Dwight McNeil’s second-half goal clinched Everton a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest and lifted them off the foot of the Premier League table.

Everton had slipped to the bottom before the late kick-off at the City Ground after Burnley’s win against relegation rivals Sheffield United.

But McNeil lashed home the only goal to clinch Everton a morale-boosting victory one day after the club lodged their appeal against their 10-point deduction for breaching the Premier League’s financial rules.

Everton, who have not lost at the City Ground since 1995, notched their third win in five league matches to climb to within two points of safety while Forest slipped to a third straight defeat and back-to-back home losses.

Wayward finishing and heroic defending ensured a goalless first half as both sides spurned scoring chances.

Everton should have broken the deadlock in the 23rd minute, with Beto blazing over an empty net when he looked odds-on to register his first Premier League goal.

Forest goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos dropped a cross after tangling with team-mate Willy Boly but Beto, back in the starting line-up for the first time since September in place of the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, fired off target.

Forest had made the better start but came under siege for a prolonged spell in the first period and were also indebted to Murillo. The Brazilian defender cleared McNeil’s angled shot off the goal line and needed treatment after falling awkwardly into the net.

Anthony Elanga had earlier pulled a low shot wide for Forest, who could have snatched the lead in first-half stoppage time through Morgan Gibbs-White but he fired into the side netting after being played in by Ibrahim Sangare.

Forest made a fast start to the second half, with substitute Felipe soon in the thick of the action.

His shot following a goalmouth scramble clipped a post and moments later the Brazilian was booked for hauling down McNeil outside his own area.

Ryan Yates had gone to ground under Doucoure’s challenge following the corner which had led to Felipe’s effort, but Forest’s penalty appeals were waved away and they fell behind soon after.

Jack Harrison’s cross from the right picked out McNeil at the far post and he took one touch before rifling his first goal of the season into the far corner.

McNeil raced in on goal shortly after but was thwarted by Serge Aurier’s last-ditch tackle and Forest went close to an equaliser when Elanga rounded Jordan Pickford only to shoot into the side netting from a tight angle.

Pickford rescued Everton in the 81st minute when racing out of his goal to deny Elanga and saved well again from Murillo’s fierce effort.

Forest poured forward in search of a late equaliser but Elanga’s shot curled inches wide and at the final whistle soon after, Everton’s travelling fans burst into a chorus of We Shall Not Be Moved.

The European Super League project may come back with a vengeance if the Premier League punishes leading clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea over alleged breaches of financial rules.

That is the view of finance expert Dan Plumley, who says the threat of Europe's elite clubs forming a breakaway competition is unlikely to ever go away.

Everton dropped into the Premier League's relegation zone after being deducted 10 points for a breach of the league's profit and sustainability rules earlier this month, with an independent commission ruling the Toffees exceeded the competition's maximum loss limit by £19.5million across four seasons between 2018 and 2022.

That penalty – the largest in the competition's history – has been fiercely protested by fans and has led to questions regarding other clubs' financial practices.

The Premier League is investigating City over 115 alleged breaches of the competition's rules, while Chelsea's finances are also being examined following allegations of secret payments made by companies belonging to former owner Roman Abramovich.

Some have suggested those clubs could face huge points deductions or even expulsion if found guilty, but Plumley believes that could push them back into the arms of the Super League.

"I don't think the European Super League will ever go away. I think we've seen that time and time again," Plumley told Stats Perform. 

"It was the closest it's ever been to fruition in 2021, we know the backlash there but it's never off the table. You've seen the wider narrative in the European football landscape, and my take was that it would always come back around. 

"It will be particularly dependent on what the Champions League looks like and the Champions League broadcasting revenues and reformat of that competition. So broadly speaking, I don't think it's off the table."

Both City and Chelsea were involved in the widely despised Super League project, which collapsed under pressure from fans, media and players in 2021.

Plumley is certain the Premier League will be in self-preservation mode when it comes to ruling on cases involving those clubs, saying: "I think the Premier League will be mindful of that. 

"They know there is a lot of power held by those big clubs and their ownership structures and the people that are in that mix. They know that the threat of a Super League is still there. 

"I do think that will be a factor in this, whether we like it or not. It will be there in the background of the considerations. 

