1878 - 1930

History Timeline

Journey through the Club's glorious past using our fully interactive tool. Click Here.

There is no place like Goodison Park when the place is full.

The atmosphere is quite unique but when the current team enters the arena to the sound of Z-Cars and the deafening noise from over 40,000 spectators, it's difficult to imagine an Everton team trotting out onto a park pitch with no dressing rooms, carrying the goalposts!

But that's how it all began.

The predecessors of heroes such as Dean, Lawton, Hickson, Labone, Ball, Latchford, Sharp, Lineker and Ferguson, were as far removed from the 21st Century image of a football player as it's possible to be.

The St Domingo Methodist Church Sunday School was opened in May 1870 and eight years later the football team using the St Domingo name played its first match in the south-east corner of Stanley Park, with the players carrying the posts from the park lodge on Mill Lane before fixing them into the metal sockets at either end of the crudely marked pitch.

St Domingo's FC quickly established a local reputation for themselves and players were recruited from outside of the parish, precipitating a change of name in November 1879 - to EVERTON.


The hugely significant meeting that decided the new title took place at the Queens Head Hotel in Village Street, off Everton Road, a short distance from the lock-up tower that figures on the Everton crest to this day.

The meeting included six men who were instrumental in the founding of Everton Football Club and also Merseyside football in general and without the influences and circumstances, the Club as we know and love today would not exist.

Reverend Ben Chambers was a Sunday School teacher in a small village named Shepley in Yorkshire before he began a career as a methodist, taking in the St Domingo Chapel in Everton in 1877.

He helped the chapel's cricketers set up a football team during the winter season, which they only did so as to keep fit - they could not have known how important that decision was to be over 100 years down the line!

John Houlding is a name that was to become synonymous with both football clubs in the city; for Everton and their Goodison Park, imperative - as you will learn by viewing the 'Early Homes' tab at the top of this page.

The first game as Everton Football Club took place on December 20th 1879 at Stanley Park against St Peter's. Wearing blue and white striped shirts, Everton won 6-0, although, sadly, there are no records of line-ups or goalscorers.

In those days, before football was a properly organised sport, a player recruited from another team could still wear the jersey of his former club, which led to much confusion!

Everton wanted a unified kit and so, to avoid purchasing a brand new one, they dyed all the various shirts of their players black! A two-inch wide scarlet sash was added and Everton rejoiced in the nickname, The Black Watch - after the famous military regiment.

Other colours were adopted as time passed, until the team settled for Royal Blue for the 1901-02 season.

Everton established themselves as a very good team and as crowds of up to 2,000 gathered to watch them in Stanley Park, it became evident that a new, enclosed ground would soon be needed.

The fourth and final season at the Park was 1882-83, when Everton reached the final of the new Liverpool Cup, only to lose to arch-rivals Bootle in the Final.


For the following season, Everton moved to a field at Priory Road, which boasted dressing rooms and a makeshift grandstand - and the team went one better and actually won the Liverpool Cup, defeating Earlestown in the Final to secure the club's first ever trophy.

However, the owner of that Priory Road field soon tired of the presence of so many football supporters on his land and Everton were soon on the move again - to a field off Anfield Road that would one day become a world famous footballing arena!

The players changed at the nearby Sandon Hotel and would walk to their new Anfield Road pitch.

During their spell at Anfield, John Houlding decided to charge the Club rent based on the increase of gate receipts from attendances and not, as was previously the case, at a fixed rate.

This - along with other conflicts with Everton - led to the Club being expelled from Anfield in 1892 and in need of a new home.

The man who led the Club across Stanley Park to Goodison was accountant and church organist, George Mahon.

Indeed, fully expecting Houlding to dismiss Everton from their Anfield home, he acquired land on a patch of Stanley Park called 'Mere Green Field' and also made sure that the Club kept their name.

The work on developing a ground on that site was commenced - although fears over financing the project began to emerge. However, Club director Dr James Clement Baxter gave Everton an unsecured interest-free loan of £1000 and was to prove the ground's saviour, ensuring it became the first purpose-built home of a football club in England when opened on Thursday August 27, 1892.

For more on the move to Goodison and the work done to make Everton trailblazers in the game click the 'Moving to Goodison' tab above.

Football was still technically an amateur sport in the late 1880s. But more and more clubs were recruiting professional players, with Everton's first being full-back