Signed from Gornik Zabrze for £500,000 in March 1991, Robert Warzycha was a surprise and exotic signing who added some colour to the Everton line up as another pallid season faded to grey. A tantalising and lightening quick winger, Warzycha – affectionately dubbed ‘Bob the Pole’ – was a seasoned Polish international and among the first of a succession of talented footballers to cross over from the former Soviet bloc.
With his blend of pacy and powerful running and his unerring habit of running through his opponents’ challenges, Warzycha was a popular addition to the Everton squad. He powerful shot too, and it would not be unkind to desribe him as a ‘poor man’s’ Andrei Kanchelskis – a player who would replace him on the Everton flank a few years later. Some of his early performances were outstanding – he scored a goal in the ill-fated Zenith Data Systems Cup Final against Crystal Palace shortly after his arrival, and at the start of the following season tore apart Manchester United at Old Trafford in one of the very first ever Premier League encounters. Alas injuries curtailed his impact as time went on, and whenever he recovered he seemed to struggle with the tactical intricacies of English football.
His absence from the Everton team cost him his place with the Polish national side, which in turn saw his work permit revoked. At the end of the 1993/94 season he joined Pesci Munkas of Hungary, later crossing the Atlantic to play in the nascent MLS. Like so many of Everton’s enigmatic 1990s stars, he found his level here, becoming something of a legend with Columbus Crew, whom he later managed.