The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
David Moyes has branded Luis Suarez a diver whose antics will drive fans away from football.
On the eve of the Merseyside derby, Everton boss Moyes is still outraged by what he believes was cheating, when Liverpool striker Suarez’s theatrical tumble in last season’s clash got Jack Rodwell sent off.
There was no contact and Rodwell's red card was quickly rescinded, but Moyes admits he fears more of the same from the controversial Uruguayan - who has been at the centre of a diving storm recently - in Sunday’s Goodison showdown.
“I’ve got concerns about Suarez, yes - because he’s got history and these people are very good at it," said the Scot.
“Last year was a dive, and the referee made a really poor decision that ruined the game after 15 minutes.
“It will turn the public and fans off football if they think people are conning their way to results.
"Look, when you’re out to manufacture results, supporters don’t like it.
“Supporters don’t like the idea of people going to ground too easily. Everyone who has ever played football, everyone who’s been involved, would hate that.
"You’d be saying, ‘Get up!’
"People who play football find it very hard to go along with.”
Moyes believes fans are becoming more sickened by cynical antics from the con-men, and feels the football rule-makers must get tough on the issue to risk supporters walking away in their thousands.
It is a call he has been making for years, and he hopes that the authorities will set up a commission to investigate the cheats.
“I have always said, since I became a manager, players should try to stay on their feet,” he added.
“I don’t think too many players are at it, but I’d hope if I got one, I’d be big enough to say, ‘Will you stay on your feet, please - I don’t like that.’
"If you can stay up legitimately, that’s what you have to do."
Moyes added: “I think retrospective viewing of diving is nearly more important than some of the technology they are on about bringing in.
“If you do that and players get banned, it wouldn’t take long before you’d cut it out. It could be easily done - you could have four or five on a panel of refs, players and managers.”
Moyes' Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers is not impressed by the allegations about Suarez, and maintains that the striker is given the short end of the stick by referees.
“Our fans sing about having a party when Luis get a penalty - we may have to take a holiday as well. One of these days we will get a decision,” he said.
“But the Merseyside derby is a terrific game full of passion, full of quality.
"I hope the referee, Andre Marriner, can really ensure everything is in control and the football is what is talked about.”
It only takes a couple of minutes in Tim Howard’s company to appreciate he is one of life’s happier souls.
An infectious and bubbly character, the universal popularity he enjoys within Everton’s dressing room is matched by the respect the goalkeeper is afforded by the Goodison Park crowd.
Take Howard back to the events of April 14, 2012, however, and there is a sudden change in that sunny demeanour. The build-up to a Merseyside derby is invariably dominated by talk of past skirmishes but Howard, like all Evertonians, finds it a struggle to pore over the most recent battle.
That was the day Everton allowed an FA Cup final place to squirm from their grasp, when mistakes turned a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 defeat. They went on to finish above Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League but, after Wembley, the achievement felt hollow.
‘Look, it was a big occasion,’ Howard sighs, shaking his head wearily. ‘It was one we felt we were right for. We felt it was our moment. Not because of destiny or anything like that. We felt we were playing better, which we were. Our form was excellent.
‘For us to lose like we did having played better in large parts of the game — that is my view, they will have theirs — was just so ... look, they just shone when it was time and we didn’t. We were on the cusp of a final and then we weren’t. It was just heartbreaking.
‘Finishing above them last season was the least we could do, to be honest. We lost twice to them in the league, then lost the heartbreaker. It really felt dreary, as far as we were concerned. The only glimmer of hope we had was to finish above them to say, “You know what? We got one over them”.’ He pauses after that answer.
Howard, who would have pursued a career as an executive in an American sporting franchise had he not become a footballer, gives a lot of thought to what he says and the fact he calls the semi-final defeat a ‘heartbreaker’ is not aimed at securing an easy headline.
Losing to their oldest and bitterest rivals on such a stage was so big a blow it could easily have been fatal for their ambitions, and many were left wondering whether it would mark the beginning of the end for Everton, after several years punching above their weight.
If anything, the opposite has been true. A week after the demoralisation at Wembley, they salvaged an improbable 4-4 draw against Manchester United and, from there, a new Everton has emerged.
