Materazzi looks back on his spell with Everton

Thursday, 23 July, 2020 29comments  |  Jump to last
Marco Materazzi has told FourFourTwo that the season he spent with Everton in 1998-99 was a valuable learning experience.

The defender moved to Goodison Park after helping Perugia bounce back into Italy's top flight at the first attempt following relegation – scoring 5 goals in 33 appearances – and made a lasting impression with Evertonians.

Materazzi, then 25, scored the winning goal and was sent off in only his eighth game, against Huddersfield, then saw red twice more that season before returning to Perugia. However, he maintains that the last of those dismissals – in the last of his 33 Everton games – was an injustice.

“You must always evaluate how the red cards came about. I remember one, against [Coventry's] Darren Huckerby – there was a picture of me crying by the advertising boards. That red card, in my opinion, was completely wrong. But you know how it works in England – when it's a red, it's a red. There is no excuse. It taught me something.”

“I learned what it means to be a stranger in a new country [at Everton],” he says. “When foreign players come to Italy, they say they need time. It was good to try that experience and it helped me.

“For a guy who goes to England, then returns home as he wants to represent his country – because in those years, you wouldn't play for Italy if you weren't in Serie A – imagine what pushed me to come back: the Azzurri dream.”

» Read the full article at FourFourTwo


Reader Comments (29)

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Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1 Posted 23/07/2020 at 10:52:16
Here's the Match Report compiliation posted on ToffeeWeb from that day, long long ago now, it seems.

I thought Steve Bickerton's report (remember him?) was particularly animated. The whole match was littered with refereeing errors, and Marco really got shafted.

Joeri Loonen
2 Posted 23/07/2020 at 12:34:21
As images say more than a thousand words, you can find the highlights of that match here:

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
3 Posted 23/07/2020 at 12:54:52
Nice one, Joeri. Thanks for putting up that link,

The second goal by Super Kev was especially nice to see again. The determination to finish at close quarters under almost blanket defending.

Game sounds really exciting... maybe it was hearing a real crowd!

Peter Mills
4 Posted 23/07/2020 at 18:50:03
I was at the game, towards the Street End, I had no idea what a shocking decision that red card was.

I'm pleased Dave Watson got the retaliation in first on Huckerby the previous season.

Thomas Lennon
5 Posted 23/07/2020 at 19:03:21
I remember the game and was in the Park End. It was clear at the time Materazzi made no contact for that red, but he did have a habit of going in with both feet at the time. Beautifully mugged off by Huckerby.
I think he would have made a great CB if he'd stayed, as he showed in the World Cup a few years later.
PA Greenhow
6 Posted 23/07/2020 at 19:09:32
After watching some games from the '90s and early '00s, it seems we used to play with more urgency and (I hate this managerial speak) intensity back then.

I wonder if pass completion % was a big thing back then? Players seem more interested in this than actually winning a game!

Marco Materazzi was very unlucky with that red. Huckerby should've got an Oscar for that dive!

John Pierce
7 Posted 23/07/2020 at 19:58:38
Materazzi... his time at Everton kinda mirrored Bilic. Decent defender with significant temperament issues. Both saw multiple reds in their seasons.

Everton seemed like home for both but that a familiar tale, taking in strays who need rehabilitation.

Barry Rathbone
8 Posted 23/07/2020 at 20:08:24
If Carlo's considered approach doesn't work, I'd like Bilic to have a go. A strong personality with a hint of madness that could get this place going.
Jim Jennings
9 Posted 23/07/2020 at 20:10:39
Great article.

I can barely remember a game that happened a month ago but I remember that vividly. Terrible dive by Huckerby. If Pires, Ginola etc had done that...

Materazzi was a fine centre half. A bit raw back then but had a very good career, of course picking up a World Cup winners medal. Dacourt was also a good signing that same year (I think). A shame we only hung on to both for a year.

