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What The Papers Say - 17 February

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.

The People

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez will be the No.1 choice for Everton if David Moyes calls time on his 11-year Goodison Park career this summer.

Everton boss Moyes has put contract talks on ice until the end of the season, even though his current deal runs out in June.

Moyes, 50 in April, says he wants no distractions as he chases a place in Europe next season and this season's FA Cup.

But although he has told chairman Bill Kenwright that he'll talk then he may decide the club has gone as far as it can without further investment, in which case the Everton board will turn to Wigan boss Martinez.

Martinez, like Moyes, is being eyed by Chelsea as they plan another change this summer, with interim boss Rafa Benitez certain to be on his way out.

But Everton would appeal more to Martinez, who had talks with Liverpool owner Tom Henry last summer.

The Spaniard is fighting another relegation battle at the DW Stadium and close advisors believe it's time for him to move on.

His style of play would be appreciated by the Goodison fans but the board believes they can persuade Moyes to stay.

The People

Manchester City have joined the race to take Marouane Fellaini from Everton.

The 25-year-old Belgian is also a top target for Chelsea, but the European champions will now have to battle it out with mega-rich rivals City in the summer.

The Eastlands club's bosses will offer a deal worth £23million, which could include up to two players.

Everton boss David Moyes might be tempted if defender Gael Clichy is part of the deal.

Sunday Mirror

Royston Drenthe has admitted Everton manager David Moyes saved him from ending up in the gutter.

Despite the fact that Moyes sent the ex-Real Madrid star packing, Drenthe is grateful for the Scot's hard words.

"It was David Moyes who has opened my eyes," said 25-year-old Drenthe, who moved to Alania Vladikavkaz, 1200 miles south of Moscow.

"I am fighting for my last chance in life and in football. I have just lost a stone in weight.

"I can only say that Moyes was right in every way. I was not living like a professional player in Liverpool.

"I can try and come up with all sorts of excuses, but that is not fair on anyone. I look in the mirror and I have to admit that I had to stop living the way I did. All players love to go out and hit the town. But I had no discipline at all. I hit rock bottom.

"I was close to ending up on the street again where I once was before I ­became a footballer.''

Drenthe was caught on camera breaking into Everton's training ground with women. He also turned up for training smelling of booze.

Drenthe said: "I was living in a ­different world. And I realise I have ruined it all myself.

"I used to confront David Moyes, thinking I had the right to talk to him like that. But in hindsight, he was so right about me most times.

"Now I can't believe I blew it at ­Everton. It is one of the most fantastic clubs in the Premier League.

"My ­attitude and poor mentality are the reasons I ruined my career there.''

Sunday Mirror



Matt Smith is quickly becoming the scourge of Merseyside.

The 6ft 6in striker came off the substitutes' bench to head a dramatic injury-time equaliser to keep Oldham's remarkable FA Cup ­campaign alive at Boundary Park last night.

Smith, the slayer of ­Liverpool in round four with two goals in the Latics' 3-2 victory, was only passed fit after shaking off a shoulder injury he sustained on that famous day.

He was sent on for the last half-hour by caretaker boss Tony Philliskirk with ­Oldham in desperate need of inspiration.

And the Manchester ­University graduate duly passed the test when he rose to meet Connor Brown's ­corner to send the home fans crazy.

David Moyes could only stand and stare in disbelief.

The Everton boss has said that his future at ­Goodison is likely to depend on ­whether Everton can qualify for the Champions League or lift their first ­trophy over his 11-year reign.

After seeing his side ­recover from the shock of Jordan Obita's early strike for the Latics to lead through goals from Victor Anichebe and Phil Jagielka, he had a place in the quarter-finals in his grasp.

Then came another of those moments that the grand old competition is ­famous for.

Oldham's saviour Smith said: "We we were unlucky not to score beforehand. We've been working on swinging in crosses and overloading the box all week and the keeper played his part.

"The performance was up there with the Liverpool game - we got in their faces and and it'll give us plenty of confidence going into the replay."

This was old-school ­knock-out football. A raw, uncompromising battle of wills on a pitch that helped Oldham bridge a gap of 59 league places for long ­periods.

Everton started brightly but it was the home side who took a 13th-minute lead - to send the fans wild.

Moyes would have been infuriated with the way his side were opened up by a devastating Oldham break.

Jose Baxter hooked ­Leighton Baines' corner clear and when Leon Osman was foolishly tempted to beat Lee Croft to the loose ball on the halfway line, he only allowed the Oldham winger to race clear.

Only Croft will know whether his driven effort across the face of Tim Howard's goal was a cross or a shot.

But Obita couldn't miss as he arrived in front of Darron Gibson at the far post.

Obita, an England Under-21 ­international who is on loan from Reading, did look ­marginally offside.

