Everton had a boost before they'd even kicked a ball in May.
Aston Villa lost 2-0 at home to Wigan, meaning the Blues needed just one point from their remaining two games to secure fifth place and a return to the Uefa Cup.
And they were close to securing that point at Arsenal. The Toffees resolutely held the Gunners off for 75 minutes before Nicklas Bendtner produced a powerful header that settled the game.
Nevertheless, Everton's fate was in their own hands; a point at home to Newcastle on the final day would be enough for fifth spot.
Aston Villa were playing at West Ham, praying for a slip up at Goodison.
Once the game kicked off, Everton appeared to be playing unshackled - exhibiting some of their best football of the season. After numerous chances, Yakubu nodded home Manuel Fernandes' pinpoint delivery. He was the first player since Peter Beardsley in 1992 to score 20 times in a season.
Just after half time Michael Owen squeezed home a penalty but soon after Goodison was in raptures again.
Joleon Lescott reached his own personal milestone - 10 goals for the season - when he clinically sidefooted home another exquisite Fernandes ball.
There was still time for another landmark - Everton's first penalty award in the league this season had David Moyes grinning on the touchline.
Yakubu dispatched the ball past Steve Harper and the end of season lap of honour was completed in gleeful circumstances.
Inevitably, at the end of the season there were departures from the playing staff. Before the Newcastle game it was confirmed that Stefan Wessels and Thomas Gravesen had come to the end of their Everton stints.
Then, a week after the end of the season, Lee Carsley made the decision to end his six-year tenure on Merseyside. He joined hometown side Birmingham City.