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ToffeeWeb Season Diary

Season 2009-10

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December 2009

News Headlines & Features

Persistence wins in the end
Everton 2 - 0 Burnley
28 Dec - Yet another improved performance, this time in front of a packed holiday crowd, looked to be heading the same way as Everton's previous four drawn games in the Premier League, even with the Blues supposedly having a man advantage after Jordan picked up a silly second yellow for shirt-tugging. But it was not until the introduction of James Vaughan with just 8 mins left that he broke the deadlock with is first touch, finishing off a cross that Yakubu missed. And it was Yakubu who fed Pienaar in stoppage time for the South African to finish superbly, sealing the first league win for Everton in three months of trying at Goodison Park... Happy Festive Season! Full report

Everton vs Burnley
Match Preview
28 Dec - Everton are hoping to close out 2009 on a high by finally getting that elusive first home win since mid-September under their belts against Burnley, a team who have lost all but one of their away matches so far this season. Phil Neville may play some part after watching from the bench at Sunderland but the Blues could well be unchanged for the second match running. KO is 3pm.

Small reward for massive effort
Sunderland 1 - 1 Everton
26 Dec - A fourth successive league draw sees Everton edge fractionally away from the relegation zone but this was a repeat of the last game, the Blues comprehensively outplaying their opponents but struggling to make the final ball in the area a telling one. And giving away a fairly simple goal in the first half did not help. Despite their dominance, it took Everton until the 85th minute to finally score, when Fellaini gratefully accepted a gift half-clearance and lashed into the roof of the net from 8 yards. Vaughan got 4 mins today, while Neville remained on the bench. Report

Sunderland vs Everton
Match Preview
26 Dec - Everton travel to Wearside this Boxing Day hoping to give their traveling fans a Christmas present of three points after the disappointment of Sunday's home draw with Birmingham City. David Moyes has no new injury worries and will be hoping that his team can put on a similarly dominant — but more potent — display as they did last weekend. KO is 3pm.

Bily speaks out
Hoofball instead of passing
24 Dec - Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has hit out at Everton's crude playing style and questioned his team-mates' psychological strength amid a run of six Premier League games without a win: “Our team are very good at playing passing football but we rarely do this. We create chances mainly by lobbing the ball forward and putting teams under pressure.” Regarding Sunday's draw with Birmingham, “...for the umpteenth time we took the lead but could not hold on to it. It seems our problem is psychological.”

Rodwell out for a month
Hamstring injury the latest blow
21 Dec - Everton's abysmal injury crisis continues unabated with the news today that Jack Rodwell will be out of action for at least four weeks. A scan has confirmed the hamstring injury he picked up just 8 mins in to the game against BATE Borisov, although, a lapse for the goal aside, Fellaini did okay in the defensive midfield role against Birmingham. It may be a blessing too, as it could be said that Rodwell was perhaps suffering from being overplayed and could do with a break.

Everton 1 - 1 Birmingham City
Bilyaletdinov scores with an early blast
20 Dec - Everton got off to a brilliant start when Bilyaletdinov lashed them into the lead off a throw-in, chested down nicely by Saha, who put Everton two up, only for his superb effort to be wrongly denied by an incorrect offside flag. Everton surged again and again but could not consolidate their lead and Birmingham, on their first venture into the Everton half, tied the game through Larsson. Try as they might, Everton could not get back in the groove... nothing was coming good in the final third and even the return of long-injured James Vaughan in the closing stages could not change the game.

Everton vs Birmingham City
Match Preview
19 Dec - Everton embark on a three-match spell that at the start of the season might have marked a soft part of the fixture schedule but this weekend's visitors, Birmingham City, are on a five-match winning run that has lifted them to seventh in the table and they'll be full of confidence. David Moyes welcomes back Tim Cahill but Jack Rodwell is surely ruled out with a hamstring strain.

Everton seal Donovan loan deal
18 Dec - Everton have confirmed that they have concluded a deal to bring Landon Donovan on loan for three months from Los Angeles Galaxy starting on 2nd January. The final details of the arrangement were ironed out following Wednesday's press conference in LA where it was announced that the US captain had signed a new long-term deal to stay with the MLS franchise until 2013. Under the terms of the deal, Donovan is free to pursue loan arrangements during the MLS close season. David Moyes says he hopes to bring in two more signings next month.

