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Our best in the Premier League

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After Saturday's game I suspect we'll be back to debating the relative merits of David Moyes. In the meantime, Michael's blog got me thinking about who has been the most important player for us in the Premier League era.

For me, it has to be Kevin Campbell.

When he arrived on loan, it was at a time when I was looking ahead at the fixtures of every relegation candidate and wondering where the points to save us would come from. Kevin saved us.

Nine goals in eight games at a club ebbing confidence was, to me, as good as anything he did in his career. He was the right man at the right time. I saw him quite a few times and liked his attitude, he seemed to me to be the epitome of a team player.

To some extent, injury blighted his stay at Goodison Park but, to me, he was a hero. If he were ten years younger, he is exactly the striker we need now.
Andy Crooks, Belfast     Posted 08/09/2010 at 21:44:20

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Matty Dawkins
1   Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:36:37

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Well said, Andy, he is definitely up there. I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times and he was top drawer as a person too.
David Hallwood
2   Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:43:13

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Good call Andy, in a wierd way he was as an important catalyst as Andy Gray was, obviously in different circumstances.
Callum Wilson
3   Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:44:45

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I'm going to delve into murky waters here by saying that I looked on Wikipedia about KC to look at his goals more than anything. It says on there that he was the only on-loan player to win the Player of the Month award ? is this true?

Also, has there been anyone since? I would imagine a couple of the players Moyes has brought in on loan before buying them could have won the award before securing a contract.

Pat Finegan
4   Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:37:57

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Wow, that's a tough question. When I think about who has been the most important player, I think it has to be someone who is not only skilled but is also a servant to the club.

You could argue that Tim Cahill has been the most important due to his goalscoring ability and the fact that he fits the Moyes system perfectly.

Lee Carsley was a great asset. I don't think we would've gotten 4th in 04-05 without him.

Arteta is arguably the most skilled player to have played for Everton in the Premier league.

But how can you argue against Neville Southall? One of the best goalkeepers ever and truly an Everton legend. Played something like 700 games for us before transferring, that's a true servant to the club.
Pat Finegan
5   Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:53:31

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Not disagreeing with you, Andy, I think Campbell was tremendously important to the club. He kept us out of relegation whereas Southall won us trophies. Two different types of "important" I guess.
Dave Smith
6   Posted 08/09/2010 at 22:57:11

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I want to agree with you Pat, Southall is a legned and a boyhood hero. But Dave Watson gets it for me.

At times it seemed he single handedly kept us in the Prem. Not to mention his contribution to the FA Cup win as well. Not just in the Final, I will never forget his goal against Newcastle Utd in the Quarter's.
Mike Green
7   Posted 08/09/2010 at 23:00:16

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Great question Andy - and a great suggestion with Kevin Campbell.

I'm with Pat re: Lee Carsley, a total unsung hero, the rock on which those successes were built.

Playing devils advocate given the money we recieved for him you'd have to bring Mr Rooney into the debate though. Oh no.... here we go again...

Good post, Andy. Nice one.
Ray Robinson
8   Posted 08/09/2010 at 23:05:01

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Good call re Campbell but it never stopped "the faithful" giving him some terrible stick later on. For me, Peter Reid has to be one of the most influential players. We began to hate to lose with him in the team.

Or maybe that other player who received awful stick from the bigots around me in the then Enclosure - Kevin Sheedy.
Brendan O'Doherty
9   Posted 08/09/2010 at 23:07:49

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'The most important player for us in the Premier League era' ?

Nigel Martyn.
Ray Robinson
10   Posted 08/09/2010 at 23:10:32

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Sorry, just realised, the thread relates to the Premier League only. So Reid and Sheedy are out.
Brendan McLaughlin
11   Posted 08/09/2010 at 23:10:38

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Certainly a very difficult call between Andy's initial suggestion of KC and Mike Green's very brave but undoubtedly true call for the much maligned Wayne Rooney.
Kevin Hudson
12   Posted 09/09/2010 at 00:00:23

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Loved Kev Campbell! Played the game with a smile on his face too :)

Also scored our last winning goal at Anfield, sadly TEN years ago..
Christopher McCullough
13   Posted 09/09/2010 at 00:06:44

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It's Kanchelskis for me.

If I may make a quick comment on today's main headline; I reckon Fellaini will stay in midfield as Moyes is more likely to pick Rodwell and Cahill. I would be happy if this transpires if Saha and Yakubu are ruled out.
Jimmy Hacking
14   Posted 09/09/2010 at 00:11:37

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Gareth Farrelly
Jamie Sweet
15   Posted 09/09/2010 at 02:13:40

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How about Barry Horne? Had it not been for his 30-yard screamer vs Wimbledon in '94, we probably wouldn't have been a Premier League team for very long!
Ian Kearney
16   Posted 09/09/2010 at 02:41:11

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Big Dunc's efforts in 98 when Howard Kendall's ill-judged third reign nearly took us down.

