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v Southampton

Saturday 26 April K.O. 12:45

1981 - 2002

1981 - 2002
Stories of the Era

Once again, Everton failed to move forward and build on a promising situation.

Indeed, by the end of the 1996-97 season, Joe Royle had gone, and stalwart Dave Watson assumed temporary control. The team flirted briefly with relegation yet again but, despite winning just one of the last eight fixtures, managed to finish two points off the drop zone.

Stability was no longer a word uttered with any regularity at Everton and for the 1997-98 season, Howard Kendall returned for a third spell in charge.

Fans celebrate escaping relegation at Coventry in 1998Fans celebrate escaping relegation at Coventry in 1998

It almost ended in disaster.

The Blues won just nine of their 38 league matches, and avoided relegation only by virtue of a better goal difference than Bolton Wanderers.

One of Kendall's signings, Gareth Farrelly, scored the vital goal in the last game, a 1-1 draw with Coventry that, once again, sparked scenes of joy and celebration on the pitch at the final whistle.

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