Everton Album: Andrei Kanchelskis
An exclusive, in-depth chat with Andrei Kanchelskis.
Goodison Park loves a flair man.
A player who captivates the Gwladys Street, mesmerises the Park End and frustrates all those whose hearts lie elsewhere.
Indeed flair is the gift every Everton manager wants to deliver and, in the summer of 1995, Joe Royle, fresh from lifting the FA Cup, did just that.
Bagging his first Everton goals in a 2-1 win at Anfield certainly endeared Andrei Kanchelskis to the Goodison faithful; the further 14 he hit that season made him a firm fans' favourite.
But flair players are an odd breed and sometimes, for whatever reason, that spark fades. Kanchelskis’ second season was plagued by injury and – as he himself admits – loss of form.
By the end of January 1997 he had played his last game in royal blue and joined Serie A outfit Fiorentina for £8million.
Toffees fans were grateful to have seen the Russian international in full flight. Yet, in different circumstances they may have seen more, as Kanchelskis explained to evertonfc.com…
Andrei, what are you up to these days?
I’m working for a Russian football club called FC Nosta Novotroitsk. It’s near Moscow and I’m working as a director of football. It’s my second season and it’s alright. Everything is okay.
Looking back now, what are your memories of your time at Everton?
It was a great time, it’s a great team. There was a good atmosphere and a good coach. I am very, very happy and very pleased I played for Everton. In my first season we played very, very well but the next season not so. I don’t understand why because Joe Royle wanted to buy some good quality players but the chairman [Peter Johnson] said 'no, it’s not possible'. I found that a little bit strange.
Your first Everton goals came against Liverpool [above]. That made you popular with the fans straight away…
Yes. I scored two goals against Liverpool at Anfield and we won 2-1. It was the derby and so, of course, the fans were happy. I’m happy with the two goals and the fans are happy with the win. It was a good time for me.
The Everton team you played in had so much potential but it went unfulfilled. Why do you think that was?
I think we needed more quality players. This is important for every club. If you see Everton now there are too many quality players in Manchester, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. Like then and like now if Everton [want] to play in the Champions League, they need some more quality players. It’s just the way.