The Cowdenbeath game was against Partick Thistle, and Cowden won inspired by a brilliant performance by their right winger, ballet dancer Brian Fairbairn. Fairbairn ran the show, and the embarrassed man failing to mark him was our former reserve left back Paddy Boyle, who recently joined Partick from 3rd Div Dumbarton.
Then, Warrington's 4-0 destruction of Lancaster featured as its midfield playmaker Gareth Farrelly, who famously scored the goal that saved us from relegation one year (Lancaster's side featured teenage former Everton academy players Alex Kenyon and Max Rothwell). Reading the Lancaster programme on the train home, I noticed that Burscough have recently signed Michael Branch, who seems to have been unattached since leaving Chester in 2006.
On the topic of Chester, their bankruptcy last season has seen them drop into the same division as Lancaster and Warrington (Evo-Stik League Div 1 North). Another effect of their folding was to make a free agent of one of our many former next big things, Nick Chadwick. Chadwick took advantage of free agency to move to Barrow.
He was briefly joined at Holker Street this summer by triallist JP Kissock who, since leaving Hamilton late last year, has largely been DJing in Merseyside. He also had trials at Hereford and Milton Keynes, but doesn't seem to have impressed anyone sufficiently to actually get a contract.
Paddy Boyle got me thinking about reserve left backs, and I remembered Lee Molyneux, who I saw many times play for teh Reserves in Widnes. Molyneux was spectacular at set pieces but less so from open play. He left us in the January 2009 transfer window to play for Southampton, which turned out to be slightly optimistic. He made just four appearances in 18 months before signing for Peter Reid's Plymouth Argyle (along with Anton Peterlin) at the start of this season, making four appearances already, although he is team leader in fouls and yellow cards.
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1 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:08:47
Sad to see how many fall by the wayside but we try to remember them all from the current era.
2 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:13:32
Just hope Anichebe and Vaughan don't go the same way.
3 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:28:15
4 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:32:59
5 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:40:17
6 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:42:31
7 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:54:18
I'm not questioning your evaluation of Moyes in this realm but in the past Everton have dropped some crackers.
Baines, Jagielka, Carragher, Johnson to name four.
8 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:49:06
9 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:59:27
The other US player who arrived at a similar time "Cody Arnoux" is now in the second tier of US soccer and has joined a team that will move into the MLS next year, although I read recently that the MLS is concerned that by doing this he and his new club are flouting their complicated draft system, the notion being that really he should have moved from Everton back into the draft system and not moved to a club that is guaranteed next season to be in MLS. I'll see if I can find the link to that article again as it gave me insight into the complicated way that US soccer tiers and US grassroots football is set up.
10 Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:40:42
I don't know whether to congratulate modern coaches on this or castigate them, either they're always right, or, they don't cultivate their youngsters enough.
Theoretically the discarded youngsters from Chels, Manu and Arse schools should be landing in the prems second tier but other than Cole at West Ham I'm struggling to think of an example.
Conversely, Jonathan Greening ex Manu kid, how he ever made a career in football I've always found shocking.
11 Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:06:25
12 Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:34:05
13 Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:35:44
Martin Murray returned to his first club Home Farm on leaving Everton (also Richard Dunne's first club, I think). Stayed in Ireland for the rest of his playing career, at Drogheda, Dundalk (won the double), St Pats, Bohemians and Crusaders (where he won the league twice). He later managed Dundalk, but seems to have been out of football since resigning in 2002. In his two and a bit year spell in charge Dundalk got promoted to, and relegated from, the Premier Dvision, won the FAI Cup and got destroyed in the UEFA Cup by FC Varteks.
14 Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:46:06
15 Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:56:02
16 Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:52:49
Michael Branch. Debut for Everton aged 17, plays 40-odd games in Royal Blue but fails to cement a regular starting place before Wolves shell out £500k for him at 21.
He plays regularly for a couple of seasons at Molyneux, then has reasonably successful loans at Reading and Hull before eventually signing for Bradford aged 24.
Three years later, aged only 27, he retires from the game! Five years out of football and then he recently makes a comeback playing for Burscough FC in the Northern Premier League. Madness!