Robert Tressell
10 Posted 23/07/2020 at 20:42:22
I was obsessed with transfers as a school boy. Remember a headline in one of the red-tops "Oui Dacourt" when he signed. Very exciting signing along with Matterazi and Bakayoko. I used to scour the papers and teletext for stats and information (along with the Rothman's Guide). I haven't changed. Always waiting for next summer. That will be my epitaph.
Kieran Kinsella
11 Posted 23/07/2020 at 21:14:40
John Pierce,

Funny thing too: both Bilic and Materazzi were portrayed as World Cup villains for dastardly deeds against France in getting Laurent Blanc sent off (Bilic, fake head butt dive in 98 semi-final) and Materazzi (actual headbutt from Zidane in 2006).

I thought the 2006 World Cup final summed up Materazzi perfectly, his brilliance and his dark side, he was a hero but also a villain, always somehow at the centre of attention though.

Sam Hoare
12 Posted 23/07/2020 at 21:50:27
Robert @10, you'll be unsurprised to hear I was exactly the same! I still remember when a friend first showed me NewsNow and it revolutionized my transfer scouring. Still on it 20 times a day!
Ray Roche
13 Posted 23/07/2020 at 22:24:24
Jim, didn't we sign Nyarko around then or did he join with Gravesen?
Kieran Kinsella
14 Posted 23/07/2020 at 22:53:16
I was probably the only person in the world taken in by an April Fools front cover transfer exclusive with Ian Rush in an Everton shirt in 1987.

Shoot and Match were the go-to for transfer rumours back then. They were never true, although after about 6 years of transfer exclusives, Pat Nevin did join Everton.

John Pierce
15 Posted 23/07/2020 at 22:57:24
Kieran, I was desperate for Bilic to work out. Fresh from the World Cup, that Croatian team was dynamite.

I was up in the North-East at the time and got to see him first hand at Newcastle. I was deeply underwhelmed. He got two yellows and both could have been red. He couldn't stay on his feet, every challenge was on a knife-edge. He was all over the place.

Materazzi was so similar, just zero discipline and thought everything could be done with brut force. Of course, the charismatic force of personality was there but actually I never rated either because both lacked judgment.

Fast forward 20 years later and their reincarnation appeared; Funes Mori. Lots of personality but ultimately an over physical defender who lacked a brain.

All three in retrospect benefited from their personality but, laid bare, I'm not sure they were very good?!

John Pierce
16 Posted 23/07/2020 at 23:01:28
Kieran, count me in the club mate too. I was a paper boy and used to read all the new editions of Shoot etc. on my round. That picture haunts me to this day.

I have had a profound dislike for Rush because of it. He joined Newcastle and got the winner at the Gwladys Street end in the FA Cup I think. Listen closely I'm the one behind the goal giving him dog's abuse. Some along the lines of ‘yer big red-nosed twat' and so on.

Absolutely abhor him.

Gavin Johnson
17 Posted 23/07/2020 at 23:15:55
Robert and Sam. I was and am exactly the same. Always scoured Teletext and went straight to the daily & Sunday gossip columns in the newspapers.

From a kid, I used to spend every single day thinking about which players we could sign to improve. As a 13-year-old I even considered writing a letter to Howard Kendall (2nd time round) on what players could sign lol. I thought every Evertonian did that but judging by some responses on TW to player links I'm not sure that is the case at least not to the same level.

I actually had high hopes that summer, as I'm sure most Evertonian's did when we bought Materazzi, Dacourt, Collins and Unsworth. Was pretty gutted when the bottom fell out of it when we had to sell Dunc etc cos Peter Johnson lost a load of money on his failed oven chip venture.

Mike Gaynes
18 Posted 23/07/2020 at 23:33:26
Robert #10, or you could opt for "The Ultimate Transfer Window."

I could then add you to my list of World's Funniest Epitaphs, which includes "Here Lies an Atheist: All Dressed Up and No Place to Go", "We Finally Found a Place to Park in Georgetown", "Damn It's Dark Down Here", and Mel Blanc's tombstone, "That's All Folks!"

