For most of the Premier League’s history, Everton have been a mid-table side. There have been seasons where they’ve promised to break into the Champions League spots and achieve greater things, however, they often find themselves comfortably finishing inside the top 10.
With the talented and well-liked Roberto Martinez at the helm, and a multitude of home-grown and foreign talent in their ranks, there’s no reason why the blue half of Merseyside can’t mount a serious challenge to their red rivals.
History in Premier League
Everton were founder members of the Premier League and have never been relegated – but they’ve come close.
Everton’s worst position was 17th in 1993-94, 1997-98 and 2003-04. The Premier League’s reduction to 20 teams (from 22) in time for the 1995-96 season meant that they only narrowly escaped relegation in 1997-8 and 2003-04.
A sixth-place finish in the 1995-96 season under manager, Joe Royle, was their strongest finish up to that point. Yet a 15th place finish the following season prompted Royle’s resignation.
Everton’s best finish in the league to date is fourth in 2004-05 under David Moyes.
Roberto Martinez won acclaim as manager at Swansea. The Spaniard used a free-flowing style of play to guide the Welsh club to the League One title in 2008.
Martinez then became manager of Wigan Athletic, much to the chagrin of many Swansea fans, who nicknamed him El Judas. In three of his four seasons at the helm of Wigan, Martinez led the club to safety.
This included a surprise escape in the 2011-12 season, during which they won seven of their final nine games to avoid going down. The run earned Martinez the Manager of the Month award for April 2012.
His last season as manager of Wigan was bittersweet. While the 2012-13 season ended in relegation, it also ended in FA Cup victory, with a 1-0 win over Manchester City at Wembley.
Everton announced that Martinez would be replacing David Moyes in time for the 2013-14 campaign.
Martinez brought a new style of play to Goodison Park and acquired the services of Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku. He then led Everton to a fifth-place finish and an automatic place in the Europa League.
Initially a loan signing from Chelsea ahead of the 2013-14 season, Lukaku scored 15 goals that season to help the Toffees finish fifth in the Premier League. He signed a full-time contract with Everton in the close-season for a fee of £28 million.
Named one of Europe’s stars of the future, Lukaku is well-known for his cunning way of getting past defenders. Still only 22, he is blessed with great power and is widely expected to be become one of the best strikers in the world.
At the end of the 2013-14, a fifth-place finish suggested that Everton were on the up under Martinez. They have great players in their team, with John Stones, Ross Barkley and, of course, Lukaku coming to mind.
Martinez has also proven himself a good manager, so why they’re not in the title race remains a mystery to us. Yet if they can keep hold of these players and build on their squad, there seems no real reason why they couldn’t – or wouldn’t – be in with a shot next year.