Everton On the Opening Day

The vagaries of the opening day; very often the performance or even the result doesn’t necessarily herald the dawn of a glorious new era or end the hopes of an entire season.

Patrick Murphy 03/08/2015 50comments  |  Jump to last
The vagaries of the opening day; very often the performance or even the result doesnt necessarily herald the dawn of a glorious new era or end the hopes of an entire season.

However, like most supporters I like to see Everton FC get the points on the board as early as possible and hopefully that will be the case on the opening day of 2015.

A historical look at Everton on the opening day. View the full article [1.1MB PDF]

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Reader Comments (50)

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Helen Mallon
2 Posted 03/08/2015 at 11:54:27
I wish we had the next Arteta playing Saturday, he was some player.
Mark Tanton
3 Posted 03/08/2015 at 11:59:33
We’ve had some shockers on opening day in recent years. Stand out in my memory are the home defeat to QPR under Moyes and John Collins seeing his penalty saved in Smith’s first game. Also, Southall’s sit down protest against a rampant Leeds, and the Arsenal hammering at Goodison, also under Moyes.

Seem to remember getting done by Wimbledon too, with an Ekoko hat-trick?

Patrick Murphy
4 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:09:57
Mark, It was Norwich City who beat us 5-1 at Goodison in September 1993 P Rideout (13’) had given Everton the lead and then E Ekoku went on to score 4 times (44’, 57’, 63’, 69’) with C Sutton (77') adding a fifth.
Jim Jennings
5 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:18:07
I dread playing newly promoted sides on the first day. Much rather play them 8 or 10 games in when they’ve had the optimism knocked out of them. QPR and the Arsenal 1-6 are horrible recent memories.
Sam Hoare
6 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:24:19
I agree. Watford will be hyped up on the buzz and tearing around with adrenalin. If we are sluggish selves from last season I fear the worst.

Hopefully the lads are properly up for it and stamp their superiority on the game straight away. An early blue goal and Watford chasing shadows will dampen their enthusiasm but somehow I don’t feel it will go that way...

Mark Tanton
7 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:28:40
Thanks for clearing that up Patrick. Didn't Norwich win at Highbury in front of the infamous mural 0-3 a season or two before as well?
Winston Williamson
8 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:31:34
I remember that game Patrick. Horrible, horrible result and performance.
Shane Corcoran
9 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:32:15
That 1-5 reversal wasn't the first of the season though was it?
Jim Knightley
10 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:38:30
Personally, apart from a Villa reeling from the loss of the core of last season’s team, I can’t think of a better team to play than Watford.

They have not decided on any consistent tactical approach or system in pre-season. They’ve brought in an absurd amount of players of various nationalities, and are looking a lot less cohesive than Bournemouth in particular and Norwich to a lesser degree. If we get at them with pace and power,then we can expose the frailties in their team. We need Mirallas and Lukaku in for it, and we need to play quickly.

They’ve got some good players, notably Deeney and Abdi, but they’ve got a lot of weaknesses. I wonder if it might be best playing them now, than in 10 weeks when they’ve had time to gel. I expect them to be relegated this season, irrespective of their financial capacity.

We need a win because we need the confidence a win would give us, especially ahead of about the toughest opening run I’ve seen in a long time.

Patrick Murphy
11 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:46:08
Shane,

You are correct it was the ninth game of the season, hence it didn’t feature in my write-up.

Tony J Williams
12 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:47:34
Ahh the Lescott 6-1, what a great game that was.

The last time we played Watford the first game of the season we won 2-1, with us getting a penalty for a hand ball by Powell that actually hit his head.

Same again please.

Sam Day
13 Posted 03/08/2015 at 12:53:25
I like the article but does anyone know why comments on articles from last season can't be seen anymore? Does that always happen or is it just a glitch in the website?
Shane Corcoran
14 Posted 03/08/2015 at 13:02:27
Tony #12, wasn't that Sheffield United? I seem to remember Warnock rightly complaining about it afterwards.
Tony J Williams
15 Posted 03/08/2015 at 13:22:38
Nope... definitely Watford:

Everton 2-1 Watford

Shane Corcoran
16 Posted 03/08/2015 at 13:23:40
I think it's time I faced up to this memory of mine.
Jamie Abbott
17 Posted 03/08/2015 at 15:03:33
If Stones plays, his head MUST be in the right frame on mind. We don’t need another Lescott situation, which was terrible. Either he says he is staying before Saturday and plays, or he is on the bench.