"There is that argument, in the same way as in the Champions League, that if the bigger clubs don't get what they want, or feel that they're being too heavily penalised, you can probably bet that a conversation about a European Super League will come back around. 

"I think it would probably have come around anyway, but this kind of stuff might accelerate that. It might make it move quicker, but I don't think it was ever off the table."

Manchester City are at risk of being relegated and having their Premier League titles stripped if found guilty of financial breaches, according to finance expert Dan Plumley.

Everton received a 10-point deduction, the largest penalty in Premier League history, and one that dropped them into the bottom three, for breaches of profit and sustainability rules.

It has also raised many questions over the potential punishment of City, who were charged with 115 financial breaches of the Premier League's rules back in February. It still remains unclear as to how severe their penalty will be, or if they will be punished at all, should they be found guilty.

Plumley, a football finance expert, believes all punitive measures are "on the table", with Everton's harsh deduction a potential benchmark that will be used to judge future penalties.

When asked if City could be stripped of titles or even relegated, Plumley told Stats Perform: "In terms of possibility, the answer is yes. I think there is a possibility of all of those things. But all of those things were on the table before the Everton verdict as well.

"That's what is in the Premier League's governance framework, it's within their remit. They deploy the sanctions and the sanctions range from financial penalties, in terms of fines, to sporting penalties in terms of deductions, or relegation, or stripping of titles.

"All of those things are within the arc of what the Premier League can do. We're looking for benchmarks, and we're looking for precedent. I don't think anything is fully off the table."

Many have been left questioning why Everton's case was resolved so quickly, while City's continues to rumble on with the club seemingly able to indefinitely push their punishment back.

Plumley pointed to the scale and breadth of City's charges as the reason for the drawn-out investigation, saying: "It's because of the volume of allegations in that mix and there were a lot of cases to consider.

"The Manchester City case is a total number of 115 allegations that the Premier League have put against them. [They are] obviously linked to a bigger time period, which is why it's taking so long as well.

"A lot of those are linked to the profit and sustainability regulations, but there are other things that are in the mix as well. And if you contrast that with Everton's case, it's a much longer-term list of allegations. It stretches back to the last 10 years of profit and sustainability regulations.

"They are two very different cases. And it will be interesting to see how the Premier League and any independent commission approach the Manchester City case versus the Everton case because the two were not like-for-like in direct comparison."

Plumley would like to see these financial cases resolved quicker, and highlighted the potential lawsuits heading Everton's way from recently relegated clubs such as Leeds United and Leicester City as a reason to make that a priority.

"A lot of people and myself included, have always stated that those punishments should be dealt with in real time," Plumley explained. "And the evidence probably could have been applied a couple of years ago and has dragged a little bit.

"I think moving forward, it's really important that if we're going to start to put the sanctions in place, that the real-time aspect of that becomes critical.

"Because that might hurt in the short term, but it can save a lot of chaos in the long term because now you're in a situation with Everton where you've potentially got clubs claiming against them for years gone by."

Everton's appeal against their 10-point deduction for financial breaches is unlikely to be overturned, according to football finance expert Dan Plumley.

The Toffees received the heaviest points deduction in Premier League history earlier this month, leaving them in the relegation zone after they were found to have broken the league's profit and sustainability rules, spending £19.5m over the allowed limit across four seasons between 2018 and 2022.

The club is appealing the ruling, looking to use mitigating factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the war between Ukraine and Russia, which led to the cut of financial ties with Alisher Usmanov, a commercial partner of the club.

However, Plumley believes even if Everton's appeal is successful, the deduction is more likely to be reduced than overturned, telling Stats Perform: "I think there's going to be mitigation and proportionality. Those are the things that Everton are focusing on.

"The best-case scenario of course is it gets overturned. But I get the feeling that we're probably not in that particular line of thought at the minute. You are looking at a reduction on appeal and a link to some of these mitigating circumstances.

"I get the sense that it will go down that road of an appeal and you’re probably looking to get this reduced in the first instance. I think to get it overturned is a bit of a stretch based on where we are with some of those other factors as we've said, but we've not seen the appeal yet."

Many Everton fans feel the club is being harshly set as an example, with the Premier League coming down especially hard on the Toffees because of the plans for an independent regulator to come in.