Men against Boys?
Everton 0 - 1 BATE Borisov
17 Dec - It was pretty much as expected, with Everton's young hopefuls defending against increasing pressure from the Belarus Champions who were not really all that good. Kieran Agard had come close with a shot from wide right that wizzed over the bar in the first half, Osman powered one past the post, and Agard really should have scored when he snatched at a great chance but curled his shot just wide. BATE scored late in the second half when a speculative shot was deflected sufficiently past Nash by the otherwise excellent Duffy, who cleared another certain goal off the line.

Everton v BATE Borisov
Match Preview
17 Dec - The last match in Europa League Group I and a dead rubber with Everton already guaranteed 2nd place. David Moyes has wisely decided to give some promising younger players a chance to impress while he rests most of the injury-riven senior squad at his disposal, in readiness for a major task against a rampant Birmingham side visiting Goodison on Sunday. Debuts are in hand for Carlo Nash (in goal), Shane Duffy (centre-back), Jake Bidwell (left-back), Adam Forshaw (midfield) and Kieran Agard (attack). Tony Hibbert as captain becomes Everton's record Euro-player, this his 20th appearance.

Donovan “likely” to join Everton
Elstone expects US captain to join 2nd January
16 Dec - UPDATE: Everton have announced that they have agreed a deal in principal to bring Landon Donovan in on loan next month. Earlier, Los Angeles Galaxy revealed that the 27 year-old has signed a new contract with the MLS side that will tie him to the team until 2013. Under the terms, Donovan is permitted to take "any loan opportunities" that may arise and, Head Coach and General Manager, Bruce Arena, said that the US captain would "likely" join Everton until March 2010. Everton CEO, Robert Elstone says, "A finalised deal is not too far away. Positive discussions have been ongoing and we expect to have Landon join the Club when the window opens on January 2."

Moyes names five debutants
Team to start v BATE Borisov
16 Dec - 24 hours ahead of the kick-off, David Moyes has named a team that includes five players making full debuts (Carlo Nash, Shane Duffy, Kieran Agard, Adam Forshaw and Jake Bidwell). The teamsheet includes nine changes from the side that drew 3-3 with Chelsea on Saturday: Nash, Coleman, Duffy, Hibbert (c), Bidwell, Osman, Forshaw, Baxter, Rodwell, Yakubu, Agard.

Lady Luck smiles for once
Chelsea 3 - 3 Everton
12 Dec - For the fourth season in succession, Everton grabbed a very creditable point from Stamford Bridge and while there were elements of fortune in all three goals, they belie the real story of another good performance. The Blues struck early — perhaps too early — when Saha rose to meet an 11th-minute Baines free kick and the ball came off Terry's arm, struck the post and bounced in off Cech. A typical Chelsea onslaught, though, had reversed the match within 12 minutes through goals by Drogba and Anelka, but Yakubu came on for the injured Jô and prodded home with his first touch in first-half inury time. The home side pressed in the second half, retaking the lead when Drogba volleyed home. But another good Everton free-kick was headed by Drogba onto Saha's back, from where it careened over Cech into the net. Report

Chelsea vs Everton
Match Preview
12 Dec - Everton take their patched-up defence into the lion's den this weekend hoping to do something they haven't done so far this century — win at Stamford Bridge. Joseph Yobo has been ruled out until after Christmas with a hamstring injury, Sylvain Distin is a major doubt with the same injury, Tim Cahill is suspended, but John Heitinga is back and could play in midfield or defence depending on David Moyes's preference. KO is 3pm.

Everton confirm Donovan talks
Sources claim deal is done
9 Dec - Everton CEO Robert Elstone has confirmed that the Club are in talks with representatives of United States international forward, Landon Donovan, to bring him in on loan from Los Angeles Galaxy. With the MLS season over and the 2010 World Cup Finals on the horizon, the 27 year-old is reportedly set for a three-month spell at Goodison Park, similar to David Beckham's stint with AC Milan. Donovan can play in attacking midfield or up front, has European experience in the Bundesliga and is the USA's all-time leading goalscorer. If the deal is signed — and sources in the US say the deal is done — he'll link up with the squad on 2nd January and would be eligible for the Europa League.

