Everton haven’t played on August 22 since 1998, but there is some significance to this date, so let’s take a look at how it shaped the club’s history as we know it:
1986: Everton sign Dave Watson
Everton were in the form of their history in August of 1986 after winning the European Cup Winner’s Cup and the league two seasons prior and finishing runners-up in the FA Cup for the past two campaigns, as well. They had one of the most dominant squads in all of Europe, but, as we all know, if you stay stagnant while winning, it will only hurt your team in the long run. So, with that in mind, the Toffees went shopping and they found a gem.
Dave Watson was born and raised in Liverpool and was a youth player for the Reds from 1978 to 1980 before a move to Norwich City. The English centre-back was a true professional and never gave up no matter the circumstances. In his time at Norwich, he managed more than 200 appearances and bagged 11 goals from his position and was highly touted coming into the 1986-87 season. So, with Everton in the market for new players and Watson a Liverpudlian who embodied everything the club was about, the Toffees went after the Englishman.
On August 22, 1986, Everton sealed the deal for Watson, giving Norwich £900,000 for his services. Fans were sceptical at first, as Watson was a former player for their bitter rivals and was looking to replace a fan favourite in Derek Mountfield, but he quickly won them over. In his first season, Watson was an integral part of another title-winning campaign and would eventually solidify himself as the first choice centre-back alongside Kevin Ratcliffe. The Liverpudlian only improved from there, doing enough to secure the captain’s armband by 1992 before becoming just the fifth and most recent captain in the club’s history to lift the FA Cup in 1995.
Dave Watson would go on to make 528 appearances for the club, a number surpassed by only a few others at Everton, while scoring 37 goals from the centre-back position. Watson was also named manager for a short period after the departure of Joe Royle in the 1996-97 season. He would appear 12 times for England in his career before retiring in 2001 and beginning a coaching career full-time. Watson currently holds a coaching position at Newcastle United.