[Season Diary]

June 2003

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). 

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 June 2003

News Headlines & Features

Franny wants to come home
28 Jun - The media have glommed on to this story giving a boost to Francis Jeffers and his much-rumoured desire to return to Goodison Park, where he believes he could establish a fine on-field partnership with his good off-field mate, Wayne Rooney.  Never go back, is what they say in football; how many Everton fans who were outraged by Jeffers's goal celebration against the Blues [Wasn't he just proving a point? - Ed] could swallow a prodigal return?

Now four Sky games before Christmas
26 Jun - Rooney or not, Everton are featured in only four live TV games on Sky during the first half of the season, with just one pay-per-view game added:
  • v Liverpool (h), Sat 30 Aug
  • v Middlesbrough (a), Sun 21 Sep (PPV)
  • v Southampton (h), Sun 19 Oct
  • v Blackburn (a), Mon 10 Nov

How The League Was Won!
24 Jun - A sneak peek at the upcoming season, courtesy of the vivid imagination of Colm Kavanagh, who's been at the poteen while drafting this marvellous tome.  No detail is spared as the great Everton rollercoaster plunges Blues fans through untold lows and unbelievable highs in a nerve-wracking season that completely fulfills the hype surrounding our 125th anniversary.  Read it and weep.

McLeod rejects 12-month deal
22 Jun - The signs are that Kevin McLeod will leave Everton after he rejected a 12-month contract that demonstrates the limited view from Moyes et al of his future potential at Premiership level.  Having impressed in QPR's unsuccessful bid to climb out of Division 2 via the playoffs, it appears that he would prefer to secure a longer-term deal that promised first-team football.  This will probably be in Division 1, possibly with WBA?

More games to go *live*
20 Jun - New TV packages for the season after next have been announced with bids invited from Sky, BBC, ITV, and whomever.  But many fans will not be happy about more akward kick-off times (1pm and 5pm on Saturdays) in addition to the now established Sunday (4pm) and Monday (8pm) slots.  The new packages go into effect for August 2004.

Away to the Arsenal
19 Jun - Everton will open the new season with a trip to Highbury on 16 August. Fulham at home was the widely rumoured opener but this is actually Everton's first home game the following week. The Goodison derby game comes early, on 30 August, with the return at Anfield coming at the end of January.

Everton de Chile top the league
17 Jun - Everton's counterparts in Viña del Mar, Chile, are top of the Chilean B Division, unbeaten after 10 games in the first half of the season.  Promotion to the top flight is obviously the prime objective after the Club has languished in the B Division for the last few seasons.

Wright injury more serious
16 Jun - It seems that Richard Wright's injury is a bit more serious than first reported; he apparently fell from a ladder and damaged his shoulder, which will now need to be strapped for six to eight weeks.  Wright will almost certainly miss most of the pre-season training and could be sildelined for the first few games of the season.

An unlikely Hampden Hero
15 Jun - In the Sunday Mail, journalist Rob Maclean sings the praises of "Scotland's biggest on-field asset", none other than Gary Naysmith.  Against Germany, Berti Voigts played the Everton star at left-back, in contrast to the midfiled role favoured for him by David Moyes, but the lad "looked a class act ... His performance was quiet and understated."

No imminent signings
13 Jun - It's Official! Nowt happening at Goodison Park with regard to transfers until July at the earliest.  So, despite us pushing the Rumour Mill to the limit these past few weeks with every crack-brained piece of nonsense we could find in the Internet media, those of you who thirst for the first breathtaking news of the next fabulous new signing will just have to chill.  It ain't gonna happen.  That's what Mr Moyes says.  And he should know!

A moving tribute to Colin Harvey
12 Jun - Over on the Bluekipper website, Mickey Blue Eyes has written an absolutely superb tribute to Colin Harvey, full of personal recollections and an intense perception of the greatness that was Colin Harvey, a player who epitomised the last class in the School of Science under the exceptional managemnt of Harry Catterick era.

Disappointment for Rooney
11 Jun - Wayne Rooney played up-front with Owen until the 58th minute of the vital Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia at the Riverside tonight — only his second start in a full England shirt.  But it was not a good performance from The Boy, who was getting little service up front and having to come deep.  He picked up a knock on his knee (the same one with earlier ligament damage?) soon after the restart, coming off just minutes before Owen won and converted an equalizing penalty, then took a superb header to give England the lead.

Colin Harvey to leave Everton
10 Jun - Three hip-replacement operations have finally taken their toll and Colin Harvey, the Under-19 Academy boss, is about to call an end to his career with Everton. With his testamonial match against Parma coming up on 10 August, he says "it's as nice a time to go as any". A member of what many consider Everton's all time best midfield of Harvey-Kendall-Ball, he says "It's my time as a player that I'll treasure more than anything else. To be an Everton supporter and go on to play almost 400 games for the first team means more to me than anything and that's what's given me the biggest satisfaction".

