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 FA Premiership (1); Goodison Park, Liverpool; Saturday 17 August 2002; 3:00pm
  Pembridge (37')
Radzinski (81')
Attendance: 40,120
Halftime: 1-0

Etherington (64')
Ferdinand (75')

Referee: Neale Barry

Everton's 100th Top Flight Season kicked off in slightly disappointing style as David Moyes's men squandered a first half lead and had to come from behind in the second half to earn a share of the spoils against one of their most frustrating Premiership opponents.

Wayne Rooney, Li Tie and Richard Wright were all handed their debuts as David Moyes set his stall out for an opening day victory and employed an adventurous three-man attack.  Mark Pembridge joined Thomas Gravesen in midfield with Juliano Rodrigo on the bench and Gary Naysmith beat David Unsworth to the left back spot.

The Blues had the better of the opening exchanges, forcing a succession of well executed corners — Moyes has obviously been working with the team on corner routines — and forced a good save off one of them from Casey Keller.

On 10 mins, great work by Gravesen released Kevin Campbell on goal but, as he took himself away from goal, he elected to shoot rather than find the advancing Naysmith and the opportunity was wasted with a poor finish.

Spurs then had their first real pressure on the Blues' goal and from a corner, Stefan Iversen had an effort blocked by David Weir.

After a lull in the middle of the half, Everton began to assert themselves again after the half-hour mark, with Li Tie full of commitment and Gravesen showing some nice touches going forward but the killer final ball remained elusive.

Then, a quick counter-attack from Radzinski, a lay-off to Rooney and he set up Mark Pembridge perfectly who despatched a cracking shot to give the Blues the lead, an advantage they took into the half-time interval.

Glenn Hoddle's half-time team talk visibly lifted Spurs after the break and they grew in confidence but were frustrated by a determined Everton defence and some commanding aerial play by Richard Wright.

However, it was Everton who had the first few chances, the best of which was a spectacular effort by Rooney who cracked a wicked shot that Keller could only palm away for a corner.  Tarrico then cleared off the line from Alan Stubbs and the Everton defender headed a Rooney cross over from the Italian's clearance.

On the hour mark, Spurs capitalised on a quiet period by the home outfit and pulled level thanks to a Matthew Etherington strike.  Rooney was withdrawn to make way for Niclas Alexandersson three minutes later and the Swede almost nipped into score straight away but couldn't quite beat the Tottenham defence to the ball.

With 20 minutes left, a collective shiver went up the Goodison faithful's spines as Les Ferdinand entered the fray as a substitute and almost immediately the man who always scores against the Blues had put Spurs 2-1 up, the ball squirming frustratingly under Wright from his shot.

However, as was proved at the end of last season, Everton under Moyes are made of sterner stuff and with 9 minutes left on the clock, Radzinski burst down the right and unleashed an unstoppable shot that flew past Keller and restored parity for the home side.

The Canadian was then surprisingly withdrawn as Moyes had a pang of caution and David Unsworth was thrown on with 7 minutes to go, with Rodrigo � who had come on 7 minutes earlier for Li Tie � moving up front alongside Campbell.  Apart from one nervous moment where Wright spilled the ball in front of Dean Richards late on, there were few chances for more goals and the game finished all square.

Match Facts
Everton  (4-3-3)
Blue shirts & socks, white shorts
Weir {c}
Li Tie (77' Rodrigo)
Radzinski (84' Unsworth)
Rooney (67' Alexandersson)

Subs not used:  
Simonsen, Linderoth.

Yellow Cards: Pembridge (85')

Red Cards: �


(Injured:) Chadwick, Ferguson, 
Moore, Pistone, Watson, Yobo
(On loan:) Clarke, Nyarko, Southern

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2)
White shirts & sock, blue shorts
Carr (45' Thatcher)
Sheringham {c} (74' Ferdinand)
Iversen (83' Acimovic)

Subs not used:  
Sullivan, Perry.

