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Everton Football Club

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This entry refers to the version of the sport known internationally as Association Football. More specifically, this article focuses on a football team based in Liverpool, England and known as Everton Football Club.

The Early Years

Everton FC1 were founded in 1878, under the name of St Domingo's FC, a Sunday School Football team for St Domingo's Church in the district of Everton. The team was initially set up as something for the children to do during the winter, when there was no cricket. A year later, in 1879, because there were so many people outside St Domingo's who wanted to join the team, the name was changed to Everton FC, a name it still retains. Everton's first official game was against a team called St Peter's, played at the local Stanley Park on December 20, 1879. Everton won 6-0.

Prior to the League's formation, the team had played in the FA Cup a number of times, failing to win it. However, Everton finally won the competition in 1906, beating Newcastle in the final.

Everton moved to a park on Priory Road in 1882, but two years later moved to Anfield. In 1885 Everton became a professional side and, three years later, became one of the 12 founder members of the English football league; their first league match was against Accrington FC2, which Everton won 2-1. By 1891, Everton had won their first title and to date3 have notched up nine titles.

Goodison Park

In 1892, Everton fell out with the landlord of Anfield, John Houlding, and decided to buy their own ground. A man by the name of George Mahon, the leader of the move away from Anfield, already owned a part of Stanley Park near Goodison Road, and built the ground at lightning speed in time for the 1892-93 season. The first league match at Goodison Park was a 2-2 draw against Nottingham.

The 'Other Lot'

It was at this time that those who had decided to remain at Anfield, both players and board members, formed a new club called Liverpool FC. When Liverpool were eventually admitted to the league, the split caused a rivalry between Everton and Liverpool. The first ever Liverpool derbies4 were played in the 1894-95 season, Everton winning the first game of the season at Goodison Park 3-0 in front of a crowd of 44 thousand, and the second game being a 2-2 draw at Anfield in front of 26 thousand spectators.

Theme-tunes, Nicknames and the Kit

In the early years, Everton wore a blue and white striped shirt. However, when players started to transfer from different clubs they tended to wear their old clubs kits, ruining the idea of uniformity somewhat. In order for the whole team to wear the same kit, all the shirts were dyed black, and Everton initially got the nickname 'The Black Watch'. However, Everton's nickname soon changed to 'The Blues' as they started to wear their now traditional royal blue kit in the 1901-02 season.

Everton's more famous nickname today is 'The Toffees' or 'Toffee-men'. There are many different suggestion of origins for this moniker, one being to do with a toffee shop near the ground, another being that 'Toffees' was a nickname at the time for the Irish, of whom there were many in Liverpool. Whatever the origin, it is a part of Everton history.

Most UK football teams today run out onto the pitch to a particular tune or anthem, and Everton are no exception, though the choice of music is rather unusual. The tune is originally from a folksong composed by Johnny Todd which was better known as the theme music from the 1960s BBC TV series 'Z Cars', a gritty and innovative police series set in a fictitious town in Lancashire. According to the unofficial Everton fansite 'Toffeeweb', one of the cast of Z Cars was an Everton fan who brought along other members of the cast to watch the game. The story goes that the players ran out to the Z Cars theme in their honour, and the tune has stuck ever since, apart from a brief, thoroughly unpopular period in the mid 1990s.

The School of Science

The 1960s heralded major changes in the organisation and style of football in Britain. The abolition of the players' maximum wage led to full-time professional footballers who had increased levels of fitness and organisation and would galvanise British football. This would subsequently pave the way for England to be crowned World Champions and for both Celtic and Manchester United to be crowned European Champions. Everton would not be left behind and were to take a leading role in this revolution:

At the beginning of the decade Everton were comfortably ensconced in the top division but had not won a major trophy in over twenty years. Tottenham Hotspurs had won 'The Double'5 in 1961 but were being challenged hard by the likes of Manchester United and West Ham United. In order to help revive the Club's fortunes the Everton board invited local businessman John Moores to join the board. Moores was originally from Manchester but had built his Littlewoods Empire on Merseyside and had taken Everton to heart; he would also become Liverpool FC's largest shareholder. Making large sums of money available, he quickly became chairman and did not take long to show the extent of his ambition. Unhappy with the performance of the side he sacked the manager, Johnny Carey, whilst in a London taxicab. Everton were fourth in Division One at the time.

