Sticky Times Ahead
With the recent release of last year's accounts showing debts of £30million, it was no surprise that players of the quality of Michael Ball and Francis Jeffers were sold off in the summer for £17million. The worry for Blues fans is that the debts are still in the region of £20million, and it is unlikely that there will be any money available for the team strengthening that is so badly needed.
Plans to move Everton from Goodison Park, their ancestral home since 1892, are still in the pipeline, with an ambitious £300million development at King's Waterfront being proposed.
The Toffees' sixteenth position finish last season pretty much summed up their decade, and with the threat of relegation hanging firmly over their head for the last few years, the resurgence of Liverpool must be particularly galling for the blue part of Merseyside who are having to put up with unremitting mediocrity.
Everton come to the Cottage on Saturday in the relatively healthy position of ninth position, three places and one point above Fulham.
Walter Smith is likely to deploy his usual 5-4-1 away formation on Saturday, although injury problems are giving his side a very unfamiliar look. With Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell still sidelined through injury, Steve Watson has been playing as an emergency striker.
Everton spent money on only one player in the summer, Polish born Canadian international striker Tomasz Radzinski for £4.5million, and he has been joined by Alan Stubbs and Jesper Blomqvist who came in on free-transfers.
Radzinski's goal in the two-one defeat of Southampton last Sunday was Everton's first since Paul Gascoigne hit the net against Bolton a month ago, and the first by a front man since Radzinski himself scored on October 20th.
By all accounts, Gascoigne was the architect of the victory, coming on as an inspirational second-half substitute, and he will be looking to consolidate his come-back further against Fulham.
Young goalkeeper Steve Simonsen is also in inspirational form, his clean sheet against the Saints was his third in a row.
He Wore Both Colours
Left-winger Ronnie Goodlass was one of manager Bobby Campbell's last throws of the dice before being sacked. Despite carrying a deformity in his left arm, Goodlass was a skilful and tricky winger whose early promise failed to materialise during his time at Fulham. A two-nil victory away at Blackpool showed what he was capable of when he scored a superlative goal, cutting in from the right wing and beating several defenders before firing home from the edge of the box, but this was a rare showing of good form.
Signed from Dutch club Den Haag in 1980 for £30,000, he made twenty-seven appearances for Fulham, scoring two goals. He started his career at Everton, spending eight years at Goodison Park and winning a League Cup runners-up medal. He then moved on to NAC Breda before Den Haag. Unable to feature under new manager Malcolm Macdonald at Fulham he moved on to Scunthorpe, and later to South China, Tranmere Rovers and Barrow. For a short time he was manager of non-league Runcorn.
From the Past
The most famous meeting between the two sides must surely be the fifth-round FA Cup tie at Goodison Park as Fulham went on their mammoth trek to Wembley. The Whites played twelve matches in that cup run and the pick of the games was the one against Everton who were sitting prettily on top of the first Division at the time.
With Bobby Moore and Alan Mullery orchestrating everything, Fulham tore their illustrious opponents apart. With an enormous amount of hard-work, heart and no little skill, the Whites took the game to Everton from the off and kept them on the back-foot for most of the game. Two goals from striker Viv Busby, who was going through an inspired spell, saw Fulham run out two-one winners and send the travelling fans into raptures.
Not Many People Know That
Everton were originally nicknamed the "Black Watch" because of their black shirts with a scarlet sash. They changed to blue in 1901.