Andrei Kanchelskis: a tale of a journeyman loved most by Everton.
The mercurial talent that was Andrei Kanchelskis touched down at Goodison Park in 1995 following a four-year stint at Manchester United where he won two domestic cups and two top-flight titles, and though his impact was by no means instant, when it came, it arrived in style.
After a month of discordant and exhaustive negotiations with Manchester United and former club Shakhtar Donetsk, Everton finally confirmed the signing of the Russian star for an estimated £5 million – just over half a million of which owned to the Ukrainians (Independent).
One of the only who did not command an understanding of the English at Old Trafford, it was, rather ironically, Kanchelskis’ inferior communication skills that would eventually see him put on the Royal Blue of Everton, with the player’s availability brought to the attention of Joe Royle by his translator George Scanlan – a lifelong Evertonian from Bootle (Liverpool Echo).
Intercepting the move from the greedy grasps of Middlesbrough, who were managed by Kanchelskis’ former teammate Bryan Robson and on a spending spree no footballing purist can agree with, is said to have been a real statement of intent over the club’s future as a top English side.
But for all hype it initially didn’t look like the winger was destined for great things, failing to register either a goal or an assist in his first 12 Premier League outings.
Hopes were waning, expectations were shortening, and flop status was pending – for the more critical fans, anyhow – before “that” fateful day. Indeed, if there’s one way to warm yourself to the Everton faithful it’s netting a goal in the Merseyside derby and Andrei Kanchelskis did just that, bagging a brace in their 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield in 1995 (watch via YouTube).
The Russian’s derby delight kickstarted an impressive run of form that would see him score another goal against Liverpool and a late winner against Arsenal at Highbury – the club’s last recorded away victory over Arsenal 23 years on (Liverpool Echo).
Though Everton kicked off the following year in emphatic style, Kanchelskis looked a shadow of his former self, and having only turned out for the Toffees on 20 occasions, netting a relatively poor four goals, he moved onto Fiorentina at the beginning of the 1997 season.
A host of short and insignificant stints would soon follow; first for Rangers and Manchester City, before representing Southampton, Al-Hilal Riyadh, Dinamo Moscow II and Saturn Ramenskoe, eventually retiring in 2007 playing for Krylya Sovetov Samara.
His qualities as a player don’t seem to have translated too well into managerial success however, and after recording a dismal 0.50 points per game in his first job coaching Latvian side FC Jurmala (stats via Transfermarkt), he now manages Uzbekistan first division outside Navbahor Mamangan.