, he was still regarded as a significant asset to the club’s cherished history. A lone piper played a poignant rendition of “Grand Old Team”, former Everton heroes Graeme Sharp, Graham Stuart and Sandy’s namesake, Alex ‘The Golden Vision’ Young stood graveside – and scores of members of Young’s surviving family – including Sandy’s 87-year-old nephew, Cyril Cleeton – stood graveside.
Cyril’s memories of his uncle were vivid – and poignant. “I’m delighted with the ceremony and the amount of people here,” he said. “He was a recluse, he was living in abject poverty and he was in need of care. But he shunned care. He didn’t want care. “He used to come across from his cottage where he lived and you wouldn’t imagine the conditions in which he lived.
“But back in those days we didn’t talk about that.” There was one particular aspect of Sandy Young’s life which was not talked about for years. And it meant that yesterday’s service was a difficult one.
Sandy served a prison sentence in Australia after shooting dead his brother when his playing days had ended, then later spent time in an asylum in Scotland. Blues club chaplain Henry Corbett handled the issue sensitively. “We know that after his football career had ended he went to Australia where as many of you know a tragedy occurred for the Young family where brother John died at Alex’s hand,” he said. “Alex served a prison sentence for manslaughter, later returned to Scotland and for a number of years suffered from mental illness. “It’s a very tough story and it’s very moving to have so many members of his family here today. “The Christian scriptures speak honestly about tough times. Moses, David and Paul were caught up in tragic deaths and Joseph and the apostles Peter and Paul all served prison sentences. “The christian faith says that forgiveness is possible and that we believe in a God who understands and in a God who offers hope.
“Alex Sandy Young’s family and friends and the football family of Everton Football Club rededicate his grave.” One hundred and three years after Everton vowed to acknowledge Alex Young’s service to the club, the promise was kept in dignified and sombre fashion.

Everton jury: Blues fans on lessons to be learned from the Chelsea game
Sept 4 2014 L:iverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
"We must dust ourselves down and sharpen up when the international break finishes"
Sam Carroll, Walton
I THINK we would all be forgiven for believing we had fallen down a rabbit hole this summer into an inverted world where Everton had spent some genuine money to accumulate a squad that looks satisfyingly strong, but also a world in which we ship a disturbing amount of goals.
Against Leicester and Arsenal it was troubling that our standards of fitness were poor, but against Chelsea it was more a case of pondering whether our defenders had any concept of what the term ‘defending’ meant and instead thought their job was to haplessly slip over every few minutes and look dumbfounded every time the ball hit the back of the net. At the other end of the pitch we looked quick and clinical for most of the game. Jagielka, Distin and co. are experienced defenders who will recover from this, and if we stop conceding goals we will win games and this awkward start to the season will feel like one strange dream.
David Taylor, St Helens
I CAN’T decide if the international break has come at the perfect or worst possible time after what was, rightly, labelled an embarrass-ing defensive display against Chelsea.
As Leighton Baines pointed out the blame cannot be placed solely on the defensive five who have served us so well over the last few years but there will be genuine concerns at Finch Farm over the confidence levels and recent displays of one or two individuals – it wouldn’t be a surprise if Stones was asked to step up more permanently a little earlier than Martinez may have liked.
To add to the challenges we have a tasty looking Europa League group to tackle. Recent European campaigns have helped build rather than impede momentum and if a choice has to be made I am expecting the club to focus on the Europa over the FA and League Cups.
Matt Jones, Prenton
Evertonians gripped to their televisions on Monday will have been disappointed to see the club remain inactive within the ferocious hyperbole of “Deadline Day”, but all in all, it’s been a decent window for the Toffees.
The signing of Romelu Lukaku in particular was a boisterous show of intent, while boxing off new deals for Roberto Martinez, John Stones, Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley affords the club exciting, youthful and solid foundations in the long-term. But three games into this season, the team’s short-term, on-field foundations look a little more elastic.
Everton caved in against Chelsea, surrendering the initiative time and time again to one of the most clinical outfits on the continent. The display at the back was distinctly deplorable, and changes should be afoot.
Terry McAllister, Walton
After conspiring to turn two wins into draws and a defeat to Chelsea that would take a two-page spread to analyse, Everton’s season once again starts in September.
The two games a week schedule starts in a fortnight and Roberto Martinez’s team will have to be back to their proper levels by then, especially in defence.
European football is something that Everton haven’t had enough of in our history and this season is a chance to really announce ourselves again after a long absence. Our Europa League group is ideal in that each match will test our squad in different ways but is entirely winnable.
The summer transfer window can seen as a success with several new players secured as well as the futures of the top young talent.

Duncan Ferguson has galvanised Everton, says Blues assistant manager
Sept 4 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Graeme Jones has hailed impact of big Dunc who was promoted to Roberto Martinez’s back-room team in February
Everton FC assistant manager Graeme Jones has hailed how the Ferguson Factor has galvanised the Blues’ training ground. Goodison striking hero Duncan was promoted to Roberto Martinez’s back-room team in February, after impressing with the impact he had on the club’s youth players
Ferguson, who had previously been Kevin Sheedy’s assistant for the Under-18s, joined a coaching set-up that had worked together for a number of years; Martinez, Jones, Dennis Lawrence and Inaki Bergara were a close-kit team at Swansea City and Wigan Athletic before all moving to Merseyside last summer. But Jones insists the former number nine fitted straight in and has welcomed the way Ferguson has delivered his own ideas to the players on the training pitches at Finch Farm.
He said: “I’ve not been surprised because I didn’t know Duncan before [joining Everton] but he is a really humble guy who is down to earth. “He lets everybody know how important Everton Football Club is to him – he is a true Evertonian. Having that attitude within the Club has to be there and it has to remain. “Duncan has obviously got an attacking outlook on the game. Duncan has got a passion for technical players and is a creative coach. He puts on some great finishing and passing drills. “He has assisted the coaching team and definitely played his part in terms of getting the best out of the players. “He’s been a really good addition and has slotted in without any effort.
Everton’s coaching staff have spent this week working closely with the players who are not on international duty, helping them to recover psychologically and physically from a roller-coaster start to the campaign. And despite losing 6-3 to Chelsea last Saturday, Jones said spirits are high at Finch Farm. “The mood has improved by the day,” he said. “With any group of players you have to work and tick boxes. In terms of their disappointment at what happened at the weekend you have to look at it and work on it, and we’ve certainly done that so far this week. Then you start to feel positive about yourself again. There were actually plenty of positives from Saturday but clearly when you concede six goals there’s an area you need to work on and that’s what we’ve been doing.
“It wasn’t a freak result because if you concede six you’d be a fool not to look into it. It was not a clear representation of what we are though. “Certain events that happened led to the abnormal scoreline. But Chelsea, more than any team pride themselves on their back six work, their back eight work, and even their back 11 work because they do pride themselves on their ability to keep clean sheets and we cut them open time and time again so there are huge positives. But we need to get the balance right and that’s what we’re working.” Jones, himself a former striker, ahs been happy with how the Blues have attacked so far this term, even if their defending has room for improvement, “We’ve scored seven goals and six from free play so far,” he said. “That’s a reward from how we prioritise our work. We’re an open play team; that’s where the priority of our work is so you feel proud when you see that reflected. We ask questions of Chelsea individually and as a group but that was tarred at the other end. We’ll always pride ourselves on being an attacking team though, that’s our philosophy.” The last four days have also allowed the Blues coaching staff to continue vital work on building-up fitness levels in the squad after a disjointed summer.
He added: “Now it’s work, work work. It’s been a difficult pre-season for many clubs with players who were at the world cup coming back at different spells. We’ve had five different groups coming bac at various stages. “We need to get everyone on the same page physically and that’s where the challenge is. We’ll work with Samuel and get him some game time privately behind closed doors later in the week. “He played 27 mins on Sat and had a good level of fitness We’re pleased but we need to add to it.” Although players such as Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Kevin Mirallas to name but a few are away, Jones said they have still managed to do some good work with key men left behind. “We never really work on the starting 11,” he said. “We treat everybody the same. We have a squad of 25 players and everyone gets the same experiences. So none internationals this week you’ve got Antolin Alcaraz, Sylvain Distin, Gareth Barry, Bryan Oviedo, Leon Osman, Tyias Browning. They’re all important players. There have certainly been things we can work out to help us against West Brom.”

