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ToffeeWeb Season Diary

Season 2009-10

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August 2009

News Headlines & Features

Last-minute penalty joy
Everton 2 - 1 Wigan
30 Aug - It looked for long periods of this game like Everton would never score, despite strong pressure against a monstrous and viscous Wigan defence, and when Scharner stole around the Everton defence, featuring new boy Sylvain Distin, in the second half, the writing seemed to be on the wall. But Everton finally conjured something meaningful from a plethora of free-kicks and corners, Saha heading in brilliantly from amongst a crowd of players. It was tense right through to the end, in torrential rain, as Wigan picked up six yellows and finally committed the most meaningful foul inside the area. Up stepped Leighton Baines to blast the spot-kick home in the fourth minute of added time... Relief all round!

Everton vs Wigan Athletic
Match Preview
29 Aug - Qualification for the Europa League and the acquisition of two new players during the past week will hopefully have lifted spirits in the Everton camp as they prepare for tomorrow's home game against Wigan Athletic. Sylvain Distin and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov are both in line to make their debuts after the Russian received his visa in time to be included in the squad.

5.7m deal for Heitinga agreed?
29 Aug - Everton have agreed a 5.7m deal with Atletico Madrid to bring Dutch international Johnny Heitinga to the Premier League, according to The Guardian and most of the other national dailies. The former Ajax man, who can operate at right back, central defence or defensive midfield and thereby give David Moyes the versatility he needs in a small squad, was reportedly discussing personal terms last night, though his 2.5m-a-year net wages in Spain could be a stumbling block and could be announced as the Blues' latest capture this weekend.

Blues wrap up Distin signing
Defender completes move; Moyes close to another
28 Aug - Everton have confirmed the signing of Sylvain Distin from Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee. The French defender agreed terms on the deal on Wednesday and passed a medical at Finch Farm yesterday evening, paving the way for a return to the northwest; Distin had a spell with Manchester City before joining Pompey two years ago. The 31-year-old will wear the No. 15 jersey and goes straight into the squad to face Wigan on Sunday. And David Moyes says that he is close to completing a second defensive signing to provide further cover at centre back.

Blues survive early scare to progress
Sigma Olomouc 1 - 1 Everton
27 Aug - What should have been a formality started off with a scare after 4 mins when Tony Hibbert was rightly dismissed for denying a goal-scoring opportunity and Everton were down to 10 men. Sigma crashed the ensuing free-kick off the crossbar as Everton reeled in disarray. But as the half progressed, the Black & Pinks (!) settled and finally scored an excellent goal when Osman did really well to pick out Pienaar with a super cross that the South African controlled smartly and then buried. Everton gave away a poor late goal to draw the game but win the tie comfortably 5-1 on aggregate. From my seat.

Everton agree fee for Distin
Deal done subject to a medical
27 Aug - Everton are on the verge of completing their second signing of the week with confirmation from the Club that they have agreed a fee, believed to be 5m, with Portsmouth for Sylvain Distin. The defender handed in a transfer request at Fratton Park earlier this week and though Aston Villa reportedly pushed the Blues hard in competition for him, the 31 year-old will sign for Everton if he passes a medical at Finch Farm today.

Sigma Olomouc vs Everton
Match Preview
27 Aug - Everton take a healthy 4-0 play-off first-leg lead over Sigma Olomouc to the Czech Republic this evening hoping to book passage to the Group Stage of the Europa League with the minimum of fuss and effect on the team. Few changes are expected to David Moyes's small squad, though he may rotate some younger players in and give the Yak a run-out if things are going well in the second half. Kick-off is 5pm BST with live coverage on Five starting at 4:55pm.