The encouraging start they have enjoyed has provided one of the more intriguing plotlines to the new campaign and David Moyes’ team head into the 219th Merseyside derby as favourites in many quarters. The mood around the club has been transformed. So what has changed?
‘When you are winning, everyone feels amazing,’ says Howard, who provides Everton’s pre-match soundtrack with the music of New York’s DJ Chachi. ‘You lose, it’s doom and gloom. That, unfortunately, is how football is.
‘The football we are playing has been so expansive and progressive that it has been different from years past. We had success before from getting up behind the ball, rolling our sleeves up, digging in and grinding out results, which is much different to what we have found this year.
‘We are bossing games now. We are having the lion’s share of possession and we are creating chances. In one game against Southampton, we created 30 chances or something stupid like that. That has been our transformation, in a way.
‘The chairman (Bill Kenwright) has given the manager everything he possibly can to be successful. And the manager in turn has taken this club forward. He has built methodically. No snap judgements, always with a plan and a vision to go forward.’
Moyes is now in his 11th year at Goodison but for a period in the summer there were fears he would end up at Tottenham when they dispensed with Harry Redknapp. Howard, 33, watched events unfold from across the Atlantic with a mixture of apprehension and acceptance.
‘I think I know the way football works,’ says Howard, who holds the Premier League’s longest ongoing sequence of consecutive appearances — Sunday will be his 193rd. ‘I didn’t want him to leave, for the sake of our football club and everyone involved.
‘I thought it would be very difficult to replace him if it came to that. It is important that we have him in place. He is the figurehead of this club. He makes everyone fall into line and be successful.
‘He is cut from the mould of what I like. He will tell you how it is; some days you will like, other days you won’t but you always know exactly where you stand with him.’
If there has been an alteration to Everton’s style, thanks to the nimble, fleet-footed movement of creative sparks Kevin Mirallas, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic, there has also been a change in Moyes. Ask the Scot what it is and he will say that he has mellowed.
‘He’s a liar!’ says Howard, laughing. ‘And you can tell him I said so! He might have mellowed in front of you but there are two lots of 15 minutes — once in the middle of a game, the other at the end of the game — when he just ain’t calm!
‘Seriously, though, he has been brilliant. He has realised if you stand still, you move backwards. He is always trying to get better and that is very hard for a stubborn Scotsman. But he continues to listen to the good people around him. It isn’t easy but he is always willing to try new things.’
Such as giving his squad an unexpected five-day break in the middle of their pre-season schedule.
‘That would have been so hard for him, for sure,’ Howard agreed. ‘But you realise he is trying to be progressive. The timing was impeccable. We are very simplistic us human beings, especially us footballers. You give us that little bit of incentive, we work hard and come back stronger.’
Which is precisely what Everton have done since that wretched day in April. It may be two years since they last won a derby but they head into this tussle brimming with confidence and harbouring dreams they will be playing European football in 12 months.
‘I won my first derby 3-0 and thought, “This is what it is always going to be like”. Obviously it hasn’t,’ said Howard, who joined Everton from Manchester United in the summer of 2006.
‘But the more I become part of the fabric of this club, the more it means to me.
‘It is going to be an exciting game, an emotional game. To get where we want to, one of us is going to have to pip the other. A bunch of other teams will be there too. But, yes, I would be lying if I didn’t say it would be sweeter doing it to them than anyone else.’
With that, he is smiling again.
David Moyes has launched a scathing attack on Luis Suárez and placed the Liverpool striker among a select band of players he fears will drive fans away from the game by "conning their way to results".
The Everton manager claims to be genuinely concerned that Suárez could influence the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Sunday through theatrics and not talent. Moyes's suspicion is based on the corresponding fixture last season when Jack Rodwell was sent off after 23 minutes for a clean tackle on the Uruguay international, who went on to seal Liverpool's 2-0 victory. "People talk about the sendings-off in these derbies [20 of them] without talking about the decisions," Moyes said. "Last year's one was a dive and a really poor decision by the referee. It ruined the game."
