Best Everton Defenders of all time
Everton has been in the English Premier League for more than 117 seasons. For such a popular team, it is very important to strengthen its defensive line with the best defenders in the world before the commencement of each season.
All-time best defenders at Everton
Before giving a brief introduction of the best Everton defenders of all time, to better understand the situation of Everton, we prefer to start our article with a brief look at the history and achievements of this club.
A Brief Review of History and Honors of Everton
Everton began their career in 1887 under the name St Domingo FC and as a result of this establishment, the members of the group of St Domingo Methodist New Connexion Chapel in Breckfield Road North, Everton could play football year-round.
Their first match was as a 1-0 win against Everton Church Club. With the passage of time and more success of the club, soon the local people demand membership, and as a result, in November 1879, the name of the team was changed to Everton.
The club was one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888, and two seasons later won its first league title. After winning four league titles and two FA Cups, with the outbreak of World War II and its aftermath, the club went through a period of stagnation until the 1960s; the era of Everton success began again in the mid-1980s.
Since 1892, Everton has played its home games at Goodison Park Stadium; the move came after the club became enmeshed in a bitter dispute over the rent of Anfield Stadium with the stadium owner. Everton has a long and fierce rivalry with Liverpool; whose home stadium at Anfield is just under one mile away from Everton's home. The contest between these two teams is called the Merseyside derby.
Honors of Everton
- First Division/Premier League:Champions (9): 1890–91, 1914–15, 1927–28, 1931–32, 1938–39, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1984–85, 1986–87.Second Division/Championship:Winners (1): 1930–31. FA Cup:Winners (5): 1905–06, 1932–33, 1965–66, 1983–84, 1994–95. Football League Cup:Runners-up (2): 1976–77, 1983–84. FA Charity Shield:Winners (9): 1928, 1932, 1963, 1970, 1984, 1985, 1986 (shared), 1987, 1995. Full Members Cup:Runners-up (2): 1989, 1991. Football League Super Cup:Runners-up (1): 1985–86
- European Cup Winners' Cup:Winners: (1): 1984–85
- 1984–85: League and European Cup Winners' Cup
Best Everton Defenders ever
Now that we have a brief history of this professional English Premier League club, we move on to the main topic of the article to get introduced to the best Everton defenders of all time.
The number one on our list of the best Everton defenders of all time, is Leighton John Baines who had spent 13 years in Everton.
He was born on 1 December 1984 in Kirkby, England. He started his football in 2002 with Wigan Athletic and was a member of the team that won the Second Division in the 2002–03 season. After five years, he decided to leave his first team. But despite the £6 million offer of Sunderland- which was accepted by Wigan - he rejected the offer and in the following month, he signed for Everton for a primary fee of £5 million, with another £1 million in add-ons, dependent on Baines's shows in Everton.
As said earlier, he spent 13 years of his professional career with The Toffees. After the 2019–20 Premier League season Baines announced his retirement from professional football and soon in September of the same year he returned to Everton as a Professional Development Coach.
In sum, he made 420 appearances, scored 39 goals, and had 67 assists. He had achieved the following victories:
- Football League Championship runner-up: 2004–05. Football League Cup runner-up: 2005–06
- FA Cup runner-up: 2008–09
- PFA Team of the Year: 2011–12 Premier League, 2012–13 Premier League. Everton Player of the Season: 2010–11, 2012–13. Everton Players' Player of the Season: 2009–10, 2010–11,2012–13. Everton Goal of the Season: 2010–11
The next best Everton defenders of all time is another loyal Everton player.
David Watson was born on 20 November 1961 in Liverpool, England. He started his football in his hometown club-Liverpool but he then decided to join Norwich City by a £50,000 contract on 29 November 1980. There, he spent six years, and on 22 August 1986, he joined Everton by a £900,000 contract. His debut for Everton was on 23 August 1986 when they won 2–0 at home to Nottingham Forest on the opening day of the league season.
He managed to become one of the most important and influential players of team in a short time and following the departure of goalkeeper Neville Southall in 1998 he became the club's oldest and longest-serving player.
He remained at Goodison Park for 15 years and on 15 January 2000, he played his final game for Everton in a 2–2 draw match with Tottenham Hotspur. He made 402 appearances, scored 23 goals, and had 2 assists. He had achieved the following victories:
- Football League Cup: 1984–85.Second Division: 1985–86
- First Division: 1986–87. FA Cup: 1994–95. FA Charity Shield: 1987, 1995
- Norwich City Player of the Year: 1983. FA Cup Final Man of the Match: 1995. Norwich City Hall of Fame Inductee
Philip Nikodem Jagielka was born on 17 August 1982 in Sale, England. He started his football career at Knutsford Academy and from the ages of eight to 11, he played for Holy Family Football Club.