Brown to revive Kirkby nightmare?
The DK book not quite closed just yet...
7 Dec - Prime Minister Gordon Brown does not want the book closed on Kirkby. Minister for the Northwest, Woolas said: "This issue is far from over and the needs of Everton Football Club are still real. The government is committed to the regeneration of both Kirkby and Skelmersdale and we will be working behind the scenes with all parties to see if we can take forward a Plan B. We are not going to leave this to the free market. I will be meeting with local civic leaders to use government power to intervene in this."

Brown to revive Kirkby nightmare?
KEOIC say Woolas denies stadium component
7 Dec - Prime Minister Gordon Brown does not want the book closed on Kirkby. Minister for the Northwest, Phil Woolas is reported to have said: "This issue is far from over and the needs of Everton Football Club are still real. The government is committed to the regeneration of both Kirkby and Skelmersdale and we will be working behind the scenes with all parties to see if we can take forward a Plan B." Keep Everton in Our City, report, however, that Kirkby officials met with Mr Woolas and he confirmed that, "The scheme that we are looking at for the town centre does not include a football stadium."

Howard heroics cap high drama
Everton 2 - 2 Tottenham Hotspur
6 Dec - Everton came back from the dead to salvage a precious point and then had Tim Howard to thank for preserving the draw when he saved Jermaine Defoe's penalty five minutes into injury time. Spurs had looked the more threatening in a goalless first half and they exploded at the start of the second when Defoe converted from close range with the home defence asleep. Matthew Dawson out-muscled Lucas Neill to power home the second with a header but two Everton subs combined with 12 minutes left when Louis Saha slide home Seamus Coleman's centre to make it 2-1. Tim Cahill headed home Leighton Baines' cross-cum-shot after 86 minutes to complete the comeback before Tony Hibbert poleaxed Wilson Palacios to set up the late drama but Howard was the hero in his duel with Defoe. Full report

Everton vs Tottenham Hotspur
Match Preview
6 Dec - Everton face in-form Tottenham today hoping to overcome a selection crisis in central defence and register their first home win since mid-September. Tony Hibbert and Lucas Neill are ready to stand in for hamstring victims, Joseph Yobo and Sylvain Distin and Seamus Coleman is likely to make his Premier League debut at right back. KO is 4pm.

Blues not good enough
Not thinking about a Euro place
4 Dec - David Moyes has been brutally honest about the inadequacies of his side's performances this season: "I'm not happy with our form in the Premier League this season. We know that our performances should have been better. We know it hasn't been good enough," he said. "We are talked about as top six side, but results aren't saying that. To be honest, we're not even thinking about qualifying for Europe next season at the moment. We're not playing well enough for that."

Bily singing in the rain
AEK Athens 0 - 1 Everton
2 Dec - Despite wet conditions and a dreadful pitch that claimed another three bodies for the Finch Farm treatment centre, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov popped up after just 6 mins in the rain at Athens to score a very nicely taken goal for a win that secures Everton's future in the knock-out stage of the Europa League. Both Gosling and Distin came off injured inside the first 15 mins; Baxter and especially Shane Duffy (making his debut at centre-half) did very well to keep a clean sheet despite the best efforts of the Greek side. Report

AEK Athens vs Everton
Match Preview
2 Dec - Everton's threadbare squad can take a big step towards the last 32 of the Europa League this evening if they can pull off a second win over AEK Athens. Joseph Yobo, Lucas Neill and John Heitinga are all ruled out and, if Sylvain Distin fails a fitness test on a hamstring strain, David Moyes will be without a recognised central defender. It could mean a debut for Shane Duffy or Shkodran Mustafi in the Olympic Stadium. Kick off is 6pm GMT with live coverage on ESPN.

Yobo misses Athens trip
Defender has hamstring problem
1 Dec - Joseph Yobo will miss the trip to Athens after going off injured in the derby, where he was involved in both of the fluky goals Liverpool scored. He is suffering a hamstring injury. The addition of Yobo to the packed treatment room at Finch Farm means that Team selection options for Athens on Wednesday are reduced by three, with Heitinga and Neill both still ineligible to play in the Europa Cup because they were purchased too late in the transfer window, although Jack Rodwell looks to have recovered from a groin strain and should be available.