Asked if he fears a repeat in the 219th Merseyside derby, to be refereed by Andre Marriner, the Everton manager elaborated: "I do because I think he [Suárez] has got history. But I'm not the referee. What it will do is turn the supporters away from football because they [players who dive] are very good at it.
"It's a hard job for the referees, it really is, but it will turn supporters away from it if they think players are conning their way to results. People like to see things done correctly. Of course if the ball hits your hand you're going to claim for it and you're going to take every decision that you get going for you. But I don't think supporters like it when players are out to manufacture it."
Suárez has been at the centre of a diving controversy this season, as has Tottenham's Gareth Bale, with Tony Pulis calling for the Liverpool striker to be banned following an incident against Stoke. Jim Boyce, the vice-president of Fifa, joined the condemnation, but Brendan Rodgers has condemned the "vilification" of Suárez. The Liverpool manager expressed incredulity that the post-Stoke focus was on the Suárez dive and not Robert Huth stamping on the forward.
Moyes insists his criticism is "general" and not aimed specifically at Suárez. But he added: "I don't think there are many players out there who really do it. I don't think there is. But I would hope if I got one who did I would be big enough to say: 'Would you please stay on your feet and stop going down easy.' Supporters just don't like the thought of people going down easily. Everybody who has played football at any level would hate that in their game. People who play the game find it very hard to go along with."
The Everton manager was embroiled in similar controversy after signing Andrew Johnson but denies there is a comparison between the now QPR striker and Suárez. "Andy often got clipped because he got to the ball really quickly," he said.
Moyes also reiterated an appeal, one he first made after the 2006 World Cup, for the game's authorities to combat diving through retrospective punishment. "I'm of the view that retrospective viewing of diving should be more important than some of the technology they are talking about bringing in," he said. "I think it would make the referee's job an awful lot easier if that was there. If you do it and you get banned for it, it wouldn't take long before you cut it out.
"It wouldn't take much – four or five people on a panel: referees, players and managers. It could be easily done."
David Moyes said yesterday that he wants harsher penalties for those guilty of diving and admitted that he is concerned about Luis Suarez's reputation ahead of tomorrow's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
Suarez was accused of trying to con his way to a penalty by the Stoke City manager, Tony Pulis, earlier this month and the Uruguay international has been caught up in a number of other controversial incidents during his 21 months at Anfield.
Moyes, the Everton manager, fears fans could lose interest in the game unless the football authorities act to cut out diving by handing those responsible lengthy suspensions.
Suarez, 25, was at the centre of the incident which saw the then Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell harshly sent off in the corresponding fixture last season as Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners at the home of their rivals.
"I would because I think he has got history," was Moyes' reply when asked yesterday whether he had concerns about Suarez after last season's events at Goodison. "But I am not the referee. But I tell you what it will do, it will turn supporters away from football. It is hard for the referees, it really is. But it will turn supporters away from it if they think players are conning their way to results."
As recently as 7 October, when Suarez fell under the challenge of Stoke's Stephen Nzonzi and Marc Wilson during a goalless draw at Anfield, he was criticised for trying to influence referees. Replays showed he had not been touched, dropping to his knees in an appeal to win a penalty.
Referee Lee Mason took no action at the time but Pulis made his irritation clear after the game.
Andre Marriner has been charged with keeping control of tomorrow's meeting, and Moyes wants tougher bans handed out for those found guilty of conning referees. "There are not that many players who do it," added Moyes. "Banning? If you did that it wouldn't take long to cut it out. It wouldn't take much to employ four or five people on a panel – players, managers and referees. I think it would be easily done."
Everton are six points ahead of Liverpool but Moyes said: "Everton's sole focus shouldn't be on finishing above Liverpool. We have to think about finishing above Manchester United and City. That might sound crazy but that's what I'm thinking about."
DAVID MOYES fears being duped by Luis Suarez’s antics in tomorrow’s Merseyside derby and claims players like the Liverpool striker will be responsible for driving fans away from football.
The Everton manager lit the blue touch- paper in an acerbic assessment ahead of the Premier League’s most volatile fixture and the 219th collision between the teams by admitting he was worried by Suarez’s “history”.
He also put rival manager Brendan Rodgers under the spotlight by insisting he would order any of his players who go to ground easily to stay on their feet.
