[Season Diary]

August 2002

If it happened and it was Everton-related, it's right here in the comprehensive Season Diary.
Items are in reverse chronological order (more recent first). Upcoming events are in grey.

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 August 2002

News Headlines & Features

Misery at Maine Road for Moyes
31 Aug - The size of the task of rebuilding at Goodison that faces David Moyes hit home today as Everton failed miserably to claw back any points from newly-promoted Manchester City despite playing against 10 men for over an hour.  Nicolas Ankela scored twice in three first-half minutes as City dominated, but when Sean Wright Phillips fouled Gary Naysmith in the area, was sent off and David Unsworth scored from the spot, the Blues looked to be in with a chance.  However, despite having all the second-half possession, Moyes's men were poor in the final third and allowed Anelka to notch his hat-trick late on.  Guy McEvoy was there and sent in this report.

Kings Dock hits the skids
30 Aug - The deafening silence about the Kings Dock project over recent months has been shattered by "news" that funding for the project may have hit some problems.  We were confidently told that Everton's £30M investment portion was "ring-fenced" but it appears that this may not be the case, with Liverpool Council failing to give Everton planning assuarances over the future use of Goodison Park.  Other reports are focussing on the role of Paul Gregg, who Liverpool Vision have asked to guarantee the sum.  The talk is of Gregg using the uncertainty over funding to precipitate a power struggle within the Everton Board... Ho hum.

10-man Everton save it at the death
28 Aug - A last-gasp goal by David Unsworth earned Everton a draw and preserved their unbeaten start to the season after Alan Stubbs had received an automatic red card in the 48th minute and Stern John had scored for Birmingham from the resulting penalty.  After both sides had hit the woodwork in the first half, Everton started brightly in the second but Thomas Gravesen's suicidal backpass sent John away and Stubbs hauled him down in the area.  With the seconds of stoppage time ticking away, though, David Unsworth's shot ricocheted off the post and Kenny Cunningham and in to make it 1-1.
Reports from Steve Bickerton and Rob Burns

Redemption for Wright
24 Aug - Kevin Campbell may have become the first Everton player to score a winning goal at the Stadium of Light but all the talk will be of Richard Wright whose second-half save from a Kevin Phillips penalty earned the Blues' first win of the new season.  After the hosts had made all the early running, Tomasz Radzinski finished a fine Everton move by setting up Kevin Campbell to slide in and make it 1-0 after 27'.  In the 2nd half, Wright embarrassingly fumbled the ball into the net but, mercifully, the referee disallowed it.  Then he pushed substitute Niall Quinn over in the box, the official awarded a penalty but the Everton Number 1 pulled off a wonder save to preserve the Blues' advantage.  Report from Guy McEvoy

Linderoth rejects quit claims
23 Aug - Swedish international midfielder Tobias Linderoth has dimissed suggestions attributed to him by a Swedish newspaper that he will quit Everton if he does not start getting regular first-team action. The 23 year-old admits that he was interviewed by the publication in question, but insists that his comments were taken out of context. He held clear-the-air talks with with David Moyes this morning and his manager is downplaying the situation.

A different take on the Johnson era
22 Aug - The persona of Peter Johnson is loathed and despised by many Evertonians… but did the suffering eveyone went through in that painful period actually play a critical role in ensuring that Everton emerged on a much more realistic financial basis? Are we not in a far better position than many other clubs now the screws are being turned? That's what Everton fan David Flynn believes.

In defence of a hero
20 Aug - In response to a recent piece by Colm Kavanagh, Ted Neeson comes to the defence of Duncan Ferguson, a hero of the 1990s who epitomised what it meant to be an Evertonian during those mostly dismal years… While we should never belittle the achievements of our past heroes, Ted's eloquent words fail to address the more difficult question of what Dunc the Captain is doing for us now.

In support of Kevin Campbell
19 Aug - Over at the Sport Network website, Chris Kirwan provides regular commentary on Everton matters. In this piece, he comes to the defence of beleaguered striker Kevin Campbell, whose style of play is not to the linking of all Evertonians.

Radzinski salvages opening-day draw
17 Aug - A wonderful goal by Tomasz Radzinski rescued a point for Everton after the opening-day celebrations for the club's 100th Top Flight Season were in danger of ruined by nemesis Les Ferdinand. The man who always scores against Everton put the visitors 2-1 up almost as soon as he had come on as a substitute but Radzinski equalised with 9 minutes to go. Wayne Rooney started in a three-man attack alongside Campbell and Radzinski and repaid the manager's faith by laying the ball off for Mark Pembridge who smacked home the first goal of the season after half an hour. Spurs grew in confidence in the 2nd half, though, and Matthew Etherington levelled on the hour mark.

