Tuesday, September 18, 2007

History of Everton F.C.

1878 the club was founded
St. Domingo Methodist Church's new chapel was opened in 1871 and six years later, Rev B.S. Chambers was appointed Minister. He was responsible for starting a cricket team for the youngsters in the parish. Because cricket can only be played in the summer, they had to find something to play during the other seasons as well. So a football club called St. Domingo F.C. was formed in 1878.

Many people outside the parish were interested in joining the football club so it was decided that the name should be changed. In November 1879 at a meeting in the Queen's Head Hotel, the team name was changed to Everton Football Club, after the surrounding area.[1] Barker and Dobson, a local sweet manufacturer introduced "Everton Mints" to honour the club. The district is also the location of the team's crest image, an old bridewell known as Prince Rupert's Tower.

Founder members of the Football League, they lost two FA Cup finals, 1-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Fallowfield Stadium on March 26, 1893 and 3-2 against Aston Villa at Crystal Palace on April 10, 1897 before winning at their third attempt on April 20, 1906 again against Newcastle United at Crystal Palace. Their second successive final on April 20, 1907, however, finished in a 2-1 defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.

Interwar years: Dean and co.
Quite simply, "Dixie" Dean was one of the greatest scoring machines that the English game has seen. After averaging a goal a game for Tranmere Rovers, prolific striker Dean was lured across the River Mersey to play for Everton. In his first season for the Toffees, the 1925-26 season, Dean netted 32 league goals in 38 games (getting his first two on his debut), scored 21 in 27 the next year, and made history in 1927-28: in a seasonal performance that is unlikely to ever be bettered, Dean hit 60 league goals in 39 matches, setting a record that has stood ever since and almost single-handedly giving Everton the league title.

In a turn of events that seems unbelievable today, Everton were relegated into the second division two years later. Predictably, Dean was on top form in the secondary league, hitting 39 goals in 37 games and lifting the Toffees to promotion at the first time of asking. The following season, Dean hit 45 goals and Everton regained the league title. In 1933, they won the FA Cup, Dean becoming Everton's first ever number 9 in the 3-0 final win against Manchester City. The number 9 would become synonymous with commanding and high-scoring strikers at domestic and international level football, something Dean embodied.

The nickname "Dixie" has ambiguous origins, but it is thought that it was given to Dean because his curly hairstyle was similar to that sported by many people of African ethnicity, popularly nicknamed "dixies" at the time. Dean is said to have disliked but reluctantly accepted the tag. He played his last match for Everton on 11 December 1937 and died at a Merseyside derby at Goodison in 1980, leaving behind a legacy of 383 goals in 433 matches overall.

In the 1938-39 season Everton with Joe Mercer, the classy T.G. Jones and Tommy Lawton won the Football League Championship again. Lawton scored 34 goals in this season at the age of 19. Sadly the outbreak of World War II interrupted the careers of this team for six years which otherwise might have dominated for several years.

The 1940s/50s: The barren years
Although the nineties have been regarded as a poor decade, this era was worse. The great pre-war team were quickly split up in 1946. Tommy Lawton was restless and joined Chelsea, Joe Mercer disagreed with the manager Theo Kelly and was sold to Arsenal, and they tried to sell T.G. Jones to A.S. Roma. Soon only Ted Sagar was left.

Under the management of the uninspired and under-financed Cliff Britton, Everton were relegated after the 1950-51 season for only the second time in their history to the Second Division. This time it took three seasons before Everton were promoted in 1954 as the runners-up. The final match of the season decided promotion when the Everton beat Oldham away 4-0.

The era nevertheless had some notable players such as Dave Hickson and Bobby Collins. Memorable matches included ending Manchester United's long unbeaten run at Old Trafford with a 5-2 win in 1956.

Harry Catterick's Era (1961-1974)
The 1960s is regarded by many fans as the golden era of Everton Football Club. After the barren period of the 1950s, Harry Catterick took charge of the Everton in 1961. The team were soon to be dubbed the "School of Science" after their methodical approach in the tradition of the Everton team in the 1920s who were first given this name. Their football was inventive and flowing similar to Tottenham's "Push and Run" style. In Catterick's first full season as manager Everton conceded fewer goals than any other team and finished fourth.

