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Football: Blues won't Roo return of Wayne.

Byline: SCOTT McLEOD

EVERTON'S head of security is confident the return of Wayne Rooneyto Goodison will not pose a threat to the club's Premiership points total. The Blues have been warned by the FA that any further instances of fans encroaching on to the pitch could lead to a fine or even the possibility of league points being docked.

But safety officer Norman Whib-ley insists the stewarding and policing operation for the FA Cup fifth round tie on February 19, coupled with the help of supporters, will ensure the return of Rooney will not lead to security problems.

``I believe the stewarding opera- ti on will provide everyone with confidence and importantly, following the recent reminders by both the manager and myself, no-one will encroach on to the pitch, '' said Whibley.

``Obviously I am conscious that should Wayne Rooney play he will be the centre of attention for both sets of fans but again I am sure that with the sporting nature of the Everton fans they will treat him both with respect and also as an opposing player.

``It is common these days for players to leave a team and move on. It would be naive not to say we are aware of the feelings of Everton fans but nevertheless, we'll have a stewarding and police operation on the day which will ensure the people enjoy the game in safety.

``The sportsmanship of Everton fans was evident when the Manchester United team were presented with the Premier League trophy at Goodison in 2003, when our fans stood and warmly applauded that achievement. ''

Fans have encroached onto the Goodison pitch during three games this season, most recently following the last-minute winner against Portsmouth on January 3.

That incident led to a warning from the FA and a plea from manager David Moyes.

He said: ``The last thing we want is for any sanctions to be taken with regard to losing points, and that is how seriously the authorities can take these incidents.

``The excitement at Goodison has been terrific this season and that is exactly what we want, but we must keep within the rules. ''

Whibley insists the security operation for the visit of Manchester United will be no different than for any other game.

He added: ``With regards to safety and security and the crowd management arrangements we're treating this tie as any other. There will be meetings with the police and all the heads of department within the club as normal. ''
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 8, 2005
Words:413
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