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ToffeeWeb Season Diary

Season 2009-10

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September 2009

News Headlines & Features

Arteta getting closer
“Weeks, not months”
30 Sep - The prognosis for Mikel Arteta has improved after the minor surgery to remove stitches and fix a bit of the meniscus that had come free. Baz Rathbone says, “He is only seven-and-a-bit months post-op so you've got to be careful because these injuries take a long time to come back from. We are talking about a return to action for him in weeks not months."

Master strike from King Louis
Portsmouth 0 - 1 Everton
26 Sep - Everton travelled to Fratton Park, where they got roasted last season. But things were different this time around, with Pompey facing their 7th successive defeat after Louis Saha scored a superbly executed strike just before half-time after keeping the feisty home side in check. The second half was an intriguing battle, with Pompey doing everything they possibly could to break down a resolute Everton defence that needed a little bit of luck to survive... but came close themselves to scoring a couple more. Full report

Portsmouth vs Everton
Match Preview
25 Sep - Everton travel to the south coast this Saturday for a televised lunchtime kick-off against Portsmouth, hoping to extend the goalscoring form, that has seen them rack up 11 goals in the last three games, and hopefully earn their first Premier League away win of the campaign. Yakubu will face late fitness test which may help David Moyes decide upon Louis Saha to lead the line, and there are concerns over Steven Pienaar (foot) and Joseph Yobo (hamstring), while Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is in line to make his first league start. Kick off is 12:45pm with live coverage on Sky.

The Everton Collection
Exhibition and Website NOW OPEN!
24 Sep - The culmination of a lifelong dream for David France was to see the incredible collection of Everton memorabilia he had brought together over many years finally put before the fans, in combination with material from the Club's archives. That day has come with the opening of the Everton Collection, a free exhibition of which is open now at Liverpool Central Library. And for the hundreds of thousands of Evertonians around the world who can't make it to Liverpool, there is a fabulous new website for them to explore.

Everton through after mowing down Hull
Hull City 0 - 4 Everton
23 Sep - David Moyes made five changes to the side that beat Blackburn on Sunday but it didn't slow Everton's momentum one bit as they blitzed Hull with four goals, their 11th without reply in the last three games. Yakubu and Jô led the line and both strikers found the net inside 20 minutes from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov assists to put Everton in command of this 3rd Round tie. Yakubu then released Dan Gosling into acres of space and he lashed it home after 24 minutes, effectively putting the game out of reach well before half time. The second half wasn't 10 minutes old before Osman added a fourth after a free kick had ricocheted off the wall and though Hull hit the post later on, Tim Howard kept another clean sheet as the Blues powered through to Saturday's Fourth Round draw.

Hull City v Everton
Match Preview to follow shortly...
23 Sep - Everton travel down the M62 to Hull for a Third Round clash that will determine if the search for silverware include the League Cup this season or not. David Moyes now has the ability to indulge in squad rotation for some key positions, if he wishes, but the pressure to win may overrule the opportunity to be too risky with his selections. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is fit to start after coming back from a groin strain, and Aiyegbeni Yakubu could start for the first time since his return to the squad. Kick-off: 7:45pm BST.

Pienaar to step up a gear
Moyes looks to use players better
22 Sep - “I think Steven is ready to go up another gear,” said Moyes. “He could go on and stamp his authority on games by making goals, scoring them and making more final, telling passes. That’s what I’m looking for him to do now. When you see him play for South Africa, he takes a lot of responsibility for his team. He has got a lot of their hopes as a nation on his shoulders. It’s like Joseph Yobo — he has got a lot of that in Nigeria and Tim Cahill has the same with Australia."

