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On This Day In Everton History: April 24th | Goodison’s Greatest Night

There have been many incredible games in Everton’s history, but not many like this

Everton’s Gary Stevens has a pop at goal in the 3-1 win over Bayern Munich.
ANL/Shutterstock via The Guardian

There is one event that helps April 24th stand out above all others in Everton’s past. So, let’s take a look at how this date shaped Everton history as we know it!

1985: Everton defeat Bayern Munich to advance to European Cup Winner’s Cup Final

1984-85 was a season to remember for so many reasons. Coming off their first FA Cup title in 18 years, the Toffees were out for more as the 1984-85 campaign began. With the best team that Everton FC had seen in years and, possibly, the best team we have ever seen at the club, the Toffees set out for glory, hoping to halt Liverpool’s reign of success. Despite all the hype, though, things got off to a rocky start as Everton lost the first two games of the league year, but it wouldn’t take long to steady the ship. With a 9-game unbeaten streak and a 10-game winning streak in all competitions, split up by a 1-0 loss to Arsenal, Everton were back in business and dominating the league. They were starting to live up to the expectations. A 6-game hiccup where they won just 1 game caused the excitement to die down a bit, but that would be the last time Toffee fans felt disappointment for a while. Everton went on a 28-game unbeaten streak from the end of December through early May, a run that helped them win the league title for the first time in 15 years. But, that wasn’t all. It also helped put the Toffees in prime positions in two other competitions, specifically the European Cup Winner’s Cup.

While Everton were walking through the league, they were also dominating the European front, as well. Like the domestic competition, the Toffees got off to a bit of a rough start in the European Cup Winner’s Cup. Taking on University College Dublin, Everton were unable to score in the first leg, earning a scoreless draw before narrowly defeating their opponents at home, 1-0, to advance to the next round. It got better from there, though, as the Toffees handled Slovan Bratislava with ease, once again earning two clean sheets, while finding the back of the net 4 times over the two legs to advance to the quarters. At this point, Everton started to pick up steam, taking care of business in swift fashion defeating Fortuna Sittard 5-0 on aggregate to advance to the semifinals. There they would face a daunting opponent, Bayern Munich. Coming into the first leg in Germany, Everton hadn’t allowed a goal in the competition as Neville Southall and the Toffee defense were rock solid every time they took the pitch and their match in Germany would be no different. Surely, they would be tested, but for the 7th straight game in the European Cup Winner’s Cup, Everton kept a clean sheet, earning them an important scoreless draw as the fixture headed back to Goodison for the second, and deciding, leg. That brings us to that fateful day, April 24th, 1985.

Peter Reid, with his badly gashed leg bleeding through his sock, looks angrily towards Bayern Munich’s Dieter Hoeness as Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe looks on.
Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images (via The Guardian)

With the stands packed with fans and the Toffees looking to advance to their first-ever European final, Everton and Bayern Munich took the field for one of the most memorable nights in the club’s history. Things didn’t start off as planned as the Toffees allowed their first goal in the competition in the 38th minute as the German side took a 1-0 lead into the half. But, luckily for Everton fans, that squad responded well to adversity and they showed that right away in the second half. Whatever Howard Kendall said in the dressing room worked because 3 minutes into the half, the Toffees had tied things up on a Graeme Sharp header that dribbled into the corner. Everton had their goal and now they had the momentum, too. About 25 minutes after their first goal, the Toffees got their second, this time from their other Scottish forward. After a long throw-in caused the Bayern keeper some trouble, Andy Gray was there to clean up the mess as he passed the ball into an empty net for the lead. The crowd was going wild and the partying wouldn’t stop there. In the 86th minute, Everton put the dagger in the coffin. After Kevin Sheedy played a beautiful ball into Andy Gray, the Toffees had a 2-on-1 deep in the Bayern Munich half. Gray, then, one-timed a pass into the middle of the field for Trevor Steven who used his speed to get past the final defender and slot home the third and final goal of the game for the Toffees. Everton had taken down the German giants, 3-1, and were on to the European Cup Winner’s Cup Final.

The Toffees would go on to win their first-ever European trophy by the same scoreline over Rapid Vienna just under a month later, completing the domestic and European double. Everton also found themselves in the FA Cup final that year, but the fatigue finally caught up to them as they fell to the Red Devils 1-0, finishing runners up and failing to complete the coveted treble. Despite the loss, though, I don’t think you will find a Toffee fan that doesn’t look at that season as one of the most exciting sports times of their lives and we haven’t experienced anything close to that since.

We have three videos here for you - you can re-watch the whole game right here.

Don’t have the time even as you sit around at home doing nothing? Fine, here are the extended highlights.

If you can’t even spare that time we’re going to start doubting you’re a true Blue, but here’s the short highlights then.

And THAT is today in Everton history!