10m capture represents first summer purchase
25 Aug - David Moyes has completed his first purchase of the summer after Diniyar Bilyaletdinov came through a medical and agreed personal terms with Everton representatives in Hamburg yesterday. The undisclosed fee, believed to be around 10m, was also agreed with Lokomotiv Moscow officials and the 24-year-old Russian international was confirmed as an Everton player this morning pending a visa application for entry to the UK to play in the Premier League. That is expected to be a formality, but it's unlikely he'll join up with the squad until early September in time for the Blues' league clash with Fulham. Everton are believed to have already been granted a work permit for the player.

Everton agree to Lescott sale
22m deal agreed; Player passes his medical
23 Aug - Joleon Lescott's move to Manchester City is all but complete after Everton agreed to sell the defender for an officially undisclosed sum believed to be between 22m and 24m and the player passed a medical. Assuming the 27 year-old agrees personal terms not likely to be a problem with wages of 94,000 a week reportedly on the table it will bring to conclusion the summer's longest transfer saga, one that has massively disrupted Everton's start to the season..

Blues left clutching defeat again
Burnley 1 - 0 Everton
23 Aug - Everton and David Moyes will have known the dangers going in, with the ex-Championship upstarts already having upset Man Utd at Turf Moor last week... yet it was almost like lambs to the slaughter as that gameplan repeated itself, Burnley grabbing the goal and Everton missing an undeserved penalty when Saha screwed the kick inches wide. It's the first time in nearly 20 years that Everton have lost both opening games.

Burnley vs Everton
Match Preview
23 Aug - Everton look to get their first Premier League points of the season on the board when they travel to Turf Moor in the League for the first time in 33 years. David Moyes's small squad could be cut to the bare bones, though, if Jack Rodwell (knee) and Steven Pienaar (foot) fail late fitness tests on the injuries they picked up in the win over Sigma Olomouc on Thursday. Kick off is 3pm.

Banega Work Permit granted
...but will Valencia let him go?
22 Aug - Everton have managed to secure a work permit for Argentina midfielder ver Banega following a hearing at the Home Office yesterday. The 21-year-old, nicknamed Ch on the Iberian peninsula, is expected to arrive on Merseyside shortly to complete a season-long loan deal from Valencia. All of which is apparently news to the Spanish club who reportedly maintain their player is going nowhere. Though he spent last season out on loan at Atletico Madrid, Valencia played Banega in their Europa League play-off match in midweek.

Rodwell shines as Blues take command
Everton 4 - 0 Sigma Olomouc
20 Aug - Everton shrugged off some early jitters and an opening assault by Sigma Olomouc to take a commanding lead in this Europa League quaifying tie. After Tim Howard escaped a clear penalty when he clattered Petr in the 6th minute, Marouane Fellaini crossed low to the near post where Louis Saha turned the ball past Drobisz to make it 1-0. Four minutes later, Jack Rodwell returned a rebound off the wall with interest, hammering a sublime left-foot shot past the deceived 'keeper to double the Blues' lead, and then eclipsed that effort with a wonder strike from 25 yards early in the second half. Fellaini felled Hubnik in the area and, again, the Blues got away with what looked like a nailed on penalty, but Saha wrapped up the scoring with a fine individual goal with 15 minutes left. Full report

Everton vs Sigma Olomouc
Match Preview
20 Aug - Preview: Everton's quest for glory in the inaugural Uefa Europa League begins tonight at the 4th and final Qualifying Round stage with the visit of Sigma Olomouc from the Czech Republic in the first leg. Kick off is 8pm and you can see it live on EvertonTV. David Moyes will have his work cut out to focus the team away from the Joleon Lescott saga and the weekend spanking by Arsenal lest the Blues suffer the same fate as last season when they fell at the first hurdle against Standard Liege.

Isolated Lescott's days look numbered
19 Aug - Joleon Lescott is reportedly training away from the first-team squad this week and has now been dropped from the squad to face Sigma Olomouc tomorrow evening, seemingly in anticipation of him being allowed to join Manchester City before the transfer window closes. David Moyes says that's not the case, though he hinted that the defender could be allowed to leave for the right price.

