McNeil's Scouse Inspiration

Evertonians are so passionate about their club - and that's a powerful asset that must be harnessed.

That is the verdict of Dwight McNeil, who says it is impossible to be anything but inspired by the depth of the Blues' support as he bids to build on an impressive personal end to the 2022/23 season.

McNeil topped the charts for Everton in terms of goals scored (seven) and overall goal contributions (10) after thriving under manager Sean Dyche, with whom he previously worked under at Burnley, in the second half of the campaign.

Born in Rochdale and beginning his football journey in Manchester United's academy before switching to the Clarets, McNeil had spent his entire life at the opposite end of the East Lancs Road ahead of a move to Goodison Park last summer.

And the winger says he has been heavily influenced since learning of the feelings people hold for Everton from his interactions with supporters, as well as forming strong relationships with staff at Finch Farm.

"I feel like Scousers are full of energy all of the time," McNeil told evertontv. "It’s a great energy to be around. 

"They’re so passionate about this club and I know that to so many people this club is their lives. That’s a powerful thing. 

"There are a lot of Evertonians who work in the Club, too, so of course you want to do it for yourself but it gives you that extra drive to do it for them as well."

Such was the impact of McNeil, Everton supporters created a song - to the tune of You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) by Sylvester - that was heard in bars and terraces up and down the country.

When asked about the chant, McNeil said: "Now when I hear the normal song, all I hear in my head is the words the fans have come up with! I love it… I think it’s a class song! 

"My family enjoys it, too. My mum and my missus, in particular. When you’re playing well and you get friends sending videos of the song or the fans singing it, it’s a really good feeling."

Dwight McNeil
"[Evertonians are] so passionate about this Club and I know that to so many people this Club is their lives. That’s a powerful thing."

It is, perhaps, easy to overlook McNeil's relatively tender age of 23, given he has already racked up 185 senior appearances having made his Premier League debut in May 2018, aged 18.

That youthfulness is underlined when he reveals his first stand-out memory of Everton came in 2012, when, as a 12-year-old he watched boyhood club Manchester United draw 4-4 with the Toffees at Old Trafford.

"My earliest memories of Everton was the team when David Moyes was the manager," reveals McNeil. "Being a Man United fan as a kid, I always remember the games against Everton being really competitive ones and I liked that.

"The one that sticks out was the 4-4 at Old Trafford. I remember watching it at home with my family, who are big United fans, especially my dad. 

"I still remember the goals - Jelavic, Fellaini, Pienaar... There were some good players like that and they had a really good team. They were strong and always had good organisation. 

"I also remember coming to Finch Farm to play Everton's Academy. It had the same feel… You knew it was going to be a big game, really competitive and tough, whenever you came up against Everton.

"That should always be the case."

Dwight McNeil was the subject of an in-depth feature interview in the Official Matchday Programme for the final game of the 2022/23 season. Click here to view the feature in full now.