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On This Day In Everton History: April 11th

A managerial departure and three vital victories in today’s feature

Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - Everton v Coventry City
Kevin Campbell scored twice in Everton’s 2-0 win over Coventry on this day in 1999
Photo by Adam Davy/EMPICS via Getty Images

Though Everton have only played once on April 11 since the turn of the millennium (a drab 1-1 draw at Swansea in 2015), this date represents some key anniversaries for the club in the late 1900s.

Today, we look back at a change of manager, a thumping victory to maintain the Blues’ title charge, and two wins to help them steer clear of the opposite end of the table:

1973 - Catterick’s reign as manager comes to an end

Soccer - Football League Division One - Everton Photocall
Catterick managed Everton for 12 years
Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

It was on this day 47 years ago that two-time First Division winner, one-time FA Cup champion and long-time Bill Shankly adversary Harry Catterick was relieved of his duties as Everton manager after 12 largely successful years at the helm.

The 1972-73 season had proved unremarkable by all accounts; Everton languished in lower-mid-table for most of it and fell at the first few hurdles in both domestic cup competitions. The core of Catterick’s successful side was ageing, he missed key figures like Brian Labone and Colin Harvey for much of the season, and enraged much of the fan base by selling Alan Ball to Arsenal for £220,000 three days before Christmas.

Then, in January 1973, Catterick suffered a heart attack, and though he continued as manager once being discharged 14 days later, he later admitted it probably took him a year to fully recover. By the time he was moved upstairs to a non-executive role at the club on April 11, it was probably the best move for all parties.

Still, Catterick’s legacy should not be tarnished by the unravelling of his final season; a man who won more First Division points during the 1960s than Shankly, Don Revie, Matt Busby, or indeed any other manager, and who delivered the sort of silverware Evertonians today could only dream of.

1987 - Hammers hammered as Everton stay top

Having overtaken Liverpool a week ago at the summit of the First Division, now Everton needed to consolidate their position in the title race. They began in some style.

This 4-0 thumping over mid-table West Ham at Goodison Park was just the tonic for Howard Kendall’s side; their fifth league win in a row which saw all four goals arrive within the first 38 minutes.

In one of the most-sided games you are likely to see, Everton laid siege to the West Ham from virtually the first whistle, and finally broke through on 19 minutes when Wayne Clarke fired in off the post to settle any jitters. They needn’t have worried; three minutes later, they were two ahead, Peter Reid picking the ball up outside the Hammers penalty area before guiding an inch-perfect effort past Tom McAlister for his first strike in 14 months.

The mauling continued soon after, as Gary Stevens lashed home a third from almost the identical position from which Reid got on the scoresheet. Dave Watson then turned home from a corner on 38 minutes to complete the rout and ensure Everton remained top of the table for another week, at least.

1998 - Victory over Leeds keeps great escape on track

The third and final spell that Howard Kendall took in as Everton manager was perhaps the least memorable and the most arduous. Kendall worked amid a backdrop of turmoil and uncertainty under the regime of then-chairman, Pete Johnson, and the Blues only avoided relegation thanks to a final-day 1-1 home draw with Coventry.

In truth, it shouldn’t have culminated in such a nail-biting finish. A victory over Leeds United on April 11, 1998 saw the Blues move up to 15th; their highest league position since January, thanks to impressive first-half strikes from Don Hutchison and Duncan Ferguson.

Yet that would prove the last victory of the season for Kendall’s men, with a tortuous five remaining games to endure yet.

1999 - Campbell off the mark as brace lifts Blues out of drop zone

A loan signing from Turkish outfit Trabzonspor a month earlier, April 11 marks the day Super Kevin Campbell broke his duck for Everton with a vital 2-0 win over Coventry.

The same fixture that ensured the Blues’ safety on the final day the previous season, this was a much less tense affair for Evertonians, as Campbell first rounded the goalkeeper to slot into an empty net on the half-hour, before netting from inside the six-yard box in the final minutes to seal victory.

It meant Everton arrested a run of four straight defeats, and in claiming the three points here, the Blues exited the bottom three and would never return for the rest of the campaign.