The Everton story.. thus far
Previous names: St Domingo's FC
Admitted to Football League: 1888
European Cup Winners' Cup: 1984-85
First Division 9
Second Division 1
No English side has spent more of its life at the top table than Everton. They have played more matches in the highest division than any other club, and have been outside it for only four years since they were founder members of the Football League in 1888. In that time they have won 15 major honours, including nine league titles. Everton were originally called St Domingo's, having been founded by members of St Domingo's Methodist Church in 1878. They won their first title in 1890 and finished as runners-up five times before their next championship, in 1915. They also won their first FA Cup in 1906, beating Newcastle 1-0, but Everton experienced the first of eight FA Cup final defeats a year later. The Twenties brought one of the most improbable championship wins in 1928; it was sandwiched between finishes of 20th and 18th. The reason for their triumph was not far to seek. The astonishing form of Dixie Dean, whose 60 league goals remains an English top-flight record, propelled Everton to the championship. Dean's output remained extraordinary - his 383 goals for the club are more than twice Graeme Sharp in second place - yet despite that Everton were relegated for the first time in 1930. They were promoted at the first attempt - and then won the title in their first season back in the top flight. There was another FA Cup victory in 1933, and Everton were also champions in the final season before the war. They struggled after the war, spending three seasons in Division Two from 1951 to 1954, but the appointment of Harry Catterick as manager in 1961 was the catalyst for another period of success. Everton were champions in 1963 and won the FA Cup in extraordinary circumstances three years later, coming from 2-0 down to beat Sheffield Wednesday. That team won another championship in 1970, yet it would be an otherwise forgettable decade, not least because of the rampant success of their rivals Liverpool. It was not until Howard Kendall made a number of shrewd lower-league signings in the early Eighties that Everton again tasted success. They won the FA Cup in 1984 and then enjoyed their best-ever season the following year. As well as romping to the title, Everton won the Cup Winners' Cup and were beaten in the FA Cup final. Another title followed two years later, but the loss of Kendall to Athletic Bilbao in 1987 precipitated a decline that seeped into the Nineties. Everton came desperately close to relegation in 1994, coming from 2-0 down to beat Wimbledon 3-2 on a madcap final day. The following year, Joe Royle's 'Dogs of War' won the FA Cup, but for the most part this was Everton's lost decade. They also avoided relegation on the final day of the 1997-98 season and finished in the top half of the table only once between 1992 and 2002. Then came the appointment of the unheralded David Moyes, whose shrewd management revitalised the club. Everton finished fourth in 2005 - the first time in 18 years that they had finished above Liverpool - and thereafter established themselves as one of the best of those battling below the Premier League's glass ceiling. They also reached the FA Cup final in 2009, where they were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea, and after another season just below the European places, slowly but surely, Everton were getting back to where they belonged.
By Rob Smyth