Stylish Everton brush off Rovers
Everton 3 - 0 Blackburn Rovers
20 Sep - Everton carried the rich form they established against AEK Athens into the Premier League and swept aside a physical Blackburn side with their best performance of the season thus far. Louis Saha grabbed a brace, firing the Blues ahead with a smart volley off Leighton Baines' free kick before planting a majestic header past Paul Robinson from Maourane Fellaini's delicious cross to put David Moyes's side firmly in control in the second half. Inspired by a five-star display by the irresistible Steven Pienaar, Everton completed what became a comfortable afternoon when Saha flicked a corner in for Joseph Yobo to bang home his second in four days from close range. A complete transformation from the debacle at Fulham and a pleasure to watch.

Everton vs Blackburn Rovers
Match Preview
19 Sep - Everton take on Blackburn at Goodison Park this weekend, hoping to record their first home win over Rovers in three seasons and propel themselves out of the bottom three. Hopes that David Moyes could field the same midfield that performed so well against AEK Athens could be scuppered by a groin strain to Diniyar Bilyaletdinov but Johnny Heitinga and Tony Hibbert are eligible again. Kick off is 3pm on Sunday with TV coverage in select overseas markets.

Everton make flying start in Group I
Everton 4 - 0 AEK Athens
17 Sep - Everton kicked off their Europa League group phase with an impressive 4-0 win over AEK Athens. Joseph Yobo was named as captain, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov made his full debut and the two combined after 10 minutes, the Russian swinging a corner to the back post where the Nigerian rose to head home. Seven minutes later, another corner from Bilyaletdinov and Sylvain Distin prodded in at the back post and the Blues were flying, playing some lovely passing football. Pienaar, lively as ever but in a more right-central role, made it three with a spectacular strike from 25 yards 8 minutes before half time and after Araujo flicked his boot into Distin's crotch and was shown a straight red card, Jô wrapped it up with a turn and finish after good work by Yakubu. The only blemish on a great night for Moyes's boys was a dismissal for Louis Saha after Juanfran suckered the ref into red-carding him with pathetic play-acting when the Frenchman raised his arm to his face. Full report

Everton sign free agent Neill
Australian international adds defensive options
17 Sep - Everton have provided Lucas Neill with a route back into Premier League football by snapping him up from the free agent market. The Australian agreed personal terms and completed a medical today and arrives on a one-year contract after rejecting an extended deal at West Ham back in May.

Everton v AEK Athens
Match Preview
16 Sep - Everton embark on their Europa League Group I campaign with a home clash with AEK Athens where they'll be looking to shrug off their Premier League woes and rediscover the form that lit up their European adventures two seasons ago. With Phil Neville injured, Johnny Heitinga ineligible and Tony HIbbert suspended, David Moyes looks likely to call on Dan Gosling to play at right back, while Diniyar Bilyaletdinov will make his highly anticipated debut in midfield. Kick off is 8:05pm BST.

Vaughan can go on loan
Middlesbrough showing interest
15 Sep - David Moyes will allow James Vaughan to go out on loan at Championship side Middlesbrough. He accepts that the player is some why down in the pecking order behind fellow strikers Jo, Saha, Yakubu... and even non-strikers Cahill and Fellaini. Getting some first-team games under his belt should be good for 21-year-old, who remains Everton's youngest ever goalscorer... early promise that has been ravaged by numerous injuries.

Neville could face “lengthy” layoff
Scans reveal ligament damage to captain's knee
14 Sep - Everton have revealed that Phil Neville could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after initial scans revealed damage to the ligaments on the back of the midfielder's knee in addition to a nasty gash suffered in a collision with Dickson Etuhu yesterday. Club physio Mick Rathbone says his staff will allow the swelling to go down over the next couple of days before allowing Neville to see a specialist to determine the real extent of the damage. With MIkel Arteta's return potentially as far away as Christmas, David Moyes's small squad will again be stretched to the limit, particularly on Thursday against AEK Athens because Tony Hibbert is suspended and Johnny Heitinga is ineligible.

