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Everton Past Player Profile
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Phelan  FACTS
Born Manchester, 16 March 1967
Height 5' - 8" (173 cm)
Joined Everton form Chelsea in December 1996 (£850,000)
Debut v Blackburn Rovers (h), 1 January 1997
Nicknames Philo
Left Everton for Fulham in Febuary 2000 (free)
Finale v Oxford United (a), 14 September 1999
Honours Full Ireland International, FA Cup Winner (1988)
 Seasons  Club  Apps (Sub)  Gls
1984-1986 Leeds United 12 (2) + 5 (-) -
1986-1987 Swansea 45 (-) + 12 (-) -
1987-1992 Wimbledon 155 (4) + 37 (2) 1 + 2
1992-1995 Manchester City 102 (1) +19 (-) 2 + 1
1995-1996 Chelsea 13 (2) + 8 (1) -
 Dates  To Club  Apps (Sub)  Gls
Oct 1999 Crystal Palace  8 -

  • Enthusiasm
  • Commitment
  • Blistering pace
  • Work rate
  • Good marking ability
  • Not a truly skilled or accomplished player
  • Unwillingness to tackle
  • Tends to leave gapping holes in defence
Bought amidst Joe Royle's injury crisis of 1996-67 as a panicky stop-gap – despite protestations to the contrary – Terry Phelan did a herculean job of turning around some of the most critical fans into his admirers at Goodison Park.  Phelan was noticeably unhappy at Chelsea after his personal rift with manager Ruud Gullit went public.

As a trainee with Leeds United, Phelan became a left-back after starting as a winger.  Probably his greatest moment for Wimbledon was being part of that marvellous defeat of Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final. When Peter Reid signed him for Manchester City in 1992, he became Britain's most expensive full-back.  But he was not always a first choice under Brian Horton, and eventually went back to London in 1995.  However, he never really became part of the cosmopolitan Chelsea squad under Gullit.

A serious injury to Andy Hinchcliffe against Leeds United in December 1996 left the left-back berth at Everton effectively vacant.  Joe Royle was not slow in finding a replacement, but the signing of the Phelan from Chelsea was not greeted with fulsome praise by the Goodison crowd.  Already weary of seeing too many second-rate players that were simply not good enough to wear the Royal Blue of Everton, Phelan's arrival at a critical time was hardly welcomed.

It says a lot for the character and personality of Phelan that he was able to win over much of the crowd through sheer determination and hard work.  Sadly for Terry, that hard work came to nought when he sustained an injury in November 1997 that put him out for the rest of the 97-98 season, and almost the entire 1998-99 season.

Finally, after 18 months out, Terry regained match fitness with 45 mins in the reserves... only to be sent off for handling against Aston Villa Reserves!  He never made it to Walter Smith's first team but, if Phelan had been fit Smith may have turned to him when young Michael Ball was having a bad time.  And Smith commented on how he had missed seeing Phelan – a seasoned international player – get a chance to show his ability.  

Although he regained match fitness for the start of the 1999-2000 season, Terry Phelan has not been used much in the opening games, making one sub appearance and one Worthington Cup appearance before he was again laid low by another injury.  When that finally cleared up in October, he was farmed out to Crystal Palace for a month's loan – subsequently extended, while Walter Smith continued his controversial policy of playing centre-backs in the full-back positions.

Dec 99: TERRY PHELAN says he feels let down by Everton after manager Walter Smith told him he can leave on a free transfer.  The Republic of Ireland international is angry he was not given a chance to show he could play a part in Everton's future after returning from injury in the summer.  Phelan proved his fitness with some barnstorming displays during his loan spell at Crystal Palace.  But despite glowing reports from his eight-game stint with Steve Coppell's men, Smith has decided to free the 31-year-old before his contract ends next summer.

Phelan said: "I had a good pre-season and felt I should have been given an opportunity to play. I have been bombing about in training so it can't be because I'm not fit. "All I wanted to do was prove I could do a job for Everton on the left. I worked really hard to get back to fitness and have only been given one start this season and that lasted just 23 minutes. I feel let down by the club."

One thing about Phelan – be he playing for Wimbledon, Man. City, Everton or Ireland – is his honesty.  What you see is what you get.  On good days, and bad. 

Everton currently have a huge gap in the department marked 'Creative Left'.  Yet the left back slot should be a two-way battle between Phelan and Ball, with Ball the likelier winner.  Unsworth is worth his place at centre half.  He will / could serve the team best when placed there.  A creative left back he most certainly ain't! 

Our left side is woefully inept when it comes to starting moves.  Fans have long since tired from watching Unsworth 'do' a Staunton and launch a ball diagonally into Row Z.  He has his critics as a result, but he should still find a place in the team.  Gough and Watson cannot go on forever. 

Walter Smith deems it best to offload 'squad' players to offset the wage bill.  But should we let these players go for nothing?  Surely a left side consisting of Phelan with Ball ahead of him would serve us better than Unsworth and Pembridge?

Everton fans were left wondering where the logic was in paying a player his wages when he's out injured, then have him return and play well on loan only to then to turn around and flog him on a free? But that's exactly what happened when Terry joined Fulham on 2 February 2000.

Season Squad
1996-97 6 15 (-) - 1 (-) - 16 (-) -
1997-98 6 8 (1) - - (1) - 8 (2) -
1998-99 31 - (-) - - (-) - - (-) -
1999-2k 18 - (1) - 1 (-) - 1 (1) -
Totals: 23 (2) - 2 (1) - 25 (3) -
Last update: 2 February 2000

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