Jose Baxter became the youngest first-team player in Everton history when he made his debut in 2008, aged 16 years and 191 days. The Merseyside-born attacking midfielder, who had been with the club since the age of six, looked set for a great future.
But he made only 15 appearances in four years, before leaving under a cloud, having been arrested on drugs offence, he acknowledged poor off-field decisions as a factor.
In 2012, Baxter joined Oldham – then in League One – where he stayed for two seasons, before signing for Sheffield United. It was while at Bramall Lane that things started to spiral out of control. He received two suspensions in nine months for drug use, after taking ecstasy and cocaine.
Baxter was released by Sheffield United in May 2016, but an unexpected call from Everton chairman Bill Kenwright offered him a chance to turn his life around as he served out his ban – and resulted in the club giving him a short-term contract to play for the Under-23s last season.
The BBC are featuring Baxter's interview with Juliette Ferrington, on Football Focus on Saturday at 12:00 GMT.
» Read the full article at BBC Sport
Reader Comments (73)
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1 Posted 01/03/2019 at 12:24:35
2 Posted 01/03/2019 at 12:38:19
3 Posted 01/03/2019 at 12:39:20
I also know some take a very cynical view on many topics Baxter's story shares: the 'old boys' network at Finch Farm and Goodison; academy kids too flush with money and not dedicated enough to the game; EitC and all their good work; our current CEO, Denise Barrett-Baxendale.
I'm sure if anyone cares to read it, it will provoke different reactions, but it is a good read.
My own personal takeaway from the story is, given Baxter's tale and George Green's story, I hope Brands and others are improving the pastoral care and support of the boys under their charge to do as much as they can to save them from falling into the same trap as these Baxter and Green evidently did.
4 Posted 01/03/2019 at 17:10:18
5 Posted 01/03/2019 at 17:30:52
6 Posted 01/03/2019 at 18:07:27
Kenwright's humanitarian side has never been in question – it's his ability as Chairman of Everton Football Club that has let him down time and time again. Totally inept... yet fatally our new owner can't see it.
7 Posted 01/03/2019 at 19:18:00
8 Posted 01/03/2019 at 19:20:34
9 Posted 01/03/2019 at 19:40:40
I think he's begged, stolen and borrowed, lied through his back teeth, especially with regards money being ring-fenced, and has helped turn an English giant into a plucky little football club, who haven't won a thing during his very long overdue stay, and I personally don't think he's always had the best interests of the club at heart.
Maybe you're right, though, Terry, but only if you think that personal attacks are uncalled for on anyone?
10 Posted 01/03/2019 at 19:52:42
11 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:02:38
He's expert at that.
12 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:05:11
My objection was to Terry White, he doesn't like the personal attacks on Kenwright but in a previous post he wanted Kenwright's good deed to be “mandatory reading for those who vilify Kenwright the man”.
In other words, praise his good deeds but brush the other side under the carpet.
13 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:10:51
Kenwright has done some good, some bad. He's not the root of all our problems. A bit like of all of us, he gets things wrong sometimes, as I'm sure do both of you.
14 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:16:19
"Kenwright has done some good"
What do you think he has done good?
15 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:21:57
16 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:28:18
17 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:29:40
I'm not a Bk fan, I consider its mostly bad.
I can't think of anything positive he has contributed
18 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:36:49
Dave @12, what is the other side of Bill Kenwright? Surely he is what he is?
I would agree that he isn't the answer to Everton's current problems but that doesn't mean that he isn't a good person who has done nothing but his best under difficult conditions, including nearly going under as a club.
19 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:48:50
Martin, by the way,if you think Kenwright has done his very best for Everton FC then I wouldnt like to see the outcome if he stopped trying.
20 Posted 01/03/2019 at 20:57:22
The fact is that Kenwright re-signed one useless footballer in Baxter aged 25 and then gave him a one-year contract in which he contributed zilch to the first team, again. Can anyone name any of the top six, or any other Premier League club, who would do such a thing? It's simply not professional.
We need to stop re-signing ex-players who "get" Everton for roles at Finch Farm (overlooking the apparent fact that Baxter is a red-nose). It weakens the club, promotes complacency and gets us, the club, nowhere.
21 Posted 01/03/2019 at 21:08:51
He done brilliantly with regards Bradley Lowery, and his family, but hes ran Everton into the ground.
