Hibbert marks ten years of service at Everton

Ten years gone: Tony Hibbert has been at Everton for a decade.
Ten years gone: Tony Hibbert has been at Everton for a decade. Photo: PA

Tony Hibbert is adamant Everton will remain a mainstay of his life as he marks a decade as a player at Goodison Park.

In modern football the one-club man is an increasingly rare breed and Hibbert is proud to count himself among their dwindling number.

The 31-year-old right-back is preparing to mark his testimonial season when AEK Athens visit Merseyside next Wednesday and he views the occasion with an uncomplicated honesty so prevalent in his playing style.

"It's just normal," he said when asked about the significance of his lengthy stay. "I've been here since I was 10 or 11, so Everton is just Everton to me.

"It's a big part of my life and it always will be. My family always say 'Everton's first'. Every single day is Everton.

"Coming here and spending every day here is nothing different to me so it's hard to explain and get across how it is for me.

"To be a part of a club for that long, when I sit down and think about it with my family and go through it, it's unbelievable and I can't say any more really.

"To be here playing for that long, 10 years, really is a blessing for me."

Hibbert, the only player remaining at Goodison from David Moyes' first game in charge against Fulham in 2002, holds an inauspicious club record of playing 265 times without scoring.

So what are the chances of him thrilling the Gladys Road End by finally hitting the back of the net next week against AEK?

"Obviously that's the main question everyone's asking me," he said.

"I want us to win first, whatever game it is. Whether it's a friendly, a testimonial or a Premier League game I think Everton should be winning.

"But if it does come, it comes. It's hard to say I'm going to go up and take a penalty because I've never thought about it during games."