18 goals in 48 appearances meant he burst on to the Premier League scene with Everton and attracted attention from a host of clubs.
However, even the most ardent of football tipsters would have struggled to get the best odds on a move to Arsenal when the Gunners came in with an £8m offer.
“I’ve got to be really honest, looking back on my career I left the club too soon,” Jeffers told Everton’s official website.
“(Arsenal) wasn’t the right move for me but it was a difficult time because of the way our football club was then, it wasn’t like it is now. It was a good move for me and the club at the time but it was definitely too soon and probably the wrong move.
“When you’re sitting at home at think back at how your career’s gone, I feel my head was turned. I was only young. It was difficult because I felt Arsenal were the best team in the league at the time. It was a tough decision for me because I’m an Evertonian, I’d been a season ticket holder all my life. It was a big decision but one that never worked out for me.”
Jeffers rejoined Everton in 2003 for an ill-fated loan spell from The Gunners but by then his career had suffered through absences from first team football due to injury and failing to impress Arsene Wenger.
He scored twice for the Blues in his return, both times against Fulham in the FA Cup, but never seemed able to live up to the promise that he had so early in his career.
Now a youth coach at USM Finch Farm, Jeffers hopes he can pass on his experience to those coming through the ranks at Everton and make sure other youngsters don’t make the same mistake of leaving the Blues too early in their career.
Jeffers, a Blue through and through, has always gone out of his way to help Evertonians despite sometimes suffering abuse at the hands of others, and in many in his home town are pleased to see him return to the club where he made his name.
He also proves a former manager – David Moyes – right. The former Blues’ boss said that once you leave Everton, the only way is down…
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