Duncan: Our Hero?
15 Aug - While the club seeks to wind us up into a frenzy over celebrations of our 100-years (sic — it's 100 seasons!) in top-flight football, Colm Kavanagh brings us down to earth with this critique of Duncan, Our Hero.  Is David Moyes's decision to make him captain a final test to inspire him to recover that faded greatness he showed us oh so briefly?

The Real New Dawn?
14 Aug - David Moyes's first full season in charge, the emergence of a possible Everton legend in Wayne Rooney, pace at the back with Joe Yobo and a touch of Brazilian flair with Rodrigo… 2002/2003 promises to be an exciting season as Everton look to finally break the shackles that have kept them rooted in the wrong half of the Premiership for 6 years. We take a look at the Blues' prospects for the new campaign in our annual Season Preview.

This could be Jeffers's season
13 Aug - So says Arséne Wenger about his glass-ankled striker, who is now in line to play for Arsenal Reserves in 10 days time as he struggles to achieve full fitness for the Gunners and repay some of that £10M transfer tally that may one day find it's way into the Goodison coffers.  But you can't help wondering about the Arséne's comments after his mixed messages about Richard Wright...

Bill's bounty brews bad blood
11 Aug - Bill Kenwright is fuming at the implication that his recent £200k donation to the Labour Party could be construed to in any way be an attempt to buy power and curry influence with the key decision-makers who will need to sign off on the use of Government money to partially finance the proposed Kings Waterfront project and its new Everton Stadium.  An MEP on the EU funding committee says the money must be returned to Kenwright.

Everton 0 - 1 Athletic Bilbao
10 Aug - The Goodison curtain-raiser celebrates David Usworth's stalwart service to his beloved Everton over the years, and kicks off the 100-season celebrations in fine style, despite the pouring rain.  A disappointing encounter saw Everton create chances but fail to convert, with Alexandersson possibly the most guilty.  Then Bilbao scored on the stroke of half-time.  The usual slew of subs disrupted the flow in the second half with the game petering to an uninspiring end... and now we are ready to take on the Premiership!  Read the Match Report form Steve Bickerton.

Long road to recovery
9 Aug - An opinion about the demise of Joe Royle that is sadly not shared by many Evertonians is expressed by David Unsworth in the Daily Post: "The club really paid the biggest price.  It lost Willie and Joe and the majority of that team, who they were fantastic towards.  They were top drawer and it has taken a long time to get a partnership back that can compete at the level they were at at the time."  And that contains a strong indirect condemnation of the dire Walter Smith era...

We do this for every game
7 Aug - So said a Brussels policeman when our reporter from the friendly with Anderlecht, Steve Bickerton, asked him about the water cannons and CS gas being used on Everton's notoriously peaceful supporters after last night's game.  From the accounts we have received so far there was less bedlam in Belgium than police heavy-handedness that appears to be routine for Anderlecht home games.  Apart from more dispicable racial abuse and jibes about the Nazi occupation from some, the Blues supporters sound as though they behaved themselves.  Read Steve's thorough account of the day.

Blues crash in Belgium
6 Aug - After struggling over ticket allocations, Everton played Anderlecht tonight in their penultimate pre-season friendly, with David Moyes selecting a team line-up closer to the one he wants for starting the season.  The three R's — Rodrigo, Radzinski, and Rooney — got some time up front but none of them could find the net.  Everton went behind in the first half to a de Bilde penalty after Naysmith was accused of handball.  Then Zane scored the second near the end to secure the win for the Belgians.
Report from Steve Milne

Canter at the Racecourse
3 Aug - In the seventh pre-season match for the first-team squad, Radzinski and Rodrigo were on target for Everton as David Moyes indulged in a little squad rotation against Wrexham at The Racecourse.  Li Tie and Lie WeiFeng appeared for the second half and made some nice touches.  Rooney appeared for the last quarter, but yet again failed to score.  Reports from Guy McEvoy and Steve Milne.

New Squad Numbers
1 Aug - Well… some of them are new.  Most players from last season keep the same numebrs with the exception of Paul Gerrard, who slides from 1 to 35!  Nice to see a significant number of the fringe/reserves players getting in the squad from the start, especially Leon Osman; another sea change from the dark days of the Walter Smith era.  Still a couple of spots left open in the middle order — possibly being saved for two of the three trialists, Loumboutis, Said and Daley?



Snippets & Rumours

Everton say No to Moreno
31 Aug - It was always unlikely that Everton would take on Moreno Torichelli, and his week-long trial ended as the transfer window closed; he has now returned home to Italy.

Kan-Kan goes to Southampton
31 Aug - Andrei Kanchelskis, who had his best-ever season in British football with Everton, has moved on to join Southampton after being released by Glasgow Rangers.