Moyes accused Uruguay striker Suarez of taking “a dive” in the corresponding match at Goodison Park last season when former Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell was sent off after just 23 minutes of a game Liverpool went on to win 2-0.
Suarez was among the scorers, yet his Liverpool career remains swathed in controversy as Moyes suggested supporters were fed up of players trying to cheat their way to victory.
EVERTON boss David Moyes has warned Luis Suarez: Don’t ruin the derby.
The Liverpool striker has been in the spotlight over accusations of trying to con officials and Moyes admits he is worried about the Uruguayan’s antics.
Suarez was accused of diving by Stoke boss Tony Pulis and Moyes fears ref Andre Marriner could have his work cut out when the Reds visit Goodison tomorrow.
Asked if he had concerns about Suarez, Moyes said:
“I would because I think he has got history. But I am not the referee. I am not the one that does that.
“But I tell you what it will do – it will turn supporters away from football.
“It is hard for the referees, it really is.
“But it will turn supporters away from it if they think players are conning their way to results.”
Moyes wants the game’s authorities to ban divers in a bid to stamp it out. The Scot added: “I don’t think there are that many players out there who do it.
“Banning? I think if you did that it wouldn’t take long before you cut it out.
“It wouldn’t take much to employ four or five players on a panel – players, managers and referees.
“I think it would be easily done.”
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is also keen that Marriner is on top of his game, saying: “I think the referee has a big part to play in it because I have seen over the games some of the challenges.
“I think the history of this game shows there have been a lot of red cards.
“I would hope this weekend that we might get a decision that goes our way for once.”
Suarez is one of the more experienced players in Rodgers’ side, but the Anfi eld boss insists his youngsters will not freeze in the derby spotlight.
The likes of Raheem Sterling (17), Suso (18), Andre Wisdom (19) and Jonjo Shelvey (20) helped Liverpool claim their first Premier League home win of the season against Reading last Saturday. They will all be in the mix again tomorrow and
Rodgers has every faith in their ability to cope with the pressure.
He said: “I have no He said: “I have no qualms. They have shown already they can handle it.
“I have got no fears because they have come in and been outstanding.”
He singled out defender Wisdom as a particularly capable youngster, saying: “He can take on the world. He is built like a boxer, he is strong, quick and he won’t get beat.
"There is no problem there. For our longer term, players like him and the other younger ones will have to sample these type of games.”
Everton manager David Moyes has accused Liverpool striker Luis Suárez of turning supporters off football by conning referees.
Moyes says he is concerned about the Liverpool striker’s "history" heading into Sunday’s fixture against their city rivals at Goodison Park.
He is still sore about last season’s red card given to Jack Rodwell following a challenge on the Uruguayan in the corresponding fixture, claiming that was a result of “a dive and a real poor decision by the referee”. The Football Association later rescinded the red card.
The Everton manager said he would stamp it out if he thought his players were trying to cheat the officials.
Asked if he would be worried about Suárez ability to influence key decisions on Sunday, Moyes said: “I would because I think he has got history. I tell you what it will do, it will turn the supporters away from football.
"It is hard for the referees, it really is. But it will turn supporters away from it if they think players are conning their way to results. People like to see things done correctly, in the main.
“If a ball hits your hand, of course you are going to claim for it. And you will take every decision you get. But when people are out to manufacture it, supporters in general will not like it.
“I don’t think there are that many players out there who do it. If I got one, I would be big enough to say, ‘would you stay on your feet, please, and stop going down easily’. I would hope I would be big enough to go in and say, ‘I don’t like that’.
"Generally. I think it is a discussion to be had. I don’t think supporters like the idea of players going down easily. Everybody who has played football and who is involved in it hates to see that happening in the games. Anyone involved in a game would say, ‘get up’.
"You just find it very hard to go along with but you have to give the referee the chance to referee the game the way he sees it.
“I have always said players should stay on their feet. I have got a view that retrospective viewing of diving should be seen as more important than some of the technology that they are talking about coming in. I think it would make the referee’s job an awful lot easier if that was there.”
Moyes echoed the recent comments of Stoke manager Tony Pulis, suggesting player should be banned for diving. “I think if you did that, it wouldn’t take long before you cut it out,” he said.