Gareth Farrelly signs a professional contract with Aston Villa as a 16-year-old, moves to Everton five years later for £700k, a couple of seasons later, he goes to Bolton were he enjoys a successfull spell and contributes to them celebrating promotion to the Premier League. Five years later, he's had loan spells at Burnley, Bradford and Wigan before, at 29(!!!) he all of a sudden goes to Bohemians as player manager. Really astounding.
17 Posted 08/09/2010 at 23:12:17
18 Posted 08/09/2010 at 23:13:57
19 Posted 08/09/2010 at 23:13:54
Still, how you can go from England U21 international and Merseyside derby goalscoring hero to lower-league football. Amazing!
20 Posted 09/09/2010 at 02:46:17
Thor (17): I'm going to guess that it's a matter of willpower and mental strength. I guess they just didn't want it badly enough...
21 Posted 09/09/2010 at 08:03:14
It's sometimes amazing to read these streams though and see the likes of JP Kissock doing nothing yet remembering the outcry for his "creativity" to be tried by Moyes.
Once in the senior squads (1st & Reserve) and released, it's Moyes decision and I can't think of one there that stands out as a mistake. However, as mentioned, Ray Hall has been known to make one or two blunders by being the decision maker for the youth players.
By the way, does anyone know what's the latest with Kieran Agard? Pace... trickery... Ooo ? right-side problem??
22 Posted 09/09/2010 at 08:19:03
It just shows that we, as fans, have no idea what goes on in training and how good certain players really are. Moyes, it seems for the most part, does!
Whilst Rodwell is I think now beyond doubt a top class player, let's hope the likes of Coleman, Anichebe, Vaughan, Baxter et al do not sink into obscurity...
23 Posted 09/09/2010 at 09:28:11
24 Posted 09/09/2010 at 09:40:51
I think you're right, they simply don't want it enough. Could it be a result of their loving Everton?
I know if I was a professional footballer plying my trade at Everton and they released me, I'd completely loose heart. I'd really struggle finding motivation to giving my all for Wigan or Hull.
25 Posted 09/09/2010 at 10:11:41
He was taken off at half-time as he was played out of the game by the Matlock Town defender.
26 Posted 09/09/2010 at 10:27:34
Didn't realise Paul Wilkinson was so young when he scored THAT goal for Grimsby.
27 Posted 09/09/2010 at 11:49:59
Thor (16) I too find it hard to get my head around how an exciting young Premier League player can drift out of the professional game so quickly.
Surely if you're good enough at 18, you're still good enough at 28?
The only pro footballer I've ever known is Darren Holloway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darren_Holloway, a genuinely hot prospect as a kid at Sunderland with several Premier League clubs making moves to sign him, chose to join Wimbledon (bad choice, I know!) for £1.2 million, played quite a few games in the Prem for three different sides... then suddenly he's just another League 2 defender battling for a yearly contract extension, virtually retired at 30 cos no-one wanted him.
How can a player once deemed good enough to mark the likes of Shearer, Di Canio etc suddenly be sitting on the bench at Scunthorpe?
28 Posted 09/09/2010 at 12:46:43
Probably also shows that lots of reserves and schoolboys only get contracts to give the one or two genuine talents people to train with and play against.
29 Posted 09/09/2010 at 13:23:33
30 Posted 09/09/2010 at 13:28:34
I'm not going to mention names but a former team-mate was the hot property at Man United for a number of years although most of us knew his ability was very limited... it just so happened his dad was a former player of Fergie's at Aberdeen. He got sold on and retired after 3 starts at his new club.
Conversely one of the greatest left feet I've seen, schoolboy international, literally got blackballed and left the game disillusioned at 18... not always based on ability is what I'm saying ? although my demise was clearly due purely to injury... I swear!!
31 Posted 09/09/2010 at 13:36:39
Probably more to do with the fact he went to my old school...
32 Posted 09/09/2010 at 14:02:57
These examples just show how hard it is to get into the upper echelons of the game and what a fine dividing line it is as there are so few spare spaces compared to aspiring players.