Loan deal agreed for ver Banega
Work permit hearing set for Friday
19 Aug - Everton have agreed a deal to bring Argentina midfielder ver Banega on a season-long loan from Valencia according to The Guardian. The 21 year-old is highly regarded and the Spanish club paid 15m for him 18 months ago but, after being farmed out on loan last season, appears to be surplus to requirements at the Mestalla. It would be something of a coup for the Blues ...IF their application for a work permit is successful. A hearing with the FA is scheduled for this Friday.

Anichebe: progress is slow
But No Major Setback
18 Aug - Everton have had to quash rumours that Victor Anichebe has had a major setback in his long recovery from torn knee ligaments that resulted from a horror tackle by Kevin Nolan against Newcastle last February. Mick Rathbone admits, however, that Anichebe's recovery has been slower than expected but he still holds out hope that the player will recovery fully, given time...

Shameful Everton in dismal disarray
Everton 1 - 6 Arsenal
15 Aug - Everton's 2009-10 campaign started in horrific fashion as Arsenal accepted the Blues' invitation to put six goals past their shambolic defence. Things looked okay until the field opened up for a superb Denilson strike after 27 mins and it all went downhill from there. Set-piece goals that will give Moyes nightmares were to follow from Vermaelen and Gallas as Everton visibly slumped, the defence presumably badly affected by the Lescott saga. It predictably got worse and worse, Fabregas smashing in two more simple goals and Eduardo tucking in a sixth before Saha slid home a consolation to send Everton to the bottom of the league on the first day of the season.

Everton v Arsenal
Match Preview
15 Aug - It only feels like yesterday that Moyes's boys were trouping dejectedly out of the Wembley cauldron but a new season is upon us once again after another depressing summer. No signings to speak of, the infuriating Lescott saga casting a shadow over the preparations for the new campaign, and an unchanged Everton team faces up against Sky Four opposition once more. Steven Pienaar will undergo a late fitness test but J should be fit after picking up an ankle knock in the friendly against Malaga. The first live game to be broadcast live by ESPN in the UK will kick off at 5:30pm.

What part of NOT FOR SALE...
Moyes stamps his authority
14 Aug - Ahead of tomorrow's season kick-off against Arsenal, with fears that the Lescott saga would become a major unwanted detraction, David Moyes has spoken with clarity and authority regarding who calls the shots on player transfers at Everton, and what Joleon Lescott should be doing about his career at this time: "Lescott has had his head twisted in all of this," Moyes said. "I hear that City think they are talking to people who make the decisions here, well that's me. I make the decisions, they have not talked to me and the player has been consistently told he is not for sale. He should get his head around that and get on with his career."

Transfer Request Rejected
Lescott told to stay
11 Aug - The determination of Manchester City to get their man was boosted after target Joleon Lescott finally submitted a written transfer request. But this has been rejected by Everton, as have two earlier bids of 15M and 18M. Fans had hoped the nonsense was over after Lescott played in Everton's final friendly and was warmly supported, but his head appears to have been turned by the massive wages on offer from Eastlands. So... what happens next? A fresh 22m bid from City?

Moyes sees Saha as key
Determined to shake 'injury-prone' tag
9 Aug - Rejecting a bid for 8M, David Moyes believes that Louis Saha will be a key player for Everton this season. We knew we were taking a gamble with Louis in terms of his injuries. The thing was, we knew he was a top player, although I think it is also fair to say that he wasnt just injured physically but emotionally too because of all the problems he had. There are some players who can find it much harder to deal with their injuries they worry about it more than others and I think even Louis saw himself in that category. But I see a new determination in him now. I see a new Louis Saha. I think he is out to prove to many people that he is not injury-prone. He is showing a determination to try to shake off that tag.

Antipodeans hacked off with Everton
Haka a big booboo?
8 Aug - The last thing Everton needed right now was a stupid fuss over an even more stupid marketing gimmick that some claim has seriously backfired in the land of its origin New Zealand. Currently, the most-read page at nz is about the use of the sacred Maori haka to "celebrate" the release of the poorly received second kit at Goodison Park last week on the dubious basis that it was "all-black" (with pink bits...). Apparently the protectors of the haka are not best pleased. (Although strange the cited article has zero comments posted!?!)

