It is 10 years since Everton signed Leighton Baines from Wigan. The bargain £6million it cost to prise the Kirkby-born defender from the Latics assumes greater value with each passing day, in a world where full-backs are changing hands for fees of more than £50m.
And what price a defender of Phil Jagielka’s calibre in the current market? Jagielka was snapped up from Sheffield United a decade ago for just £4m.
Both players are committed to Goodison Park until at least 2019, with Jagielka telling evertontv last week of his ambition to create “special memories” in his next two years with the Club.
Baines and Jagielka, though, have already delivered plenty of moments deserving of a place in Everton’s annals.
Here are five of the best from each man…
Manchester City 1 Everton 2: December 20, 2010
On a bitterly cold Monday in Manchester, when a depleted Everton side was given scant chance of earning anything tangible to bring back down the East Lancs Road, Baines struck what proved to be the game’s decisive goal.
The Blues were already leading through an archetypal Tim Cahill header, when Baines did his bit.
It says everything for his swashbuckling attitude to playing football, in fact, that Baines was charging into the City area, ploughing past inattentive home defenders and ignoring the snow swirling in the Manchester night, to meet Cahill’s lay off in the first place.
Once the ball landed at his feet, the full-back calmly used his unfavoured right foot to stroke it across Joe Hart and hand the Blues what would prove to be an unassailable two-goal advantage.
Chelsea 1 Everton 1: February 19, 2011
Baines had long since served notice of his dead-ball prowess; his first Everton goal arrived via a crisply struck free-kick against Portsmouth at Fratton Park in March 2009.
He had proved himself quite exceptional in the ‘clutch’ moments, as well – scoring a last-minute penalty to earn the Blues victory at home to Wigan early in the 2009/10 campaign, months after he had facilely struck from the spot in Everton’s FA Cup semi-final penalty shootout triumph over Manchester United.
This was an FA Cup fourth-round replay at Stamford Bridge. David Moyes’s team was trailing to Frank Lampard’s goal, with 60 seconds of extra time remaining on the clock, when Branislav Ivaonvic clattered Jagielka 25 yards from goal.
Baines sent the subsequent free-kick into the top-right corner of goal, utterly defeating Petr Cech, one of the finest goalkeepers of the Premier League era.
Cue wild celebrations among the horde of travelling Evertonians – and subsequent pandemonium when the Blues won the ensuing penalty contest.
Newcastle 1 Everton 2: January 2, 2013
Baines’ set-piece finishes are more typically renowned for their guile and acumen. Thirty yards out at St James’ Park, though, Baines set aside all niceties in preference for sticking his foot through the ball.
The result was rather spectacular. Newcastle keeper Tim Krul was left pawing at thin air as Baines’ Exocet of a strike flew past him and crashed into the top-left corner of goal.
That effort squared the scores on Tyneside, with Victor Anichebe then completing the turnaround.
West Ham 2 Everton 3: September 21, 2013
Baines had his cunning head back on for this game at Upton Park and evoked memories of Kevin Sheedy by striking gold with two free-kicks.
Happily for Baines, both his efforts are inscribed in the record books, unlike those of Sheedy, who famously plonked a retaken dead ball in the back of Ipswich’s net, after his first successful strike had been ruled out by referee Alan Robinson.
For Baines’ part, his opening gambit in east London was a fizzing shot, directed inside Jussi Jaaskelainen’s right-hand post and far too good for the Finnish goalkeeper.
And for his next trick, Baines opted to aim for the other corner – again reminiscent of the magnificent Sheedy. The ball clipped the inside of the post and found its final resting place in the opposite side of the net.
Baines’s deeds both levelled matters. Romelu Lukaku headed the winner.
Everton 1 MFK Ruzomberok 0: Thursday July 28, 2017
Baines stuck his hand up and won the game for his team on a night when Everton were finding the doughty Slovaks a tough nut to crack.
The real reason this was a special night for the 32-year-old, however, was it marked the occasion on which he surpassed Tommy Wright to become the full-back with the most Blues appearances to his name.
It is a feat which is testimony to both Baines’s professionalism and longevity. He played every minute of the 2010/11 and 2012/13 seasons. In the latter of those two campaigns, the 116 chances he created represented the best such return in Europe’s top five leagues.
Not one specific game – but an entire month in which Everton’s defence, marshalled by Jagielka, was not breached.
Jagielka had been used in midfield on occasion at the outset of his Goodison career. By now, though, he had nailed down a spot in the middle of the back four.
His efforts in shutting out Bolton, Newcastle and West Bromwich were noted by the Premier League, who awarded him their player-of-the-month prize.
More pertinently for Evertonians, perhaps, this was also the month in which Dan Gosling pounced at the death to seal an FA Cup triumph over Liverpool at Goodison. Jagielka claimed man-of-the-match honours – and one week later won his second England cap in Spain.
Everton 0 Manchester United 0 (Everton won 4-2 on penalties): April 19, 2009
Everton were one penalty kick away from reaching a first FA Cup final in 14 years.
The man who assumed responsibility for ensuring the Blues grabbed their chance was Jagielka – barely one year after he had, fatally, missed from the spot in a shootout against Fiorentina.
This was an exhibition of some courage, then. No little skill, either. In such circumstances one might have expected centre-half Jagielka to try to blast the ball beyond United number one Ben Foster.
Instead, he coolly dispatched his penalty into the bottom corner before thoroughly, deservedly, savouring his moment of redemption.
Norwich City 2 Everton 2: August 13, 2013
Jagielka’s first match as Everton’s official Club captain coincided with the event of Roberto Maritnez launching his Goodison reign with a high-octane draw at Carrow Road.
Martinez’s predecessor David Moyes had already identified in Jagielka the driven, inspirational qualities required to succeed the departing Phil Neville as skipper.
And Jagielka rewarded both men’s faith. During his first season wearing the armband, Everton amassed a Premier League high 72 points and achieved a fifth-place finish.
Liverpool 1 Everton 1: September 27, 2014
Everton were destined for defeat at the home of their Merseyside rivals when Dejan Lovren’s clearance arrived in Jagielka’s compass.
He didn’t think twice, returning the ball whence it came, with some interest.
Jagielka was 30 yards from goal when he met Lovren’s header, first time and on the half-volley.
His strike was clocked at 58mph and screamed into the top-left corner of the Kop End goal. The stuff of an Evertonian’s dreams.
Everton 3 Manchester United 0: April 26, 2015
Goodison Park was rocking as Everton put Manchester United to the sword with an exhilarating exhibition of slick, quick-witted, enterprising football.
If it was the Blues’ attacking thrust that captured the headlines on this day, though, Martinez’s side delivered a defensive display worthy of some kudos.
At the heart of it, as ever, was Jagielka. He was imperious throughout the 2014-15 campaign and rightly swept the board at the Club’s end-of-season awards.
On this particular afternoon he was instrumental in subduing a Manchester United forward line rich enough in resources for manager Louis Van Gaal to introduce acclaimed trio Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Robin van Persie from the bench.
He accomplished this with an air of steely, confident authority, to boot.