Has his place already been booked on the bench with picking up a ’tweak’ yesterday? If so, the papers will have a field day on Sunday.
Steve Cotton
18 Posted 03/08/2015 at 15:16:52
When do you think they will tell us that Lukaku won't be available? I think probably Thursday, so we only have two days to go fucking ballistic thinking Kone will be playing...

He has already said that he expects Deulofeu to be playing Saturday and not to worry... Oh, hang on, he's out, just on the main site...

Well, at least Stones and Mirallas will be fully fit and available...

Steven Jones
19 Posted 03/08/2015 at 17:24:03
The one I remeber was 1977 against newly promoted Nottingham Forest... Cloughie et al.

We were hammered 1-3 and could have been a lot more ... Robertson their left winger was superb going to the by-line countless times at the Street End... Withe and Robertson scored, could have been Woodcock with the other... not sure.

However, they won the league and we came a close second or third. Next year, they won the European Cup!

Patrick Murphy
20 Posted 03/08/2015 at 17:53:11
Steven (#19),

Martin O’Neill scored the third and Jim Pearson got the Everton goal. Everton finished nine points behind Champions Forest in third place.

Peter Bell
21 Posted 03/08/2015 at 18:03:36
Patrick, do you remember the first game of 1980, when Gordon Lee paired 5'-10" Billy Wright with 5'-9" Colin Todd as centre-halves against Norwich and 6'-2" Justin Fashanu playing centre-forward, conceded four headers if my memory serves me right. I think Andy King scored our only goal on a sunny August day. Gordon Lee finished the season getting sacked.
Patrick Murphy
22 Posted 03/08/2015 at 19:39:18
Peter (21) funnily enough I do remember it as it is mentioned in the PDF file link at the top of this post.
Patrick Murphy
23 Posted 03/08/2015 at 19:44:19
Peter (21) I meant to add that the opening match in 1980-81 Gordon Lee's final season was against Sunderland at Roker Park Everton lost 3-1.
Steve Carse
24 Posted 04/08/2015 at 02:15:05
I also seem to recall a 4-1 home hammering on the opening day against a newly promoted Crystal Palace.
Stephen Brown
25 Posted 04/08/2015 at 02:24:22
1988 - 4-0 v Newcastle. Tony Cottee hat trick on debut. That was when we had the money to break the British record for transfers! It was also my first ever match.
Steve Durham
26 Posted 04/08/2015 at 02:44:23
My favourite opening day game was vs Newcastle who had just signed Shearer. Big Duncan had an unbelievable game and caused havoc; Gary Speed was superb that day too and we won 2-0 in blazing sunshine.

My worst opener was against Crystal Palace when Lombardo ran the show and we were dreadful -- still in my top 5 worst ever Everton performances.

Matt Traynor
27 Posted 04/08/2015 at 06:31:50
Stephen, remember that well. Season before, Harvey's first, we were defending champions and finished 4th. I think we only lost once at home that season, and that was the last game against Arsenal.

That close season Harvey went on a spree - Cottee who turned down Arsenal, Nevin on a tribunal fee (£925k) from Chelsea, McCall from Bradford for about £800k I think, and McDonald from the Barcodes for £525k.

Cottee scored after 34 seconds. Also our next game, away at Coventry, we won 1-0, Cottee again.

"We're back!" we all thought.

We weren't as it turned out.

Kieran Fitzgerald
28 Posted 04/08/2015 at 06:47:59
I’ve been working for the last couple of years for the first game. Last season, I managed to catch the Leicester game on the internet. (No managers on a Saturday in work.) It as a sickener.

I was out with friends then for the second game of the season against Arsenal. Hopefully it’s not the same this season.

I have a three-day weekend off work this weekend and I’m going to milk it, wife permitting of course.

Stephen Brown
29 Posted 04/08/2015 at 07:23:07
Matt- you're memory serves you very well! Who would have thought 30 years later our transfer budget is at about the same level as that spree!
Ray Roche
30 Posted 04/08/2015 at 08:01:13
1984-85, Everton 1- 4 Tottenham ....I can't quite remember how that season panned out......
Tony J Williams
32 Posted 04/08/2015 at 12:51:35
Everton 1 - 4 Arsenal -- That game pretty much signalled the end of Campbell’s Everton career, as the next day he came out and said he would take 17th right now.