Dave, I would love you to tell me which part of my post@9, which isnt the truth, and only when you do, will you be able to say Im a bit sad, because nobody should be chastised for telling the truth, unless they like telling tales of course.
22 Posted 01/03/2019 at 21:11:15
23 Posted 01/03/2019 at 21:29:57
Good mates with Philip Green, as well as Jose Baxter.
24 Posted 01/03/2019 at 21:44:16
By all accounts, Baxter is no longer a "red nose" (a pissy, judgmental term for it if I ever heard one), but has overcome his addiction and straightened out his life, which takes considerable fortitude. And he has re-earned a place in professional football. Credit from you? Zero.
Baxter says Bill saved his life, but you think he's lying. (Complete with the sarcastic "ahem".) So he's a "red nose" and a liar? And he's also "useless" because he never made it to the first team? Lovely. Slag the kid because you despise Kenwright.
And reaching out to save one of our own and give him a second chance is "unprofessional" and hurts the club? Bullshit. You ain't "the club", Skippy. Your attitude is about as un-Everton as anything I've ever read here.
When I make my next trek across the pond to Goodison, you're at the top of the list of TWers I have no interest in meeting.
25 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:04:26
Why should Everton Football Club be bailing out the likes of Jose Baxter??? He's had his chance and blew it. I know some on here will say I'm being cruel or hard but you get a chance to play for Everton and you blow it... well, that's your choice.
I'm sick to the back teeth of Kenwright and all his fucken antics. Ferguson, Jeffers, Embrell, Denise Barrett-Baxendale... just do one, Bill.
26 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:11:49
The horrible hell, which I inflicted on myself and my family, ended in 1990. Every day since has, in the words of Raymond Carver, been "gravy". I bow to no-one in my disdain for blue Bill... but respect to him for this. It is never black and white.
27 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:19:04
Even sadder, is that ToffeeWeb seems to have become a site populated almost entirely by cynical, grizzly, mealy mouthed men in their 50s and 60s who have become so disillusioned with all things Everton they just slag everything and everyone.
Depressing reading, fellas.
28 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:22:03
We all blow our chances. Anybody on here never made a mistake? If so, move over, god.
And if we acknowledge our mistakes and try to move on, would we all not want a second chance? So why would we deny others a second chance, in a holier-than-thou attitude?
29 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:25:22
30 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:26:22
Karl @ 28, some truth in that but not, I think, in "mealy-mouthed". Age and cynicism have their place too amid the modern festival of sentimental self-indulgence and reflex optimism.
31 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:32:46
Forgive me if I've got the wrong end of the stick here but I think the "rednose" that Andy @20 refers to meant "Kopite".
32 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:57:22
Brian #32, on this side of the world, it's an old term for a coke addict, based on the fact that snorting cocaine produces nosebleeds. And given that Baxter joined Everton at age 6, I seriously doubt the term was used here as a reference to his footy allegiance.
33 Posted 01/03/2019 at 23:06:47
34 Posted 01/03/2019 at 23:07:57
So; Andy #26, I have a little understanding of what you must have gone through and how difficult it is to recognise for yourself the problem that you had. Full respect mate.
35 Posted 01/03/2019 at 23:18:59
Thanks for clearing that up.... I think. I still believe though, after reading the post again, that Andy #20 meant RS fan as it was something that's been mentioned in the past quite often.
Andy Crooks, the man you described sounds like a nightmare... and bears no resemblance to the genuine, sincere fella I met in the Midland! 👍
36 Posted 01/03/2019 at 23:22:19
38 Posted 01/03/2019 at 23:48:55
I very much appreciate your nice comments. That night in the Midland was something special and I hope we will do it again.
I hovered over the 'Submit' button for a while before I submitted my post because, when you make private stuff public, it is a big deal. I did it because I just get it with Jose. It doesn't matter how much money you have.
39 Posted 01/03/2019 at 23:57:51
Like I said, Andy, that post was an act of bravery. Even though it's almost 30 years ago, it's a part of you, and your willingness to share it speaks volumes of your character.
Neil, no worries, and no offense. I have heard the term used in your chosen context as well.
40 Posted 02/03/2019 at 00:11:00
Sorry if my apparent naivety caused any of you any offence.
41 Posted 02/03/2019 at 00:19:09
Off topic, I know, but the ref in Cardiff game awarded a foul throw to Everton because the Cardiff player raised one foot.