Moores turned to Sheffield Wednesday's talented manager, Harry Catterick. Moores backed Catterick's judgement with record-breaking amounts of money, which earned Everton the nickname 'The Bank of England Club'. Within a few years they had earned a new nickname - 'The School of Science'. Despite his dour exterior, Catterick's ethos was one of inventive flowing football and this reached its peak with his record-breaking side of 1970. Powered by the legendary midfield trio of Ball, Harvey and Kendall they strode away with the Championship, Catterick's second at Everton.

As the club attempted to build on their success, it appeared they could only attract bad luck. Evertonians could do little but shake their heads in despair as a procession of internationals exited the club. Colin Harvey, Joe Royle and Tommy Wright all had their careers cut short by tragic injuries. Retirements took key players and internal problems saw the departure of players such as Alan Ball. Despite spending heavily Catterick failed to build another side capable of challenging for honours. With the strains of the job beginning to take their toll on his health Catterick was replaced by Moores. Successive managers, despite heavy spending in the transfer market, failed to lift Everton into serious Championship contenders. To make matters even worse for Evertonians, their great rivals Liverpool had built a near perfect footballing juggernaut at Anfield which swept all before them.

Whilst still owning the majority of Everton shares, John Moores advancing years and declining health led him to delegate the responsibility of running the club to others. Everton were once again wallowing in the no-man's-land of the top flight. Years of Liverpool success allied to an Everton barren spell left the club with a shrunken fan base and short of the financial firepower to be a big player. But things would get even worse before they would turn the corner:

The Return to Success

Everton began their comeback in 1981 with the appointment of Howard Kendall. His reign initially didn't look that promising with a near-sacking at the end of the 1982/83 season. The turnaround started in the least likely of places: a fifth round tie against Oxford in the League Cup. Everton won the match 4-1 and went on to play Liverpool in the final. Though Liverpool won the first ever all-Merseyside final, all thoughts of sackings were now forgotten. Later that season Everton played Watford in the FA Cup, and won. This was their first trophy in 14 years - but it was just the beginning.

The following season (1984/85), Everton went on to clinch the League title and the European Cup Winners Cup - their first piece of European silverware. The stage was set for Everton to dominate European football, with plaudits for the team coming from all quarters. Sadly for the game of football, and for Everton, the now infamous Heisel disaster where many fans were killed, was caused while Liverpool were playing in Europe that season. The football authorities judged Liverpool the guilty party, and decided that English fans should be banned. This was cruel blow for Everton, who could as a consequence not compete in the European Cup6, as they would have done under normal circumstances.

Undeterred, Everton went on trying to show themselves as the quality team they were. They narrowly missed out on the league title, and lst to Liverpool in the FA Cup final. However, Everton came back with a vengeance the following season, winning the 1986/87 league title. The triumph, however, was to be short lived. Everton once again had another cruel blow to deal with, as Howard Kendall decided the following season to try his hand at European football, moving to Spain with Athletic Bilbao (who were, of course, still permitted to enter European competitions). His former deputy, Colin Harvey, took over at Everton, and attempted to continue the success. But Everton were never the same side.

The Future

It is fair to say that, while the 1980s were probably Everton's most successful period, the 1990s were an awful barren spell with one bright spot in 1995 winning the FA Cup and the Charity Shield (now called the Community Shield). The future however is looking more promising through young local players such as Wayne Rooney, who scored the 'wonder-goal' against Arsenal at Goodison Park (causing Everton to win 2-1 after Tomasz Radzinski had scored earlier in the match) in October 2002, and Tony Hibbert. With the promotion of Everton's name over the world through television pictures and the Internet, the future looks bright.

