I was thinking, do I research this a lot and do a glowing write up or do it from my memories of Mr Anthony James Hibbert. I decided to go with mainly memory and looking at dates for certain bits as my memory is nowhere as good as I would like it to be , so onward.
For the past ten years we Evertonians have followed this lad through the thick and thin of his career in the first team, much has been said and unsaid about a footballer who has really just got on with his job and done all that was ever asked of him…
I was surprised to learn that he started out as a midfielder, as I knew he was in the FA Cup winning youth squad in 1998 but didn’t know he played midfield, because to me and probably a vast majority of the footballing world he is a right back and I will never see him as anything else, same as many others I would imagine. This is testament to the man he is, as it is very rare you see him in anything but the capacity of a professional footballer, yes he has been seen out on the town once in a while but nothing like some of his peers, you never see news reports about him or his wife and daughter, again unlike so many of his peers, he seems to be happy with his family life and fair do’s to him for this.
Ten years at one club and coming straight from the academy before takes some doing and to be playing at the top level with such consistency , so it amazes me when I hear the derision from the fans in the stands, this lad who is constantly berated by the fans at Goodison Park and on various Everton based websites takes it in his stride and gets on with his job, not once have I seen him react to such mentalist views at the game, and this to one of our own, a lad born in two dogs ( that’s Huyton a borough of Merseyside for the uneducated) and a born and bred blue, a lad who gives his all for the cause, never shirks a tackle and very rarely has a bad game, FA Cup final 2009 being the stand out exception.
He also holds the dubious record of being Evertons longest serving non scoring player a record which he only bypassed recently but I suppose we can forgive him that as he is a defender. I remember him receiving a load of plaudits for being the best right back in England think it was in the 04/05 season and he still is one of the best defensive right backs I have seen, I say defensive as he is not as good as others going forward, but can you name me any that are as good in a tackle… thought not.
In a career that has been blighted by a series of injuries and weird diseases http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptosporidiosis
Hibbo has always come back into the team and mostly done well, some of his tackles are immense and I am not overselling these you try to remember the last real misplaced tackle he made, the most recent one he was carded for was against Fulham and for the life of me I still haven’t found out why the card was shown if you have the technology to watch it look and see you will see what I mean.
I am just trying to get across how much Tony Hibbert means to Evertonians (well a lot of us) and show some Hibbo love, and thank him for his ten years here, raise a glass to him if you like …
So here’s to you Tony long may it continue.
Hibbo for England
Hibbo scores we riot