How Have Everton Done in Previous Relegation Fights?

Jacob Walstow

1993/94

The second season of the Premier League era proved to be a tricky one for a side who had won the league title just seven years earlier. Howard Kendall, who was in his second spell in charge, had an inconsistent start to the season, winning five of their first eight, including a 2-0 home victory over rivals Liverpool, but he lost the other three.

One win in their next nine saw the Toffeess slip perilously close to the relegation zone, and the Norwich manager, Mike Walker, who had helped the Canaries to a third-placed finish the previous season, made the move to the Merseyside club to steer them from the drop.

Walker was unable to get consistency out of his Blues side and after a 3-0 defeat to Leeds United in their penultimate game, Everton sat in the bottom three, a point behind a group of four teams: Ipswich Town, Sheffield United, Southampton and Manchester City.

45 minutes into their final game against Wimbledon, it looked even bleaker for Walker’s side as they were 2-0 down and staring down the barrel of Division One football. Barry Horne and Graham Stuart were the saviours for Everton as they saved themselves and condemned Sheffield United to the drop.

Not just was it remarkable for a club of their stature to be down there, that final game against Wimbledon remains one of their most famous simply because of how times could've changed for them if they had lost.

1997/98

Four years later, Kendall was back in charge for his third spell in charge of his beloved Everton, trying to build on the previous season where the Blues finished a disappointing 15th. Kendall never got his side going, however, with a five-game losing run in the first half of season leaving the side bottom of the Premier League.

Winning just two of their last 15 league games and following a 4-0 thumping to Arsenal in their last away game left Everton below Bolton Wanderers in 18th. Kendall’s side got off to the perfect start with a seventh minute Gareth Farrelly finish lifting Everton to 17th place.

A goal for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge meant that the scores were going the right way for Everton, but it was never going to be easy for them, and a Dion Dublin equaliser for Coventry City left their chances of survival in the hands of the game in west London.

With Chelsea fans famously booing their own team, a Jody Morris finish on the counter attack condemned all three promoted teams back to where they came from and the celebrations could begin at Goodison Park as Everton survived again on the final day.

2001/02

The last time Everton were in trouble at the wrong end of the relegation zone late on into a Premier League season was at the start of the century, where Walter Smith was in charge. Famous for his success across the border at Rangers, Smith had begun to have trouble with his side, winning just one of his last 13 as manager of the Toffees, and therefore leaving the club just one point above the relegation zone and again fearing the worst of losing their ever-present Premier League status.

The pressure was handed to Preston North End manager, David Moyes, who had guided the his side from potential relegation to Division Three, to the Division One play-off final, where they lost to West Bromwich Albion. This being his first job in the top flight, Moyes' love of for Everton started and four wins in their last nine games helped them stay up and started an 11-year love affair between the Scotsman and the Merseyside club.

2017/18

It is quite strange to see a season where the club finished eighth end up on this list, but that final position in the 2017/18 campaign far from told the story of a very topsy-turvy Everton campaign that saw them get through three different managers.

It all started with Ronald Koeman, who after losing 5-2 to Arsenal, had only one win from the season's first nine games and was rightfully so let go. In came David Unsworth straight from the U23's, and his two games in charge resulted in a 2-0 loss to Leicester City in the league and a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in the League Cup.

So, in came Allardyce as they were sat with only eight points from 10 league games and out of one cup already. "Big Sam" would immediately change things around by winning against Watford and drawing with Crystal Palace, and following just two defeats from his first 11 games, the club entered 2018 with relegation worries parked for now.

Four defeats from the first four games of the new year would follow, but in the end, Allardyce did what he usually does: comfortably keep teams up.


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