By Oliver Thompson (Everton fan)
It’s been almost twelve months now since Darron Thomas Daniel Gibson signed for Everton from Manchester United for the princely sum of 500 thousand pounds and what a twelve months he has had. When the news first broke that Everton were interested in Gibbo there were many moans and groans from Evertonians all over. Given that this was the clubs first paid signing in a year and the fact that Gibson did not have the best of records at United, these complaints were seemingly entirely justified.
Back in April 2011, Darron infamously shut down his twitter account just two hours after signing up to the social networking site. Why? Due to the tirade of abuse that came his way from keyboard happy United fans. He was truly a player that divided opinion and one that many fans couldn’t wait to see the back of from Old Trafford. His arrival at Goodison was not that much more welcoming but he quickly transformed himself from a bit part player at United to one of the central figures at Everton. From the first 15 minutes of his debut away at Villa Park many Evertonians, including myself, began to see that David Moyes might have been onto something in bringing him to the club.
Two weeks later, Darron did something that he could seemingly not do during his time at Old Trafford and that was please Manchester United fans. That night he scored his first and only Everton goal to date in a 1-0 victory over Manchester City which instantly lifted him to fan favourite status and began to convince people that he was the right player for the club.
Over the coming months he established himself as a key part of the Everton midfield and continues to impress with tidy performances that earned him plaudits from fans, managers and teammates alike. The key to his success lay in his composure on the ball and great vision, something that was never truly utilised during his time at Manchester United. By the middle of March he was the keystone of a rock solid midfield and in a period during which Everton only lost twice in the league, those were two games that Gibson was missing from the side. A record which has been kept intact to this day, when Gibson has played 90 minutes Everton have never lost in the league.
Fast forward to the beginning of this season and Gibson further endeared himself to the Goodison faithful when he bossed the midfield in a well deserved victory against his former team on the first day of the season. Following the game he showed signs of what Everton fans refer to as “getting it” when it comes to the club after being pictured by Sky singing along to ‘Grand Old Team’. Two weeks later though Gibson hobbled off after 20 minutes against West Brom and inexplicably, we didn’t see him again for three months.
During his period of absence Gibbo’s stock rose even higher. Everton were playing well yet failing to win games, it was clear that we were missing that solid foundation that Darron gave us. His ability to join up play and stop quick counter attacks against us was something that was missed sorely and it was beginning to cost us. So imagine the relief when the news came through that he was fit and ready to face Arsenal at the end of last month.
He was a bit slow out of the blocks as you’d expect from a player that’s been out for three and a half months. As the game wore on though his influence became clearer, although he only lasted 70 minutes, Gibbo was back. The following Saturday he was busy tormenting and laughing at the millions of pounds worth of Manchester City midfield with his trickery and passing range. The same was to be said of his performance against Spurs, and he even provided the pivotal pass for our late winner.
Gibson has by no means been a flashy signing for Everton but he has provided stability to a midfield that was in dire need of some. He has become the sort of player that you really do miss when he is not on the pitch. The only thing that is really missing from his game is goals and assists although I’ve got a feeling that this season may change that. Much to widespread disbelief his international career seems to have stalled as of late mainly due to the fact that in his old age Trappatoni has turned a little senile and actually believes that Keith Andrews is a more viable midfield option than Gibbo. But fortunately for us that means he can save his best performances for Everton and Everton only.
Everton have a record of signing Fergie’s rejects but Gibson has proved that he is a top quality player and given United’s recent midfield woes it is poetic justice that Darron has developed into the exact type of player that United need in the middle of their midfield right now. A player with composure, heart, bite, great awareness, fantastic feet but most importantly a player that is always reliable.
To the frustration and happiness of Everton fans Gibbo remains one of the most underrated players in the Premier League simply for what he adds to the team and what the team lacks when he is not there. It doesn’t matter though Darron, we know how good you are and we hope that you will continue to do the business for years to come. Even if you are the most miserable looking bloke around.
Oliver is a member of Everton forum Grand Old Team.
Here is Oliver’s tumblr page: Blue World
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