Misfits, Mysteries and Nearly-Men – Rodrigol

Everton's first Brazilian signing was secured by David Moyes on a rather generous £1.25 million temporary loan in July 2002. After adotpting the misleading moniker 'Rodrigol', a compromised knee condition would limit him to just 4 sub appearances for the Blues.

Everton's first Brazilian signing was secured by David Moyes on a rather generous £1.25 million temporary loan with an option for a permanent move for a  further £3 million.

Juliano Rodrigo explained that the reason why he had 'RODRIGOL' printed on his shirt was not because he was a prolific scorer.  

"It says 'RODRIGOL' because the 'L' is for my middle name, which is Lopes. 

"My full name is Juliano Lopes Rodrigo.  It's not like Gabriel Batistuta being called Batigol.  That was a nickname the fans gave him because he scored so many goals." 

Rodrigo was an attacking midfielder and played on the left side or in the centre, but he could be used like a forward.  

He started his career at local club Portuguesa Santista in 1995, and was loaned to Guarani for the 1997 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. After returning to Portuguesa Santista, he was loaned to Gama and was a key player for the club as they won 1998 Campeonato Brasileiro Série B, scoring 9 goals in 14 matches.

In 1999, Rodrigo joined Botafogo and becoming the club's top goalscorer for the 2000 and 2001 seasons in Série A, also being touted for a call-up to the Brazil national team. In 2002, he was loaned to Atlético Mineiro, where he injured his right knee in a match against Cruzeiro.

Despite the media hype, Rodrigo was not close to getting a place in the Brazilian squad for the 2002 World Cup. He didn't even have a single Brazilian cap when he arrived at Everton with  Rivaldo and Denilson ahead of him in the picking order.

What could we expect from Rodrigo?  A fantastic free-kick taker.  In the 2001-02 season, he scored from 20 yards to knock out Internacional, and he was in great shape while on loan at Atletico Mineiro.  He has loads of creativity and he can do wonders playing behind the strikers or in the left wing. 

But his start with Everton in their first game of the season, at ome to Spurs would be overshadowed somewhat by the debut of a certain young man aged just 16 – Wayne Rooney. But they would not play together, Rooney having been substituted 10 mins before Rodrigo came on for the final quarter-hour.

Rodrigo was a bit similar to Harry Kewell, but his finishing was even better, and he could also score a decent amount of goals from a long distance.  He helped saved Botafogo from relegation.  

But, after just four sub appearances, he suffered a serious knee injury in a training accident. 

Rodrigo ruptured a cruciate knee ligament during a practice match at Bellefield in September 2002. He was rushed to hospital and a scan confirmed the extent of the problem.

It was a bad blow for Everton manager David Moyes, who was hoping Rodrigo would push for a first-team place.

"We were having a small-sided game and the keeper threw the ball out to him, which he went to control with his chest. He turned at the same time and his knee went from under him.

"At the moment, the specialists have told us that these type of injuries take two or three weeks to settle down before they know if it requires surgery.

"It's difficult to speculate and I'd rather wait until we have the professional outcome before we put a time limit on it."

Rodrigo had made four substitute appearances since signing on a year-long loan deal. And Moyes added: "I'm disappointed to lose him, but for the boy it's a big, big blow.

"He's come over here to impress and was getting much closer to being involved with the first team in recent weeks.

"We always knew that he was a little bit behind in his fitness when he first came, but he's been introduced in one or two games and had little spells and he was just about ready to make a start."

Rodrigo’s knee injury was not properly diagnosed at first, leading to a series of botched operations that compromised any chance of a full recovery. He would not play for Everton again.

At the end of the 2002-03 season, David Moyes decided to return him to Botafogo.  Everton’s first foray into the Brazilian transfer market had been  an unmitigated failure. 

Over the following years, 'Rodrigol' would go on to have short and singularly unproductive spells at a slew of clubs in his homeland, including Corinthians, Juventude, Atlético Paranaens, Vasco da Gama, Paraná, Boavista and Fortaleza, before ending his playing career at Red Bull Brasil in 2010.

