STEVEN PIENAAR’S return to Everton was vital for so many reasons and Everton’s pursuit of their former midfielder, which ran right to the wire, was undoubtedly one of the most significant and captivating transfer sagas of the year.
In the end Pienaar had to make a personal plea to Harry Redknapp to be allowed to make his emotional Goodison comeback, and the deal was tied up just minutes before midnight in the wake of a pulsating victory over Manchester City.
TWO children, one in an Everton kit, the other in a Liverpool strip, walked onto the Goodison pitch to the sound of Hollies hit ‘He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother’, in a moment of pathos and poignancy that put sport and life into perspective just hours after the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report exposing the extent of the injustice carried out in the wake of the disaster. Also a timely reminder of city unity between the two clubs, it was a moment which touched the world.
IT WAS the moment when Evertonians realised their club had signed a true goal-scoring predator. David Moyes had likened the glint in Nikica Jelavic’s eye to that of a silent assassin and it was with typical ruthless efficiency that he dispatched his first strike during a morale-boosting victory over Spurs in March. In trademark Jelavic style it was a chance snaffled at the first time of asking with elegance and a clinical edge that suggested there would be many more to come.