Blues revert to type at Craven Cottage
Fulham 2 - 1 Everton
13 Sep - Everton surrendered a precious first-half advantage at Craven Cottage and, in a pattern eerily reminiscent of previous form on this ground, fell to a third defeat in four Premier League games as Damien Duff's 79th-minute strike completed Fulham's fightback. The Blues, with £15m of new talent sitting on the bench, controlled the first half but without much incisiveness until Tim Cahill rose to head home a Leighton Baines free kick after 32 minutes. When Phil Neville's ill-advised barge on John Pantsil set up a free kick opportunity for Danny Murphy and he fired into the wall, Paul Konchesky rammed the rebound home via a wicked deflection off Sylvain Distin eleven minutes after the break. Neville was stretchered off shortly afterwards with a bad-looking knee injury and the afternoon got worse when Duff was allowed to cut inside and hammer home the winner from 20 yards. A late push almost brought an equaliser but Joseph Yobo's shot was hacked off the line and David Moyes's side remain in the bottom three for now.

Fulham v Everton
Match Preview
12 Sep - Everton return to action after the international break and David Moyes has options for the visit to Craven Cottage with new signings Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Johnny Heitinga available to make their full debuts against Fulham. Yakubu is fit and in the squad but striking duties will likely go to Louis Saha or Jô. Kick off is 4:15pm.

Arteta suffers recovery setback
11 Sep - Mikel Arteta's hopes of returning to first-team action next month have taken a blow after he suffered a setback in his recovery from a ruptured cruciate knee ligament sustained in February. The Official site confirms rumours that surfaced yesterday that the Spaniard's rehabilitation hit complications, with physio Mick Rathbone explaining that a tear in some of the stitching in his knee means he faces another few weeks on the sidelines. Additional rumours suggest Arteta underwent further surgery to repair the problem last week.
Update: David Moyes confirmed the additional surgery and refuses to downplay the seriousness of this latest "blip", calling it a "real blow for him and us" that will keep Everton's mercurial midfielder sidelined for "at least another six weeks" — which as we know usually turns into two months before he's back in full action. Very sad...

Yakubu eager to play
11 Sep - Aiyegbeni Yakubu has spoken about the frustrations of being sidelined for nine months after his Achilles injury. "I just want to play and entertain again and with a few more games I’m sure I will be fine." Although he has seen action for the Reserves and a brief outing against Sigma Olomouc in the Europa League qualifier, clearly David Moyes is going to bring him back to full match fitness slowly and carefully. But he may be in the squad that travels to Craven Cottage for Sunday's televised game.

We have spent all the Lescott Money
Elstone claim hard to judge
8 Sep - Everton CEO Robert Elstone makes the interesting claim that Everton have spent all the Lescott money — and then some. A rather difficult claim to defend or decry as most of the transfer fees involved were "undisclosed", many deals may have been on the drip, with add-on clauses — and is Mr Elstone including the costs of salaries over the duration of those contracts?

Half-a-million if you please!
Tribunal fixes Garbutt fee
7 Sep - Ken Bates was no doubt grinning from ear to ear after playing his part in stiffing Everton for a cool £600k fee as compensation for "stealing" young star of the future, 16-year-old Luke Garbutt from Leeds United. And that's only the half of it: Everton may yet pay upwards of a £1.5M for the youngster, after future add-ons to cover appearances, international caps and overall achievements in the coming years. And there is a 20% sell-on bonus for Leeds from any future transfer fee.

No news is bad news?
Club silent on Vaughan injury
6 Sep - There are fresh concerns that James Vaughan has suffered yet another knee injury... but Everton are saying nothing — which is usually a sign that things are bad. Vaughan was withdrawn from the England Under-21 squad over a week ago and failed to appear on the subs' bench in the last three senior games. Also, it was reported that the injury was behind a possible transfer to Newcastle breaking down prior to Deadline Day.

Arteta aiming for October return
Spanish midfielder could resume training in a fortnight
3 Sep - Everton hope to have Mikel Arteta back in first-team action next month as the Spaniard's recovery from a ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament nears its end. The midfielder could resume normal training in a couple of weeks' time and he can then work on match fitness ahead of a projected return to Premier League action in October. Fellow long-term casualty Yakubu, meanwhile, is being eased back after feeling tightness in his hip and back playing for the Reserves a fortnight ago.

