What The Papers Say - 04 March

@Everton

The views below do not necessarily reflect  those of Everton



 

Newcastle United have paid Everton striker Victor Anichebe a six-figure sum in damages in an out-of-court settlement.

Anichebe sued Newcastle United for potential loss of earnings following the Kevin Nolan tackle which left him plagued by injuries for more than a year.

Anichebe, who is in line to return to St James’s Park on Saturday for the first time since the incident, has been forced to undergo two operations since the Newcastle captain’s two-footed lunge damaged cartilage in his right knee in February 2009.

A succession of minor injuries as he battled to regain his fitness have restricted the 22-year-old to just 22 appearances for Everton even since he returned to the first team in January last year after 11 months’ recuperation.

Though Everton continued to pay his wages throughout that period, it is understood Anichebe instructed his lawyers to sue Newcastle for potential loss of earnings.

The player was on a highly-incentivised contract with the Goodison Park club and his legal team argued he had lost out on a substantial sum of appearance bonuses that he would have earned had he remained fit.

It is understood Anichebe also asked Newcastle to pay compensation for earnings lost thanks to his inability to feature for the Nigerian national side, thereby earning further appearance bonuses. The case was eventually settled out of court for a substantial sum.

Anichebe, who had not previously suffered a major injury in his nascent career, has struggled to remain fit since Nolan’s tackle.

Fine form in pre-season this year was undermined by a meniscus problem sustained upon his return from Everton’s tour to Australia and he did not return to David Moyes’s plans until November.

Nolan apologised for the tackle — which occurred on the same day as Mikel Arteta tore cartilage in his knee — at half-time during the 0-0 draw at St James’s Park.



 

GARY SPEED could be forgiven for still harbouring a little resentment about the acrimony his departure from Everton sparked in 1998.

The boyhood blue endured a few torrid returns to Goodison Park in the ensuing seasons, but while those inflamed passions mellowed as his career progressed, Speed’s love of the Toffees never did.

Back in Liverpool this week for a Q&A with Liverpool JMU sports science students to discuss the importance of science in football, he admitted he felt the disappointment of Everton’s exit from the FA Cup keenly.

But Speed, who played for five clubs during an amazing 22-year career, knows all about longevity and believes David Moyes’ nine-year reign at Goodison has provided his fellow Celt with the experience to weather this current storm.

“As a player I’ve been in these sort of positions, and you don't let yourself believe the season is over. Absolutely not,” says the 41-year-old Wales manager.

“David Moyes will tell them to get as much out of the last few games of the season as possible.”

Speed insists Everton cannot wallow in self-pity after their hopes of silverware died against Brian McDermott’s npower Championship side.

Instead he insists they must realise that there is more than just pride at stake in their task to finish as high as possible in the Premier League table.

“Everton can’t compete financially with some of the other sides in the Premier League so it’s important they finish as high up the division as possible, so they can get more money, he says.

“Obviously it also gives them confidence for next season.

“I’ve got no doubt David Moyes can get them to focus on that.”

The man from Flintshire, North Wales, is still relatively new to management; he landed the Sheffield United job early this season before departing for his country before Christmas.

So he envies Moyes’ wealth of experience, and believes that the Scot can perform no matter what transfer funds are available to him in the summer.

“He has had experience before of working on a budget. He’s one of the longest serving managers in the league and this won’t be any new to him,” he says.

“That experience will stand him in good stead for the rest of the season.

“He seems to have a really tight bunch of players who play for their manager, and there’s no doubt they’ll give 100%.

“They won’t take their feet off the pedal for a second.”

Speed is enough of a realist, though, to admit the financial handcuffs Moyes wears must weigh heavy at times.

“I’m sure David is frustrated, of course he is,” he says. “But that’s the constraints he must work under. He’s only a young manager still with a lot of years left in the game.

“He’d certainly like some more help in that (financial) aspect of the game, but as a young manager this will be a great experience for him.

“He’ll deal with it, and it will bring the best out of him again.”

Speed may have played in the Champions League for Newcastle, but the fortunes of the North East club and Leeds United, another of his teams, have impressed upon him that there is more to football than money.

“I absolutely think there’s more to football than money,” he says.

“David Moyes has been a massive success in those terms.

“ They haven’t had a lot of money but the way he has improved the team is a massive success.

“Look at the Newcastle’s and Leeds who have gone down. He’s been great by comparison.”

Moyes must put aside his personal dismay at this latest low for the Blues to take on Alan Pardew’s side tomorrow, and Speed believes the Scot’s backroom staff will help.

“St James’s Park is a tough place to go. Newcastle are in decent form but like a lot of teams they’re a bit hot and cold and if Everton are on form they’re certainly capable of getting a result up there,” he says.

“The staff around him will pick him up. “That’s why the people around you are so important, and he’s got some great guys.

“Steve Round, Andy Holden and Jimmy Lumsden are good experienced men who’ve been through all this before and that’s why he’s picked them.

“Sometime as a manger you do need lifting.”

Speed divulges that he would like to follow Moyes’ habit of punching above his weight when he attempts to resurrect Wales - starting with a Euro 2012 qualifier against England later this month.

“I’m looking forward to Wales and working hard,” he says.

“I desperately want them to be successful. Other countries have done it so there’s no reason why we can’t.

“We have a good group of players and I want to get them on the pitch more often than not, because that’s our best chance of being successful.”



 

EVERTON have angrily denied claims by Marouane Fellaini’s father that they have wrecked their midfielder’s season by ignoring medical advice.

Fellaini, the £15million Belgium, will undergo ankle surgery on Monday which will sideline him for the rest of the campaign after limping out of the 2-0 win over Sunderland last Saturday.

Fellaini’s father, Abdellatif, claims his son aggravated a problem he picked up in the FA Cup replay win against Chelsea on February 19, after which doctors said he should rest. “Marouane is really depressed,” said his father. “Everton made him play against Sunderland even though the doctors had prescribed rest for him. I don’t know how they can have finally decided otherwise.”

An Everton spokesman said, however: “It’s utter nonsense to suggest Marouane was forced to play.”

Fellaini missed the final three months of last season after damaging ankle ligaments in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool.

His absence comes with Tim Cahill also ruled out for up to three weeks with a foot injury.

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