May 24 has marked the end of three league campaigns for Everton in the past. Today, we’ll look back at each of them, including two victories to end seasons on a high and one sluggish defeat to rather epitomise a similarly painful season. Let’s go:
1977 - Lee ends first term with solid Newcastle victory
In this day in 1977, Newcastle United were the visitors to a Goodison. Everton won 2-0 with goals by Martin Dobson and Duncan McKenzie.— Rob EFC 1878 (@HarveyKendall70) May 24, 2020
Duncan McKenzie pic.twitter.com/ZwV9k4iDnO
May 24, 1977 saw Everton sign off a season that could easily have brought so much more with a professional victory over Newcastle to finish ninth.
It rounded off the first year under Gordon Lee, who had left the Toon Army for Goodison Park in January, with a seventh successive league game unbeaten, albeit the first five of those were all draws.
And the Blues were home and hosed that day inside eight minutes, with Martin Dobson opening the scoring early on before Duncan McKenzie instantly doubled their lead.
A ninth-placed finish was respectable for Everton given they sat 18th as recently as mid-February, but in a season which crash out of both domestic cup competitions at either the final or the semi-final, it left more than a tinge of regret at what might have been.
2009 - Blues gear up for FA Cup final with win at Fulham
For some time, Everton and Fulham seemed to have some sort of mutual agreement where the home team would always win each league fixture between them every season.
But that was broken by the Blues on May 24, 2009, when a brace from Leon Osman secured Everton’s first win at Craven Cottage since 1966. And, of course, it also bagged the rarest of things: a league double over the Whites.
The midfielder struck at the end of both halves, first rounding Mark Schwarzer just before the interval before curling home a second on 88 minutes.
Both sides would qualify for the Europa League as Everton finished fifth and Fulham seventh; Roy Hodgson’s men would go on to reach the final of the competition the following year in miraculous circumstances.
This win also proved the perfect way to rev up for Everton’s FA Cup final the following weekend against fellow West Londoners Chelsea, as another impressive league campaign under David Moyes ended in style.
2015 - Kane header leaves Everton pointless (again)
A far less memorable season drew to a close five years ago today in fittingly drab fashion, as a poor Everton closed out Roberto Martinez’s underwhelming second season at the helm with a tepid 1-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Harry Kane’s well-taken header midway through the first half settled a match in which Everton offered precious little in the way of an attacking threat.
In truth, Evertonians may remember this game more for Brendan Galloway’s home debut after a hugely encouraging first bow in the previous weekend’s win at West Ham, while Sylvain Distin was introduced as a late substitute for his final appearance in royal blue.
After a stunning 2013-14 season which saw Everton break their record Premier League points haul with 72 and finish fifth, 2014-15 ended with an 11th-placed finish and just 47 points. This game, in many ways, was that campaign in microcosm.