Review: Everton’s bittersweet year

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David Moyes © Trinity Mirror

David Moyes © Trinity Mirror

Another year has drawn to a close for Everton Football Club and it’s been yet another year filled with great memories, of trips to Wembley and fantastic individual performances of star players Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines.

The year first brought sad news to supporters of both Merseyside clubs with the news of Gary Ablett’s death after a long battle against cancer.

Ablett spent four years at Everton as a player, making over 100 appearances. During this time he lifted his only trophy as a professional player, when Everton won the FA Cup in 1995.

Ablett then returned as a youth team coach in 2002 before moving back to Liverpool.

After the previous disappointing transfer windows, 2012 proved to be a fantastic year for David Moyes, who made some very clever purchases – Landon Donovan returned for yet another successful short term loan, bagging himself two goals and a Man of the Match award in January alone.

Probably the finest signing came in the form of the much coveted Nikica Jelavic from Rangers for a reported £5m. Jelavic instantly became a fans’ favourite, the Croat netted his 11th goal of the 2011-12 season during Everton’s final game against Newcastle.

Nikica Jelavic © Trinity Mirror

Nikica Jelavic © Trinity Mirror

Everton’s most remarkable achievement in their 134th year in existence was their FA Cup run, which was snatched away from them in the dying minutes of the semi-final by local rivals Liverpool and Andy Carroll.

The Toffees’ run included wins against non-league Tamworth and then Fulham and Blackpool before a double-header to overcome Sunderland, which took Everton back to Wembley for the first time since losing in the final to Chelsea in 2009.

Despite the bittersweet end to the 2011-12 season, Moyes rallied his troops and made a clever signing in Kevin Miralles. It led to the league campaign getting off to a flyer with a 1-0 win against Manchester United as well as snatching draws against Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal.

With only two points separating fifth-placed Everton from Spurs in fourth, Blues’ fans will be hoping to mount a serious challenge on the top four as well as yet another league finish above Liverpool.

About Joe Barnes, JMU Journalism