When Everton broke the transfer record that had lasted for six years (Tony Cottee, 2.2 million pounds from West Ham United 1988) to sign Nigerian World Cup star Amokachi from Club Brugge for 3 million pounds in 1994, he joined a very British squad in which Swedish winger Anders Limpar and Australian reserve goalkeeper Jason Kearton were the only other players born outside the UK.
Daniel Amokachi paid tribute to Everton fans who made him feel at home after admitting a culture shock in the Premier League in 1994.
EXCLUSIVE: Second episode of the three-part special interview by Chris Beesley with Everton fan favorite Daniel Amokachi
He recalled the night he was played in front of the fans before a game against Nottingham Forest on August 30, 1994, while the tunes of Elton John’s hit “Daniel” were played over the Goodison Park PA system, and told the ECHO: “I was really excited to come to the Premier League as a young player from Africa.
Amokachi – who was also wanted by Juventus that summer – had to work hard to adapt to the pace of football in England, but when he arrived in Merseyside he felt nothing but the warmth of the blues fans.
“The way the fans reacted, my charisma and my extravagance running from one end to the other, they transferred it to me from day one.
“My first encounter with the fans was a home game. I went shopping and tried my best to find a blue blazer in the Everton colors.
“They announced my name, and from the moment I first walked onto the field in Goodison Park, the mood was there and I felt like I belonged there.
“I always had a smile on my face, even when I was going through a difficult period in my first games.
“If you play for a minute, five minutes or 90 minutes but play with your heart, the Blue Army fans will support you and I’m one of those players.
“I had to work hard to achieve the fitness for the Premier League football style.
“I was in the reserves for a while, but I never held back, trained hard and played in reserve matches.
“I was determined that I would run out my b******s when the Governor sent me into the reserve, and the fans appreciate that.
“There were a couple of games where the team wasn’t doing well and the fans were shouting ‘Daniel Amokachi’ to get me further, so I was really excited and felt at home.
Signed by Mike Walker, a goal just 10 minutes after his home debut turned out to be a kind of false sunrise.
That was his only goal in his first dozen games for Everton, and after Joe Royle started his first game as coach on November 21 with a 2-0 derby win over Liverpool, he did not return to the senior side until March.
But while Amokachi was immediately accepted by the spectators in the stands, he found it more difficult to adapt to life on the pitch in England.