A well-regarded football trouble-shooter Gordon Lee, took up the post of manager in January 1977 with an impressive catalogue of previous successes. Having already won promotion for Blackburn Rovers in 1974-1975, he led Newcastle to the final of the League Cup a year later. The fans and the Chairman looked to Lee to reverse the decline in Everton's fortunes.
Living up to his reputation, Lee steered an Everton side verging on the relegation zone back up to finish a respectable ninth, losing only two matches out of eighteen league games, and winning through to the League Cup Final and the FA Cup semi-finals, only to be denied by Aston Villa and Liverpool respectively.
The next season saw Everton finishing in third place and attaining the First Division's highest goal tally with 76 goals. The 1978-1979 campaign got off to a flyer with the team unbeaten in their first 19 league games, including a memorable win over Liverpool.
Finishing fourth, Everton again seemed to be heading downhill, despite late moves on transfer deadline day for Brian Kidd and Peter Eastoe in an attempt to boost morale.
Forced to spend even more money, Lee's 1979-1980 season seemed doomed to failure, despite the arrival of talents such Gary Megson, Asa Hartford and John Gidman. The downturn in the clubs fortunes was reflected in the confidence of the fans as attendances began to suffer.
With his position under review, Lee threw himself into his work, attempting vainly to revive the club. After months of speculation Lee was sacked by Chairman Phillip Carter on May 6 1981.