Faith restored and Mike; you were spot on in the thread when foul throws were briefly discussed.
42 Posted 02/03/2019 at 00:27:14
43 Posted 02/03/2019 at 06:20:45
But, on this subject aren't we confusing 2 separate things
1. Bill Kenwright clearly has a good heart, as shown with his treatment of Jose Baxter.
2. Bill Kenwright has not been good for Everton FC. I believe most Blues fans would believe this.
However, it is probably the timing of the whole Kenwright take-over that has been the problem... Just when the whole English game was thrown into the "money pot" era. Money, Money, Money and Billy Boy didn't have enough of it but, once in, he didn't want to give up. Personally, I reckon it has been a case of "Good Guy – Lousy Timing!"
44 Posted 02/03/2019 at 08:16:20
That ticket still stands if you can get over, Andy, but the mood of the club rests on Sunday, so hopefully it's going to change for the better, but only if the players can find what you found, Andy, loads of determination and fight!
45 Posted 02/03/2019 at 08:32:44
46 Posted 02/03/2019 at 09:01:22
47 Posted 02/03/2019 at 09:05:28
God bless and good luck to you and your family in the future.
48 Posted 02/03/2019 at 09:06:03
A great human story about Jose Baxter. It's perfectly possible to praise Kenwright for this, while criticising his business acumen and stewardship of the club.
The problem here is that to some degree, we have made plucky little Everton, does wonderful things for the community our MO. It's becoming an overdone strength. It's very laudable, but I am longing for the club to become a more ruthless, success-driven business, as I think the absence of that culture off the pitch affects what happens on it.
That aside, this is a great human story that's deserving of credit.
49 Posted 02/03/2019 at 09:21:51
Let's look at the Baxter "invitation" to rejoin EFC at Finch Farm. It was a great gesture from Kenwright, no question. The fact that "Kenwright re-signed one useless footballer in Baxter aged 25 and then gave him a one-year contract in which he contributed zilch to the first team," as Don puts it, may well have masked the role Baxter had been given. Maybe he was there as an example to our younger players of the pitfalls of young man, too much money. "Look what happened to me".... imagine if Billy Kenny a couple of decades ago had had someone like Baxter in his ear, pointing out where he'd end up if he continued hoovering up illegal substances?
Okay, that is purely conjecture, but no one on here knows for certain if that was Baxter's role or not. I can well imagine the plight of Baxter being referred to at Finch Farm. And the fact that Kenwright's generous gesture has helped someone in life should not be denigrated to the extent that some people do. Not always easy, but try and see past Kenwright the Chairman.
And Don, bit pathetic to call Baxter out as an RS when he was with us from the age of 6. Peter Reid was an RS as well. He did okay for us, didn't he? Yet look at the Bluenose turncoats who delighted into sticking it up us, Rush, Owen, Fowler etc.
Andy, fair play to you for opening up on your problems. Must have taken some courage.
50 Posted 02/03/2019 at 09:34:36
Andy, a while ago on ToffeeWeb you asked me to stop doing something as it was annoying you. I stopped and said at the time I would because you seemed like a decent lad.
Your post confirms my thoughts and more. Takes a lot of courage to open yourself up like that. All the best.
51 Posted 02/03/2019 at 17:02:41
Also, many thanks to you and others for your very generous comments. Don, you have not a thing to apologize for. I have been in agreement with you very often.
I'm just in from work so I haven't checked out the match thread. I would do a pact with the devil to win this one.
52 Posted 02/03/2019 at 17:07:13
53 Posted 02/03/2019 at 20:01:07
1. Get rid of Agent Johnson
2. Appoint David Moyes as manager when we were perennial relegation candidates.
3. Find Moshiri
4. Help Jose Baxter
5. Survive the Boys Pen (I never knew it was that bad!)
You problems with BK can be summed up in two statements
1. He didn't have the money of the Glazers, the Sheiks, Abramhovic, Stan Kronke, John Henry and Daniel Levy, and he was reluctant to let others take over in case they made us money-orientated obnoxious clubs. If only he could have persuaded any them to buy us, we would have been fine with any one of the above... wouldn't we?
2. He didn't find the alternative to those above quick enough and, when he did, he still didn't have the money of the Glazers, the Sheiks, Abramhovic, Stan Kronke, John Henry and Daniel Levy.
