Everton supporters may not have loved the way Nikica Jelavic’s career turned out on Merseyside but there’s no arguing the Croatian international is a class act after he penned a heart-warming open letter to fans one day after sealing a deal to Hull City.
Jelavic, who arrived at Everton from Rangers like a house on fire in January 2012, quickly became a fan favorite after scoring 11 goals in his first 16 matches. Things then turned sour for the striker managing only 10 goals in his next 53 appearances.
The cold streak forced manager Roberto Martinez to look elsewhere for fire power, with the loan deal for Romelu Lukaku proving just the solution. The Belgian’s impact relegated Jelavic to a roll on the bench, a place he couldn’t remain if he was to realize his hopes of making his World Cup dreams come true.
To their credit, Everton fans didn’t turn on Jelavic despite his poor form and for many the man they call “Jellyfish” still holds a special place in their hearts. Judging from Jelavic’s letter on Thursday, the feeling is mutual.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Everton fans from the bottom of my heart for their support,” he wrote.
“They gave me their backing from day one and never stopped believing in me, which is something I will always remember.
“I believe the scoring run which I went on during those first six months (scoring 11 times in 16 appearances) is the real Nikica Jelavic and I’m pleased the Evertonians were able to see and appreciate what I’m really about.
“Everton supporters have a special way of making you feel like one of them, and even when I was not in the team in more recent times I always felt they were behind me.
“Playing for Croatia is something I also take huge pride in and with a World Cup on the horizon I was in the situation of needing to play more games to make sure I remain in Niko Kovac’s thoughts.
“Unfortunately that wasn’t happening at Everton, and Roberto Martinez was very honest and up front with me about his thinking.
“When I went to meet Steve Bruce I realised it was the right move to a club with the potential to become a top Premier League outfit. Steve’s ambition was clear, as was his desire to see me playing and scoring goals.
“While I’m sad to wave farewell to Everton and all my friends; it is time for my next challenge.
“I’m only pleased that I was able to say goodbye with two goals in the FA Cup win against QPR, and share some special celebrations with them one last time.
“I hope to be celebrating many more goals in future, and I’m excited to get going at my new club. But you can guarantee the Toffees will remain in my heart. I hope they can go on to fulfil their ambitions this season and I will always look out for them.
“Thank you and good luck.”