The following season, the Toffees lost just six of their 42 matches and took the title, with the striking partnership of Roy Vernon and Alex Young scoring 46 goals between them (the last time two Everton players have scored more than 20 goals each in one season). Other notable players included Billy Bingham, Jimmy Gabriel, Derek Temple, Bobby Collins and Brian Labone.

In 1966, the same year the English international team won the World Cup, Everton took home the FA Cup after overturning a two-goal deficit against Sheffield Wednesday in the final to win 3-2. Everton went on to reach the 1968 final, but were unable to overcome West Bromwich Albion at Wembley.

A year later in the 1969/70 season, Everton won the Championship again thanks in part to the scoring sensation of one Joe Royle, who would later manage the club to FA Cup success in 1995. The success of the team could be seen from the number of points won (one short of the record) and nine clear of Leeds United. The team won the league in style, playing what was virtually a form of Total Football orchestrated by the "Holy Trinity" midfield of Howard Kendall, Alan Ball and Colin Harvey. With Labone at centre-half and club captain and Royle up front, this is regarded by many fans as the club's finest side ever.

Harry Catterick's team of 1969/70 seemed destined for greatness but declined quickly. The team finished 14th, 15th, 17th and 7th in the following seasons. The stress of an under-performing team was said to be a factor in Harry Catterick's poor health and eventual resignation in 1974.

Mid/late 70s - Billy Bingham and Gordon Lee (1974-1981)
Everton were on course to win the Championship in the 1974/75 season under Billy Bingham (some bookmakers had even stopped taking bets at Easter) but some surprising losses to lowly opposition ended the challenge and they finished 4th. After two relatively poor seasons (11th and 9th), Bingham left in 1977. During the interregnum, Everton reached the League Cup final in 1977 losing late in extra time of the second replay. Bob Latchford scored 30 league goals in the 1977-78 season.

Under Gordon Lee Everton finished third in 1977/78 and fourth in 1978/79 after again looking title contenders for much of these seasons, but expectations were high given the success of Liverpool and so Lee departed in 1981 - by which time Everton had suffered another setback and narrowly avoided relegation to the Second Division.

80s - Kendall's glory years (1981-1993)
Everton emerged as strong contenders in the 1980s as one of Europe's top footballing sides thanks to the efforts of manager Howard Kendall and his impressive, though cheap, playing squad which included the likes of Neville Southall, Gary Stevens, Trevor Steven, Kevin Sheedy, Andy Gray and Peter Reid. Gary Lineker also graced Goodison for a season and hit 40 goals in all before moving on to Barcelona in 1986.

Domestically, Everton won the FA Cup in 1984 and league title in 1985 and another league title in 1987. They were also league title/FA Cup runners-up to neighbouring Liverpool in 1986 and were again on the losing side to Liverpool in the 1984 League Cup final and the 1989 FA Cup final.

Significantly, European success at last reached Goodison in 1985 in the shape of the European Cup Winners' Cup. After going through two-legged rounds against University College Dublin, Inter Bratislava and Fortuna Sittard, Everton defeated German giants Bayern Munich 3-1 in the semi-finals despite trailing at half time (in a match voted the greatest in Goodison Park history) and recorded the same scoreline against Austrian club Rapid Vienna in the final.

1985 was the year in which Everton almost recorded the "treble". They managed to capture the league title and the Cup Winners' Cup but were defeated by Manchester United in the FA Cup Final thanks to Norman Whiteside's extra-time goal. Nevertheless, it was arguably the club's most successful season since its creation and has not been equalled by future Everton teams since.

Fans contend that the 1980s Everton team could have gone on to win even more European silverware after their 1985 Cup Winners' Cup success were it not for the banning of all English clubs from continental competitions by UEFA after the Heysel Stadium disaster (involving, in dark irony, Liverpool fans). Indeed, a large proportion of the title winning side was broken up following the ban. By the time the ban was lifted, Everton were no longer the team they were in 1985.