Adding to the 'Rodrigol' conundrum,  he bizarrely became known as ‘Rodrigo Beckham’ back in Brazil, seemingly because of his dashing good looks and faint resemblance to the English footballer turned male model, which took him from the pitch onto the catwalk. 

After never achieving anything of note in his subsequent football career, Rodrigo would briefly manage Boavista and go on to work as a television commentator, spending much of his time travelling the world surfing.  

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Chris Williams
1 Posted 24/03/2020 at 10:02:28
That's quite a sad story, Michael, which to my discredit totally passed me by at the time.

These little excursions into the haunted wing of the Everton ex-players is a lovely diversion from other things.

That I should write that on a football forum would be odd in other times.

Tony Abrahams
2 Posted 24/03/2020 at 10:15:30
I honestly thought the opposite, Chris, and thought what a life that would be, just travelling around the world surfing.
Chris Williams
3 Posted 24/03/2020 at 10:17:54
That would be nice, Tony, but I was thinking of his Everton career. Could have been a contender.
John Raftery
4 Posted 24/03/2020 at 10:34:11
I remember him coming on in that match against Spurs. Our crowd applauded a couple of nice touches and we looked forward to seeing more of him. I have no recollection of his three other appearances. Who, I wonder, was responsible for the botched operations?
Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 24/03/2020 at 10:38:25
I think that’s were football has really improved over the last ten years John, because these botched horror stories used to be a lot more common-place in the game.

I take your point Chris, about his career, I was honestly thinking more in the terms of, “if life is a journey” then this fella has probably lived a bit more than most.

Dave Williams
6 Posted 24/03/2020 at 10:43:54
John, I recall him coming on against Spurs and hugging the touchline along the main stand. He looked a tad “solid” perhaps but showed instant ball control and was well able to shield the ball with three defenders tight to his back.

Such a shame his career was ruined in that way.

Michael Kenrick
7 Posted 24/03/2020 at 10:52:09
No fault there, Chris. I didn't know the half of this one till I started researching. I thought the 'Rodrigo Beckham' bit especially odd. But just confirms what a different world these footballers inhabit

Oh, I forgot to thank Mick Davies for suggesting Rodrigo.

The other recurring theme I'm seeing in so many of these footballer bios is the horrendous impact of serious injury. It just seems so prevalent.

I guess with the nature of the sport it is inevitable but, as a serious chicken-shit myself, probably more by good luck than good judgement, the thought of sustaining such potentially career-ending injuries seems to be taken for granted almost as a right of passage.

I guess it's a bit like serious rock climbers who presumably accept without too much thought the risk of instant and painful death if they should make a mistake?

Michael Kenrick
8 Posted 24/03/2020 at 11:06:44
I had reservations about including the 'botched' bit as that cannot be verified. But it seems to fit the narrative here.

The lad had actually suffered a knee injury not long before the loan move from Botafogo to Everton, and you have to wonder just how strong his knee was, and should it have been caught in the medical?

And paying a £1.25M fee for a one-season loan... wasn't that an awful lot of money to risk back then?

Chris Williams
9 Posted 24/03/2020 at 11:29:55

The bloke who did that operation was working in our local butchers down the road, until they just closed down.

The fact that he had had an operation surely would have led to caution and vigilance in his medical. But given the subsequent diagnosis and surgery you can maybe see how good the medical science was.

Moyes must have fancied him and it could have turned out much better – a proto-Seamus deal?

Kev Gibbs
10 Posted 24/03/2020 at 11:33:50
Michael. You could keep this Mystery Man thread going for years there's been that many of them. Kevin Langley or Ibrahim Bakoyoko anyone?
Tony Abrahams
11 Posted 24/03/2020 at 11:42:24
I thought Langley did a great job for Everton, when they won the league in the 1986-87 season.

Good point about the injuries Michael, because I never even saw what Chris was alluding to, possibly because like you say, its something we just to assume to be part of their job.

