March 28 mostly represents a day of highs for Everton, with one crushing exception. Here, we look back at four of the Blues’ most notable outings on this day previously:
1925 - Dixie gets off the mark
Nobody can, and perhaps ever will, compare to William Ralph ‘Dixie’ Dean. Signed for a mere £3,000 from Tranmere Rovers in March 1925, he remains Everton’s greatest goal scorer, and arguably greatest player.
With the Blues in dire need of goals (they netted just 40 in 42 league games in 1924-25) and points to avoid relegation from the First Division, it was on March 28, 1925 that Dean opened his Everton account, breaking the deadlock on 27 minutes before David Reid netted a second after the break in a 2-1 win.
Who would have thought then that it was a case of ‘one down, 382 to go’?
1970 - Chelsea thumped in seven-goal bonanza
Today is also the 50th anniversary of Everton’s 5-2 thrashing of Chelsea at Goodison under Harry Catterick; their fifth league win in a row, it kept the Blues on course to claim the First Division title in some style.
The Blues wasted no time in getting the job done, either. Howard Kendall opened the scoring after just 14 seconds, Alan Ball put them two up inside the first four minutes. Two goals from Joe Royle either side of half-time then arrived, before Alan Whittle added a fifth. There would be no clean sheet, though, as John Dempsey and Peter Osgood offered consolations for the third-placed visitors.
With just four league games to go, it brought the title ever closer to Everton’s grasp, and to despatch one of their closest rivals in the table so convincingly was some statement by Catterick’s men.
1984 - Cup and derby heartache at Maine Road
We’re all sick of losing to Liverpool now, that much is obvious. But even back when Everton were legitimately good did the men across Stanley Park know how to break our hearts - case in point: the 1984 League Cup Final.
With solid if unspectacular league form under Kendall that season, 1983-84 was really all about the cups for Everton. They were already in the FA Cup semi-finals by the time they faced Liverpool in the final of the League Cup, a trophy they had never previously won. The chance to add fresh silverware beckoned for the Blues.
This was back in the day when even semi-finals and finals would be replayed if they initially ended in draws. So, when the two sides played out a goalless stalemate in front of 100,000 at Wembley on March 25, a second date of March 28 was pencilled in, with Maine Road, Manchester the venue.
In truth, Everton can feel hard done by not to have won the initial final courtesy of an unnoticed Alan Hansen handball stopping Adrian Heath’s goal-bound shot. Sadly, though, it wasn’t to be, as Graeme Souness’ early goal proved the only strike to win the cup for Joe Fagan’s men.
1987 - Clarke chips in to maintain title charge
There are certainly worse times and ways to open your account for your new club than that of Wayne Clarke at Everton.
Signed in March 1987 from Birmingham City, the striker failed to find the net in his first three games for Kendall’s title-chasing Blues, but broke his duck at the fourth attempt with a sumptuous lob over Arsenal goalkeeper John Lukic, the only goal of the game.
It was, undoubtedly, a vital 1-0 win for Everton; their third straight victory, it kept leaders Liverpool in touching distance, thanks primarily to the genius of Clarke.