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NEW Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has told Steven Pienaar he will not stand in the way of his dream return to Everton FC.
And Goodison officials have already opened talks with the White Hart Lane hierarchy which have been described as “constructive”.
Pienaar spent a frustrating 12-months at Tottenham after moving for £3m in January last year, but returned to Goodison on-loan a year later.
He scored inside five minutes of his second ‘home debut’ against Chelsea and enjoyed a sparkling spell when he belatedly came to regret his move south.
The South African midfielder made it clear he was keen to make his return to Goodison permanent, but Harry Redknapp’s sacking and Spurs’ subsequent search for a new boss complicated the issue.
New coach Villas Boas, however, has told Pienaar he is willing to let him leave and it is now up to the clubs to agree a fee and terms.
While Pienaar’s hopes of clinching an Everton return look bright, Joseph Yobo has spoken of his “sadness” at his failure to seal a Goodison exit.
Yobo has been on-loan at Fenerbahce for two years now, as Everton and the Turks have failed to agree a transfer fee – and the Nigerian is ready to return to pre-season training in Turkey with his long-term future no closer to being resolved.
“Preparations began for the new season, but my condition is still not clear,” he said.
“The club’s (Fenerbahce’s) silence makes me sad. This situation can not continue like this.”
Because of his age (31), Fenerbahce are only willing to pay 2.5 million euros, while Everton believe that with two years remaining on his current contract he is worth around 3.5 million euros.
Fenerbahce coach Aykut Kocaman has confirmed that Yobo is in his plans for next season.
EVERTON FC will kick-off their pre-season preparations in unfamiliar surroundings – to a very familiar tune this afternoon.
The Blues will run out at Morecambe’s Globe Arena for the first time, with the Z-Cars theme ringing in their ears!
The Shrimps don’t usually enter the fray to Everton’s traditional curtain raiser.
But they will today thanks to the influence of boss Jim Bentley, a passionate Evertonian who will see a dream come true when he leads out his team against the club he has followed all his life, and the club his dad Jack proudly represented.
Jim is celebrating 10 years service with Morecambe, and there is no other club in world football he would rather have shared the celebrations with than his beloved Blues.
“It’s a dream I’ve had for years and years,” he said.
“I’m not as fit as I was so I’ll only be playing a small part in the game, but it will still give me a massive buzz.
“I’m sure I will be nervous the night before and it will be a very emotional day for me.
“I’ve told our players it’s going to be a great experience for them to play against the greatest team in the world!
“Everyone wants to play against the best in their profession and Everton are right up there, and the fans are undoubtedly the best. There will be 2,000 Evertonians travelling up for the match and I can’t wait.”
Jim’s Everton links run deep.
Dad Jack, a centre-forward who played league football for Stockport before twice helping non-league Telford to Wembley in the FA Trophy Final, made his only Everton appearance in front of 35,000 fans against Bolton in February 1961.
He ensured son Jim followed the Royal Blue path.
IT’S an Everton Whodunnit? which has stood the test of time. But the truth can be revealed today, thanks to Billy Smith’s engrossing Blue Correspondent website.
It’s the true, tragic story of the original Alex Young, aka Sandy.
Sandy Young myths have passed into Goodison folklore, with rumours abounding that the man whose goal brought the FA Cup back to Merseyside for the first time in 1906 was involved in something grim Down Under after hanging up his boots.
One report had him hanged for sheep rustling, others saw him admitted to an asylum after the manslaughter of his brother.
The truth, however, can be found on BlueCorrespondent.co.nr, Billy’s labour of love which seeks to reprint and upload every single Everton match report, preview and article ever written in our local papers (or it will be when he’s finished. He’s up to September 1942).
For those willing to spend time trawling the reports there are some gems to be unearthed – including the story of Young’s sad demise.
I stumbled across Young’s tale under the headline ‘TONGALA TRAGEDY. VERDICT OF MANSLAUGHTER.’ in The Argus of June 16, 1916.
