What The Papers Say - 29 September
A round-up of Saturday's local and national newspapers.
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 insisted he is “totally committed” to Everton, despite no sign of contract talks to extend his tenure at Goodison.
Toffees manager Moyes, who has less than 10 months remaining on his current deal, has revealed there are no plans to hold discussions, despite suggestions back in the summer that he would be offered an improved package.
The news that Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has signed a remarkable new eight-year contract this week spotlights the lack of activity at Everton.
But a calm Moyes insisted there is no need for fans to worry.
“It leaves no questions about my commitment whatsoever. My commitment at Everton is total and it always will be. I don’t see it as a big problem,” he insisted.
“I am happy with the situation. The chairman is, as well.
“We have no real need to talk at the moment. I am heavily concentrating on the team now.”
Moyes indicated that money will not be a problem, but he wants to wait and see just what funds he will be given in the transfer market to ensure he can continue to take Everton forward after a decade in charge.
Ironically, the uncertainty over the manager’s future comes at a time when Everton have flourished at the start of the campaign.
The Blues are in position to go top of the Premier League by beating Southampton at Goodison, if leaders Chelsea lose at Arsenal in the early game.
Moyes said: “Psychologically for the club, being top would be a big thing.”
David Moyes has insisted his commitment to Everton is unwavering even though he has yet to open talks on a new contract.
The Everton manager’s current deal runs out at the end of this campaign and the fact that formal dialogue has not started with him and chairman Bill Kenwright has been brought into context after Newcastle boss Alan Pardew penned an eight-year deal on Thursday.
Moyes, however, is adamant that nothing sinister should be read into the situation.
He has been in this position before – the Scot only had a few months left on his contract when he penned a five-year agreement in October 2008 – and sees no reason why it will become a major issue.
‘My commitment at Everton is total and it always will be,’ said Moyes, who celebrated 10 years at the helm in March.
‘I don’t see it as a big problem. I’ll be asked more questions the longer it goes on. But right now if you asked me if it was even in my head, it’s not even crossed my mind.
‘I feel as though I am happy with the situation. The chairman is as well. And when we need to, we talk.
'We talk on the phone every day so it’s nothing that needs to be resolved by any big talks.
'We have a good relationship and when it comes to that that’s the way we will deal with it.’
When the time comes for talks to take place, Moyes – whose side face Southampton at Goodison Park on – feels the only subjects that will need to be clarified are what direction the club is going in. Personal finance will not be an issue.
‘I don’t want anything to get in the way of how well the players are playing,’ said Moyes.
‘If that became a problem, then I’d need to look at it. But hopefully it won’t. The players are focused and we all know what we are trying to do.
‘We have no real need (to talk) at the moment. I am heavily concentrating on the team and I personally don’t feel that we have to sit down and do it.
'I don’t think the club feel there is a need either, because whatever happens, I’m here until the end of the season anyway. There’s no panic.’
Everton have made an excellent start to the season and while his mood was checked slightly on Tuesday evening by a shock defeat to Leeds in the Capital One Cup, there is a possibility Moyes could be sitting on top of the Premier League if results go the right way.
The last time Everton took charge of the Premier League table was on August 14, 2007 but that was after just two games.
EVERTON boss David Moyes has shelved any talk of a new deal as he sets his sights on the Premier League pinnacle.
Their sweet start means the Toffees could be top tonight with a home win over Southampton – if other results go their way.
Moyes, who celebrated 10 years in charge in March, won’t rush over a new deal.
But he speaks daily with chairman Bill Kenwright and insists there’s no issue.
He said: “I am happy with the situation. The chairman is as well. We talk on the phone every day, so it’s nothing that needs to be resolved by any big talks.
“We have a good relationship and when it comes to that, that’s the way we will deal with it. My commitment to Everton is total and always will be.”
Moyes took over from Walter Smith in 2002 and is the Premier League’s third longest server, after Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
Everton were briefly top in 2007 and Moyes said: “Psychologically it would be a big thing. If you are in that top group, you start to think you can hang in there.”
A two-goal victory at home to Southampton on Saturday afternoon, combined with a Chelsea defeat at Arsenal, would send Everton to the top of the table for the first time at this stage of the season since 1989 and add weight to the belief that the blue half of Merseyside, rather than the red, can challenge for Champions League qualification.
Everton claiming top spot would hardly force the bookmakers to redraw their odds on the outcome of the title race, yet it would ensure another high watermark of Moyes’s 10-year reign at Goodison Park.
