My Everton #50: 'Play With Passion And They'll Love You Forever' - James McFadden

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Everton is a special place for me.

I love the values of this club. It’s a football club for the people.

I was only 20 years old when I joined Everton, having spent eight years with Motherwell prior to that.

It was a tough decision to leave Scotland, but I felt it was the right time for me to move.

As soon as I knew Everton were interested, I wanted to go. It felt like it dragged on all summer but thankfully it got done on the final day.

When I moved to Merseyside, I was taken aback at all the Evertonians who work behind the scenes. Local workers who would let you know just how much this club means to them.

It felt like I left a small family club in Motherwell and joined a big one in Everton.

That made the transition so much easier, I settled in quickly.

Of course, we had a Scottish manager with David Moyes and numerous Scotland players in the squad.

I found out very early on that Moyes was a man hard to please!

He’s incredibly organised, goes through every detail. He drives a standard and culture that demands improvement every single day.

The competition we had in training was massive, the intensity was so high.

Moyes' desire for always wanting to improve and develop was the reason why we had such a strong team unit.

Great squad, great camaraderie. That came from the manager.

He took my game to the next level.

I came down from Scotland with a belief that I was a good player and while that didn’t drop, when I saw the players I was up against in training and the standards set, I knew the work I had to put in.

After a game the manager never just said, 'You had a good game'... It was, 'You had a good game, but this is how you could have been better'.

That was key to my development. Continuously striving to be better and improve.

Everton instilled that into every single one of us.

That intensity certainly helped my international career.

I would go on a training camp and it would be double sessions every day where the competition was so high.

For me, I just kept that intensity level that I trained at with Everton so I always knew I would be ready when called upon.

I loved training regardless, football is the best job in the world, so I never took a day for granted.

I also loved playing at Goodison.

Whether you’re playing for Everton or from a visiting side, everyone leaves this ground and talks about the atmosphere.

Goodison. Midweek. Under the lights. It doesn't get better.

The fans put demands on you, but I was happy with that.

If you had a bad game, they would tell you. And I liked that.

Everybody is together and the people behind the scenes are those who are at the heart of this great Club.

I think back to that game against Charlton – the best goal of my career – it’s probably my favourite moment during my time here.

However, the memories that I hold most dear are the ones of the people that are involved at the Club.

As soon as you come into this club, you’re one of them.

This is a special club and I know people would say that, regardless of who they play for, but it rings true here.

My kids have grown up as Evertonians and I think that shows just how much this club means to me.

I’ve been away from the Club for years, but I come down for a game and everybody stops and talks to you.

If you show that you care and play with a bit of passion, this club will love you forever.

It doesn’t surprise me. It’s just what Evertonians do.

By James McFadden, 147 appearances + 18 goals for Everton (2003-2008 and 2011-2012)

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