The story runs: “BENDIGO, Tuesday. As a sequel to a shooting affray at Tongala on December 1, 1915, in which John Young, a farmer, received gunshot wounds from which he subsequently died in the Echuca Hospital, Alexander Young, brother of John Young, was to-day charged in the Bendigo Supreme Court, before Mr. Justice Cussen, with wilful murder.
The evidence for the Crown was to the effect that, as the result of a series of quarrels between the brothers, Alexander Young shot John Young on the morning of December 1 with a double-barrelled, breech-loading eyeing, but in a statement before he died John Young said: ‘I was milking a cow, when Alexander came up and said, 'I am going to shoot you.' I replied, 'Put the gun away. You are only trying to frighten me.' Alexander, however, took no notice, and fired at me."
Alexander Young, who heard John Young make, this statement, agreed at the time that his story of the shooting was correct, and in a statement before a justice of the peace he said: "I went to the shed to shoot my brother. When I told him 1 was going to shoot him he said, 'Go on,' and of course I fired."
Alexander Young gave evidence on oath on his own behalf. He said that before coming to Australia he was a professional footballer in Scotland.
He lent his brother £150 to come to Australia, and later he advanced him sums of £100 and £75 without any security except his word.
He did not get on well with his brother, who threatened him on several occasions. His brother had hit him on the head with a bucket on two occasions, and on the body with a stick. On another occasion he chased witness with a fork, and threatened to shoot him.
Witness desired to get away from the land to avoid his brother, and told John not to bother about the money he owed him, but his brother would not let him go.
On the night before the tragedy his brother attacked him without provocation, striking him on the head and arm with a stick.
John said, "You or me will have to enter heaven to-night." Next morning witness heard a noise in the house, and thought it was his brother. He got up, and securing a gun loaded it.
Carrying the gun he went to the cow-shed where his brother was milking, and asked him if he had been in the house. He replied, "No." Witness said, "What about my money?" whereupon his brother picked up a shovel and threatened to hit him.
Witness ran away and his brother chased him. After going about 40 yards, witness stopped, and, facing his brother, said, "Stand or I will fire." His brother, however, attempted to hit him with the shovel, and he fired.
His brother fell, and witness, picking up the shovel, carried it to the house, where he placed the gun against his face and shot himself.
He did not remember anything subsequently until he found himself in the Echuca Hospital a week later.
He did not remember hearing his brother make a statement in the hospital, or of making one himself.
Mr. Justice Cussen. Why did you try to blow your brains out when you considered you had only shot your brother in self defence?
Young.- I cannot say.
The jury, after an hour's retirement, returned a verdict of manslaughter.
Young was remanded for sentence.
And there the story dries up again.
There is one further mention in a ‘Stud Marks’ column the following August, which cryptically states: “Sandy Young’s case is deserving of practical sympathy as well as condemnations.
“The Football hero has far greater temptation put in his way than any ordinary man, just as the star turn has in other walks of life.
“Footballers are not all John Sharpe or Fred Geary. The iron will is a fine asset, but unhappily all mankind is not thus “caused.” Young may be written down as a “case” in point.”
And then nothing.
Obviously there were greater world tragedies to report upon occurring on a daily basis.
But the Blue Correspondent, aka Billy Smith, has at least shed some light onto a tragic, and long forgotten Everton story.
EVERTON have never played at the Globe Arena, but a Blues record signing did once run-out, reluctantly, at Morecambe’s Christie Park.
And Tony Cottee found himself lining up against his window cleaner!
Cottee was a British record transfer signing, costing £2.2m, but found himself out of favour when Howard Kendall returned to Goodison as manager.
And early in 1991 he was ordered to play for Everton’s A team (equivalent of the third team) at Morecambe.
Cottee recalls the story in his autobiography ‘Claret and Blues.’
“In the first week in September my career slumped to a new low,” he wrote.
“On Thursday, September 5 I was named in the reserves at Manchester City where, despite the inclusion of several players of first team experience, we were stuffed 4-1, although it could have been 8-1 – we were that bad.
