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Everton's Alan Stubbs
"It's always been a dream to play for them"
 real 56k

Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Everton sign Stubbs
Stubbs fulfils boyhood dream by joining Everton
Stubbs fulfils boyhood dream by joining Everton
Everton have signed Alan Stubbs on a free transfer as boss Walter Smith made his first signing of the summer.

Stubbs decided to reject Celtic's offer of a new deal and return to the club he supported as a boy on a four-year contract.

The 29-year-old central defender was, in fact, released by Everton in his teens but went on to make his name at Bolton.

Smith - first signing
Smith - first signing
He joined Celtic in 1996 for 4.5m and helped them win the title two years later.

However, he was devastated in the summer of 1999 when a routine drug test after the Scottish Cup final revealed he was suffering from testicular cancer.

He fought back not once, but twice and returned to the side at the end of last season.


I have always dreamed of playing for Everton and this is my last chance to do so
  Alan Stubbs
Celtic wanted him to stay but when Everton moved in, Stubbs, born in Kirkby, decided to return to Merseyside and sign a four-year deal.

"I will be playing for the club of my dreams," he said. "But at the end of the day the biggest factor of all is what was right for my wife Mandy and our family.

"In the past I have consulted them over transfers but the final decision has always belonged to me. This time after what I've been through the past two years it is only fair they had a bigger say.

"The went through hell while I was in hospital and stayed by my side through it all. I have always dreamed of playing for Everton and this is my last chance to do so.

"I've realised a dream. When I went to Celtic everything to do with the move was massive and the more I played for them the more I grew closer to the club, but it is not the same as playing for your boyhood team. It's going to special when I do play.


He's a great passer of the ball and if you have a defender that can start off moves for you like he can then it's a great benefit to the team
  Everton boss Walter Smith
"I hope it's not going to be as strenuous a season as last in terms of where we end up in the table. We will be aiming to improve and make ourselves a better and stronger team this year.

"But when I found Everton wanted me, it was basically when can I come? It's something I am really looking forward to.

"I have obviously been down watching them play, but playing with the team is obviously going to be fantastic.

"Hopefully I'll add something to the Everton team that they weren't getting last year and hoping it can be a good formula all the way round."

Everton boss Smith said: "He's an experienced player now and I'm sure he'll come in and handle the situation well.

"We would hope that over the pre-season he can get to know the players and I'm sure he'll make a terrific contribution.

"He's a great passer of the ball and if you have a defender that can start off moves for you like he can then it's a great benefit to the team."

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