|| v Oxford United (a),
14 September 1999
released 17 May 2004
30 August 2003
|Released; to Stoke
|Date of birth
||3 April 1979
||6' 2" (188 cm)
||England U-21 international
|Excellent shot stopper
Good command of his area
|Still young for a 'keeper
There some raised eyebrows when
Steve Simonsen signed for Everton in 1998 and supposedly became the most expensive goalkeeper in British football
history. It was a complicated
and somewhat controversial deal that could ultimately be worth £3.3M
for Tranmere Rovers. Simonsen's contract was structured to take into account the number
of Premiership and England appearances the youngster would make for the
Simonsen's move to the bigtime came on a staggering rise to prominence — he had played less
than 40 league games for Tranmere Rovers. He forced his way into John Aldridge's
side at the age of 18 and instantly set a new club record of seven consecutive
That form took him into the U-18 and U-21 England set-ups, and he was firmly
tipped as the player to eventually become England's regular goalkeeper.
6ft 2ins, he won a reputation for bravery and the ability to command
Meanwhile, back at Prenton Park, the Tranmere fans were up in arms because
they felt the deal between buddies Frank Corfe and Tranmere ex-Chairman
Peter Johnson dubious, to say
fee breakdown reads like this:
Down payment: £500k
Payment at end of season: £500k
Payment of £1.5M after 150 games for Everton
Payment of £500k when he plays for England
... and a £300k valuation for Graham Allen.
Many people expected Simonsen to waltz into the Everton first-team
unimpeded but until the 2001-02 season he always found either Paul
Gerrard or Thomas Myhre in his way.
Indeed, Simonsen's arrival in 1998 proved to be a much-needed kick
in the pants for Tommy Myhre who began to
steadily improve to the point where by 1999, Gerrard was being loaned
out to Oxford United and Myhre was enjoying the best spell of his
Goodison career becoming one of the Premiership's best goalies,
with 12 clean sheets.
Simonsen remained the second in line throughout Gerrard's 3-month
loan period, but when he returned, the players seemed to share duties
in the reserves and on the bench for first team matches.
His elusive debut never came in season 1998-99, leaving bemused
fans puzzled over how the club was going to accommodate three senior
goalkeepers on its staff.
Simonsen finally got a first-team opportunity in the ill-fated 1999-2000
Worthington League Cup ties with
Oxford United, where he was — to say the least — unimpressive.
Numerous flaps and mistakes hardly bade well for someone who was
once tagged as England's best young keeper.
Another chance came later on that season when Paul Gerrard pulled
a groin 17 minutes into a match at Southampton. Simmo replaced
him and was arguably at fault for both goals as Everton lost 2-0.
Myhre was recalled ahead of Simonsen for the next game; he never
figured again that season.
It was Steve's failure to impress at senior level on the
rare occasions he was given to stake his claim that meant
he was an on-looker as Myhre and Gerrard traded places in the first
team, with the latter on the whole proving to be the more reliable
choice. He did make one appearance as a sub, coming on for
the last 10 seconds of the game against
West Ham when
Gerrard went down injured an di Canio generously caught the ball
instead of scoring a late winner.
When Myhre fell out favour for good in the 2000-01 season
and began actively looking for a move away from Goodison, Simonsen
became Gerrard's automatic understudy.
The 2001-02 season saw Simmo finally make the breakthrough to the
first team thanks to another calamity by Paul Gerrard who poleaxed
his own defender in the form of Abel Xavier which gifted
United a goal that led to a 3-1 home defeat, which sent the Blues into
a tailspin towards the wrong end of the Premiership.
It was to prove the last straw for Walter Smith who promoted Simonsen
and a series of commanding displays between the sticks had fans
wondering if they finally had someone to rely on as the last line
When David Moyes assumed control of the
Goodison hotseat in March 2002, he sensibly played both Gerrard
and Simonsen over the last 9 games of the 2001-02 season to evaluate
their strengths and weaknesses himself. Neither was able to convince
the new boss that he was the outstanding choice and as Everton shipped
22 goals in those 9 games, Moyes made the acquisition of a top class
goalkeeper one of his close season priorities.
The next two seasons proved to be very barren ones for Simmo.
In February 2004, faced with being third in line, Steve
Simonsen turned down the offer of a one-year extension to his
contract and started looking for another club where he could play
regular first-team football. Most expensive British goalie?
Nice one, Mr Johnson. He was released by Everton in May 2004
and joined Stoke City for a two-year deal in July 2004.
Updated by Michael Kenrick,