Everton FC legend Dave Hickson remembered in new book
Sept 5 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Cannonball Kid's memorable career given special insight
It’s a unique insight into the life and times of a man who was both an Everton FC great and a colossus of Merseyside football. Dave Hickson will be best remembered for inspiring a generation of young Evertonians with his swash-buckling centre-forward play in the 1950s, and his heart-felt admissions of devotion to the club. But Hickson, who died in July last year aged 83, was one of only two men to play for Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere, and now his remarkable career has been detailed in a new book called The Cannonball Kid. Author James Corbett began working on the book with his friend Hickson as an authorised biography, and after his passing it became a labour of love for the writer who had compiled a treasure trove of memorabilia from the Blues legend’s fascinating career. From being coached by the great Dixie Dean, playing in front of 70,000-plus crowds and vanquishing the mighty Manchester United, to being kicked out of an FA Cup semi-final and playing under Bill Shankly, it is a compelling and evocative tale of a bygone time. It also recalls a lost era in which heroes lived alongside their fans and gave everything – in Hickson’s case, blood, sweat and more blood, to bring them pride. Of course Hickson’s story is most closely associated with a club he once avowed to have been willing to die for. The back cover features the quote: “Everton is my football life. When I go out into the middle I do not play for directors, managers, spectators or myself. I play for Everton. “The only thing that worries me in this business is the feeling that somewhere, somehow, I am not wanted any longer at Goodison Park.” Hickson’s career exploits have been well-documented and Blues of a certain vintage need little prompting to recall them, but The Cannonball Kid artfully fills in the gaps from periods of his career which are lesser known.
Born in Salford but raised in Ellesmere Port, Hickson began his career at his hometown club playing alongside some revered figures including one of the finest centre-forwards of the inter-war years in Tom ‘Pongo’ Waring. Pongo had been Dixie Dean’s successor as Tranmere Rovers’ centre-forward in the mid-1920s and his goalscoring feats, while not quite the equal of Dean, were not far off.
Hickson recalled: ‘As a kid, I was fairly oblivious to this, but Pongo had a reputation throughout football as a bit of a strange character. ‘Looking back, it was a great honour to play at such a young age with an England international but, like a lot of things, I never really thought too much about it at the time. I was just interested in playing as much as my work hours at Bowater’s would permit.
‘Getting paid expenses for doing what I loved at Ellesmere Port Town was just an unexpected bonus, although we never got anything more than that’. The young Hickson’s performances generated much interest from the Merseyside clubs and although he went on to join Everton, history may have been different with Liverpool also keen on the strapping schoolboy. ‘My career and the face of Merseyside football might have taken a different complexion had Liverpool had their way,’ he recalled. ‘In my heart I knew where I wanted to play, but I was still only a lad and I deferred to my Dad on all significant matters in my life. ‘Although he was from Salford and had taken me to see United, like all the best people I think there was a bit of Evertonian in him, and he told me to sign for the Blues’. Hickson’s exploits during two spells at Everton are the stuff of legend.
But it is the candid reflections of life as a professional footballer in the 1950s, and the contrast with today’s millionaire players, which enthralls. Hickson, who enjoyed playing a one-off charity match at Bootle Cricket Club every summer, did not decamp to the Maldives or embark on sojourns to Ibiza like some players these days. ‘During the summer we had loads of time off, getting on for three months in some years,’ he recalls. ‘There wasn’t a lot to do and it was long and boring.
‘You’d go on holiday, but our wages used to drop during the summer time as well, so that was a factor. ‘The days were long and sometimes you’d struggle to fill them. I used to meet up with one of the Wolves players, Len Gibbons, who lived nearby and together we’d head down to the Ellesmere Port swimming baths at Overpool’. Hickson famously left Everton for Liverpool, but he reveals how he advised a modern Blue hero never to stray from Goodison. ‘When David Moyes came in, he described it as ‘The People’s Club of Merseyside’, he writes. ‘He emphasised then what I’d known for 60-odd years. It’s all true. ‘Look at Leighton Baines. ‘To me he’s man-of-the-match nearly every week at Everton – he’s a fantastic player. ‘I have a little chat with him now, tell him what I think. A lot of people now, I think you get to a stage if you get so much money, you’ve got enough really. They don’t need to become greedy. ‘I tell Leighton: ‘You’re going to be rich anyway, and you’re at the club that you want to be at, and playing for the club you love. Why go anywhere else?’ ‘I think it’s the family ethos of a club like Everton that appeals to these players’.
Throughout he goes on to offer insights into his thwarted move to Torino, the truth about his departure from Liverpool, which was not to go into business with Kevin Lewis as was reported at the time, and the debate over his physical style of play is played out from newspaper excerpts.
For any Blue, or indeed any fan of football, The Cannonball Kid is an absorbing read.

Howard Kendall: a case for the defence - it's not just Everton FC's back four at faultSep 05, 2014 08:50
Sept 5 2014 Liverpool Echop
by HowardKendall
It's a "knee-jerk reaction" to call for changes after three games
The statistics say that Everton have conceded 10 goals in their first three games, and there’s no doubt that they don’t make for savoury reading.
Predictably, the focal point once the blame game started after Saturday’s 6-3 defeat by Chelsea was the defence. I’m sure none of the back four would deny they have to field their fair share of the blame for shipping so many goals, but it’s nonsense to suggest they’ve suddenly become a unit of has-beens overnight. Three of those players were involved for their country on Wednesday night. They’re not bad footballers. Taking aside the fact that they were playing against a quality Chelsea side, I believe the back four were left exposed far too often. It’s what happens in front of the defence which can be just as important from a defensive point. If the attackers are not getting closed down and are able to play through the midfield all the time then – especially when you’re up against world class forwards – you’re going to concede goals. Cesc Fabregas had far too much time and space in those early stages of the game and once Everton were 2-0 down after just three minutes, they were always facing an uphill battle, both physically and mentally.
I’ve heard a lot of rubbish being spoken about the captain Phil Jagielka.
There was not a word in the summer about having to change the back four, yet all of a sudden people are clamouring on deadline day for new central defenders to be signed.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction and after three games, as bad as some of the defending has been admittedly, it’s time for a little bit of perspective. Jagielka and Sylvain Distin have been a tried and tested partnership and they need to be able to play their way back into form.
At the same time some of their team-mates need to put their hands up and accept they can start to do more as well to prevent any more costly lapses which will dent Everton’s hopes.
Now they truly are boring, boring Arsenal The old chant aimed at George Graham’s Gunners was “Boring, Boring Arsenal”, but I never thought that was fair. George’s teams played better stuff then they got credit for from the terraces. Of course, Arsene Wenger revolutionised the way they play and for years Arsenal were a side you’d look out for and appreciate. Not any more. These days it’s a case of ‘tippy, tappy going nowhere’. Wenger’s men over-do it when it comes to the passing and it’s a real turn-off. I thought that after they came to Goodison and my view hasn’t altered.
Now they’ve signed Danny Welbeck but I don’t think he’s going to change that boring pattern they’ve settled into. How they must rue Olivier Giroud’s injury.
It's time Roy loaded his young guns THERE were few pluses to be gleaned from England’s forgettable win over Norway at Wembley on Wednesday.
And I did think the state of the national game was hinted at during the last round of Premier League fixtures when we witnessed a lot of clubs bringing England players off their benches during games.
It used to be that you at least had to be a regular for your club before you were considered for international contention. At least on a positive note Roy Hodgson is blooding the young players who will represent the next generation for the Three Lions. Players like John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are the ones to help England progress after yet another summer of disappointment. In hindsight, it’s a shame Roy didn’t do this before the World Cup, and make that his priority rather than any fantastical discussions about trying to win the competition.
Obviously the influx of foreign stars to the English top flight these days makes it harder for English players, even capped by their country, to be guaranteed 90 minutes every week. But the only way we’re going to progress is by giving the gifted young players a chance, which they are getting now.

Everton Ladies 2 Liverpool Ladies 2: Nikita Parris strike rescues a point for Blues against reigning champions
Sept 5 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Reds slip down to third after being held by derby rivals
The spoils were shared in the ladies' Merseyside derby at the Select Security Stadium on Thursday.
The Blues took a 1-0 lead after 30 minutes via a strike from Danielle Turner.
However, efforts from the Reds' Natasha Dowie and Katie Longhurst either side of the half-time break edged Matt Beard's team in front. But Andy Spence's side rescued a point when a superb solo goal by Nikita Parris levelled on 56 minutes. The result was a blow to the Reds' title hopes. With Birmingham City having beaten Bristol Academy, they are now top of the league with Liverpool dropping down to third. It all means that, with three games to go, the race for the Women's Super League crown is going right to the wire. Blues boss Spence, meanwhile, was happy to take a point from last year's champions. He said: "We set up with a game plan hoping to contain Liverpool as well as looking to threaten ourselves. I thought we did that at times really well, and we certainly produced a number of chances for ourselves. "In many respects, it feels like a win because of the circumstances around the game, and we'll take a lot of positives from the game and take that into the next run of games." Everton finished with 10 players following Parris' sending off. The number nine received two yellow cards, the first for standing too close to a free-kick and the second for a reckless tackle late on.

