Fans’ favourite Seamus Coleman says the backing he has received from Evertonians “means so much” and insists he is determined to reward the Blues’ loyal support with success.
The full-back was honoured with the People’s Club award at The Dixies on Tuesday night – the accolade recognises individuals that embody the values of Everton Football Club on and off the pitch.
Having signed for the Club from Sligo Rovers for £60,000 in 2009, the 29-year-old has proved to be one of the most astute signings in Everton’s history.
To date, Coleman has played 257 times for the Toffees and – in his nine years at Goodison – has consistently displayed courage, a tireless work-rate and an unwavering commitment to the Everton cause.
These qualities – along with his dynamism and intensity on the pitch – have marked him down as one of the Blues’ most popular players of the past decade.
Never was his standing more evident than when the Irishman made his first-team comeback against Leicester City at Goodison Park on 31 January, after 10 months out with a double broken leg.
Coleman received a rousing reception on an emotional night under the lights at the Grand Old Lady, as the Blues ran out 2-1 winners against the Foxes and the defender played the full 95 minutes.
The Republic of Ireland captain says he cherishes the support he has received from the Everton faithful – and is now eager to join the illustrious names of Everton greats who have won silverware at the Club.
“It means so much (the fans’ backing),” he told evertontv. “There’s no secret to it. I come in, train hard every day, give my best and expect the best from my teammates.
“I treat people with respect and have manners – it’s the way I been brought up my whole life from my parents. That’s obviously rubbed off on the fans and I really appreciate it.
“It means a lot to play for the Club. I’ve played over 250 games for Everton but, I think, when I retire, you want to be remembered for one thing and that’s winning something. That’s the next step.”
The esteem in which Coleman is held was again highlighted at The Dixies on Tuesday night, as the audience rose to acclaim the Donegal-born defender after he was announced as the recipient of the People's Club award by Chief Executive Robert Elstone.
Coleman admits the accolade came as something of a surprise.
“Having missed half of the season, I was just coming to The Dixies support the lads,” he explained. “When Robert started to speak, I thought, 'Maybe he’s talking about me here!'
“I’m very honoured and very humbled. I’ve won player of the season awards before but this award meant every bit as much.”
Having made his return to first-team action in January, Coleman has gone on to play an integral role as Everton have risen to eighth in the Premier League table.
He has been part of a resilient Blues back four that has kept three clean sheets in their past four matches and conceded just five goals in their past seven games.
Moreover, in the 10 games Coleman has played since his injury comeback, the Toffees have accumulated 20 points.
“It could be coincidence,” was the defender's typically modest response when told of Everton's impressive record since his return. “But I demand a lot of myself and I want to win games. And thankfully we’ve done that.
“It was very frustrating throughout the season not to be fit to help the lads and the managers. But thankfully I’m back on the pitch now and I feel like I’m contributing to the team.”