<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ToffeeWeb Season Diary, March 2003

[Season Diary]

March 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). 

Navigate to previous months and seasons using the links directly below:

 March 2003

News Headlines & Features

D-Day for the Dock
31 Mar - The bell is likely to make one final toll for the Kings Dock today before the fat lady finally sings as the unofficially extended deadline for Everton to come up with the cash expires.  Everton are expected to prove to Liverpool Vision that they have at long last scraped together the £30M required two years ago...  But time has moved on and the ante has been raised to £65M — Everton will say they have lined up investors to cover that too.  But, with Liverpool Vision already moving ahead with an alternative project, the chances of them back-tracking surely must be remote.

Osman on target again
28 Mar - Steve Milne watched Leon Osman make yet another statement of his abilities, producing an impressive performance in midfield and getting forward to score the only goal of a hard-fought reserves game at Manchester City on Friday evening.  Osman has now scored seven goals in the last seven reserves matches, starting off with a memorable hat-trick at Man Utd.  But David Moyes seems adamant that Osman is not up to Premiership standard — despite the continuing paucity of Everton's toothless and uncreative midfield.  Go 'ed, Moysey: give the lad a chance!

The King is on life support
27 Mar - Everton announced this evening that the club expect to have the funds in place to fulfil their financial obligation for the Kings Waterfront project by 31st March, the final deadline that Bill Kenwright claims Liverpool Vision verbally agreed to. However, the regeneration agency insist that while they will look at any Everton proposal again, nothing has changed since their previous announcement that they will be pushing on with their plan for an entertainment and conference arena at the riverside site.

Blackburn our biggest threat?
27 Mar - Just seven games left...  Are Evertonians really spending their time churning through what remains of the once copyrighted fixture list and mentally assigning results before a ball is kicked?  Yep: Paul Traill is one fan who has allowed his mystic powers to run riot and his deliberations suggest that our hoped-for Uefa Cup slot will come under severe threat from Blackburn Rovers, who have a much easier run-in.  Who will save us? ... er, the Big Yin???
Counterpoint from Robin Cannon and Rob Bennett.

The Millstone Around Our Neck
26 Mar - With Alex Nyarko causing problems wherever he goes, you wonder if he'll ever find a club to take him on.  Garry (he has asked his surname to be withheld), ponders the options that Everton have as they try to resolve a situation that has been hanging around for the best part of two years.  Can he be rehabilitated back into the Goodison setup?

Biased refs must be stopped
25 Mar - The pet hate of all football fans is biased referees.  Everyone has their own endless list of incidents over the years where they will swear blind the referee has deliberately and maliciously adjudicated against their team.  It's enough to make your blood boil, and Sunday's incident with the ref's treatment of Duncan Ferguson has pushed fan Sean Watson to call for decisive action... fat chance!
[Are we treated unfairly by the refs? Vote here.]

Where to now?
25 Mar - A quick trip to North London has given Colm Kavanagh the nudge to think about where this great club of ours is going next.  The chances of Everton ever seeing anything at Kings Dock have now shrunk to the size of Duncan Ferguson's nicotine patches, but the prospect of some of the alternatives that will now be proposed is already making Arklow Man nervous as he contemplates what would be best for a club of our stature and history...

Rooney strike not enough
23 Mar - Arsenal faltering again?  Well, they weren't all that good, to be honest, but Everton weren't good enough to really break them down either.  A poor start by Everton saw Cygan nod home an easy goal from a corner in the 8th minute, and it was not until the half-hour mark that Everton had an attempt on goal.  But they finished the first half strongly and got the reward into the seccond when Rooney scored a beauty.  Arsenal then got lucky with another soft goal and Everton lacked the guile to pull it back again, with Ferguson coming on but not really being all that effective.  Down into 6th and below Liverpool.  How painful is that?

Rooney not the only Blue gem
20 Mar - Nick Armitage wants to place on record some of the qualities that had Tony Hibbert en route for a Player of the Season nomination before hernia problems laid him low.  Now he is back and hoping to resurrect the key role in defence in the right-back position he has made his own.