Just after two years with youth ranks at Sheffield United, he found his way into the first team and played there for seven years.
Despite being known as one of United's key players, on 4 July 2007 he decided to join Everton, by a five-year contract worth £4 million, the highest amount paid for a Sheffield United player at the time. He spent 12 years with The Toffees and in his last season, at the age of 36 years and 233 days, he became the second-oldest player to score for Everton in the Premier League era, behind Richard Gough.
In sum, he made 385 appearances, scored 19 goals, and had 11 assists. By this record, he is indeed one of the best Everton defenders of all time.
He had achieved the following victories:
- Football League Championship runner-up: 2005–06
- FA Cup runner-up: 2008–09
- Football League Championship Player of the Year: 2005–06. Premier League Player of the Month: February 2009. PFA Team of the Year: 2003–04 First Division, 2005–06 Championship. Sheffield United Player of the Year: 2004–05, 2005–06,2006–07. Everton Player of the Season: 2008–09, 2014–15. Everton Players' Player of the Season: 2008–09, 2014–15. Everton Goal of the Season: 2014–15
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Our next best Everton defenders of all time is a one-club footballer. Anthony James Hibbert was born on 20 February 1981 in Liverpool, England. As a boy, he was a huge fan of Everton. Following his dream, he joined the Everton youth team and won the FA Youth Cup in 1998.
Having passed three years in the youth team, he broke into the first team and made his Premier League debut on 31 March 2001 in a match against West Ham United. He is indeed one of the most prominent players in Everton.
Since the 2010–11 season, Hibbert was Everton's current longest-serving player, the only player who has been at the club during the entire time of former manager David Moyes and has played in more competitive European games than any other Everton player. Besides, he has never scored in a competitive game during his professional career. At the end of the 2015–16 season, after eighteen years, he was released from the club after and retired soon after.
He made 328 appearances, scored no goal, and had 10 assists. He had achieved the following victories:
- FA Youth Cup: 1997–98. FA Cup: Runner-up 2008–09
Our next best Everton defenders of all time, is a center-back nicknamed Rhino.
David Gerald Unsworth was born on 16 October 1973 in Chorley, England. He began his career in the youth system at Everton and soon found his way into the first team, in April 1992 made his debut in an away game at Tottenham Hotspur. Until 1997, he played for Everton and then had been transferred to West Ham United for the 1997–98 season. He could not get along with this London-based club, therefore, he was signed by Birmingham-based club Aston Villa for £3 million but his family did not settle in Birmingham either.
It was the right time for Unsworth to come back to his first-team- Everton. Unsworth was a regular player in his second season with Everton, being first-choice left-back, but also scoring some important goals in his role as a dead-ball expert, principally penalties. At the end of the 2003–04 season he faced some problems with the authorities over the length of a new contract. As a result of this disagreement, he decided to leave Everton.
He spent eleven years with Everton, he made 324 appearances, scored 38 goals, and had 1 assist. He had achieved the following victories:
- FA Cup: 1995. FA Charity Shield: 1995
- Football League Championship runners-up: 2006
Séamus Coleman was born on 11 October 1988 in Killybegs, Ireland. He was originally a Gaelic footballer, but his interest in football predominated and he decided to continue soccer and now his great performances made us name him as one of the best Everton defenders of all time.
He started his football at St Catherine's in Killybegs and quickly broke into League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers in 2006. Having spent three years in the League of Ireland, Coleman followed the advice of a former teammate, and Everton manager -David Moyesand- and signed a £60,000 contract with Everton.
From 2009 until now, he is playing as a right-back in Everton. He only left Everton for a year during this time. On 19 March 2010, Coleman joined championship club Blackpool on loan, originally for one month but later that month, Coleman's loan was extended until the end of the season. On 19 May he returned to Everton.
So far, he made 324 appearances, scored 26 goals, and had 29 assists. He had achieved the following victories:
- Football League Championship play-offs: 2009–10
Republic of Ireland
- Nations Cup: 2011
- Donegal Sports Star Professional Sport Achievement Award: 2009. FAI Under-21 International Player of the Year: 2009, 2010. PFA Team of the Year: 2013–14 Premier League. Everton Player's Player of the Year: 2013–14. Everton Supporter's Player of the Year: 2013–1
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Our next best Everton defenders ever, is a Welsh former footballer who spent most of his career playing for Everton.