Kendall left in 1987 to hand over the reins to assistant Colin Harvey. They finished fourth in 1988 and were F.A Cup runners-up a year later.

90s Harvey, Walker, Royle and Kendall's return (1993-1997)
Harvey was eventually sacked on 1 November 1990 with Everton third from bottom in the league. During his time in charge, Harvey made Tony Cottee the first £2million player to be transferred between British clubs when he signed the 23-year-old striker from West Ham at the start of the 1988-89 season.

By the time of the Premier League's creation in 1992, Everton were no longer one of England's top footballing sides but as a club were considered one of the "big five" and were instrumental in the formation of the breakway league. Although Howard Kendall had returned as manager in November 1990, league performance was underwhelming and the first Premiership season brought an unremarkable 13th place finish which put them below much less established teams such as Queens Park Rangers, Norwich City, and Wimbledon.

Kendall quit as manager halfway through 1993-94 and was replaced by Norwich City's Mike Walker who had done an impressive job with the Canaries and made several expensive new signings in a bid to drag Everton clear of the relegation battle they now found themselves in. They went into the final game of the season needing to beat Wimbledon in order to stay up, and all hope seemed lost when they went 2-0 down in the first half. But Everton pulled off a remarkable comeback to win 3-2 and stay up.

A dreadful start to the 1994-95 season saw Walker sacked after less than a year in charge, and Everton legend Joe Royle was appointed in his place - faced with the task of achieving Premiership survival for a side who had failed to win any of their first 12 league games. His first game in charge was a memorable 2-0 victory over Liverpool. Royle dragged Everton clear of relegation and also led the club to the FA Cup for the fifth time in history, defeating Manchester United 1-0 in the final. The cup triumph was also Everton's passport to the Cup Winners Cup - their first European campaign in the post-Heysel era. Progress under Joe Royle continued in 1995-96 as they climbed to sixth place in the Premiership and were only pipped to a UEFA Cup place on the final day of the season by Arsenal. Injury problems and the sale of star Ukrainian winger Andrei Kanchelskis meant that after a promising start 1996-97 was a tough season for the blues as they slid to a 15th place finish. Royle quit in March and club captain Dave Watson was given the manager's job on a temporary basis and completed the task of Premiership survival.

Howard Kendall was appointed Everton manager for the third time during the summer of 1997, but his final reign at the helm was his least successful. With little financial backing Kendall's main concern was fighting off relegation. Everton went into the final day of the season in the Premiership's relegation places. In the end, to the immense relief of the capacity Goodison Park crowd, a 1-1 draw with Coventry City meant they finished 17th and avoided relegation because they had a greater goal difference than Bolton Wanderers. Kendall resigned soon afterwards, with the heady heights of his first spell in charge a very distant memory.

Recent years - Smith and Moyes (Since 1998)
Successful former Rangers manager Walter Smith took over from Kendall in the summer of 1998 and big things were expected along with some high profile signings but his first season brought an unremarkable 14th place finish. His chances of success were hampered by continuing financial constraints which had also contributed to the club's decline in previous years. 1999-2000 brought an unimpressive 13th place finish and Smith came under increased pressure after Everton finished 16th the following season.

The Everton board finally ran out of patience with Smith and he was sacked in March 2002 with Everton in real danger of relegation. The Smith years have come to be regarded by Everton fans as a particularly bleak period in the clubs history, with particular disdain being reserved for the unattractive style of play of the team during this period. The board turned to promising young Preston manager David Moyes with the task of moving Everton forward after years of underachievement. Moyes seemed to have made a positive impact on Everton during his first full season in charge, as they finished seventh in the Premiership and just missed out on a UEFA Cup place, in a season which was dominated by the emergence of brilliant young striker Wayne Rooney. In October 2002, he entered football folklore by scoring a sensational last-minute winner against league champions Arsenal, consigning them to their first league defeat for almost a year. He also became the youngest ever player to play for England, in February 2003 and seven months later became the youngest England goalscorer. The former record was beaten by Theo Walcott in 2006 although Rooney's first impression greatly outshone that of Walcott.

