Baines makes 'difficult decision' to call time on his career

Sunday, 26 July, 2020 134comments  |  Jump to last
Leighton Baines has announced his retirement from football, bringing an end to his 13-year spell as a player with Everton.

Though expected, the decision has come as a huge disappointment for Everton fans who were clinging to the hope that the 35-year-old might accept the offer of one more year with the Blues.

He made his final appearance at Goodison Park this afternoon, coming on as a second-half substitute in the 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth, his 420th game for the Toffees since arriving in a £6m deal from Wigan Athletic in 2007.

He leaves Everton with the reputation of being arguably the finest left-back of his generation and club's most consistent player of the Premier League era. Criminally underrated by the wider game and unfairly criticised for his part in England's meltdown in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Kirkby-born player has created more chances than any defender in Premier League history.

He scored 29 times in 348 games in the league and was named Everton's Player of the Season three times. His last goal in all competitions came earlier this season against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup, a 30-yard laser before the Blues were beaten on penalties in the quarter-final tie.

Baines wrote a personal message to the club and fans later in the day which read:

I am incredibly proud to have represented Everton for the past 13 years and my decision to retire has been a difficult one to make.

After speaking to my family, I feel now is the right time to end my playing career but I do so with many great memories at this proud football club.

As someone from the city, Everton means so much to me and it has been an honour to be part of the club for so long.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during my time at Everton, especially the fans who have been fantastic with me from the moment I signed.

Take care and thanks again,

Leighton

"I think every Evertonian has to be grateful to him," said manager Carlo Ancelotti after today's game. "He had a fantastic career here and was a fantastic example for all his teammates.

"We would like to keep him in the club because his knowledge is very important, but in the next days he has to make a decision.

"The club is open to have him stay with us. It's his decision. We have time to think about this."

 

Reader Comments (134)

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Graham Mockford
1 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:24:20
Never saw Ray Wilson play but he'd have had to be a good un to be better than Leighton.

A true Everton great. Best player for us in the last 30 years

John Davies
2 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:26:57
The lad doesn't want to be associated with this current bunch of mercenary cheats. And who can blame him. All the best, Leighton, and thanks for the good times. Up there with Ray Wilson & Pat van den Hauwe.
PA Greenhow
3 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:29:18
My absolute favourite footballer. Pure class. Probably won't see his sort again. Modern players are more interested in Instagram likes than winning games.
Steve Shave
4 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:29:21
Gutted, one of my all time favourite players. Thanks for the memories Leighton, all the best for whatever you decide to do next!
Dave Williams
5 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:29:44
A fine player, magnificent servant to the club and an all-round class act. Was part of a team which was only a couple of players short of greatness at times but he will go down as one of our best players of the last 50 years.

Thanks, Leighton, and best wishes for whatever you do next!

Mark Wilson
6 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:30:33
Good luck to Baines in whatever he does next, cracking player and great servant to our club.
Kenny Smith
7 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:31:28
Absolutely gutted. What a player he's been for us. Hope he's given a proper coaching role because he should be around the club forever.

Good luck to him if he does leave Everton. A proper professional who lots of players should look at and aspire to be.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:31:36
One of my all-time favourites. Leighton proudly maintained the Everton legacy of great left-backs from Wilson, Pejic, Bailey and beyond. Thanks for the memories, Bainsey lad, and enjoy your music.
Paul Columb
9 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:33:44
Everton legend, not a word taken lightly. Lack of trophies not a consideration. Consummate professional, intelligent footballer, always represented the club and himself well and leaving the game when IMO, he could still operate at a top-level as a squad player.

Wouldn't be surprised to see him and Cahill at Finch Farm as understudies to team Carlo over upcoming seasons.

You'll be missed Bainsey. Will take a while to get used to our club without you.

Stephen Brown
10 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:33:49
A fantastic servant to the club. It's a shame he never won a trophy or two!

Seems like a really nice fella too!

Good luck, LB3!

Brent Stephens
11 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:40:33
I'm sure a trophy would have been good in his cabinet but the admiration of the fans won't tarnish as quickly. Best of luck, Bainsey.

And I suddenly remember that pre-season friendly, somewhere like Accrington, when he gave a lift there to a couple of hitch-hiking blues (I don't think he was down to play that day). Man of the people.

Jack Convery
12 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:41:44
Good Luck, Leighton Baines, for the future. Up there with the very best who have graced the Royal Blue Jersey. Your partnership with Pienaar was a joy to watch. Come back for the ovation you so richly deserve, when things get back to normal. Hopefully you will accept a coaching appointment with Everton.
Pat Kelly
13 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:42:00
Baines is professional enough to know there's no point hanging around the fringe of this wasteland. If only we had some more professionals like him now we might have a future.
Kunal Desai
14 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:43:20
Great servant to the club. Wish him all the best in whatever he does next and whether he does his badges. Hopefully we see him in management at some point soon.
Mike Gaynes
15 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:48:59
The privilege of shaking Leighton's hand and chatting with him on the touchline at Goodison was one of the greatest fan moments of my life. A relentless competitor, yet the classiest of gentlemen, and the best left-back I have ever seen in an Everton shirt.