Case for the defence? What the stats tell us about Everton FC’s leaky back line so far this season
Sept 5 2014 Liverpool Echo
By David Triggs
With 10 goals conceded in three games - after conceding just 39 last season - the ECHO examines how the defence has been troubled this season
Just how can Everton’s defence - the third meanest in the Premier League last season - have turned so porous in the first three games of the 2014-15 campaign?
It is a question which has baffled Blues fans. Even boss Roberto Martinez is searching for answers, suggesting it could be a “psychological” problem, more of a mental issue than a physical or tactical one. There is no doubting the fact the contrast between this season and last has been stark.
The Blues kept no fewer than 15 Premier League clean sheets in 2013-14 (only Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal kept more), whereas this season Tim Howard has picked the ball out of his net 10 times in just three matches. Inevitably, plenty of flak has flown the way of the American keeper and his defence - particularly following Saturday's 6-3 home loss to Chelsea, a game so open it had almost descended into a farce by the time Muhamed Besic came off the bench to gift the visitors the last goal of the evening. But what do the stats tell us? Have Howard and his defence under-performed as individuals this season, leading to a collective breakdown in the Blues' defensive solidity? Or is there more to it than that? Statistics compiled by Opta demonstrate there is not, in general, a huge amount of difference between last season and this one in terms of players' individual figures. And this underlines an argument set out by Howard Kendall in his ECHO column, where the former Blues boss pointed out how a solid defensive record is built around more than just a goalkeeper and the players immediately in front of him. It is about organisation throughout the team (from back to front), discipline at set pieces, cutting out individual errors, concentration, hard work and, at times, luck. On occasions this season, these qualities have deserted the Blues, with inevitable consequences. Here is how they have shaped up individually.
Player Stats — Tim Howard
The American finished the 2013-14 season with an impressive saves/shots ratio of 75.2%. This season the figure has dropped to 33.3%. He will no doubt want to up his average, but has been a helpless bystander for several goals this season - from Leonardo Ulloa’s thumping strike at Leicester, Olivier Giroud’s pinpoint header and Nemanja Matic’s bottom-corner strike.
Player Stats — Phil Jagielka
The stats show the Blues skipper has not quite been his usual dominant self in some departments this season. Last season he won 62.8% of his duels (compared to 52.4% this season) and 58.1% of his aerial duels (compared to 45.5% this season). He has won 75% of his tackles last season - but has not lost a single one in 2014-15.
Player Stats — Sylvain Distin
The veteran French centre-back was a model of consistency last season, and his stats for the current campaign are similar to the ones for the current campaign - 61.9% of duels won in 2014-15 compared to 65.5% last season; 54.5% of aerial duels won compared to 61.6% last season; and 75% of tackles won compared to 81%.
Player Stats — Seamus Coleman
The right-back looks to have carried on from where he left off last season. His ‘duels won’ figure is up on last season (66.7% compared to 57.3%), while he has not lost a single aerial duel this term either (he won 55.6% in 2013-14). An unfortunate own goal blotted his copybook in the heavy loss to Chelsea.
Like Coleman, the left-back’s stats have remained fairly consistent with last season’s - 60.6% of duels won (compared to 63.8% last season); 33.3% of aerial duels won (compared to 41.2%) and 88% of tackles won (compared to 81%). Business as usual.
The 20-year-old England defender proved himself a more-than-able deputy for the injured Jagielka last season, and showed his versatility by filling in for Coleman at right-back at Leicester. In that game, he won 71.4% of his duels and 66.7% of his aerial duels, not losing a single tackle.
In 21 appearances last season, he won 67% of his duels, 66% of his aerial duels and 65% of his tackles.

Liverpool FC and Everton FC fans join forces with other supporters' clubs to demand fairer match ticket prices
Sept 5 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Alan Weston
Premiership League fan clubs unite across the country to call for cuts to football ticket prices which they say have become 'unaffordable'
Fan groups for Liverpool FC and Everton FC have joined forces with other supporters to continue the push for cheaper seats for supporters.
It comes in the wake of the record-breaking £835m spent by football clubs in the most recent transfer window. The Liverpool supporters’ union, Spirit of Shankly, had already linked up with Everton’s Blue Union fan group to plead with their respective clubs to cut the cost of tickets for away supporters at this season’s derby matches. Now, the two Merseyside football fans’ groups have issued a joint statement with Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace Supporter Trusts to highlight the discrepancy between the vast sums spent on transfers with the small amount it would cost the clubs to meet fans’ demands for cheaper ticket prices.
The statement said: “Like us all, supporters around the country and across all leagues want their team to sign the best players. To win football matches. To win trophies. To see the best players win these trophies. It’s what football is about. Yet they won’t. “Because increasingly, football is becoming unaffordable for many. More and more supporters face the choice – pay the extortionate prices or walk away from following their team.” The fans’ groups said the figure of £200,000 set aside at each Premier League club for Away Fans Initiatives was dwarfed by the millions spent on transfer fees over the summer. The Away Fans Initiatives represented just 0.15% of the £2.7bn revenue clubs made in 2012/13 or 0.13% of the predicted £3.2bn in 2013/14.
The statement adds: “It’s time that changed. "We don’t need to tell the football authorities we are angry, they know we are. The politicians do too. They are failing to act.
"Those that pump money into football must realise the role they have to play.
"The TV broadcasters, the sponsors and the partners who want our custom must realise that it comes at a price. “So between now and the next transfer window, our challenge is simple – work with us, the supporters, the lifeblood of the game. Help us to make football more affordable for all supporters. "Use that enormous wealth to make it fairer on the millions who make it the game that it is.”

Lukaku a doubt for West Brom game next weekend with toe injury
Sept 5 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
£28m striker missed Belgium’s 2-0 victory over Australia in midweek as he continues to struggle with injury
Romelu Lukaku is facing a fight to be fit for Everton FC as the Blues bid for their first win of the season at West Brom next weekend. The £28m striker missed Belgium’s 2-0 victory over Australia in midweek as he continues to struggle with the toe injury which hampered him against Arsenal and Chelsea. Now Roberto Martinez fears he could be forced to go without the 21-year-old, who flew home last week to receive treatment in Brussels, for next Saturday’s visit to the Hawthorns.
He said: “We’ll have to assess him on Monday and Tuesday to see how fit he is because there is a big question mark over Rom being fully fit for the weekend. “We’ve got a great relationship with the Belgian federation and it’s been great to be able to work together. Obviously Rom has been struggling with that toe and he’s done magnificently to be on the pitch and helping us on matchday. But this week it’s been important for us to give him a specific treatment to work on that [toe] and make sure that his recovery time has been exactly what he’s needed.
“It’s important that we’ve got good relationships with the federations and, in this case, with Belgium, we’ve worked hand-in-hand. We hope that Rom can benefit from that.”
Martinez at least has good news on the fitness front amid his defensive ranks, with Seamus Coleman firing on all cylinders for the Republic of Ireland and young prospect Tyias Browning, who signed a new deal last month, ready for action. The Blues boss added: “Tyias has been working really well and is stepping up his preparation. I’ve got no doubts now that Tyias is ready to be involved in the games ahead and that’s a big bonus. It’s been a really good week in terms of work. It’s important as an individual to get that time to work on the needs that you have.”
Coleman, meanwhile, has already opened his goal account for the Toffees this term, with a fine header against Arsenal and wants to carry on where he left off last season.
“I did quite well last season,” said the right-back. “I’d like to think it was my breakthrough season even though I had had a couple of seasons before that. “But I did quite well last year and have kicked it off this year again. Hopefully I can have a good strong season.”

Alan Pattullo: My Duncan Ferguson obsession
Published on the 06 September 2014
DUNCAN Ferguson didn’t ruin my life, but he inhabited it, and by extension the lives of others around me, for more years than I – and they – might care to remember.
Detritus from the Big Dunc years is still strewn all around my study. There is a Barlinnie visitor’s ticket, dated 13/5/09. There is another one dated 26/1/11. There is a dog-eared copy of Nick Hornby’s book Fever Pitch, signed by Ferguson while he languished inside the Glasgow prison for six weeks as autumn turned to winter in 1995. It was given to me by one of the prison officers who struck up a cordial relationship with the famous inmate, who they’d been warned had arrived as a footballer worth £4million – “and he better leave as one too”. Barlinnie wasn’t and still isn’t a place for the faint-hearted. Some things had changed since Ferguson was there. But as one governor informed me, “these are still the same walls”. In the eyes of many, Ferguson lost his liberty for an act of folly on a football pitch that was over in just a few seconds. Of course it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that, something that I set out to explain in my book, In Search of Duncan Ferguson, published next week. Now is the time to take stock of all that’s been accrued during the process, the beginning of which I can pinpoint to being sent on an assignment to report on his sudden transfer from Everton to Newcastle United for this newspaper, in November 1998.
I first saw Ferguson play when the then lanky centre-forward scored against my team, Dundee, for Dundee United in a Scottish Cup quarter-final in 1991. As I scuffed my way back down Arklay Street that night, I figured that Ferguson was someone it would be hard to ignore. Despite his height, he also proved challenging to track down. I am left with piles of interview tapes – C90s, further evidence of how the process has spanned eras. Some of them now contain voices from beyond the grave. Dick Taylor, the Carse Thistle supremo whose glass eye did not prevent him spotting Ferguson’s talent, and George Skelton, the schoolteacher/scout who brought him to the attention of Dundee United, have both passed away since being interviewed. There were times when I wondered what on earth I was doing. Why was I in Finland, in an opera house interviewing a composer about Ferguson? Why was I turning up unannounced on the doorstep of a retired sheriff? Why was I creaking open a door in a hotel bar in Anstruther, where Ferguson was involved in one rammy too many, to be met by a gallery of stares? These were all places on the Ferguson map as I tried to join the dots, without his co-operation. What chance did I have of sitting down with him when he didn’t consent to be interviewed for his own DVD? Big Dunc: The story of a Goodison Hero was produced by Everton without input from the subject. It, too, lies amid the rubble of research items, along with a programme from a Premier Division match between Rangers and Raith Rovers, from 16 April, 1994. In the same way that the novel from a few years ago exploring the ramifications of a single seemingly innocuous act was simply called The Slap, I wondered whether The Headbutt could work as a title for a book about Ferguson. Everything changed for him (and others) that afternoon, when he went forehead-to-cheek with the Kirkcaldy side’s Jock McStay, a helpful and understandably still-slightly-bitter contributor to my book. In the first week of my search I crunched with some trepidation up two garden paths; one was a house in Stirling where Ferguson’s parents live, and where he grew up. At the other, Jim McLean’s, I was led in by Doris, the former Dundee United’s manager’s wife. After her husband was called away to take a phone call, she remembered the strife Ferguson had caused her husband: “It was always Duncan this, and Duncan that.” When he returned, McLean was open and frank. “But I don’t want this to be a slamming exercise,” he told me, before expressing no surprise whatsoever that Ferguson had turned his back on the game, as was the case then. A book is often a journey of discovery, for the author as well as the reader. It’s fair to say it doesn’t end the way I imagined it would all those years ago. In my synopsis I wrote how I intended to find out why he had walked away from football after a tense final showdown with David Moyes, who, like McLean, often despaired at his attitude.
Now first-team coach at Everton, Ferguson has this week been hailed for his application on the training field. This is different to his latter days as a player at Everton, when he was so often sidelined by suspension or injury. As Joe Royle, the manager who signed him on a permanent transfer from Rangers, memorably said, Ferguson “became the legend before he became the player” after scoring against Liverpool while still on loan. Yet, when he left Everton, after his second spell at the club, the news merited only a “meanwhile” in the local paper. Had Big Dunc really just drifted away from the game? This is when my strong interest in his story turned to fascination and, dare I say it, obsession. He didn’t walk away. Not for good, at least. Millions can now see him over Everton manager Roberto Martinez’s shoulder on Match of the Day, with suspiciously bouffantish-looking hair. It’s a remarkable transformation. This is the man who so many told me seemed to actually dislike football. Jim McLean once roared at Ferguson: “The game means far too much to me, I know that! But it means f*** all to you!” This quote, I now realise, is still pinned to a cork board behind me as I write, the hook on which the book hung. The scrap of paper on which I scribbled these words has now frayed. But, then, haven’t we all? All except, perhaps, a rejuvenated Duncan Ferguson, a misunderstood footballer who I felt deserved another hearing.