It would also, however, place in sharp focus the Scot’s dwindling contract, which expires next summer, and the prospect of life without the 49 year-old at the helm.
However, Moyes insists he is in no rush to talk terms. “No, I feel as though I am happy with the situation.” he said. “The chairman [Bill Kenwright] is as well. We talk on the phone every day, so it’s nothing that needs to be resolved by any big talks.
“I am heavily concentrating on the team and I personally don’t feel the need that we have to sit down and do it.
“Whatever happens, I’m here until the end of the season anyway. There’s no great panic. My commitment at Everton is total and it always will be. I don’t see it as a big problem. Right now, if you asked me if it was even in my head, it’s not even crossed my mind.
“If it became a problem for the players then I’d need to look at it, but hopefully it won’t. The players are focused and we all know what we are trying to do.”
The uncertainty surrounding Moyes’s future has coincided with the emergence of what many observers regard as the best team of his decade in charge at the club.
Victory at home to Manchester United in their opening fixture has propelled Everton to their impressive start, with players such as Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines excelling and Graeme Sharp, a two-time title winner at the club in the 1980s, believes the seeds were sown by Moyes in January.
“The biggest factor was re-signing Pienaar on loan from Tottenham in January,” Sharp said. “David also added Darron Gibson and Nikica Jelavic and Everton suddenly had a squad of 15-16 quality players and genuine goal threat.
“They have all made a big impact, enabling David to offload Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell, two players who probably wouldn’t be in the team now. Bringing in Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas has also made Everton stronger.
“There is an excitement about the club again, the team is playing great football and going top today would be fantastic. If one of the big four slip up, Everton can challenge for the Champions League.”
So often slow starters, Everton’s performances so far this season are a break from the norm and Moyes cites the permanent signing of Pienaar this summer as the catalyst.
“Getting Pienaar in, along with having had Gibson and Jelavic in January, gave us the feeling that we started this season in a better frame of mind.” said Moyes, who revealed he once considered signing Southampton striker Rickie Lambert when the player was with Bristol Rovers.
“The signing of Pienaar meant we could start the season with the team that finished the last one. We hadn’t lost any of the players who had finished the season in the team.
“Now, going top is something which we know is there for us if we can take our opportunities.
“If we can win the game it will be a good position to be in at this stage of the season. If you are in that top group, you start to think you can hang in there as the season goes on and, psychologically for the club, being top would be a big thing.”
Throughout his 10 years at Goodison, Moyes has kept his equity remarkably high and the team’s current position only strengthens his bargaining position when the time comes to discuss his future.
Whether he will judge his 50th birthday next April as a seminal moment, a time to assess his ambitions and objectives, remains to be seen, but if he commits to Everton, Moyes will not be seeking the kind of deal that Alan Pardew has secured at Newcastle this week.
“I think it’s every man for himself, really.” Moyes said. “Alan has been there a couple of years and for him to have an eight-year contact is a good message for him, the club and the Newcastle fans because they know where they are heading.
“But is it something a manager who has been at a club for 10 years would do? I’m not quite sure that quite fits the bill. Supporters can become fickle and at times they want a change as well.”
DAVID MOYES is in no rush to agree a new contract – but insists his relaxed stance about his future is no reflection on his commitment to Everton FC.
The Goodison boss is likely to reflect on the club’s progress at the end of this season before deciding whether to agree an extension of his decade-long spell on Merseyside.
Moyes, who will be out of contract next summer, admits he might seek an earlier resolution to the issue if he felt it was affecting his players, although he remains confident that won’t be the case.
He said: “I feel as though I am happy with the situation. The chairman is as well, and when we need to, we talk.
“We talk on the phone every day so it’s nothing that needs to be resolved by any big talks. We have a good relationship and when it comes to that that’s the way we will deal with it.
“We have no real need at the moment. I am heavily concentrating on the team now. I don’t think the club feel there is a need either, because whatever happens, I’m here until the end of the season anyway. There’s no great panic.
“It could become an issue, but I don’t think it’s an issue at the moment.
“The only issue it could become is if other people start thinking it’s an issue. I don’t want anything to get in the way of how well the players are playing.
“If that became a problem, then I’d need to look at it. But hopefully it won’t. The players are focused and we all know what we are trying to do.”
Moyes accepts that, as he has proven, stability is key to a progressive club – just 48 hours after Newcastle boss Alan Pardew signed an eight-year deal at St James’ Park.
But when he comes to talks with Kenwright, the Everton manager says such a hefty deal is unlikely to be on the agenda.