It's been our honor, Mr Baines. All the very best to you and your family.

Gordon Crawford
16 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:50:05
Great player and fantastic servant. Really sorry to see him retire. I wish him all the very best. Hope he stays at the club in some role.

Sad day.

Colin Malone
17 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:50:06
I said it long before Covid-19, Leighton and Jags never got a testimonial, which benefits charities. Shame on the club.
Bill Fairfield
18 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:50:58
We need a lot more with Leighton's class. Geat pro.
Will Mabon
19 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:51:24
At his best, he had the rare quality that almost all top players have, whatever their position or type: elegance. Some of his performances when tuned in with Pienaar were as good as you could see anywhere in football at the time.

Obviously wants to break off clean (at least for now). Wish him well.

Colin Metcalfe
20 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:53:26
Strange as I passed him last week just off Dale Street, a player I really admire and a top professional; if only some of the absolutely dross we currently have at the club could follow his example.

Thank you for the memories, Leighton, glad I was there as you scored your last goal (and what a goal) as we narrowly lost against Leicester.
I guess now Carlo will have to look for a back-up to Digne?

Ray Roche
21 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:56:06
Somehow I don't think we'll see Leighton involved in football again. I imagine he sees his future elsewhere.

Only Ray Wilson is significantly better than Baines since I started going the match in the late fifties. And his partnership with Pienaar was as good as any that we, and arguably the Premier League, has seen.

Whatever he does, I hope it makes him happy, because that's what it's all about, being happy and content.

Jason Wilkinson
22 Posted 26/07/2020 at 19:59:44
Solid servant for the club and a good pro. It's a shame we couldnt win anything with him.
Jason Li
23 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:00:06
That team sheet with that back four:

Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman.

Tony Twist
24 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:00:37
As already said, it is a sad day, not only by the Everton performances this season but the losing of a true professional. It was time, unfortunately. Best of luck, Leighton Baines.
Ian Pilkington
25 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:01:59
Leighton has been a shining light through some dismal times and it is sad to see him retire without spectators and during another awful team performance. What a shame he never had the opportunity to play in a better Everton team.

Ray Wilson would be his only rival for left-back in all-time Everton team. Ray was a very different player, the best I have ever seen defensively and technically, but he was rarely seen in the opposition half.

Leighton at his best was excellent both defensively and as an attacking wing back, so it would be difficult to choose between them. David Unsworth is his only rival for the accolade of best ever Everton penalty taker.

I am sure he would performed well for another season not only as cover for Lucas Digne but also, as Carlo has stated, as a model professional and example to the younger players.

Best wishes for the future, Leighton.

Chris Bond
26 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:02:02
I don't often post on here, it's much more entertaining reading the comments, but I am gutted to see such a fantastic player call time.

I suppose it had to happen some day but I would have 11 of the lad, even at his age, than any of this lot that we have. Been a pleasure to watch and they should frame his left boot and put it on display with Sheedy's. They don't make them like that anymore.

Carlo would give his left nut to have a player of that calibre albeit 15 years younger. Hope he sticks around to teach the youngsters what it means to be one of us.

Will Mabon
27 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:06:22
"That team sheet with that back four:

Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman."

Wouldn't mind them back, all in their mid 20s...

Jerome Shields
28 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:06:40
Baines has had enough. He did play well today and put in a goal saving tackle.
Brian Wilkinson
29 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:10:16
Great servant to the club, when everything is back to normal with supporters allowed back in stadiums, I hope we have a send-off match, whether it be a testimonial or whatever, so we can organise a joint one for Baines and Jagielka.

ps: Lyndon, there was no extra time in the cup tie vs Leicester, went straight to penalties.

Andrew Hight
30 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:11:33
I'm 43 so got to enjoy the 80s teams but Baines would make my all time Everton starting 11. A wonderful footballer and an ever better human being. Met him once and he was so humble.

I love the picture of him after Fulham away one season queuing up for an ice cream. That sums him up. May not have won trophies but a proper icon and old-school footballer. Love him.

Bill Gienapp
31 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:13:15
I was thinking about Goal of the Season the other day. Not too many candidates (sadly), but the one Baines scored against Leicester in the League Cup would have to be one of the favorites. Would be a nice honor to go out on.
Peter Mills
32 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:14:27
Part of me is pleased that Leighton has quit now, still a very good player. No decline, no chance of anyone having a go at him.

The highest compliment I can pay him is that, in his prime, he approached the quality of the peerless Ramon Wilson. My favourite memory of him will always be the last minute free kick in the FA Cup Replay at Chelsea, all of us behind the goal desperate for him to do it, and he delivered with nonchalance.

Thanks Leighton, best wishes for the future.

Mike Gaynes
33 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:14:41
Amen, Bill G.
Paul Hughes
34 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:25:06
Thanks, Leighton. Many good memories. Those two free-kicks against West Ham; the screamer against Newcastle; nailed-on penalty-taking; that wonderful left-side partnership with Pienaar.

All performed with low-key professionalism.

Justin Doone
35 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:26:35
Top class player without a doubt and a great example of a late bloomer. He kept learning and improving.

