Initially formed as St Domingo FC, the history and origins that surround Everton are truly fascinating. From how the club were formed, to the journey they took towards securing Goodison Park and the evolution of the team, there is so much Everton history to dive into.
In their 141 years of existence, Everton have spent only four years outside the top flight of English football. During this time, they have won nine League titles, five FA Cups and the 1985 Cup Winners’ Cup. Whether you’re a Blue, or you just love football, discover some fascinating Everton history.
Steeped in fascinating history, Everton’s roots originate with St Domingo’s Methodist Church. Located on Breckfield Road North, between St. Domingo Vale and St. Domingo Grove.
In 1877 Rev. Benjamin Swift Chambers was appointed Minister of St. Domingo Chapel and created a cricket team for the youngsters in the area. Cricket was only played in the summer months, so there was room for another sport as the weather began to get colder. In 1878 the football club St Domingo F.C was formed, they played their first match at home against Everton Church Club and won 1-0.
Over time, the club became very popular, with many people who did not attend the chapel asking to join the team. It was decided that the name of the club should be changed and in November 1879 a meeting was held at the Queen’s Head Hotel, near Ye Anciente Everton Toffee House, to decide what it should be changed to. After much discussion, they came to the agreement that the team should be called Everton Football Club, after the surrounding area.
Everton originally played on an open pitch in the southeast corner of the newly laid out Stanley Park, the same site for the once proposed new Liverpool stadium. The first official match under the name Everton F.C. took place on December 20, 1879 against St. Peters; they won 6–0.
As the team began to grow in popularity, it was apparent that they needed to find a new ground and if they wanted to become a professional club, they required proper enclosed facilities. Brewer John Houlding, a man to be influential in Everton history, lived adjacent to Stanley Park and was attracted to the club because of the large noisy crowds. In 1882, Houlding negotiated with Mr J. Cruit, who donated land at Priory Road with proper hoarding and turnstiles, it became Everton’s new home for two years.
However, as the club began to grow, the crowds became far too large and noisy. Eventually, Mr Cruit asked Everton to leave his land after a disturbance was caused by fans when the team beat Earlestown to win their first trophy in 1884.
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Everton found a new ground at Anfield Road in September 1884, renting it from John Orrell, a friend of John Houlding. Stands were erected at the Anfield Road ground and attendance figures reached 8,000 per game. In 1888 Everton became a professional football club and played their first Football League fixture against Accrington Stanley on 8 September 1888.
The club continued to grow and, in the 1890-91 season, Everton won their first championship, playing in front of crowds of up to 20,000. Within seven years the team progressed from amateur players to a highly successful professional club. Anfield was transformed from a brick field to a 20,000 plus international standard ground with accommodation on all sides. The pioneering work establishing Everton as one of England’s largest and most successful clubs was all done at Anfield, perhaps a piece of Everton history that is most surprising and arguably where the Liverpool , Everton rivalry was born.
As the team began to gain more popularity, complications started to arise regarding the ground rent and ownership. In 1885 the owner, Orrell, wanted to use the land for redevelopment, which would have left Everton homeless and threatened their existence as a team. The football committee went to Houlding for help and subsequently, he purchased the land at Anfield Road from Orrell for a sum he couldn’t really afford.
Houlding understood Everton could not offer any promises financially and were only in a position to pay a rent of £100 each year. However, he accepted the terms hoping that with Everton’s growing popularity the team would be able to afford the going rate.
This arrangement continued until three years later when Everton won the Football League title for the first time. Houlding saw this was the beginning of something big for Everton, becoming champions was a golden opportunity to take the club to the next level. He proposed Everton should buy his land, plus a plot adjoining it.
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The committee rejected the idea, they felt the price Houlding was asking for his land was too high at a time when land prices were generally falling. Many of the club’s members accused Houlding of trying to make a profit at the club’s expense as the rent they were paying was increasing and Houlding wanted only his ales to be sold at the ground, which would be a considerable profit for him.
In January 1892 the club’s 279 members met to discuss the matter. Houlding clashed with the committee led by George Mahon, organist at St Domingo’s Church, over the direction the club was heading in. On 25 January 1892, Mahon, told members of the club that he had an option to buy Mere Green Field, situated on the north side of Stanley Park. After a second meeting, the club moved to Mere Green Field in 1892, which was to become Everton’s new home, Goodison Park.
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In the early days, St Domingo wore blue and white striped shirts, because they were the school colours. But as other players joined the club with a rainbow variety of shirts it was decided to dye the shirts a uniform black. This looked rather dull however, so the decision was made to add a red sash to the kit, which sparked the team nickname “The Black Watch”.
Over the years Everton have played in a huge range of colours, including white, white with a black sash , blue and white stripes and finally black. When the team finally arrived at Goodison Park, they played in dark blue stripes with salmon pink, ruby and blue trimmings. However that soon changed to the famous royal blue we know today.
Over the years, Everton quickly emerged as one of the top football clubs of their era. They were among the twelve founding members of the Football League, the first professional football competition in the world. Their first taste of silverware came in 1891, with the club winning its first League title in a dominating fashion.
In 1925, the team made an historic signing of the legendary Dixie Dean from Tranmere Rovers. On the back of Dean’s incredible 60 league goals – still the English top-flight record – Everton won their third League title in 1929. Dean remained a prolific striker in the years to come, leading Everton to another League title in 1932 and an FA Cup in 1933. He left Everton as their top goalscorer of all time, with 349 goals in 399 appearances.
Today, the iconic Dixie Dean and fascinating Everton history is to be showcased in our breathtakingly luxurious hotel in the heart of Liverpool. The Dixie Dean Hotel will celebrate the Toffees with opulent rooms, a bar and restaurant and an events space, featuring exclusive memorabilia kindly donated by the Dean family.
We can’t wait to open our amazing hotel and continue this important Everton history in Liverpool. If you’d like to stay up to date with our progress, follow our Facebook and Twitter pages. And you can now book your stay with us here.
If you’d like to build on your knowledge of Everton FC facts, check out our blog that every Toffee should read!
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