33 Posted 09/09/2010 at 14:45:48
You are right but to be fair, all those mentioned were let go at very young ages, I was referring specifically to the JP Kissocks and Steven Schumacher's of this world. Should have made that clear I suppose.
34 Posted 09/09/2010 at 14:45:44
35 Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:01:41
You mention Mark Ward but who can forget the similar path trod by Billy Kenny???
36 Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:15:21
37 Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:07:40
It's something psychological for sure... Francis Jeffers! WTF happened there??? Perhaps when players think they've made it they get complacent and start to act the bolox in their personal lives & start living like rockstars .
Anyway, the drop in form topic aside, does anyone know where people like John Ebrell or Joe Parkinson are up to? It would be weird to see them working in McDonald's, but quite possible. The money they earned wouldn't be sustainable if not cleverly managed or invested.
38 Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:22:29
39 Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:38:42
40 Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:40:45
Thanks for that, Andrew, that's quite fascinating. How much the players of yesteryear must envy the riches of the modern game.
41 Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:48:37
42 Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:54:41
43 Posted 09/09/2010 at 16:05:28
I think Joe the Pieman is now back at Goodison on the corporate side, with Duncan McKenzie, Sharpy, Alan Whittle, and a few others...
44 Posted 09/09/2010 at 16:13:54
45 Posted 09/09/2010 at 16:26:26
46 Posted 09/09/2010 at 16:41:17
I found it hard to believe myself.
He was adamant on it.
47 Posted 09/09/2010 at 17:19:35
Oh, and for the record, Andy van de Meyde is again without a club after PSV got rid... not that he needs to sign on.
48 Posted 09/09/2010 at 18:12:43
49 Posted 09/09/2010 at 18:32:00
50 Posted 09/09/2010 at 18:29:38
But then the programmers were Everton fans.
51 Posted 09/09/2010 at 18:57:14
52 Posted 09/09/2010 at 18:59:11
I always thought that Graham Allen was going to make it... Paul Hopkins was another, and Kevin McLeod, but apart from fleeting appearances as they have drifted away from Goodison, nothing has been heard of them.
It is interesting in the amount of stick the manager gets for letting players go, only to be proven right when they have not ever come back. Of course there are cases in the opposite, Baines being just one of them....
53 Posted 09/09/2010 at 19:12:30
I really thought Allen would make it though, replacing Earl Barrett.
Another player I had high hopes for was John O'Kane. Anyone remember him?
A product of Man Utd and a member of their FA Youth Cup winning side of the 1991-92 season. Made his Premier League debut aged 20. Two years later Howard Kendall picked him up for a mere £400k. Impressed at times, but in the end failed to cement a place at Everton. Stints at Bolton and Blackpool before he moved into non-league aged 28.
54 Posted 09/09/2010 at 19:46:09
55 Posted 09/09/2010 at 19:37:54
He was the great young hope of the Norwegian national side. Baardsen played more than 20 matches for the U21 side and impressed enough during the 1997-98 season for Tottenham to claim a place in Norway's squad for the 1998 World Cup, only 20 years old. Lost his place at Spurs, but enjoyed reasonable succes at Watford in the PL under Vialli.
Eventually he lost his place there to veteran Alec Chamberlain and was loaned to Everton were he played one game, away to former club Tottenham, before retiring at the age of 25, claiming he was disillsioned with the game. Not much of a loss to Everton, but shocking for the Norway team.
56 Posted 09/09/2010 at 20:20:53
57 Posted 09/09/2010 at 20:23:08
58 Posted 09/09/2010 at 20:55:30
59 Posted 09/09/2010 at 21:47:05
60 Posted 09/09/2010 at 22:31:00
61 Posted 09/09/2010 at 22:50:02
62 Posted 10/09/2010 at 02:16:11
63 Posted 10/09/2010 at 02:27:31
64 Posted 10/09/2010 at 02:57:22
Joe Parkinson I thought was still at the club. He was a hell of a player ? widely tipped for England. Could play a lot more football than he got credit for ? and outplayed Ince more than once.
A couple of other names for the mix:
Jon Oster ? The new Giggs ? who would have thought the old one would still be outperforming him?