Rooney was a bit wild
8 Jun - Serbian defender Nenad Djordjevic reckons Wayne Rooney was a bit wild and reckless when he came on for the second half last week, but the England manager is very clear about what Wayne Rooney can do for the England team, and is expected to start the youngster alongside Michael Owen in Wednesday's Euro 2004 Qualifier against Slovakia. This second article in The People makes some interesting points about Rooney's development, including something about a plate in his wrist!

Everton proposal accepted
6 Jun - Everton's proposal to include more flexibility in the payment of transfer fees between Premiership clubs has been accepted.  Clubs will now have the option of agreeing deals that include payment plans extending over the life of the player's contract, bringing the Premiership into line with the continent.
Will it have any effect on the number of foreign players in the Premiership? Vote Now.

Shares mean much more than money
5 Jun - Steve Luengo-Jones responds to yesterday's article by Paul Holmes, our Devil's Advocate.  One of the drawbacks of publishing provocative items from Paul is that he sometimes mixes into his analyses what look like facts but turn out to be suppositions or, worse, factual inaccuracies.  The article we published yesterday strongly implied that Everton Directors draw unspecified amounts in salary for their troubles.  We understand that this is completely false.  Not one of the Club's directors is salaried; they do not claim one penny between them — they do not even claim expenses.

More Questions than Answers
4 Jun - Following on from the success of the Reform Group in revitalizing Everton Shareholders Association on Monday, Paul Holmes, our Devil's Advocate, expresses some reservations about buying Everton shares as an investment — especially when considering the role now played by True Blue Holdings, Bill Kenwright's independent company that helped him secure the purchase of Peter Johnson's majority stake three years ago.

Gregg going it alone at the Dock
3 Jun - Paul Gregg, the co-owner of Everton Football Club alongside Bill Kenwright and the richest of the current Board of Directors, is reportedly putting together a new proposal for developing an arena and conference center at the Kings Dock without Everton's involvement after the club's bid for the prestigious site officially collapsed in February. Former Goodison director and major opponent of Everton's Kings Waterfront plan Desmond Pitcher is believed to be part of Gregg's new bid.

Yobo: a key signing
3 Jun - Everton fan Sean Watson explains why he sees the recent full transfer of Joseph Yobo as a critical step in the team-building process David Moyes has started.  There's no doubt that Yobo is class, and can do the business for us, provided he does not succumb to the same stresses that limited the success of other Everton players form West Africa...

Academy Clearout
1 Jun - The end of May usually sees a number of Everton's Youth Academy and Reserves players released following a determination by the staff that they are unlikely to make the grade in Premiership football.  This year, George Pilkington, who featured in 20 Reserves games last season, has been let go, along with five Acedemy players who also racked up appearances for the Reserves or Under-19s: Steven Beck, David Carney, Martin Crowder, Franklyn Colbeck, and Robert Southern.


Snippets & Rumours

Reserves move to Southport
30 Jun - Everton Reserves have moved out of the Halton Stadium in Widnes due to pitch problems, and will now play their 'home' games at Haig Avenue in Southport.

Looking after Wayne
29 Jun - Sven Goran Eriksson rather states the obvious in this News of the World  story.

Nyarko told to turn up for training
26 Jun - It will be interesting to see how Alex Nyarko reponds to life back at Bellefield... assuming he will actually return on 3 July.

Sheeds gets the boot as well
26 Jun - Former Everton great Kevin Sheedy has followed Mike Newell out the door at Hartlepool United after the club relieved of his assistant manager duties.

Goodison to host England U-21s
24 Jun - Goodison Park will host an international fixture for the first time since 1973 (not the 1966 World Cup, as is stated erroneously in this story) when England U-21s take on Portugal on 9th September.

Pilkington joins Port Vale
24 Jun - After being released by Everton last month, George Pilkington has joined Port Vale.

Jevons payments causing problems
24 Jun - It's a nice idea, in theory, to get appearance-related payments for ex-Everton players at their new clubs... unless that prevents them from being picked!

Live TV for Rangers game?
24 Jun - Everton's pre-season game against Rangers could well be carried live by the Irish satellite channel, Setanta, who also transmit Old Firm games to Europe and North America.

The new Rooney?
23 Jun - Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Blackburn among others want him but he's a mad Blue and Everton are believed to be in pole position to secure the schoolboy contract of 11 year-old Adam Pepper who is, somewhat ridiculously, already valued at £5m!

Nigeria make the finals...
23 Jun - ... of the African Nations Cup, which means that Joseph Yobo could miss a few key Everton matches in the early weeks of 2004.

Gazza a no-show in China
21 Jun - Relegation-threatened Chinese Second Division club Gansu Tianma are threatening legal action if an AWOL Paul Gascoigne doesn't return to duty immediately. The troubled star took leave to attend an alcohol rehab centre in the US in April.

Everton kid in England U-17 squad
21 Jun - Sean Wright, who played a number of games for Everton youth teams last season, will provide some interest for Everton fans watching the upcoming 4 nations Under-17 tournament next month on Sky Sports.

