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On This Day in Everton History: March 23rd

More semi-final success, stadium deal set in stone and Arsenal gunned down in today’s feature

Derby v Everton X
Everton won a 4-3 thriller at Derby County on this day in 2002

Want to relive some March 23 memories of Everton?

Here’s four memorable moments in the Blues’ history on this day, from crucial cup victories and taking a step closer to becoming championships to helter-skelter wins and deals reached over a new stadium:

1907 - Blues beat Baggies in Bolton in FA Cup semi

Defending FA Cup champions Everton were making a strong fist of retaining the crown in 1907, while fighting for the First Division title all the while.

Having already seen off Sheffield United, West Ham United, Bolton and Crystal Palace, up next was a semi-final date at Bolton’s Burnden Park with West Bromwich Albion of the Second Division on March 23.

Jack Sharp and George Wilson got the goals for the Blues in a 2-1 win over the Baggies to set up a final clash at the Crystal Palace with The Wednesday (now Sheffield Wednesday), who beat Woolwich Arsenal (now Arsenal) 3-1 on the same day at St Andrew’s.

1985 - Arsenal seen off as title gets closer

Fresh from seeing off Fortuna Sittard in the Cup Winners’ Cup three days earlier, it was back to the bread and butter of league football for Everton on March 23, 1985 when Arsenal paid a visit to Goodison Park. Top of the league already, there was still much for the Blues to do.

A towering first-half header from Andy Gray settled the nerves, before Graeme Sharp netted a late tap-in to seal the points for Howard Kendall’s side and score his own 23rd goal of the season.

It kept the Blues well on course for an historic league and European cup double, and extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to an impressive 16 games.

2002 - Derby edged out in seven-goal thriller

From the first-minute goal on his debut as manager to this topsy-turvy encounter a week later, David Moyes’ 11-year tenure as Everton boss hardly got off to the most conventional start.

And in truth, the Blues made far heavier weather of Derby, relegated that season, than they should have. Especially when, after 55 minutes, they found themselves 3-0 up at Pride Park thanks to David Unsworth, a stunning Alan Stubbs free-kick and Niclas Alexandersson.

But Derby would not go away, not even after Duncan Ferguson restored Everton’s three-goal lead, Branko Strupar having made it 3-1 a minute after Alexandersson’s goal. Back they fought through Lee Morris and a second for Strupar to leave a game that should have been out of sight on a knife edge.

Thankfully, though, the Blues held on, recording successive league wins for the first time that season as Moyes maintained his 100 per cent start to life at Goodison.

2017 - Land bought for future stadium move

Proposed Site of Everton’s New Stadium - Bramley Moore Dock
Bramley Moore Dock, the proposed site of Everton’s new stadium
Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images

Today also marks three years since Everton purchased the land around Bramley-Moore Dock from Peel Holdings, making the next step in their eventual departure from Goodison Park.

The club reportedly paid less than the £30 million quoted price for the land, situated further down the River Mersey from the Albert Dock. Since then, through various consultation processes, designs for the new stadium have been revealed, with renowned stadium architect Dan Meis behind the project.

Though the coronavirus may impact progress made on building the new stadium, Everton have insisted that won’t be the case, with an opening in 2023 still pencilled in.