Chris Williams
12 Posted 24/03/2020 at 12:21:12

One player I can think of is George Thomson. Came with Alex Young from Hearts. He was ok, skillful on the ball but slow. Mick Meagan replaced him.

Years after the events, Alex was asked about George and he replied that he’d love to know where Thomson was because he was owed money by him.

He went to Brentford in 63/64, not sure after that.

Could be a story to be told

Keith Dempsey
13 Posted 24/03/2020 at 14:17:36
Kevin Langley, didn't we sign him from Wigan with Warren Aspinal.I've got an old newspaper report from 1987season against Man Utd which we won 3-1, it was a live TV game I think.Kevin Langley was everyone's choice for MoM.
Jack Convery
14 Posted 24/03/2020 at 14:58:22
If I remember correctly Langley got an assist for a goal scored by Heath.

Another name I'd suggest Is David Smallman - I think we signed him from Wrexham and I remember him scoring a cracker at the Gwladys St End but don't remember who it was against. I think an injury did for him but not sure about that. Would love to know what happened to him.

Terry White
15 Posted 24/03/2020 at 16:40:37
Chris (#12) George Thomson was with us for 3 seasons and in that time played 73 league games. He played the majority of games in the first half of the Championship season before getting injured and, as you say, losing his place to the dependable Mick Meagan. My recollection is of a good looking man and a solid player.

He had a good career with Brentford but I believe George fell on hard times after his football career ended which could explain why Alex Young never got his money back. Records say George died in 2007.

Chris Williams
16 Posted 24/03/2020 at 17:37:40
Yes thanks Terry, his nickname was 007. He was a nice looking bloke. He died aged 70. In Lancashire.

I doubt Alex ever got his cash back by the sound of it.

It was the bit that’s missing I was curious about.

I always remember his sliding tackle was completely different from Alex Parker, whose sliding tackle was a thing of beauty, side on so he could steal the ball, and get up and pass it. George went in flat on his arse, not a thing of beauty.

Funny the things you remember.

Dave Williams
17 Posted 24/03/2020 at 18:40:42
Kevin Langley played in the Charity Shield vs Liverpool in 1986 when we only had four players fit from the first team – Heath, Sharp, Rats and Steven. Kevin had just been bought as a squad player and had an excellent game in a very creditable 1-1 draw against the double winners who were close to full strength. He performed really well for a while but seemed to lose confidence when our wonderful boo-boys who love to have a go at young players started picking on him and he never recovered.

I am sure I can remember one of our great players of the time saying that Kevin lacked the bottle needed to get through times of difficulty. Huge shame; the way he dwelt on the ball while Inchy got into space for his diving header vs Man Utd showed confidence and maturity – he could have been very good.

John Raftery
18 Posted 24/03/2020 at 19:24:09
Kev (10) To those two names I would add Matteo Ferrari
and Li Weifeng.
Brian Wilkinson
19 Posted 24/03/2020 at 21:41:26
Who can forget Preki and not moving within a foot inside the touchline.

Another one was Rob 'the Pole' Warzycha, was brilliant until he learned English and was instructed what to do.