Amo now a manager
18 Jun - Daniel Amokachi, FA Cup winner with Everton in 1995, has succumbed to a troublesome knee injury and taken the role of manager for the Nigerian U-23 side.

Preki — still going strong
17 Jun - One-time Everton player Preki is still going strong for Kansas City Wizards in MLS, where he leads the scoring ranks on the eve of his 40th birthday.

Rooney gets a month off
12 Jun - Wayne Rooney, along with the other internationals in the Everton squad, will get a full month off from now until he returns to Bellefied a week after the other players for pre-season training in July.

Everton get 'Community Mark' award
12 Jun - Everton have received recognition for their 'Football in the Community' programme. The 'Community Mark' award was presented by Business in the Community, whose patron is the Prince of Wales.

Gravesen & Carsley in form
11 Jun - Both Lee Carsley and Thomas Gravesen performed well for Ireland and Denmark respectively, Gravesen scoring against Luxembourg.

O'Hanlon on International duty
11 Jun - Sean O'Hanlon has traveled to France with the England U-20 squad for this year's Toulon Tournament.

King Colin
11 Jun - Len Capeling pays a glowing tribute to retiring legend Colin Harvey in the Daily Post today.  He says, "Every Evertonian worthy of the name will move heaven and earth to salute him at his Goodison testimonial on August 10".  We certainly hope so.

Rooney not one-dimensional
10 Jun - Over-the-top adulation of Rooney as England's (and Sven's) massive hope for the future, from Arsenal columnist Myles Palmer.

Clarke in England U-21 win
10 Jun - Peter Clarke was a key member of the England U-21 team that beat Slovakia 2-0 to maintain their challenge on group leaders Turkey.

Everton hold season-ticket sales
9 Jun - With 24,000 season tickets sold for next season, Everton are putting new applications on a waiting list until 21 June, with the intention of capping them at 27,000.

Mad Dog good for Denmark again
8 Jun - Tommy Gravesen was again in fine form for Denmark, playing an important role in their 1-0 win over Norway.  So why can't he do it for Everton every week?

Naysmith in for Scotland
7 Jun - Gary Naysmith played at left-back for Scotland in a good result for them, drawing 1-1 at home to Germany in their Euro 2004 qualifier.

Pre-season friendlies confirmed
5 Jun - The official website has listed all the pre-season friendlies for next season. After a short trip to Austria, matches in Scotland, including the first against Rangers for six years, await the first team squad.

More accolades for Moyes
5 Jun - David Moyes was voted Manager of the Year by SkyTV Viewers and a panel of pundits that included George Best and Charlie Nicholas. Said the latter, "He's got the best out of a fairly average team".

Club hires new Commercial Manager
4 Jun - Former New Brighton Director of Rugby Alastair Saverimutto has been appointed as Everton's new Commercial Manager.

Hibbert's hernia
4 Jun - Tony Hibbert has undergone a second hernia operation. Everton nevertheless expect him to be ready to begin pre-season training in July.

Reserves ditch Halton Stadium
4 Jun - Everton Reserves will no longer be playing their home games at the Halton Stadium in Widnes following criticism of the condition of the playing surface. Southport's Haig Avenue has been suggested as a potential alternative.

Wayne in form for England
3 Jun - Wayne Rooney performed well enough as he came on to play the second half for England against Serbia & Montenegro tonight.

Shareholders shakeout
3 Jun - At an action-packed Annual General Meeting last night, the old guard of the Everton Shareholders Assocation were ousted in a coup led by now-Chairman John Sinnot and now-Vice Chairman Steve Allinson. At the BlueKipper website, Mickey Blue Eyes gives his personal view of the night's events

Ferguson gets 3 match ban
3 Jun - Duncan Ferguson has received a three-match ban for his stray elbow on Joey Gudjonsson in the final game of last season against Aston Villa. The ban will take effect from the beginning of next season.

Transfers round the slow bend
2 Jun - Everton's predicament of high wages, and a new proposal (to be made at the forthcoming Premier League annual meeting) of paying for transfer fees over the lifespan of a player's contract, get mentioned in this sobering look at the inactivity in the transfer market. This is one for the players to read!

Captain Yobo scores
2 Jun - Joseph Yobo captained Nigeria's Super Eagles and scored one of their goals in the 3-0 defeat of Cameroon on Sunday. The result meant Nigeria also won the annual LG Cup tournament.

Li Tie deal no clearer or nearer
2 Jun - Quite a few websites are posting the same story about the deal that David Moyes just can't seem to clinch. Li Tie's Chinese team want more money. Welcome to the club!

Rooney's no-go bar
1 Jun - Image rights are big money these days and it comes as no surprise that the Rooney family have taken umbrage to publican Ken Speed naming a bar after Wayne and plastering the wall with Rooney memorabilia.

Like a house on fire
1 Jun - Steven Gerrard tells all about how well he gets on with Wayne Rooney at the England get-togethers and how they became the best of friends. He also says of Wayne "He's not as good as people think he is ... he's better".