Everton Album: Andrei Kanchelskis
An exclusive, in-depth chat with Andrei Kanchelskis.
Everton fans idolise Duncan Ferguson. What was he like to play alongside?
Duncan is a big man, is a good player and he always played good for Everton. I understand why he stayed at Everton a long time. And fans like people who stay a long time at the Club and work hard. He played 100 per cent and worked 100 per cent.
In your first season you scored 16 goals. What helped you settle so quickly?
I remember I was playing more attacking that season. I was less defensive and we had more space. That meant it wasn’t so tight at the end of the games and I had more space. That, I think, is why I scored 16 goals.
The second season wasn’t so good personally and fans said your heart was no longer at Everton…
No, I don’t think [that’s true]. I know it was not good for me but it was because of injuries, bad injuries. After Russia played very bad in Euro 96, psychologically I was very, very bad. Then at the end of the season [it was in fact January] the chairman of Everton said to me you must move to Fiorentina. It was because Fiorentina wanted to pay £8million for me.
You were only at Fiorentina a short while before coming back to Britain with Glasgow Rangers. Did you regret leaving Everton?
It was not my decision [to go to Fiorentina], it was a decision made by the Club. Joe Royle moved from the Club and a new coach came in and my psychological [outlook] was no good. Maybe I needed a change of atmosphere and a change of club.
So, if things had been different, would you have like to have stayed at Everton?
Yes, if Joe Royle had stayed. And also if Joe had [been allowed] to buy maybe more good quality players. Of course, maybe I stay, no problem. I loved the supporters of Everton and I remember a great time.
Do you still keep tabs on Everton and Manchester United?
Yes. I still watch as there are many English Premier League games on television in Russia.
With CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg winning the Uefa Cup in recent years it seems Russia is having a bigger influence on football. Do you think more Russians will move to the Premier League?
It depends if some coaches like them. Maybe a couple more will move to England to play because at the moment there are five or six good players in Russia. If you saw the European Championships you could see there has been an improvement. But every year the Premier league improves, the [Championship] improves, and so on. But it’s good for the players.
Finally, what are your plans for the future?
I don’t know what happens tomorrow because this is life. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.