Yellow Cards: Davies (81')

Red Cards: �

Match Reports

David Moyes: the man in charge

Everton v Spurs:
Prior League Games
 Everton 29
 Spurs 14
 Draws 22
 Everton 1
 Spurs 3
 Draws 5
 Last Season:

Everton 1-1 Spurs

Premiership Scores

Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Newcastle 3
2 Fulham 3
3 Leeds 3
4 Arsenal 3
5 Chelsea 3
6 Man Utd 3
7 Liverpool 3
8 Everton 1
9 Tottenham 1
10 Blackburn 1
11 Middlesbrough 1
12 Southampton 1
13 Sunderland 1
14 Charlton 0
15 Aston Villa 0
16 West Brom 0
17 Birmingham 0
18 Bolton 0
19 Man City 0
20 West Ham 0
After 19 August 2002


Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Satis? Fanzine Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Steve Bickerton Match Report
Guy McEvoy An injection of Perspective
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report


New season, new hope, new banners, new players, same old injuries!

Our early victories over Austrian no-marks and Scottish and Welsh fodder have been put into context in our encounters with a higher standard of opponents in Anderlecht and Athletic Bilbao.  But pre-season however, as many an article will have informed you recently, rarely gives a true guide to early season form and we have seen some promising signs.  Rooney has continued to show that he is a threat even as the standard has increased; Rodrigo'l has revealed undoubted ability if a lack of fitness; and Wright after a shaky start had his best game for us last weekend.

The squad hopefully still also has more to show.  Yobo has only managed 22 minutes and his pace at the back should certainly aid us as the season develops.  Hibbert is developing promisingly; after bursting on the scene early on, McLeod has faded but has surely given Moyes something to think about.  And for me Gravesen and Linderoth, now that they appear to be the pairing that will start against Spurs, could well develop into a quality combative midfield.

So what of our first opponents for the 2002-03 season � Spurs fans are not happy at all.  A severe lack of investment in new players has seen them only bring in Acimov and (sicknote) Redknapp on frees to improve their team.

Sheringham, Ferdinand (injured), Iversen and Rebrov (unloved by Hoddle) will shoulder the attack.  The two new "frees" will patrol the midfield but will lack the support of Poyet who is out for a while.  They have had a mixed pre-season which culminated with a 2-2 draw with Lazio on Sunday � after Spurs were 2-0 up.

Ziege is also out and Anderton doubtful for the Goodison kick-off.

Spurs should struggle to score against us.  From set-pieces, they will probably have a height advantage but Sheringham has seen better days and, provided we cope with him dropping between midfield and attack, we should be able to see them off.

In midfield, Redknapp and Acimov will paint pretty pictures but Gravesen and Linderoth should be able to disrupt them and ensure that our wide players will see plenty of the ball.  And that is where it starts to get interesting!

Who will be our wide players? Alexandersson, Rodrigo'l, Unsworth(!), McLeod even Naysmith?

I hope that Rodrigo'l gets the nod and fear that Unsworth will appear on the other.  Alexandersson has failed to deliver on far too many occasions.

Whoever it is may well have the luxury to be laying the ball off to two strikers at opposite ends of the age spectrum but both with goals in them.  Rooney has been getting enough headlines but for me a key man this year for Everton will be the old warhorse, Kevin Campbell � particularly with Dunc already ruled out for the next month (or so!).

Whilst he is certainly not the player that he was, SuperKev has still got the touch and knowledge that so sheltered and brought through Jeffers only a couple of years ago.

A nil-nil draw would not be the most auspicious of starts for the first full Moyes season but is a distinct possibility...  Yet, before all hope and dreams begin to become tarnished, let's continue to live in the clouds and back Rooney to score the first goal of the new season � and see Everton walk away with a 2-0 win!

Have a great Blue season,



As is often the case with first games of the season, there was expected to be a full house; and a liberal drenching of sunshine was available to welcome everybody back to Goodison Park.  There was an air of expectancy surrounding this game... whether it was the 100 seasons or the David Moyes factor or just that general blue tint that clouds the eyes and impedes the judgement, I'm not sure.  All I do know is that I was looking forward to this season with more confidence than in many others.

On entering the ground I was presented with a bag of toffees, to celebrate those 100 seasons, and a song sheet.  The song sheet, too was a centennial celebration one, with the words to the two new club songs that are on sale this weekend.

Before that it was the parade of the gladiators as players of yesteryear were paraded before our eyes.  There were some that I missed as I got there later than anticipated, but amongst those I did see were Alex Young, Fred Pickering, Tony Kaye and Denis Stevens.  The biggest roar seemed to be reserved for Young, until Snodin and Sharp were announced, but other notable receptions were given to Dave Watson, Joe Parkinson and Derek Mountfield.

