1961 - 1980
Stories of the Era
The 70s was a dismal period for the club - the 69-70 side broke up far too quickly and a solitary League Cup Final appearance in 1976-77 was the closest Everton came to silverware.
Everton drew 0-0 with Aston Villa at Wembley, 1-1 at Hillsborough in the replay, and then lost 2-3 in the third match at Old Trafford.
The Blues should also have been in the FA Cup final that season but a disallowed goal in the last minute of their semi-final match with Liverpool with the score at 2-2 dashed their dreams. The referee, Clive Thomas, has never offered a full explanation...nor has he ever been forgiven.
One highlight of the era was the emergence of Bob Latchford as the latest centre-forward to be revered by the Evertonians. Signed in a club-record deal in 1974 he was a natural-born goal-getter and his most prolific campaign saw him plunder 30 league goals during the 1977-78 season.
A former Everton player, Billy Bingham had succeeded Harry Catterick in the Goodison hot-seat in April 1973, but despite some fine top-six finishes he was replaced himself by Gordon Lee in January 1977.
Bingham did, however, manage to get the Blues into the Uefa Cup halfway through his four-year tenure as boss, but they unfortunately came up against Italian giants, AC Milan, in the opening round.
After Mike Bernard was sent off in the first leg at Goodison and Latchford had a goal disallowed, Everton went over to the Giuseppe Meazza and were more than a match for the Rossoneri and only some pretty dubious refereeing decisions prevented them from a crucial away goal.
Indeed, Mike Lyons was penalised in his own penalty area for handball, even though he appeared to trap the ball with his thigh. The resulting spot-kick was dispatched by home forward, Egidio Calloni with 22 minutes to play and send Bingham's men home.
Everton's goalkeeper that night was former Welsh international, Dai Davies and he said that Bingham was wary of a lot of goings-on surrounding the tie in Milan.
Davies said: “I remember in the preparation that Billy Bingham didn’t want us to eat fruit because he was paranoid that something would have been done to it.
“It was a magnificent stadium and the fans were congregating by the goal, with a klaxon and a loudspeaker close by. There were all sorts of obscenities shouted about the Queen and England; they were trying to intimidate us.
“It was a very tight game and there weren’t many chances. It was very competitive but we kept it to 1–0 and that was a penalty.”
Under Lee, Everton finished third in the table in 1977-78 and fourth the following season.
Good statistics, but that was as good as it got though for the former Newcastle boss and after successive finishes of 19th and 15th, he was dismissed in 1981 and another former Everton player was drafted in.Howard Kendall's return to Goodison was welcomed by the fans...but they could scarcely have believed what was around the corner.