Reserves held again
19 Mar - Everton Reserves traveled the short distance to Bolton, giving an important run-out for a couple of players who are expected to shore up the first-team squad in preparation for Sunday's big match at Highbury.  Althorugh Rooney paired well with Ferguson, it was his replacement after 1 hour, Stephen Schumacher, who scored the opener, only for Bolton to equalize in the last 2 mins. Ibrahim Said also played, and could be a stand-in on Sunday for the injured defenders, Hibbert and Pistone.

Once a Blue, Always a Blue
18 Mar - This article was a bit late coming to our attention but it is well worth a detailed read.  Andie Hosie, Everton's new Head of Marketing since last November, gave some fascinating insights into Everton's approach for improving on the revenue stream from club merchandising, and included some of his own ambitions, as he talked with Sarah Dix from the marketing website mad.co.uk earlier this month.

Time to forget the Champions League?
16 Mar - The desperately disappointing bore draw with West Ham represented the loss of two precious points on which we were banking in the Blues' audacious attempts at Champions League qualification. So is it time to forget such lofty aspirations and simply concentrate on finishing in the top six? The season run-in just got immeasurably harder, but one thing you can never do is rule out David Moyes and his men, particularly as they hold the keys to their own destiny.

Two points wasted by lacklustre Everton
15 Mar - Everton's Champions League pretensions took a severe knock as they failed to deal with a toothless West Ham and stuttered to a goalless draw at Goodison Park. A dire first half gave way to a much-improved second period and although Wayne Rooney was thrown into the fray a few minutes after the interval, a general dearth of attacking ideas meant that he was unable to work any magic. He, Tomasz Radzinski and Alan Stubbs did go very close for the Blues, but this has to go down as a very disappointing result.

Have we turned the corner?
14 Mar - We can't let the 14th of March come and go without according due deference, praise and admiration to the man who has made it all happen for Everton this season: David Moyes.  He joined the People's Club just one year ago today, and it's been a different place ever since.  This exuberant Fans Comment from Simon Cousens sums up the bouyant new mood that a full house of Evertonians will share at Goodison on Saturday.

Leon on song again
11 Mar - Featuring a strong line-up headed by a young Wayne Rooney and an old Duncan Ferguson, Everton Reserves struck an early lead against West Brom when Leon Osman fired in another goal after just 9 minutes.   Taylor equalized for West Brom in the second half and that's how it finished.  Hibbert played well, but no sign of Ibrahim Said.  Worrying news, though, that Tobias Linderoth pulled up clutching his hamstring! Highlites from Steve Milne.

Lies, damned lies and statistics
11 Mar - The big question: can we retain our current place and qualify for the Champions League next season?  Can we be sure of a Uefa Cup place?  Lee Doyle sets out some targets for Everton to achieve over the last 9 games, using some questionable metrics, and knowing that we must play all the other teams in the top 6 during our run-in.  Buckle-up!  It's going to be a bumpy ride!

Time to see Rodrigo
10 Mar - Rodrigo is back at Bellefield but there must be a big question-mark over whether David Moyes will really use him to strengthen the Everton midfield in the few games that remain.  Fan Logan Shave would like to see the Brazilian given a good chance to prove that the fine words said about him are not just a load of hot air.

The Tommy and Toby Show
9 Mar - Is there another way to look at Tommy Gravesen — not as an arm-waving loon, but as an integral part of a midfield in which he needs the right type of players alongside him?  Perhaps that's why he looks so good when playing for Denmark... Fan Nick Leather believes that Tobias Linderoth could provide a better partner, with the pair of them perhaps creating the ingredients Everton's midfiled still lacks — the Tommy and Toby Show?

Mad Dog Gravesen
8 Mar - No-one seems to polarize opinions on players as much as Mad Dog Gravesen.  Everton's enigmatic midfielder is rated by some as the best at the club and he can produce the odd brilliant defence-splitting ball... but more often than not he is running around like a right loon, chasing the man with the ball, waving his arms in the air, grinning like a demented Quasimodo, and occasionally diving in to give away critical free-kicks.  There is no doubt which side of the fence fan Nick Armitage stands.

