Our new series continues as we look at programmes from clashes with West Brom from decades gone by.
Everton 1-0 West Bromwich Albion - 23 November 2002
The matchday programme from the home meeting with the Baggies in 2002/03 was a ‘special edition', produced to commemorate the Blues' first meeting that season against a founder member of the Football League, in what was the Club's 100th top-flight campaign.
Editor Darren Griffiths, in his column, said the publication would become a ‘collector's item' and that the whole matchday experience would hopefully be something to ‘really look back on'. Evertonians would go home happy after seeing their side take all three points - the Toffees' sixth straight victory - but the contest was far from a classic with Tomas Radzinksi's first-half strike proving the difference.
Duncan Ferguson was the Everton captain at the time and in his programme notes that afternoon the big Scot praised the recent performances of Tobias Linderoth and Gary Naysmith, along with keeper Richard Wright who had recorded four consecutive clean sheets for the Blues. The skipper felt that people were ‘taking notice' of Everton after they had catapulted themselves into third place in the Premier League table.
The programme examined David Unsworth, comparing the left-back's performances that season with his opposite number that day, Neil Clement. The stats were firmly stacked in favour of the Chorley-born man who had scored more goals, had a better pass completion rate, made more clearances and even embarked on more dribbles than the West Brom defender!
Bill Kenwright took time to answer the ‘Give us a minute please' feature. The Blues chairman revealed that his most treasured Everton souvenir was a scrap book he made of that ‘deliriously wonderful weekend' in 1966 when the Blues lifted the FA Cup. He also explained that one of his all-time favourite Everton goals was ‘Inchy's at Oxford' and the first autograph he obtained was of Jimmy O'Neill who he described as a ‘great Everton goalkeeper'.
Attached in the centre pages was also an exact replica of the matchday programme from the first-ever meeting with West Bromwich Albion which took place on Saturday 23 February, 1889.
Everton 1-0 West Bromwich Albion - 11 January 1989
Everton entertained West Bromwich Albion in a FA Cup third round replay in January 1989. The first tie at the Hawthorns finished 1-1 but the Blues progressed in the second meeting thanks to Kevin Sheedy's winner.
While the Republic of Ireland was the star of the show on the pitch, it was Paul Bracewell who took centre stage in the matchday programme that evening.
The midfielder was the subject of the ‘personal opinion' feature, in which he said the best place he visited for a football trip was Hawaii, Neil Pointon and Graeme Sharp were amongst the worst dressed members of the 1988/89 Everton squad, and that John Bailey was the liveliest character he has ever met in football. He also said he would love to ‘have a crack' at Mastermind!
Colin Harvey's programme notes for the game referenced the fact that Everton had to play seven matches to make it into round five of the FA Cup the previous season. The then-Blues boss also reflected on the defeat to Nottingham Forest in the previous league game which brought a ten-match unbeaten run to an end.
The match action section had snaps from the first tie, including one of Kevin Sheedy's trademark free-kick, while in another interview, the Blues back-up stopper Mike Stowell reckoned that a reserve match at Coventry just before Christmas put him amongst the very few goalkeepers who have scored direct from a clearance!
Everton 0-1 West Bromwich Albion - 18 May 1968
Everton have won the FA Cup five times - but the members of the 1968 side had to accept runners-up medals after they were beaten by West Bromwich Albion in that year's final at Wembley.
The 24-page programme for that game describes Harry Catterick's team as ‘Exciting Everton - the club with a brilliant past and a great future!'
Another summary of the Toffees from that publication could still be uttered today, as Roberto Martinez implements his stylish brand of football on the current crop of Blues. It reads: ‘Throughout their long and honour-studded career, Everton have been one of the Football League's outstanding members, famed alike for their sportsmanship and the calibre of their football'.
The player profiles make for interesting reading. Joe Royle is described a striker who is ‘particularly good with his head', Alex Young is labelled as one of Everton's ‘most popular players who is stylish in all he does' and Howard Kendall earns praise for ‘never showing nerves'.
The programme also reflects on Everton's cup triumph from two years earlier when the Blues staged a sensational comeback to take home the trophy, beating Sheffield Wednesday 3-2. Unfortunately there was to be no repeat in 1968 as a late Jeff Astle decided the game in the Baggies' favour.