Everton Season Guide
Nickname: The Toffees
Ground: Goodison Park, Liverpool, L4 4EL
Ticket Office: (0151) 330 2300 (box office); or email: email@example.com
Home - Royal blue and white shirts, white shorts and socks
Away - White shirts, blue shorts and socks
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Independent Website - efc-online.net
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|Last Season - Major struggle||Position: 17th|
If 2002/03 provided signs of a recovery for the Everton faithful, then last season proved that the situation is no better at Goodison Park. The Toffees failed to reach the magical 40-point mark, extending their long stay in the top flight due to the inadequacies of those below them in the table. Only rock-bottom Wolves had a worse record away from home, while both the goals for and against columns were distinctly average. They lost their last four games - ending with a 5-1 defeat at Manchester City - and won only one of their final ten. It was a hugely disappointing season for Everton, who continued to be dogged by financial problems.
|Transfers - In and Out|
Marcus Bent (Ipswich) - £450,000
Tim Cahill (Millwall) - Undisclosed
Eddie Bosnar (Sturm Graz) - Free
Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) - £20million
Tomasz Radzinski (Fulham) - £1.75million
Tobias Linderoth (Copenhagen) - Undisc.
Niclas A'dersson (Gothenburg) - Free
Scott Brown (Bristol City) - Free
Scott Gemmill (Leicester) - Free
Paul Gerrard (Nottm Forest) - Free
Joey Jones (Macclesfield) - Free
Steven Schumacher (Bradford) - Free
Steve Simonsen (Stoke) - Free
Michael Symes (Bradford) - Free
David Unsworth (Portsmouth) - Free
Craig Garside - Released
Alan Moogan - Released
Brian Moogan - Released
Alex Nyarko - Released
|First Choice XI|
GK Richard Wright; RB Tony Hibbert, CB Joseph Yobo, CB Alan Stubbs, LB Gary Naysmith; RM Steve Watson, CM Thomas Gravesen, CM Tim Cahill, LM Kevin Kilbane; CF Wayne Rooney, CF Marcus Bent.
|The Gaffer - David Moyes|
The pressure is beginning to mount on David Moyes. After a promising start to his career at Goodison Park things have gone badly awry. He has been criticised for his handling of Wayne Rooney which, of course, could eventually lead to his exit from the club. Over the summer Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari claimed he turned down an offer to manage Everton - despite Moyes still being in the job. There are clear doubts over the board's support for his tenure, and the battle for control of the Merseyside club also raises questions. Moyes has also failed to attract the 'bargain' high profile stars that clubs like Bolton and Middlesbrough have - which is also something of a concern over his ability in the transfer market. It could be a very long, or indeed short, season for Moyes.
|Player to Watch - Wayne Rooney|
Despite on-going talk of a big-money move, it looks inevitable that Rooney will remain at Everton for the foreseeable future. And if that is the case then much will rest on his broad shoulders. Despite the impressive performances on the international stage, the teenage striker has yet to make a real mark in the domestic game. He managed only nine Premiership goals in 34 appearances last season, to add to the six in his debut campaign. Once he gets over the metatarsal injury picked up against Portugal he needs to begin to justify his wunderkid reputation at Goodison Park. It is a double-edged sword for the Toffees, as they know that a successful season will fuel the transfer speculation. A January move cannot be ruled out.
The dearth of quality at Everton runs through into the youth ranks, with very little in the way of top talent coming through the Academy. Leon Osman (pictured) is the only player who looks like making it, although he turned 23 in May. He scored within five minutes of his full debut against Wolves that month and has been a star of the pre-season campaign. As far as the youth squad is concerned, defenders Daniel Fox and Anthony Gerrard, cousin of Liverpool's Steven, have been handed squad numbers after making their senior debuts in a friendly at Sheffield Wednesday at the beginning of the month.
|From the Terraces|
With turmoil in the boardroom, virtually no money in the transfer kitty and Wayne Rooney apparently no closer to committing his future to the club, it has been a tortuous summer for Everton fans. And the new season doesn't look much more hopeful.
The Blues finished 17th last time out and they will go into 2004/05 as many people's favourites for the drop seeing as David Moyes has so far only been able to add three players to a squad that needed significant investment based on their showing last season.
If rumours that a siege mentality has restored dressing room harmony are true, however, and the manager can use his motivational powers to get the squad pulling as one again, survival for another season is certainly attainable in an unpredictable Premier League.
Much will rest on Everton making a solid start to the campaign and, with such a small squad, avoiding a catastrophic injury crisis that would threaten to bring 50 continuous years in the top flight to an end.
This season looks like being an important one that's for sure. At the moment the club seems so unsettled that you don't quite know what's going to happen next. We've had the Wayne Rooney 'will he or won't he' saga, Trevor Birch resigning, a power struggle between Paul Gregg and Bill Kenwright, and a seemingly endless succession of rumours - the latest being that Gordon Strachan will succeed David Moyes if Paul Gregg takes control of the club.
At the moment nothing has been resolved. Paul Gregg has said that he can get investment from Lord Granchester (who is reportedly part of a 1.5bn fortune) and will provide David Moyes with 3 new signings before the season starts - if he can get control of the club.
Bill Kenwright meanwhile is still trying to secure investment himself, while making sure that any proposal by Gregg is a sound one and that Everton will be in the right hands whoever takes charge. It remains to be seen who will succeed, and whether or not David Moyes will be able to spend any money.
Indeed, it remains to be seen whether or not Wayne Rooney will sign a contract with the club but it seems that this one might just run and run, with a decision made closer to the January transfer window.
What we do know at the moment, is that we have a pretty threadbare squad. Thomas Radzinski, Tobias Linderoth, David Unsworth, and a host of fringe players, have left the club.
On the positive side Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent have come on board and even if Moyes continues to work on a tight budget, we're still likely to see some new players before the start of the season - even if that means some journeymen to boost our numbers.
I was pleased that we signed Tim Cahill, he seems a promising player, and importantly, a midfielder who's comfortable in possession with an eye for goal. Other than Gravesen, we've badly missed a creative spark from midfield so he'll undoubtedly improve the team.
All in all, the next few weeks will be crucial to Everton's season. The power struggle and the Rooney saga have to be resolved as soon as possible to give David Moyes a chance to bring some players in and to finally know what sort of squad he'll be working with this season. Let's hope we get some positive news in the not too distant future.
James McFadden could have a big season for us this year. With Radzinski and Jeffers out of the picture he'll have more of a look in for his favoured position up front. We saw glimpses of his talent last year but with a full pre-season behind and a bit more confidence behind him I think he can be a dangerous player for us.
He's done well for Scotland and given a run in the team I think he can flourish into a real crowd favourite if things start to come off for him. Lets hope so.
|Best - Bottom half||Worst - Relegation|
A season of real struggle beckons for Everton. On paper at least, they have one of the most threadbare and, quite simply, average squads in the Premiership. Even their better players, in Rooney and Thomas Gravesen, look more likely to find a new club than stay at Goodison Park. Unless Rooney and new signing Marcus Bent can produce the goals - the ageing legs of Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson cannot be relied upon - then it's hard to see where the points are going to come from. Everton could yet again be counting on three other sides to be worse than them this season.