It’s a topic that always sparks great and often heated debates; who are the worst players to have played for a club? There can be the talented players who spectacularly underperform and then there are those that make you wonder how they ever became a footballer in the first place.
Age means I have followed Everton since the early days of the Premier League and so given that I have only hearsay to go on for the failed players of previous decades, the list below details the five of the worst players to turn out for the Toffees in the Premier League.
You will notice I say ‘five of the worst’, because I’ve seen a lot of poor players. Carl Tiler, Mitch Ward, Ibrahima Bakayoko, Mark Hottiger are all deserving of a place on this list but I could only choose five.
- Andy van der Meyde
Picked solely for the promise he failed to deliver on. Having established himself as quick, tricky winger at Ajax, van der Meyde joined Everton for £2 million after a two year spell at Inter Milan and a Euro 2004 campaign with the Netherlands.
Technically gifted and creative, the winger should have been a success, but 20 appearances in four years tell the story. Van der Meyde was either injured, or lacking match fitness. He showed brief glimpses of what he could have offered, but his time on Merseyside was marked by under performance, lack of effort and his love of a night out for which he earned the nickname ‘Shandy’.
- Claus Thomsen
A regular in many an ‘Everton Worst XI’. Thomsen was signed by Joe Royle for £900, 000 in January 1997. The Dane spent just over a year at Everton and is largely remembered for his continual ineffectiveness.
Added to below par performances was a chronic lack of movement, which at times almost left him an observer, and the midfielder failed to ever win over the Everton fans. Thomsen moved to Akademisk Boldklub of Denmark for £500,000 in March 1998.
- Stuart Barlow
Signed from non-league football, Barlow never had the ability to be a success in the Premier League. To his credit, the forward’s effort could not be faulted and he was blessed with great pace. However, the lacklustre forward failed miserably when it came to putting the ball in the back of the net.
The nicknames of ‘Barn door’, because he couldn’t hit one and ‘Jigsaw’ because he went to pieces in the box, tell you all you need to know about Barlow’s time at Goodison Park. His performances were summed up by missing three clear cut chances in a Merseyside Derby, for which he will forever be remembered.
- Brett Angell
Angell had established himself as a decent, but not prolific goal scorer in the lower leagues. He had two loan spells at Everton, make only one appearance each time before Mike Walker signed him for £500, 000 in January 1994.
A 5-1 defeat at home to Norwich on his debut was a sign of things to come. Angell scored once in 19 appearances for Everton, a two yard tap in against Chelsea, which just about typified his performances for the Blues. A target man, he was a tall, blundering forward who is widely regarded as one of the worst players in Everton’s history.
- Nicolas Alexandersson
Having impressed as Sheffield Wednesday got relegated in the 1999-2000 season, Walter Smith signed Alexandersson for £2 million. The Swedish winger looked to be a good acquisition but endured a dismal four years at Everton.
As a wide man, Alexandersson infuriated Everton fans with his unwillingness or inability to take on the full back. He also failed to endear himself due to his reluctance to engage in the physical aspect of the game. Poor in the air and weak in the tackle, Alexandersson would often look uninterested making him one of Everton’s more forgettable players.
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