Plumley agrees that Everton's penalty is somewhat of a tipping point, explaining: "Because there's been that notion of perhaps there was never going to be a punishment for breaking these restrictions, it does feel like a watershed moment.

"We've never seen the Premier League deduct points for these profit and sustainability regulations, and that's part of the backstory here and some of the wider narrative that we need to be aware of. There is no precedent, there is no benchmark.

"This is the first points deduction link to these regulations. It is the only one of its kind. And I think that's interesting given the fact that we've had 10 years of these regulations within that league, and this is the first time that a sanction has been met."

The commission that dished out the ruling stated Everton did not breach the rules to gain a "sporting advantage", though that a sporting advantage had to be inferred by the fact that Everton had overspent.

They successfully staved off the drop last term, but sides such as Leeds United and Leicester City, who both went down at Everton's expense, are now reportedly set to sue the Toffees in response to the deduction.

Plumley believes this raises an important point, saying: "Of course, Everton didn't want to be in relegation battles in the last few years and probably wanted to be higher up in the table.

"But that notion of sporting advantage can have different connotations depending on the level and I think that's where the compensation challenges from the likes of Burnley, Leeds, Southampton and Leicester become interesting because then we're talking about a sporting advantage that is maybe the difference between staying up or not.

"We might not see that necessarily see that as a sporting success, but it might be termed as a sporting advantage over other clubs."

Everton fans protested the decision by holding up pink banners, bearing the Premier League emblem and the word "Corrupt", during Sunday's 3-0 loss to Manchester United at Goodison Park.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester and an Evertonian, has claimed there was an "abuse of process" during the case.

Burnham accused the Premier League of "regulatory malpractice" for attempting to introduce a sanctions policy specific to Everton's case during the disciplinary process.

Bruno Fernandes believes Manchester United teenager Alejandro Garnacho has the potential to become “something special in the world of football”.

Acquired from Atletico Madrid in 2020, the 19-year-old forward starred in last year’s FA Youth Cup triumph and has gone on to establish himself as a first-team regular at Old Trafford.

Garnacho enjoyed the finest moment of his nascent career at Everton on Sunday, showing outstanding ingenuity and technique to thunder home an outrageous overhead kick just 133 seconds into a 3-0 win.

The Argentina international followed his jaw-dropping goal-of-the-season contender by replicating former United great Cristiano Ronaldo’s celebration after an effort his idol would have been more than proud of.

“It’s amazing – something out of this world, I think,” United captain Fernandes told the PA news agency.

“Probably he’s watching too much Cristiano clips! We all know that he’s a big fan. Still a long way for him to be like Cristiano but he’s getting his steps.

“He wants to be something special in the world of football and I think he has the capability to do that, but he has to do more than that goal!”

Garnacho was not the only impressive teenager at Goodison Park on Sunday, with fellow FA Youth Cup winner Kobbie Mainoo flourishing on his first Premier League start.

The 18-year-old midfielder recently recovered from the injury he sustained during United’s pre-season tour and produced a performance that belied his tender years.

“I talk always about Kobbie,” Fernandes said. “I think he’s a special player too.

“Obviously, people will not talk as much as they will about Garnacho because Garnacho scores goals, does assists and everything. But what he puts on the game, what he gives to the team, it’s known to anyone (in the squad).

“I think he has great players in front of him to learn (from) because he plays with one of the best in the world like Casemiro. Also Sofyan (Amrabat) who plays in that position that is really good and he’s getting everything from them.

“He wants to learn, is eager to learn and I think that’s probably the best capability he has because he wants to learn every time. He’s eager to listen to everyone to get better and better.”

United’s young stars stepped up in the absence of a swathe of injured players, with the likes of Garnacho and Mainoo helping to invigorate the experienced core.

Asked what he thought of the young players coming through as one of the older players, 29-year-old Fernandes said with a laugh: “I’m not that old, eh?

“Obviously, we are really happy for them. We know that all the young players are eager to play and to get your position, so me as an older one I have to step up and do my job! If not, they’re going to take my space.”

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial goals complemented Garnacho’s stunner in an eye-catching win that Erik ten Hag’s team need to build on against Galatasaray in the Champions League.