“It wouldn’t take much to employ four or five players on a panel, players, managers and referees, I think it would be easily done.”
During his time at Goodison, Moyes had to deal with persistent diving allegations against former Everton striker Andy Johnson.
He rejected the notion there was any similarity between Johnson and Suárez. “I think it was slightly different in that Andy was so quick and quick footed that he hardly touched the ground,” said Moyes.
“Quite often he got clipped because he got to things really, really quickly. I don’t see a comparison. It got to a stage when Andy wouldn’t go down when he could have legitimately gone down. That is what you have to do. If you can legitimately stay up, that is what you do.”
Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager preparing for his first Merseyside derby, has spoken about the “vilification” of Suárez . He believes referees have been influenced to ignore blatant fouls on his striker.
The derby referee, Andre Marriner, will come under close scrutiny from both managers as they assess if Suárez’s reputation and recent comments have any impact on the key decisions.
For the first time since their last league title win 1987, there is a view on Merseyside that Everton should be finishing above Liverpool this season but Moyes is setting his sights beyond regional boundaries.
He said: “As a manager my job is to consistently finish above Liverpool, but the focus shouldn’t be on finishing above Liverpool.
"We need to be thinking about how we finish above Manchester United and Manchester City. It may sound crazy but that is what I’m thinking of.”
Kenny Dalglish was the last Liverpool manager to win his first Goodison derby, during his first spell in 1985.
It is a game that can define careers and Rodgers is well aware a victory is a swift means of solidifying a relationship with his new club.
“It’s the same in all the big derbies worldwide. A player can maybe only play a few games for a club but if he scores the winner in a derby, he is talked about for the rest of his time,” said Rodgers.
“I love that passion and commitment that is involved. It certainly won’t make or break our season but if you can win it, it will give you that extra confidence and keep us going forward.”
Phil Neville is in no doubt about the meaning of Sunday’s Merseyside derby. “For me,” says the Everton captain, “losing to Liverpool is the worst thing that can happen to you.” He is being serious.
“My wife knows that every time she arranges a Saturday night out it’s based on what the result of that day’s game is. If we lose, we don’t go out. Simple as that; I’m no good to anyone. And if we lose to Liverpool, she might as well cancel the rest of the month.”
Neville is sitting in the lounge of his huge new house in Hale, south of Manchester. It is some lounge. Through one set of picture windows you can see several large cars purring on a gravel drive. Through the other, is a football pitch where he kicks the ball around with his son. Inside, the carpets are so deep you fear you might turn an ankle walking across to take a seat on one of the many sofas. These are seats so vast and so softly sprung that were you to investigate what is lurking down the back, never mind a few lost coins, you are likely to encounter a whole platoon of Japanese soldiers unaware that the war is over.
But whatever the luxury of his domestic surrounds, however polished the grand piano in the corner, however sizeable the pool and gym complex down below in the basement, nobody could accuse Neville of being comfortable as he approaches his footballing dotage. At 35, this is a man who still worries incessantly about his performance. The night before we meet he has failed to sleep because of what had happened in that afternoon’s match. Or more precisely, what had been said on the television about an incident in the game.
“I was out with the wife and I kept getting these tweets telling me that they’d said on Match of the Day that I was to blame for a goal we’d conceded,” he explains. “When we got home, I just couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning, thinking about it. About two in the morning, I come downstairs and watched the recording, and it was true, they had. Soon as I could, I was on the phone to the video bloke at Everton telling him to check out whether I was to blame. He’s just come back to me saying if you look at the footage from all the angles, then it wasn’t my fault. Which is a real relief.”
In many ways, that anecdote sums up Phil Neville. This is a footballer who has never rested on his laurels, never been satisfied with doing just enough to get by. He acknowledges that he was not born with the talent of others (well, not at football anyway; at cricket he was such a natural in his youth it was predicted he would one day captain England). But throughout a hugely successful career catalogued in the trophies, shirts and England caps framed around his house, he has sweated to make the most of himself. Which is why he feels so at home at Everton, the club he joined in 2005 after 15 years at Manchester United. It is a place that embraces hard work, where he can be surrounded by like minds. Particularly in the person of its manager.
