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Everton Past-Player Profile

Nick Barmby  FACTS
Born Hull, 11 February 1974
Height 5' - 7" (170 cm)
Joined Everton from Middlesbrough in October 1996 (5.75M)
Signed by Joe Royle
Debut v Coventry City (h), 4 November 1996
Left Everton to join Liverpool in June 2000 (6M)
Final v Middlesbrough (h), 14 May 2000
Nicknames Bambi, Barabus, Judas
Honours England Youth, B, U-21; 13 full caps and 3 goals
 Seasons  Club  Apps  Gls
1991-1995 Tottenham Hotspur 81(6) + 19(2) 20 + 7
1995-1996 Middlesbrough 42(7) + 7(0) 8 + 2

  • Intelligent and skillful
  • Great passer
  • Works hard, tackles
  • Good positional sense
  • Used to score great goals
  • Calm, good disciplinary record
  • Needs to be played to in midfield
  • Likes to play behind the front two
  • Fades from games too easily
  • Not performing as a goal-poacher
  • Ultimately, a traitor to Everton
Back in 1990 people were predicting that Nicky Barmby would play for England.  England manager (until after Euro 96) Terry Venables is a big Barmby fan and included him in England's squad for the 1996 European Championship.

Born in Hull, young Nicky loved football, and went on to excel at the FA's national school in Lilleshall.  Venables persuaded the young Nick Barmby to sign for Tottenham in February 1991, despite attention from Alex Ferguson.  Barmby progressed quickly through the youth and reserve teams at White Hart Lane, making his first-team debut at Sheffield Wednesday in September 1992.

The best spell for Barmby at Spurs came in the 1994-95 season, with Teddy Sheringham and Jurgen Klinsmann.  He won his first full international cap when he came on as a second half substitute against Uruguay at Wembley in March 1995.  He went on to play against Everton in a blistering FA Cup semi-final where the popular heirs to the Cup were torn apart by Joe Royle's dogs of war. 

Bobby Robson paid 5.25M for to take Barmby back up north to Teesside in August 1995.  But the pairing with Juninho proved to be more of a clash than a partnership, and the move to Everton in October 1996 came as a big relief for Barmby, who was thus saved the ignominy of Robson's inspired nose-dive into the deep waters of relegation.

Robson paid tribute to Barmby on his departure: "He is a smashing player and I'm sure he will have a successful career at Everton.  It is disappointing to lose a player of his qualities, but sometimes you have to do what is right for your club.  Everton came up with the money when other clubs only showed interest."   Terry Venables, the manager who has played the biggest part in growing Barmby's career, plays tribute to Barmby in an Article in FourFourTwo, the football magazine.

At Everton, Barmby has showed moments of brilliance, interspersed with long periods of ineffectiveness.  The probable reason for this is the persistent reluctance of Everton mangers (Royle and Kendall) to adjust the team formation into something that would make the most of his undoubted strengths and skills.  Royle's assistant, Willie Donachie, even went on record as saying that the slot "in the hole behind the front two" was a position that did not exist in football!  It will be a tragedy if Everton's obstinacy results in the destruction or loss of a player who is reminiscent of Peter Beardsley or even Alan Ball. 

Before his ignominious departure last season, Howard Kendall showed he was prepared to play a system that included Barmby in the "Feeder" slot behind the front two.  He did this in the match against Barnsley, where Barmby had a good game.  With the arrival of Mickael Madar, Barmby finally become the Feeder behind the two orthodox front players and he produced an exceptional performance in Everton's 3-1 victory over Chelsea.

Sadly, Nick Barmby's critical 85th-minute penalty on the last day of the season against Coventry City was saved well by Hedman. Apparently, Howard Kendall gave Barmby an unrelenting roasting for this "mistake".  Fortunately, Kendall went before Barmby, leaving us with the prospect of Walter Smith bringing out the best in this potentially brilliant – and still very young – player.

Unfortunately, Barmby's resurgence under Smith was curtailed by injury.  But he came back well by mid-season, returning as a sub at West Ham to create a fine goal for Cadamarteri, and simultaneously draw some unwanted flack from Elton John.  The pop legend and Watford chairman questioned the amount of money paid for English players and singled out Barmby as a prime example of a player whose transfer fee was excessively high: "Crazy things like 7M for Nicky Barmby, do you think he's worth it?"