Everton 2 - 1 Malaga
Nice lively game
7 Aug - A much improved performance from Everton was driven by the inspired play of Steven Pienaar, with Fellaini being plenty of a nuisance in the Malaga penalty area. Nice goals from Saha and Osman provided the perfect outcome for the first half, with Lescott performing well in defence. The second saw Luque despatch a superb stunning free-kick past Howard and in off the upright to give the Spaniards (and plenty of appreciative Evertonians) something to cheer but the rest of the game was broken up with substitutions (4 for Everton; 10 for Malaga). Bring on The Arsenal!

Everton v Malaga
Final pre-season friendly
7 Aug - The final pre-season game is upon us and Everton return form their travels to Goodison, where this evening's opposition is Malaga, who finished 4th(?) in La Liga last season. With J's continuing loan the only positive "change" of note to the squad since May, it would be nice to concentrate on the football and Everton's final chance to get physically and mentally prepared for the challenging season ahead, but this game is set to be overshadowed by the continuing uncertainty over the future of Joleon Lescott, whom Everton insist, is staying... and is playing tonight. Kick-off is 8pm with coverage on EvertonTV.

Concerned about attitude
“We didn't play well”
6 Aug - David Moyes has been remarkably candid in expressing his concern about the poor performance his players delivered in their penultimate pre-season game against Blackpool on Tuesday. "We didnt look as if we were prepared. I dont think it was down to fitness. It was down to attitude. I thought it was poor. We didnt reach the standards we have set ourselves in recent years. But pre-season games can sometimes do that to you. Maybe when it does happen, it straightens you out."

J fears allayed after friendly defeat
Blackpool 2 - 1 Everton
4 Aug - Everton lost their penultimate pre-season game to Championship side Blackpool and a squad that has seen no new first-team level players arrive thus far this summer was potentially depleted further when J hobbled off at Bloomfield Road with an ankle injury. The good news, however, is that he should be fit for the big kick-off against Arsenal. The Brazilian had had a decent game prior to hobbling off, though, equalising for the Blues after David Vaughan had been allowed to maraud through and open the scoring for the home side. Jason Euell scored what would be the winner later in the half following another lapse in the Everton defence.

Fellaini hit with virus
Concerns over fitness
3 Aug - Marouane Fellaini is struggling to be fully fit for the start of the new campaign after being laid low by a virus for much of the summer that caused him to suffer significant weight loss. David Moyes is concerned at the time the player is taking time to recover from the virus and regain his full strength. He has not been right all through pre-season and he is still not right. When you are the shape and build he is, when you lose weight its not all that easy to put it back on."

Coventry City 2 - 2 Everton
Cahill and Baxter on target
2 Aug - Everton were held to a 2-2 draw by Coventry in the Ricoh Areana this afternoon in the latest stage of their pre-season preparations. Conspicuous by his absence was Joleon Lescott who apparently missed out with a hip injury while rumours in the Sunday papers suggest that he will ask for a transfer this week so that he can join the nouveaux riches at Middle Eastlands. Tim Cahill and Jose Baxter scored the Blues's goals, while Jack Rodwell deputised at centre back.


Snippets & Rumours

Blues handed Hull test in the cup
29 Aug - Everton have a tricky first hurdle to clear in the Carling Cup 3rd Round after being drawn away to Hull City. The tie will take place the week of 21st September.

Europa League Group I
28 Aug - Everton have been drawn together with Benfica (Portugal), AEK Athens (Greece) and BATE Borisov (Belarus) in Group I of the inaugural Europa League. Games will be played home and away; top two go through.