“I can see similarities between David Moyes and me,” he says. “He’s driven every day. People might think: ‘oh it’s Monday morning, not got a game ’til Saturday, it’ll be a gentle kickabout’. It’s never like that. It’s always intense. He trains us to a level that matchdays are actually a relief. You always have to be at your best. Every day he motivates me. Give a bad pass away in training, he’ll tell you: that’s not good enough. He never misses a day so there’s no chance to relax. He really does stretch the boundaries of what you think your boundaries can be.”
It is Moyes, he suggests, who is the reason Everton find themselves in the elevated position of the top four.
“Permanence, loyalty, continuity: those are essential for me. And Moyes provides all that.” There is something else, too.
“Because money’s tight, he can’t dive in and just gamble money on players. He has to assess their character, check they are right,” he says. “That means he brings in players who reflect his personality. The core know the gaffer, know the club, know what is expected. And the new guys just fit into it. When you’re training your eyeballs out, the slightest moan about how hard it is, you’re told: hey, this is Everton.” Indeed, counter-intuitive as it may seem in this era of big money and big squads, Neville is of the belief that Everton’s impecunious circumstances may well be the reason for their run into Champions League contention.
“Our strength is that we haven’t got a squad,” he says. “It means there’s real continuity in the team. We joke that if we had two players for every position we wouldn’t be as good.” So does it mean that the side he leads are now unequivocally the best on Merseyside?
“It’s way too early to call. I’ve played in championship-winning teams and the season doesn’t take shape until December,” he says. “I don’t want to use the word miracle, but it would be a miracle if we qualified for the Champions League. And Liverpool are going through a transitional period with a new manager. But I think he’s outstanding. I think they’ll come good.”
Which is not something Liverpool supporters might expect to hear Neville say. If he is not prepared to predict a result for Sunday’s game at Goodison, of one thing he can be certain: as a former Manchester United player now captaining Everton, he is unlikely to be in danger of being smothered by affection from the visiting fans. It would be wrong, though, to assume the antagonism is mutual.
“Listen, you can’t hide from the fact there’s a lot of hatred between the two teams,” he says. “We’d do anything to beat each other. That said, there’s real respect too.” A respect evident, he says, in the reaction to the recent Hillsborough revelations. During Everton’s League Cup tie in Leeds, the away fans sang throughout about “justice for the 96”. It is hard to think of another club whose supporters would show such solidarity with their local rivals.
“Remember, most of the 96 who died probably had Evertonians in the family,” he says. “And when Rhys Jones [the boy shot dead in his Everton strip in 2007] was murdered, Liverpool played the Z Cars theme at Anfield. That was a similar show of solidarity, of decency, of being part of the same family.” Not that he expects the atmosphere on Sunday to be any less fractious than usual. These derbies, he says, are never something the players can relish.
“You look forward to the games, but you can’t actually enjoy them because there’s so much riding on them,” he says. “You know it’s going to be a battle, you know you’re going to get unbelievable abuse, but what you fear is the losing. Winning’s fantastic. But losing? We got beat there last season. It was terrible. You are letting your supporters down and you know this is the one that matters to them.” Though presumably, as he still lives near Manchester, he is at least able to escape the Mersey goldfish bowl.
“Not at all,” he says. “You get it wherever you are. Football has gone crazy in terms of the microscope you’re under. I went out last night to a charity function in Manchester and all people wanted to talk about was the Everton game. You can’t get away from it. Personally, that’s fantastic. I don’t want to get away from it. I love it when supporters have opinions. It keeps my blood boiling, it keeps me motivated.” And talking of opinions, what does he make of his brother Gary’s transition from the football pitch to the Sky studio?
“Doesn’t surprise me,” he says. “When he was offered the job we talked for hours about whether he should take it. He said if he was going to do it, he’d want viewers to understand what was going on. He’d want to add value. Tell you what, if it had been him looking at that game yesterday, he would have checked all the camera angles and explained what was going on. He wouldn’t have just slagged someone off.” Which, if nothing else, would have meant the younger Neville could have enjoyed a decent night’s sleep.