It's a shame he never won anything with us and I had hoped for one final season. But that provides room to improve the 1st team and gives an opportunity for someone to step up.

It's important to remember that not every teenager, especially a defender, is ready to play first team football.

To have Branthwaite already looking like our must solid centre back at 18 is incredibly promising. The new John Terry, only hope he isn't as much of a shit but does win us some silverware.

Sean Byrne
36 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:28:01
Many players would have hung around for one more season to grab another year's salary but the guy's got class.

Best of luck, Leighton, whatever you choose to do in the future... fond memories.

Andy Crooks
37 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:29:06
Great player and, by all accounts, a top man. Very disappointed at the timing, though. Leighton Baines, for so many reasons, should not be retiring at the end of an asterisk season. This man deserves better.
Tony Everan
38 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:32:38
Need to bring him onto the pitch for the first home game with fans in the stadium.

Or even arranging a charity friendly match to say thank you for his amazing service to he club through think and thin over 13 years.

He is universally respected and the fans will want to show their appreciation.

PG Malcolm
39 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:33:02
Should have been given the captaincy today and started. Fantastic footballer and a great pro. Hopefully he will return in some capacity. Thanks for everything, Leighton.
Stephen Edwards
40 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:36:52
I don't normally post but I've gotta pay my respects to Leighton Baines.

Think I've seen on here that fans of a certain age shouldn't have a 'favourite player', and I agree, but, if you're between 30 and 40, it's hard not to have a soft spot for Baines. For our generation, we didn't have a Championship winning left-back but we had a left-back who should have won the Championship in Leighton Baines.

I loved the guy for his music interest, his down-to-earth personality, but most of all his love for the Blues. You were good enough but we were weren't, Leighton. God bless you, mate, and good luck in whatever you do.

Barry Rathbone
42 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:42:17
Good at set-pieces and for a period the only real attacking threat under Moyes but let down by defensive weakness. Lost count how many times teams targeted our left side.

In hindsight we should have let Moyes take him to Man Utd but it became a weird matter of principle.

Someone mentioned him in the same breath as Ray Wilson – I saw Ray and he could defend.

John Malone
43 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:42:32
A real class act on and off the pitch, provided some of the best football I've ever seen at Goodison between him Pienaar and Arteta.

Deserved a better ending, as did Jagielka. He will be missed; good luck, Leighton!

Nathan Ford
44 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:44:50
Leighton Baines, a fantastic professional and person by all accounts. Must be honest, I'm gutted he's leaving this season and under these circumstances. To bow out in an empty stadium with such an abysmal team performance doesn't seem right.

I was hoping for 1 more year as back-up for Digne in a better squad but now our lacklustre team needs to find a new left back as well. 😭 I think next season is going to suck big-time.

Eddie Dunn
45 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:45:14
I imagine(as we are always kept in the dark about such things) that Leighton Baines has realised that this long and distinguished career has taken its toll on those legs. He has had to overcome a bad ankle problem that probably prevented him from doing the marvellous overlapping runs and cuts inside that were so much of a trademark when he had Pienaar in front of him.

A player I have the utmost respect for -he always gave his all. The best Everton leftback I have seen and I am nearly 60. I wonder what he intends doing? Will he stay in football?

Thanks for your unstinting professionalism, Bainesie.

Darren Hind
46 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:47:37
Very sad to hear the Rolls-Royce is being parked,

But don't worry, folks. The production line at Vauxhall is churning out plenty of Astras... Interest-free?

Benn Chambers
47 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:51:23
Absolutely devastated he hasn't been given the send-off he richly deserves. Other than Rooney, probably the only genuine world-class player I've seen at Everton, in his position. He will finish his career with no medals but will forever be a genuine Everton Legend and have a job for life if he wants it.

I don't blame him for retiring though. Our squad is enough to make anyone jack it in. I'm surprised the club hasn't decided to fold and just jib it.

Les Moorcroft
48 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:52:06
Class.
Paul Birmingham
49 Posted 26/07/2020 at 20:56:08
Fair well and a happy retirement and success, Leighton, in your next adventure. You've been a fantastic servant, and class act on, and off the park, a good fella.

For Everton, sadly there's a massive gap in experience and class left in this current squad.

What happens next for Leighton, I'm sure you'll find happiness and success.

Thanks for the fighting spirit and class act with Pienaar and for the great free kicks.

Good luck.

Mark Tanton
50 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:01:06
Absolutely superb player. When he played with Arteta and Pienaar and Yakubu (then Jelavic) they were so exciting. Fair well, Leighton, you are a class act.
Julian Exshaw
51 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:03:58
What a bitter pill to swallow following on from that shambles. What a shame this great player's last game had to be that one.

Baines is a credit to our club, an under-rated defender who scored some beauties, the free-kick against Newcastle was my favourite.

We will miss him on and off the pitch.