Jutkiewicz joins Motherwell on loan
26 Aug - Everton Reserve striker Lukas Jutikiewicz has joined Motherwell on loan until January. The former Swindon forward had a spell at Huddersfield last season after his first-team prospects at Everton seemed to dwindle.

Moyes hopeful of further additions
26 Aug - David Moyes says that he and the Club are making progress as they seek to bolster the squad before the transfer window closes next Tuesday. "I would be disappointed if we didn't get at least four, maybe more," he said, though it's not clear if yesterday's acquisition, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, is included in that number.

Lescott move finally made official
25 Aug - Manchester City have announced that Joleon Lescott's move from Everton, which most reputable news sources now peg at 22m, was rubber-stamped tonight after an apparent hiccough over personal terms was finally resolved.

Yak back on the goal trail
25 Aug - Yakubu made his return to competitive action in the Reserves' attack tonight and it took him all of 31 seconds to hit the back of the net! Dan Gosling added a second six minutes later and new American addition, Cody Arnoux, wrapped up a 3-0 win over Burnley with a late third.

Yakubu set for Reserves comeback
24 Aug - Yakubu is nearing the end of his road to recovery from a ruptured Achilles and will play his first competitive game when he lines up for the Reserves against Burnley tomorrow.

Valencia and Banega reject Everton talk
24 Aug - Valencia have denied that they have agreed to loan ver Bangea to Everton, this despite the Blues receiving a work permit for the Argentine. And the player has added to the confusion by also rejecting reports that he is set to make the switch to Goodison... though he did say he is leaving the Mestalla.

24M fee agreed for Lescott
23 Aug - Sky Sports News have confirmed that Everton have agreed a fee of around 24M with Manchester City for the transfer of Joleon Lescott, with a switch expected to be completed on Monday, bringing to an end the painful saga that has massively disrupted Everton's start to the season.

Lescott case furthers Platini's cause
22 Aug - Plenty of sympathy from James Lawton in The Independent for David Moyes and the proponents like Uefa head honcho Michel Platini of some kind of salary cap for professional football.

City still in for Lescott
21 Aug - Manchester City have not called off their attempts to sign Joleon Lescott despite quotes attributed to manager Mark Hughes this morning. In the past when we feel... a deal is not going to happen for us as a club then we walk away. I dont think we are quite at that point but only time will tell, he says.

Rodwell and Pienaar doubts for Burnley
20 Aug - Jack Rodwell (twisted knee) and Steven Pienaar (foot) are early doubts for Sunday's Premier League trip to Burnley after picking up knocks against Sigma Olomouc this evening.

Moyes: We need four players
20 Aug - Mindful of the added pressure on resources that qualifying for the Europa League would bring, David Moyes has targeted signing four players before the transfer window closes. "There are 11 days to go and I feel we need to add four players to the squad in that time," he said after tonight's win over Sigma Olomouc.

Fellaini: We're begging for forgiveness
20 Aug - Everton's enigmatic, afro-topped Belgian says that he is still shocked by Saturday's capitulation to Arsenal and acknowledges that the players have to put it right after letting the fans down so badly.

Everton set for Banega hearing
20 Aug - Everton have confirmed that a work permit application has been filed for Éver Banega and that Club officials will attend a hearing tomorrow to state their case for bringing the talented 21 year-old Argentina international to the Premier League.

Austrian teenager returns home
19 Aug - Everton have released Academy midfielder George Krenn to return to his native Austria. The 18-year-old joined the Blues from Admira Wacker two years ago but his time with the Club was disrupted by injury and he has now signed for KSV Superfund.

Watch Everton vs Sigma Live!
19 Aug - EvertonTV is the only place you can see Everton vs Sigma Olomouc tomorrow evening and the Official Site will be carrying the game live to subscribers. Sign up for 4.99 a month or 40 a year for this and of the service's other regular video content and match coverage.

Overdraft secured against TV money
17 Aug - Everton have reportedly secured their overdraft with Barclays against the television revenue for this season. Assuming it was done recently, the arrival of the latest tranche of TV money could explain David Moyes's confidence that new faces will arrive this week — he might finally have some cash to spend.