Blomqvist to Charlton
30 Aug - As the new transfer window rapidly closes, Charlton have completed the signing of Jesper Blomqvist, who was released from Everton at the end of last season.

Unsworth claiming dramatic equaliser
29 Aug - David Unsworth is staking his claim to the injury-time equaliser against Birmingham until the FA says otherwise. The ball took deflections off Jeff Kenna, the post and Kenny Cunningham on its way into the net but Rhino says it's his.

Duo extend Blackpool stay
28 Aug - Blackpool will have Everton reserve duo Peter Clark and Kevin Southern at their service for another 3 months after Steve McMahon extended the term of their loan.

Toriccelli coming on Trial?
26 Aug - In a surprising move, Everton are planning to take 32-year-old Moreno Torricelli, the highly accomplished Fiorentina defender, on trial until the end of the week — when the transfer window slams shut.

Wright a doubt for Brum game
26 Aug - Richard Wright sustained a badly bruised arm in the early challenge from Gavin McCann on Sautrday, and is now a major doubt for Everton's midweek game against Birmingham City — making Wrighty's amazing penalty save even more heroic!

Everton Ladies crash again
25 Aug - The Everton Ladies team fell to their second defeat of the season against the professional ladies of Fulham, who ran out 3-0 winners today and now top the Ladies league.

China's answer to Beckham
24 Aug - In an interview with The Guardian, Li Tie describes his cult status in his home country and the passion the Chinese have for football and, now, for Everton.  He estimates about a billion people will be watching today's game in Sunderland!

UEFA site gets Rooney fever
23 Aug - Everton are again featured on the Uefa.com website; this time they are turning the spotlight on Wayne Rooney...

Blues must wait for Yobo debut
22 Aug - Following a frustratingly slow recovery from heavy bruising to his fibula sustained in pre-season, Everton have announced that Joe Yobo is unlikely to be fit in time for Saturday's trip to Sunderland.

Ferguson fitness update
21 Aug - Duncan Ferguson has returned to light training under the influence of pain-killing injections on his troublesome back problem, which David Moyes believes is nothing more than an injury that needs to be cured… and that will take until at least the middle of next month!

Reserves see off Owls
20 Aug - Kevin McLeod — who was so impressive in Everton's pre-season build-up — scored the only goal as the Reserves (including Unsworth, Yobo and Rodrigo) beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 in the FA Premier Reserve League (Northern Section).

Amoruso link
19 Aug - Both Channel 4's Football Italia website and Planet Football have suggested that David Moyes may be looking to bring Perugia striker Nicola Amoruso in on loan for a year.

Past historic, future perfect
17 Aug - A nice article recalling Everton's past exploits, the celebrations for our landmark 100th Top Flight Season, and the groundwork being laid for the future is featured on the UEFA website this week.

Moyes expects high standards from Wright
17 Aug - David Moyes had no scruples telling Richard Wright that he should have done better on both of Tottenham's goals that denied the Blues an opening-day win.

The Reason
16 Aug - From The People's Forum, Preno's excellent post succinctly sums up The Reason we Go to The Game!

Moyes the Master
16 Aug - Can you ever tire of reading the words uttered by David Moyes?  Everton truly have found a gem of a manager who is determined to more than do the Club proud.  In this interview in the Daily Post, he sets out his stall as a manager intent on winning — and making sure the players are fully on board.

Flavour of the Moment
16 Aug - The Echo reports that Everton have over-taken Manchester United and Liverpool as the favourite team in China as a result of the sponsorship deal with Kejian and the arrival of the two Lis.

Striking the balance
15 Aug - David Moyes seems to understand the need for Everton fans to strike the right balance between rampant enthusiasm and cautious optimism as the new season gets ready for the off.  He knows what needs to be done, and he knows it can't be done overnight; he hopes the fans understand this and don't expect too much too soon...

Cause for optimism
15 Aug - More good press in the broadsheets with this article by William Johnson in The Telegraph, as Everton's 100-season achievement receives wider acknowledgment as we move nearer to Saturday's big kick-off.

Yobo & Li Tie in the frame
14 Aug - Both Joseph Yobo and Li Tie played in a behind-closed-doors practice game against Burnley yesterday, and may therefore appear in the starting line-up against Spurs on Saturday — according to Andy Hunter of the Daily Post.

Clarke on target for Blackpool
13 Aug - Peter Clarke scored two of Blackpool's goals in their 5-2 hammering of Luton on Tuesday night.  The Everton youngster played in his second game for the club alongside Keith Southern, who is also on a month's loan.

Duncan out for a month
13 Aug - Everton's team captain could be at least a month away from competing as he struggles through pain-killing injections to get 100% fit and conquer his back problems.  Since Big Dunc has never been 100% fit, does this mean he has played his last game for Everton?