Christy Ring
52 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:11:43
Fantastic and model professional on and off the pitch, himself and Pienaar outstanding together, hope he has a happy retirement.
Colin Malone
53 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:18:41
Leighton, have second thoughts. How many left-backs are better? Definitely none in the Championship. I watched West Brom and, in my opinion, they would have been up sooner with Gareth Barry in the squad. You're still quality, mate.
Rob Dolby
54 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:23:05
41 Classless comment. Your being harsh there. Lost count how many times our left side was targeted!

Baines played for over 10 years for the blues in the top league in Europe. He was a model pro who had genuine quality delivery, look at the stats. The Baines Pienaar combination was a joy to watch.

Good luck to him in whatever he does next.

Dave Abrahams
55 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:23:46
A quiet man, a great footballer who just got on with the game, fame seemed to embarrass him, reminds me of another great full back in many ways, Tommy Wright another English international who seemed happier out of the limelight and didn't want any fuss made of him.

Enjoy your retirement Leighton, wishing you good luck and good health in the future.

Charlie Dixon
56 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:32:19
About the only player I liked in our current squad!

Sad to see him go. Great player... cool bloke

Neil Copeland
57 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:42:51
Thanks Leighton and I wish you every success and health for the future.
Tom Dodds
58 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:44:48
Heartfelt thanks, Leighton. I have never in these prem years been so buzzed on than when you and Pienaar outflanked other teams time and time again. It was agony sitting in the Bullens or watching the telly waiting for the pair of you to raid forward.

Only Lukaku's goals gave me as equal pleasure in any match.

Oh and enjoy yer sounds, man!

Paul Jones
59 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:45:37
I hope in the future he has a great send-off in front of a full house.

He was loyal to Everton when he could have secured a lucrative end-of-career move to Manchester United.

Ray Wilson was before my time so I would say he was the best "footballer" I saw play left-back for Everton.

Alex Winstanley
60 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:48:12
When we are all able to watch football at the stadium again I hope the club arrange a testimonial for him. One of the few players in modern day football that deserve. Knowing Bainesy, the money will be donated to charity.

Loads of great memories. West Ham away free kicks and that rocket at Newcastle probably the stand out memories, although his last goal v Leicester was up there too.

Good luck Bainesy, You deserve a better send-off than that debacle of a performance by your teammates today.

Joe McMahon
61 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:51:51
Alex, the rocket vs Newcastle was amazing, and the media basically ignored it.
Paul Tran
62 Posted 26/07/2020 at 21:57:02
An elegant player who deserved to be surrounded by better. Fitting that such a bright intelligent man quits on his own terms and will enjoy the rest of his life.
Sean Callaghan
63 Posted 26/07/2020 at 22:09:51
A class act in every respect, unlike post 41. If you haven't got something positive to say about a genuine modern day legend on the day of his retirement why bother posting? A crap day just got worse.
Andy Crooks
65 Posted 26/07/2020 at 22:19:38
How many Everton players in the last, well, million years (in suffering fan time) have stayed when they could have gone and won something?

Leighton Baines could have. He didn't. Top man and a great Evertonian. Tell you what, that is as good as a man can be.

Victor Yu
66 Posted 26/07/2020 at 22:23:27
We sold Robinson cheaply and now we need to scramble for a left-back.
Joe McMahon
67 Posted 26/07/2020 at 22:31:14
Andy, for about 2 seasons I thought Coleman was superb (Wenger was interested) and yes that's it, as the better leave. Tim Howard was also good in his prime and Pickford will never be his level.
Robert Williams
68 Posted 26/07/2020 at 22:36:29
Great respect for Leighton – his best years were with Pienaar. That goal-saving tackle today typified the chap, no pulling back even on his last appearance in front of an empty Goodison - and wasn't that a shame that he didn't get the plaudits that he deserved and a standing ovation from a full house. Good luck mate.
Keith Dempsey
69 Posted 26/07/2020 at 22:40:43
I could never understand why he singlehandedly got the blame for our defeats against Uruguay and Italy in 2014 and funnily enough, Lord Liverpool who went missing in both games, never got a mention in the press or TV.


Chris Corn
70 Posted 26/07/2020 at 22:58:22
Great attacking full back and, along with Coleman, were probably the best around going forward at their peak.

Me being an old fashioned "Let him know you're there" type of full back thought the both of them allowed too many crosses to come in the box.

Dont think I've seen Van Den Hauwe's name on here. He was a far better player than he was given credit for and his success gives him the edge IMO.

However Baines, along with Cahill is a superstar of the modern era for me... And was far better than Digne.

John Pickles
71 Posted 26/07/2020 at 23:04:37
Great player, total professional and proper Evertonian but I'm sorry, not world class. World class players live for important games and they play their best football in them.

Leighton never brought his undoubted talent to our or England's big games, a contrast to the guy he was behind in the England squad, Ashley Cole, who destroyed us in the cup final. He was though, much better than 99% of the players he played alongside and will be missed.

Ernie Baywood
72 Posted 26/07/2020 at 23:08:02
Such a classy operator in every way. I only just remember the 80s teams as a kid, but as an adult he's comfortably the best we've had.

Typical of him to wait until the season is over to announce his retirement. Didn't make the last few games all about him. Just got on with things.

Good luck, Leighton.

