What The Papers Say - 29 March
A round-up of Friday's local and national newspapers.
BILL KENWRIGHT has revealed that he has been contacted this week by potential new owners interested in buying Everton FC.
The Toffees chairman made the admission in an interview with Sky Sports news, when he also insisted David Moyes already knows his summer transfer budget if he decides to remain in charge at Goodison after this season.
Kenwright, who also said that managers interested in succeeding the Scot have already been in contact with him, said: "The fans don't want another Bill Kenwright.
"They don't want someone who has come in and got a second mortgage on his house and thrown everything together so he can keep the club afloat.
"They want someone who can take it forward, and there is someone out there. This week, yes, some more have come forward.
"You have got to remember that everyone knows the football club is for sale."
Moyes has repeatedly said he will make a decision on his future once the current campaign has ended and he has assessed the club's direction, and his chairman said he supports that stance even if it creates difficulties for the board.
"He has made a simple statement - 'Give me to the end of the season'," said the theatre impresario. "He knows in making that statement it is not the easiest for the football club.
"He knows that and he acknowledges that to me personally, but he also knows the respect I have for him and the gratitude we have for him.
"So hopefully in seven weeks time when the last match has been played we will sit down and have the five minutes that David has alluded to for the last six months or so, that will sort out a new contract; a new adventure and will keep David Moyes at Everton football club.
"If it doesn't - the man leaves with his head held high.
"Does the phone ring? Yes. What is my answer (to those inquiring about a potential vacancy)? It is very simple - Everton football club has its manager."
Speculation has mounted that one factor behind Moyes's decision will be reassurances that he does not have to sell key players in the summer, something Kenwright insists would be down to the Scot.
He added: "David Moyes is the only one who makes decisions on who stays, who goes, who comes into Everton football club."
VICTOR Anichebe wants to ensure his most prolific season yet ends in double figures for the first time in his Everton career.
The 24-year-old powerhouse has already scored more goals with nine games remaining than in any of his other seven Premier League campaigns with the Blues senior squad.
Anichebe is currently on seven goals, and wants to push that to at least 10 as he hopes to build on a series of promising individual performances which have started to reward David Moyes’s long-standing faith in him.
The Nigerian international, who is likely to get the nod to start again when Stoke City visit Goodison tomorrow evening, said: “I definitely want to score more before it ends.
“There are nine games left and hopefully I can get a minimum of three goals from now until the end of the season.
“It’s already been a great season for me but I want to score more to help the team and it’d be a great personal achievement for me too. It’s what I’m looking to do now.
“Obviously I can keep improving and doing better.
“This year is the most games I have played compared to recent years, so hopefully I can continue to stay fit, keep scoring and assisting.”
With Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar starting two-game suspensions David Moyes will have to reshuffle his resources tomorrow, and Anichebe hopes that means he has the chance to carry on learning from Croatian goalscorer Nikica Jelavic.
“As a partnership it’s got potential but it all depends what the manager puts out; whether he plays two strikers or just one,” he says.
“That’s his call. We’re adults and we’ll take it whatever he decides and go out there to get a result.
“But I think I’ve shown a few times this year that I’ve learned bits from him (Jelavic), against Newcastle was one. He even set me up for that goal.
“I’ve come across so many different types of forwards while I’ve been at Everton and I’ve taken bits off all of them.
“I’ve tried to learn from every single one and I’ve been fortunate to learn from some very talented players.
“I need to carry on learning though and hopefully it’ll make me a better player.”
IT WAS the type of stirring team performance which made it almost impossible to single out an individual.
But in their own special way, the Goodison crowd let Victor Anichebe know just what his all-action, ultra-committed 90-minute performance against Manchester City meant to them.
The 24-year-old hasn’t always been a darling of the Gwladys Street, but there was no doubting the admiration across the famous old ground as the home fans rose as one to applaud him off the field.
It was just one aspect of an afternoon which was almost the polar opposite of the previous weekend.
Where Everton had been insipid and lame against Wigan, they were impassioned and relentless as the Premier League’s reigning champions were put to the sword.
And the Crosby-born Nigerian international had helped set the tone, with the type of display that brought a smile to his manager’s face.
“It was really special to be applauded off,” says Anichebe reflecting on a moment which could prove pivotal in his Goodison career.
“I could feel it when I was walking off. It made me feel good but I was happier about the result.
“We had a great reaction after Wigan. That game hurt all of us but it was important we put it behind us and we had to show a good attitude going into the City game. The manager hammered that into us during the week and we came out and did ourselves and the club proud.
“He said afterwards that if I keep playing like that I can go as far as I want.”
Anichebe admits he has been told similar things in the past by a manager who has never stopped believing in his ability.