“Clubs need to look for the long term and to see where you are going,” he added.
“Alan has been there a couple of years and for him to have an eight-year contact is a good message for him and for the Newcastle supporters and the cub in general because they know where they are heading.
“Is it something manager who has been at a club for 10 years would do? I’m not quite sure that quite fits the bill. Supporters can become fickle and at times they want a change as well.
“But my commitment at Everton is total and it always will be. I don’t see it as a big problem.
“I’ll be asked more questions the longer it goes on. But right now if you asked me if it was even in my head, it’s not even crossed my mind.”
Asked what factors will come into consideration when he decides on his future, he added: “I think it would be the way the club is going in general. That’s probably more what I would be interested in.”
Meanwhile, Everton will continue to allow former Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger to train with them as they ponder offering the free-agent a deal.
Moyes said: “He has looked okay.
“He has just done a small amount of training every day with the players because we haven’t done a lot of training because of all the games.”
A WEEK of mixed emotions could yet end with David Moyes’ Everton FC sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League.
To do it the Blues must hope Arsenal beat current table-toppers Chelsea, they take three points from Southampton at Goodison and then Spurs record a rare victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
But if Arsene Wenger’s men do them an early favour at the Emirates and the Toffees get the job done against the Saints, Moyes will at least be able to savour looking at the table until after United’s tea-time clash.
Even if it is a short-lived accolade, it will be symbolic for the Everton boss – who has rarely experienced being top dog during his ten-year stint in the Goodison hot-seat.
Coming after his side were dumped out of the Capital One Cup by Leeds United on Tuesday, Moyes knows it will be the perfect way to soothe the frustrations of the 5,000 travelling supporters who headed to Yorkshire with dreams of Wembley in February.
“It’s something which we know is there for us if we can take our opportunities,” says Moyes. “I mention this quite a lot at Everton that when they come along, regularly we don’t take them.
“If we can win the game then it will be a good position to be in at this stage of the season.
“Psychologically for the club, being top would be a big thing. For the supporters, you can tell it’s a big thing for them.”
Whether they can stay in pole position for long is debatable, but Moyes admits such an impressive early pace could help their long-term aspirations this season.
“Normally you might not consider being in the top group,” he says. “But if you are in that top group, you start to think you can hang in there as the season goes on.
“For the players, we are trying to get off to a better opening than what we have had.
“For us, it’s not just the first couple of games, it’s about between games three and 10. So I can’t turn around and say it’s been a good start yet. I couldn’t use those words. After 10 games will give it a better definition.”
Moyes says that bitter disappointment at Elland Road must prove to his players that they can ill afford to ever let their performance levels drop and still expect to progress.
“It does,” he says. “It shows we probably haven’t got a third gear. We have a fourth gear and we have to be in that all the time really.
“We went to Leeds and didn’t do well and we went to West Brom (losing 2-0) and didn’t play that well.
“But overall no-one can doubt the way the players have played and their attitude and performance has been fantastic and we’ve started well so we wanted to keep that going.
“We have done okay in 2012 but we are not the sort of people here who get carried away with ourselves and we have to keep going.”
The Blues cannot afford to dwell too much on the Leeds result with a freshly galvanised Southampton arriving at Goodison today, and Moyes knows all about one of the South Coast club’s biggest success stories so far.
The Scot had striker Rickie Lambert under consideration for a move to Goodison before he joined Southampton.
The 30-year-old frontman has enjoyed a rags-to-riches career having been released by Blackpool almost 12 years ago and has played a key role in Saints’ promotion.
But had things taken a different path Lambert, who has scored 82 goals in 137 league appearances for the south coast outfit, could have been lining up against Nigel Adkins’ side and not for them.
“He was in my attention when he was at Bristol Rovers (between 2006 and 2009),” says Moyes.
“Round that time we were looking around the leagues to see and we took Jermaine Beckford when Rickie was just about to go to Southampton.
“We were well aware of him and his goalscoring and he had done great. It shows a great deal of hunger and perseverance to get through to the top and he’s done that.
“You can get released and it does not mean it is the end. What you have to do is go away and work at your game and what Rickie has done over the years is keep scoring goals.”
BARRY HORNE - THOMAS HITZLSPERGER has had a pretty strange career, if we are being honest. And now, at 30, he finds himself without a club, and playing for his future at Everton.
The reason the German – who let’s not forget was a Bundesliga winner just five years ago, and a part of the Germany squad which finished third at the 2006 World Cup and runner up at the 2008 European Championships – is without a club is mainly due to injury, but it is an unusual situation nonetheless.