Dave Cooney
73 Posted 26/07/2020 at 23:16:15
Just a top, top player. If not for Ashley Cole, the best English left back I've ever seen, he would have got 50 caps. What a first touch. Thanks Leighton.
Mads Kamp
74 Posted 26/07/2020 at 23:22:17
Thanks for everything, Leighton! True legend.
Vince Walsh
75 Posted 26/07/2020 at 23:29:56
Fabulous player, wish he'd been more vocal and dominant as a Captain but no denying his passion and contribution. He will be missed massively.
Kevin Prytherch
76 Posted 26/07/2020 at 23:48:20
John Pickles @70 – what a poor post. What does it matter if you don't consider him world-class? He's been one of our best ever left-backs and one of the best that the Premier League has ever seen.

I challenge you to name 10 left-backs in the history of the premier league better than him.

James Flynn
77 Posted 26/07/2020 at 23:50:30
One of the few players whose YouTube highlight reel won't be deceptive.

He was that good.

Danny O’Neill
79 Posted 27/07/2020 at 00:20:39
I have issue with the word 'legend'. That is reserved for the likes of Cruyff who have changed the game.

Taking that down a level, an Everton legend is someone like Dean, Ball or Kendall. Okay, harsh and the overly demanding cynic taken out of me, congratulations on a fantastic career Leighton. Who knows, had you been surrounded by a better team or, dare I say, got your move the Man Utd then maybe you would have achieved legend status.

The best left-back of his generation, in my opinion, and a very loyal servant to Everton.

Colin Gee
80 Posted 27/07/2020 at 00:28:21
Thanks for everything Bainesy!

The best left back in ther Premier League era, only Pat van den Hauwe is ahead of him in the best Everton XI I have seen and that just shows how good Pat was if Leighton is second to Pat!

Martin Reppion
81 Posted 27/07/2020 at 00:33:27
Every era has to come to an end. But Leighton going is sad. There aren't too many players from the past 30 years who would have improved the 85 championship side, but he definitely is one who would have done so.

The partnership with Pienaar on the left was a rare bright spot in the recent years of dross. And seeing his name on the team sheet always gave a glimmer of hope that we could produce something special.

I was pleased to have been at the Leicester League Cup game and right behind that superb goal. That's the memory to stay with us.

I wish him all the best in his post-playing days. What a star.

Danny O’Neill
82 Posted 27/07/2020 at 00:48:45
Probably my favourite Baines moment was that equalising free kick against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup that I never saw live. We could only get one ticket so I sacrificed to let my son attend.

Having dropped him off at the ground, I had to walk some distance to find a pub that would let me in due to London rules on away fans within a certain radius. I watched the majority of the match with a few friendlys before heading back to the ground to meet my son, assuming we were heading for defeat having left with it being 1 - 0 in extra time.

As I walked through a nearby cemetery close to Chelsea's ground, I heard the roar and knew it was an equaliser. I then had to endure penalties based purely listening to the crowd reaction (think standing in Stanley Park and guessing based on noise!!).

I have no shame in admitting standing talking to a gravestone of a lady I don't know asking for her to bless Everton that day!! God bless her and god bless Leighton for a fantastic career. True story!!

Matt Woods
83 Posted 27/07/2020 at 00:58:52
Leighton Baines was simply a very classy footballer, epitomising for me a style and grace that should be a template for Everton's recruitment policy. Loyal and committed to the cause, yet calm and collected.

As modern football moved further and further away from everyday reality, Leighton remained a humble character and his down to earth manner made him so likeable.

All the best Bainsey, thanks for the memories and enjoy your retirement, you are a rare player who actually lived up to our motto throughout your career. NSNO.

Bill Watson
84 Posted 27/07/2020 at 01:25:11
Probably the best left-back of the Premier League era and right up there with Ray Wilson as Everton's best left-back since WW2.

Impossible to compare the two as they were totally different players. Wilson was a better defender but Baines a better all round footballer and excellent with a dead ball.

Ray Wilson did, of course, have the benefit of being surrounded by much better players than the dross Baines has had to contend with, certainly for the last three or four seasons.

Jim Jennings
85 Posted 27/07/2020 at 01:29:04
I don't think I can say anything which hasn't already been said about the career he had. Just a wonderful footballer but also a wonderful man.

My favourite memory came off the pitch when he drove a couple of hitchhikers to a preseason game at (I think) Wigan.

Graham Hammond
86 Posted 27/07/2020 at 01:47:04
Kevin @ 75,

There was nothing 'poor' about the John Pickles post, he is entitled to his opinion just as you are to yours, his post was not negative on the whole.

The whole 'world-class' thing is bullshit anyway because what exactly defines what world-class is? Do 59 caps make Phil Neville world-class? Were Kendall and Arteta shite (and not world-class) because they got no caps?

Bainesy was quality, both you, me and John agree on that much so best left at that on this dark day and at the end of another shitty EFC season.

Ernie Baywood
87 Posted 27/07/2020 at 02:47:55
The Ashley Cole debate will rage on (for me).

In my opinion Baines was not only a better footballer but he was exactly what England needed at the time that Cole was so engrained in the team. England were solid but couldn't provide that moment of quality. Baines had that. The homesickness thing was just a nonsense. If he'd played for a top four team, he would have been nailed on.