As for Everton, they travel to Nottingham Forest next weekend looking to bounce back from a heavy home loss after the shock of being deducted 10 points.

Toffees boss Sean Dyche said: “We have created a lot of chances this season but not always scored goals. We have to maintain our belief in what we are doing. We are doing that, I think we did through this game.”

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has accused the Premier League of an “abuse of process” over the 10-point penalty handed to Everton last week, and called on the organisation to declare the sanction null and void.

Burnham, who is an Everton season-ticket-holder, spoke out on the day Toffees fans protested en masse prior to Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United at Goodison Park.

In an open letter to the Premier League, which he described as a “formal complaint”, Burnham argued that its failure to have a sanctions policy in place prior to commencing the process, and subsequent introduction of one once the process was under way, amounted to an “abuse of process”.

“It could be argued that the Premier League handing a new penalty regime to the Commission in this way is akin to the Government handing new sentencing guidelines to a judge in the middle of a particular trial,” Burnham wrote.

“Any right-minded person would see that as an inappropriate attempt to influence due process. From my experience of regulation, introducing new rules in the late stages of a process would be regarded as regulatory malpractice.”

Everton, who exceeded losses permitted by £19.5million in the three seasons ending in 2021-22, are expected to appeal against the punishment.

Burnham acknowledged that the club have a case to answer, but added: “The only fair course of action that I can see from this point is for the panel’s ruling to be declared null and void.

“I cannot see how any appeal process would result in anything other than a similarly arbitrary judgement as that made by the Commission and, for that reason, I do not believe that an appeal will resolve this matter.”

The PA news agency understands that the Premier League contests most of the allegations made against it by Burnham, believing he has a fundamental misunderstanding of the processes involved.

A large group of supporters gathered outside The Brick pub close to Goodison Park before kick-off and embarked on a protest march via County Road and Spellow Lane to the ground.

A huge banner draped across the front of The Brick read: ‘Where there is power, greed and money… There is corruption.’

Similar banners were unfurled inside the stadium and most fans waved pink cards showing the Premier League logo and the word ‘Corrupt’ that had been handed out by fans’ group The1878s prior to kick-off.

Fans also booed as the official Premier League matchday stand was erected on halfway.

Ten minutes into the game most fans in the stadium stood up holding their cards, while others chanted: “Premier League, corrupt as f***.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche has expressed his shock at the league’s “disproportionate” penalty and on Friday fans gathered outside the Premier League’s offices in Paddington, west London, in protest.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag said Alejandro Garnacho should not be compared with Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo after his superb strike in Sunday’s 3-0 win at Everton.

Teenager Garnacho silenced a fired-up Goodison Park after just three minutes with an overhead finish that will be a contender for goal of the season.

Former United stars Rooney and Ronaldo both struck similar goals during their stellar careers, but Ten Hag insisted it was too soon to bracket the 19-year-old Garnacho in such vaulted company.

Ten Hag, who saw his side seal maximum Premier League points with second-half efforts from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, said: “Don’t compare, I don’t think it is right.

“They all have their own identity, but for Garnacho to go that way he has a lot to come, he has to work very hard.

“You have to do it on a consistent basis and so far he has not, but he definitely has high potential to do some amazing things.

“It’s not the first time we saw this, we have already often seen glimpses, but if you want to be a player like Rooney or Ronaldo you have to score 20-25 goals in the Premier League each season.

“That’s not easy to get, you have to work hard, you have to go in areas where it hurts. So there’s a lot to come. But potential, he has.”

Ten Hag, whose side made it five wins from six top-flight matches to close the gap at the top of the table to six points, felt Garnacho’s opening goal was extra special because of United’s build-up.

The former Ajax manager added: “It was fantastic goal and this season there’s still many games to play, but probably already maybe the goal of the season.

“But not only the finish, it was the total from the back to the end, but of course the finish is incredible.”

Goodison Park was a cauldron before kick-off as Everton fans launched their protest at a 10-point Premier League deduction, with marches prior to the game and most fans in the stadium waving mini purple ‘Corrupt’ placards.

Everton responded well to Garnacho’s opener, creating several clear-cut chances before being punished after the interval for not taking their chances.