The other buzz around the ground at this point was the news of us playing 4-3-3.  Three forwards � we meant to do it the attacking way, it seemed.

Then came a parade of current teams with the Impaired Vision side, the Ladies and an academy side, all on to celebrate the current Goodison family, as the ex-players strode forward from the sidelines to the centre circle, ready for the presentation of the new songs.  I found them mildly amusing at first, but found myself singing along despite myself.  In the end I admit, I enjoyed them.  Sad man!

Next up came the small matter of a match.  "All together, now" was a preamble to "Z Cars" and on came the teams, entering the field of play through the ex-players, who lined their exit from the tunnel.  It was an excellent piece of presentation, much better delivered than on other occasions when we've attempted something splendid, but failed to quite pull it off.  The only thing it lacked was a "Teams" photo.  Had both sets of teams lined up next each other with the officials in the centre it would have encapsulated an historic moment, but the moment passed and will not come again.

We started facing the Park End, into the sun.  It was warm and the toffees, presented at the gate, had now shed their enticing, chocolate coating.  It was, perhaps an allegory for our later performance.

There was a period of give and take as the two sides settled down, Spurs seeming to settle quickest, with Everton's midfield, unfamiliar to a 3-man grouping, struggled to cope.  Li Tie in particular looked off the pace.  As the game progressed, however, the men in blue, began to read the game better and all three of them � Pembridge, Li Tie and Gravesen � made some excellent contributions.  We won a flurry of early corners, but were unable to gain any advantage from our superiority

Up-front our triumvirate of Rooney, Campbell and Radzinski seemed to be finding its feet okay, with all three looking sharp, if not dangerous.  All three had early chances which were saved by Keller in the Spurs goal, but again, as in previous seasons, we were wasteful in front of goal.  Spurs came forward a few times but presented no real threat in front of goal.  It looked as though we could be in for a comfortable time, if we could just find the net.

The first goal, when it came, wasn't a result of any pressure at all; it was a classic counter attack, sweeping the length of the field.  Defending our goal, we regained control of the ball just outside our penalty area, through Gravesen.  The Dane looked up to see Radzinski haring away down the right.  Gravesen delivered a beautiful ball between the touchline and Radzinski, which the little Canadian latched on to and ran with. He cut inside, passed the ball across the penalty area to Rooney, who was facing him.  The youngster turned and played a ball into the path of the on-rushing Pembridge, who smashed the ball between Keller's near post and outstretched hand.  1-0 � it was football of the finest quality and more to the point we were full value for it.

The half-time whistle came after less than a minute of added time.

The half-time entertainment was far less embarrassing than usual.  We were treated to a 5-minute game (using the full pitch and the standard goals) between the Under 11's of Everton and Accrington.  This was to celebrate our first game in the Football League, back in 1888, when we played across the park, against the same opposition.   I expect that we'll have to erect one of those "Blue" Everton Memorial Plaques over there to celebrate this fact, as we will also have to put one up to celebrate our first League Championship, but I digress. 

The difference now to then can be measured in many ways.  The comparative splendour of our current stadium, the comparative current standing of the two teams and the fact that Accrington played two young girls in defence.  It was an enjoyable game, which showed players on both sides who were able to play to a shape, pass the ball and control it.  The referee wore a flat cap and tweeds and was a comical sight.  The game ended 0-0, but Everton shaded it on points.

The players returned to the field to the sound of Z Cars.  They came on slightly off the pace, a few bars after the intro.  This was a portent of the half to come.

We started brightly, forcing the pace and could have gone further ahead, had a Stubbs header from a corner not hit the bar with Keller stranded.  Rooney had followed the rebound out towards the touchline (though it didn't leave the box) and turned the ball back across goal.  This time a solid header from Stubbs flew harmlessly over the bar.

At about this time, we seemed to lose our way in midfield as the temperature seemed to sap the energy from our midfield three and the Spurs midfield four began to take control.  Etherington began to find plenty of space on the left (Everton's right) with Hibbert hopelessly exposed at times.  Like the chocolate on the toffees, our control melted away; like the entrance after half-time, we were a few bars off the pace and Spurs took control.  Moyes had obviously spotted that he needed to do something, but his action didn't come soon enough.  Spurs broke forward and Etherington was again able to find space and this time found the net.

1-1 and apprehension raised its ugly head.

