From drugs and the streets to the Premier League: How Everton helped save Lee Johnson's life

Monday 30 January 2017  14 Comments  [Jump to last]
Tony Barrett tells the story of a transformation from homelessness to a productive and normal life made possible by his determination and Everton In The Community.

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Reader Comments (14)

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 30/01/2017 at 22:08:38
Everton could be making mistakes in carrying out this kind of work, trying to help people who have gone awry, bringing the wrong sort of person into the club, looking after people who should perhaps know better.

Long may our Club continue to take such risks, be prepared to look stupid if they don't come off, diversify from the business of kicking footballs, and bring about results like this.

Wonderful stuff.

Eugene Ruane
2 Posted 30/01/2017 at 22:36:19
Great stuff and I see no 'mistakes'

Whatever the success-failure rate, Everton have succeeded imo simply by offering the help.

Remember what it says in the good book - 'I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.' - Luke 15:7

And look what is says in the really boss book..

"There aren't many things that I love but I love Everton and that made the difference. That's why I get emotional when I talk about it.”

That'll do me.

Brent Stephens
3 Posted 30/01/2017 at 22:39:59
Another good one by EitC. Good luck to the guy.
Kristian Boyce
5 Posted 30/01/2017 at 23:07:39
An interesting article, and in a way what we are doing now harks back to the founding of the club. St Domingo's church created a team to provide sporting wellness for the local youth. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the church played a huge role in people's lives, not only providing a spiritual service, but social services. While it does still provide these services, churches do not play a central role in the lives of many.

What the club is doing is commendable as it has identified its importance within the community. I think many clubs do not take the important role they have seriously and with the money and foreign ownership coming into the game, they have only a global view. Like the church before them, Everton recognizes their role as a key stakeholder in the success and wellbeing of the area.

Mike Gaynes
6 Posted 30/01/2017 at 23:27:42
Kristian #5, well said.

I hope the article is read by some of those who criticized the club's recent outreach to another troubled young man with a love for football and a drug problem.

Whether it's Lee Johnson or Jose Baxter or however many more whose names we will never hear, Everton is doing good work... and only enhancing the sense of pride we all feel in being Blues.

Mick Davies
7 Posted 30/01/2017 at 00:12:59
When I read the headline, thought we'd saved Bristol City's manager from suicide! (couldn't blame him right now).

The article though shows the compassion of the city's premier club, and the impact it's having on people's lives. Long may we continue to have this immense pride in Everton FC.

Pete Jones
8 Posted 31/01/2017 at 12:49:10
I've got to know Lee through helping out in a small way with some of EitC's programmes; together with Henry Mooney and Pat Van Den Hauwe he works incredibly hard for both the charity and the club.

If I could work out a way to do it I think we could power the floodlights on the energy that the the dynamic trio put into their work. Lee has not only made a difference to his own life but he now makes a difference to the lives of others through his work. His is a fantastic story.

ps: He is also a much better bingo caller than big Dunc.

James Welford
9 Posted 31/01/2017 at 13:04:24
Great story. So much homelessness around, but what can you expect after all this austerity.

Still, the more I read about rhino at the club these days the more I think he embodies the spirit of Everton and stays at the club for a long long time.

Hope the first team players read this and decide to help out with the target with some spare change!

Jay Griffiths
10 Posted 31/01/2017 at 18:40:08
EitC are the conscience of our club. Their work is outstanding. I cringe when I read any criticism of the choices our club makes to help those that have fallen. Without the fallen there cannot be such redemption. Our club the redeemer.
Mike Green
11 Posted 31/01/2017 at 19:14:01
The Premier League is awash with money, so much so that you'd think why not just throw a load of it at problems like poverty, addiction and homelessness and they'd be gone. We all know it's not as simple as that though – these problems take massive amounts of time, commitment, determination, understanding, patience, devotion and sheer will to even get close to solving and I take my hat off to anyone with the dedication and heart to attempt to do it, never mind succeed. Well done, EitC.
Tony Abrahams
12 Posted 31/01/2017 at 19:20:15
To hear criticism of such great work makes me think of the lucky bastards who have never lived, Jay! To live is to suffer, and when they do, they too will be looking for the compassion, that is being shown by the people involved in this great charity. I'm very glad to see that Everton FC, still have the common touch.

Jay Griffiths
13 Posted 31/01/2017 at 19:33:03
True Tony, those that lack empathy will inevitably be bereft of sympathy to such a plight. I've seen old friends fall. EITC will always give us the moral high ground. How on earth can their contribution to our society not be recognised to a greater extent be the highly subjective media.
Niall McIlhone
14 Posted 03/02/2017 at 05:13:13
Well said, Kristian (# 5). I'm not a religious person in any way, but I've worked all my life in housing services, and with the disadvantaged. The church – and it's various agents in the UK such as the Salvation Army and Samartians- –continue to provide life changing support to those whose lives have gone off the rails.

Britain can be a bloody cold place, especially in the deep midwinter. EiTC and those good people who work with the homeless and the drug-addled bring a bit of warmth and compassion to a pretty cold and heartless world. COYB
John Codling
15 Posted 13/02/2017 at 19:35:41
I was one who had a rant over Baxter being back at the club, but after reading Lee's storey I now realise how important it is to keep trying and hold out some help. If the club can help Jose I should, and will be proud of them.

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