April 19, 2024

Ross Barkley has opened up about the taunts he and his family received after leaving Everton in 2018, the death of Bill Kenwright and the club’s ‘shocking’ points deduction.

As an academy graduate of the Blues, Barkley was shown all the love in the world to progress in the professional game and become a top player. That is why the hurt was intensified when he traded all of that in for a shot at glory with Chelsea.

Now 30-years-old and with Premier League newcomers Luton Town, the midfielder explains that it was his desire to play for the English national team that drove him to the capital, as he reveals the extent of fan abuse in the aftermath.

“I did get threats,” he told the Times. “It’s part of the game. I expected it. It shouldn’t be.

“Home-grown player came through, loved the club. My dream as a youngster wasn’t to be an England player, it was to be an Everton player. Once I’d played for Everton it was my dream then to play for England and I achieved those dreams. I came to Chelsea to challenge myself and better myself and play with the top players that had won the league the previous year.

“When I went back [to Merseyside] I used to get fans shouting from the cars, calling me names. I used to just laugh. Fans are passionate and if you’re one of them they feel you’ve let Everton down. They’d shout ‘money grabber’. The fans called me a ‘rat’.

“My mum stayed so she found it difficult. Whenever she’d go out people stopped and asked, ‘Why did he decide to leave?’ My mum’s tried to keep a low profile and just go about her business. That’s one thing she hated but within a year or two it settled, it was fine.”

So ultimately it was a move that didn’t pay off based on the man in question’s own set of targets. He featured for England at the 2014 World Cup – still an Everton player at that point in time – but has not been selected for international tournaments since his departure.

He also claims: “Now, when I go back to the city, everyone’s got over it. The fans last year when I was on a free wanted me to go back.”

Barkley was also close with Bill Kenwright prior to the Blues chairman’s recent passing. “It’s sad,” he added. “Bill loved the club. He was really supportive of me when I was coming through. He used to write letters to my mum. He said he could really relate to me because he was brought up five minutes down the road from where I was.

“Whenever I spoke to Bill, he spoke so highly of my mum bringing me up. Bill said he could connect in that way because he was similar with his mum as well.

“He was always there for me, always in touch with me and when I went to the World Cup, he wrote to my mum saying, ‘You should be so proud of him. We are at the club and proud a young lad from Liverpool is getting into the squad.’”

I was called a 'rat' and a 'money-grabber' after leaving Everton - but last  summer the supporters wanted me back - Liverpool Echo

Finally Barkley has watched on from a rival dugout as his boyhood club have been slapped with a 10-point deduction. Whilst of benefit to Luton Town in the relegation battle, he enjoys seeing his former team thrive in the aftermath of the punishment.

“It shocked me. I’d never seen anything like that in the Premier League before,” he continued. “It’s difficult for the fans to take. As a club and as a team Everton have responded really well. Sean Dyche is having a great effect on the team and the fans. It feels like the old Everton are back, the fight, the togetherness.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *