My Everton #95: Kanchelskis' Unbreakable Bond

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It still surprises me now that Evertonians remember me so fondly.    

We are nearly 30 years later, yet when I come to Liverpool, people are still coming up to me and asking, "Hey, Andrei, how are you?"  

It means so much given that a lot of time has passed since I played for the Club.    

I don’t know why I am still held in such high regard. But I always tried to give 100 per cent in every game, I think the Everton fans appreciate that. I played with all my heart.    

I have such great memories of my time with the Club. In the first season, I scored a lot of goals, especially towards the end of the campaign.    

The Sheffield Wednesday hat-trick really stands out. As does the goals against Liverpool – of course. Everton fans love that.    

It’s funny, I knew the Merseyside derby was a big game. For sure, it’s the derby! But I didn’t realise just how much the goals would mean after all these years. It makes me smile.      

That night at Anfield, they were my first two goals for Everton. To get them in that game, it was excellent.    

And, hey, mamma mia, one was a header! Quite unbelievable and rare for me.   

I also scored at Goodison Park against Liverpool that season which people forget in a 1-1 draw. I got three goals against them in one season... not bad.   

The goals against Liverpool were always special. I scored against them for Manchester United as well. While it’s not classed as a derby, that was a big game for United.    

I take pride in knowing how much those moments mean for Evertonians, because they were always so good to me.    

It’s no secret that I perhaps hold a lot of affection for Manchester United given it was my first club in England and we enjoyed great success. But the fans at Everton are special.    

I cost a lot of money when Everton signed me, more than £5million. Then I got a bad injury after just two games. But I felt no pressure from the staff or fans to be rushed back. I wanted to be back, of course. But it was a bad injury.     

I expected to get some grief from fans for being out for so long, but it was the opposite. Every time I saw Everton fans at that time, it would be like, "How are you? Get back soon".     

This shows how loyal Everton fans can be. I’d come from Manchester United, it felt different there and still is now. When things are good, the fans are great. But when they aren’t it can change quickly. I think Everton fans show more loyalty, win or lose they keep supporting you.

There are not many clubs like that. For me, the closest to Everton were maybe Glasgow Rangers. They are passionate, but the support from Everton fans is the best. 

I’m living in Kostanay now, it’s a small city in Kazakhstan. The war in this area means Premier League matches are no longer being shown on TV. It’s made it tougher for me to keep an eye on Everton’s results, something I try to do every week.    

Thankfully my son, Andrei, is a big Everton fan. He is always speaking to me about Everton. He even has an Everton tattoo.      

He lives in London, knows everything that is going on around the Club and is always telling me about the good, or the bad.     

For the last game, against Bournemouth, I was having to ring Andrei and ask, ‘"Andrei, what was the score? Did they win? Are Everton staying up?"   

Thankfully it was good news.   

I hope there are fewer days like those ahead and instead, Everton can get back to being a side that fights in the top half of the table. I will be supporting them either way.    

Once again, thank you Everton fans. Your love means a lot. I plan to head to the UK later this year to see Andrei and his daughter – my beautiful granddaughter.    

During that time, I hope I can get to Goodison Park and see you all once again. 

By Andrei Kanchelskis, 60 appearances + 20 goals for Everton (1995-1997)

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