Seamus Coleman still has Donegal on his mind
Republic of Ireland and Everton full-back has much to focus on
Seamus Coleman took on indirect route to the English Premier League with Everton.
Sat, Sep 6, 2014, The Irish Times
Sometimes even professional footballers are put out by the hours and Seamus Coleman winced for a moment as he admitted that the first thing he did when Donegal beat Dublin last Sunday was check the fixture list. It brought bad news: he has to work on All-Ireland football final day, Crystal Palace at Goodison at the worst time possible, four o’clock. Coleman shrugs off the disappointment and, however much the match at Croke Park means to him, admits his mind will be elsewhere that afternoon. He might well have been part of Donegal’s latest assault on the All-Ireland – Jim McGuinness has certainly suggested the 25-year-old had the ability to be a big part in his plans – and Coleman, an avid Gaelic footballer in his youth, would dearly have loved to have been.
Still passionate He is still passionate about it and since Sky started broadcasting the games in Britain he finds himself acting as an ambassador of sorts amongst his fellow professionals. While there’s a love and a certain longing, though, there is no sense of regret. He made his call seven years ago and has, as he says, simply never looked back. The choice had to be made after then Sligo Rovers manager Sean Connor spotted him playing in a pre-season friendly and offered him a two-year deal worth €150 a week. Connor’s successor Rob McDonald actually didn’t reckon he was worth even that and tried to encourage a move to Finn Harps but Coleman opted to sit tight until the end of his deal. As it turned out, he didn’t have to wait long before another change of coach brought somebody who believed in his potential again. The salary Sligo paid him is generally now viewed as only the second biggest bargain associated with his career. Everton paid around €75,000 to bring him to Goodison five years ago and could probably get 400 times that for their full-back now. He is a rather unique case but his success has nevertheless made him a poster boy for the Airtricity League and those who see it as the best way for Ireland to develop its own talent. Coleman’s progress has been relentless and his ability to overcome the obstacles he has encountered has earned him widespread admiration. A blister that became infected almost ended this career before it had properly started while an Everton debut at Benfica’s Stadium of Light where Angel Di Maria gave him an early taste of how a world-class opponent could make you feel when you’re not quite up to the task.
Mental strength
He clearly wasn’t then although he wasn’t the only member of the Everton back four to be overwhelmed as the team slumped to a 5-0 defeat but his mental strength and attacking abilities were both abundantly evident when he came on against Spurs in the Premier League a few weeks later and was absolutely central to the salvaging of what looked a most unlikely draw.

Coleman’s time to shine
Saturday, September 06, 2014
Irish Examiner
By John Fallon
A patient start in the cauldron of the Boris Paichadze Stadium tomorrow night features strongly in the Ireland game-plan of full-back Seamus Coleman.
September stutters in Tbilisi over the past two seasons affected Spain and France, cautioning the Everton defender against any complacency in the opening Euro 2016 qualifier against the Georgians.
It took a late Roberto Soldado winner to pinch victory for the then world champions in 2012, while no such fortune visited France during last year’s stalemate. It’s widely acknowledged that the Georgians have since improved, both in terms of experience and quality and Coleman concedes Ireland have a mission on their hands to escape with three points. He said: “It’s important to start well but it could be cagey for the first 15 or 20 minutes. “France and Spain went out there and found it difficult, so by no means will it be an easy game. We have to be well set up tactically.
“They’ve got a couple of flair players but as a unit they’re very strong defensively and they all work hard for each other. “I’m sure it’s going to be quite hostile out there as well. We’re all capable of playing in big games and we want to start the campaign with three points.” Despite his recent hamstring troubles and a decent makeshift display in the right-back spot by David Meyler against Oman on Wednesday, Coleman will earn cap number 24 tomorrow. He explained: “I missed all of preseason for Everton and just got back for the Leicester game. “I got the last 10 minutes of that and then played the last two games and I feel fine now. I like to think I’m a naturally fit person so a couple of weeks out and I feel back to normal.” Now in his 26th year, this late bloomer realises time is the enemy to augment his success with Everton on the international stage. With Richard Dunne having followed Damien Duff into retirement, Coleman insists the onus tests on the bunch of 20-somethings to deliver qualification into the Euros in France. “We have to step up now. Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne, Shay Given, Damien Duff, and even John O’Shea, have all been brilliant in the past. “But now the younger players need to start winning these games. And, for me personally, I want to get to a major tournament and play in one. “I’d like to think I’m confident in the team now because it took me quite a while to get in. As for being established, I suppose that’s for other people to say because I’ll never change in my opinion that you’re only as good as your last game and you’ve got to keep impressing as you go out there because there’ll always be people looking to get in.”
Although his club manager Roberto Martinez was publicly scornful of Chelsea striker Diego Costa for taunting Coleman after his own goal against the Blues last week, the Donegal man declined to scathe the Brazil-born Spanish international. “I think every game you go into, you’re going to have little arguments or little niggles with your opponent,” said Coleman. “It’s all part of the game but the important thing is that you do it and remain on the field. Other than that, it’s all part of the game. I was marking Eden Hazard anyway. Costa is top player and I think he’ll do well in the Premier League for Chelsea.” Coleman enhanced his reputation as a raiding full-back with another goal against Arsenal recently. Breaking his duck for Ireland at this early stage of the campaign would do nicely too. “I haven’t scored yet but hopefully I can. Forward players and midfield players, it’s their job to score and mine to defend. But if I can pop up with a couple of goals, then so be it.”

Seamus misses out on final
Saturday, September 06, 2014
Irish Examine
After watching his beloved Donegal dethrone Dublin last Sunday, club duties will force Seamus Coleman to miss the All-Ireland final. The Killybegs man will be action for the Toffees that day against Crystal Palace in the Premier League. Before linking up with Ireland squad last Sunday night, Coleman nipped into Croke Park for the epic semi-final scalp of the holders.
“I checked the date straight away and it’s unfortunate I can’t get to the final. That’s the way it goes,’ he said. “Hopefully they go on and win it as they were fantastic the way they did it in the semis.
“Most of the country thought Dublin had it, especially the Dubs themselves! So it was nice to come in on Sunday night and see all the lads after the victory.” Coleman admitted word of the GAA is spreading across England, including the dressing room at Goodison Park.
“Through no fault of their own they are a big ignorant about it as they know nothing but when I explain it to them they enjoy it,” he outlined.