Richie Townsend. Moved around local teams but the last I can find for him is Altrincham in 2004. Sounds like he had dodgy knees.
65 Posted 10/09/2010 at 03:16:12
Mark Hughes is doing alright for Nth Qld. Wasn't he an England captain at youth level?
66 Posted 10/09/2010 at 03:47:04
I agree with Carragher's comment. The biggest obstacles to a young footballer's development are cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
Here in Belfast we produce underage teams, up until about under 14, that are amongst the best in Europe.
There must be something in the mainland European mindset, or in the quality of their developmental courses, that overcomes these social problems.
67 Posted 10/09/2010 at 08:35:30
68 Posted 10/09/2010 at 09:48:54
69 Posted 10/09/2010 at 10:06:35
David #68, I'll never forget the PFA awards years ago, when the cameras panned to each of the tables there were players surrounded by booze galore, switch to the Arsenal table and it was bottled water.... It's a short life but one which could earn you more money than you could spend in a dozen lifetimes, players need to discipline themselves, they have years ahead of them to turn into pissheads and smokers.
70 Posted 10/09/2010 at 09:26:12
I loved Joey Parkinson as a kid and it's a shame injury cut short his career, I'm certain he would have played for England. Oh Joey Joey, Joey Joey Joey Joey Parkinson!
71 Posted 10/09/2010 at 09:57:13
72 Posted 10/09/2010 at 11:24:45
73 Posted 10/09/2010 at 12:23:06
74 Posted 10/09/2010 at 12:49:59
75 Posted 10/09/2010 at 15:18:02
1) Billy Kenny (Everton, Oldham)
When Kenny, aged 19, was the man of the match in the Premiership's first Merseyside derby, his team-mate Peter Beardsley excitably christened him the "Goodison Gazza". If only he knew. The comparison was not gratuitous: Kenny was a midfielder blessed with sublime skill, especially in his passing, and perhaps more importantly a striking fearlessness (when Vinny Jones greeted him with a trademark early reducer, Kenny took the medicine uncomplainingly and then gave Jones a taste of it a few minutes later). But sadly the comparison to Gazza was equally relevant off the pitch: Kenny self-destructed, only much sooner. He chose not to choose life; he chose something else.
Unable to handle his newfound celebrity, he began to cross the white line on and off the pitch. "Some mornings I got home at four or five, had a couple of lines of cocaine, slept for an hour and then went to training," he said. "Sometimes I could hardly see the ball. I was a joke." He was sacked first by Everton and then by Oldham; he played his last league game at 22. But even though he only played 17 times for Everton, he still makes some fans' all-time XI.
76 Posted 10/09/2010 at 16:47:01
He was as good as anything I've ever seen. What a player he should of been.
77 Posted 10/09/2010 at 22:05:14
78 Posted 11/09/2010 at 00:33:56
79 Posted 11/09/2010 at 01:04:50
Played his way down the leagues, but still going at non-league level.
80 Posted 11/09/2010 at 07:42:01
81 Posted 11/09/2010 at 07:56:37
82 Posted 11/09/2010 at 08:03:05
If recall correctly I think Joe Royle was talking about Branch being the next big thing in English football. Maybe he was that good but like Jeffers his attitude played big part in him going nowhere. Also, at that time we were under so much pressure to produce a home grown hero ? Liverpool had been producing a few and we always seemed to be "in need" of our own hero.
83 Posted 11/09/2010 at 08:08:01
84 Posted 11/09/2010 at 08:11:44
85 Posted 11/09/2010 at 08:13:19
Today, Derek is a PE teacher PE at Pensby High School on the Wirral.
86 Posted 11/09/2010 at 08:15:49
87 Posted 11/09/2010 at 08:18:20
88 Posted 11/09/2010 at 10:59:15
89 Posted 11/09/2010 at 11:56:05
In fact, call me paranoid but his paragraphs on Brett Angell and JP Kissock seem to be directly lifted from my posts! And he's wrong about Jamie Milligan, he left Fleetwood in the summer, and I saw him playing for AFC Fylde against Lancaster last month.
90 Posted 11/09/2010 at 20:53:26
By the way, he's a lovely bloke.
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