McBride likely to head back to the MLS
6 Mar - With four goals in six matches since arriving on loan from Columbus Crew, United States international striker Brian McBride has been a useful addition to the squad. David Moyes would like to keep him on until the end of the season at least, but the MLS, who own his contract, expect him to return to America at the end of the month when the 2003 season starts over there. This Associated Press article featured on a San Francisco Bay Area website takes a look at his popularity on Merseyside and gives a little helpful PR to the city of Liverpool in the process.

Ferguson on the spot for Reserves
4 Mar - With the rest of the first team off at training camp in Spain, Tobias Linderoth and Duncan Ferguson maintained their own personal training regimes with match practice in the Reserve fixture against Blackburn Rovers at Morecambe FC tonight.  Ferguson played for 45 minutes and scored the second goal, albeit from from the penalty spot, in a 2-0 victory. Leon Osman, pressing his claims for more first team involvement before the season is out — indeed, why is he not in Spain with the rest of the squad? — chipped in the first. 18 year-old 'keeper Iain Turner kept a clean sheet on his Reserve team debut.

Announcing 4everton.com
3 Mar - Announcing a new resource for Chinese-speaking fans of Everton throughout the world.  This impressive website has been built by Andy Davey in cooperation with ToffeeWeb and will provide some of the similar resources that ToffeeWeb provides – but in the native language of millions who have become fans of Everton mainly as a result of the sponsorship by Kejian and Li Tie's presence in the first-team squad.  [Note: the site detects the language setting on your computer. Click this link to view the Chinese-language site (only works if you have downloaded Chinese script font)].

Blues have to settle for a point
1 Mar - David Moyes's Everton had to be content with a point from an entertaining encounter at The Riverside that lifts the Blues back into 4th place following Chelsea's defeat at Newcastle.  After having the better of the opening period, Everton took the lead after 22 minutes when Tomasz Radzinski's square ball was cut back to Kevin Campbell — who started in place of Brian McBride — and he knocked it back to Steve Watson who beat Mark Schwarzer to open the scoring.  'Boro made three changes at half time, one of them Juninho, and it was the Brazilian who equalised totally against the run of play with 20 minutes left.  The Blues, who had been pressing for a second when they gave up the goal, nearly won it at the death when Wayne Rooney raced through but Gareth Southgate got a crucial touch to his shot and ensured it ended 1-1.


Snippets & Rumours

West Brom Gigatron
31 Mar - The game at West Brom 12 April will be beamed back to Goodison for a live closed-circuit simulcast on the giant screen in front of the Park End stand.

Robson calls for Rooney to start
30 Mar - Football's old sage, Bobby Robson, was so impressed with Rooney's 12 mins on the field in Leichtenstein, he's calling for the young star to start against Turkey on Wednesday.

International Blues
29 Mar - Everton's questionable midfield players were involved in winning action for their countries at the weekend: Gravesen scoring in Danemark's 5-2 rout of Romania; Carsley in Ireland's 2-1 win over Georgia; Naysmith playing for Scotland in a 2-1 win over Iceland; Pembridge setting up a goal for Gary Speed as the Welsh beat Azerbaijan 4-0.

Gazza solves Chinese puzzle
29 Mar - Paul Gascoigne scored on his debut for China's B-League team, Gansu Tianma, leading to efusive praise from his new manager.

Young Guns blast Red menance
29 Mar - This morning, a very young Everton youth team defeated acrh rivals Liverpool, who had been hoping to take Group A of the FA Youth Academy Under-19 League, a goal from Anthony Barry sealing the win just before half time.  Steve Milne was there.

Danish hooplah over Gravesen prank
28 Mar - Denmark's preparations for their Euro 2004 qualifier against Romania have been "disrupted" by a photograph of Thomas Gravesen with his "meat and two veg" out and dangling over the head of a fellow teammate. Proof that the words Gravesen and tackle can appear in the same sentence!

Rodrigo to resume full training
28 Mar - Juliano Rodrigo embarks on the final stage of his recovery from a cruciate knee ligament injury on Monday when he resumes full contact training. A mid-April reserve team encounter is his target.

Archie and his bat go east
27 Mar - Archie Knox, Assistant Manager at Goodison under Walter Smith, is apparently at the top of the list of candidates for the Singapore national coach's position.

