Rats Recalls Moving Moment
Off-field event put captaincy into perspective for Blues legend.
Kevin Ratcliffe has recalled the moment he realised the influence of being an Everton captain.
The legendary centre-half, crowned an Everton Giant in 2003, is the Blues' most successful ever skipper.
But despite becoming the man to lift both domestic and European trophies in an era laden with silverware, Ratcliffe has revealed it was an emotive event off the field earlier in his Everton career that helped the significance of the armband hit home.
Speaking to evertontv as part of our Captains Week series, he said: “I can remember years ago I went to a hospital over in Birkenhead with Mick Lyons, who was captain, and Peter Reid. There was a lad who was in a car crash and was in a coma and he hadn’t had a reaction.
“As soon as Mick went in the reaction that this lad had was absolutely unbelievable and I’ve never seen anything like that. His head was moving from side to side because he knew who Mick Lyons was, but he didn’t know who his mum and dad were.
"That was sad - but that’s the impact that a captain had on this patient, and this is what you have got to realise [as captain], that you have an impact on people. Sometimes you don’t see it because you are taking everything in your stride and you’ve got to realise to some people you are very special.”
Phil Jagielka is to be the next person to fill that sizable role, with new boss Roberto Martinez stating his intention to stick with the election made by David Moyes prior to his departure.
And from a former captain's point of view, it's the perfect choice.
Ratcliffe continued: “You look through the side and you look at who has been consistent over the years. Jags knows what it’s about and he’s been there six years so he knows enough about the Club, he knows what Phil Neville was like and what it takes to be a captain, so I don’t think it will be a big step for him.
“He was probably ready for that job a few years before but obviously Phil [Neville] was there. There won’t be a lot that he needs to change in himself because it’s been instilled in him whilst he’s been at the football club.
"He will have his own ideas but he won’t have much to do other than carry on with the way things are going. Jags is one of the ones who will talk on the field and when I’ve been to games he’s one of the ones who is vocal.”
Jagielka becomes the latest in a long line of Blues defenders to wear the armband - and there's logic to the trend according to Ratcliffe.
“You see everything from the back," he explained. "A striker always has his back to play and doesn’t see everything. A goalkeeper is too far away to influence anything as they can’t influence a striker as they won’t be able to hear him from 50 or 60 yards away.
"Maybe a central midfielder could get away with it, but I wouldn’t think any other position.
“If you look back at the likes of Tony Adams, John Terry, Terry Butcher, you’ve got [Nemanja] Vidic at Manchester United and [Rio] Ferdinand as well - the list just goes on. Centre-backs, I’d say, usually make the best captains.”