Gibson ready to go after injury to spur Everton on in Europe
Sept 6 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Blues are about to embark on one of their busiest periods in five years
He is a late, late-comer to the Roberto Martinez revolution, but Darron Gibson may have reached full fitness at the perfect time. The Blues are about to embark on one of their busiest periods in five years, with the start of the Europa League heralding a rush of fixtures which will test the Blues’ squad to its limits. And as the challenging month of September gathers pace, Martinez is glad to finally be able to call upon the services of a man who is yet to start a league match under his reign.
Republic of Ireland midfielder Gibson, 26, played 70 minutes for his country in Dublin on Wednesday, and the sight of him spraying passes around the Aviva stadium pitch was a delight to his club manager. “He brought great forward passing and I thought everything that was good about Republic of Ireland on the ball, he was involved with,” says the Blues boss. “He looked like someone who is fully fit, strong and ready to kick on again. That was a real positive of him joining up with the Republic of Ireland this week. “He’s ready to come back and make an impact here now. It was important for Darron to play in a game situation, in a competitive game. Even though it was a friendly, when you play at international level every action matters and I was very, very pleased. I thought the way he played, the way he got on the ball, it was really encouraging.”
Gibson was back at the stadium where he suffered the knee injury last October which laid waste to his hopes of making an impact during Martinez’s first season in charge.
And even though the defensive midfielder is raring to go, Martinez is still prepared to be patient as he nurtures him back into Premier League action. “We need to remember that Darron has missed a long time out injured,” he says. “Now he’s fully fit, he’s ready to perform, it just about making sure we give him the right time to get that match fitness that you need, especially in the Premier League where the transition of the game is so fast.” Another Blue who provided a positive cameo in midweek was defender John Stones, who made his full debut for England during an otherwise forgettable 1-0 win over Norway at Wembley. Stones started and played 81 minutes at right-back as Roy Hodgson’s youthful side warmed up for Monday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland.
And with the defensive woes currently gripping the Toffees defence, Stones is being talked about as close to a starting berth in the Premier league. But even if Martinez waits until the Blues begin their Capital One cup campaign away at Swansea later this month, he is certain the 20-year-old will fit seamlessly in. “I thought he looked very confident,” says Martinez of Stones typically composed run-out. “He played in a position that he controls really well. Right-back is a position that we all know he can play with ease. I always want to see him enjoying his football, playing in any position and we all know that he’s someone who can master centre-back as well as the right-back position.
“I thought he looked like someone who had been in that position many, many times before, I thought he was very aware defensively and he helped to keep a very important clean sheet for the national team. But then, going forward, he was always composed, always showed a real understanding of how to keep possession and I thought it was a very assured and mature performance in a difficult game, because obviously you’re playing under scrutiny and I thought his performance was pristine. “It gave an insight of what he can produce consistently for England.”
Time and time again the former Barnsley defender has proved he cannot be fazed, whether it is being thrust into Premier League action as a teenager last term, or taking that famous penalty against Juventus in the USA a year ago. And Martinez, an avowed advocate of the bravery of youth, believes Stones will never lose that special quality. He added: “The bigger the occasion, the bigger the response from John Stones. And I think that’s going to be exactly the same throughout his career. “It didn’t surprise me (his display on Wednesday). We’ve seen that so many times since pre-season a year ago when he stepped in and showed real composure with that famous penalty against Juventus. “There’s never been a difficult moment for him in terms of adapting into an environment and being able to play the game – he’s never being fussed by the occasion.”
Everton may not be in action this weekend, but excitement is already building for the return of European football to Goodison Park later this month.
The Blues welcome VFL Wolfsburg to Merseyside on Thursday September 18 for their first Europa League group game. Tickets are now on general sale and can be purchased online or calling 0871 663 1878, Alternatively, supporters can buy in-person from the stadium box office or the city centre outlets in Everton Two and TicketQuarter. Season Ticket holders have until 6pm on Wednesday, September 10 to secure their usual seat for the fixture, while season ticket holder discount on tickets is available until 6pm on Friday September 12.

Royal Blue: Romelu Lukaku's luck will be in before too long
Sept 6 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Belgian will be amongst the goals once he’s back in his stride
Evertonians are used to Sky Sports’ occasional tendency to dismiss the Blues.
Whether it’s forgetting to include the club which finished fifth last term in their list of contenders this time around earlier in the summer, or their latest - not including Romelu Lukaku’s £28m signing in their break-down of the big Premier League deals during the transfer window.
It’s fair to say a minority of Blues fans had also forgotten that outlay by the point deadline day hysteria was at its height on Monday, as one or two bemoaned Everton’s lack of spending at the final hour. But other clubs around Europe felt the ripple-effect of the Toffees ambition over the summer. Ask their forthcoming Europa League opponents Wolfsburg, who were keen to lure Lukaku to the Bundesliga. Klaus Allofs, the club’s general manager, admitted as much this week, when he said: “There have been quite a few temptations (during the recent window). “We could have done more, no doubt. “In terms of Romelu Lukaku, we would have done more, we were ready to put out more money. “But I am not prepared to do deals that are worth so much. I do not want that, that’s not our transfer philosophy and there are rules and regulations. “We have to keep an eye on the rules.” So for a pleasant change the Blues benefitted from another big club’s financial restraints while flexing their own muscles to get their man. But after three games it’s fair to say Lukaku is yet to hit his stride. The World Cup hangover which has effected many left it’s mark on the big Belgian too, and then a toe injury subdued him just as he was building back to fitness in time for crunch games against Arsenal and Chelsea at Goodison Park. But any Blues feeling a bit underwhelmed about the immediate return on their club’s transfer record outlay needn’t worry.
The 21-year-old’s perceived impact may be less spectacular because he was already a familiar face from his loan period last term, but when Lukaku gets into his stride the chances are he’ll quickly remind everyone why he was so coveted. Diego Costa might have provided proof of why Jose Mourinho was willing to flog both Lukaku and Fernando Torres with his barn-storming two-goal cameo in Liverpool 4 last Saturday, but Lukaku will have his moment in the sun before long.
There is still plenty for him to work on in developing his game, not least sharpening a sporadically lackadaisical first touch which isn’t ideal for a man tasked so often with leading the line on his own.
But Lukaku is not short of excellent mentors at Finch Farm; whether its Duncan Ferguson, Graeme Jones or the recently arrived Samuel Eto’o. And with West Brom and Crystal Palace on the horizon he has a good chance of opening his account. He might have slipped from the memory of a Sky Sports producer, but Lukaku can still make this an unforgettable season.
Blues legal expert to give guest lectures
Everton’s Head of Legal Services will give budding law students an insight into the fascinating world of football as he takes up a post as guest lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University.
Starting later this month, Chris Anderson will deliver a series of sessions for those studying Sports Law to help bring their studies to life and explain how the law is applied at a Premier League football club. He will talk to students about transfers, the employee status of footballers and the regulations surrounding financial fair play. Chris, who studied Law at the University of Edinburgh, joined Everton in March 2014 and previously worked as an externa advisor acting for clubs in the Premier League and Scottish Premier League. He said: “Sports Law is a complicated practice area so being able to explain how it is applied in a real-life situation will hopefully aid their understanding and add a different dimension to their studies. From the club’s perspective, linking up with LJMU allows us to give something back and to help students in the local area to embody the Nil Satis approach that we keenly promote.” The Blues already have close links with LJMU, working closely with the university’s Sports Science department. Everton encourage fans to embrace Non League Day today
With no Premier League fixtures scheduled this weekend, Everton are encouraging fans to get involved with ‘Non-League Day’. Launched five years ago, the national initiative promotes grassroots football - and the Toffees are urging Evertonians to attend local matches throughout the Merseyside region this afternoon. Teams local to Goodison Park who are scheduled to play at home include Marine, Widnes, Vauxhall Motors and Runcorn Town. As sponsors of The Football Conference Vanarama’s primary objective for Non-League Day is to get as many fans through the turnstiles as possible, shattering the league’s 2013 and 2012 attendance figures of 39,000 and 36,000 respectively. They will also be working with the official charity Prostate Cancer UK to raise funds by donating 10p for each fan that attends a Conference game on Non-League Day.
Based on last year’s attendance this would generate at least £4000. However, if 50,000 fans attend a game then Vanarama will double their donation, making at least £10,000 for Prostate Cancer which effects around 250,000 men in the UK. Special night to honour Blues’ most successful manager
He is Everton’s most successful manager who remains a Goodison Park ever-present, and tells it like it is every week in his hard-hitting ECHO column. Now Howard Kendall will be honoured with a special tribute night at the Devonshire Hotel organised by former Blues winger and BBC Radio Merseyside summariser Ronny Goodlass. The evening will take place on Friday, November 28 with special footage of Kendall in his playing days, and triumphant clips of him managing Everton’s great side of the Eighties. New Mumbai FC manager Peter Reid will be guest speaker and the comedian will be Gary Marshall. There will also be plenty of former Everton players present, including Graeme Sharp, Derek Mountfield, John Bailey, Derek Temple, Joe Royle and Tony Kay.
There will be an auction, raffle and three-course meal. The price of a table of 12 is £500 or £50 per ticket. Ronny is also looking for someone to sponsor the event, with funds raised going towards his successful Health Through Sport charity which is helping children To purchase a table or ticket, please contact 0151 264 6600 and book early to avoid disappointment.

What is the most prolific shirt number for Everton FC?
Sept 6 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Liverpool Echo
Research shows strikers still rule at Goodison Park
It is the most iconic shirt number in Everton’s history, pulled on by the likes of Dixie Dean, Dave Hickson, Joe Royle, Bob Latchford and Graeme Sharp. Some of the finest players in Goodison history have worn it, and it has become synonymous with goals, goals and more goals down the years.
The number nine shirt is still treasured by Blues fans - and it has retained its allure, even in the era of the Premier League where squad numbers are the norm and strikers could be wearing 37 on their back. Now research by Trinity Mirror’s data unit has confirmed the number nine shirt is the most prolific in Everton’s Premier League history. The data unit took the number of Premier League goals scored by each shirt number for the Toffees since they were permanently assigned to players at the start of the 1993/94 season. The number nine shirt has produced 109 Premier League goals. Kevin Campbell leads the way, scoring 45 times in the shirt, and is followed by Ferguson (38) and Tony Cottee (16). The joint second most prolific shirt is the number 17 with 103 goals. It was famously worn by the likes of Tim Cahill (56 goals) and Andrei Kanchelskis (20). Players wearing the number eight shirt also scored 103 goals with the likes of Tomasz Radzinski (25 goals), Louis Saha (21), and Andy Johnson (17) adding to the total.