Alexandersson replaced Rooney and Spurs too made a change, with that nemesis of Everton Football Club, Les Ferdinand coming on as substitute.  With almost his first touch, he swept a shot past Wright and astonishingly Spurs were ahead.  From my viewpoint, it looked as though Wright might have done better, but I might be wrong.  1-2. 

This appeared to be a signal for a capitulation, but in fairness heads didn't go down.  Rodrigo replaced the tiring Li Tie and within a few minutes Radzinski was through from a pass from Campbell.  He was wide right but managed to cut inside and fire a shot past Keller, again at his near post.  2-2 and Radzinski was delighted.  It was a fine goal. 

At this point, Moyes had obviously decided to hold onto what he had.  With around 4 minutes left, he replaced Radzinski with Unsworth and moved Rodrigo slightly forward to support Campbell.  We might have been rewarded with another goal, but it wasn't to be and the game ran to its conclusion without any further excitement.

So, an opening point, a seeming blunder from our keeper that denied us all three, and a side that tired in the steamy heat.  Sounds familiar...  But there was more to it than that. 

There was promise of better from Rooney and Li Tie.  There was a slimmer and fitter Kevin Campbell, once more chasing the ball.  There was a midfield three outplaying a midfield four and there was a 4-3-3 formation that might blossom into something sensational.  

All in all, I'd say on today's performance I'm cautiously optimistic this year.  Mid-table mediocrity will do me.  There were those around me who spoke of "more of the same", others who thought we lacked a passion, but I could, I believe, see the green shoots of an Everton revival.  But hush!  I've heard that too many times before and I don't want to be disappointed again.

Man of the Match: Mark Pembridge

Attendance: 40,120 � this must reflect tickets sold rather than attendance as there were a small number of empty seats, especially at the front of the Lower Bullens, close to the corner flag.

Steve Bickerton
Blue Horizons
� back online

An injection of perspective

It is difficult to remember when my optimism pre-season was last so genuine. I arrived at Goodison yesterday with tangible excitement. For the first time in a few days I had something other drink and pills to help me forget about the two cracked ribs I'm sporting. I, like most others, walked into the ground with a Cheshire cat grin.

I got there a few minutes before kick off, in time to catch the tail end of the legends parade. The new '100 seasons' folksy 'No other team' was being blurted out with gusto by some bloke over the PA and was well received. My impression from the few minutes I saw was that the 'show' was not nearly as cringe-worthy as most of these efforts that the club does. The old players formed two lines to extend the tunnel, the first bars of Z-cars started, Goodison rose, the drums kicked, the teams appeared, a full Goodison roared. New season. Let's get it on.

Moyes had clearly decided to 'go for it' in his starting line-up. We went 4-3-3 with Radzinski, Campbell and the anticipated full debut for Rooney. Hibbert, Stubbs, captain Weir and Naysmith at the back. Li Tie, Graveson and Pembridge in the middle.

We started off fine while Spurs struggled to get into gear. The extra width on the pitch was put to use, the ball seemed to frequently be carried down one or other wing. The final ball was let down by none of the three forwards being clear between themselves who was supposed to be waiting in the box (logically it should surely be Kevin), but no worries the majority of pressure was ours.

During this period we got our first glimpses of both Li Tie and Rooney doing the real thing. The initial impression of Li Tie was that he was far too casual, he seemed to only half heartedly track back, reluctant to challenge and not to keen to receive the ball. This changed big style at about the half hour mark; he got the ball unexpected under pressure, and brilliantly, instinctively turned his man, he looked up, advanced and the spread a perfect pass to Rooney. That move seemed to relax the international. Suddenly, his confidence was there, you could see him keen to be involved, and we were then treated to inch perfect pass after inch perfect pass from him.

Rooney, showed us some superb touches. His game is about far more than goalscoring - in fact I think he only had one shot while he was on (a rasper). The instinctive passing to the free man in space seems so obvious a tactic that it shouldn't take a school boy to give a demonstration to seasoned pros - but that is what he did.

It was one of these instinctive passes that led to the first goal. Radzinski skirted on the edge of the box, saw Rooney and put him on. Rooney detected Pembridge charging to his left like a steam-train and slid the ball to his path. Pembo hammered it home. An eruption of joy. The brummie blue next to me gave me the customary, spontaneous, wrap around hug. I suddenly remembered about those cracked ribs again.