Ray Roche
20 Posted 24/03/2020 at 23:01:27
Alan Biley?
Keith Dempsey
21 Posted 24/03/2020 at 23:18:47
Rob Wakenshaw, anybody sure he scored a goal against Man Utd in one of his games for us.
Dave Williams
22 Posted 25/03/2020 at 10:50:31
Brian- Bob was marvellous initially wasn’t he. Great pace, acceleration and control. I saw him tear MU to bits in the first half of Schmeichels debut at Goodison but they marked him out of the game in the second half. One theory was he was too good for the rest of the team and he created a record ( I think?.) at the time for the most subbed player in our history.
Wakenshaw did indeed score the only and winning goal against, I think it was RS in a weakened team when the 84-5 championship was virtually won- or was it MU? I think it was RS. Kendall said at the time that he hadn’t yet earned his right to play but he was put in as we had no one else. He was prolific in the reserves and was coming through at the same time as John Morrisey junior. Morrisey had a good career mainly at Tranmere in their days in the old division two but Rob disappeared down the leagues. I got the impression from what Kendall said that his attitude perhaps needed improving. From what I remember he was a very good looking lad so maybe there were diversions?
Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 25/03/2020 at 10:59:22
Bob the Pole, was brilliant until he moved into a little Polish community down the south end, which coincided with his Everton career also going south!
Brian Murray
24 Posted 25/03/2020 at 11:23:29
Wilkinson scores the winner in the Goodison 85 derby after wark missed a pen for the shiesters. Beat them 3 times one season. Happy days until we got banned.
Kev Gibbs
25 Posted 25/03/2020 at 12:10:24
Thanks Dave @17. I always wondered what had happened to him. I remember his debut, but can't recall who it was against. I remember thinking that he was a big imposing lad who was calm on the ball. I thought we had unearthed one. Look how wrong you can be. The list of nearly men at Everton seems never ending. I suppose every club has the same stories to tell.

Stay safe and well everyone.

Patrick McFarlane
26 Posted 25/03/2020 at 12:23:44
Rob Wakenshaw scored the opening goal in a 1-1 draw with United at Goodison a fortnight prior to the FA Cup final in 1984. He then made a further two apperances at Goodison against Liverpool and Luton (a) at the back end of 1984-85. He also appeared as a sub in the CWC matches against Fortuna Sittard (a) and UCD Dublin (h).
Chris Hockenhull
27 Posted 25/03/2020 at 13:10:52
Regards Kevin Langley. Yes previous comments are correct. He had a great game in that charity shield game v RS at Wembley In fact he had a clear run on goal I remember where he could have crowned his performance with a winner only to blow it. He was another lad who suffered at the hands of our lovable boo boys. Kendall actually commented on it where his confidence was shit when playing at Goodison and stated he felt he was considering just having him in the squad for away games where he played with more confidence. Sadly he faded away. Squad player Paul Wilkinson was the player who got the winner in the 85 home derby win. David Smallman promised so much. Scored a great goal in final home game v Sheffield Utd in the 74/75 season when we blew the title. In fact we blew that game 2:3 after being 2:0 up. (If I recall I think it is on YouTube ?). Everyone after the game was buzzing about him. Alas he suffers a lot of injuries and he too faded away. Some very forgettable names on this thread. I know he was a squad player but anyone remember Fred Barber. Ivey got on my video archives him getting fitted for a Wembley suit with Peter Reid giving him stick! Keep well all. Regards. Chris
Brian Wilkinson
28 Posted 25/03/2020 at 15:53:52
Dave @22, your right about the sub with Bob the Pole. I remember it was common fans saying, "Here comes the Number 7 hook."
Brian Wilkinson
29 Posted 25/03/2020 at 16:47:25
Neil Rimmer, think he made one sub appearance during the 84-85 season.
John McFarlane Snr
30 Posted 25/03/2020 at 16:50:59
Hi Dave [22], it was Paul Wilkinson who scored the winner against Liverpool.
Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 25/03/2020 at 16:55:18
Stuart Shaw, played a few games in the 1960s, I think he got a trial at Everton after saving Bobby Collin's child from a pool in Bobby's garden, Stuart was fair-haired right-winger with some pace, don't know where he went after Everton.
Dave Williams
32 Posted 25/03/2020 at 16:56:25
What about Gary Jones? If all the players I've seen come through at Everton he was behind only Rooney in natural ability. Started as a left winger, moved to striker alongside Latch and then a number 10 when for a while he looked like he could become a great player.

Suddenly, for no reason I can remember, he faded and was sold (Birmingham?). Great skill, strong, good pace and had a decent brain too. He could have been so good!

John McFarlane Snr
33 Posted 25/03/2020 at 18:53:17
Hi Dave [31] I think it may have Ian St John's child, but I wouldn't bet on it. Shaw was transferred to Crystal Palace in 1966. He later played for Southport, Port Vale, Morecombe, Skelmersdale United, South Liverpool, and two clubs I've never heard of Howard Sports and Fleetwood Heath.

