In the history of Everton Football Club, has there been a less popular player to pull on the famous royal blue shirt than David Burrows? Signed by Mike Walker in a part-exchange deal that saw Tony Cottee return to West Ham, Burrows was greeted by a chorus of boos when he made his Everton debut away to Blackburn in September 1994. This was scarcely fair to a player whose form had previously seen him rise to the fringes of the England squad. But it was unsurprising for a man who had made his reputation at Liverpool – where he won a league title and FA Cup – as a hard man, hated by opposing fans.
A solid, abrasive left back, what Burrows lacked in pace and elegance he made up for with competitive spirit. Still, this was not enough to help turn around Everton’s worst ever start to a season. Within two months of his arrival Walker was sacked and under his successor, Joe Royle, Burrows scarcely featured. In March 1995 he joined Coventry City for £1.1million, his departure unlamented by Everton’s unforgiving fans.
Three years later, Burrows nearly exacted his revenge upon Evertonians: his cross, in Everton’s so-called ‘Great Escape’ against Coventry on the last day of the 1997/98 season, set up the goal that should have dealt relegation to his former club. But Everton held on, and Burrows played out his career in the second tier.