We took the lead to half time, at which we got an excellent display from under-11s blues and guests from Accrington Stanley. I think the whole crowd was taken aback by the excellent text-book technique, and lovely touches these youngsters all showed. Full quedos to both sets of coaches.

We came out from the break unchanged, but Tottenham had clearly switched something about as they seemed to progressively get themselves far more involved as time passed. The mass of travelling fans picked up on this and made the majority of the noise - their rendition of 'Grand Old Team', as always, putting confused looks on the faces of Evertonians who have never made the trip to White Heart Lane. The annoying thing is that when they do it, they all finish it. None of the unexplained tailing off around about 'And we only know that there is going to be a show�'

They probed at both wings, and eventually Hibbert was left stranded, their man charged down on Wright and delivered a superb finish shaking the bar. Bugger.

Everton were unsettled by the goal. Suddenly the confidence in team-mates seemed to move down a notch and our players could be seen having a go at each other.

When Ferdinand came on you just knew. Some things are pre-destined and you can't fight fate. And so it came to pass. He was outside the box, unmarked, swung his leg in a hit and hope. It was a nothing shot really, but did force the dive from Wright. There is no point mincing words, he fluffed it. The Spurs fans delighted in the 'Dodgy Keeper' chants. He needs an injection of confidence. He needs it quickly.

Talk about a full mood change. The magnificent optimism that I'd brought to the game with me like a heroin glow was now replaced with the same old miserable frustration. So thank god for Tomasz Radzinski.

Rooney had given way to Alexandersson and Rodrigo for Li Tie, and we did put ourselves back amongst it. It was Tomasz however who found the magic. He jinked one way, then the other, and brilliantly placed the ball on the keepers near side. Oh, yes.

I reckon we could have had them in the last moments, but Moyes nerves must have been shot and he decided a draw was good enough. So we got a Smithesque substitution of Unsworth being brought on for the goal-scorer.

So there we go. There were actually loads of positives on display, and we shouldn't be too depressed with the point. One of the positives must be player fitness, this was the muggiest day of the year but just about everyone put in 90 minutes working graft. That said, the result does serve as a reality check though and help get things in perspective.

Individual Performances

Wright 5 - Has yet to bring anything to the table not shown by Gerrard. First meaningful game though so plenty of time to put that right yet. Needs to settle, the sooner the better.

Naysmith 7 - Actually thought he had a good game. Always involved, defended fine and supported the attack well, showing willingness to carry the ball forward. One obvious fault on the day was that when crossing from the wing the final ball was consistently poor.

Stubbs & Weir 6 - Started confidently and contained Spurs completely through the first 45. Was noticeable that they seemed to loose their trust in each other after the second goal. And their conversations got more and more animated.

Hibbert 6 - Funny player, does little if anything wrong, but still somehow fails to catch the eye particularly, or impose himself. Did some important saving tackles, but in my opinion was exploited for the first goal.

Graveson 7 - Good display from Tommy, the world cup has done him good. His confidence is there, and he was AWOL far less than he was at the end of last season. His distribution was good. If he can just get rid of that little bit of drifting out the game that still haunts him he's got it cracked.

Pembridge 7 - Good display from Pembo. Confident, fit, industrious. Very well taken goal. Strong case made for holding his place.

Li Tie 8 - After a casual start he brought a touch of class to our game. Excellent distribution.

Rooney 7 - Showed some wonder touches. The lad has the essential confidence. Mr Moyes, your man management skills are at the test with this one. Branch. Cadamaterri. Jeffers. Let's get this one right.

Campbell 5 - Kevin needs to rediscover himself. He got to too few headers, he was too often not involved in our moves, he never looked sharp. I pray he gets a goal early on in the season to fire him up, otherwise you could already feel the less patient in the crowd ready to pounce.

Radinzski 8 - Great stuff. Worked hard, willing to hold the ball, run at players, and pulled off that great equaliser. Showed an understanding with Rooney which surprised me. Maybe that will become the partnership of choice. Time will tell.


Rodrigo & Alexandersson 7 - Both came on to immediate positive effect and created chances for us. We have the luxury at the moment of a midfield selection headache.

Unsworth 7 - Cameo.

Nod to the referee who kept the game flowing well and who I hardly noticed (the ultimate compliment to a ref).

Guy McEvoy

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