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Central Defender

Craig Short  FACTS
Born Bridlington, 25 June 1968
Height 6' - 3" (190 cm)
Joined Everton from Derby County in July 1995 (2.7M)
Debut v Nottingham Forest (a), 17 September 1995
Nicknames Ted Danson
Left Everton for Blackburn Rovers in August 1999 (2.1M)
Finale v Southampton (a), 16 May 1999
 Seasons  Club  Apps  Gls
1986-1989 Scarborough 61 (2) + 15 7 + 1
1989-1992 Notts County 128 (0) + 30 (0) 6 + 4
1992-1995 Derby County 118 (0) + 25 (0) 9 + 4
  • Excellent heading ability 
  • Can tackle back well
  • Positional sense is sometimes lacking 
  • Needs to score more goals 
  • Not a defensive organiser
  • Limited confidence coming forward
A former England schoolboy international, Short has been widely tipped for full honours.  He was part of the Lionel Pickering revolution at Derby, having joined them from Notts County in September 1992 for a then British record fee of 2.5M for a defender.  He chose Roy Macfarland's big-spending Notts County in preference to Blackburn Rovers. 

Joe Royle brought him to Goodison for the start of his the 1995-96 season, and he eventually made his Everton debut at the City Ground. Short's aerial power is impressive and it used to give Everton another formidable target for Andy Hinchcliffe's dangerous corners.  At 6' 3" he belies his name and it is easy to underestimate his ability on the floor. 

His first European campaign ended in dismissal as Everton went out of the Cup-Winners Cup.  With Everton trailing 1-0 on aggregate to Feyenoord, Short was sent off in the final minute of the second leg for elbowing the disgraceful Ronald Koeman after the former Dutch international had committed a particularly nasty foul. 

Rarely more than adequate in the central defensive role, Short's years in the lower divisions do not disappear lightly.  There is no question that he came late to top-class football, and occasionally it has been all too noticeable. 

With Dave Watson finally starting to slow down, and David Unsworth going off to West Ham for the 1997-98 season, Short had an opportunity to form a good back-line partnership with Slaven Bilic.  But Bilic faded rapidly after a bright start, leaving Short to impress only with the partnership of the aging Watson.

On the whole, Short was at best a qualified success.  At times he looked the business, yet at other times he looked rather wooden and statuesque.  He didn't really attain the level of consistency that he should have.  He also failed to show that he had what it takes as a defensive organiser.  Most of his best performances occurred when Dave Watson was around to impose his organisational leadership.

Another thing going against Short was his similarity to the other central defenders; they are mostly pretty basic blockers (although Bilic should have had the ability to rise above this) and aren't too quick on the ground.  Yorke and Joachim ruthlessly exposed those limitations in the notorious home game against Aston Villa in 1998.  With competition for places in the back line intensifying under Walter Smith, Short was labelled by many as one of the ones to suffer.

By November 1998, the answer to Short's future was taking shape.  Richard Dunne had ousted Short from his first-team place, and Nottingham Forest had come in with a 2M offer for the central defender.  But Craig Short turned that offer down and appeared determined to be one of Walter Smith's posse of anywhere from 4 to 6 central defenders that he insisted on playing each match...  It just goes to show: you can never have enough centre-backs!

Injury kept Craig out of the team for a couple of months in the middle of the 1998-99 season, while he pondered what to do as his contract with Everton neared its end.  Fortuitously, just as he regained fitness, Richard Dunne got sidelined, allowing Short to re-state his case before Walter Smith on the playing field.  In May 1999, he re-signing for another 3 years, after initially holding out for a rather ridiculous 5-year contract.

But the strangest twist in his Everton career was still to come.  In August 1999, the Everton Board accepted a surprising bid of over 2M from recently relegated Blackburn Rovers.  Walter Smith was given no option but to put the offer to Short, who felt equally compromised by this, the second bid Everton had accepted or him.  Despite having grown to love the club, Craig was left with no alternative this time: he joined Brian Kidd's team on 2 August 1999, thoroughly disillusioned with Everton's mercenary response to his years of loyal service.

Short went on to be part of Blackburn's promotion-winning side in 2001, and is expected to make an appearance when Everton visit Ewood Park in September 2001 

Season Squad
1995-96 21 22 (1) 2 8 (-) - 30 (1) 2
1996-97 21 19 (4) 2 2 (-) - 21 (4) 2
1997-98 12 27 (4) - 2 (-) - 29 (4) -
1998-99 12 22 (-) - 2 (-) - 24 (-) -

Totals: 90 (9) 4 14 (-) - 104 (9) 4
Last update: 2 Sept 2001 


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