Shaw only played three first team games for Everton, away to Blackburn and West Brom and home to Arsenal. I saw him mainly in the reserves and he only had one move, and that was to push the ball past his marker and dash after it, it didn't take his opponents long to suss him out.

Hi Dave mk 2, {32] three of the most frustrating players I have seen at Goodison were all left wingers, Gary Jones, Peter Beagrie, and James McFadden, all outside left's. As you say, Jones had skill in abundance, but I felt there were times when [like the other two] he would hang on to the ball, but as I've acknowledged on this site more than once "We can go to the same match, and see a different game".

Dave Abrahams
34 Posted 25/03/2020 at 20:06:57
John (33), Ian St. John's child, now that rings a bell, you could be right there, I wouldn't bet against it!!
Dave Williams
35 Posted 25/03/2020 at 20:38:11
John, thanks for the correction; memory not what it was and you have 15 years or so on me!

Gary Jones was what you say: frustrating, held the ball for too long, and inconsistent, but had everything to be a great player. Why he did not become one, I would love to know because he faded quite quickly.

Peter Gorman
36 Posted 25/03/2020 at 20:41:11
I remember Rodrigo and his surfing. Can't recall exactly where I read it but he spent most of the loan season back in Brazil surfing.

Said it was good to strengthen the knee. Honest boss.

For other mystery men I second Li Weifeng and add to that;

Ibrahim Said, Eddy Bosnar and Anton Peterlin.

Kev Gibbs
37 Posted 25/03/2020 at 22:37:29
The last I heard of Gary Jones, he was a licensee in the Allerton area. Might have been the Greenhills near Booker Avenue. That's what my fading memory is telling me anyway.
Brian Wilkinson
38 Posted 26/03/2020 at 00:35:38
The one who still gives me sleepless nights is Glen Keeley, what an afternoon that was on the Gwladys Street and the first time I witnessed Everton fans having a free for all in the lower Bullens with our neighbours.

Before that, it was the odd scuffle, but that day was like a scene from a Western.

Alan McGuffog
39 Posted 26/03/2020 at 00:45:34
Kev I saw him years ago when he was behind the bar of either the Masonic or that other big boozer in Lark Lane. A while back though.
Dave Williams
40 Posted 26/03/2020 at 10:13:30
Cliff Marshall. Star of the England schoolboys team playing on the right wing with another Everton lad, Jeff Swede (??) on the left. I saw Cliff on his debut at Goodison Park. He took a pass in the first couple of minutes and I'm not hallucinating, he beat four men in the space of ten yards and I thought we had a star on our hands.

That was all he did in the game and he faded away after half-a-dozen or so appearances and never made an impact in the lower leagues.

I always wondered if the pressure of being our first black player was too much or maybe he couldn't handle the abuse that black players got in those dreadful days. Another who could have been great!

Eric Myles
41 Posted 26/03/2020 at 10:37:46
Cliff Marshall must have been before 1966 then Dave?
Dave Williams
43 Posted 26/03/2020 at 13:05:55
Ooops - forgot him, Eric!

Cliff was mid-1970s, I think.

Mike Keating
44 Posted 28/03/2020 at 10:03:39
Alan #39

You were right first time – it was the Masonic, now called The Lodge (geddit?). Gary Jones had it for a while and then, I seem to remember, he moved to another boozer off Rathbone Road.

As for David Smallman (Chris #27), I seem to recall that he turned down a move the previous season due to potential injury doubts and then came to us with much promise.

I recall the Sheffield Utd goal (the game I prefer to forget) and there was a buzz about him which never fulfilled itself. Did he go back to Wrexham?

BTW – wasn't that the season Carlisle got relegated with Everton being the only team they beat home and away?

League title duly presented to Mordor on a silver plate.

Mike Keating
45 Posted 28/03/2020 at 10:08:17
Dave #40

Another winger who ended up running a boozer (opposite the Cathedral on Upper Parly).