Everton suffered a major setback in 2003-04, finishing 17th and accumulating the lowest points total in the club's history. It was feared that the club's half-century stay in the top level of English football could be over when Rooney handed in a transfer request and was sold to Manchester United in August 2004 for a fee of £23million providing Wayne Rooney remained a Manchester United player until 30 June 2007 and could have potentially risen to £30million due to bonus payments for league positions, trophies, international caps and 25% excess sell on fees. [2].

However, Everton's now-diminutive squad pulled together in the 2004-05 season, thanks greatly to the 4-5-1 tactic of Moyes and the sensational form of Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen. Despite Gravesen's sale to Real Madrid midway through the season, Everton managed to finish fourth in the table, their highest position for nearly twenty years, and achieve Champions League qualification, ahead of rivals Liverpool. In this amazing season, Everton also recorded their first victory of the new millennium over Liverpool and their first win over Manchester United since the 1995 FA Cup final.

Everton started the 2005-06 season badly, with their Champions League campaign ending in the qualifying stages. They were defeated by Villarreal, after a controversial decision by Italian referee Pierluigi Collina to disallow a seemingly legitimate Everton goal late in the second leg when the score was 3-2. This disheartening defeat had a knock-on effect and the team's form slumped with a humiliating UEFA Cup exit at the hands of Dinamo Bucharest along the way. Poor decisions in the transfer market by Moyes, most notably the signing of Per Krøldrup with many predicting he 'couldn't cut it' in the Barclays Premiership and the failure to find a strike partner for James Beattie also took their toll on a season that began with much promise.

After flailing in the relegation zone up to October 2005, Everton stopped Chelsea's nine match winning run with a 1-1 draw to spark a short revival that saw the team finally start to get regular results to put much needed points on the board. However, this was followed by another dismal run including several 4-0 defeats to sides in the bottom half of the table and a one sided derby match. A 1-0 win at Sunderland on New Year's Eve started a run of five straight Premiership wins and six matches unbeaten including victory against Arsenal- the club's best run of results since the Premiership began which hauled the team away from the relegation zone, and made a top half finish or even Europe a real possibility. This was not to be as the team remained as inconsistent as ever and a disappointing draw on the last day meant an 11th place finish instead of moving into the top half. Inconsistency and a shortage of goals let Everton down in 2005-06.

Everton began the 2006-07 season very strongly. A 2-0 away win at Tottenham, their first league win at White Hart Lane in twenty years, followed by a 3-0 drubbing of Merseyside rivals Liverpool brought great expectations from fans. New signing from Crystal Palace Andrew Johnson took centre stage having scored six goals in his opening seven games. Aside from some lapses in the first half of the season (including a run of 6 defeats in 9 league and cup games), Everton's season proved steady, and after only 2 defeats in their final 11 league games were able to end the season in 6th place, thereby qualifying for the following seasons UEFA Cup competition.

During the summer of 2007, the club announced an exciting new adventure with the addition of a professional basketball team, called the Everton Tigers, to the Community programme[3]. An amalgam with the local Toxteth Tigers community team, the professional team were entered into the top-tier professional British Basketball League as one of three expansion franchises for the 2007-08 season, and the first participant from the city of Liverpool. The club agreed a deal with Greenbank Sports Centre to act as the clubs' home venue for their inaugural season.

Back on the footballing side, the 2007/2008 season started with Everton acquiring 3 new players - Phil Jagielka from relegated Sheffield United, Leighton Baines from Wigan Athletic and Steven Pienaar acquired from Borussia Dortmund on loan. By the 4th game of the season they had bolstered their ranks further with the addition of Yakubu Aiyegbeni in a club record signing from Middlesbrough F.C. for 11.25 million pounds while Thomas Gravesen was recruited on loan from Celtic F.C. just before the transfer deadline.

Everton started the season in impressive form, reaching 3rd position in the league by mid-September.

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