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Derby Heroes: Kevin Campbell

Heroic No.9 is latest focus in Mersey derby series.

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Our derby heroes series continues with former striker Kevin Campbell the latest man under the spotlight.

The former number nine enjoyed a productive spell with the Blues and was often the shining light in what was, at times, a struggling Everton side.


Derby Appearances: 8
Goals: 3
Most memorable moment:  Scoring the goal at Anfield to secure a 1-0 win in September 1999. It was a strike that ended Everton's four year wait for a win at Anfield and remains the Blues' last win in their neighbours' back yard.

THE SAVIOUR
Initially signed on-loan by Walter Smith in March 1999, Campbell netted nine goals in eight games to save the Blues from relegation that season.

That instant success paved the way for Everton to end Campbell's turbulent spell in Turkey, as Smith splashed out £3 million to make the striker's move to Goodison Park a permanent one.

Super Kev, as he is known amongst Evertonians, went on to forge a close relationship with the Goodison faithful by scoring 51 goals in 164 games during a six-year spell with the Club.

‘SPIRITUAL HOME'

After spells with his boyhood club Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Trabzonspor, Campbell found himself bursting onto the Everton scene donning the Club's famous No.9 shirt.

It proved to be what the striker has described as his ‘spiritual home', and the bond he began to build almost 15 years ago is one he still cherishes today.

"I fell in love with the Club, which I think is pretty well documented now - we seemed to get on and we seemed to be good for each other," he explained.

"I don't even need to come up to Liverpool to feel the relationship I have with Evertonians - they're everywhere, believe me.

"It's amazing - the respect I get from Evertonians is second to none. I really appreciate everything they've done for me and the way they've taken me to their hearts because I love them too."

Kevin CampbellCampbell celebrates

A DIFFERENT DERBY

Throughout his career, Campbell had experienced local clashes such as the North London derby with Arsenal against Tottenham and also the Black Country derby with West Brom against Wolves.

However Campbell, who made his Everton debut against Liverpool, insists that the Merseyside derby was like nothing else he experienced during his distinguished playing days.

He said: "I remember my first taste of a Merseyside derby very well. There's always a lot of intensity going into Merseyside derbies, as there is any derby game.

"But this was quite unique because it splits families down the middle - there were Blues sat beside Reds and it was good to see.

"It's different because I was used to total hatred, where fans can't sit together and it's total carnage.

"But, like when I scored at the Kop End, there were Evertonians in The Kop. For me it was so surreal, but I think it's quite refreshing in a way."

Francis Jeffers grapples Sander Westveld - the incident would see both players join Steven Gerrard in making an early exitThe infamous Jeffers-Westerveld skirmish

ANFIELD WINNER

If his hero status was not already secured, a matchwinning goal in the win at Anfield in 1999 provided a moment which would live long in the hearts of Evertonians.

The victory brings back fond memories for the now 43-year-old.

"I remember every goal, but especially a goal like that," he beamed. "I remember scoring after four minutes - it was still a tough game and they pushed us right to the wire. But we managed to see it through and it was a fantastic win.

"I also remember Franny Jeffers and Sander Westerveld trading blows.

"They both got sent off and both teams were down to 10 men, then Liverpool ended up with nine men when Steven Gerrard got sent off late on.

"It was a typical Merseyside derby, with plenty of controversy."

DERBY BOOST

Campbell maintains that the old derby cliché of the form book going out of the window runs true - and insists the impact of the result can have a lasting effect on both teams.

"Everyone feels the impact of the derby result - everyone in the Club," he said. "It doesn't matter where you are in the table, the derby result is big.

"To win it, the lift that the players, the manager and the staff have - you can't describe it really.

"There's so much emotion and so much riding on the derby that to win brings an injection of energy from somewhere else. I don't know where it comes from but it's amazing.

"It's Roberto Martinez's first derby, so it's a really important one for him. It'll all be about being as meticulous as he always is in preparing the players.

"I believe football on Merseyside is making a comeback. They've both [Everton and Liverpool] got managers who want to play football and are going to progress the clubs forward." 

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