Everton Album: Unsworth Ushers In Moyes Era
We re-live the moment David Moyes got off to a flyer as Blues boss.
Any Everton versus Fulham fixture will evoke memories of the Londoners' visit to Goodison Park in March 2002 for the first game of David Moyes’ reign.
The new man at the helm obviously wanted a decent start in front of his new fans - but even he didn’t dare dream that the opening goal would come in the first minute!
A throw-in from Alessandro Pistone, a header from Duncan Ferguson and a rocket from David Unsworth prized open the Fulham defence with just 27 seconds on the clock.
The goalscorer, Unsworth, is one of the most popular Everton players of the Premier League era and we caught up with him for a stroll down memory lane - and a quick look at the future…
Click here to see an enlarged image of Unsworth's strike
How did you feel when that goal against Fulham went in?
It was unbelievable! Everyone in the squad wanted to make a big impression on the new manager and there was a real determination to do well that day so to score from the edge of the box with my first touch was a nice way to start. Once I saw the ball scream past van der Sar and into the net I just turned away and started running! I was ecstatic and so were the fans.
It was a great way for the Moyes era to begin...
An incredible way for it to begin. He made a great impression when he arrived at Bellefield on that Thursday and I recall that he spoke really well to all the lads. We knew we were in a bad position in the table but we also knew we could get out of it because we had good players and good characters. We beat Fulham 2-1 but I really believe we’d have beaten anyone that day. Although Tommy (Gravesen) getting sent off didn’t help us much!
What was the atmosphere like that day?
It was the type of atmosphere that only Goodison can generate. They were right behind us from about two o’clock, never mind from the kick-off. The new manager coming in, scoring in the first minutes, having a player sent-off, it was Boy’s Own stuff and I will never forget it.
What about the 2008 Everton?
It looks as though Everton have had what I would describe as a bitty start to the season. Players were injured when the season started and the manager hasn’t been able to pick as settled a side as I am sure he would have liked. In recent seasons, Everton’s success has been built on consistency but that just hasn’t been there this season. New players take time to adjust and lads recovering from injury need time as well. It's been an unfortunate time.
Two good results in the last week will have helped though...
Oh, without a doubt. The second half against United looked really impressive and although I gather the match at Bolton wasn’t the best, you’ve still got to be happy with three points. Bolton is never an easy place to go to. I am sure David Moyes would have been happy with four points from his two games this week.
Can Everton still qualify for Europe?
Of course they can. It’s early days and it’s still very tight. I think Everton’s season has been kick-started into life now and even back-to-back wins at this stage can lift teams up by about 10 places. Someone told me that Everton have got one point less at this stage than they had last season and they went on to finish fifth. They’ll have to put a good run together like they did twelve months ago but, yes, the lads are perfectly capable of finishing fifth again. I would fancy them to beat Fulham this weekend, even though there are no easy games in the Premier League.
Andrew Johnson should be looking forward to coming back to Goodison...
AJ will get a good reception from the Evertonians, I have no doubt about that. He worked his socks off for the team when he was there and the Everton fans appreciate that. I always got well received whenever I came back. My first game as an away player was for West Ham just after I’d made the move and the fans were great to me. I came back with Portsmouth but I didn’t get on. I still got a great reception whenever I warmed up along the touchline though!