In the second of a new series for the 2013/14 season, we take a closer look at Goodison hero Kevin Campbell.
Ahead of each match, the focus will be on one specific player who made a name at Everton and the Blues' forthcoming opponents.
Campbell is the 'Club Connector' as we get set to welcome West Brom on Saturday...
March 1999 – January 2005
West Bromwich Albion
January 2005 – August 2006
A BLUES LEGEND
Eight games remained in the 1998/99 season and Everton sat precariously just two points above the relegation zone. The team had struggled for goals all year and manager Walter Smith knew this problem had to be addressed immediately to prevent the unthinkable from becoming a reality. The Scot sent for Kevin Campbell, the former Arsenal frontman who had fallen out of favour at Turkish club Trabzonspor. An inspired piece of business, few would have predicted the instantaneous impact the 29-year-old would make at Goodison Park.
Campbell was the catalyst, dragging the Blues out of the mire and into mid-table safety with a haul of nine goals in eight games. He hit successive doubles in victories over Coventry City, Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic, and signed-off from his loan spell with a hat-trick in a 6-0 home mauling of West Ham. With it, his cult hero status amongst Evertonians was assured.
His move to Merseyside was made permanent that summer and Campbell went on to enjoy five more seasons wearing the Blue shirt. He formed a hugely successful partnership with Francis Jeffers early in his Everton career and his later performances in tandem with Duncan Ferguson, Tomasz Radzinski and Wayne Rooney were just as effective.
Unquestionably, Campbell’s defining moment as an Evertonian was at Anfield on Monday 27 September, 1999. His fourth-minute goal in front of the Kop handed the Blues a much-revered 1-0 win across Stanley Park in a match remembered just as much for the forward’s goal as it was for the ‘scrap’ between Francis Jeffers and Sander Westerweld.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
On his arrival on loan in 1999 and journey through to becoming Club captain: "It was a fantastic time for me to come to the Club. For me, it was a marriage made in heaven.
"I wanted to come back to English football and Everton needed a striker. We met and we just gelled. I'm an Arsenal fan, but I feel very much part of the furniture here and there's some Blue in me for sure!"
FOR THE OTHER SIDE
Just as he did at Goodison Park, Campbell led a charge against relegation when he moved to The Hawthorns in January 2005. West Brom were marooned at the bottom of the Premier League at the time of his arrival – but his nous, experience and goalscoring qualities ensured West Bromwich Albion became the first – and only team to date – to avoid relegation having propped up the table on Christmas Day.
Manager Bryan Robson handed Campbell the captain’s armband soon after his arrival and he scored three times in the second half of that season as West Brom valiantly avoided the drop with a sensational final-day win over Portsmouth.
West Brom were unable to repeat this feat the following year and after netting just three times all season Campbell left in May 2006 to sign for Cardiff City – the last club in his colourful 19-year career.
LIFE AFTER FOOTBALL
Campbell was the subject of the Sky Sports programme ‘Where Are They Now?’ in 2010 where he discussed his new career in security. After retirement, he set up the company ‘T1 Security’ which provides bodyguards for celebrities.
Campbell occasionally partakes in punditry work and spoke very positively of Roberto Martinez’s appointment at Goodison Park this summer, explaining that the new manager’s approach will give Everton’s ‘wonderfully gifted players a new lease of life’.
He will be in attendance on Saturday as a special guest in the lounges. Meet him by booking your matchday hospitality package here.
Tickets are still available too - click here to purchase yours and print at home or call 0871 663 1878.