He went in January and look what happened...

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 04/08/2015 at 17:11:41
Going back a bit 1954-55, first game after promotion, away to Sheffield United we won 5-2, first home match that season we won 1-0 versus Arsenal, 69,000 at Goodison, and on the Saturday we beat PNE 1-0 with a goal from Cyril Lello. 76,000 at the match, happy days!!!!
Karl Parsons
35 Posted 05/08/2015 at 02:07:58
I remember a newly promoted Nottingham Forest, managed by Cloughie come to Goodison on the opening day and they murdered us 4-1. They went on to win the league; we did fuck all, as usual.
Derek Knox
36 Posted 05/08/2015 at 09:02:31
There seems a certain deja vu feeling about the season starting, Patrick.

We are at least at home, if that means anything anymore, we have had little transfer activity (up to now) key players seem to be injured, we have had a mediocre pre-season. So, little difference to last year really.

Seriously, I am a little anxious about our lack of firepower, creativity, and lack of depth in the squad. Unless some positive transfer activity is to happen, I can’t see us even finishing mid-table as it stands.

I will hold my hands up as being one of those pleased when we appointed Senor Martinez, at the helm.

I am beginning to doubt whether he is really the man for the job?

Laurie Hartley
37 Posted 05/08/2015 at 10:06:16
I haven’t seen any of the pre-season games -- no coverage here in Australia. But going by the posts on ToffeeWeb the majority seem to feel the same apprehension that I do towards the coming season.

I was really pleased to see Deulofeu re-sign and I think Cleverley could turn out to be a good buy.

But I think the thing this team needs more than anything else is a midfielder that can boss the team on the pitch. There is plenty of talent in the squad but it needs an injection of heart and mongrel -- a Tim Cahill type.

Dave Wilson
38 Posted 05/08/2015 at 12:24:58
I went to school with Efangu Ekoku, nice bloke, but a kopite. Those two games spoken of above, Norwich and Wimbledon 1-5 at home, were truly horrible.

Watford will be straight at us from ’the off’; we should be well prepared for that. The games in Singapore showed that we have learned nothing from last season: over-elaborate, predicable play and teams able to just walk through us.

Conor Waters
39 Posted 05/08/2015 at 14:02:57
Opening games of the season definitely don’t hold many good memories, home or away. We seem to have the optimism squeezed out of us by Saturday at 5pm. I vaguely recall some shambolic defeats to Blackburn in particular. A Howard clanger in a 1-0 defeat at Ewood and a last minute Andre Ouijer header in added time, handing us a 3-2 home reverse.

Even when we do win, it's usually a bit spasy. Like that Watford game as mentioned, a narrow victory over Wigan and a late winner at Charlton. Only the MNF victory over Man Utd holds any worth.

Ant Dwyer
40 Posted 05/08/2015 at 14:38:00
Winning on Saturday is a must, at any cost. Roberto needs to realise that our main attacking threats are out injured or only half fit, he has to realise that Watford will go all guns blazing but lack real premiership quality.

I’d be happy with a solid disciplined performance were we rely on Jags an stones plus the experience of Howard and Barry (both playing weather we like it or not).

If they can’t keep it tight v Watford we are in for a horrific season.
Eugene Ruane
41 Posted 05/08/2015 at 14:43:24
There is a massive difference (for me) re opening days now and those of the past.

Pre Sky (and clubs being able to simply buy the title) we could all at least dream a little.

17-year-old me: "Norwich at home first game, then away to Forest, then home to Chelsea and Leeds, that’s at least 9 points....and if we win them all there’s no reason we can’t have a real crack at the league....hey I wouldn’t half shag that Kathy Jones off Handful Of Songs" etc.

Now, as we can’t win the league (but could go down) I’m simply looking for a win to ’settle us’, to get our first goal, then our first win so nerves are sorted (ahem!) ’early doors’.

It’s easy to see how the pressure is applied these days if you don’t get off the mark fast and it’s obvious the PL/Sky (knowing only a couple of teams can ’win’ their title) try to build drama in ludicrous ways.

