With 2017 slowly drawing to a close it’s time to look back on an eventful 12 months for Everton.
The year began with such promise, as Ronald Koeman’s side really began to click into gear.
Romelu Lukaku became Everton’s Premier League record goalscorer as European football was secured for the first time in three seasons with a comfortable seventh place finish.
Off the field there was tangible progress in the club’s search for a new stadium, with land secured on Bramley Moore Dock.
Then followed a record-breaking summer as the Toffees shelled out in excess of £100m on new signings - including the return of the prodigal son, Wayne Rooney.
Lukaku, however, would jump ship and head across the M62 to Manchester United.
Things would quickly go wrong though, as the team tumbled out of Europe and down the league table.
Out went Koeman in October and in came caretaker David Unsworth, but the downward slide continued.
Marco Silva was very publicly courted but proved out of reach, with Watford FC, quite understandably holding firm.
An eight-game unbeaten run has done much to quell the sense of panic and gives us optimism heading into the new year.
But before we start to look forward, let’s take one last look back....
Goal of the Year
Adam - Gylfi Sigurdsson at Hajduk Split. It didn't wind up meaning much in the grand scheme of things, but the Icelander's goal took the pressure out of an uncomfortable match in Croatia and gave us all high hopes for what he could bring to Everton.
Callum - Wayne Rooney vs West Ham United - This one picks itself, a mesmerising goal from Rooney to complete his hat trick, just a special goal from a special player.
Tyler - Gylfi Sigurdsson at Southampton on November 26th
Calvin - Tough choice between Tom Davies' audacious attempt against City and Wayne Rooney's midfield mastershot against the Hammers, but I'll give it to the young lad Davies.
Matt A - Tom Davies run against Manchester City. An amazing run against one of the league’s better teams and has to give Everton fans hope for the future.
Zach - Sentimentally, some might want to go with one of Rooney's great goals from this year and I understand that. But Siggy's goal against Southampton wins it for me. The nice buildup, the cutback to create space, and then the absolutely brilliant shot from outside the box was all just brilliant.
Tom - Have to go with Wayne Rooney’s third goal against West Ham. All goals scored from the halfway line are spectacular, but this was extra special because it required such superb technique. It also marked the turning point in Everton’s season, closing a particulary sorry chapter in the club’s recent history.
Player of the Year
Adam - Morgan Schneiderlin. I know he got off to a slow start this season, but the Toffees were unbeatable with him in the lineup in the second half of last season, and it's no surprise that the team's return to form has come as Sam Allardyce returned him to a regular role in the midfield.
Callum - Idrissa Gueye - It's been an up and down year for the Blues and while some players have played well this season, if I'm going on the performance in the calendar year it has to be Gueye. He does the work of two men and is always there to rely on.
Tyler - Wayne Rooney
Calvin - Jordan Pickford has been nothing short of incredible since he's come in, while Romelu Lukaku also finished last season strong, but I'm going with someone who's been on the squad for both last season and this one too. He’s had a bit of stick towards the end of Koeman’s tenure for wanting to go walkabout, but for consistency, tenacity and embodying the Everton spirit throughout, mine is Idrissa Gueye.
Matt A - It’s not going to be a popular choice but Romelu Lukaku was far and away Everton’s best player of 2017. Everton clearly miss his 26 goal season.
Zach - Leighton Baines. There's actually a few couple who I think have outperformed Baines this year, but they both came in over the summer. With Lukaku mailing it in down the last stretch of his Everton career, Schneiderlin forgetting how to play football this season, Seamus getting hurt, and Wayne and Gylfi only being here the back half of the year, it's Baines. Mr. Consistent.
Tom - This was probably the toughest one to choose. Romelu Lukaku shone during the early part of the year but has since moved on. Wayne Rooney has hit a purple patch recently but dipped during the early autumn. The same can be said of the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Morgan Schneiderlin. Jonjoe Kenny is improving week by week but only broke into the team recently. Therefore my pick is a player who has been consistent throughout the whole of 2017, even when the team was struggling - Idrissa Gueye.
Moment of the Year
Callum - Tom Davies goal vs Man City - It's hard to believe we smashed the now seemingly invincible Man City 4-0 this year and Tom Davies' stunning goal was a real highlight in an otherwise dull year. His run and finish sent Goodison wild and he announced himself on the Everton scene.
Adam - The firing of Ronald Koeman. Obviously it isn't something we would like to dwell on for too long, but there was no more impactful moment than when the Dutchman was let go. The team has moved in the right direction since his departure, not to mention the ever-emerging details of the dysfunctional locker room and board room from his tenure.
Calvin - So many pivotal moments this season, especially off the field with the Blues spending bucketloads in the summer window, this season starting off like crap and turning into a dumpster fire, Ronald Koeman getting the sack, David Unsworth falling flat, and Sam Allardyce finally stepping in. Then there were some incredible games we were involved in too. My moment of the year though will go to Wazza, and his unveiling at Finch Farm as an Everton player once again - the prodigal son returns, unheralded, and next thing you know he's got the same number of goals as the striker he wasn't expected to replace.
Tyler - Tom Davies goal/celebration vs Manchester City on January 15th
Matt A - Qualifying for the Europa League. It may have all ended in disaster, but the accomplishment was impressive nonetheless.
Zach - Gonna cheat here and go with another goal. Wayne Rooney against Stoke. First home goal in what, 13 years? We'll all remember that one.
Tom - Tom Davies’ goal and celebration against Manchester City. It was Everton’s best performance and result of the year without question and Davies’ fine goal capped it off. The midfielder’s joyful charge towards a delirious Gwladys Street became an iconic image and one we will remember for a long time.