In fact, Everton paid 5.75M for the former England striker, but Elton is hardly likely to let facts stand in the way of his unwarranted diatribe.  Barmby had his own reply, hitting fine form and a couple of goals in the 5-0 demolition of former club Middlesbrough.  But injury trouble was just under the surface, rendering Nick Barmby less and less effective as the 1998-99 season drew to a close.  With the team putting in good performances, and Walter Smith unwilling to change it, Barmby was furious to be left on the bench for the 6-0 battering of West Ham – one of the few who took no enjoyment out of that match.

Summer 99: With Everton strapped for cash, and Nick Barmby with the end of his 5-year contract now in sight, there was a real possibility that the club would be tempted to see how much of Barmby's record fee they could recoup, and thus avoid the need to negotiate a new contract with its inevitable inflated salary.  Thankfully, Barmby escaped that threat, and started the new season with renewed fervour, working really hard to improve Everton's lot.

February 2000:  And that hard work, applied consistently when others around him (notably the unhappy Don Hutchison) were going walkabout, paid off handsomely at West Ham, when Nick Barmby grabbed his first senior hat-trick:

"Now we hope we can keep this going and make Europe from our league position.  We are seventh now and we have a chance, the key is to keep our mouths shut and do it out on the pitch and see where we finish at the end.  But it won't be for want of trying."

"It was important that we bounced back from our FA Cup quarter-final defeat last weekend, and I think the lads have answered the critics.

"We were devastated last week, but we were devastated more for the fans because we would have loved to see them at Wembley this season.

"But it wasn't to be.  The main thing was that they went down to London and supported us again in numbers, our section at Upton Park was packed.  So the most important thing was for us to win for the fans."

Barmby had his best season ever at Everton, getting into double figures and heading the table of goal providers yet again.  The Independent Everton Supporters voted him their Player of the Season an accolade with established jinx factor that was soon to materialise... while the next reward for Nick Barmby was to be reselected for the England squad, after an absence of 3 years.  Combine that with a contract that expires in less than 12 months, and there was plenty of fuel for the ugly transfer rumours...

Unfortunately, as the England players returned dejected after their early exit from Euro2000, the rumours and stories over Barmby seemed to all form the same ugly shape.  Barmby had asked for the rather unlikely sum of 25k a week.  Everton reluctantly agreed, knowing his undisputable value to the club.  But Nick his bluff called turned that down, saying he wanted 35k!!!  The conclusion was initially that he had been tapped by Chelsea, one of the few teams prepared to pay such inflated wages.

But then Walter Smith revealed the unpalatable truth: Barmby wanted not only to leave Everton, but to join arch rivals Liverpool!  The implication was that he had in fact been tapped by all the Reds in the England team at Euro2000, who persuaded him that it would be a good career move.  Barmby, in a heartbeat, became Public Enemy No 1 for Everton fans, who will never, ever forgive him for this.  Everton fans will take every opportunity to reinforce just how BAD a move this is, Nicky!

Barmby's career at Liverpool was hardly stellar, despite him enjoying the dubious pleasure of scoring in a derby against Everton.  And worse was to come when he eventually moved to Leeds for 2.75M in August 2002 where he played only 17 games in two years.  He blamed managers Peter Reid and Eddie Gray for not playing him!  In July 2004, he returned home to Hull City, after securing a 1M payoff from Leeds that softened a pay cut of 30k down to 2k per week. 

And the surprise move to his home town of Hull worked out well for Nick Barmby. The club got promoted the same season; Barmby received a heroes welcome and a lot of awards for his hard work ethic which saw the club reach the dizzy heights of Championship football.

Season Squad
1996-97 12 22 (3) 4 2 (-) 1 24 (3) 5
1997-98 8 26 (4) 2 2 (1) 3 28 (5) 5
1998-99 8 20 (4) 3 5 (1) 1 25 (5) 4
1999-2k 8 37 (-) 9 5 (1) 1 42 (1) 10

Totals: 105 (11) 18 14 (3) 6 119 (14) 24

Last updated: 01 December 2008

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