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On This Day In Everton History: April 8th

A Toffee legend is born on this day

Joe Royle
Joe Royle during his playing days
Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Toffees haven’t played on April 8th since 2006 and even then, there haven’t been too many memorable matches, but there are still things to look back on! So, let’s take a look at how this date shaped Everton history as we know it!

1949: Joe Royle is born

On April 8th, 1949, the world gave Everton one of its favorite players and managers. Joe Royle, the famed center forward and former manager for the Toffees was born on this day. Big Joe was a phenomenal talent and that was apparent from a young age. He was scouted by many top clubs at the time, including Manchester United, but it was his hometown team, Everton, that earned his signature as he made his transition into professional football. At just 16, Royle became the youngest player to ever appear for the Toffees and that was just the beginning. Big Joe would go on to make 270+ appearances for the club, scoring 119 times, while winning multiple trophies before leaving the club for Manchester City. That would not be the last we saw of him, though.

In 1994, Royle made his return to the club as he took over as manager after Mike Walker had led Everton to just one win in their first 16 matches. Hoping to bring the Royal Blue shirt back to glory, he opened up his managerial career with the club in tremendous fashion, beating Liverpool, 2-0, and it didn’t stop there. Despite finishing 15th in the league, Royle and the Toffees made their way to the FA Cup Final that year, where they took down Manchester United 1-0 behind a goal from Paul Rideout to win their first trophy since 1987. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be long before his time at Everton would come to an end as a disagreement with the board over potential signings led to his resignation in 1997. Today, Royle is considered an Everton Legend and I’m sure many Toffee fans are more than happy with what this day has brought them through the career of Big Joe.

1970: Everton record 5th consecutive clean sheet on the road

After finishing in 3rd place in the league the year prior and finishing as runners-up in the FA Cup the year before that, the Toffees came into the 1969-70 season as title contenders once again and they wouldn’t disappoint. Everton started off on fire that year, going unbeaten in 20 of their first 22 matches, winning 17 of them. There was a rough patch after that, though, as the Toffees lost 6 of their next 11 in all competitions, but that is where the losing stopped. Starting on January 24th, Everton went unbeaten the rest of the season, recording 9 clean sheets in their final 14 matches, which brings us to April 8th, 1970.

Over the course of the season, Everton were terrific on the road, going unbeaten in 19 of 25 matches away from home. But as the campaign was coming to a close, they hit especially good form. Going into the final game of the year, the Toffees had gone unbeaten in their last 6 away matches and had clean sheets in the last 4. April 8th, 1970 would be no different. With the Toffees already locking up the league title, they travelled to Sunderland to finish off the season. Everton failed to score any goals in this one, but they didn’t let Sunderland find the back of the net either. Things ended in a scoreless draw as the Toffees recorded their 5th consecutive clean sheet on the road, a record for the club at the time. Unfortunately, that is where the streak ended, as the Toffees lost their first away match of the next season to Leeds, 3-2.

And THAT is today in Everton history!