|Alex Nyarko - Midfielder|
August 2000: Walter Smith is delighted that Nyarko is set to become an Everton player, especially in view of the fact that he lost three of his midfield players in the space of 3 days in mid-July.
"He is a strong type and his style means you would put him in Vieira-Petit bracket," he said.
"He gets up and down the pitch very well and physically I don't think he will have any problems adapting to the Premiership.
"Ars�ne Wenger speaks very highly of him and he impressed me straight away when I watched him. He can play a number of roles although he was mostly employed in a defensive midfield role last season."
Alex Nyarko is likely to bring the club-v-country debate back to Goodison with a vengeance. A tough defender-cum-midfielder, Nyarko has played a great role in the renaissance of the Ghana Black Stars. Despite Fifa supposedly aligning the world's football calendar, the perception is that the African national team are playing too many meaningless games, and Nyarko is likely to be sucked right in to this conflict as he was at Lens.
Nyarko was regular midfield player for German club Karlsruhe, strong physically and mentallyt, he made few errors. After leaving Karlsruhe who were relegated at the close of 1998-99 season, Nyarko was sold to the French club and he fitted into the team well. Most game-watchers were impressed with his performance in the European League-Cup, especially in the game with Arsenal when he completely marked Nicolas Anelka out of the game.
First impressions suggest Nyarko will be similar in style to former Goodison midfielder Olivier Dacourt - his team-mate at French side Lens last season. Aggressive and strong, quick-thinking and mobile, he also displayed some elegant touches during training and possesses a powerful shot.
"Last season with Lens I scored once in the league and twice in the UEFA Cup which isn't many, but that was because of the role I was playing in the team," he said, after banging in three on Everton's pre-season West Country tour.
"I can score goals and hopefully at Everton I will get the opportunity to do that. When I was growing up in Ghana I used to play just behind the strikers and I scored quite a lot, firstly for a team called Dawu Youngsters and then at a bigger club Ashanti Kotoko.
"Again you cannot compare African football with playing in England, but I am confident I can score goals here."
It appears we will struggle to hold on to Nyarko this season.
Rumours of Wenger's interest have already surfaced, and he eclipsed
Olivier Dacourt on his debut at Leeds United. He is quick, extremely
strong and can ride a tackle. His distribution was deadly accurate
and he showed some inventive flicks and shuffles to make space for
April 2001: Everton's Ghana international midfielder sensationally announced he has quit football after receiving personal abuse from an Evertonian during the 4-1 defeat at Arsenal.
Nyarko pleaded to be substituted in the 70th minute at Highbury after a supporter ran onto the pitch and confronted the lack-lustre mercenary, offering to swap shirts � with the message that the fan do a better job of imitating a professional footballer. Nyarko, who was eventually replaced by Idan Tal, said: ''This is the fourth or fifth time this has happened and that's it. I'm finished with football.
''This man has done the same thing before. He came and offered me a black T-shirt for my blue one and told me to fuck off. So today I have decided I am quitting football. I can't live my life like this. I can live without football and that is what I am going to do.
''I came to this club when I would have been better off joining another one but I have had no problems with anybody at Everton and I have full respect for everyone. I have been happy with the way I have played and I don't upset anybody, but this is too much.''
"Happy with the way I played"??? Alex obviously needs a lesson in basic Latin: Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. On yer bike, laddy!
It turned out later that part of his problem was the questionable methods of one Archie Knox:
"Nyarko said Knox came to blows with midfielder Stephen Hughes during a game against Bradford and that Knox later insulted him.
"Archie was fighting with Stephen Hughes and the other players separated them," the midfielder told The Mirror newspaper.
"It was not the first time. I couldn't understand this attitude. We have to go and win a game, I can't cope with this.
"Archie was fighting with so many players in the room. In the end I could not be in the same room as him."
2001 � 2003: For the next two seasons, Alex Nyarko was on long-term loans, firstly with Monaco and then with PSG, but no-one wanted to take on the long-term liability....
2003-04: ... and so it was back to Everton, and all sorts of fine words about how everything had been one great big misunderstanding, possibly connected with the absence of Smith and Knox, and a chance to impress a new Everton manager in David Moyes. He actually played quite well in a few games, but perhaps lacked the passion needed to lift Everton above the drudgery.
At the end of the season, it was revealed (to the incredulity of all and sundry) that his original work permit expired in 2004, while his contract with Everton expired one year later, in 2005. Now (you may well ask): Why didn't we give him a four-year contract in the first place? Only Mr Dunford can answer that one...
Everton, however, were confident that the would be able to secure renewal of the work permit despite the fact that � wait for it � Nyarko had retired from International football back in 2001!!! How on earth they expected to meet the qualifications for international appearances under those circumstances is anyone's guess.
But they went ahead and wasted the time of a tribunal composed of members of FA, the Premier League, the PFA, an ex-player and and ex-manager (strange, you may wonder, what do this lot have to do with the issuance of work permits?). The question posed: is he eligible under the current rules for an extension of his work permit? Answer: No. Quelle surprise!
Just another in the never-ending legacies left for our eternal enjoyment by the figures of Messrs Walter Smith and Michael Dunford!
In September 2007, Nyarko, who was at that time playing for Swiss Second Division club Yverdon, heard an internal voice telling him it was time to retire and concentrate on his religious convictions...