Kevin Ratcliffe was born on 12 November 1960 in Mancot, Wales. He joined the Everton youth system to start his football career. Then in 1980 he could find his way into Everton's main team and made his debut on 12 March 1980 at Old Trafford, Manchester. It took two years to play as a fixed player for Everton. He was initially used as a left-back with mixed results, but his form improved significantly when moved to the center back, and soon at the age of 23 he was made captain.
He spent twelve years in Everton and then he went to Dundee and then played for a short time for Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest, Derby County, and Chester City. He made 311 appearances, scored one goal, and had one assist. He had achieved the following victories:
- Europapokal der Pokalsieger Sieger winner: 1984/85. English Super Cup winner: 1985-88
Our next all-time best Everton defenders, is the current head coach of the England women's team.
Philip John Neville was born on 21 January 1977 in Bury, England. He started his football at Manchester United Academy along with his brother. He spent four years in the junior team and in 1994 he could break into the main team. He was a prolific player but almost aggressive. In the 2002–03 season, despite only starting 35 competitive games he got far more cards than any other United player in history and consequently received a warning from the FA regarding his future conduct for his behavior after Manchester United's game against rival side Arsenal.
In 2005, as he was recently established the club's first-choice left-back, he decided to join Everton by a five-year contract for a fee in excess of £3 million.Quickly his attitude, work rate, and willingness to play anywhere, made him one the favorite players of the manager, and just after a year on 8 August 2006, Neville was announced as vice-captain.
He had eight golden years at Everton. On 9 April 2013, he officiated that he would leave Everton at the end of the season when his contract ends and later on announced his retirement from professional football.
He made 303 appearances, scored 5 goals, and had 10 assists. He had achieved the following victories:
- Premier League: 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03. FA Cup: 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04. FA Community Shield: 1996, 1997, 2003. UEFA Champions League: 1998–99. Intercontinental Cup: 1999
- Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year: 1993–94
A Nigerian former professional footballer is the next one our list of best ever Everton defenders.
Joseph Michael Yobo was born on 6 September 1980. When he was 18, he left his country to chase his dream. He went to Belgium to join Standard Liège and just after 46 appearances, he was bought by Marseille.
Soon after making his debut for Marseille, he went on a loan to Everton but just after a year, the club got interested in him and paid £1 million fee to register the player. Yobo quickly became one of the most regular players in the Everton team and was one of only seven players in the entire league to play every minute of every game throughout the 2006–07 season.
Having spent 8 years in Everton, he decided to continue his football in two other teams, before his retirement. First, he joined Fenerbahçe and later on Norwich City. He made 258 appearances, scored 10 goals, and had 2 assists. He had achieved the following victories:
- Süper Lig: 2010–11. Turkish Cup: 2011–12, 2012–13
- Africa Cup of Nations: 2013
- CAF Awards – voted in best African XI for 2007–08 season
The tenth best ever Everton defenders on our list is David Gillespie Weir who was a Scottish football coach and former professional player.
He was born on 10 May 1970. He began his professional profession with his home-town club, Falkirk and he was part of the team which won promotion to the Scottish Premier Division. After four years in Falkirk, he joined Heart of Midlothian. There he played for three years and at the end of the 1998-99 season he was purchased by Everton for £250,000.
He had a very prosperous time with the Merseyside club, for eight years he played regularly. He made 256 appearances, scored 10 goals, and had 1 assist. As he left Everton, he decided to join Rangers and after five years he announced his retirement. He moved into coaching following his retirement. He had achieved the following victories:
- Scottish Challenge Cup: 1992–93
Heart of Midlothian
- Scottish Cup: 1997–98
- Scottish Premier League: 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11. Scottish Cup: 2007–08, 2008–09. Scottish League Cup: 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11
- Kirin Cup: 2006
- SFWA Footballer of the Year: 2010. Scottish Premier League Player of the Year: 2010 .Scottish Premier League Player of the Month: February 2010
One of the Everton one-club men is our next all-time best defenders at Everton.
Brian Leslie Labone was born on 23 January 1940 in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Even though he was a Liverpool-born, he preferred to join Everton at 17 in July 1957 rather than going to university.
