What happened on this day in football history? Today, we look back at Everton’s last league title from 4 May 1987.
Everton’s last league title was sealed on this day 36 years ago, when they defeated Norwich City 1-0 at Carrow Road thanks to Pat Van den Hauwe’s only league goal of the 1986-87 season – perfect timing.
The Toffees ended up winning the Division One title with a nine-point gap over rivals Liverpool to seal their second league championship of the 1980s and ninth overall in English top-flight history. That tally is still the fourth most of any English club, behind only Manchester United (20), Liverpool (19) and Arsenal (13). At the time of winning Division One in 1986-87, only Liverpool (16) had more top-flight league titles in England than Everton’s nine.
The Toffees are one of 13 current Premier League clubs to have won an English top-flight league title, with Brighton, Brentford, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Fulham, West Ham and Southampton yet to win one.
It was manager Howard Kendall’s second top-flight league title as a manager following his first success at Everton two season previous (1984-85). Amazingly, Kendall achieved those successes by the age of 40 years and 347 days – his first while aged just 38 years and 349 days old. Those accomplishments make any potential Premier League title win by Arsenal under their 41-year-old manager Mikel Arteta look less impressive.
One reason behind Everton’s success in 1986-87 was their tight defence. With 31 goals conceded they had the best defensive record in Division One that season, while only in 1987-88 (0.68) have they ever conceded fewer goals per game than they did in this campaign (0.74) – this didn’t help them as reigning champions, however, as they ended that campaign in fourth.
While they also topped the scoring charts of all 22 clubs in 1986-87 (76), it falls well short of their record in a season from their title-winning 1930-31 second-tier campaign in which they scored 121 in 42 games – one of only nine teams to net 120 or more goals in a single EFL season.
In the 36 seasons since their 1986-87 title win (including this one), Everton have failed to finish inside the top three, with two fourth-place finishes in 1987-88 and 2004-05 their best league campaigns across this period.
The 2022-23 campaign might bring worse, yet. With Everton currently in the Premier League relegation zone entering the final month of the season, they may end a spell of 69 consecutive seasons in the English top-flight if they drop to the Championship. Following the last occasion they were relegated from the top-flight in 1950-51, it took them three seasons in the second tier to get back up.