For the most part, April 20th is remembered with joy by Toffee fans around the world, but it has had its disappointments, as well. Let’s take a look at how this date shaped Everton history as we know.
1907: Everton fall in FA Cup Final
The late 1800’s and early 1900’s were a time of devastating disappointment for Toffee fans. The club did win two trophies, but also finished runners-up eight times in either the league or the FA Cup through 1910. 1907 was one of those years. A season after triumphing in the FA Cup for the first time ever, the Toffees set out to continue to make their mark on English Football. Despite a solid year, they would fall just short in the league, finishing third, just 6 points behind title-winners Newcastle, but all was not lost. Everton were marching through the FA Cup. After eliminating Sheffield United, West Ham, Bolton, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich, allowing just 3 goals in a total of 7 matches played, the Toffees were into the FA Cup Final, which brings us to April 20th, 1907.
A year after winning their first ever trophy in the competition, Everton were back for more as they took on Sheffield Wednesday. The Toffees had already beaten their opponents once that season and were hoping to make it 2-for-2 while bringing home a title in the process. Unfortunately, Everton were unable to execute that plan as Sheffield Wednesday slipped two past goalkeeper Billy Scott on their way to a 2-1 victory over the Toffees. This would be Everton’s last chance at the FA Cup title for 26 years as they did not advance to the final again until 1933 when they won the trophy for the second time in the club’s history.
1963: Alex Young scores as Everton clinch league title
In 1962, the Toffees were coming off a terrific season where they finished in fourth, just five points out of the title. So, as the new campaign approached, surely, they hoped to improve on that result and take home their first league trophy in over 10 years. The year started in impressive fashion as the Toffees rode a 4-game win streak into September. Despite picking up two losses that month, Everton were able to string together 14 league wins by the end of the calendar year, putting them in the hunt for the league title as the second half of the season got under way. A bumpy February and March saw the Toffees lose three of seven matches in league play, but they were able to rebound from that, going unbeaten in their next six. The Toffees were having a fantastic season, but so was Tottenham and they found themselves competing against each other for the title with the season coming to a close. That brings us to April 20th, 1963.
With the league title still in play for both sides, Everton and Spurs took the field at Goodison Park in front of an impressive crowd of over 67,000. Coming into the day, Tottenham was top of the league, but the Toffees had a chance to leapfrog them with a win. The two sides had drawn, 0-0, earlier in the year and this one would be just as tight. Both teams fought hard throughout the game, but it was one moment of magic that would decide this match...and the title. With the game still scoreless, Roy Vernon played a ball into the box that was met by the head of Alex Young and directed into the net for a brilliant goal. Everton led 1-0 and that would be all they would need as the Toffees earned a key victory over their title rivals, Tottenham, 1-0. The victory would send Everton to the top of the league where they would stay for the remainder of the season, winning their first league title in 14 years by 6 points over Spurs.
1987: Everton win 7th straight on their way to a league title
Like much of the 1980s, the 1986-87 campaign brought joy to Everton fans around the world. After finishing runners-up in both the FA Cup and the league the season prior, the Toffees hoped to find themselves on top for the 2nd time in three years as they entered the 1986-87 campaign. But, as was the case for the last two seasons, they would have to battle with Liverpool to do that. The Toffees would start the year off on a high note as they took down their rivals in the FA Charity Shield to bring home another piece of silverware, but that was the last thing on their minds as they entered the season. Everton would start out in good form, going unbeaten in their first 6 matches in all competitions and their first 7 in the league, but the campaign took its first turn following that. The Toffees would lose 5 of their next 9 before steadying the ship and making a run at the title. Despite not getting far in any of the domestic cups, Everton made their mark in the league going unbeaten in 20 of their next 23 league matches. That brings us to April 20th, 1987.
With the Toffees on their second 6-game winning streak since mid-December, they welcomed Newcastle to Goodison Park. Everton had already taken care of business against their opponents once that season and needed another good performance to keep their title hopes in good shape. Luckily for Toffee fans, Wayne Clarke was on their side. Clarke had just joined Everton from Birmingham about a month prior and was already making an impact for the club. He scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Arsenal in just his fourth match with the Toffees, but he truly made a name for himself against Newcastle. With Neville Southall and the Everton defense locking up another clean sheet, Clarke recorded a hat trick to help the Toffees to a 3-0 win. The victory was their 7th straight and was extremely important in holding the league lead over Liverpool. Everton would go on to win the title that year, losing just once more over the final 5 games of the season, beating out their Merseyside rivals by 9 points. It was the 9th, and most recent, league title in club history and completed an unbelievable run for the Toffees through the mid-1980s.
2005 & 2014: Beating Manchester United
Everton have had a miserable time against most of the current top six sides, but have certainly had a few excellent wins against Manchester United.
Here’s Duncan Ferguson narrating a fighting win against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side back in 2005 as the Blues went on to finish sixth under David Moyes.
And here’s a more recent win over the Red Devils, this time ensuring Moyes gets the sack in his first season at Old Trafford after leaving the Blues. Ironic how his words about footballers who leave Everton rarely went on to greater things ended up coming true for himself.
And THAT is today in Everton history!