“Soon after arriving at Bellefield the next morning we heard a rumour that the reserve team might be playing in an A team game at Morecambe that night. The A team being the equivalent of Everton’s third team. Howard spoke to us and confirmed that after the poor performance at Maine Road the previous night we would, indeed, be ‘enjoying’ a night out at Morecambe.
“I arrived at the Northern Premier League ground to find a stand that held about 300 people and a pitch more suited for grazing cows. It was a bit different from the stadium I’d played at a week before – Anfield!
“It was our new youth team manager Dave Fogg’s first game in charge of the A team and he must have wondered what it was all about with the so-called Famous Five – Peter Beagrie, Neil McDonald, Ray Atteveld, Eddie Youds and myself – not exactly relishing the match.
“It was degrading for me, the club’s record transfer, being forced to play for the third team, while Neil showed his feelings by throwing his team sheet in the bin!
“My anger turned to laughter, though, when I saw ‘Scan’ – an ex-Everton apprentice, run out to play for the other side.
“A couple of weeks earlier ‘Scan’ had been cleaning the windows at our house in Birkdale with Roly Howard, the manager of non-league Marine, who was our regular window cleaner!
“The other Everton lads had a good laugh at my unexpected meeting with my window cleaner but despite winning 2-1, with me scoring one, it couldn’t disguise the fact that Morecambe was the lowest point of my career.”
THE Everton Former Players’ Foundation is staging a fund raising dinner at the Devonshire House Hotel on Edge Lane, Liverpool on Friday, October 26 – where a host of more recent former players will be present to support more needy predecessors.
Striking greats like Graeme Sharp, Joe Royle and Derek Temple are aiming to be there on the night.
While the Foundation is also hoping that current Blues coach Duncan Ferguson will lend his considerable presence to the evening.
Tables are available priced £450 for 10 places, or individual seats can be booked for £50.
Sponsors are also needed for the night.
Anybody interested in attending or sponsoring the event should contact the Rev Harry Ross on 01704-571287.
Further details can be found on the Everton Former Players’ Foundation’s website – www.evertonfpf.org
After being apprehensive about what might happen this summer, Evertonians should enjoy their hols.
There were a couple of dark clouds on their horizon a few months ago.
David Moyes' future seemed uncertain and Tottenham were eyeing him up should Harry Redknapp have become England boss.
However the FA did Everton a huge favour by opting instead for Roy Hodgson, leaving Moyes to get on with the job at Goodison.
Then there was the old chestnut of finding a goalscorer and Evertonians were wondering how Moyes could find one on his limited budget.
Cue roll of drums and he pulled another rabbit out of the hat in Nikica Jelavic.
Now there is mostly blue sky ahead for Evertonians as they savour another top-seven finish.
Better than that, they have finished above Liverpool for only the second time since 1987.
That represents a fantastic achievement for Moyes and his players and it is the least they deserve for their form this season.
Moyes' building work over the last few years is really paying off and he has more or less most of the bricks in place.
He's got a solid goalkeeper, an excellent left-back, three good centre-backs and the ever-reliable Phil Neville at right-back.
He's got one of the best central midfields in the country with Jack Rodwell, Marouane Fellaini and Ross Barkley.
He's got goals from midfield in Darron Gibson, Leon Osman and Tim Cahill and then the cherry on top of Jelavic.
All he feels he is missing is creativity and that's why hanging on to Steven Pienaar will be so important.
The only remaining cloud is the perennial battle to hang on to their best players and while Rodwell, Fellaini and Barkley all look secure, Manchester United are eyeing up Baines.
Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to boost his options at left-back with Patrice Evra showing signs that he is beginning to dip and Baines is the obvious solution.
He's English, is quick, is excellent going forward and can defend against the trickiest of wingers.
The lure of United is bound to be tempting for Baines, but I feel he may be better served staying at Everton.
Some players can become lost when they move to bigger clubs and suddenly they feel the pressure of having to deliver every time they cross that white line.
Lifelong Blue Baines is in his comfort zone at Everton and he can be a big part of what they are doing rather than a bit-part at United.
Everton are on the up and now may not be the best time to leave.