For all the disappoinment surrounding his career after this season, I believe without him that season we would have gone down.
Eugene Ruane
17   Posted 09/09/2010 at 04:44:18

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Big Dunc.

Now right away I should say that I'm DEFINITELY not one of those people who view Duncan through blue tinted specs - in fact, quite the reverse.

I never doubted his ability but thought he wasted it.

In fact I actually grew believe he really disliked like being a professional footballer and would rather have been doing anything else (and would have been, but for the £40,000 a week)

Often his attitude stunk and his behaviour at times bordered on the psychotic.

Too many times he left us a man short through being needlessly sent off and because of suspensions, reduced our team selection options.

He smoked, drank and for the money he was on, in my opinion, took the piss.

But the question was the 'most important' and I believe he was that.

Basically, because he kept a whole generation of younger blues interested and gave them something to believe in when there was fuck-all else for them to get worked up over.

He was someone in a blue shirt that they actually loved (and always will) and whatever I think about his consistency or professionalism, his love of Everton and Evertonians seemed (and seems) genuine.

I fully understand the reaction of younger blues to the opinions of fellers of 'my generation' who moaned about Ferguson and pointed out his many flaws

When I used to rave about Latchford, my oul' feller's two word summing up of my hero ("a puddin'") used to drive me nuts.

Alan Ball in reality was probably a narky, opinionated little tory, but in my mind, he's like a cross between Pelé and St Francis of Assisi (Bally could have had a swastika tattooed on his forehead and I'd have made excuses for him).

Arteta (to an extent) is performing this service now for the post-Duncan generation.

Evertonians of every generation need their heros and Duncan was/is theirs.

The importance of this can't be underestimated.

So for me (, it's Duncan.....DUNCAN FER-GU-SON!

Stephen Kenny
18   Posted 09/09/2010 at 09:27:28

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You just said exactly what I was about to say. For my generation he was the only thing worth talking about. The players that kept us up all those times when our club was in serious peril must surely rate as most important, only because we may well be a Sheff Wed type club without thier contribution.
John Audsley
19   Posted 09/09/2010 at 09:28:42

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Nigel Martyn

Kept us up with both hands in 2003-04 and was superb again when we finished 4th in 2004-05

Best Keeper since big Nev and defo our "most important" Prem player when you see what he did for us.

Wish we had signed him in 96 but thats' Clifford Finch/Peter Johnson for yer!!
Andrew Fair
20   Posted 09/09/2010 at 09:41:58

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Hans Segers. I was there in 1994 as a boy of nine. Went to get a drink at half time everyone talking about how we were down and relegated, thanks to Hans for not using his when Stuart passed the ball to him.
Chris Keightley
21   Posted 09/09/2010 at 09:44:01

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I'm going to be controversial and say without doubt it has to be Phil Neville ? not only was he a multi cup winner with Man Utd and a household name, he bought a calm assurance to the club, and a signal that we meant business, after all our releagtion worries previously.

Okay, I will agree he wasn't a 25-goal-a-season goalscorer, or a flying winger, but his signing made me feel that we would only improve.

Dean Adams
22   Posted 09/09/2010 at 10:05:01

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Andy Crooks

I must concur, he certainly saved us and was for me a hero.

I met him a few times after he left us and he was really easy to talk to. I got his autograph and gave it to my son, making sure it was treasured.
John Nelson
23   Posted 09/09/2010 at 10:03:09

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Big Dunc all the way for me ? I love the man!

As with Stephen Kenny, apart from the past few years, I grew up with us being shite, and he was the one who gave us so many inspired moments and was definitely a big game player.

In fact, as well as saving us from the drop, his bullet header against Man Utd in 04-05 practically assured us of 4th that year.

I will never forget that game ? words simply cannot describe the atmosphere.

Chris Fisher
24   Posted 09/09/2010 at 10:53:09

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Ibrahima Bakayoko.
Andrew Ellams
25   Posted 09/09/2010 at 11:13:10

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A player we should never have let go, Don Hutchison. Has there ever been a more under-rated player at Everton?

Anybody remember his return with Sunderland for a final day game. He got a standing ovation when he started warming up, another when he came on as a sub, and another when he got sent off.
Andy Crooks
26   Posted 09/09/2010 at 11:44:40

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Eugene and John, I share your admiration for Duncan, a truly ferocious opponent. Had he not been cheated in the Champions League he might just have changed the destiny of Everton.

It's telling that there are quite a few nominations for players who have saved us... and the goalkeepers, a comment on our recent history. Maybe that will change soon. This time next year, how about "it must be Jermaine Beckford after his Cup Final hat-trick".

Colin Ryan
27   Posted 09/09/2010 at 12:13:42

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Tim Cahill for me. There's no better feeling than a Timmy bullet header and him knocking the crap out of the corner flag. Would love to see it on Saturday too.