Sky nob: "Everton are yet to score (win/win at home/win away etc) and they’ll really need to get something from Chelsea and City if they want to avoid being in the RELEGATION ZONE...come er mid September" etc.

Ffs, there’s even discussion over the league table after one fucking game (they never used to show a table til after 3 games).

Some come on Everton, this season, I’ve got a feeling we could really...have our nerves settled early.

Eugene Ruane
42 Posted 05/08/2015 at 14:46:51
That should be 'So come on Everton..'

'Some come on Everton' was possibly a Freudian clit.

Sorry I mean tit.

SLIP!!

Brian Harrison
43 Posted 05/08/2015 at 15:06:14
I think I can best sum up my thoughts on the coming season pretty much how an alcoholic or someone addicted to drugs might define things. I know it doesn't do my health any good and I should stop doing it right away. The only difference between the alcoholic, the drug user and me, is hopefully watching Everton won't kill me. Now it might make me insane and raise my blood pressure.

Maybe under this regime when the club send out the season ticket it should have a health warning.

Michael Kenrick
44 Posted 05/08/2015 at 15:57:00
Laurie (#37) -- coverage of pre-season games was made available by the Club to every Everton fan anywhere in the world who had an internet connection, for a modest fee that collectively could have perhaps helped the club secure the services of the players you crave.

But you didn't miss much, sadly. There was a cracking goal Barkley smacked home. But we were getting spanked by Arsenal at the time...

Andy Meighan
45 Posted 05/08/2015 at 16:24:21
Matt (27), Coventry away after the Newcastle game, another Cottee goal and we all thought, my God, we’ve got a goal machine here. What a false dawn that turned out to be.

By the way what a goalkeeping display by Big Nev that day, best I’ve ever seen by any goalkeeper ever. Absolutely sensational.
Ray Atherton
46 Posted 05/08/2015 at 17:44:15
The opening first game of the 1961-62 season was against Aston Villa. Derek Dougan, the Northern Ireland centre-forward, was making his debut after a fine spell at Blackburn.

The reason this game stood out for me was, Dougan was a colourful character. He came out on the pitch with a mohican haircut. Whenever he touched the ball, about fifty thousand Evertonians were whooping like red Indians.

Humour was great, especially winning 2-0.

Eugene Ruane
47 Posted 05/08/2015 at 18:34:24
Ray (46) - ’Fifty thousand Evertonians were
whooping like red Indians.’

Brilliant, reminds me of the time just about everyone in the ground was gleefully smacking their own heads after we took the lead against City.

(Mime for "Suck on that Fowler..you fucking horrible hoover-nosed twat!")

.
Paul Johnson
48 Posted 05/08/2015 at 21:03:34
Tony Cottee’s debut hat-trick in 1988 has got to be my fave first game.

For those not old enough, imagine starting the season as League Champions (two years from the previous three), big spenders and scoring for fun... where did it all go so wrong!?!?!

Anyway, due to visiting Evertonians from the States, I’ve been *forced* to take drastic action to make sure all 4 of the Wait brothers attend the season opener. Apparently they’ve never been together -- WTF Jules!?!?!

So, my company is sponsoring the match ball so we can get tickets for the Wait boys. With any luck we won’t get snotted.

COYB!!!

Ian McDowell
49 Posted 05/08/2015 at 21:07:07
Same here, Paul, I was 9 when we signed Cottee. I remember buying the match magazine just before I went to Majorca on a family holiday and he was on the front. Then, the day after I got home, I recall standing in the Bullens Road watching him score a hat-trick.
Laurie Hartley
50 Posted 05/08/2015 at 21:58:40
Well Michael I obviously didn't try hard enough. I'll go back into my glass house feeling rather sheepish.

Ernie Baywood
51 Posted 05/08/2015 at 22:33:27
Just to make you feel worse the games against Arsenal and Stoke were live on Fox Sports at a very reasonable 8pm or so kick off.
Dave McCoy
52 Posted 05/08/2015 at 23:50:01
Re opening day games, best ever was 69-70, Arsenal away: we won 2-0, then Man Utd away, won 1-0. John Hurst scored in both games. I was at both.
Laurie Hartley
53 Posted 06/08/2015 at 11:25:59
Thanks Ernie -- suffering is good for the soul. All booked in for 11:50 Saturday night.


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