Robert Tressell
19 Posted 23/07/2020 at 23:45:35
Mike - my favourite is Spike Milligan "I told you I was ill".

Sam & Gavin. I'm delighted to have found you. Both as tragically sad as I am.

Kieran Kinsella
20 Posted 24/07/2020 at 03:43:10
John Pierce

You're absolutely right. I forgot about Fumes Mori but he was cut from the same cloth. Yeah, I was excited about Bilic too even though he was bizarrely signed in that period “between managers”. He pissed me off after missing all year at Everton then playing for Croatia. Then he retired at Everton and suddenly came back at Hadjuk Split!

On Rush, yeah I hated him. As a man, I always preferred John Aldridge though I met his Dad once and he spent an hour lamenting the fact his son was never as good as “Rushie”.

Kieran Kinsella
21 Posted 24/07/2020 at 03:49:56
Gavin Johnson 17

I DID write Howard Kendall II a letter urging him to sign Tony Philliskirk from Bolton and Czech Republic player Ivan Hazel. Howard, wisely, didn't follow my advice or personally reply but someone at Everton sent me a signed photo of Kevin Ratcliffe, and weirdly a photo copy of an autographed picture of Graeme Sharp. That was the end of my scouting career.

Steve Shave
22 Posted 24/07/2020 at 06:24:24
Rob, I was too, still am, it's a sickness that never leaves you. :) Maybe because I live with my head in the clouds, not too focused on what could have been but dreaming of what we could become. A trap I have fallen into with Everton my whole life!
Steve Shave
23 Posted 24/07/2020 at 07:56:43
Gavin 17 - I remember feeling really optimistic that summer as well I was really excited about Bakayoko, what a let down that was. I loved Dacourt!
Gavin Johnson
24 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:45:29
That's a great story, Kieran. I wish I'd have sent the letter now. A 13-year-old me would have been made up to get a signed Kevin Ratcliffe photo, lol!

Steve – Yes, Bakayoko sounded decent at the time. Wasn't he meant to be the next George Weah?! – lol!

I remember the season had started when we bought him cos I remember reading the newspaper when I was back at university. He was useless. I think I saw his first goal at Goodison against Saints.

Steve Ferns
25 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:53:32
In the days before YouTube, I remember watching Montpellier one game and Bakayoko dribbled round what seemed like the whole side and scored.

Next season, he joined us. I remember telling all the kopites he was going to win us the league. Oh how they laughed! Oh how I cried! Still hurts now!

Kieran Kinsella
26 Posted 24/07/2020 at 23:30:18
Gavin 24,

I was at that game too, behind the goal. When he scored, there was a loud cheer followed by what seemed like an even louder shout from an old guy of “About bloody time!”

Bakayoko was kind of a smaller Paulo Wanchope only Wanchope's mazy seemingly uncontrolled runs resulted in goals.

Gavin Johnson
27 Posted 25/07/2020 at 00:08:47
Kieran & Steve, for how bad Bakayoko was ,I actually made a few quid on him the following season when he scored the first goal against Man Utd in Champions League fixture when he was at Marseille.
Matt Traynor
28 Posted 01/08/2020 at 10:12:13
John #16, I don't know if you know the story, but Gordon Lee was looking at both Rush and Sharp, and could've signed both, but plumped for Sharpy.

Over 10 years ago, I met Rush in Singapore, and asked him if he was aware of the interest in him at the time, and he said he was. I then asked the hypothetical question if Lee had signed both, would he have struck up a good partnership with Sharpy?

His reply was short. "You can never tell." He paused. "But we'd have won everything".

Joe McMahon
29 Posted 01/08/2020 at 10:32:13
I remember Bakayoko scoring a 25-yard thunderbolt vs Southampton, that was also the winning goal. There have been worse strikers at Goodison, even Madar wasn't as bad as everyone makes out. It's just in the few occasions we get a top level striker they leave.

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