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Rats Commanded Special Respect

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

With great power comes great responsibility.

And in the sporting world, the heaviest pressure can often fall upon the shoulders of a side's captain.

It's not a role for every man. Certain traits are essential; an unparalleled work ethic, an infectious attitude, a willingness to lead.

Those characteristics were present in abundance in Everton's most successful ever skipper, Kevin Ratcliffe.

Having lifted two league titles, one FA Cup and a European Cup Winners' Cup, few could dispute the former Wales international's credentials.

Ian Snodin was one Blue who served alongside the legendary centre-half and remembers clearly why he was the perfect man to steer the Everton ship through its most successful ever era.

"I joined in 1987 and Kevin was the captain and a well-respected figure," Snodin recalled in conversation with evertontv as part of Captains Week.

"I'd seen him on TV picking the championship up and the FA Cup, so I had the utmost respect for him. I had respect for every player when I arrived, but you have special respect for the skipper.

"He was a great character on and off the field. I got on really well with him and he made me feel welcome from day one when I walked into the dressing room. I cannot speak highly enough of him and he is still a friend to this day.

"He was a strong captain. He was strong defensively, very quick, but also good at talking to his own back four and his midfield players. A captain has got to be respected and he certainly had respect from every player.

"He was a determined player, he was aggressive and I didn't see too many strikers get the better of Kevin Ratcliffe.

"Vocally, he would encourage and he would give a rollicking if he didn't think somebody was doing their job right.

"Off the pitch it was left to Ratters to do a lot of organising.

It was only when I signed for Everton that I realised a captain's job is more than leading the team down the tunnel, doing the coin toss and shaking hands with the opposition. There was a lot of off the field activity that needed to be organised and it was the captain that did it.

"I was captain at 18 at Doncaster and I had somebody like Billy Bremner to look up to from that age. But if I were asked 'who is the best captain I played under?', I would say Kevin Ratcliffe.”

Watch the video above now to see Snodin speak about another Everton captain, Dave Watson, and why he thinks Phil Jagielka is perfectly suited to inherit the role from Phil Neville*.

*Users of the Official Everton app can view this in the 'Video' section.

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