Notable mentions to Ferguson, Arteta, D Watson, Weir, Kanchleskis.
David Alexander
28   Posted 09/09/2010 at 12:51:27

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Graham Stuart, Andy Hinchcliff, Paul Rideout all worth a mention.
Chad Schofield
29   Posted 09/09/2010 at 12:32:02

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David Price
30   Posted 09/09/2010 at 12:56:38

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Cahill. Would be great if his memory carries a trophy or two to go with it.

Rob, next step, mate, is best Everton Prem side, do you want to set it up?

Richard Reeves
31   Posted 09/09/2010 at 13:00:06

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Andrew #23, I agree with you in that we should not have let Hutchinson go, he was a very good and under-rated player.

I was at that game at Goodison when Hutch was sent of and I can remember thinking that he deliberately got himself sent of to help us. When he walked of the pitch, he held his hands above his head, applauded our supporters and gave a smile in the direction of the directors' seats. Myself and my brother were in the upper tier of the main stand and everyone stood to applaud.

Another thing I can remember is the Sunderland fans were quite vocal and I think it ended as a draw. A dissapointing day as we were expected to win yet seeing the affection Hutch still had for our fans and vice versa, it all seemed worth it.

Tony J Williams
32   Posted 09/09/2010 at 13:57:04

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Kevin Campbell, great player for a season or two then milked us dry with Ferguson whilst sitting in the treatment room collecting £40k a week.

My view of him soured near the end, the sight if his Hasslebaink-like arse turning ever so slowly for the ball then falling over looking for a non-penalty.

His last interview where he said he would take 17th in a heartbeat after the 4-1 drubbing by Arsenal still gets my goat up. Shipped out shortly after that comment.

Ferguson was a hero to me, as we were dire but he give us something to cling to and cheer, when he actually played.

Martyn was fantastic but slow getting down near the end and conceded a lot of goals with low shots across his body.

Stubbs was an inspiration too and I am made up he is back working within the club.

Out of all of them, the most important one to me would probably be Martyn, because he actually saved us so many points. I will never forget the Bolton game when we lost the other 9 from our first 10. Absolute stormer of a game and the Derby at Anfield where he saved absolutely everything and we managed a 0-0 draw. Hero in my eyes.
Shaun Brennan
33   Posted 09/09/2010 at 14:41:18

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I'd have to pick Kev Campbell.
Lee Kidd
34   Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:41:44

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Nigel Martyn. Without whom, we would have been relegated with a degree of comfort on several occasions. Easily our most important signing of the Premier League era.

Campbell would be near the top due to his impact. Lee Carsley is tremendously underrated for the role he played in our revival recently. And, to be fair, Duncan Ferguson deserves a mention for making the horrible 90s bearable.
Vishal Poorundersingh
35   Posted 09/09/2010 at 15:41:33

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Andy Van de Merde
Helikaon Bow
36   Posted 09/09/2010 at 16:33:39

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Arteta followed by Southall, Limpar and Campbell for me.
Charles King
37   Posted 09/09/2010 at 17:40:42

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Big Dunc.

Mention his name if you want to see RS and Manu fans shiver.
Andy Crooks
38   Posted 09/09/2010 at 18:14:33

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Tony, a slightly, if uncharacteristic, mean-spirited post... Was Kevin Campbell really on £40k per week? Also, are you suggesting that injured players shouldn't be paid? Tough luck, Jack Rodwell.
Tony Gee
39   Posted 09/09/2010 at 22:26:05

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I just had a bet on Everton to beat United at 8-1 , thanks to a special online offer on
Brendan McLaughlin
40   Posted 09/09/2010 at 23:16:00

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Andy #38
Mean-spirited post ? a bit kettle, pot, black going on there!
Mike Rourke
41   Posted 10/09/2010 at 10:12:16

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As a schoolboy in the mid 90s, it's no contest. Big Dunc.

I'm delighted to give Graham Stuart a very honourable mention too.
Nick Dommett
42   Posted 10/09/2010 at 12:23:36

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Paul Rideout simply because his goal actually won us a trophy...
Kev Lacey
43   Posted 10/09/2010 at 12:54:34

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The only players growing up as a kid I could be in the school yard without having everyone take the piss were Dunc and Kanchelskis (not that I cared, they could stick Giggs, Cantona and Rush up their arse as far as I was concerned but pretending to be Paul Rideout wasn't quite as glamorous!). Personally, growing up, to me Dunc was a hero and gave me a lot of the few moments of hope and glory as a little bluenose.

My first ever game at Goodison (25 Feb 1995) when he scored the header that beat Man Utd one-nil was one of the finest footballing performances I've ever witnessed. Today, if we had Dunc playing like he did that day and Kanchelskis flying down the right, we'd be league champions without doubt!

Andy Crooks
44   Posted 10/09/2010 at 18:25:24

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Brendan, I was dismayed to read your comment. I have no recollection of ever being mean-spirited on this site. However, it is difficult, of course, to see ourselves as others see us and therefore feel free NOT to provide examples.

Kev, what a game for your first match.

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