Heitinga completes Everton move
£6m deal beats the deadline; Banega no-go
1 Sep - Everton have wrapped up the signing of Johnny Heitinga from Atletico Madrid after a compromise was reached on personal terms, though the fee for the defender is being reported as £6.1m and not the £5.7m agreed earlier. The two clubs agreed a fee on Friday but the transfer was in doubt until this afternoon as the Dutch international considered his options. He flew to Merseyside for further talks ahead of today's 5pm transfer deadline and eventually signed on the dotted line. He will wear Joleon Lescott's old no. 5 jersey. And Chairman Bill Kenwright tells Sky Sports that the Blues are not done yet. [Watch this space!] — Éver Banega is unlikely to be leaving Valencia for Goodison, though, unless the Blues cough up €15m for the Argentine midfielder — the Spaniards aren't willing to loan him out at this stage. And late rumours suggesting that another last-gasp raid at Standard Liege was on the cards, with Steven Defour the target, appear to have been wide of the mark.


Snippets & Rumours

Spurs set Cup date
30 Sep - Everton's Carling Cup fourth round clash with Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane has been scheduled for Tuesday 27 October, kick-off 8pm.

Ten missing from BATE trip
30 Sep - A bout of the flu for Jack Rodwell means David Moyes must choose from a squad stripped of 9 first-team players through illness, injury and ineligibility, plus Vaughan out on loan makes it 10 missing for the trip to Belarus.

Pienaar's knee not serious
30 Sep - Despite walking around on crutches due to heavy swelling and bruising, the doctors don't think the damage inflicted on Steven Pienaar's knee is too serious.

The Birth of Everton FC
30 Sep - The second in a series of historical talks on the origins and early history of Everton, to celebrate the opening of the Everton Collection, will feature Peter Lupson talking about St Domingo’s and the Birth of Everton FC, at the Picton Library in Liverpool, starting at 2pm on Wednesday 30 September. All Evertonians are welcome to attend.

Neill is latest burglary victim
28 Sep - Lucas Neill has become the latest northwest-based footballer to have his house broken into in a spate of burglaries targeting the homes of wealthy Premier League stars. Phil Jagielka was confronted by knife-wielding thugs only last week.

Pienaar's knee still being assessed
28 Sep - Updated: Everton physio Mick Rathbone is hopeful that Steven Pienaar won't need surgery on his knee but the severity of the bruising and swelling is making an accurate diagnosis difficult. The midfielder is on crutches following that bad tackle by Portsmouth's Aaron Mokoena and it's highly unlikely that he will travel to Belarus for Thursday's Europa League match-up with BATE Borisov.

Players need more protection
27 Sep - After Steven Pienaar became the latest injury victim following a bizarre rugby tackle/head-butt from his South African team captain Aaron Mokoena in yesterday's game, David Moyes complains that referees need to be providing more protection for his players who keep picking up knee injuries from late challenges that are not being picked up.

Spurs (A) in Carling Cup
26 Sep - Everton have been handed a challenging draw in the 4th Round of the Carling Cup: a trip to White Hart Lane in a few weeks' time.

Six more months for Yak
26 Sep - David Moyes has admitted that Yakubu may need up to six more months before he fully regains his match fitness after suffering such a serious injury as a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Saha to miss Belarus trip
25 Sep - Louis Saha will serve a one-match suspension in the Europa League as a result of the late red card he received after reacting to a kick from AEK Athens defender Juanfran last week at Goodison.

Jagielka robbed at knife-point
24 Sep - Phil Jagielka was held up by knife-wielding burglars at in his Cheshire home on Wednesday night as he was watching his teammates take on Hull in the Carling Cup. Neither he nor his family were harmed in the incident.

Everton demand Diouf apology
22 Sep - Ian Ross has called for El Hadji Diouf to retract his allegations of racial abuse, levelled at Everton fans when he claimed bananas were thrown at him, after he was accused of racial abusing a ballboy.