He was popularly perceived as one of the best central defenders of his era. He was a strong tackler, good in the air, adequately fast but he rarely used his left foot. He was such a tranquil player that was booked only twice throughout his career. He was also given the nickname "the last of the Corinthians" by Manager Harry Catterick.
In 1970–71 Labone faced a serious injury to his Achilles tendon and retired from playing. But still, after his retirement, he kept his connections with Everton where he worked as a guide for guests & visitors and a website columnist. He was also included in Everton's 'Greatest Ever Team.
Labone died on 24 April 2006 at the age of 66. Part of Everton's home ground, Goodison Park, was named in his honor. He was indeed one of the best defenders in Everton history. The former Everton captain, Kevin Ratcliffe said in his memory" Brian was Everton. If you could put together a team of every player that has ever captained Everton, every one of us would turn to Brian to lead us out. He will always be known as the captain of Everton"
He made 216 appearances, scored 2 goals, and had no assist. He had achieved the following victories:
- English FA Cup winner: 1966.English Champion: 1963-1970
Michael Lyons was born on 8 December 1951 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. Even though he was born in Liverpool, he chose Everton to start his football. After having served as an apprenticeship at the club, he signed as a professional at Everton in 1970 and remained there till 1982.
Generally, he played as a defender, but he was pushed forward into an attacking role in the last 10 minutes of a game. He was not a gifted player, but he could play anywhere down the middle and was once Everton's top goal scorer and now he is included in our list of all-time best defenders at Everton.
He spent 12 years with Everton and after that, he joined Sheffield Wednesday and Grimsby Town. He made 211 appearances, scored 25 goals, and had no assist.
He had achieved the following victories:
- League Cup: 1977, runners up
Our next best defenders in Everton history is the one that is already listed as one of the best Manchester city defenders ever.
Sylvain Distin was born on 16 December 1977 in Bagnolet, France. He began his profession at French non-league side Joué-lès-Tours after one year he joined Tours. He stayed there for a year and then moved to Gueugnon. His performances for Gueugnon inspired Paris Saint-Germain to sign him but he couldn't endure there and after a year he went on loan to Newcastle United. Although Newcastle wanted to sign Distin permanently, he rejected the offer and decided to join the City by a £4 million contract.
after five years with City, as he was looking for a fresh challenge he joined Portsmouth and there he won his first and only major honor in English football, the 2008 FA Cup. As his contract with Portsmouth finished, in August 2009 he signed his new deal with Everton, a three-year contract for a fee of about £5 million, and after several years became Everton's first choice.
Distin spent six years in Everton, he made 210 appearances, scored 5 goals, and had 4 assists. He had achieved the following victories:
- Coupe de la Ligue: 1999–2000
- FA Cup: 2007–08
- Manchester City Player of the Year: 2002–03. Everton Players' Player of the Season: 2011–12
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Once again, another Everton one-club man is listed as one of the best Everton defenders ever. Thomas James Wright was born on 21 October 1944 in Norris Green, Liverpool. when he was an amateur he joined Everton and made his first-team debut in 1964.
He kept loyal to the club for more than a decade. In 1974 he retired due to injury. He was named as an inaugural member of Gwladys Street's Hall of Fame in 1996, and as an "Everton Giant" in 2016. He often has been referenced as the best right back to play for Everton. George Best- one of the most famous players in Premier League history- once described Wright as his most difficult opponent.
he made 208 appearances, scored no goal, and had no assist. He had achieved the following victories:
- English Champion: 1970. English FA Cup winner: 1966 .English Super Cup winner: 1970
Gary Michael Stevens was born on 27 March 1963 in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England. He started his football in Everton's youth academy and soon broke into the main team and made his Everton debut in 1982.
He spent only six years in Everton but he was named by Everton supporters as part of the clubs' greatest ever side. As his contract with Everton finished, he joined Rangers in 1988 and could achieve some several honors with his new club.
At Everton, he made 195 appearances, scored 8 goals, and had 4 assists. He had achieved the following victories:
- Football League First Division (2): 1984–85, 1986–87. FA Charity Shield (2): 1984, 1985. FA Cup (1): 1984. European Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1985
- Scottish Premier Division (6): 1988–89 1989–90 1990–91 1991–92 1992–93 1993-4. Scottish Cup (1): 1992. Scottish League Cup (2): 1990, 1993
In the preceding article, we have tried to concisely, present the best Everton defenders of all time. Who else do you think could be on the above list? share your precious remarks in the comment section.