As a trainee with Leeds United, Phelan became a left-back after starting
as a winger. Probably his greatest moment for Wimbledon was being part
of that marvellous defeat of Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final. When Peter
Reid signed him for Manchester City in 1992, he became Britain's most expensive
full-back. But he was not always a first choice under Brian Horton,
and eventually went back to London in 1995. However, he never really
became part of the cosmopolitan Chelsea squad under Gullit.
A serious injury to Andy Hinchcliffe
against Leeds United in December
1996 left the left-back berth at Everton effectively vacant. Joe
Royle was not slow in finding a replacement, but the signing of the Phelan
from Chelsea was not greeted with fulsome praise by the Goodison crowd.
weary of seeing too many second-rate players that were simply not good enough
to wear the Royal Blue of Everton, Phelan's arrival at a critical time was
It says a lot for the character and personality of Phelan that he was able
to win over much of the crowd through sheer determination and hard work.
Sadly for Terry, that hard work came to nought when he sustained an injury
in November 1997 that put him out for the rest of the 97-98 season, and almost
the entire 1998-99 season.
Finally, after 18 months out, Terry regained match fitness with 45 mins in
the reserves... only to be sent off for handling against
Aston Villa Reserves!
He never made it to Walter Smith's first team but, if Phelan had been
fit Smith may have turned to him when young Michael Ball was having a bad
time. And Smith commented on how he had missed seeing Phelan a seasoned
international player get a chance to show his ability.
Although he regained match fitness for the start of the 1999-2000
season, Terry Phelan has not been used much in the opening games, making
one sub appearance and one Worthington Cup appearance before he was again
laid low by another injury. When that finally cleared up in October,
he was farmed out to Crystal Palace for a month's loan subsequently
extended, while Walter Smith continued his controversial policy of playing
centre-backs in the full-back positions.
Dec 99: TERRY PHELAN says he feels let down by Everton after manager
Walter Smith told him he can leave on a free transfer. The Republic of Ireland
international is angry he was not given a chance to show he could play a
part in Everton's future after returning from injury in the summer. Phelan
proved his fitness with some barnstorming displays during his loan spell
at Crystal Palace. But despite glowing reports from his eight-game stint
with Steve Coppell's men, Smith has decided to free the 31-year-old before
his contract ends next summer.
Phelan said: "I had a good pre-season and felt I should have been given an
opportunity to play. I have been bombing about in training so it can't be
because I'm not fit. "All I wanted to do was prove I could do a job for Everton
on the left. I worked really hard to get back to fitness and have only been
given one start this season and that lasted just 23 minutes. I feel let down
by the club."
One thing about Phelan be he playing for Wimbledon, Man. City, Everton
or Ireland is his honesty. What you see is what you get.
On good days, and bad.
Everton currently have a huge gap in the department marked 'Creative
Left'. Yet the left back slot should be a two-way battle between Phelan
and Ball, with Ball the likelier winner. Unsworth is worth his place
at centre half. He will / could serve the team best when placed
there. A creative left back he most certainly ain't!
Our left side is woefully inept when it comes to starting moves. Fans
have long since tired from watching Unsworth 'do' a Staunton and launch a
ball diagonally into Row Z. He has his critics as a result, but he
should still find a place in the team. Gough and Watson cannot go on
Walter Smith deems it best to offload 'squad' players to offset
the wage bill. But should we let these players go for nothing?
Surely a left side consisting of Phelan with Ball ahead of him would
serve us better than Unsworth and Pembridge?
Everton fans were left wondering where the logic was in paying a player his
wages when he's out injured, then have him return and play well on loan
only to then to turn around and flog him on a free? But that's
exactly what happened when Terry joined Fulham on 2 February 2000.
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