He didn't play regular Champions League football... but he could have. And if he did, it would have meant we would miss out on seeing him. Just reality.

There was a time where he was creating more chances, more goals than any defender in Europe. He wasn't just good, he was great.

For some reason my main memory of Baines is the midweek fixture away at Chelsea after playing 120 minutes at Wembley. He dominated – was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. Best defender, best attacker, he controlled the game from left-back and was up and down all day. Just levels above everyone else on the pitch.

He really was that good. Shame he played in some fairly poor teams.

Jim Hardin
88 Posted 27/07/2020 at 03:25:53
I wrote in a previous post a few weeks back that when he retires it would be just like my Joe Morgan leaving the Cincinnati Reds moment. I was wrong, this feels worse, far worse.

Thank you for being a model of what and how a professional footballer should be. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Jay Harris
89 Posted 27/07/2020 at 03:28:45
Good luck in whatever you choose to do, Leighton.

You had everything:

Free kicks
Penalties
You could dribble, tackle, pass short or long... and what fitness.

Humble man of the people.

The consummate professional.

We will fondly remember you and miss you greatly.

Phil Smith
90 Posted 27/07/2020 at 05:22:23
Doubly sad day now. Strange he didn't want to stick around another year. Was clear that he still could play at this level.

I think his goal against Leicester was probably the moment he thought that's it. Look at that penalty he took right after – his worst by a mile.

Clear that he and Seamus don't think much of this squad. No wonder he doesn't want to stick around for another year of frustration!

David Currie
91 Posted 27/07/2020 at 05:25:58
Top player and a top man.

Thanks and good luck, Leighton.

Lee Brownlie
92 Posted 27/07/2020 at 07:46:52
From one LB to another, all the very best to you and your family, Leighton, and the very best of best wishes in anything else you wish to become part of beyond playing football.

Also, I think we're all very sorry our club so often let you down insofar as rarely having players of equal ability, professionalism, and drive, to yourself, alongside you on the pitch.

Again, all the very best.

Jim Bennings
93 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:23:10
Good luck Bainesey.

There's only Seamus Coleman left now of the players most fans had a connection and fondness of.

Far cry from the jokers currently employed by us stealing a living.

Nick Lacey
94 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:25:09
I am absolutely gutted about this news. He is, without a doubt, my all-time favourite football player.

In my opinion, for about 5 years he was truly a world class player and could have played for any team he wanted to, and he chose Everton. Fantastic at penalties, a free-kick specialist with truly fantastic skill, which he proved hundreds of times with Steven Pienaar.

To have scored or assisted over 100 goals playing from left-back, whilst playing for generally poor teams just goes to show what a phenomenal player he really was.

Thank you Mr Baines, for all of the pleasure and joy that you have given me over the years!

Mark Burton
95 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:28:30
Thank you for a loyalty that is much appreciated. Years of service and pride, not like the mercenaries we have brought in lately.
John Pickles
96 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:40:34
Kevin #75.

I mention world class purely because every thread, including this one, includes someone referring to him as it. I made my point, with a reason, in response.

I do not want to get dragged into an argument with me providing nothing but negative stuff about Leighton, because as my original post shows, thanks Graham #85, I hold him in high regard.

Martin Berry
97 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:48:27
Class on the pitch and class off it by those who have met him. A great player for us and one of the best left-backs of his era.

It will be interesting to see in which direction Leighton goes now retiring from playing. I am sure we all wish him well and looked forward to him stepping out on the pitch to a well-deserved appreciation in the future.

Eddie Dunn
98 Posted 27/07/2020 at 08:59:16
One of my favourite away games was at West Ham when he put one free-kick in each top corner. Absolute pandemonium ensued behind the goal. His deadball delivery was second to none, free-kicks and of course his penalties too. Shows how cool he was under pressure.

As others have said, he could have followed Moyes to Man Utd but chose not to.

If he had played for the other lot or Man Utd or a London team, he would have had more caps, wouldn't have been blamed for England's poor tournaments and the BBC would have had endless columns and pictures of his skills. (Instead, just a small footnote!)

Danny O’Neill
99 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:02:39
Did he choose not to Eddie or did it just not happen?

My recollection was that he wanted the move but didn't push for it to happen as many modern footballers would (eg, Lescott to Man City). He deserves credit for his behaviour in that sense, but I'm not sure it was a case of him choosing or not wanting the move.

Eddie Dunn
100 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:05:55
Phil Smith @89,

I bet he was sick of hobbling around the house and all of the aches and pains. Also keeping fit, training all week and sitting on the bench, is just a waste of effort when your body is screaming at you to pack it in.

Had he been playing every week with the odd rest he probably would still be up for it. He surely could go to a lower level but obviously doesn't need to.

Eddie Dunn
101 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:08:27
Danny, we'll perhaps find out in his autobiography!
Christopher Timmins
102 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:12:12
Just a great servant and one of the best strikers of a dead ball that I have seen. His departure almost brings to an end the last links to the Moyes era. Only Seamus left from that time now.