Hughes arrogant over Lescott bid
16 Aug - Mark Hughes has dug the hole of arrogance and disrespect even deeper with his latest jibe about Man City being a "big club" and audaciously claiming Everton went public with the Lescott saga... Comment here.

Knowing which battle to fight
16 Aug - Paul Wilson provides commentary on the Lescott saga (with strangely no reference to yesterday's mauling) and concludes that Moyes is probably fighting a losing battle, with 20M an excellent price for the want-away defender.

Spencer joins Rochdale
14 Aug - Rochdale have signed Scott Spencer, the once promising youngster signed to great fanfare by David Moyes for the reported sum of M from Oldham in 2006. Spencer never made the grade at Everton, failing to even get close to the first-team squad.

Cahill scores for Oz
12 Aug - Tim Cahill was on target twice for the Socceroos as they beat Ireland 3-0 in Limerick.

Moyes feeling 'demented'!?!
10 Aug - David Moyes says he feels 'demented' by his failure to significantly add to his Everton squad ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

8M bid for Saha rejected
9 Aug - Turkish club Beshiktas have had an 8M bid for Louis Saha turned down by both the player and his manager David Moyes confirmation of his determination to keep the squad intact.

Cody Arnoux, Demon Deacon
8 Aug - More about Wake Forest's star striker, who is in the process of securing a one-year contract with Everton.

Sigma Olomouc (Czech)
7 Aug - Everton will play SK Sigma Olomouc from the Czech Republic in their Europa League play-off qualifier. The home leg is on Thursday, August 20, with the return leg in Olomouc seven days later. Sigma qualified for the pay-off by beating Aberdeen 8-1 on aggregate.

Season Preview
7 Aug - Andy Hunter previews Everton's prospects for the upcoming season, hitting on all of our favourite topics...

Mark Hughes responds
7 Aug - Mark Hughes has responded to the claim by David Moyes that there has been a lack of respect during the protracted Lescott transfer saga. "I could have lifted the phone and asked David if he would sell his centre-half and he would have said no. So where do you go from that point?"

Lescott is going nowhere
6 Aug - So... Lescott didn't sign for Man City today... and the Daily Mail claims that Everton are adamant he won't be leaving anytime soon...

Senderos talks confirmed
4 Aug - Everton have confirmed they are in talks with Arsenal over the signing of Swiss defender Philippe Senderos. "Nothing has been concluded yet but talks are ongoing," says Bill Kenwright. But he's not coming in to replace Lescott.

What's that Haka-ing sound?
3 Aug - Everton will officially launch the new away strip, complete with highly questionable hot pink stripes and crest, this Thursday with a troupe of Maori dancers doing the Haka to "If You Know Your History" in Everton Two, Liverpool One, at 1pm. And you thought the summer couldn't get any worse...

Everton to try out Stojanovic
3 Aug - Slovenian Peter Stojanovic, a 19-year-old midfielder, will arrive at Goodison Park this week in a bid to impress manager David Moyes and earn a transfer to Everton. Stojanovic is currently with Celje in Slovenia and last season made seven first-team appearances.

Lescott out with hip injury
2 Aug - David Moyes insists that Joloen Lescott missed the friendly at Coventry because he is out with a hip injury and not because the Everton and England defender is any closer to joining Manchester City.

England lose to Ukraine U-19s
2 Aug - Dan Gosling played his part for England in the final of the European Under-19 Championship but the three lion cubs fell to their hosts Ukraine 2-0 on Sunday.

City showing no respect
2 Aug - David Moyes believes City have become big-money bullies in their bid to sign centre-back Joleon Lescott. Moyes fumed: "It is about showing respect - and we are not being shown that." He believes the way that City manager Mark Hughes, chief executive Garry Cook and their Abu Dhabi employers are trying to sign England star Lescott is all wrong.

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