I think you are right about the racial abuse affecting his confidence – that and having Gordon Lee as a manager!

Dave Abrahams
46 Posted 28/03/2020 at 10:44:43
Mike (45), I think Cliff was involved with “Gloria's” club, is that the one you mean, they came from far and wide to see Gloria and her threepenny bits.

What a character she was. I spent a few “Mad Mondays” in there.

Chris Williams
47 Posted 28/03/2020 at 11:04:45

‘Gloria ‘ended up serving in the Sefton, behind Clayton Square. If we’re talking about the same person.

Hey Babe Take aWalk On The Wildside.

John McFarlane Snr
48 Posted 28/03/2020 at 11:14:41
Hi Dave [46] the thread has shifted a little, and my nominations are not so much mystery men, more likely to be regarded as forgotten men. Fans of our generation will recall them. Joe Harris, George Cummins, Bert Harris. More recently Roy Parnell, George Sharples, and the player with a better goals per game ratio than Dixie [100%] Ross Jack, 1 game 1 goal. There are lots more but perhaps better left for another day.
Mike Keating
49 Posted 28/03/2020 at 11:25:21
Dave #45,

You mean the Gladray. The pub I'm thinking of was further down towards the river and was called the St James (it's now converted into apartments).

Cliff may have picked up a few tricks from Gloria but tending the bar wouldn't have been one of them!

Dave Abrahams
50 Posted 28/03/2020 at 11:35:40
Chris (47), yes Chris that is more than likely the same girl, last time I heard of her, she came up on a website about clubs in the South End of Liverpool and she was working in Holland, Gloria, a girl who would always get by, a survivor.

John, (48), yes I recall all of them, Joe Harris a right winger who played a few games in the second division, Albert Harris was a goalkeeper and George Cummins an Irish International ( Eire) inside left who went to Luton, I liked George, a good ball player and dribbler, he came back to live in Liverpool and played for a couple of clubs in the Sunday League and worked on the sites.

Ray Minshull, who played in Liverpool’s post war title winning team, was Everton’s youth development officer and he told me he would the training sessions at Bellefield and the player who stood out in every session was Ross Jack, but he couldn’t reproduce that form in actual games, I think we’ve got three or four of those type of players on the books now.

Dave Abrahams
51 Posted 28/03/2020 at 11:41:03
Mike (49), yes the Gladray. I never went in the St James but agree with you about Cliff and tending the bar!!
Keith Dempsey
52 Posted 28/03/2020 at 12:50:00
Fred Barber got a mention on here earlier. I think Howard Kendall signed him from Darlington as a standby for Neville Southall. He played for my local club Peterborough for a while where he became a fans favourite mainly because he used to run on with a silly plastic mask over his face.
Paul Tran
53 Posted 29/03/2020 at 17:49:48
What about Martin Murray? Came over from NI as the 'next George Best.' Did he ever actually play for us?
Peter Mills
54 Posted 29/03/2020 at 18:18:31
Dave #31, John #33. Stuart Shaw played against us for Southport in the FA Cup 3rd Round tie at Haig Avenue in 1968.

It was the second successive FA Cup tie I saw at the ground as, for some reason, I had taken myself off as an 11-year-old to watch Southport's 2nd Round game against Runcorn.

It was a forgettable game, but I recall it being very cold, and also remember reaching into my pocket for some sweets during the 2nd half only to discover that the hand of the man standing behind me was already there. Fortunately it was my anorak, not my kecks!

Mike Keating
55 Posted 29/03/2020 at 20:04:43
Peter #54

Be thankful you hadn't gone to Anfield – it would have been a rolled-up copy of the Echo!

Dave Abrahams
56 Posted 31/03/2020 at 22:49:04
Peter (54), I didn't know that, about Stuart Shaw playing against us for Southport. I wasn't at the game but we only won 1-0, did Joe Royle get the goal.

Peter, I bet that fella who had his hand in your pocket was wearing a white mac, it was always a give away, Liverpudlians, every one of them.

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