April 16th is just another example of how each day has brought us some of the most memorable and heartbreaking moments of life as a Toffee fan. So, let’s take a look at how this date shaped Everton history as we know it!
1932: Everton earn big win in quest for title
In the 1931-32 season, Everton had just been promoted back to the first division. Surely, all that was on their minds was staying up for another year, but that would change as the campaign progressed. The Toffees would start the season going unbeaten in 14 of their first 17 matches, giving them hope of not only staying up, but competing for the title. After a rough patch, losing 8 of 12 matches in all competitions, Everton went on another run, which brings us to April 16th, 1932.
With the Toffees on a 9-game unbeaten streak with only 5 games remaining, Everton hosted West Ham United at Goodison Park with a chance to extend their run as they fought for the title. To the pleasure of many of the 26,000+ fans who showed up that day, the Toffees came to play. Behind another hattrick by Dixie Dean, Everton pummeled the Hammers 6-1 for their 10th straight unbeaten game. The Toffees would go on to win the league title that year by 2 points over Arsenal, completing an unbelievable two season run where they won both the Second Division and First Division league titles.
1966: Everton field youngest squad in club history
Coming off of a 4th place finish in the league the year prior, Everton were hoping to build on that going into the 1965-66 campaign. Unfortunately, the start of the season didn’t go as planned, and the Toffees found themselves in a tough position come mid-January as they were unable to string together more than 2 wins in a row. But, things would turn around for them towards the end of that month as they went on a 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions that found them in the FA Cup Semis. That brings us to April 16th, 1966.
With the league already well out of reach and an important tie with Manchester United in the FA Cup semifinals just a week away, Everton manager, Harry Catterick, rested his star players in a match against Leeds. With the veterans on the bench, the Toffees trotted out the youngest ever starting 11 in club history at the time, with the team’s average age at just 20 years, 333 days. The team would get beaten pretty bad that day, losing 4-1, but the tactic would pay off just a week later when Everton beat Manchester United 1-0 to advance to the FA Cup Final. Just under a month later, the Toffees would complete their championship run, taking home the FA Cup trophy after a 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday for their first FA Cup title in over 30 years.
1980: West Ham grab late goal to beat Everton in FA Cup Semis
For as many FA Cup triumphs as the Toffees have had, there’s been at least double the amount of disappointments and 1980 is just another example of that. Coming off of a solid season where they finished 4th in the league, the Toffees were hoping, once again, to build on that result and take a shot at the title. Once again, they failed to do that, winning consecutive games on just three occasions that year and narrowly avoiding relegation. But, as has been the case for many years at the club, despite the lack of form in the league, the Toffees were red hot in the FA Cup. After three consecutive 3-goal victories to start off the competition, Everton welcomed Ipswich Town to Goodison, where they took down their opponents, 2-1, to advance to the semifinals. After a draw against West Ham United at Villa Park, the two sides got set to play a replay just four days later, which brings us to April 16th, 1980.
With nothing else to play for, the Toffees put their season on the line when they took on the Hammers at Elland Road. This match was as tight as the first one as both sides scored a goal a piece in regulation to send this one to extra-time. It was there where Toffee fans everywhere endured heartbreak. With just about 2 minutes left in extra-time, Frank Lampard, father of the current Chelsea manager, redirected a ball past Martin Hodge for the game-winning goal as West Ham earned a last-gasp victory over the Toffees to advance to the FA Cup Final. The Hammers would go on to win the FA Cup title that year with a 1-0 victory over Arsenal, while Everton would have to wait a few more years to bring that trophy back to Goodison.
And THAT is today in Everton history!