Opening Day Blues!

Everton kick off the Premier League season today with a trip to Carrow Road to take on Chris Hughton’s Norwich City. Ahead of the first official fixture of the Roberto Martinez era we have taken a look back at the Toffees record on the opening day of the season and it is certainly a mixed picture.

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The Blues opening day record over the last 30 years is won 10, drew 6 and lost 14, although the Blues did manage to start last season in fantastic fashion with a one-nil win over Manchester United. United put that defeat behind them and went on to win the title, something Everton managed in 1984-85, when the highly fancied Blues were totally outclassed by Tottenham Hotspur, with the Londoners winning 4-1 at Goodison Park after an Adrian Heath penalty had given Kendall’s Blues the lead. Everton were twice Champions under Howard Kendall, but his opening day record was poor, winning just 4 out of 10 opening day fixtures during his three stints as manager.

Recently departed David Moyes feared even worse, winning just 3 of his 11 opening day fixtures, with 7 first day defeats, including 4 in a row between 2008 and 2011. Moyes finest opening day victory was the narrow win over Manchester United last season, with Marouane Fellaini producing one his best performances in a Blue shirt to bully the Manchester United defence into total submission.

When Colin Harvey took charge of Everton his first league game in charge of the Blues was also a match against Norwich City. Let’s hope Roberto Martinez enjoys similar fortune, with Harvey’s Everton securing a one-nil win. Paul Power scored the goal as Everton went on to finish fourth in the league. A similar outcome would be greeted with much celebration now, however back in 1988 it was seen as a failure and Everton legend Colin Harvey set about rebuilding the team.

The most significant signing during Harvey’s spell in charge was Tony Cottee. Signed for an English record fee of £2 million, Cottee was an instant Goodison hero, scoring a hat-trick on debut as Everton swept aside Newcastle United in a comfortable four-nil win. That win was the pinnacle of a season that ended in disappointed as the Blues were beaten cup finalists, losing three-two to Liverpool.

Everton have always enjoyed opening day encounters with Newcastle, with Joe Royle celebrating victory against the Toon in 1996. Newcastle were hot favourites at Goodison after signing Alan Shearer for a World Record £15 million fee, but it was Everton’s centre forward Duncan Ferguson who stole the headlines. Ferguson was in unplayable form as Gary Speed and David Unsworth scored to give Everton a two-nil win.

We have included video footage of the two Newcastle victories below, enjoy and please use the comments box at the foot of the page to let us know your favourite opening day memories.

Thank you to Everton Results for the stats that feature throughout this article.

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