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v Southampton

Saturday 26 April K.O. 12:45

1878 - 1930

1878 - 1930
Stories of the Era

Everton's success on the pitch in the early years of the Football League were the key to the problems they faced off it in relation to a permanent home.

John Houlding, the owner of the Anfield site Everton called home, doubled the rent in the aftermath of the Championship win of 1891 and the Everton committee decided to move on again, rather than pay the inflated rate.

GOODISON PARK 1905Goodison Park in 1905

George Mahon, a respected city accountant and church elder, led the campaign to move from Anfield and he secured a lease on a piece of land on the North side of Stanley Park, known as the Mere Green Field.

The Everton members took just a matter of months to turn the wasteland that was the Mere Green Field into Goodison Park - the country's first purpose built football stadium.

GOODISON PARK 1905Goodison - The first purpose-built stadium

Goodison Park was opened on August 24th 1892, with 12,000 spectators inside, and the first League match was on September 3rd against Nottingham Forest - ending in a 2-2 draw with Geary, fittingly, on target.

In total, Geary played 96 times for Everton, scoring 86 goals.

In 1892-93 he scored 19 in 24 League matches although, significantly, he missed the club's first ever FA Cup final (at Fallowfield, Manchester) which Everton lost 0-1 to Wolves.

FA CUP 1897Everton take on Aston Villa in the 1897 FA Cup final at Crystal Palace

The next flirtation with success came in 1897, when the team defeated Burton, Bury, Blackburn and Derby to reach another FA Cup Final.

This final, at Crystal Palace, also ended in disappointment though, with Everton losing 2-3 to Aston Villa - John Bell and Richard Boyle scoring the goals. Ironically, both Bell and Boyle were Scotsmen signed from Dumbarton - an Everton Cup Final goalscoring anomaly that was to be repeated some 87 years later - with Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp netting at Wembley against Watford. But on that occasion, the Blues lifted the Cup!

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