Manager Sean Dyche said it was difficult to criticise his players after his side slipped five points from safety in their first game since being handed the punishment for breaching the league’s profitability and sustainability rules.

Dyche said: “It’s a tough one to call, for a large part we were very good, particularly the first half.

“They get off to a worldie, a lifetime goal and got the better of the first 15 minutes, but then we regrouped well.

“They ended up kicking it long. We created chances but couldn’t end up scoring a goal and it hurts you in the end.”

Rashford converted United’s second from the penalty spot after a VAR intervention before Martial’s neat late finish, while Everton struck the woodwork through Vitaliy Mykolenko’s second-half shot.

Dyche added: “It is very difficult when the second and third go in. We hit the bar, the biggest thing for me is the chance count, incredibly high again.

“But we have to be clinical. I think a lot of the performance was right, the fans were terrific.

“They were having their own say and that connection with the fans is going to be important.”

Bruno Fernandes believes Alejandro Garnacho has a “great future” after his stunning overhead kick set Manchester United on their way to a 3-0 win at Everton.

Garnacho’s spectacular third-minute effort silenced a Goodison Park crowd keen to vent their fury at the Premier League following their 10-point deduction for breaching the league’s profitability and sustainability rules.

Marcus Rashford doubled the lead from the penalty spot and Anthony Martial sealed a comfortable win as United manager Erik ten Hag watched from the stands as he served a touchline ban.

“He’s not a great player yet but he has a great future ahead,” Fernandes said of Garnacho on Sky Sports.

“We expect a lot from him, he knows that. He knows I am always going to be behind him asking for more, but obviously it was an amazing goal.”

Asked about his remarkable goal, Garnacho said: “I can’t believe it to be honest. I didn’t see how I scored, I just listened (to the crowd) and I say ‘oh my God’.

“It’s one of the best goals I’ve scored and I’m very happy.”

Fernandes revealed he allowed Rashford to take the penalty to help the striker’s confidence, adding: “Strikers want to score goals, it gives you a boost.

“After the penalty Marcus was unstoppable. Sometimes you need this opportunity to get your confidence back.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche was unhappy with the decision to award United a penalty, with Martial having initially been booked for diving before a lengthy VAR check.

“The VAR thing this year, and I’m a big fan, it’s been all over the place,” Dyche said. “It just seems to be mayhem all the time.

“He books the lad for diving and then comes back and looks at it for three minutes to make a decision.

“It’s not just about that, but that doesn’t help of course. You’re 1-0 down to a worldie, you haven’t taken your chances, they get a penalty and it’s 2-0.

“We have to maintain the belief in what we’re doing, we are doing that. At the end of the day 10 points taken away from anyone this early in the season changes the whole view of it, but we’ve got to stick with our performance levels until the appeal process goes through.”

Alejandro Garnacho’s staggering overhead kick set Manchester United on course for a comprehensive 3-0 away win on a day when hosts Everton protested against their Premier League points deduction.

Goodison Park was a cauldron as the infuriated Toffees returned to action for the first time since Sean Dyche’s side were docked 10 points for breaching financial rules.

The Premier League felt the full force of Everton fans’ ire before and during a match that went United’s way as goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial complemented Garnacho’s acrobatic stunner.

The 19-year-old’s effort just 113 seconds into Sunday’s match was a jaw-dropping goal-of-the-season contender – a fantastic overhead kick that stunned rocking Goodison.

Everton responded well and came close to levelling before the break, with Kobbie Mainoo, 18, capping a mightily impressive first Premier League start with a key goal-line clearance.

The home fans were angered by some of the officiating and the mood darkened shortly after half-time as Rashford scored his second of the season from a penalty that followed the VAR’s intervention.

Martial was fouled and went on to add his second of the campaign as United won by more than a one-goal margin for the first time in the league this season, with suspended boss Erik ten Hag watching from the stands.

It was a fantastic start to a run of three vital away games for the Red Devils and a frustrating afternoon for wounded Everton.

Boos greeted everything Premier League related on Sunday, with a protest march followed by banners inside the ground as well as thousands of cards featuring the league’s logo above the word ‘corrupt’.

They were held aloft before kick-off as chants against the league filled the air. That protest was repeated in the 10th minute, but by that point the hosts were behind to a United goal that will live long in the memory.