I wish the guy all the best in the future.

Tony Abrahams
103 Posted 27/07/2020 at 09:46:53
A great servant, some lovely tributes, but only Evertonians, would say he was better than Ashley Cole.

The saddest thing is he's been criminally underused since Digne came to Everton. Bad management hasn't helped either of these players but thanks for the memories, Leighton Baines, because you were a pleasure to watch at times, especially going forward, when you proved that simplicity is special. All the best footballers let the ball do the work and understand the value of a one-two!

Danny O’Neill
104 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:04:27
And maybe lift the lid further on his relationship with Martinez towards the end Eddie!
Kase Chow
106 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:25:13
Superb player and one of my favourite all-time blues. Probably one of the few Everton players I like from this awful bunch.

Something broke today. It was always inevitable but still sad when it happens.

He played with passion, class, skill, energy. He was a threat (he could score and create) and he brought genuine balance.

Gonna miss him.

Dale Rose
107 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:25:20
A giant in the game. Head and shoulders above most in the modern game. Hope the club retain him on some level.
Rennie Smith
108 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:35:25
You can have great servants to a club, the players that would play in any position and always give everything but maybe they're not the best, then you have players who match that effort and commitment but also have the ability and tactical knowledge, and Bainesy was one of those.

Great technical ability and he knew how to defend, remember when that was important for full-backs?

I'll remember 3 highs from his final season, 2 last-ditch tackles/blocks, Dunc's Chelsea win and in yesterday's game and the bullet v Leicester of course.

Thanks for the memories Bainesy.

Derek Knox
109 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:38:01
All the very best to you Leighton, as many have said if we could instill your qualities both as a player and a person in half of the squad, we would be in a much better position than we are now.
Jon O’Dell
110 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:45:00
Sad, sad day, but all good things must come to an end.

Watching the game yesterday, apart from Baines and Coleman the team seemed totally unrecognisable. Even when Baines came on in the last few minutes for his last hurrah, he seemed different class to the others. With Leighton retiring, it now only leaves Seamus.

Seamus and Leighton were arguably one of the best fullback partnerships in the Premier League era. And the telepathic partnership and movement he had with Pienaar was always exciting. The two of them could rip defences apart.

And I'll never forget that free-kick against Newcastle. I could watch it all day. I'm not being biased as an Evertonian, but it has to be up there in the best 10 free-kicks ever taken – up there with Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo. Every time he was on the pitch and a freekick was awarded in that area, I hoped he'd be the one taking it instead of Sigurdsson.

I really hope he stays at the club in a coaching or ambassadorial role.

Total professional and Everton legend.

Carl Manning
111 Posted 27/07/2020 at 10:46:05
Baines would have had many many more England caps had it not been for Ashley Cole, possibly the greatest left-back of the Premier League era.

Him retiring has made me feel very very old!

Andy Crooks
112 Posted 27/07/2020 at 11:17:20
Jim @ 87. I get it. I know it means little in what is really important but this news has put a weight in my heart. Hope Leighton reads this site. He and Seamus are the type of men who make following Premier League football morally justifiable.
Mike Owen
113 Posted 27/07/2020 at 11:40:19
It's the first time in years I have seen agreement on ToffeeWeb: Leighton has been pure class and it's sad to see him retire.

An under-stated man and footballer, he has given us some of our best moments over the last decade – quite an achievement for a left-back.

His partnership with Pienaar was superb, at times life-affirming. I'd love to see a well-produced video compilation. Would be a Lennon-McCartney of football.

As for the last two seasons, there have been many, many games I would have liked to have seen Baines starting, not least to give us more guile attacking. At least he got on the pitch yesterday.

No medals, but still a more glorious career than some with medals.

Jay Evans
114 Posted 27/07/2020 at 12:05:08
Thank you, Leighton.

I never, ever worried when he took a penalty. Ever.

Apparently he went to the Taxi Club after yesterday's game and bought the ale.

A class act.

Derek Wadeson
115 Posted 27/07/2020 at 13:17:56
Watched Everton since the days of Ray Wilson and I can honestly say, including Ray, Leighton Baines is the best left-back I have seen – and that includes opposing left-backs.

Thanks, Leighton, and good luck.

James Lauwervine
117 Posted 27/07/2020 at 14:10:51
A great player and a great person. I just wish he could have won something with us because a player of his calibre deserves that.
Eric Myles
118 Posted 27/07/2020 at 14:18:27
Mike #112, "No medals, but still a more glorious career than some with medals."

Made me think of Stones, Rodwell and Barkley.

George Carroll
119 Posted 27/07/2020 at 15:01:12
Just a simple thank you, Leighton – a credit to yourself and Everton. I wish you every success in whatever you choose to do in the future; we shall miss you.
Tony Heron
120 Posted 27/07/2020 at 15:15:40
Ian @ 24.

"Our best penalty taker ever?"

You obviously never saw Roy Vernon!

Good luck and thank you, Leighton, up there with the great Ramon Wilson as one of the best, and classiest left-backs to represent this once great club.

