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Everton celebrate 125 years of football


First Competitive match: 15 October 1887

Today marks a historic moment for one of the founder members of the Football League, the Premier League, and one of the oldest clubs in world football. Yes, today is the 125th anniversary of Everton's first ever competitive match. It was on 15 October 1887 that Everton lost to Bolton Wanderers in a hotly disputed FA Cup 1st Round match that was ordered to be replayed because of the opposition fielding an ineligible player.

1887 saw the professional beginnings of a club who as we today know are currently the 7th most successful club in England. 9 league titles, 5 FA Cups, 1 Cup Winners Cup and 108 years of unbroken top flight football is a admirable haul considering the vast shadow of it's younger brother hanging over them during the latter half of the 20th Century.

In 1878 the club was formed, and was made up of amateurs, each holding down part-time jobs, before playing their first professional match 125 years ago today.

If it wasn't for the avaricious brewer John Houlding hiking up the price for the Anfield leasehold, which was Everton's original home, Liverpool FC might not have existed. Would we have missed our boisterous neighbours if that dispute would have been resolved...? Without question!

Everton's history is littered with legendary players and emotional moments from Graham Stuart's bobbler to keep the club afloat in the Premier League in 1994, which even had hardened dockyard workers wiping a tear from their eye, the historic win against a star-studded Bayern Munich team en-route to the securing the European Cup Winners Cup in 1985 and not forgetting the magical “Holy Trinity” of Howard Kendall, Alan Ball and Colin Harvey in 1970.

To shamelessly steal the words of Everton's 1995 FA Cup Final song: The spirit's stronger in the blues today gonna play the Everton way, The Golden Vision, Dixie Dean The school of science, by far the greatest team.

Was there ever a more apt verse to symbolise Everton FC? What will the next 125 years have in store for the club? Will David Moyes, Mo Fellaini and Leighton Baines be chronicled alongside Evertonian legends Dixie Dean, Bob Latchford and Neville Southall? Even Mystic Meg would struggle to formulate a prediction.

If at the end of the current campaign, Everton have had a successful FA Cup campaign and finish above Liverpool FC for the second successive season, it would be just the start our illustrious forefathers would have wanted. It isn't easy being an Everton supporter but that is why people gravitate towards this fantastic club.

In the words of Alan Ball “Once Everton has touched you, nothing will ever be the same”. So raise a respectful glass of your local's finest ale for the granddad of English football's 125th birthday.

Quotes or other material sourced from Here is the City

Reader Comments

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Tom Dodds
722 Posted 16/10/2012 at 05:32:02
Shame Wayne Rooney never happened. Whatever the whatevers.

Still, no worries our sun's got billions of years of life left in it... and were finally and hopefully on the road again!
James Dawson
729 Posted 16/10/2012 at 06:35:22
Great article! I recall the 125th anniversary of 1878 – we had commemorative badges on the bottom of all the shirts.
James Dawson
731 Posted 16/10/2012 at 06:39:31
It's early and the wrong date in the first paragraph threw me -" Yes, today is the 125th anniversary of Everton's first ever competitive match. It was on 15 October 1887 that St Domingo's lost to Bolton Wanderers in a hotly disputed FA Cup 1st Round match". You might want to change that date! If you know your history and all that .... :-)
Jon Beck
733 Posted 16/10/2012 at 07:39:44
There are certainly some issues with this report. St Domingo's was formed in 1878 and became Everton in 1879 so, I assume, Everton played Bolton 125 years ago on 15th October 1887, not St Domingo's?
Jon Beck
737 Posted 16/10/2012 at 08:03:59
I'd have said 4th most successful but it's a point for debate I guess? Not sure the 108 years have been unbroken either, unless we ignore those two pesky relegations!
Steve Guy
738 Posted 16/10/2012 at 08:13:55
An historic landmark and one well worth reporting.... pity the media don't seem to think so.
Chris Williamson
741 Posted 16/10/2012 at 08:27:17
Ummmm - so what was the 125 we celebrated back in 2003 then? Isn't this 135 years since 1878?


And unbroken run of 108 years? I wish .... and almost.

James Morgan
742 Posted 16/10/2012 at 08:39:33
Chris, 125 years since our first COMPETITIVE match.
2003 was 125 years since we were established.
Brian Williams
743 Posted 16/10/2012 at 08:59:28
Where did Chris study maths? Or is he the new Doctor Who? :-)
Chris Williamson
744 Posted 16/10/2012 at 08:59:52
Ohhhhh right! I see now.

So 9 years of mowing the grass and tiddly winks?

Begs the question similar to that of Notts County the oldest team ... "let's form a footie team" "a what now?" "who will we play?"

Tony J Williams
745 Posted 16/10/2012 at 09:07:10
Chris, eff all was made of our 125 years apart from an old looking shirt and absolutely nothing was made of our 100 years in the top flight either. Not good enough for Sky because football only started in the 90's don'tchaknow?
Richard Lyons
751 Posted 16/10/2012 at 10:13:44
Shame that "Graham Stuart's bobbler to keep the club afloat in the Premier League in 1994" is the first emotional moment listed here; while it was undoubtedly a cause for joyous celebration, I'd prefer to focus on pure success, and there are so many more glorious moments to mention.