Dyer gushes over our Wayne
27 Mar - More glowing praise and adulation for Wayne Rooney, this time from Kieron Dyer, who appears to be one of David Moyes's model players.

Jeffers shocked at Osgood outburst
26 Mar - Francis Jeffers has responded to the disgusting assertion by ex-Chelsea player Peter Osgood that he needs to be really hurt by someone to teach him a lesson.  Is Sky Sports really doing a service to football by generating this nonsense?

A slew of choice Rooney quotes
26 Mar - A great collection of quotes from everyone and their mother on the emergence of a rare talent by the name of Wayne Roney.

Chadwick returns from Derby
26 Mar - Nick Chadwick is returning from his loan spell at Derby County without scoring for the Rams, despite playing 6 games in the First Division.

Fritz Spiegl dies at 77
25 Mar - Fritz Spiegl, the quirky writer and musician who adapted the Johnny Todd folk tune to create the Z-Cars theme, died on Sunday.

Everton to report Wiley
25 Mar - In a move guranteed to strengthen sympathies for the Blues, Everton are to report Sunday's referee, Alan Wiley, for blatant bias and victimization of Duncan Ferguson when he clearly instructed his linesman to keep an eye on the big man.

Blatter wets himself
25 Mar - This article from The Telegraph depicts the highly revered Fifa President, Sepp Blatter, blowing a gasket over Sven, the FA, England, Rooney and anyone else who dares to mess around with his game.

Carsley called up
25 Mar - Lee Carsley, who has lost his first-team place at Everton, has nevertheless been named in the Republic of Ireland squad to face Georgia and Albania in upcoming Euro 2004 qualifiers.

Radzinski could miss a month
24 Mar - David Moyes might have to do without top scorer Tomasz Radzinski for as long as a month with the groin injury he sustained in training on Friday, but the manager hopes he'll be back in a fortnight.

Fans' fury at ref singling out Ferguson
24 Mar - Everton have apparently been deluged by calls from fans urging the club to lodge an official complaint to the FA about Sunday's referee, Alan Wiley. Sky TV cameras appeared to show the official requesting that his assistant keep an eye on Duncan Ferguson when he came on as a late substitute.

Rooney stays in England squad
24 Mar - Sven Eriksson has kept Wayne Rooney in his 25-man squad for England's Euro 2004 qualifying double header against Liechtenstein and Turkey.

Radzinski out injured!
23 Mar - Tomasz Radzinski will not feature in today's massive game at Highbury after sustaining a tear to a groin muscle during training.  Does this mean Ferguson and Rooney upfront?

D-Day for Bing Dunc?
23 Mar - In the Sunday Telegraph Patrick Barclay mulls over the thorny question of Duncan Ferguson's future, on the brink of what could be a comeback for the Big Yin at Highbury today.

McLeod starts for QPR
22 Mar - Kevin McLeod went straight into the starting line-up at Loftus Road but could not stop Wigan stealing a 1-0 win.

Do England have problems?
22 Mar - David Moyes thinks England really have problems if they expect a certain 17-year-old to re-ignite their European Championship campaign. He says, "I will never hold Wayne back from playing for England. As a footballer he is ready. Mentally though I am not sure he is ready to go into the spotlight regularly."

My mate Wayne
21 Mar - As part of their build-up to Sunday's big game, London's Evening Standard carries a dissertation on the life of young scouse scallies, as remembered by one Francis Jeffers.

McBride departs early
21 Mar - Brian McBride has returned to the US a few days early, bringing to an end his brief but relatively successful sojurn in the English Premiership; he will therefore not figure in Sunday's Arsenal game.

Peter Reid heads for Elland Road
21 Mar - The BBC is reporting that ex-Everton hero Peter Reid is being lined up for the position of Leeds manager vacated by Terry Venables today. This appears to run contrary to Leeds' stated intention of not appointing a permanent replacement until the summer.

McLeod off on loan again
20 Mar - Kevin McLeod, who has yet to feature in a Premiership game this season, is slated to join QPR on a month's loan.  With McLeod's contract up in the summer, is this a prelude to his departure?

