The Independent, 2011
The prodigal son returned... And hopefully to a
vastly different Everton FC. When Francis Jeffers left Everton in 2001 under a cloud
of bad feeling, the root cause was Walter Smith and Archie Knox. Two years later and those
men were now gone, a new regime in place that would hopefully inspire Frannie to reach the pinnacle he was surely capable of
— and a pinnacle he had had
first-hand experience of at Arsenal.
It was interesting to see the kind of reception meted out to Jeffers
when he pulled on the Royal Blue shirt again. Some Evertonians spat
bile when the lad had the temerity to actually score against the Toffees 18
months earlier while playing for
Arsenal, and — sin of sins — daring to celebrate his goal in front
of the travelling Blues.
We were assured, of course, that all his injury problems were a thing of the
past (cough!)... Oh dear God, we prayed that this was not going to be a reworking
of the Ferguson saga...
Well, the script was tampered with. After his return to Everton,
albeit on loan, Franny had a hell of a time
getting any decent run of form together, and as for scoring goals Everton so
desperately needed... forget it. He scored his first goal back to
save a dying FA Cup tie against Fulham, in February 2004 — that's how bad
and ineffective his return had been. Speculation was rife that he
would be returning to Arsenal in the summer...
Then he got injured again — this time it was his back — and missed a golden
opportunity to step in when both Ferguson and Rooney were suspended against
Newcastle. He did at least make the subs bench for the next game, with
Ferguson and Rooney still suspended, but David Moyes finally made the
sensible decision to start McFadden up front, and what a difference his
Every Evertonian loved it... except Franny Jeffers, who supposedly had words with
Manager Moyes after the game about why he wasn't in the starting line-up,
apparently resulting in some kind of dramatic bust-up that saw the two at
loggerheads. After being told to "prepare yousrself" for the game, Franny went ‘ballistic’with Moyes for being left on the bench, yelling,"You can stick your shirt up your arse. I don’t want to play for you ever again."
Jeffers was reportedly given a chance to rescind what he had
said but apparently was firm that he would not play for Moyes again, leaving
Everton with no option but to send him packing, even though the rules of a
season-long loan mean his registration remained with Everton until 1 June
2004... and we no doubt had to keep paying him his wedge!
Jeffers soon saw the error of his ways and apologized to Moyes. He got
another brief chance to impress on the field... and failed yet again.
It was no surprise when David Moyes elected to reject the generous option of
converting his loan deal into a permanent one.
A sad end to a true blue Evertonian's association with the Club.
Given his earlier spats with Smith and then Wegner, it would appear the
problem lies with Franny and a bad attitude, although the spin will
obviously be spun on his side to show he was treated unfairly.
In truth, he was given plenty of opportunities to shine, and failed most of
them. It took him six months and 15 games to finally score, in the FA
Cup ties against Fulham — something he never managed in the Premiership.
It's a pity that it didn't work out. No doubt Jeffers will feel that
Moyes did not treat him fairly and never gave him a decent chance, but the
record seems to suggest otherwise...
Jeffers was not wanted at Arsenal and moved to Charlton for £2.6M soon after his
return to bright lights of London. At Charlton, his career hardly
reached the heights, with just four starts (more as a sub) and only two
league goals for his troubles.
In 2005 he went out on loan to Rangers for four months... and played barely a handfull of games. Charlton allowed him to go to Blackburn on a free transfer in 2006 and that included another loan to Ipswich in 2007 before he ended up at Sheffield Wednesday. He played there for three seasons before being released in May 2010.
He subsequnetly ended up at Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League.
See also Jeffers's previous ToffeeWeb
Why didn’t Francis Jeffers fulfil his Undoubted Potential?
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