Everton Football Club

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Everton Football Club is an association football club based in Liverpool which competes in the English FA Premier League. Everton was founded in 1878 and was a founder member of the Football League in 1888. The club is historically one of the most successful in England with 9 league titles and 5 FA Cup wins. In 1985, Everton won the European Cup-Winners Cup, its only success at international level.[1] In the 2005–06 season, Everton celebrated a record 100 seasons (not consecutive) in the top flight of English football; the club's current run in the top division began in 1954.

Everton's home venue is Goodison Park, which was opened in 1892. The team colours comprise a royal blue jersey with white shorts and socks. The team is nicknamed the "Toffees", after a local establishment called Ye Anciente Everton Toffee House, or simply the "Blues". Everton fans tend to be labelled "Evertonians". At home matches, the Everton team always walks out to the accompaniment of the tune Johnny Todd, which was famously the theme music of the Merseyside-based TV police series Z-Cars.

Club origin

The club's origin is a Sunday School cricket team formed in 1876 by the Reverend B S Chambers, Minister of St Domingo's Methodist Church in the Everton district of Liverpool. Mr Chambers had wanted a means of creating interest for local boys and, when the venture proved successful, he decided that the church should have a football team too to keep the boys occupied during the winter months. St Domingo FC was formed in 1878 and soon attracted members from other parishes. In November 1879, a meeting was held at the Queen's Head Hotel, not far from the Toffee House, where a decision was taken to rename the club as Everton FC.

Club history

1880 to 1915

Everton's first ground was a patch of open land in the south-east part of Stanley Park which occupies a huge expanse between the neighbouring districts of Everton and Anfield. By 1882, the club was attracting crowds of up to 2,000 and the park venue was no longer suitable. An enclosed ground with terracing was urgently needed. A ground on Priory Road was used in the 1883–84 season but the landowner withdrew his support and the club had to find another ground before the 1884–85 season.

In September 1884, Everton moved to a better-equipped ground off Anfield Road, close by the south end of Stanley Park. The ground became known as Anfield Stadium, or Anfield for short. The joint landlords were John Houlding, a former Tory MP, and the Orrell Brothers Brewery. The facilities and attendances enabled Everton to turn professional in 1885 and, in 1888, become a founder member of the Football League.

Everton won its first league championship title in 1890–91, largely thanks to the outside left pairing of Alfred Milward and Edgar Chadwick. But the club's success encouraged Houlding to double the rent. When the members protested, he offered to sell Anfield to the club for £6,000 which was a ridiculous price at the time.

Everton quit Anfield in 1892 and occupied another site called Mere Green on the north side of Stanley Park. This was not a promising development but the board determined to build three stands holding 11,000 people with turnstiles and modern conveniences. The result was what has been called the "first proper football ground in England".[2] The name was soon changed to Goodison Park as the ground is just off Goodison Road.

Meanwhile, Houlding was left with a stadium but no club, so he decided to found his own and this was Everton's great rival, Liverpool.

In the early years of the 20th century, the club adopted both its current blue and white kit and its club motto Nil satis nisi optimum (Only the best will do). Everton won its first FA Cup in 1906, having defeated Liverpool in the semi-finals, and its second league championship in 1914–15, after which football was suspended for the duration of the First World War. Everton's best player during this period was half-back Harry Makepeace. Striker Bobby Parker scored a record 36 goals in 1914–15.

1919 to 1939

Everton's greatest player in the inter-war period was the record-breaking international striker Dixie Dean.

1946 to 1980

After a spell in the Second Division, Everton was promoted back to the First Division in 1954 and has remained in the top flight ever since. Only Arsenal has a longer current run.

Harry Catterick's classy team, known as the Academy of Science, won the championship in 1962–63 and the FA Cup in 1966. Inspired by Alan Ball, Everton won another league title in 1970.

1981 to 1993

Howard Kendall became manager in 1981 and helped to make the 1980s one of the most successful periods in the club’s history. After winning the FA Cup in 1984, Everton won both the league title and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1985. Having finished second to Liverpool in 1986, Everton won the league title again in 1987.

Like all English clubs, Everton was prevented from appearing in European competitions after the Heysel Disaster in May 1985, when rioting by English fans caused the deaths of 39 people. The ban was imposed for five years.

Everton was denied two chances to compete for the European Cup and its team began to break up. A period of instability and disappointment followed after Howard Kendall left in 1987 to manage Athletic Bilbao. He was succeeded by Colin Harvey. In 1990, Kendall returned but could not lead Everton back into title contention and he left the club again in 1993.

1993 to 2002

Everton fans refer to this period as the "Wilderness Years". Despite winning the FA Cup for the 5th time in 1995, Everton frequently battled relegation. The trouble coincided with the birth of the FA Premier League, replacing the old First Division in 1992. Player transfer fees and wages grew exponentially as money from gate receipts became less important than television broadcast rights money.

Mike Walker was appointed to replace Kendall in 1993. His first season in charge very nearly saw the club relegated. Only a remarkable 3–2 victory over Wimbledon on the last day of the season saved Everton's place in the top flight. Everton recovered from a two-goal deficit to win a game that is known as the "Great Escape" by the fans. It did not save Mike Walker, however, and after a poor start to the following season, he was replaced by Joe Royle.

Royle led a brief Everton revival as the team won the FA Cup and finished 6th in 1996, narrowly missing qualification for the UEFA Cup. But, after a disastrous start to the 1996–97 season, Royle made way for Kendall to return for his third term. This was marked by further disappointment, as Everton again battled relegation. Kendall was replaced by Scotsman Walter Smith, who had enjoyed massive success in the Scottish Premier League with Glasgow Rangers.

Smith’s arrival coincided with a change of Everton’s ownership. Chairman Peter Johnson was bought out and replaced by the West End mogul, Bill Kenwright. The Smith years were characterised by a high turnover of players and continued under-achievement. In 2002, as Everton struggled once more to avoid relegation, Walter Smith’s tenure at Everton ended.

2002 to present

As replacement, the young player-manager David Moyes was recruited from Preston North End despite his lack of experience. In his first press conference, he described Everton as the "People's Club". He was referring to his view that the "man on the street" in Liverpool was an Everton fan and that the club was born and supported by the community, rather than a rich commercial conglomeration. The phrase struck a chord with Evertonians and it became the official slogan and mantra of Moyes' regime.[3]

His first task was to save Everton from relegation and he succeeded. The following season (2002–03), he built on his success and guided Everton to a 7th-place finish, the highest since 1995–1996. For his achievement, the League Manager’s Association (LMA) voted him Manager of the Year.

Moyes' second full season was disappointing as the team failed to find form. Everton finished 17th amidst rumours of dressing room disagreements between Moyes and his senior players. However, Kenwright withheld the axe and Everton started their third full season under David Moyes, but in a subdued mood.

Despite the gloom and a tumultuous summer that saw the departure of homegrown superstar Wayne Rooney to Manchester United and the signing of low-key players like Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent, Everton surprised everybody by finishing 4th in the league with 62 points, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. It would be their first campaign in Europe since 1995. David Moyes collected his second LMA Manager of the Year award. Tim Cahill proved to be an inspired signing, finishing as Everton’s top scorer in his first season. He has remained highly influential ever since.

The 2005–06 season was disappointing as Everton failed to make it past the first round of the Champions League and finished 11th in the Premier League. But the team qualified for the UEFA Cup in 2006–07 after finishing 6th. In 2007–08 they did slightly better and finished 5th.

Everton reached the FA Cup final in 2009 but lost to Chelsea. In 2010, with Moyes still in charge, the team finished 8th in the league.