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1 Posted 19/11/2019 at 23:03:01
2 Posted 19/11/2019 at 23:10:17
I suspect the article will talk about his drug issues. In the past he has said how he couldn't leave the big time footballer lifestyle behind and the only way to maintain that was through the drugs world and that he got sucked in and made some very poor choices.
I'd love to read some facts or theories on what happened to him.
3 Posted 19/11/2019 at 23:16:10
4 Posted 19/11/2019 at 23:36:41
5 Posted 19/11/2019 at 23:49:29
He was lightning quick. A lot of his goals at youth level did not require anything more than a tap in, as he rounded the keeper or tapped it home. He never seemed to get into those situations in the first team, and he lacked a shot, as his pace always took him close to the goal, so perhaps he never developed his long range shooting and his pace and touch were not as effective at the top level. That said, he kept getting chances under Kendall, Smith and Wolves saw enough to buy him.
I'm convinced there was talent there and it had to be his off-the-field problems that haunted him after his career starting during his laying days. If anyone reads the article and he gives his take on it, let us know.
6 Posted 19/11/2019 at 23:58:41
It doesn't make sense that there can be such a fine line between Premier League star and non-league. But George Green is another who thinks he made it big in a parallel universe where he kept his head screwed on and lived his life off the pitch right.
7 Posted 20/11/2019 at 01:39:38
It seems to stretch back as far as Billy Kenny although I would regard Albert Dunlop's purple hearts as more "performance enhancing" rather than "recreational" albeit neither seems an appropriate description.
I'm not saying that it is an Everton problem alone or that any blame is attached to the club but it does seem a recurring problem and is it due to lifestyle, money or just a trend in general?
8 Posted 20/11/2019 at 02:22:07
In all my 64 years, I cannot remember a player who was both a mentally and physically impressive figure generated by our club, not even Rooney.
Until someone tells me better, who from our youth system has ever achieved even a good career in the Premier League other than Rooney? (And had it not been for his oafishness and upbringing, he might have been up there with Cruyff as a European legend.) I can't remember anyone. Not one single player, with due (albeit modest) recognition of Shane Duffy.
Shane Duffy, the second-best player we've produced this century. Go figure.
9 Posted 20/11/2019 at 02:43:41
Let me refresh your memory a bit!
Who from our youth system has ever achieved even a good career in the Premier League other than Rooney?
Off the top of my head, since the Premier League started:
Various other also rans:
Other players to have made it elsewhere from the Everton academy:
Theres far more than just Rooney and Shane Duffy!
10 Posted 20/11/2019 at 02:55:36
And would you include Davies, Kenny, Forshaw and Lundstram as future good careers?
And wouldn't any professional sportsman be regarded as physically impressive?
I have kept this to the Premier League but I'm a little puzzled as to the EPL and 64 years.
11 Posted 20/11/2019 at 07:58:51
Clearly he went badly off the rails and got involved with dirty no hoper no marks after his career went down the pan.
I dont think Branch was ever physically strong or sharp enough for a top flight career, he came through in a cloud of expectation and overhype which probably done more harm than good but after a few months it was evident he was no Robbie Fowler.
Back then were the days when very season we seemed to bring a kid striker through but finally hit fourth time lucky with Rooney in 2002.
12 Posted 20/11/2019 at 09:52:36
13 Posted 20/11/2019 at 10:31:17
To me, he had pace but not like Owen, he wasn't a poacher and never big enough for a target man. Not quite good enough, from what I recall, but a prime target for the wrong uns who latch onto young lads with cash to burn.
It is so easy for these young players to turn to drink or drugs or slacken off in training thinking they have made it because they are earning big money.
Branch, Kenny, Green are just three who fell by the wayside. A sad waste.
14 Posted 20/11/2019 at 18:33:45
Didnt seem to get a run of games which probably would have helped him. Was listening to an interview with Gary Lineker who said he himself was a late developer and he doesnt think hed have made it if he was a ‘star at 19
We are so desperate for success we herald players superstars way before theyve proven anything. I recall Jack Rodwell being cited as better than Stevie G!!!! Rodwell had 1 great game v Manure and well thats my stand out memory of him
Meanwhile we dont really acknowledge the Osmans or the Hibberts and appreciate just how hard they work to retain a first team place
Im making out like its the fault of us fans apologies its not. But in general our team (and our youngsters) play with so much pressure because we want so badly to be good, nay, to be great again
Pressure is stifling to creativity for all but the most mentally strong. Were a tough crowd (for understandable reasons). But thats a difficult arena in which to achieve great things in
15 Posted 20/11/2019 at 19:06:52
Big Joe's insight would be interesting on how and why, but good to see that Michael's hopefully turned his life around for the better.
16 Posted 20/11/2019 at 19:18:32
I recall one of his early games at home to Sheff Wed when Andrei Kanchelskis scored at the Street End and Branch just gave Kanchelskis a dirty look and refused to congratulate him in any way.
Branch never really cut it at any level but glad to see he's getting his life back on track after his well-documented problems.
17 Posted 20/11/2019 at 19:27:52
That was Francis Jeffers, not Branch, who Howard Kendall threw on at Old Trafford on Boxing Day 1997. Branch had already long since made his debut by then.
18 Posted 20/11/2019 at 21:20:23
I always felt Jeffers was a better player (as was obviously Rooney) because he also had a "football brain".
You need both to make it at the top level and sadly Michael Branch – in my view – didn't. He was still a million times better than me but his natural ability was not high enough.
19 Posted 20/11/2019 at 21:25:34
20 Posted 21/11/2019 at 03:37:04
JP Kissock is full of it. He claims his division 12 or whatever coach is the “best ever.” Plenty of other less-hyped kids quietly leave and go on to play at a decent level. Courtney Duffus and Hallam Hope are a couple of recent examples barely known about who are, post-Everton, playing league football making a nice living.
21 Posted 21/11/2019 at 23:32:15
I seem to remember it was around the time that Kanchelskis scored and nobody celebrated with him as he was weeks away from being off.
22 Posted 22/11/2019 at 11:39:07
23 Posted 22/11/2019 at 12:12:56
24 Posted 22/11/2019 at 12:39:02
25 Posted 24/11/2019 at 18:41:52
26 Posted 25/11/2019 at 07:25:52
Rehabilitation costs £5, 500 for 12 weeks. It takes two years of personally committed rehabilitation to get clear, you can guess the cost. The other way is going down the NHS route which is more about maintenance and management. The resources are not available for full rehabiltation.
Branch has achieved a lot to have turned things around. Well done.
27 Posted 25/11/2019 at 07:34:54
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