Everton to offer midfielder James McCarthy new contract
Sept 6 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
23-year-old has proven a major success since arriving from Wigan Athletic last September
Everton FC are eager to finally tie up a new and improved contract for James McCarthy.
The 23-year-old has proven a major success since arriving from Wigan Athletic last September for an initial £13million. The Blues have been keen to reward the midfielder for his progress, but talks have been on hold until the club completed their summer transfer business.
And with deadline day having now passed, discussions are set to move on with the Republic of Ireland international. Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley and John Stones have all penned new deals in recent months with boss Roberto Martinez – who himself signed a new deal in June – seeking to maintain a long-term core to his squad. Meanwhile, both Bryan Oviedo and Arouna Kone have stepped up their rehabilitation from injury by training with the first team.
Martinez has used the international break to edge the long-term absentees nearer a return to action. Kone hasn’t figured for the Blues in almost 11 months following a serious knee injury, while Oviedo suffered a horrific broken leg sustained during the FA Cup win at Stevenage in January that ruled him out of Costa Rica’s World Cup campaign. “It has been great for Bryan Oviedo and Arouna Kone to play a big part in the first-team sessions this week,” said Martinez.
“They have given us some really good signs. Every time they train, they look a little bit closer to full fitness. “It will be fantastic to get Bryan and Arouna fully fit with the first-team group real soon.”
Martinez is determined not to rush the duo’s return, with Oviedo and Kone likely to be back in first-team contention next month. “It is too early for them to be involved (in September),” said the Blues boss. “You are talking about a big block of games, seven games in three weeks.
“We would feel confident if we can replicate the work we are doing in the next international break, and then we’d be confident they will be available for the next block of games.”

Everton FC youngster John Stones is on a fast track for club and country
Sept 7 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Young defender facing biggest week of his career
One is seen as the stuffy old-timer who is stubbornly set in the past.
The other is the forward-thinking young buck with optimism and charisma oozing out of every pore.
Yet this week, Roy Hodgson and Roberto Martinez have shared very similar problems.
And, after agonising over their defensive headaches, they may well be both looking at the same solution. Such is the remarkable rise of 20-year-old defender John Stones that landmarks and milestones have come zipping along at a rate of knots. However – and starting tomorrow night in Basel as England kick-off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Switzerland – Stones could well be beginning the biggest week in his career. England, in the continuing post-mortem of their disastrous World Cup campaign, are in need of reshaping their defence. Stones was on the stand-by list for Brazil but injuries, poor form and international retirements have fast-tracked his promotion into the first-team picture. After three caps and around 120 minutes of game time for the Three Lions, the Blues defender will be asked to help keep Switzerland at bay in a game that England can ill-afford to lose given the lingering apathy towards them. And just over four days later, Stones could be asked to help rescue an under-fire Everton defence – one Martinez says is gripped by “fear”. For a backline that was the Premier League’s third meanest last season, conceding 10 goals in the opening three games of the new campaign amounts to something resembling a crisis.
The Blues conceded late against Leicester City, late against Arsenal and then at all times of the game against Chelsea. Martinez refused to single out individuals in the wake of their 6-3 defeat last weekend but warned that “nobody was guaranteed their place.” The uncomfortable conclusion that many Evertonians have come to is that Phil Jagielka could need to be taken out of the firing line.
And if Wednesday night’s team selection against Norway is anything to go by, then Hodgson looks to concur with such thinking. Manchester United’s Phil Jones played alongside Gary Cahill in the heart of England’s defence against an unadventurous Norway at Wembley while Jagielka was a late replacement in the capital. For the first time in his career, the Blues captain has come into a season on the back of a major international tournament. Talk of his demise is premature – and ultimately rubbish – but there’s little doubt he looks is struggling to recapture his very best form.
Enter Stones. For England, he will play at right-back in the absence of Glen Johnson and a host of injured and lacking alternatives. But for Everton, it looks as though he could be thrust into the heart of a quivering defence. Martinez, for sure, still has some thinking to do ahead of the trip to the Hawthorns and nothing is set in stone although he has certainly hinted at changes.
But is Stones ready to assume such a burden? Is this precociously talented young defender able to shoulder such responsibility? All eyes will be on Everton’s defence on Saturday afternoon. The laid-back Stones is unfazed by anything and will relish the challenge. His grace on the ball is an essential trait of the modern defender and can provide relief and direction. But, as Everton fans will profess, his surfeit of confidence can sometimes be his undoing. Twice in pre-season Stones was caught on the ball and Everton were punished. They are sure to have been moments from which he has learnt, of course, and his performance for England in midweek was composed and steady and thankfully void of those nerve-shredding moments of risk. Martinez yesterday spoke of Stones being a “natural” at right-back and he did not look out of place. But Stones is not an electric-paced attacking full-back in, say, the Seamus Coleman mode and there are sometimes concerns over this slender frame going up against some of the most powerful of attackers. The Everton boss would counter that by rightly pointing to Stones’ deceptive pace and reading of the game. Martinez, if England boss, would have no doubt about picking for the entire qualification campaign.
Hodgson, whether by design or by fault, looks certain to select him for the opening - and most difficult - game, at least.
And does the Blues manager follow suit?
The lingering question over the summer was whether Stones or Jagielka would start alongside Sylvain Distin for Everton. Stones had made 26 appearances last term and with an assurance beyond his years, filled the void left by an injured skipper. Now, the circumstances of his return to central defence are all together different. For Martinez, the decision now is more significant than it was ahead of the Premier League curtain raiser against Leicester.
Is Stones ready?
At this moment, is he even the answer to Everton’s problems?
And does Jagielka need the backing of his boss? Back Martinez to make the right call, of course, but has there been a tougher call to make his reign at Goodison? It’s doubtful.

Carsley: Jagielka is struggling at the minute but don't drop him
Sept 7 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Lee Carsley
1 Comments Dropping Jags is the last thing I’d do
Take Phil Jagielka out of the firing line? No chance.
There’s been a lot of talk the centre-back needs a rest given a disappointing World Cup has been followed by a difficult start to the season with Everton. But dropping Jags is the last thing I’d do.
He’s the captain. The leader. I’d hate to see him come out of the team just because he has had a few below-par performances. I spoke to Jags just before the season started and he was confident of replicating what happened with the Blues last year. He has been tarred with the same brush as many other England players after what happened in Brazil. I’d say there is a bit of mental fatigue with Jags because he hasn’t had much of a break since returning from injury earlier in the year. It may take three or four more games before that changes. But Jags didn’t do a lot of training before the start of the season because he was given longer off because of the World Cup, and he’s not up to speed physically either. I don’t think there’s any World Cup hangover, though. When you play international football, it is easy to put it to the back of your mind once you are back with your club. It is that cut-throat. Playing for the Republic of Ireland, I was always gutted when we lost but once I was back at my club, that was the end of it. You have to be that way. Jags and Sylvain Distin have been getting a lot of stick, but they are still the first choice and strongest partnership in central defence and will get it back together soon enough. John Stones has been touted as coming into the side, but he is still learning his trade and, during pre-season, there were some games where he was guilty of switching off a bit and making mistakes. In fact, I’d point the finger at other areas of the defence. A lot of the problems have come from out wide. You have to stop the crosses.
Opposing wide players are getting too many balls into the box. I know the modern game dictates that we all want full-backs who are very attack-minded. But I like defenders who can defend. Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman have been accused in the past of not being the best in one-on-one confrontations, and I’d want them to be a bit more resilient and begin stopping more crosses.
Transfer deadline day was Cleverley played by Everton Some Everton fans were a bit surprised Roberto Martinez didn’t do more business on transfer deadline day. After all, that’s when the Blues are often at their busiest in the market. But I wouldn’t be too concerned there weren’t any further new arrivals. Martinez, of course, was very keen on bringing in Tom Cleverley, having worked with the youngster while the player was on loan at Wigan Athletic earlier in his career.
The Blues boss knows the strengths and weaknesses of Cleverley, and knows him a lot better than I do. Cleverley is a good player, that is beyond doubt. But I wouldn’t have been able to say exactly where he would have played once Ross Barkley was back fit and Darron Gibson is back up to speed.
There were a few eyebrows raised when, having denied Everton the chance to take Cleverley on loan, Manchester United then let him go on an initial temporary switch to Aston Villa.
That was probably a bit of a hangover from the Fellaini deal, with United frustrated at the way Everton played hardball over the Belgian. There were some suggestions Martinez could bring in another centre-back, but I am glad he resisted the temptation. Every time you sign a new player, you are blocking the potential progress of a youngster. And we have to be careful not to stunt the young players coming through. If it wasn’t for injuries last season, we wouldn’t have seen so much of Barkley or of John Stones. We need to keep faith in our up-and-coming talent. And Martinez is doing that. Bagging win at Hawthorns can kickstart our season West Bromwich Albion are next up for the Blues and, just four games into the season, it is already a big game. We could do with a win. We need to get going and starting building some momentum. Everybody loves the way we have been playing and the way we have been expansive when on the ball. But I’d like to see us nastier in possession, more ruthless, and start shutting down the space more. A clean sheet would be a big bonus as well having conceded so many goals in barely a fortnight. West Brom are one of the clubs I visit quite a bit, and I can tell you they are happy with how Alan Irvine is doing and the players that have been brought in to strengthen the squad. Yes, he has come in for a little bit of criticism because the Baggies haven’t started particularly well. But, having worked with Alan, his coaching ability and the way he conducts himself makes me believe he will be a success. It takes time to implement new ideas, and don’t forget West Brom had a terrible finish to last season and it’s not easy to pick the players up and get them going again. The Everton connection extends to Victor Anichebe and Joleon Lescott. Victor was a good player for Everton but we always had a feeling he could have gone on to be a better player than he actually has done. And Joleon joined us as a Wolves player and left as an England international, so I’m sure he has a lot to thank Everton for.
Delighted for Coventry I’M delighted Coventry are back where they belong.
I was back at my former club just before they went into liquidation a few years ago, and there were literally five people in a room basically keeping the club going day to day.
It goes to show the spirit of the club that they have managed to bounce back.
The fans clearly didn’t want to go to Northampton to watch home games, and they made their feelings known on their return to the Ricoh on Friday night.