David Moyes felt, in light of the summer departures of Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell, that he was a man light in central midfield, and a sub-standard performance at Elland Road – particularly in that area – will have done little to convince him otherwise.
Hitzlsperger (above) has a chance to prove his fitness at Finch Farm over the next few days, at a club which is renowned for helping relaunch the careers of players who may otherwise not have had such opportunities.
From Everton’s point of view, he is one to look at. He is technically more than able – you don’t play for Germany if you are not, let’s face it – and, despite his poor appearance record over the past few years, should have a few more years left in his legs. He could well have something to offer Everton as a squad player.
Much was made, unsurprisingly, of David Moyes’ team selection at Elland Road, and questions have been asked of the individuals who came into the side and failed to deliver.
I think it is a bit harsh to write anybody off based on that game. Everton used four or five players at once, who would not normally start the game, and that can be hard to do.
If there had been maybe one or two, then I think the performance level would have been different.
BARRY HORNE - EVERTON host my former club Southampton this weekend, and will be looking to get back to winning ways.
I had some good times down on the South Coast. It was a very homely club, and the legendary Dell was a great place to play football. We had some great results there, though the fact that we had the likes of Le Tissier, Shearer, Wallace, Flowers and Ruddock helped, of course.
A lot has changed since I left, but they are back in the big time now, and it is great to have them back. Yet, it has to be said, a look at their current squad reveals they have very few players of the calibre I just mentioned.
Interestingly, one of my best friends from that Southampton side, Matt Le Tissier, was interviewed on Sky last week, and said he had always found going to Everton to be a tough, tough game. Le Tiss even went as far as saying that he thought he had only managed to score twice at Goodison – and one of those was in a game he lost! – which is an incredible fact, given he regularly scored 20 goals a season.
I thoroughly expect the trend to continue on Saturday. Southampton had a good win last weekend, beating a poor Aston Villa side at St Marys, but I would expect Everton to bounce back from their midweek disappointment.
Saints do not possess a Le Tissier, a Shearer, a Flowers, and I think that they, like fellow promoted club Reading, are in for a long hard season.
Nigel Adkins has worked miracles to get them from League One to the Premier League in the space of two seasons; if he is to keep them there it will be an achievement that would eclipse even those promotions.
I don’t expect Everton to do them any favours at Goodison this weekend, that’s for sure.
STEVEN Naismith called on smokers to stub it out after visiting a local primary school to highlight the dangers of passive smoking.
The Scotland international visited Broadgreen Primary School on Thursday to support SmokeFree Families, a project urging parents not to smoke in their home.
Naismith took part in a sports session with youngsters, delivered by Everton in the Community, to help them understand how smoking can have an adverse affect on physical ability and their health.
He said: “Projects like this one really help children to understand how smoking can damage their health and makes parents think about how they are putting the children at risk too.
In Liverpool, 96,400 people smoke with 65% of those smoking in their household.
EVERTON has helped two local homeless women become international footballers.
Jessica Lomax,19, and Becca Mushrow, 18, have been selected to represent England at the first four-a-side Women’s Homeless World Cup next month in Mexico after participating in a programme run by Everton in the Community.
Working in partnership with the Homeless FA and Liverpool Homeless FC, the Blues’ official charity has been involved in a ground-breaking national pilot scheme to engage local homeless women in sporting activity.
The two Everton players faced stiff competition and were selected for the eight-woman squad, which will travel to Mexico on 4 October, after demonstrating great skill and a determination to succeed.
During the programme, the girls received expert coaching from Everton and England Ladies players Rachel Brown and Fara Williams, who will also travel to Mexico next month with the squad.
Jessica, from Huyton, said: “It’s a dream and I am still getting my head round it all. It is a great opportunity and hopefully we can do well.
“We have been doing sessions with Rachel and Fara and that has been great. They are a bit of an inspiration to us and maybe one day I could be a professional like them.”
THE revised and updated 2012 edition of The Everton Miscellany – newly released this month – remains an interesting read for Toffees.
Written by former editor of When Skies Are Grey fanzine Mark O’Brien, it’s a goldmine of information which reveals all manner of facts, feats and stories from the proud history of one of English football's most prestigious clubs.
Alongside the lesser-known facts are biographical sections on Dixie Dean, Graeme Sharp, Neville Southall, and David Moyes as well as detailed season-by-season records to satisfy even the most ardent of statisticians.