Brian Wilkinson
121 Posted 27/07/2020 at 15:48:57
I feel for Baines, a brilliant left-back, in the same mould as Mike Lyons, loved and breathed Everton, but just never got that bit of Silverwere that their career and effort deserved.

He could have easily taken the extra 12-month contract, but showed class in not just doing it for the money or moving to another club, and decided to bow out at Everton.

Everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, however I can see this changing in a year or so, if he is offered a coaching role, not by me, but other people will be saying, same old Everton, giving their former stars a job at Everton.

The likes of Ferguson, Sharp, Snodin, Jeffers, Unsworth.

It will come, trust me, but I for one, hope that we can offer something for Baines, he at least deserves that.

Paul Whittaker
122 Posted 27/07/2020 at 16:03:32
For his own career, he should have left Everton and won medals that his professionalism and quality deserved.

From a selfish point of view, I'm very glad he stayed, and will rightly be remembered as an Everton Great.

Nick Page
123 Posted 27/07/2020 at 16:09:59
The usual thoroughly vomit-inducing fayre served up by that self-conceited mouthpiece and all-round flimflammer, Kenwright:

"An Everton great. And one of us."

Will you just Fuck Off!!!

John Pierce
124 Posted 27/07/2020 at 16:24:27
Quality.
Derek Wadeson
125 Posted 27/07/2020 at 16:53:53
Nick,122.

Bill Kenwright has said what we are all thinking. So let's keep this as a tribute to Leighton Baines and not go off in tangents.

Sam Hoare
126 Posted 27/07/2020 at 17:16:17
Great player. Great servant to the club. And he never got tried in the Lahm role! Ha!

I wonder if we have a buyback clause for Antonee Robinson to understudy Digne.

Paul Thomas
127 Posted 27/07/2020 at 18:34:57
Thanks, LB, great player and wonderful servant to our club.

I'm quite surprised no one has mentioned Andy Hinchcliffe in these posts. Fantastic dead-ball delivery from freekicks and corners and was a member of the '95 FA Cup Winning team.

Alan McGuffog
128 Posted 27/07/2020 at 18:54:05
Obviously Leighton has been a very highly paid individual. He comes across as a sensible bloke so I'd imagine he's set for life, financially.

Even so he has turned down an immense amount of money, one years salary, for, basically keeping fit as he would not be called on to play that often.

It would appear that he didn't want to receive money for nothing.

What a decent bloke. All the best Leighton.

Terry White
129 Posted 27/07/2020 at 19:08:47
Disgusting, Nick (#122).
Brent Stephens
130 Posted 27/07/2020 at 19:12:32
As Derek #124 says.
Joe McMahon
131 Posted 27/07/2020 at 19:39:32
I've already said my bit on Leighton, so just thought I'd mention another player yesterday who has entertained. David Silva, 10 years in the Premier League, not to mention Euros and World Cup winner, what a player he's been (still is). I could have seen him linking up with Leighton a few years ago, ha – pity we didn't sign him.
Danny O’Neill
132 Posted 27/07/2020 at 21:26:54
Great shout, Joe. Silva is by far the best player I've seen in the Premier League over the past decade. I remember being sat in the Main Stand against Man City when we beat them 2 - 1. Went 1 - 0 down but came back to win with a looping Leon Osman header.

My point on this is that at one point, an aimlessly high ball was played into the Everton box as we defended the Park End. Tony Hibbert done everything right. He stayed tight, but did not and could not have predicted that Silva would take it down on the proverbial sixpence, take him out the game and dictate the subsequent passage of play.

Sometimes you have to accept brilliance. The entire ground applauded. Evertonians at their best; we appreciate good football, even when it came from the opposition.

David Ellis
133 Posted 28/07/2020 at 04:07:57
Unlucky to be playing at the same time as Cashley Cole (who despite being an awful human being was very good England right back) – otherwise a lot more caps for Leighton. Massively under-rated by the national press/pundits but the stats speak for themselves. Elegant and class player. Up there with Wilson and Van Den Hauwe (and several notches above Mike Pejic, Bailey and Hinchcliffe).
Mike Gaynes
134 Posted 29/07/2020 at 18:16:49
Brent Stephens
135 Posted 29/07/2020 at 18:48:29
Yes, read it earlier, Mike. Superb.
Jeff Armstrong
136 Posted 31/07/2020 at 22:20:13
Bainesy has left us in the mire a little bit really, hasn't he. We now have to go out and spend ٣ million on a backup left-back to the erratic Digne, that's now another problem for Brands to solve that he didn't really need, especially on the financial front. Leighton could've pointed out his intentions 12 months ago and given the club time to sort out a replacement...

What now? A cheeky 㾶 million bid for Antonee Robinson.

Steve Ferns
137 Posted 31/07/2020 at 22:57:37
Jeff, what about the young French lad. At 19 he should be capable of deputising. There's also rumours that we are in for Sergio Reguilon of Real Madrid, but if that happens then I'd wonder if Digne is staying. Thanks to John Pierce for drawing my attention to that one.
Gaute Lie
138 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:29:42
He will be missed. Never any truble with him, and a good and smart footballer.

Good luck, Leighton!

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