Going in search of Everton FC heroes from the 1970s
Sept 7 2014 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
"Witty, warm and entertaining" new book traces the Blues' centenary season
On the opening day of 2014/15, a staggering 68% of the players who kicked off the new English Premier League season were foreign. On the first day of 1977/78 there were none.
Names like Cantello, Pejic and Macari might have sounded exotic, but christian names of Len, Mike and Lou gave away their heritage – English, English and Scottish (albeit of Yugoslav and Italian parentage in the cases of the latter). Then the 1978 World Cup presaged a trickle which became a flood. On the opening day of the 1978/79 season there were three.
Not three per cent. But three footballers. Famously Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa appeared for Spurs at Nottingham Forest, while Arsenal brought on a substitute striker from Australia called John Kosmina. A couple of days later second division Sheffield United snapped up their own Argentinian, Alex Sabella. The Blades board decided they couldn’t afford another youngster who had caught boss Harry Haslam’s eye, a teenager called Diego Maradona. But Birmingham did snap up Alberto Tarantini, Manchester City confirmed their interest in Kazimierz Deyna, Southampton lined up Yugoslav full-back Ivan Golac and Bobby Robson quickly paraded two classy Dutchmen in Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen. English football was never the same again. The 1977/78 season represented a crossroads in English football, and it is an era beautifully, evocatively and warmly brought alive by Brian Viner’s latest book “Looking For The Toffees”. He writes about The Toffees Centenary season. It was the campaign Bob Latchford became the first player to score 30 league goals for six years, it was the season which featured Everton’s first derby success for seven years – and it was also the campaign young Brian enjoyed his first season ticket at Goodison.
Viner reminisces, wittily, warmly and entertainingly – but never sentimentally. And this isn’t just a personal travelogue. Viner goes in search of his heroes – and his interviews are mini masterpieces: warm, engaging and revealing. He clearly still cares about the men he idolised almost 40 years ago, but he is also a good listener, an astute observer and an even better story-teller.
He met Bob Latchford in the car park of an Ellesmere Port pub, in the company of a former category C football hooligan. He called on the homes of Dave Thomas, George Wood and Martin Dobson.
He had conversations with Mike Lyons, Dave Jones and dear old Georgie Telfer.
And he tracked down Neil Robinson, Mike Pejic and even the “lugubrious-looking son of Staffordshire” Gordon Lee. All spoke of an era dramatically different to today. And hearteningly, not one would have swapped their careers for the cash laden careers on offer in the modern age.
Times have changed remarkably since 1977. I lived in Formby then, and recall plucking up the courage to visit Bob Latchford serving behind the counter of his gentleman’s boutique on Piercefield Road. Brian faithfully relates that tale and makes it sound far less terrifying than it actually was.
I still live in Formby now. But today footballers reside behind the walls of huge gated complexes, surrounded by security cameras and patrolled by security guards and are only spotted locally behind the tinted glass of 4x4 vehicles. The cars driven by footballers in 1977 were different.
Martin Dobson – whose wife charmingly still calls him Dobbo – recalled: “Now it’s Ferraris and Bentleys that these boys drive, isn’t it? Well, Duncan McKenzie got a sponsored Skoda and I got a Lada. I know all the jokes – why’s a Lada got a heated rear window . . .? To keep your hands warm while you’re pushing it. But it worked beautifully, did this car – for two weeks. Then the starter motor jammed, so I rang up the garage and a mechanic came out with a hammer. He said ‘I shouldn’t really do this, but it saves all the messing about.’ He smacked the side of the engine block and it started.” But if players’ vehicles have changed, some things remain depressingly the same.
Andy King revealed: “You know, I should be sitting here talking to you now with as many games for Everton as anyone, and England caps too, but I gambled, and that got the better of me. I gambled away my wages, and then I started borrowing against my wages. That’s why I had to leave Everton.
“I should never have gone (to QPR) in a million years. And before (me), it got the better of a great man, Alan Ball. I was told he had to leave Everton because of gambling debts. “No, it’s my one great regret in life, all that. And if I catch a kid now, I’m hard on him. I sit him down and say, “I’ve met more women, drunk more pints and spent more money in the betting shop than you ever will, so don’t think you can pull the wool over my eyes”. “If you drink too much, you can put a bin-bag on and sweat it out. You go to the pub with £100 in your pocket and spend £40 and you’re drunk. But you go into the bookies with £10,000 in your pocket and lose every penny, so for me, that’s the worst of the drugs.’ “It was moving, getting this burst of heartfelt sincerity from a man whose default setting was gag-a-minute chirpiness. I asked him when he had finally managed to kick his own corrosive gamblng habit? “He regarded me solemnly across the table, with just the hint of a twinkle in his blue eyes. “‘Last Wednesday,’ he said.” King may or not have been jesting, but Mike Pejic was deadly serious when he discussed the depression he suffered after injury ended his career.
“I spent two years in a black hole, emotionally,’ he told me,” wrote Brian “‘I had a breakdown, didn’t know where to turn. I wasn’t getting any help from anyone. Then one day the head-mistress at the primary school my kids went to asked me if I’d take the kids for football. I turned up on the first day shaking like a leaf, but I did that for a year, and eventually put a school team together.
‘That got me back into football, and then a friend of mine asked me to help him in his business, so I wound up working Liverpool market three times a week. ‘Gradually, I pieced my life back together. Luckily, I had my PFA pension, and to this day that helps considerably. Without that, I would have gone.’ “I asked him what he meant by that: would have gone where?
“‘Gone. Well, gone.’ “Did he mean he would have harmed himself?” “‘Well, yeah. Gone.’
“Killed himself? “‘Yeah.” That’s a rare moment of darkness in a book which casts constant rays of sunshine on a golden period for Everton. Yes, golden. Because Brian also dispels the myth that Everton, under Gordon Lee – “A lugubrious son of Stafford” – were, well, rubbish.
Everton started the 1978/79 season unbeaten in their first 19 league games. In Gordon Lee’s first full season, 1977/78, they were the division’s top scorers, finishing third behind champions Nottingham Forest – who had improbably been transformed by the force of an outstanding manager’s personality from third place in the Second Division to champions and then, even more impossibly, to European Cup winners. As Brian faithfully quotes from L.P.Hartley “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” They certainly did, but Brian does it rich justice in this captivating chronicle.

