Way Back When: Everton


We look back in time at the modern history of football clubs whom Cardiff City will be facing. In this inaugural edition, we explore the Toffees' post-war journey towards the 21st Century...

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The 1950s proved a mixed bag for Everton Football Club as the 1950/51 season saw them relegated from the Football League First Division for the second time in their history – and last time to date. The following season, they met Cardiff City in the Second Division and the Bluebirds concluded the campaign in second place, gaining promotion the top-flight, while the Toffees finished five spots lower. 

Despite being in the middle of a three-year spell out of the First Division, Everton managed to reach the FA Cup Semi-Final, but lost 4-3 to Bolton Wanderers in March 1953. One year later, they gained promotion and haven’t been relegated since, meaning that they currently top the list of most seasons played in the top-flight, with 116 under their belt. 

In October 1957, Goodison Park’s first ever floodlit fixture took place and the Blues defeated Liverpool 2-0 in front of around 58,000 spectators. Seven months later, the Toffees’ home became the first stadium in the world to install undersoil heating.  

This decade also marks the birth of Neville Southall. Born in Llandudno, the former Wales international went on to become an Everton great, making 726 appearances for them over a 17-year period and gaining over 90 caps for Wales in goal.

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The 1960s is likely viewed as one of the most successful decades in the club’s storied history. The Toffees clinched the First Division title in 1962-63 and 1969-70, and lifted the prestigious FA Cup trophy in 1966; the year England went on to win the World Cup. During this World Cup, Goodison Park staged group, quarter and semi-final matches. Englishman and former left-back Ray Wilson represented his club for the national side at the World Cup and started in the final against West Germany.

The Merseyside club’s success in this decade was achieved under the inspiring management of Harry Catterick. As a former Everton frontman, he took charge of the club in 1961 and left 12 years later in 1973. His spell as their Head Coach witnessed him tally a staggering 276 wins in 594 games for Everton. In total the Toffees earned five trophies under his guidance, which includes two Charity Shields. 

With each meeting in the First Division, Cardiff City faced Everton four times during this decade. In 1960/61, City drew 1-1 and lost 5-1 before drawing 0-0 and losing 8-3, the following campaign. The Bluebirds were relegated in the latter season after finishing penultimate to bottom.

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In the summer of the same year that Harry Catterick departed, Billy Bingham became the new man in the hot seat and went on to take charge of Everton for over 170 matches. The Belfast-born manager guided the club to a seventh place league finish during his first season in 1973-1974 – but narrowly missed out on a place in the UEFA Cup by two points that campaign. Prior to life on the managerial front, Bingham made over 500 appearances as a player, 98 of which came at Everton.

February 1977 saw the arrival of Gordon Lee. During his first season at the Toffees, he guided the club to a League Cup final, which ended in defeat at the hands of Aston Villa. During his reign as boss, he managed over 200 matches in charge of the club – securing 80 wins. Prior to his spell in Merseyside, the Cannock-born manager won the Third Division title with Blackburn Rovers in 1974-1975.

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During the period of the 1980s, Cardiff City spent time in the second, third and fourth divisions, however the Toffees remained in the first division throughout. Due to this, the two sides never met in a competitive fixture during the 80s.

The 1980s has been regarded by some as one of the most successful decades in Everton’s history, with the club winning the FA Cup in 1984, the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup and also two first division league titles in 1984/85 and 1986/87

In fact, the most prominent Everton manager during that period, Howard Kendall, remains the last English manager to win a UEFA competition with an English side. Kendall enjoyed three stints as manager at the club, with his most successful spell at the club between 1981-1987. Following on from his successes, Kendall was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005. 

Notable former players for Tuesday’s visitors include Gary LinekerNeville Southall and Kevin Ratcliffe– who captained the Blues from 1982-1992, making over 400 appearances. 

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Becoming founding members of the Premier League in 1992, Everton began the decade without the same level of success that they had enjoyed some years prior. Managers such as a returning Howard Kendall and Mike Walker both tried to repeat previous successes but struggled to do so. A change in fortunes for the Toffees finally came in 1994, thanks to new manager - and former player – Joe Royle.

Royle’s first game in charge saw him face rivals Liverpool whilst his side were in the relegation zone on the Premier League table. Despite the challenge, he managed the club to a 2-0 victory, and continued with some fine form for the remainder of the season. Not only did Everton get out of the relegation zone, but they won the FA Cup, beating Manchester United 1-0 in the Final. Royle left the club in 1997, with Everton having finished 15th in the table, following their sixth place finish in the prior season.