In the early part of his career, Carl Tiler, an imposing Yorkshireman, was talked of as a future England centre half. One of Brian Clough’s last big money signings at Nottingham Forest, whom he joined for £1.4 million in 1991, his potential seemed to wane as Clough’s career unfolded. A move to Aston Villa in 1995 failed to resurrect his potential. In March 1997, Howard Kendall signed him for Sheffield United and eight months later, as Everton manager, brought him to Goodison with Blades’ team-mate Mitch Ward, in exchange for Graham Stuart and £500,000.
These moves were initially met with consternation by Evertonians, hungry for big money signings. After his debut – a home defeat to Tottenham – Everton found themselves propping up the Premier League table. But once he had settled, Tiler comfortably outperformed Slaven Bilic, who had arrived amidst much hullabaloo the previous summer. Tall, angular and solid, he helped shore up a leaky defence. And yet the suspicion remained that he was merely a Division One defender outperforming in the top flight – and the second tier seemed precisely where he was headed as Everton’s form took a disastrous turn.
Following Walter Smith’s arrival as manager in July 1998, Tiler found himself an early casualty of the new regime. In September 1998 he joined Charlton for £700,000 and he subsequently played out his career outside the Premiership – a more suitable level, perhaps, for an honest player not quite up to the standard Evertonians expect.