Back in the heady days of the pre-coronavirus world, football seasons used to end in May. Today, we’ll look back at the anniversary of Everton’s soon-to-be-dethroned latest finish to a campaign in history, as well as the unveiling of one manager and the departure of another. Let’s go:
1947 - Latest end to season in history (until 2020, that is...)
#OTD 1947 ⚽️ Following Arsenal's 2-1 win over Everton at Highbury, which had the Gunners finish a disappointing 13th ~ manager George Allison now 63 and tiring of managerial life, steps down and retires from the game.— ️RIFF ️ (@goonerbeau) May 31, 2019
Allison had been at the helm for thirteen years and one day. pic.twitter.com/EdqTWe1L90
Yes, until this season takes the number one spot as Everton’s latest campaign to finish due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that title belongs to 1946-47, when a mid-table campaign for the Blues ended on May 31 with a 2-1 defeat at Arsenal.
The first full campaign since the end of the Second World War in 1945, Everton began it terribly, and matters worsened when star player Joe Mercer departed in November 1946 after a dispute with the club’s first manager, Theo Kelly.
Nonetheless, Kelly at least guided the Blues to a more respectable tenth-placed finish, and this final day defeat at Highbury was their first loss in five matches.
Tommy Eglington had fired Everton in front, but it was not to be the Blues’ day, thanks to goals either side of half-time from Roonie Rooke and Reg Lewis.
2018 - Moshiri finally gets his man as Blues turn to Silva
Today also marks the two-year anniversary of Marco Silva’s appointment as Everton manager, with Farhad Moshiri finally landing the man he had long been publicly craving.
The Everton owner initially went to great lengths to appoint then-Watford boss Silva as Ronald Koeman’s successor at Goodison Park in November 2017, but with the Hornets refusing to budge to the point when they sent the Blues a cease-and-desist letter, Moshiri settled for Sam Allardyce.
Once lingering threats of relegation were allayed by Allardyce and a dreadful season concluded, Big Sam was out of the door. By then, Silva had been sacked by Watford for a dreadful run of form; from sitting fourth in mid-October, they had won just one of their last 11 league games when he was dismissed in January. The Hornets blamed Everton’s ‘unwarranted approach’ as the catalyst for their freefall.
Silva, by then a free agent, would still turn up at Goodison eventually by May 31, signing a three-year contract with the club. Following his appointment, Moshiri said:
“His abilities are underpinned by a strong footballing philosophy, a fierce work ethic and his enthusiasm in embracing Everton.
“His enthusiasm in embracing Everton, our values and our ambitions has hugely impressed me, as I hope it will each and every Evertonian.”
Of course, it was not to last. After a first season of peaks and troughs yielded another eighth-placed finish (just like the previous year), Silva was sacked in December after a disastrous start to his second campaign saw Everton plummet into the relegation zone.