Just like Big Dunc: the Everton FC stars who turned from players to coaches after calling time on their playing career
Sept 7 2014 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
With Duncan Ferguson making a name for himself on the training pitch, we look at 11 former teammates who tried their hand at coaching
Duncan Ferguson certainly made his mark as a player for Everton FC - and now he's doing likewise on the training pitch. Promoted by Roberto Martinez this year after impressing while working with Everton's young players, those in the know at Goodison Park say Big Dunc's influence on the Blues' backroom team is growing all the time and he is now a key man in Martinez's set-up at Finch Farm.
Plenty of former Blues players have tried their hand at coaching after retiring from playing - including some of Ferguson's former teammates. In fact, it is possible to put together an entire one-to-11 of players who Ferguson played alongside.
Paul Gerrard
Gerrard spent eight years at Goodison Park after arriving from Oldham in 1996 for a fee of £1.5m. He moved into coaching after returning to Oldham in 2010. He coached at the Latics part-time, while also working for Shrewsbury Town. Eventually he was taken on permanently by Oldham and left the club with Paul Dickov when the Scot was sacked.
Gerrard has since moved to Doncaster Rovers and serves as goalkeeping coach for the League One outfit.
Gary Ablett
Ablett retired in 2001 after a brief spell in the USA with Long Island Roughriders and moved into coaching with Everton's Under 17 team the following year.
He coached at Everton in various roles until 2006 when he did the reverse of his playing career and crossed back over Stanley Park, as he was appointed the manager of Liverpool Reserves. He left Liverpool in 2009 before having a brief spell in charge of Stockport County.
Passed away in January 2012, aged only 46, following a 16-month battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Slaven Bilic
The Croatian defender started his coaching career at former club Hajduk Split, before moving to coach his country's Under 21s for two years. He was then appointed manager of the full team and managed Croatia for six years, leading his country to Euro 2008, beating England home and away along the way, and Euro 2012. He left the post to join Lokomotiv Moscow in 2012 but was sacked after just one season. He's now manager of Turkish outfit Besiktas.
Alan Stubbs
The Kirkby-born centre-back had two spells with the Blues as a player, from 2001-05 and 2006-08. After being forced to retire from the game in 2008 due to a knee injury while with Derby County, Stubbs returned 'home' and joined the coaching staff at Everton. He even interviewed for the vacant manager's role last year, only to lose out to Roberto Martinez.
Stubbs was eventually given his first shot at senior management by Hibernian, in June 2014. Hibs have got off to a slow start, winning just one of their first four matches in the Scottish Championship.
Gary Naysmith
Naysmith, who spent seven years at Goodison Park after signing for the Blues in a £1.7m deal from Hearts. He moved to Huddersfield in 2007 before returning to Scotland with Aberdeen.
Naysmith began coaching last year when he was appointed player-assistant manager of East Fife and eventually was promoted to manager after Willie Aitchison left the club.
Mark Pembridge
The Welsh international spent four years at Everton after joining from Benfica in 1999, making more than 100 appearances for the Blues.
He moved to Fulham in 2003 and retired four years later after suffering a succession of injuries. Pembridge stayed with the West London outfit after his playing career finished, coaching in their academy and eventually becoming Under 15s manager and is now the club's Under 16 coordinator.
Gary Speed
Speed retired from football in 2010 after playing almost 1,000 games as a professional footballer. He moved into coaching immediately with Sheffield United and when Kevin Blackwell was sacked he was appointed the new manager of the Blades.
With just four months of football management experience under his belt, and six wins, Speed was named manager of his country in February 2011 and he impressed during his time in charge of Wales, moving them from 117th in FIFA's rankings to 45th by the end of the year.
The football world was stunned in November 2011 when Speed committed suicide. He was 42.
Scott Gemmill
Scotland midfielder Gemmill played for Everton for five years between 1999 and 2004 before moving to Leicester City. His coaching career got under way at Oxford United under Jim Smith before he signed on as a player/coach of the New Zealand Knights.
Gemmill now works for the Scottish FA, coaching the Under 19s with Billy Stark. He also managed the U17s at the 2014 European U17 Championships.
His dad Archie coached under Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest and also had two seasons as manager of Rotherham United in the 1990s.
Andrei Kanchelskis
The flying winger was a club record signing when he finally completed a drawn-out £5m transfer from Manchester United in 1995.
Once his playing career had finished, he become sporting director of Russian first division outfit FC Nosta Novotroitsk in 2007. Relegation followed and Kanchelskis' next stop was at FC Torpedo Moscow, with him being appointed manager in 2009. Kanchelskis then moved to FC Ufa but was fired in 2012 and replaced by his former Russia teammate Igor Kolyvanov.
Anders Limpar
After a club career which peaked with spells at Everton and Arsenal, the Swedish winger made a brief foray into coaching, starting with youth team at Djurgårdens IF. He also worked as assistant manager with Swedish second division team Sollentuna United, before perusing business interests away from football.
Daniel Amokachi
The man who helped fire the Blues into the 1995 FA Cup final was an occasional strike partner of Ferguson's at Goodison.
Moving into management, he was boss of Nigerian side Nasarawa United and later Emyimba Aba. He has also had spells working with the Nigerian national team and was assistant manager of the Super Eagles at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Aiden McGeady magic gets sloppy Ireland out of jail
Damian Spellman
Sept 7 2014 3 Iriwsh Independent
Aiden McGeady fired the Republic of Ireland to a priceless 2-1 Euro 2016 victory in Georgia as he chose the perfect moment to produce his best form in manager Martin O'Neill's first competitive game.
The Everton winger had given the Republic a 24th-minute lead with the fourth goal of his senior international career on his 70th appearance, but the advantage was short-lived as Tornike Okriashvili levelled with 14 minutes with a superb strike.
But just as it looked as though O'Neill would have to settled for a point, McGeady curled home a 90th-minute winner to give his side the start to the campaign they craved.
Ireland lined up with Aiden McGeady on the left and Walters on the right in the absence of injured winger James McClean, and the Stoke man made an immediate impact.
It was he who ran on to skipper Robbie Keane's pass to deliver a teasing first-minute cross which Kverkvelia had to turn away for a corner at full stretch as the green shirts arrived in force.
The visitors were passing the ball confidently and, a handful of carelessly misplaced passes aside, enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. However, Georgia striker Nikoloz Gelashvili, who had been asked to lead the line unassisted, was working hard to put the Irish rearguard under pressure to give his defenders some respite. McGeady showed wing-back Ucha Lobzhanidze a clean pair of heels with a clever 19th-minute turn, but his cross was headed away by Guram Kashia before Keane could pounce. The Georgians went close twice within seconds as they mounted their first real threat with Gelashvili seeing a rasping drive turned away by Forde before Lobzhanidze only just failed to connect with Kverkvelia's flick-on. But they fell behind with 24 minutes gone when Ireland broke at pace and James McCarthy slid McGeady in to beat keeper Giorgi Loria with aplomb.
O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane both leapt from the bench in celebration as the ball hit the back of the net, hoping their side was on the road to a sixth successive victory over the Georgians.
Ketsbaia's men redoubled their efforts in the immediate aftermath of McGeady's intervention to put the Republic under concerted pressure for the first time, although with little end-product.
But Forde was sent diving anxiously to his left 11 minutes before the break when skipper Jaba Kankava cut inside and dispatched a right-foot shot which was deflected just wide of the far post.
Ireland's respite was only temporary, however, as Georgia levelled with seven minutes of the half remaining when Okriashvili evaded John O'Shea and Stephen Ward on the right and sent a dipping shot over Forde. The Irish found themselves under intense pressure as time ran down and O'Neill would have been the happier of the two managers to hear the half-time whistle.
Georgia keeper Lori did not return for the second half and was replaced by Roin Kvashvadze in the only change made by either manager. The home side resumed where they had left off with Okriashvili embarking on a dangerous 49th-minute run which was eventually snuffed out by a combination of O'Shea and Marc Wilson before he could pull the trigger.
But as the Georgians committed men to attack, they left space for McGeady to exploit, and he did so to good effect seconds later, although without the necessary support to make anything of it.
However, the momentum was very much with Georgia and the Ireland goal came under threat twice within seconds. Robbie Keane was in the right place at the right time to clear Okriashvili's volley after a 52nd-minute corner had been cleared to him, and Forde claimed Jano Ananidze's driven low cross with Gelashvili awaiting its arrival. But McGeady came within inches of restoring the Republic's lead when he curled the ball just wide of Kvashvadze's left post after a well-worked 57th-minute free-kick. The Everton midfielder was enjoying a productive evening and after Keane had uncharacteristically scuffed a volley harmlessly wide, called upon Kvashvadze once again seven minutes later with a swinging effort. But for all the visitors were creating chances, their hosts were enjoying the better of the game as it entered the final 20 minutes with three points still very much up for grabs. That said, McGeady might have restored Ireland's lead with 15 minutes remaining when he got in once again on the edge of the penalty area, but he slashed wildly at the ball and screwed it wide. O'Neill responded by replacing Quinn and Keane with winger Robbie Brady and striker Shane Long as he looked to add firepower ahead of a tense conclusion.
But it was McGeady who delivered once again at the death when he accepted Seamus Coleman's pass and stepped outside his marker to curl a precious winner past Kvashvadze.

O’Neill praises ‘fantastic talent’ McGeady after dream double strike
Everton midfielder applauded back into the dressing room by team-mates in Tbilisi
Sept 7 2014 Irish Times
Aiden McGeady was the hero as the Republic of Ireland launched their Euro 2106 qualifying campaign with a dramatic victory in Georgia.
The Everton winger struck twice, the second of them in the 90th minute, to clinch a 2-1 win at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi and earn the plaudits of both manager Martin O’Neill and skipper Robbie Keane. O’Neill said: “He was the only player on the field that was scoring the goal. He really is a fantastic talent. “He probably thinks at this age he should have been up there with the very finest players. He has that talent and he showed that tonight.” Long-time team-mate Keane was equally effusive after seeing McGeady, who had opened the scoring with 24 minutes gone, snatch the points at the death after turning on the edge of the penalty area and curling a delicious shot past substitute goalkeeper Roin Kvashvadze. Keane said: “If you score a goal like that, you deserve to win the game. If anyone else did that, the top players in the world, you would be talking about it for a long time. “The turn, the touch, the finish – only he could do that. No-one else on that field would have been able to do that.” McGeady, who played under O’Neill during his time as Celtic manager, had scored only three goals in his previous 69 appearances for his country.
His double in Tbilisi in his manager’s first competitive game – he also scored in the 62-year-old’s first friendly against Latvia in November last year – increased his relatively meagre tally significantly, and the second of them proved priceless. McGeady was applauded back into the away dressing room after conducting a series of interviews following the final whistle, and admitted he did not know what to do with himself. He said: “I’d been doing a few interviews outside while the manager was talking to the team about the game. I was a bit awkward when it happened, I didn’t know how to react really. It was nice.” Asked about his decisive strike, he added: “The second goal was all about concentrating on my touch. I had my back to the goal, I just thought I’d try something. It came off for me. “It doesn’t happen very often for me, but thankfully it went in.” McGeady’s 24th-minute strike gave Ireland an early advantage which was cancelled out in spectacular style by Tornike Okriashvili seven minutes before half-time. The game looked to be heading for a draw until the Ireland midfielder span and delivered the denouement to send the small band of travelling supporters into raptures. O’Neill said: “We scored a goal got a goal in front, and we were at our most comfortable when they equalised. It changed the complexion and momentum of the game. There was moments in the second half when it might have been worrying for us, but we’ve seen it through.
“I think there’s improvement in the team – we’ve won away from home, which is terrific – but there’s definitely improvement in the team.” For Georgia boss Temuri Ketsbaia, a sixth successive defeat by Ireland proved hard to accept. He said: “Ireland’s second goal was the only moment of quality in the second half. Perhaps a draw would have been a fair result and left both teams happy.
“Our performance is not what we want to see and we definitely want to see better games and results. We have limitations in the team and in Georgian football in general – that is the reality we have to face. “We cannot fault the players’ effort and they stuck to task for 99 per cent of the time, but Ireland have 25 players who play at the top level with most in the Premier League.”




























September 2014 - Week 1 (1st - 7th)

All News Articles throughout each month.....

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