Snippets & Rumours

Yakubu departs for AfCoN
30 Dec - Yakubu, the only fit member of a largely unfit Everton forward line, has departed to join up with Nigeria's squad for the African Cup of Nations in Angola later this month. If the Super Eagles make it all the way, he won't return until the beginning of February. Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo is also named in the squad despite his current injury problems.

Stadium talks planned
30 Dec - Everton FC and Liverpool CC officials are to meet in the New Year to discuss options for getting a new stadium project moving forward somewhere, presumably within the City boundary.

Arteta hoping to be back in February
29 Dec - Mikel Arteta has spoken to Marca (Google translation) of the hell he has endured recuperating from a ruptured ACL but hopes to be back playing within two months. The Basque midfielder has suffered two setbacks in his rehabilitation but is back in training doing some running and if he does return in February it would mark a full year out of the game.

Cahill doubtful for Cup game
29 Dec - TIm Cahill, whose form this season has been poor, looks likely to miss the FA Cup tie against Carlisle with an ankle injury.

Blue Bill: 10 years in charge
26 Dec - This piece in the Daily Express sums up in a positive light the achievements of Bill Kenwright over his 10-year reign as Everton Chairman, consolidating the club's position in the Premier League while ELEVEN of those from 1999 are no longer members.

Moyes looks for further improvement
25 Dec - In his pre-match press conference, David Moyes talks about the game up at Sunderland, looks back at the Birmingham game, and admits Everton are near the bottom because they have not been playing well enough.

Van der Meyde back to Holland?
24 Dec - Still without a cliub after finally being ditched by Everton at the end of his contract last season, Andy van der Meyde has turned down a chance to play of Hull City, citing his desire to return to Holland so that he can get regular games, albeit for less money.

Howard — Top 5 'keeper
22 Dec - This blog sings the praises of Tim Howard, and names him the Most Important American Soccer Player of the Decade Howard is the United States' only true world-class player, and concludes Howard is the United States' only true world-class player. Discuss.

Donovan: Athlete of the Year
22 Dec - Landon Donovan has been named winner of the US Soccer Federation's male Athlete of the Year award. Donovan, named Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Player as well, scored three goals and made key set-up passes to assist on nine others as the US squad advanced to the World Cup for the sixth time in a row.

Couldn't find £700k for Hart
20 Dec - David Moyes has told the News of the World how Everton missed out on Joe Hart as a young 17-year-old prospect 3 years ago when they could not find the £700k fee to bring him to Goodison.

Sparky sent flying
19 Dec - One-time Everton player Mark Hughes has been sacked as Manchester City manager, paying the price for a run of two wins in 11 games... one being Saturday's 4-3 win over Sunderland. Wednesday's three-goal hammering at Tottenham convinced owner Sheikh Mansour and chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak that Hughes could not steer City into the top four.

Donovan not pursued in 2002
18 Dec - Everton legend Jimmy Gabriel gave his old team a "heads up" regarding Landon Donovan way back in 2002 when the US star was just coming good. But circumstances conspired against a move, with David Moyes unimpressed after watching Donovan come on as a second-half sub in a dreadful Dublin mudbath.

Blues handed another Lisbon test
18 Dec - Everton will play Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League Round of 32. Kick-off time for the home leg will be a ridiculous 5:45pm on Tuesday 16 February 2010 that Everton did their best to fight but Liverpool get the traditional 8pm Thursday slot by virtue of finishing higher in the league last season! The Blues will play Atletico Madrid or Galatasaray if they progress to the last 16.

Rodwell joins band of walking wounded
18 Dec - Jack Rodwell became the latest Everton player to fall victim to a hamstring strain when he limped out of last night's Europa League defeat to BATE Borisov. The midfielder will undergo a scan today to determine the extent of the injury.

Blues trial Danish 'keeper
17 Dec - Everton have taken 19 year-old Danish goalkeeping prospect Nicolai Larsen on trial with a view to potentially offering him a permanent deal should he impress.

