Brighton & Hove Albion pathway development manager David Weir holds fond memories from his time spent with Saturday’s opponents Everton.
The game at the Amex Stadium this weekend is the Seagulls' second in four days during a traditionally busy festive period, and the Albion member of staff reflected on his time with the Toffees fondly in an exclusive interview with Seagulls TV.
He said, “I was there for eight years and played over 200 games, I’d say they were probably the peak years of my playing career given the fact it was right in the middle.
“I lived locally and still base myself in that part of the country – they were good times and I have great memories from the two managers I worked under in Walter Smith and David Moyes.
“I still go back now and again to watch matches and it’s a fantastic football club with a lot of history, getting to know that and the people was a great part of my career.
“The highlight was when we finished 4th in the league – above Liverpool which was great for the fans - we qualified for the Champions League qualifying rounds too, so they were good individual memories – but the campaign as a whole is the best overall for myself because of how well we did.”
Marco Silva’s side were impressive 5-1 winners over Burnley on Wednesday at Turf Moor, and Weir complimented the work done by the Portuguese coach during his time in charge on Merseyside so far.
“They had an indifferent season last year – but I’ve seen them a few times this campaign and they have a stability with recognised faces throughout the spine of the side, that has given the team an identity that was perhaps missing over the last few years.
“The manager looks like he’ll be there for a while, and he’s brought in players who have become key for the side.
“I think success for them this year is top eight and then they can progress from there and look at Europe – there are signs of progression and stability is a big part of that.”
The reverse fixture between Albion and Everton at the start of November ended in a 3-1 win for Silva’s side at Goodison Park, with Lewis Dunk getting on the scoresheet for Chris Hughton’s men, Weir expects another close and entertaining encounter at the Amex Stadium.
“It’ll be a tight game because both sides have good squads and are competitive in every game they play – there doesn’t seem to be a game where teams run away from either of them.
“It’ll be decided on the finer details and little moments within in – it should be an interesting and great game to watch.
“It’s tough to say who I’ll be supporting because I have an affinity with Brighton now, as well as with the players and the staff involved here.
“I can’t disguise I played for Everton for a long time – I’ll avoid it and maybe read the score after the game! I’m usually out and about watching other matches, so I probably won’t make it anyway!”