Signed at a crucial juncture of the 1986/87 season, in electing to join Everton from Leeds for £840,000, Ian Snodin snubbed Liverpool and immediately endeared himself to a generation of Evertonians. A fine, competitive midfielder, who combined a vigorous, energetic style with rare grace, Snodin was a hugely effective – even inspirational – component during Everton’s title run in.
A fiercely proud Yorkshireman, who later took the step of having his son born within the county boundaries so that he was eligible to play for its cricket team, Snodin had started off at Doncaster Rovers, amassing nearly 200 appearances by the age of 21, before making the switch to Leeds United in the summer of 1985. He succeeded Peter Lorimer as Leeds captain and his performances in the Second Division earned him the Goodison move eighteen months later.
Gritty, composed, an accomplished passer of the ball, and a formidable tackler Snodin had attracted comparisons to Bryan Robson during his Leeds days and in his early appearances the hype seemed to be justified. Certainly at the age of just 23, the potential was there for Snodin to blossom into an outstanding player. Snodin plugged the gap left by Paul Bracewell, a long-term injury absentee, and as the season approached its critical phase Snodin’s form, like that of his new team, was magnificent.
His best form for Everton came when he was tried as an auxiliary right back during the 1988/89 season. Snodin slotted in as if he had played his entire career there. His form earned him an England call up for a friendly against Greece in February 1989 and there were hopes that he could oust Gary Stevens, now a Rangers player, from the national team. Alas, Snodin, who earned England B and under 21 recognition, was forced to withdraw prior to the game with a hamstring problem, which, over the following year proved recurrent – limiting his chances at Goodison.
There followed a two year long injury nightmare, in which Snodin failed to make a single appearance. Defying fears that injury would force his premature retirement, Snodin returned to the Everton in Autumn 1992. Howard Kendall likened Snodin’s return to the signing of ‘a million pound player.’ Such was his commitment that he was often found wearily hobbling away after the match following a bruising battle.
Injury and age, however, had taken their toll on Snodin, while Everton were a poor side. During the 1993/94 season, after another injury hampered start, Snodin returned at right back, then centre back before returning to right back again; offering heart and experience in Everton’s ultimately successful fight for Premiership survival.
Snodin was edged from contention the during the 1994/95 season and allowed to join Oldham Athletic on a free transfer in January 1995. He later played for Scarborough, before returning to Doncaster for 18 months as player-manager in 1998. Snodin, whose older brother Glynn played for a number of Yorkshire clubs and alongside Ian at Doncaster, has since forged a successful media career. He remains a regular visitor to Goodison Park and is a popular figure among fans.