Rashford collected a diagonal pass and played the ball through to Diogo Dalot, whose right-footed cross would have swung away from danger were it not for Garnacho’s ingenuity and flawless technique.

The 19-year-old leapt and hit a perfectly struck overhead kick back across goal, beating Jordan Pickford at full stretch and finding the top right-hand corner.

Garnacho ran into the corner almost in disbelief as much as delight, replicating Cristiano Ronaldo’s celebration after a goal his idol would have been more than proud of.

‘Viva Garnacho’ sung the away end as a hectic start continued, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin seeing a low shot saved before Luke Shaw whistled one over.

Things settled, with the only fireworks coming outside the ground, before Everton stepped up in final 15 minutes of the opening period.

Calvert-Lewin had two attempts, the latter a smart strike that forced a fine save out of Andre Onana. The United goalkeeper rose to his feet and got something on Dwight McNeil’s follow-up, with Mainoo brilliantly clearing off the line under pressure.

United had lost their grip on proceedings and were fortunate not to see Abdoulaye Doucoure’s first-time strike hit the net from 15 yards moments later.

Calvert-Lewin glanced over and Idrissa Gueye lashed off target as the Red Devils survived the onslaught and Everton anger turned to the officials.

There were cheers when referee John Brooks showed Martial a yellow card for diving shortly after the second half got under way, but the mood soon swung.

VAR Chris Kavanagh reviewed former United captain Ashley Young’s challenge on the forward and advised Brooks to check the incident on the pitchside monitor.

The referee eventually pointed to the spot and Rashford stepped up to beat England team-mate Jordan Pickford in the 56th minute.

Onana stopped Gueye from pulling one back superbly two minutes later and Doucoure saw a shot blocked as Everton kept knocking at the door.

But Dyche’s men would concede again as the game became stretched.

Shortly after Garnacho hit the side-netting from a tight angle, Martial was slipped in by Bruno Fernandes and coolly lifted the ball past Pickford in the 75th minute.

Vitalii Mykolenko saw a rasping drive hit the underside of the bar and Youssef Chermiti went close before a stoppage-time scramble as Everton sought a consolation that would evade them.

Alejandro Garnacho scored a superb overhead kick to open the scoring for Manchester United against Everton in Sunday’s Premier League match at Goodison Park.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some other unforgettable goals for the Red Devils from the last 30 years.

Wayne Rooney v Manchester City, February 2011

Just 12 minutes remained of a Manchester derby at Old Trafford when Nani’s cross took a slight deflection off the back of Pablo Zabaleta. Rooney had to reposition himself near the penalty spot before beating City’s England goalkeeper Joe Hart with an acrobatic overhead-kick. United’s 2-1 victory was the launchpad for a fourth Premier League title in five seasons.

Robin Van Persie v Aston Villa, April 2013

Described by Sir Alex Ferguson as “goal of the century”, Dutchman Van Persie produced a stunning finish for the second of what was a hat-trick, with victory securing United the Premier League title. This time Rooney was the creator, playing from a midfield role as he collected the ball in his own half before sending a long pass up to Van Persie. From just outside the penalty box, the former Arsenal frontman crashed a volley across Brad Guzan and inside the post.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Portsmouth, January 2008

During his first spell at Old Trafford, the Portuguese ace crashed a ‘knuckleball’ free-kick past England goalkeeper David James. Positioning the ball with the valve facing him, Ronaldo’s aim was to strike it dead centre and slightly underneath with the instep of his right foot. Against Pompey, and 25 yards out, Ronaldo made a perfect connection as it cleared the wall and dipped viciously into the top right corner as James was left rooted to the spot.

Ryan Giggs v Arsenal, April 1999

Welsh winger Giggs scored one of the most memorable goals from Ferguson’s side to settle an FA Cup semi-final replay against title rivals Arsenal at Villa Park.
With United down to 10 men, Giggs latched onto a loose pass from Gunners midfielder Patrick Vieira and set off from his own half on a mazy run down the left – which ended with him lashing the ball past David Seaman and sending the Red Devils to Wembley.

