For some reason there is a myth that Everton have never been relegated, that is not true, they have been relegated twice in their history, although, never in the Premier League era. Being one of the founder members and having not been relegated since the 1950’s is probably the reason the myth has propegated.
Despite decades of underachievement, Everton Football Club is still one of the most historical institutions in the English game. The men from Merseyside have won the English top-flight title on nine occasions, the FA Cup five times and also the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
They were one of the 12 founding members of the Football League in 1888. Everton are also the club that has spent the most combined years in the English top flight (119 seasons), while only Arsenal have spent more consecutive campaigns in England’s top league. In fact, the Toffees have spent just four years outside the English top flight since the Football League’s inception.
However, as well as experiencing massive highs and making history, the Toffees have experienced some major lows, too.
Everton was relegated for the first time in 1930
Having been a founding member of the English Football League, Everton suffered the first of only two relegations in 1930, just two years after winning the English First Division, with legendary striker Dixie Dean leading their attack.
Dean was still in the team when his side suffered demotion to the then-Second Division. One of the cited reasons for the club dropping down to the second tier of the English game was that there was turmoil behind the scenes. The Toffees suffered relegation to the Second Division along with north west rivals Burnley.
However, Everton was only in the Second Division for one season, winning promotion at the first attempt and breaking a goalscoring record in the second tier in the process. The Toffees went on to win the English First Division title for the fourth time in their first season back in the top flight with Dixie Dean the league’s top goalscorer, having scored 44 goals.
Relegation for a second time in 1951
The Toffees were relegated from the English top flight for only the second time in season 1950/51. The Second World War had badly hit Everton’s team, and their post-war team struggled to match the quality of their pre-war counterparts.
The Toffees suffered relegation courtesy of goal difference, finishing bottom of the table and suffering relegation alongside Sheffield Wednesday.
The second time around, there was no immediate return to the English top flight for the men from Merseyside. Instead, they took three seasons to return to the pinnacle of the English football tree. They won promotion by finishing as Second Division runners-up.
The great escape part one in 1994
Everton had a close shave with relegation in May 1994. The Toffees went into their final game of the season against Wimbledon at Goodison Park needing a win to preserve their Premier League status. They were in the relegation zone at the start of the day, a point behind Ipswich Town, Southampton and Sheffield United.
Things were looking grim for the men from Merseyside after the visitors took a two-goal lead after just 20 minutes following goals by David Holdsworth and Andy Clarke. However, the Toffees performed a phoenix-like rise from the ashes, as a penalty from Graham Stuart and a rare long-range rocket from Welsh midfielder Barry Horne levelled the scores.
With time running out, Everton still needed a goal to beat the drop. The vital strike arrived with just nine minutes left on the clock, as Stuart played a one-two with Tony Cottee before scuffing a shot past Hans Segers in the visitor’s goal, much to the relief of all those in Goodison Park.
A last-day point kept the Toffees up in 1998
Everton again found themselves in trouble on the last day of season 1997/98. They went into their final league game of the season at Goodison Park against Coventry City, 18th place in the table, a point behind 17thplace Bolton Wanderers. However, their rivals faced a tough trip to Stamford Bridge in their last game of the campaign.
The Toffees took the lead through a first goal of the season from Republic of Ireland midfielder Gareth Farrelly, who rather sliced at a Duncan Ferguson knockdown. However, the effort was enough to beat Magnus Hedman in the Coventry goal.
Everton had a chance to seal their fate with five minutes left when they were awarded a penalty kick after Paul Williams had fouled youngster Danny Cadamarteri. However, Nick Barmby saw the resulting spot-kick saved by Hedman.
The unthinkable happened in the final minute of the game, as Dion Dublin headed home an equaliser for the Sky Blues that brought a deadly silence to Goodison Park. The goal meant that Bolton only needed a point at Stamford Bridge. However, the Trotters suffered defeat, and Evertonians could breathe a sigh of relief.
The great escape part two
Everton endured a difficult Premier League campaign in season 2021/22 and was once again in the fight for survival. This time their fate was not decided on the last day but in their penultimate game of the league campaign.
The Toffees went into a gameweek 37 home game with Crystal Palace badly needing a victory to ensure survival. Just like in 1994, the Toffees went two goals down by half-time. With a final game trip to Arsenal looming, things looked bleak for Frank Lampard’s team.
Everton came out for the second period with a determined attitude, and centre-back Michael Keane started the comeback with a well-taken finish nine minutes into the second half. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Richarlison deflected an effort in off Conor Gallagher to level the scores.
The comeback was completed with just five minutes left on the clock, as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s diving header from a set-piece sent the clubs fans into delirium. The Toffees had survived another close shave with relegation, with the club’s hierarchy vowing that they would ensure the team would never be in the same position in the future.