Instead, Tony didn't start a game until September 1997. For the
first month of the year, he was a permanent substitute and has had
problems with a niggling ankle injury. Tony's problems flared up
back in November, 1996 game against Sunderland.
A strong tackle � ironically by former Evertonian Paul Bracewell �
forced his substitution with that ankle injury. Despite trying to
"play through the pain" in three more matches, Tony found the
discomfort too much to bear and rest was declared the only cure.
Eventually, a second operation was required and Grant was out for
the rest of the 1996-97 season.
Although Grant recovered from that ankle injury by the start of the
1997-98 season, Howard Kendall has been reluctant to use him, favouring
instead his own purchase: Danny Williamson.
Only a 10-man injury crisis forced Kendall to include Grant in the
starting line-up at Newcastle,
where he played like his life depended on it. But just two more
matches and Grant was injured yet again.
Rodders eventually got back in to the 3rd Round FA Cup tie with Newcastle
United. This was to be the quiet start of a good spell for
Grant, who put together 4 or 5 excellent performances in Everton's January
1998 revival. But it all ended in a tragically predictable way in
the home match against Derby
County. A crunching tackle from Grant left him limping with a
crocked ankle. He was out for the rest of the season, and the
first quarter of the 1998-99 season.
Under Walter Smith, and recovered from yet another injury, Rodders was
involved (as player or on the bench) in all but two games from mid-October
1998 to mid-April 1999. Occasional flashes of brilliance and defence-splitting
passes of great vision were interspersed with long periods of inactivity
and non-involvement as the clearest picture yet of Tony's fleeting value
The damning conclusion is that we have seen the best of Tony Grant, and
it just ain't good enough. It seems that Walter Smith is in full
agreement: Tony Grant was one of the Gang of Five transfer-listed as
soon as the season ended. But well into the new season, little or no real
interest has been shown in the player fans dubbed as "Grantona".
In September 1999, Grant went off for a month's loan with Tranmere
Rovers. One month turned into two... These comments are from
someone who watched him play against QPR recently:
It's a shame that a player of such obvious talent has spent most of his
Everton career in the reserves or the treatment room. If we sell him,
we'll get a fraction of his worth simply because he's never established
Let's hope he 'does a Hutch', proves Walter and all the rest of us all
wrong, comes back, does a job, establishes himself and saves us loads of
money. Maybe two appearances off the bench for Walter Smith suggest this
process could actually be happening...
In December 1999, Walter Smith allowed
Grant to join his old mentor Joe Royle at Manchester City for the paltry
sum of £450,000. the rumour was that his career at Everton
ended when he turned up on crutches but was ordered to play after several
injections and some strapping – he lasted 15 minutes and hardly played for
us again. Surely Grant has the talent to be one who will be
coming back to haunt us in future years...
Nov 2001: Tony Grant moved to Burnley for the sum of £250,000.
Oct 2005: Crewe offered Tony Grant a contract until the
end of the season, following a successful trial spell with the club.
The 30-year-old had been training with the Alex after failing to agree
terms on a new deal with Burnley at the end of last season.
Tony later joined Accrington Stanley in ___ but was released by them in
July 2007: Grant, 32, has joined Chester
(From Liverpool Echo, 1997, transcribed by Richard
Tony has the potential to be a superstar, there is no midfielder in the
country who has all the qualities he has. He can defend and win the
ball, he can pass, he can make chances and he can score goals. If he
can put that all together he could become a truly outstanding midfielder.
The turning point for Tony was at Blackburn
Rovers in March 1996. I sat down and did a little experiment
after that match, with a tape of the game. Grantie made 64 passes during
the game, and 60 of them found Everton players. The 4 which didn't
were long, sweeping crossfield balls. Andrei scored from one of his
passes and from another Andrei scored but he had just run offside. I
spoke to Tony about it, told him that his passing was good and that if he
kept things simple and introduced his other qualities bit by bit, it would
all come together.
When Tony first came into the senior side he was a little overawed
playing in front of big crowds and was trying to do special things all the
time. The hardest thing about kids is that they get in because they
have something special and they want to show that something special all
the time rather than be a rounded player. Grantie had great skill,
but didn't look like he was tough enough in the tackle or worked hard
enough. I knew he had those abilities because I'd seen them in the
reserves where he was a great defender with loads of energy.
Tony got great confidence from that game at Blackburn Rovers. He
knew he had done very, very well and in the
derby he game of age as a defender. In the first half he helped stop
their great midfield players playing. He got his foot in and showed
great energy. That game is a big one for a Liverpool lad and I think
he proved something to himself that night.
The other thing we have still to see from Tony is his dribbling in and
around the box. He can go by one or two people and open up
things. Gradually he will put that into his game, because he has
quick feet and he can glide by people. When that happens we will have an
exceptional, and rounded midfield star.
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