But now, as he begins to put a confidence-damaging cycle of injury and rehabilitation behind him, the penny has finally dropped.
“I’ve always heard things like that but then I’ve got injured and it has derailed me a little bit,” he added.
“Every game I come through unscathed I’m not so afraid or worried about getting injured. I’ll never take it for granted though.
“From that performance I’m a lot more confident in my own body and I’ve actually been a lot more confident in my body all year. Someone told me that I’ve played more games this year than ever before which was a surprise.
“If I can keep plugging away and playing it’d be great.”
Anichebe knows the challenge facing him and his team-mates is to maintain the ferocious tempo they set against City for their remaining nine games, with the ultimate prize a place in Europe – perhaps even the continent’s top club competition.
“It would be a dream for me to play for Everton in the Champions League of course,” he says. “I was only a very young player when we finished fourth in 2005 and wasn’t involved in it so much. My experience came more in the UEFA Cup later on.
“For us to even start thinking about Champions League is something – but I’d prefer us to take each game as it comes and see where we are at the end of the season.
“It’s always the challenge to keep that consistency going. Obviously we’ve got Felli and Steven suspended tomorrow but we need whoever comes in for them to help us keep the momentum going.
“Hopefully we can show Stoke the same energy levels as against City. It maybe hard to replicate but that’s what we’ve got to try and do. It starts with our attitude. We need a good result.”
Anichebe hopes the home supporters and team can achieve that special winning symbiosis for the visit of Stoke.
“I think the way the City game went and the fans roaring us to push for every ball was part of it. It was a crazy game,” he says.
“Everyone was the same, chasing people into corner flags and doing it collectively. The manager left us in no doubt what was required.
“We knew how upset the fans were after Wigan and we were distraught as well. We didn’t expect to lose that game either.
“It wasn’t just me who put a shift in. Every single person did it. I even saw Kevin chasing people into the corners. Jan (Mucha) had an unbelievable game which was great for him too.”
Anichebe is reluctant to focus on himself, insisting the team is all – but insists he has never been afraid to take responsibility.
And, he says, it’s something he wants more of too.
“I actually think I’ve always been quite mature for my age,” he says. “Taking responsibility isn’t a big thing for me. If it’s there to be taken I’ll do it. Against City it was that kind of game where it needed that type of performance.
“I hope there’s plenty more where that came from.”
VICTOR ANICHEBE brought smiles to the faces of children at Whiston Hospital.
The Everton striker paid a surprise visit to the children’s wards, taking with him an armful of Easter eggs.
He took time out after training to meet children who are currently being treated at the hospital, chatted with their families and posed for photographs with staff.
The hospital have three busy children’s wards and the young people were delighted to see a familiar face to brighten up their time in hospital.
Anichebe was also joined by staff from Everton in the Community to play a series of fun games at the children’s bedsides and he was happy to be able to bring some Easter cheer to the wards.
He said: “It’s been great seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces. Visits like this can go a long way and really lift the spirits of the children so I’m happy to be here. It’s a great feeling to see how happy they are.”
Sally Duce, Lead Nurse at Whiston Hospital, said: “We are delighted and grateful that Victor took the time out to visit the children and staff on the children’s unit today. They were thrilled to meet him, he brightened up their day and made Easter extra special for them.”
Everton striker Victor Anichebe made a surprise visit to children at Whiston Hospital's children's wards, armed with a bundle of Easter eggs.
Anichebe, 24, made his visit after training, posing for photographs with delighted kids who are being treated at the hospital, chatting with families and even taking part in games.
'I think it's been great, going to see the smiles on the kids’ faces is always nice,' said Anichebe to EvertonTV.
'It’s a great feeling to see how happy they are.
'It can go a really long way [spending time with kids], one or two of them are going home today and hopefully I've put a smile on their face - I saw one or two of them crying! - but hopefully they can go home happy for Easter.'
Anichebe handed out eggs to delighted kids on three separate wards, joined by staff from Everton in the Community to also play games at the bedsides of some of the children.
'There were quite a few Evertonians and there were some Liverpool and Manchester United fans as well,' added Anichebe. 'It doesn’t really matter [who they support], just to come here and see them is great.'
The striker is enjoying the best season of his career, and hopes he can hit a double figure goal tally for the first time.
Currently on seven goals, Anichebe will also make his 50th start for Everton if he gets picked by manager David Moyes for the match against Stoke on Saturday.
'There are nine games left and hopefully I can get a minimum of three goals from now until the end of the season,' he continued.
'I think I’ve had a really good season anyway but if I can get to double figures that would be even better.
'Obviously I can keep improving and doing better. This year is the most games I have played compared to in the past, so hopefully I can continue to stay fit, keep scoring and assisting with goals.
'It’s been a good season for me and a good season for Everton.'