But if there had still been a roof on the derelict ­Broadway Stand, it would have been taken off by the joy that erupted around the old ground.

Oldham's dream lasted 11 minutes.

When Nikica Jelavic flicked on Gibson's long ball, Anichebe's strength was too much for Jean-Yves M'voto and his right-foot finish ­beyond Dean Bouzanis was lethal.

Not that the Latics were ready to go quietly.

Obita thought he had scored again when he let fly with a shot that took a ­deflection off Marouane ­Fellani and bounced back off the inside of Howard's ­left-hand post.

Everton's response was a strike by Jelavic that was correctly ruled out for ­offside and a header from Fellaini that looped over.

The Merseysiders were forced to replace Anichebe with Kevin Mirallas at the break.

And it was the Belgians corner in the 48th minute that made it 2-1.

Jagielka had Lee Barnard tugging his shirt and keeper Bouzanis on his back ­attempting the punch the high ball clear.

But Jagielka's accuracy was such that he didn't even need to jump as he steered his header home from six yards.

Bouzanis made up for his error of judgement soon ­afterwards by smothering Steven Pienaar's low shot.

And home spirits lifted again when Philliskirk sent on Smith.

He forced Howard into a fine save with a drive from 18 yards that the American turned around his post.

And Howard did well again to thwart Robbie Simpson, although the ­Oldham sub should have done better than shoot the rebound into the side-netting.

But then came Smith's last- gasp equaliser.

The Observer


The poster on Oldham Athletic's dressing room instructed the players not to give away their shirts "due to a severe shortage" of first-team kit but it is fair to say the club will forgive Matt Smith for having the temerity, 10 minutes or so after the final whistle, to throw his to those supporters in the Rochdale Road End who had made it clear they did not want to go home.

It was the last touch of the match, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, when Smith emerged as the hero, just as he had in the previous round against Liverpool. The public announcer had already named Lee Croft as the man of the match and wished everyone a safe journey home. The first supporters were heading away into the red-bricked terraces that surround this little old ground - but the team fighting relegation to the fourth division were determined there would be one final twist.

They had subjected Everton to a ferocious aerial bombardment once the clock turned past 90 minutes, with their own goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis virtually encamped in the opposition penalty area for the late succession of corners.

Smith, standing 6ft 6in and absolutely determined to make a nuisance of himself, was a formidable target. Jonathan Grounds knew who to aim for and it was the tallest player on the pitch who applied the decisive touch through the scrum. The reward is a replay at Goodison Park and, as every Evertonian should remember, the last time they played there, in 2008, the League One side won 1-0.

"Financially, what that means to the club is the most important thing," Oldham's caretaker manager, Tony Philliskirk, said. "The dream result was a draw. I looked round after the goal and the directors were jumping up and down more than anyone. It eases things for us."

Yet, money aside, there was some old-fashioned FA Cup romance here, too. Smith was playing for Littleton in the Midlands Combination two years ago. As for Philliskirk, he had taken charge of Oldham's youth team in the morning for a 1-1 draw with Rochdale. "It was one man and his dog," he said.

At times, as Philliskirk conceded, Everton had "dominated, controlled the ball, looked very comfortable." Yet Oldham played with great perseverance and commitment. The pitch was threadbare, the perimeter boards advertised Clayton Park pies and the pre-match music had included Cannon and Ball's Boys in Blue. Everything was in place for a classic FA Cup night and it quickly became apparent Oldham scented another upset when they broke from defence and Jordan Obita, a 19-year-old on loan from Reading, turned in Lee Croft's misdirected shot for the opening goal. Even after Victor Anichebe had taken advantage of a mistake by Jean-Yves M'voto to rifle a 25th-minute equaliser past Bouzanis, there were reminders why the swagmen outside Boundary Park had been selling "giant-killers" scarves and flags. Within a minute, Obita's deflected shot had come back off Tim Howard's left-hand post. Oldham never once looked overawed.

They did, however, lose their way for a good half an hour after Phil Jagielka had headed in the substitute Kevin Mirallas's corner three minutes into the second half. They were soft goals to concede and the Premier League side ought to have had too much knowhow to be caught in that position. "With a minute to go, you think you've got through without playing great," David Moyes, Everton's manager, said. "But Oldham more than deserved their replay, so fair play."

Philliskirk, filling the void left by Paul Dickov's departure, had changed the team's system to 4-2-4 and instructed his team to "go as high as you like". The crosses into the penalty area created havoc but the chance appeared to be gone when Howard saved Smith's shot and then kept out another substitute, Robbie Simpson, with an even better save.

Smith was making his comeback after he damaged his shoulder while scoring two of the three goals that had knocked out Liverpool. Near the end the electronic board flashed up four minutes of added time - and the final act was officially timed at 94min 9sec.

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