David Beckham v Wimbledon, August 1996

On the opening day of the 1996-97 Premier League season, United were leading 2-0 against the Dons heading into the closing stages at Selhurst Park when Beckham picked the ball up just inside his own half. Spotting Neil Sullivan off his line, the then young England midfielder launched an audacious long-range effort which sailed over the Wimbledon keeper and into the back of the net.

Everton fans protested en masse against their Premier League points deduction before Sunday’s home game against Manchester United.

The Toffees were handed the 10-points sanction by an independent commission last week after they were ruled to have breached the league’s profitability and sustainability rules.

The club, who exceeded losses permitted by £19.5million in the three seasons ending in 2021-22, are expected to appeal against the punishment.

A large group of supporters gathered outside The Brick pub close to Goodison Park before kick-off and embarked on a protest march via County Road and Spellow Lane to the ground.

A huge banner draped across the front of The Brick read: “Where there is power, greed and money…There is corruption.”

Similar banners were unfurled inside the stadium and most fans waved mini purple “Corrupt” placards that had been handed out by fans’ group The1878s prior to kick-off.

Fans booed as the official Premier League matchday stand was erected on halfway and most fans in the stadium were waving mini purple “Corrupt” placards.

Ten minutes into the game most fans in the stadium stood up holding their purple placards, while others chanted: “Premier League, corrupt as f***.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche has expressed his shock at the  league’s “disproportionate” penalty and on Friday fans gathered outside the Premier League’s offices in Paddington, west London, in protest.

Everton fans have staged a protest outside the Premier League’s headquarters in London in response to the club’s 10-point punishment for breaching financial regulations.

The Toffees were handed the sanction by an independent commission last week after they exceeded losses permitted under the league’s profitability and sustainability rules by £19.5million in the three seasons ending in 2021-22.

Manager Sean Dyche expressed shock at the “disproportionate” penalty on Friday, a sentiment shared by the fans who gathered outside the Premier League’s offices in Paddington, west London.

Paul, 36, who lives in East Dulwich but is originally from St Helens, is a season-ticket holder who will be at Sunday’s game against Manchester United.

He told the PA news agency that the points deduction “felt draconian”, adding: “It just feels like the rules were deliberately vague to give flexibility for this kind of situation.

“I think Everton have been deliberately targeted because of the threat of an independent regulator, and that feels wrong.”

Alan Newton, 46, who lives in London but is originally from Maghull, held a season ticket for 10 years.

He told PA: “Nobody’s saying that we’re not guilty as a club of anything, but the points that have been taken off is far too harsh a penalty.

“Do I think that some of the other bigger clubs are going to get penalties like this or it’s going to play out the same? Probably not.

“I think the likelihood is we’ll get a reduced penalty, it’ll set a precedent for other clubs and we’ll see what happens next.”

The points deduction has left Everton 19th in the table and above bottom side Burnley only on goal difference.

However, Amy Panayi, 28, who lives in Gravesend but is originally from Liverpool, does not believe the club will be relegated.

“If we just get consistency with your teams like Manchester City and Chelsea, I will take a 10-point deduction,” she told PA. “I will say I don’t think we will go down, because there’s too much fight (and) heart there.”

Everton boss Sean Dyche has expressed shock at the “disproportionate” 10-point penalty imposed on the club but insisted he and his players are ready to take on the latest challenge put in front of them.

Dyche was trying to enjoy a short break during the international window when he got word of the unprecedented sanction handed down by an independent commission for breaches of the Premier League’s financial rules – a penalty that Everton will appeal against.

Speaking publicly for the first time on the matter, Dyche said: “I think like everyone, certainly in these parts, I was shocked and seemingly from the wave of noise after that, most people in football are shocked by the enormity of it.

“Disproportionate is a word used by the club. Obviously we feel a bit aggrieved by that, but on the other hand it doesn’t change the focus. The focus since I got there is sorting things out on the pitch, getting the team to win.

“I think we were on the right lines, delivering strong performances. This has just given us a push backwards to come forwards again. The job hasn’t changed. It’s just made it more difficult under the current circumstances until the appeal…

“I don’t know every inch of the past, I don’t know why the commission have come out with what they have but I certainly believe in what the club put forward. It feels disproportionate, it feels unjust and plenty of voices out there feel the same.

“What is done is done for now, appeal pending, and we have to get on with it.”