Everton - The Legends

Through the years, Everton has had many great players. Probably the best place to start would be with a certain gentleman by the name of William Ralph Dean, nicknamed 'Dixie':

William Ralph 'Dixie' Dean

'Dixie' Dean was the best player of his generation anywhere in the world, and many would argue he was one of the best of any generation. Born William Ralph Dean on 22 January, 1907, in Birkenhead, England, he got the nickname 'Dixie' from his dark skin and thick black curly hair7. His greatest achievement as a footballer was, at the age of 21, to score 60 goals in the 1927-28 season. This is a record which has lasted over 70 years (the previous record was held by Middlesborough player George Camsell, with 59 goals the previous season). In his Everton career he scored 349 league goals, with an average of 0.94 goals a game (473 goals in 502 matches). All this despite serious injuries from a motorcycle accident at the age of 19, shortly after joining the club. He died in 1980 at Goodison Park, after watching an Everton-Liverpool derby.

Howard Kendall

Born: Ryton-on-Tyne on May 22, 1946. Howard Kendall, though a successful Everton player, will be best remembered for his abilities as a manager. In March 1967, Everton signed him from Preston and he went on to make 229 appearances, scoring 21 goals. In 1974, he left Everton for Birmingham, but later returned (something he would make a habit of). In August 1981, Howard returned as Everton player-manager (though he only played four games before he finally retiring from his playing career). In 1984, he won his first major honour by winning the FA Cup, 2-0 against Watford at Wembley.

Neville Southall

Born in 1958 in Llandudno, North Wales, Neville Southall played 751 games for Everton between 1981 and 1997, and was part of the 1980s Everton side which was among the best Everton have ever had. His part in the club's success of that era led to him being regarded as the best goalkeeper in Everton's history, the best Welsh goalkeeper ever and, for a while in the mid-80s, the best goalkeeper in the world. He has played more games for Everton than anyone else, and at the age of 37 he conceded only one goal in the entire 1995 FA Cup as Everton claimed their only major trophy of the 1990s.

Everton Football Club Facts


All statistics accurate to January 2003.

  • Record attendance: 78,299 v Liverpool, 1948
  • Record victory: 11-2 v Derby, 1890
  • Record defeat: 4-10 v Spurs, 1958
  • Highest transfer fee paid: £5.75m - Nick Barmby from Middlesborough. October 1996
  • Transfer fee received: £8m - Andrei Kanchelskis to Fiorentina. February 1997
  • Most capped player: Neville Southall (86 caps for Wales)
  • Single-season league scoring record: Dixie Dean 60 (1927/28)
  • Career league scoring record: Dixie Dean 349
  • Youngest goalscorer: Wayne Rooney (16 years 360 days, on October 19 2002)


European Cup Winners Cup Champions: 1985

English League champions (9): 1891, 1915, 1928, 1932, 1939, 1963, 1970, 1985, 1987

FA Cup Winners (5): 1906, 1933, 1966, 1984, 1995

General Information

  • Everton's current home is Goodison Park, Liverpool, England. An all-seater ground, its capacity is 40,260.
  • Everton currently hold the record of the most number of appearances in the top flight of the English League - 100 years to the 2002/2003 season
  • Everton have not been relegated in 49 years. This is the second longest period, after Arsenal who have spent 77 years without relegation. Everton have only been relegated twice since the league's construction, and have only spent four seasons out of the top division. No other English team can claim a similar record.
1An abreviation for 'Football Club'.2Not to be confused with the infamously unlucky 'Accrington Stanley' who are, and have always been, a different club.3January 2003.4The term 'derby', referring to a match between two local sides, is thought to originate from a football-like game played in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England - where every fixture was known as a 'Derby'.5Winning both the English Division One (now the Premier League) and FA Cup in the same season6Now known as the 'Champions' League'.7 Despite being universally known by this name, he is known to have hated it, preferring to be called simply 'Bill'.

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