Going Bananas
23 Sep - The Sun says Everton are furious after Blackburn's El Hadji Diouf, in an interview on Senegalese radio, claimed their fans hurled bananas at him on Sunday. Police are investigating the striker for alleged racial abuse of a ball-boy in Rovers' 3-0 defeat.
Diouf Mailbag Thread

Reserves lose friendly
22 Sep - Everton Reserves crashed to a 5-1 hammering by Stockport County Reserves in a friendly payed at Finch Farm today. No details of the Everton team or scorer are available.

Rams debut for Vaughan
21 Sep - James Vaughan played the full 90 minutes in his first game on loan at Derby County, but his new side lost narrowly 1-0 to Crystal Palace.

Team have found their rhythm
21 Sep - In his post-match interview, David Moyes sees more cohesion and rhythm coming back to the team, with much praise for King Louis and Joe Yobo, goalscoring captain and centre-back.

Collection Talks by Peter Lupson
20 Sep - The exhibition of the renowned Everton Collection is to be launched at the Picton Library on Thursday 24 September 2009 and Peter Lupson has been invited by the organisers to deliver a series of seven talks based on chapters from his book Across the Park because they neatly dovetail with some of the key themes in the exhibition. The first talk is on Monday 28 September.

ESCNA racenight
18 Sep - ESCNA are holiding a racenight at the Frog & Fiddler, Kingsthorpe, Northampton at 7pm Saturday 10th October followed by Q&A with Derek Mountfield, Joe Parkinson and Stuart Barlow. Tickets are £10 including a buffet and can be purchased by calling Pukka 07775747122, Becky 07738916552, or Squirrel 07887887530.

Vaughan signs for Derby
17 Sep - James Vaughan has chosen to sign on loan for Derby County in preference to Middlesbrough. he is expected to spend three months at Derby and hopefully get plenty of much-needed injury-free first-team football under his belt.

Kudos for Everton Two PR campaign
17 Sep - PR Week offer a highly favourable assessment of Mere PR's campaign to promote Everton's new flagship store in Liverpool One which helped the club exceed early sales goals. The focus on the store's address at Everton Two, Liverpool One is rightly described in the article as "inspired".

Uefa pilot goal-line officials plan
16 Sep - Everton's game against AEK Athens, as well as all the other Europa League group phase matches, will for the first time feature two extra officials stationed on the goal-line as part of a new Uefa experiment. David Moyes is skeptical of the plan to add these extra pair of eyes, particularly as he says clubs were given very little in the way of advance details.

Bilyaletdinov set for first start
16 Sep - In early team news for tomorrow's Europa League clash with AEK Athens, Everton have announced that new signing Diniyar Bilyaletdinov will be handed his first start. The Russian has played just a few minutes as a substitute since his £10m move from Lokomotiv Moscow.

FA introduce new squad rules
14 Sep - New rules implemented by the Football Association will come into effect next season that will establish a limit of 25 players for Premier League squads of which at least eight must be home grown. "The definition of home grown is [a player] trained for three years under the age of 21 [irrespective of nationality] by somebody in the English and Welsh professional system," said Richard Scudamore.

EFC Shareholders Forum
13 Sep - The Shareholders Association is holding a Forum on Mon 21st September in the People's Lounge at Goodison Park at 7:30pm to pay tribute to one of Everton's great servants, Dr Clement Baxter. Guest speakers will be acclaimed authors Peter Lupson and Spencer Vigne. Shareholders and guests are welcome; please forward your names to be placed on the guest list to

Moyes upset with Walton
13 Sep - David Moyes thinks referee Peter Walton should have done more to punish Dickson Etuhu after his trailing leg caught Phil Neville and gashed his leg badly. Trouble is, it was one of those stupid 50-50 balls both players went for with their studs up, and there was always a chance one player would get injured.

Moyes calls for transfer reform
12 Sep - David Moyes has spoken of the problem created by different rules for the transfer of players under 18, that vary by country. He thinks small clubs need to be protected more from big club predators like Everton.

