Everton began life in 1878 as St Domingo FC when members of the congregation of Saint Domingo Methodist Chapel in the Everton district of Liverpool got together to find a way to play sport all year round. Like a lot of English clubs, they were initially a cricket team, but as cricket was only played in summer, the congregation decided to play football during the winter months. In November 1879, the club was renamed Everton Football Club. As founding members of the Football League, and only the second ever winners of the League Championship, they are without doubt one of the most important clubs in the history of English football.
Everton are most commonly known as “The Toffees”. This nickname goes right to the heart of the club’s inception. It is believed that the name is derived from a local toffee house situated a stone’s throw from the club’s Goodison Park stadium, their home since 1892. Mother Noblett’s Toffee Shop created and sold mints to the Everton faithful as they cheered on The Toffees at home games.
Funnily enough, before building Goodison Park, the first major football stadium built in England, Everton actually rented and played at Anfield, current home of their greatest rivals Liverpool FC. After rental disputes, they left the area and with the help of local labourers of all trades they built their current home. The club is currently in the process of building a new home, the Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium, which is expected to open in time for the 2023/24 season.
Many greats have taken to the pitch at Goodison but perhaps none greater than legendary goalscorer Dixie Dean, whose statue still stands proudly outside the stadium today. His record 60 goals in 39 games during their title winning campaign of 1927/28 will probably never be broken. At the opposite end of the pitch can be found another hero in goalkeeper Neville Southall. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Southall became the club’s all time record appearance holder, making 750 appearances. In 1985, he was voted FWA Footballer of the Year.
Alongside these giants of yesteryear, and many more like them, notable names of the Premier League era include left back dynamo Leighton Baines, current Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta and Australian goalscorer Tim Cahill. They, and several others, overachieved massively under the guidance of David Moyes. During his 10-plus-year stint as coach, The Toffees almost always finished in the top 8 and regularly qualified for European football. The squad of the 2000s set a high bar of consistency which has not been equalled by subsequent squads in recent years.
The club of course competes ferociously every year in the Merseyside Derby against their mortal enemies, Liverpool. Goodison Park and Anfield are less than a mile apart and the blue and red divide in the city is something which can be witnessed on most streets, in most pubs and even in some families. The red side of the city has been enjoying a lot more glory in recent decades but with legendary manager Carlo Ancelloti at the helm at Goodison, this great footballing city can expect to see many more competitive derby days in the years to come.