Weir backs the Li's
13 Aug - David Weir has come out in support of giving Li Tie and Li Weifeng plenty of encouragement and a decent chance to show Everton fans what they can do on the field.

Moving in the right direction
13 Aug - One of our readers came across this article in the August/September issue of Football & Stadium Management, featuring an interview with Goodison Groundsman, Bob Lennon.  Page 2

Appearance Stats
12 Aug - Our summary table listing players' appearance and goal stats for the pre-season friendlies will be available until the end of the week, for those who are interested.  Who was the only player to feature in all nine senior matches?

Season Preview
11 Aug - In The Observer, Ian Whittell presents a very balanced and moderately up-beat preview of Everton's 100th season of top-flight football.

Injury list grows…
9 Aug - It's the usual story with injuries as Everton prepare to celebrate the dedication and commitment of David Unsworth with his testimonial against Athletic Bilbao tomorrow. Stubbs now joins Yobo, Chadwick, Ferguson and Campbell on the treatment table.

Ball out for a year
7 Aug - Michael Ball is unlikely to play a competitive match for Rangers throughout the whole of 2002 after undergoing a second operation on his troublesome knee at the hands of a specialist in the US.  The implications of this for Everton are a continuing shortfall in payment of the full £6.5M transfer fee, which the club is now unlikely to see.

Cut-price Barmby makes Leeds move
7 Aug - Reviled badge-kissing turncoat Nick Barmby's adventure with the club "he always wanted to play for" is over as he is on the verge of making a £2.75m switch from the Dark Side to Leeds United. He still hasn't played against Everton at Goodison since his controversial departure for Liverpool two years ago.

Police precipitate fan trouble
7 Aug - Disappointingly, clashes involving Everton fans in the streets before and after the Anderlecht game marred the visit to Anderlecht that nearly didn't happen because of the local police's refusal to allow traveling support.  A club statement on the incidents is expected soon.

Gazza: the real reasons
6 Aug - Why didn't DC United go for Gazza?  Coach Ray Hudson explains that, with just eight games left in the MSL this season and the infamous US Immigration and Naturalization Service to deal with, it just wasn't worth it.  (From 2 Aug)

Labour's biggest benifactor
6 Aug - Bill Kenwright heads the list of political contributions over the last three months, with a massive £200,000 gift to the strained coffers of the Labour party, which is £4M to £5M in the red.

Youngsters go out on loan
6 Aug - Two of the younger graduates of Everton's youth programme have gone out on a month's loan to Blackpool.  This should give them some decent competitive match practise in the Second Division, while David Moyes beds in his new foreign stars.

Everton will bring Premiership to China
6 Aug - Our Hong Kong correspondent, HK Dave, reports on a Chinese news article that predicts the presence of the two Lis at Goodison Park will help drive interest in English football in the world's most populous country.

New move in shirt sponsorship
5 Aug - Some dubious and rather mixed up commentary on Everton's deal with Chinese mobile phone manufacturer, Kejian, from the business section of CNN.

Blues off to Belgium
5 Aug - The Everton squad for tomorrow's game at Anderlecht includes Scot Gemmill but the Li's (who do not have visas for Belgium) are left behind, as is Paul Gerrard and most of the junior squad members.  The pre-season injury list is now headed by Ferguson and Yobo, with Chadwick and Pistone close behind...

Singing the Blues
4 Aug - Today, 100 Everton fans got to help some of the players and the senior management at Goodison record a special CD with two songs celebrating the achievement of 100 season in top-flight football.  Special words have been set to two old standards, O come all ye faithful, and Home on the Range...  The CD, which sounds better than it sounds(!), goes on sale next week.

More injury woes
2 Aug - Nick Chadwick's groin strain is causing concern, along with Ferguson's latest mystery ailment, a back problem, and Scott Gemmill's stomach strain.  No mention of Joe-Max Moore who is rumoured to still be with the club…  But the Chinese contingent of Li's has arrived and is expected to be on show at Wrexham tomorrow.

Waggy sacked by Tranmere
2 Aug - In a bizarre move from Lorraine Rodgers, the Tranmere boss, Dave Watson was sacked as manager after the team lost a pre-season friendly 7-0 at home to Birmingham City.

Moyes widens the pitch
1 Aug - David Moyes has taken steps to redress a move by Walter Smith that came to epitomize his negative tactics when he narrowed the hallowed Goodison Pitch for 78 to 70 yards — the minimum allowed.  In an interesting compromise, David Moyes is having the pitch widened... but only to 74 yards.

Yobo signs improve
1 Aug - A second scan on Joseph Yobo's sore ankle has failed to reveal any hairline fracture of the bone… so it must be time for those miraculous painkilling injections to get him fit for the new season! 

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