The last time I updated the blog was with an entry remembering the late great Gary Speed’s untimely death in November and despite planning a big blog update it seems that will have to go on the back burner after the very sad news of the passing of yet another great former Everton player who I got to watch as a kid. Today former Everton, Liverpool and Birmingham (as well as a host of other clubs) defender Gary Ablett passed away after a 16 month battle against non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (cancer of the blood cells).
Gary was brought to Everton from neighbours and rivals Liverpool in 1992 for a fee of £750,000 and established himself into the first team straight away. He played a massive role at Everton including playing a part in the famous “Great Escape” of the 93/94 season as well as playing a pivotal role in Joe Royle’s “Dogs of War” in 1995. He was part of the team that picked up Everton’s last pieces of silverware winning both the FA Cup in a well fought out battle against Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd millionaires team and shortly after beating League Champions Blackburn Rovers in the Charity Shield.
In 1996 after 158 appearances and 8 goals with Everton and Gary was sold to Birmingham and later went on to have spells at Wycombe, Blackpool and a brief spell in America with the Long Island Rough Riders however Gary returned to the club he had helped bring success to in a coaching role which got his managerial career off to a start. From Everton he went back across the park to the team he started with as Liverpool’s reserve manager and then having to take on the tough task of managing of an Administration plagued Stockport County.
His last footballing role was as Roy Keane’s assistant at Ipswich Town it was here that Gary was diagnosed with his condition and despite having a slim chance with his cancer he continued to put a smiling face on when interviewed in programmes and zines of his former clubs. As you can see below (the photo was taken from the Everton programme last season)
During his career Gary picked up 2 football league trophies with Liverpool, 2 FA Cup winners medals one with Everton, one with Liverpool as well as 4 Charity shield winners medals including a shared medal in 1990/1. He will be sorely missed by all at his former clubs but non-more than both Everton and Liverpool where he established a great career with both clubs from his home city.
R.I.P Gareth Ian Ablett 1965-2012 – Nil Satis Nisioptimum/You’ll Never Walk Alone