Aside from the matches in which a trophy was won, I love to remember those special derby victories, for example the 2-0 win on the way to the title in 1970, or Joe Royle's first match in charge, with Big Dunc scoring twice, etc etc...
Phil Bellis
754 Posted 16/10/2012 at 10:44:21
If only our "marketing" department was staffed by Evertonian professionals. Imagine what other clubs would make of it if they could boast our longevity and history of innovation.

I'd have had us, at least for the last big anniversary, wearing black shirts with a ruby sash. It's so sad, but bloody typical of the "we know our place, plucky little Everton" mentality that pervades our club and sections of our fanbase ("small" my arse!), that we don't make enough fuss of ourselves.

"The history of the Everton Football Club is the history of Association Football in Great Britain."

Trevor Lynes
759 Posted 16/10/2012 at 11:03:21
I well remember that pesky three years in the old 2nd Division. Catterick played centre forward and we had an awful team. The only saving grace was passing the relegated Liverpool on our way back up.

Liverpool were absolutely carried by Billy Liddell who was a true great and put the fear of God into me whenever he received the ball in derby games. They had to wait until Shankly brought them up in 1961.

That was a time when both Liverpool clubs ruled the roost over Manchester and London. A fantastic period when no foreign players were in the league and level playing fields sorted the men from the boys.

Now we don't produce decent English players in sufficient numbers and I blame the onset of the computer age as nowadays you never see kids playing football, they are all in their bedrooms playing with computers. Thats why we see so many obese kids.

When I was at school we were all skinny and fit and walked or ran everywhere. Ah well, nostalgia ain't what it used to be!!!!

Barry Rathbone
760 Posted 16/10/2012 at 11:13:43
Phil, well said
Andrew Ellams
761 Posted 16/10/2012 at 11:20:10
I do think we could improve our marketing strategies, but what we should not forget at the same time are that the clubs who make big money on this front are those whose grounds are full of tourist fans on a Saturday afternoon. People who come for an annual day out and buy their pressies in the souvenir shop whilst we have a ground full of proper footie fans who would rather spend their cash on a pie and a pint.

Eugene Ruane
763 Posted 16/10/2012 at 11:18:44
What Phil said.

Oh and I think we (and the remaining founder members) should have a large gold embroidered FM on our shirts.

It would be a constant reminder to kids who we are and how long we've been around and even better, 'they' couldn't have it.

People say 'yeah but the the PL wouldn't have it coz it's a different competition', but so is the CL.

Actually, if you're allowed them little CL stars, why can't we have a number denoting title wins?

Our 9 would piss all over Chelsea's 3 or..whatever it is (psychology innit though blood).


Tony McNulty
764 Posted 16/10/2012 at 11:36:10
Seems like 125 years since we have been seeking investment.
Chris Williamson
766 Posted 16/10/2012 at 11:34:48
Eugene - I totally agree - time for a feck off big FM badge. Different competition my ar$e. It's still played with a football, the offside rule still confuses wimmin, the goals are the same size and, Old Trafford (with the host team behind) apart, the game still lasts 90 minutes.

A rose by any other name still smells as sweet .... though the EPL does have a bit of a whiff of the stench of cheating and the clamour for raw cash about it.

If the EPL don't like it - why not incorporate it onto the the Everton badge - eg Everton 1878 Founders

David S Shaw
768 Posted 16/10/2012 at 12:40:42
I think this is incorrect.

Wasn't the Liverpool Cup played prior to this? With some big matches played against Bootle in the Finals? Just because they're not big competitions now it does not mean that we were not big then. They were very competitive affairs with players being carried back to Stanley Park from Hawthorne Road.

Keith Glazzard
803 Posted 16/10/2012 at 18:06:02
"a hotly disputed FA Cup 1st Round match"

As I recall the ref was a baldy Italian bloke with a Rolex pocket watch and the only carriage and six in the carriage park. 125 years and we're still talking about it.

Phil Bellis has it about right. Why couldn't the black away kit have had the 'sash' (not the one me father wore) across it this season? So simple, so significant.

Arsenal were never promoted to the top flight, they're there because of a behind closed doors 'vote'. Let the sun shine on the Accrington Stanleys of this world, but let's always remember that we are original and genuine.

Change has to come, but tradition should never die.

Brian Foley
809 Posted 16/10/2012 at 19:19:00
Richard 751 surely Big Dunc and Paul Rideout.
Dennis Stevens
835 Posted 16/10/2012 at 23:30:28
We are also the only club not to have played either non-league or lower division [3/4] football.
Ed Fitzgerald
010 Posted 18/10/2012 at 20:48:58
Arsenal got into the top division by a fix set up by the chairman of the RS and Man U. Arsenal has finished sixth or fifth in the old second division. The league was expanded into 1919 and Arsenal were mysteriously voted into the top division, Spurs went down! Little wonder they hate each other
Dick Fearon
013 Posted 18/10/2012 at 21:24:19
Just realised I have been a supporter for a half of the clubs life.
Mike Green
014 Posted 18/10/2012 at 21:27:21
Which half Dick? ; )
Dennis Stevens
028 Posted 18/10/2012 at 23:17:51
Congratulations, Dick. I don't think I'll ever do that, I can't imagine lasting out until I'm 84.

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