The open letter penned by the Croatian to the Blues’ supporters was a testament to the loyalty and support he received from all corners of the fanbase despite a drastic drop in form.
Jelavic fired 11 goals in his first 16 appearances in an Everton shirt. Depressingly, he managed just 10 more goals in the following 53 appearances. Two league goals, one a world class reaction finish and the other a deflection, was all Jelavic had to show for 2013.
Like many before him, Jelavic just didn’t stand up to the high expectations demanded from an Everton frontman. In short, he simply wasn’t good enough.
Evertonians love centre forwards. They love to rever a proper number nine. Jelavic may have wore the number seven on his shirt, but the instinctive one-touch finishing he displayed in those first fruitful six months of his Goodison career drew resemblance to the truly great Everton goalscorers.
And that is why lots of Evertonians clung to the belief that Jelavic could somehow recapture that honeymoon form even when performances on the pitch pointed to a man who had been ‘found out’.
When Roberto Martinez arrived in the summer, there was a renewed hope that the Spaniard could revitalise the misfiring Croatian and rebuild the confidence that many observed had been ‘destroyed’ by David Moyes. There is a belief that Moyes played a significant part in ‘ruining’ the forwards he had brought to the club. Sadly, like Beattie, Johnson and Saha before him, Jelavic just didn’t stand up to scrutiny.
The stats reflect quite favourably on Jelavic. In 41 Premier League starts he scored 16 goals which equates to a goal roughly every 2.5 games. That is certainly not to be discredited in any way but the performances on the pitch were the real indicator.
Despite a couple of pre-season goals against Blackburn, Real Madrid and Betis, Jelavic couldn’t take his form into the Premier League once it resumed in August. Jelavic started each of the first five Premier League games but couldn’t register a goal and showed no sign of returning to his predatory best. In fact, he appeared to be the same player that had regressed to the point that he had become unrecognisable under Moyes. When Lukaku was brought on as a half-time substitute at Upton Park and effectively won Everton the game, Jelavic’s fate was sealed.
Lukaku’s goals, power, presence and pace rendered Jelavic to the shadows and conveyed the vast difference in attributes for all Evertonians to see.
Jelavic commented that the Toffees will always be in his heart and that feeling will certainly be mutual for the fans who will wish to remember him for those eleven special strikes at the back end of the 2011/12 season.
Thanks for the memories, Jela.
Na na na na na na na…