Moyes says spending was £19M
11 Sep - In a rather baffling postscript to this week's comments by Everton CEO that the club had spent £30M on transfers during the summer, this is what David Moyes had to say on the subject: “You can work it out yourself: Bilyaletdinov, Heitinga and Distin came to roughly £19m give or take a bit, and money we got back for Lescott after we paid Wolves is about £19M. We’ve only spent what we have brought in, we haven’t spent any other cash on top of that. That’s what it looks like to me." !!!

Anichebe back in training
11 Sep - Victor Anichebe returned to full training this week, nine months after the disgusting tackle by Kevin Nolan that badly damaged his knee ligaments. It will probably take a while for him to regain match fitness.

Cahill Rested and Ready
11 Sep - Tim Cahill says he's rested and ready for Fulham after having a rare international break off-duty. He was not called up for the Aussie friendly in South Korea and says he and the team are on a bit of a high for Sunday's difficult game at Fulham.

Everton asked after Moses
6 Sep - Everton were apparently interested in Signing Victor Moses from Crystal Palace for £3M before the transfer deadline. So that makes it 173 players linked over the summer... and just four signed.

Nigeria can only draw
6 Sep - Joseph Yobo's Nigeria side could only draw 2-2 with Tunisia after twice taking the lead, in a game that threatens to derail their South African World Cup bid.

Bates has the hump over Garbutt
5 Sep - Leeds chairman, Ken Bates, says that FIFA should now clamp down on clubs "like Manchester City and Everton" for "poaching" players from their youth academy. An FA tribunal meets on Monday to discuss how much the Blues should pay the Yorkshire club in compensation for teenage fullback, Luke Garbutt.

Academy side stops the slump
5 Sep - Everton Under-18s emulated their senior counterparts by winning their third game of the new FA Premier Youth Academy League season after losing the first two games. Jose Baxter and James Wallace returned to strengthen the side and get on the score sheet along with Lewis Codling (2) and Nathan Craig in an impressive 5-2 win at Finch Farm today.

Fixture Changes
4 Sep - Everton have announced a number of fixture changes as a result of their qualification for the Europa League group stages: Blackburn Rovers (H) has been switched to Sunday 20 September; Stoke (H) moves to Sunday 4 October (3pm); Bolton (A) Sunday 25 October (1:30pm); West Ham (A) Sunday 8 November (3pm); Hull (A) on December 15 is now postponed because of the visit of Bate Borisov 48 hours later, and the home game with Birmingham originally earmarked for the Saturday before Christmas has now put back to Sunday 20 December 20.

Bily — a wing and a prayer
4 Sep - Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s preferred position is on the left wing, but the Russian believes he can be an effective threat on either side of midfield. “My position is left-sided but not as a winger, I come inside then go outside,” said Bilyaletdinov. “Last year I played on the right — I prefer the left but it’s not a problem, from the right I can cut in and shoot more than from the left." .. and unknowingly he triggers off another TW winger/wideman controversy...

Heitinga proud to join Everton
4 Sep - Johnny Heitinga makes all the right noises about his difficult decision to give up football in sunny Spain, and the Champions League, to join Everton. But that's where he's taking us!

Krancjar interest denied
3 Sep - More lies confirmed in this summer's mad transfer window as David Moyes utterly refutes claims made in the media that Everton had been chasing Portsmouth's Niko Krancjar: "Not at any point did anyone from the club contact Portsmouth to express an interest in Niko Kranjcar," Moyes told the Everton website.

Banega: I wanted to stay
3 Sep - Éver Banega explains that the decision not to move to Everton was all his: "It was me who didn't want to leave, I wanted to continue because I think in having a place in the team and I want to continue in that way."

Vaughan injured again
2 Sep - It seems James Vaughan is out injured again, having been withdrawn from the England Under-21 side. It seems concern over a knee problem also forced Newcastle to drop their interest in signing the player, for whom Everton were reportedly asking just £3M.

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