Everton fans have hit out at the penalty, and have raised more than £40,000 to fund protests against the Premier League. A demonstration was due to take in London on Friday outside the league offices, while a plane carrying a banner will fly over Manchester City’s match against Liverpool on Saturday.

On Sunday, when Everton’s game against United will be televised, home fans will be asked to hold up red cards which call the Premier League “corrupt”.

Everton had been showing encouraging signs before the penalty, winning six out of nine in all competitions to climb up the table, but have now dropped to second bottom – level on four points with basement boys Burnley ahead of Sunday’s match against Manchester United.

“I spoke to the group and said, ‘Look, the league table is one thing but I don’t change my story very often and I believe the final league table is the truth of the season, and I’m not going to change now’,” Dyche added.

“For sure, it changes the viewpoint but it doesn’t change what we’re doing. In fact it enhances what we’re doing. We need to go harder, stronger. This is what it is. It’s been about refocus as much as anything.”

The penalty has raised all manner of questions at Everton, with suggestions that rival clubs may now pursue compensation claims potentially impacting the proposed takeover by 777 Partners.

On the pitch, there was a sense of optimism that after two seasons fighting relegation things were looking up but – for now at least – they are back in the bottom three.

Dyche said that did not concern him in the immediate term, but there was clear frustration from the boss that off-pitch dramas are once again dominating the agenda at Goodison Park.

“You have to take away the noise,” he said. “I’ve had to do it endlessly since I’ve been here, keep pushing away the noise around this football club.

“Bizarrely, we were talking about it before – the last press conference before (Crystal) Palace was one of the first ones that was just about football. And lo and behold while I was away we get a 10-point deficit. So what do you do? You just keep taking it on.”

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag knows Everton’s players and fans will be “mad” about the 10-point penalty imposed on the club and has challenged his team to meet fire with fire on Sunday.

United make the short trip to Goodison Park this weekend to face a Toffees team fuelled by a sense of injustice after an independent commission imposed the sanction on the club a week ago for a breach of Premier League profitability and sustainability rules.

For the Red Devils, it is the first of three challenging away games in the space of six days.

On Wednesday they travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray knowing a defeat will end their hopes of reaching the Champions League last 16, before a trip to take on Newcastle a week on Saturday.

Ten Hag is expecting Goodison Park to be a bearpit on Sunday but is determined his players will not be outmuscled.

“It’s always about us, I can see the opposition and I can see they are mad, but then finally it’s about us,” he said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

“If they are mad and that’s their fuel, we have to match those standards. When we match the standards we have a very good chance to win the game.”

United head into the game in good Premier League form, having won four out of their last five matches.

They are boosted by the return of England international Luke Shaw from a thigh strain which has sidelined him since August.

Goalkeeper Andre Onana has overcome a knock suffered on international duty with Cameroon, but a decision will be taken on Saturday about whether Rasmus Hojlund can feature.

The Dane suffered a muscle strain in the second half of the win over Luton just before the November international break.

Rasmus Hojlund has not been ruled out of Manchester United’s Premier League game at Everton on Sunday, but Christian Eriksen will play no part.

United boss Erik ten Hag has issued an injury update on the Denmark pair, who missed out for their country during the international break.

Hojlund (muscle strain) and Eriksen (knee) both sustained injuries in United’s previous top-flight fixture, a 1-0 home win against Luton on November 11.

Ten Hag told United’s official website: “Christian will take a little bit longer. It will take some weeks until he will return.

“Rasmus Hojlund, not too bad. Everton will be a close finish, but we’re working on that.

“We’re not sure if he can make that but, hopefully, in the next week, he will return to the squad.”

Both players were withdrawn in the closing stages against Luton. United initially confirmed Eriksen would be out for a month, while Hojlund was hoping to return before the end of November.

Should Hojlund fail a fitness test before Sunday’s game at Everton, he could make a timely return to action in next Tuesday’s Champions’ League fixture against Galatasaray in Istanbul.

Fellow forward Marcus Rashford will miss that must-win group game through suspension following his red card in the recent defeat in Copenhagen.

United have confirmed that Ten Hag will serve a touchline ban at Everton this weekend having accumulated three yellow cards.

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