Niclas not quitting
19 Mar - Niclas Alexandersson has been overlooked by the Swedish national team, just as he feared, but he insists he has not retired from international football.

McBride heading for home
19 Mar - Brian McBride will return home (to his gorgeous wife!) after this weekend's crunch game at Arsenal, according to the MLS — who were 'only' asking £1M for the Columbus Crew striker.  McBride has been selected to play for the USA against Japan in Seattle on 29 March.

Pistone loss confimed
19 Mar - An Italian specialist in Milan has confirmed that Alessandro Pistone will require hernia surgery, putting him out of action for the rest of the season.

Port Vale need Clarke
19 Mar - Peter Clarke has underpinned a real turnaround at Port Vale during his brief loan spell, and manager Brian Horton is keen to keep him for another month.

Mixed messages from Sven
18 Mar - England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson sums up the dilemma Everton face with Rooney: to play him more or not to play him more...

Hibbert injury scare
18 Mar - Tony Hibbert picked up a knock in Saturday's bore-draw and is now rated doubtful for the Arsenal game, with fears of possible ligament damage.

Pistone crocked!
16 Mar - Alessandro Pistone seems certain to require hernia surgery that will sideline him for the remainder of the season.

Coming of age
15 Mar - There's nothing new in this Times Online article, but it's good to read more recognition of just how far the club has come under the stewardship of David Moyes. There's more of the same in this Guardian article.

McBride on BBC Football Focus
15 Mar - Brian McBride appears on Football Focus today saying Everton are confident of securing a place in the Champions League. Full programme details can be found here.

£750k offered for Bake?
14 Mar - Soccernet are intimating that David Moyes is willing to pay MLS no more than £750,000 for the continuing services of Brian McBride in the current deflated football transfer market.

Perspective: look forward not back
14 Mar - While even we here at Toffeeweb have carried a plethora of articles on the year since David Moyes's arrival at Everton, the man himself says it's no good looking back, you have to look ahead. "Everything we've done now is water under the bridge. It's the fear of not ... winning the next game, that continually keeps me going."

8 million for Joe Cole!
14 Mar - The BBC quotes the Sun newspaper in reporting that Everton are ready to make an 8 million pounds bid for Joe Cole should West Ham get relegated. Glen Roeder, however, has dismissed the story out of hand.

Harvey gets a testimonial
13 Mar - A devoted servant of the club for 40 years, Colin Harvey is to be honoured with a pre-season testimonial that will see a significant portion of the proceeds go to BlueBlood, the past players foundation.

Moyes makes an offer for Bake
13 Mar - The Liverpool Echo is reporting that David Moyes has made an offer to the MLS, exploring a potential extension of Brian McBride's loan spell until the end of next season.

Moyes: Walter gave me seal of approval
13 Mar - David Moyes reveals that he went to see Walter Smith before taking the Everton job and it was his seal of approval that persuaded him to take the job. "I didn't go to Walter so that he'd banish any lingering doubts about the job. I just wanted him to approve of me taking his job."

Linderoth limps off
12 Mar - Tobias Linderoth suffered another hamstring injury in the reserves game against West Brom last night. Having only recently recovered from a similar injury to his right leg, he has now pulled a hamstring in his left leg and is likely to be out for a month.

Chadwick not averse to move
11 Mar - In an interview on the Official Site, Nick Chadwick explains that while he would happy if his future is with Everton, his primary goal is first-team football and wouldn't rule out making his loan at Derby a permanent arrangement.

Hibbert hits the comeback trail
11 Mar - Tony Hibbert begins the long trudge back to full fitness with a reserve outing against West Brom tonight. Having had the same hernia operation as Nick Chadwick, Hibbert has taken longer to recover, but he and David Moyes are hoping this is the beginning of the end of his injury problems.

Nyarko move falls through
10 Mar - Word about Alex Nyarko must have preceded him to the Middle East when his move to Qatar-based club Al-Etehad collapsed over the weekend.

China dates announced
10 Mar - Everton have confirmed plans for the post-season tour of China, with two friendlies to be played in the city of Shenzhen on the 23 and 25 May.

