Make no bones about it, Everton have made an appalling start to the season. Pre-season delivered so much promise but they have fallen from the tree like grease lightning, with an insultingly easy sequence of pre-season fixtures including Brisbane Roar and Everton Chile contributing to their looming demise.
Fingers are being pointed in all directions, with manager David Moyes naturally taking most of the flack. Some of the players are also being slated as having a bad attitude, poor ability, or both. In particular, £15m man Marouane Fellaini has his critics, whose scathing approach has been somewhat justified by Fellaini’s below par attitude in recent games (such as stropping towards the tunnel in last night’s embarrassing exit to Brentford).
Other players in this unfavourable mix are £11.25m Ayegbeni Yakubu, who could get on Britain’s Got Talent with his impression of a barrage balloon, and Mikel Arteta who has failed to deliver a single decent free kick or corner this season, defying any justification for a £70,000 per week wage. With The Toffees truly in the mire, things could still be worse – and so, let us delve into the sewers of transfer horlicks horror to make things look slightly better. Any laugh is a good laugh at present…
At five we have the irresistibly talented Simon Davies, and although that was the case at Tottenham and continues to be with Fulham, his time at Everton was the filling in an excrement sandwich. After scoring a poacher’s goal against Udinese in the 2005/06 pre season, he was woefully outclassed by the likes of Juan Pablo Sorin and Alessandro Tacchinardi in that disastrous tie against Villarreal which saw Everton blow their only chance of glory.
The stinking form of Davies continued as Everton made their worst start to a league season since 1994/95 (now topped by the “class” of 2010/11) – but it was the Welsh wing squib who kickstarted the season with a spectacular 30 yard drive at Birmingham which spurred a sequence of four wins from five, leading Everton to mid table respectability. Davies was also prone to shin-splints, which meant sustained absences when numbers were already lacking. Despite this, he managed to cling onto the royal blue jersey until the transfer window of January 2007, at which time Fulham divested Everton of their flop, subsequently turning him into a decent player again.
In the autumn of 1998, Everton made a pitiful start to the season with no home goals until Halloween and the first home win coming on 23 November against Newcastle. In the carefree days before the summer transfer window was invented, Everton saw £4.5m Ivory Coast “hitman” Bakayoko as the answer to their problems up front – unfortunately, Everton’s scouts neglected to put the “S” in hitman. Although he turned out to be much older than first believed, he nearly scored thirty seconds into his debut – a dour 0-0 against Liverpool on 17 October. Had the ball gone the right side of the post, things may have read differently since then, but with a poor strike rate of only 5 goals in 17 matches, his days at Everton looked numbered.
His form was briefly revived after scoring two goals on 10 March 1999 at Ewood Park in a 2-1 win which (although not known at the time) would ultimately keep Everton up at the expense of Blackburn. Unfortunately for Bakayoko, things went from bad to worse after Kevin Campbell arrived a month later and single handedly saved Everton from the drop, and after forging a potent partnership with Francis Jeffers (which would continue into 1999/00), Bakayoko was transferred for a remarkable £4m to Olympique Marseille in May 1999. Bakayoko returned to Goodison in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup as an AE Larisa player, in which capacity he was able to flaunt his jaded skills and a physique out of a Channel 4 documentary to the mildly welcoming crowd.
Andy Van Der Meyde
It is impossible to believe that this £2m tub of lard was a product of Ajax’s notable youth academy, certainly in an Everton shirt his attitude reeked like the remnants of a drip tray. After setting off for Goodison Park with a world of expectation, “Shandy” (as he affectionately became known) sustained a groin injury which ruled him out for two months as Everton suffered in the early stages of 2005/06. His debut appearance against Birmingham in that vital win wasn’t half bad, setting up the aforementioned Simon Davies for the winner. Unfortunately, he fell victim to injury once again, but returned for the Merseyside Derby at Anfield on 25 March 2006, in which he was duly shown a straight red for elbowing Harry Kewell in a hugely predictable 3-1 defeat to the enemy across the park.
In the 2006 close season, rumours were rife of Van Der Meyde living the high life in town, actions which allegedly upset Moyes. With on pitch frustration mounting and a lack of fitness, his morale was quickly dipping and after failing to show up for a pre season training session in 2007, seemingly had his fate sealed. He was again injured in the summer of 2008, and wouldn’t play until he (ironically) crossed in the winner from Dan Gosling in the FA Cup against Liverpool, which Everton won 1-0 en route to the final. Finally, he was offloaded in June 2009 after it became clear that he had no future with Everton – “good riddance” was the general feeling amongst the Goodison faithful.
Brett Angell is unquestionably Everton’s worst striker in living memory. James Beattie doesn’t fit the bill because he essentially kept Everton up in 2005/06 and neither does James McFadden, who found himself to be more of a winger and scored that UEFA Cup spot securing wonder goal against Charlton in April 2007. Angell was signed by Everton in September 1993 for £500,000, and made his sub debut in a horrendous 5-1 home defeat to Norwich in which Efan Ekoku scored four times. This would set the general tone for the season in which Everton would make their “great escape” against Wimbledon.
Despite producing a good performance in his full debut against rock bottom no hopers Swindon Town in a 6-2 win, and a goal (his only for Everton) against Chelsea in a 4-2 win, his rancid performances far outweighed any decent ones. Angell was finally carted off to first division Sunderland in March 1995 for £550,000. Then Stockport County boss Dave Jones once memorably stated:
“Brett Angell’s first touch is like a tackle.”
And not a single Evertonian will be inclined to disagree with him.
Head honcho eejit number one is the £5m apocalyptic disaster Per Kroldrup. The towering Dane completed a trio of terrible signings ahead of 2005/06 with a reputation for solid defence and a modestly cultured background with Udinese – the sad truth is, a Great Dane would have done a better job of defending. Kroldrup fell victim to a groin injury, and wouldn’t make his debut until Boxing Day 2005 in a 4-0 defeat to a mediocre Aston Villa side during which his abysmal marking, tackling and altogether non-existent heading conrtibuted to that utterly distressing team performance.
His second and last appearance (as a sub) would yield a clean sheet in the FA Cup, a 1-0 win against a dreadful Millwall side who barely threatened to trouble the Everton rearguard. Within days of that game, Kroldrup returned to Italy to ply his trade for Fiorentina – unquestionably the worst ever signing for Everton, with the later revelation that he was apparently “scared of heading the ball” despite merely claiming he had problems adapting to the physical aspect of the Premier League.
Tough break Per, but you really blew your chance…
Any more names for the hall of shame? Please enter them into the message box below – as always, derisive abuse and inconsequential continuity error spottings are particularly welcome.
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