54 Posted 02/03/2019 at 20:11:13
Bill Kenwright could irritate the life out of most of us with his luvvie mannerisms and delivery but, although his business decisions have often been poor, I believe his heart is in the right place and none of us could doubt his credentials as a True Blue.
Full respect Andy.
55 Posted 03/03/2019 at 10:12:58
I personally think hes made some great business decisions for the benefit of himself, but cant think of many that have helped Everton FC, along the way though.
For that reason alone, how can his heart have really been in the right place?
56 Posted 03/03/2019 at 11:18:55
I often feel that, if we won the FA Cup and the photo of the winning goal had Kenwright in the background stand, the debate on here would be about how we could have won it in 2009 if he had not been chairman, bugger the celebration of winning a trophy. It seems that any topic can be turned to vilify Bill Kenwright.
I am not a Kenwright fan but I am less a fan of this constant carping! Am I right in thinking that Pickford's blunder at Anfield was caused by Kenwright's advice on glove colour in one of his west end theatre productions. Some posters here are just looking for any old stick to beat him with. It's boring, boring, boring and takes away from other themes!
57 Posted 03/03/2019 at 12:32:55
58 Posted 03/03/2019 at 13:33:54
60 Posted 03/03/2019 at 14:42:29
Read the top of the page again. The fact Kenwright is mentioned invites comment on him. No?
61 Posted 03/03/2019 at 15:48:22
63 Posted 03/03/2019 at 19:24:31
64 Posted 03/03/2019 at 20:35:14
If anyone wants a beer after the match, Brian, Dave, Peter, Rob, John, Dave. Darren Hind, Tony Marsh John G, Don, Paul, Dave Wilson, yes Dave Wilson and many others. I have saved up enough money to buy a pint for all of you. Steve Ferns, there will be a large brandy for you.
Just checked my bank statement. A cup of tea for every ToffeeWeber.
65 Posted 03/03/2019 at 20:52:14
Have another look at Phil's points 53.
Kenwright put his money where his mouth was. Did You?
67 Posted 03/03/2019 at 21:24:35
I've looked at Trevor's points, Dave, and the only one I'd give Kenwright real credit for is surviving in the Boys Pen!
BK, put his money were his mouth was? Have you got real proof of that Dave?
I remember when Kenwright was “hocking Everton” and I picked up the echo one day to front page headlines saying, “I will buy Everton a striker with my own money”
It never happened, but it didn't half make great headlines, which is what it was all about, I'm sure.
68 Posted 03/03/2019 at 21:25:11
Constantly foaming at the mouth about BK's record is as about as useful as moaning about the Mike Walker and Walter Smith, it's no longer relevant. Hold Moshiri to account and dwell on the here and now and the future.
Who appointed Silva? Moshiri did based on his view of his performance with Olympiakos at Arsenal, unless of course was that at that game!
69 Posted 04/03/2019 at 09:23:47
70 Posted 04/03/2019 at 12:01:06
There was a great article in the NY Times over the weekend on what we do in the community. It just re-inforces my pride at being a blue.
Not a lot to cheer on the field. Tons to cheer off it.
71 Posted 04/03/2019 at 13:02:55
The difference being, Trevor, both Walker and Smith are no longer at the club.
72 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:55:54
73 Posted 04/03/2019 at 20:10:13
74 Posted 04/03/2019 at 20:13:20
I was laughing at the “cheerio story” you told me, and hope we can help you get your own back against Man Utd, which is what I'm definitely going to be hoping for now, mate!
75 Posted 04/03/2019 at 20:48:11
If Kenwright wants to contribute to the community, let him put some of the millions he has made out of Everton without putting a penny of his own money in.
I have no doubt he cares about Everton but he cares about himself more.
I cannot forget that we lost Kings Dock through him lying through his teeth and refusing to stand down as chairman when Paul Gregg offered to fund it.
I cannot forget his lies to the supporters when he said Goodison would fail its next safety certificate in an effort to get support for him and his moneymaking cronies for Destination Kirkby.
I cannot forget his lies about remortgaging his house to "save" Everton or about him being in the Boys Pen.
The man is an incompetent serial liar who has overseen the worst period in Everton's history while making himself a fortune and not putting a single penny into the club.
So please can we stop canonising him for something most people with a heart would do – especially if it involved using someone else's money.
76 Posted 06/03/2019 at 04:38:55
77 Posted 10/03/2019 at 02:44:31
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