An Afternoon with Graeme Sharp
16 Dec - Graeme Sharp will be at Central Library on Tuesday 22 December at 2pm to answer questions and re-live his Everton days. The event is FREE and coincides with The Everton Collection exhibition, currently on at Liverpool Central Library. To find out more please visit:

Elstone aggrieved at 2018 bid decision
16 Dec - Robert Elstone has expressed his bitter disappointment at Everton's omission from England's final 2018 World Cup bid despite the Club's plans to have a standards-compliant facility built by the time of the event. The City of Liverpool will be granted host status if the bid is successful but the chosen stadium will be Anfield or Liverpool FC's proposed new ground on Stanley Park.

Osman on the mend
16 Dec - Leon Osman, who has been out for two months with a broken foot, returned to training this week but is taking things carefully.

Galaxy to make “major announcement”
16 Dec - Los Angeles Galaxy will make a "major player announcement" at a 12pm Pacific Time (4pm 8pm GMT) press conference today "which will be attended by... Head Coach and [GM] Bruce Arena and ... captain Landon Donovan." Sources suggest this will confirm the 27-year-old's loan move to Everton.

Baines sees signs of improvement
14 Dec - “If this game had come four games earlier, we would possibly not have got the point. Four games ago we were not as strong as we are now. Something has happened, maybe a couple of performances and results have given us a lift and maybe we are getting back to where we were." — Leighton Baines

Saha on a Bosman?
11 Dec - Do Everton know that Louis Saha is out of contract in the summer and thus will be free to sign for a foreign club come 1 January unless a new contract is signed? This sudden revelation has been picked up by the Echo.

Yobo is hamstrung
10 Dec - The folly of putting half-fit players out on the pitch has come home to roost: Joseph Yobo is now ruled out for the rest of December with a hamstring injury.

Everton Youth beat out Boro
8 Dec - Middlesbrough 0 - 1 Everton AET

Everton's youth side were made to work hard as they overcame a resilient Middlesbrough side 1-0 at the Billingham Stadium. After 90 minutes of stalemate, the game went into extra-time when a Conor McAleny header in the 103rd minute was enough to break the deadlock and seal a Fourth Round place for the Blues.

Moyes is for sharing
8 Dec - David Moyes thinks that a shared stadium might be the solution to new ground problems for both Liverpool and Everton.

Woods tip-off gave Howard the edge?
7 Dec - A message relayed by Louis Saha to Tim Howard from Everton's goalkeeping coach, Chris Woods, suggesting that Jermaine Defoe likes to drive penalties down the middle of the goal may have helped the American 'keeper become the Blues' hero at Goodison Park yesterday.

Kissock released by Hamilton
4 Dec - John-Paul Kissock, one-time hot prospect of the Everton Academy, has been released by Hamilton Academical after barely 3½ months, and playing in just the first three games before the manager decided he wasn't good enough for the Scottish Premier League.

Ulster celebrates Duffy debut
3 Dec - The Belfast Telegraph makes a big deal out of Shane Duffy's Everton debut in the Europa League game against AEK Athens last night. The young lad, who is only 17 but 6 ft 4 ins in height, handled himself well and earned some great reviews from the TV pundits.

WIN tickets to Everton vs Spurs
2 Dec - We teamed up with Everton to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets for this weekend’s game against Tottenham at Goodison Park. The winner was Mike Beresford and the correct answer was Vedran Coluka.

£2M in agents' fees
2 Dec - Under new rules for increased transparency in football financing, Everton have revealed that they paid around £2M ($3.4M) in agents' fees last season.

Distin doubtful for Athens
2 Dec - Everton's injury problems show no sign of easing after David Moyes revealed that Sylvain Distin was struggling with a hamstring strain and may not make the team to play in Athens tonight.

Pienaar playing through pain
2 Dec - Steven Pienaar has still not fully recovered from when his South African team captain head-butted his knee in a rugby tackle. "I still feel a bit of pain, but I've got to get used to it, because it's going to be there for a while — I just have to keep on playing because it's important if I want to stay fit."

Mixed financial results
1 Dec - Everton have published their financial accounts for last season, showing wages up to 62% of turnover and a profit of £6.3M becoming a loss of £6.7M after amortisation of players' registrations.

Talk of reviving Kirkby plans
1 Dec - The Daily Post claims that Lord Mandleson is keen to resurrect Destination Kirkby "with or without a new stadium for Everton" to provide much-needed jobs in a seriously depressed area.

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