What The Papers Say - 29 May
The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
Bill Kenwright revealed he lured David Moyes to Everton over eggs on toast and a cuppa in the early hours at his home in London’s Little Venice.
Moyes — then Preston boss — was the first to be interviewed when Walter Smith was axed in March 2002, with the Toffees sliding towards relegation.
Within minutes of meeting him, as he tucked into a late night supper cooked by his partner actress Jenny Seagrove, Blues chairman Kenwright knew he had found his saviour.
He said: “David was always the one. He was on a list of four but five minutes after sitting down with him that was it — he was the man.
“From the second I met him at twenty-to-one in my house, when Jen was saying ‘Do you want some eggs on toast?’ he’s been the one.
“He told me at that first meeting ‘You’re not going to go down’. No matter what happened, he was always going to be the man to take us forwards. He’s proved that every day he’s been here.
“David has taken this club by the scruff of the neck and given Evertonians a reason to believe. What he’s done is a miracle.”
In these times of trigger-happy owners, Kenwright’s loyalty to Moyes never wavered, even when the Scotsman himself flirted briefly with the drop.
Yet theatre producer and impresario Kenwright accepts no praise for standing by his man. He added: “I remember in the past when players have been out injured and you think ‘How are we going to cope?’
“But now, if I see David standing on the side of the pitch when I sit down, I know everything is OK in the world now he’s here.
“Ever since David Unsworth scored that daisy cutter after 27 seconds, in his first game in charge against Fulham, I have thought ‘That’s my man’.
“The one thing I don’t deserve or desire is praise for sticking with him because you’d have to be beyond crazy not to have supported him the way I have.
“He still rings before every game and within an hour of the whistle. Although I’m not sure if we talked after we lost to Shrewsbury in the FA Cup a few years ago!
“One thing I’ve been able to do for over 40 years is recognise talent. And of David I thought ‘This guy’s the one’.”
The contrast between the two owners in the final could not be greater. Can you imagine Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich arriving on a fans’ coach after belting out songs all the way to Wembley?
Well that’s exactly how Kenwright will be making his way to the showpiece.
He revealed: “I’ll go on the coach with everyone, like I did in the semi, like I’ve done for 25 years.
“Jenny and I will be singing ‘Tell me ma, me ma’, playing who spots Wembley first... all the things a fan does. I will be part of the Everton family that day.
“Then I’ll go out and gaze around like I did before the semi. I don’t want to have lunch.
“Would I swap my seat for sitting with all the fans? At the moment when Phil Neville’s standing next to me with the cup — no!
“But I’ll also be thinking of my Uncle Cyril, who used to carry me on his bike to games. He lived long enough to see us win the semi and then died the next day.
“I’ll be there as the chairman and it’s beyond my wildest dreams. But I won’t really be watching as a chairman, I’ll be watching as a fan.”
For one day at least, it will be a dream shared by most people outside Stamford Bridge ... and, of course, a vast proportion of Liverpool fans.
Kenwright has noticed it everywhere. He said: “Wherever I go, if it’s at the theatre people say ‘Mr Kenwright, win’.
“If I’m out for a meal with Jenny, they’re saying ‘Good luck sir’. Even the cabbies are tooting their horns and saying ‘All the best’. There’s a real buzz towards us in this final.
“No one will ever take the 1966 FA Cup final win from me or when we stayed up against Wimb-ledon in 1994. That was probably THE moment, when the heart was going to burst.
“But this is beyond my wildest dreams. How I’ll be at the final especially if we win I’ve no idea.”
South African winger Steven Pienaar believes Everton have proved they can live with the top four as he prepares for the game of his life at Wembley.
Pienaar, 27, has had a major impact on Everton’s impressive season, even more so since he was thrust into the playmaker role following Mikel Arteta’s season-ending knee injury.
Pienaar hopes his mother, watching from back home in Johannesburg, does not do any more damage to the family television when she watches her son play in the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday.
"There is a lot of interest in me back home in South Africa, particularly since we got to the final," said Pienaar.
"But I was told after the semi-final win over Manchester United at Wembley that my mum almost broke the TV in her excitement when she was watching the penalty shoot-out.
"Lots of my family are coming over for the match, but mum has to stay behind to look after my little sister. I always ring her just before a match to see if she is okay. I just hope she doesn’t do any more damage to the TV this time."
Now Pienaar aims to cap a great season for the Toffees, who finished fifth place in the Premier League, by guiding them to their first trophy since they last won the cup in 1995.
And he has no fears of facing one of the country’s big four clubs.
"We have already beaten two sides from the top four, so we can beat another this time," he said.
"It has been a long time for our fans not to have had a cup final, and we know the city will go crazy if we do win at Wembley.
"Our fans are passionate and they deserve success like this. We aim to give them their reward for all the loyalty they have shown to this club over the years.
"Chelsea are a great side, but nothing is impossible. We will give it our best shot."
Pienaar added: "We have already beaten two of the top four to get to the final, Liverpool and then Manchester United, so why can’t we make it three by beating Chelsea?
"We have drawn with them twice already, so we really believe we can beat them this time.
"But we accept that this will be a difficult final. Chelsea are a tough side with good players in all positions, but we believe we can certainly match them in the final."
Pienaar has blossomed at Goodison Park into a clever creative player.
Brought up in the Ajax traditions in their South African academy before moving to the Dutch giants, Pienaar provides the silky skills to go with Everton’s renowned work rate.
He moved to Everton on loan from Borussia Dortmund before a £2m permanent move last season.
"It was difficult at the beginning (of the season). We were not giving the fans what they deserved. But through hard work and team spirit we have turned things around, fifth in the league and in the cup final.
"I have settled into the side now. Last season was totally different, I was on loan and had to prove myself. But now I have my contract and I feel a lot more settled about things.
"But the pressure is now that people expect more from me. But I am enjoying myself here and this is the best football I have played at Everton.
"I do feel extra responsibility. People say I have filled the role that was Mikel’s before he was injured. I am asked to be more creative.
"It is difficult to replace him, and really it is not only me. But I am improving with every game and hope that I can prove what I can do at Wembley.
"I love it here, this club is going forward. The manager is doing a good job, but everyone is. The chairman, everybody, and they all deserve this success."