African Nations Cup
10 Mar - That good old "club v country" battle appears to be brewing over Joseph Yobo and Ghana's game with Malawi on 30 March.

Where are they now: David Eaton
8 Mar - Once a promising youth player at Everton, David Eaton was released at the end of last seeason and is now playing for Macclesfield Town, who are currently near the botton of Nationwide Division 3.

Clarke faces old friends
8 Mar - Peter Clarke, on loan at Port Vale, will face his previous loan club, Blackpool, and try to make amends for the goal he scored for Blackpool in their 3-2 win last time these two met.

Falkirk pair up for grabs
7 Mar - Collin Samuel and Lee Miller, the Falkirk pair who came down to Bellefield for a week's training in January, are rumoured to be available in what will likely turn into a bidding war.

Bumper home attendances
7 Mar - Everton are heading for their highest average attendance numbers at Goodison Park since the 1977-78 season.

Rooney's bar and grill
7 Mar - Well OK we took a bit of a license with the headline ... there's no grill, but Wayne Rooney has had a bar named after him. The wunderkind is too young to get served in it, but it hasn't stopped the owners trying to cash in on the youngster's name.

Listen to Moyes interview
7 Mar - Go to the World Soccer Weekly website and click on the David Moyes link to listen to an interesting and wide-ranging interview with the Everton manager by a couple of Brits on behalf of fans in America that took place last week.

Behind closed doors
6 Mar - Everton finished up their week in Spain with a training game against local side Jerez, going down 3-1 with the goal coming from Weir.

Materrazzi money still not paid
6 Mar - Perugia still owe £500k to Everton as a sell-on fee dating back to 2001.  The Italian club may pay up by the end of the season...

Tough duty for Chadwick
5 Mar - Nick Chadwick had a number of chances to score for Derby on his first start, hitting the bar in the second minute, but his misses cost the Rams dear as they went down 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace.

Magpies remain in touching distance
5 Mar - Newcastle failed to extend their points advantage over the Toffees in their game in hand tonight when they went down 1-0 at Middlesbrough. Not-so-good news is that Manchester United beat Leeds United 2-1 to stay 2nd.

Yobo plays in Kanu charity game
5 Mar - Joseph Yobo played his part in an All-African XI that defeated the Rest of the World XI by a score of 7-4 at the Reebok Stadium, all in aid of the Kanu Heart Foundation.

Veterans game at Marine FC
5 Mar - Past players from Everton will play a fund-raising game against Liverpool veterans at Rossett Park, home of Marine FC next Sunday; kick-off 1pm.  

MLS may want £3M for Bake
4 Mar - All-American goalscorer Brian "Bake" McBride is quite a hit on Merseyside, says the New York Times, but he is unlikely to stay beyond April 1 if the MLS really want $5M (£3M) for him.

Carney named for Aus Under-20s
4 Mar - Everton's Under-19 star, David Carney, is one of seven players based outside Australia who have been selecetd to represent their country in the 2003 World Youth Championships to be held in UAE.

Chadwick settling in at Derby
4 Mar - On-loan striker Nick Chadwick is relishing the opportunity to get some first team action at Pride Park as he bids to get his career back on track.

Off to sunny Spain
3 Mar - The Everton squad took off for a week of training in Spain as preparation for the final run-in of nine games as David Moyes pushes for the highest finishing position in the Premiership.

£50k fee agreed for Turner
3 Mar - Stirling Albion have finally agreed to accept Everton's valuation of £50,000 for young goalie Iain Turner, who has been playing for the Under-19 team since January.

Moyes was serious about Kleberson
2 Mar - This story in The Scotsman suggests that Everton did put in a firm offer of £3.2m for Braziian midfielder Kleberson during January's transfer window but his club, Atletico Paranaense, are seeking upwards of £6m before they let him go.

Young Blues scoring freely
1 Mar - Everton U-17s drew 6-6 in a goalfest at Newcastle United; the U-19s didn't score as many but defended better, winning 4-1.

Chadwick makes Rams debut
1 Mar - Coming on as a second-half substitute, Nick Chadwick made his loan debut for Derby and provided a key interception that led to the Rams' equalizing goal against Leicester in the First Diviison clash at Pride Park.