English Premier League: After most years in the top flight, the shadow of relegation hangs over Everton

This is not the scenario owner Farhad Moshiri envisioned when he bought the club six years ago and certainly not what he expected in return for his investment of over $722 million in players.

Everton simply don’t do relegation – or certainly not in the living memory of most of their fans. Since joining the league as a founding member in 1888, they have only spent four seasons outside the top flight – 1930-31 and three in the early 1950s.

They had a few near misses, including via two last-day escapes in the 1990s, which were hard for fans to bear so soon after the most successful period in club history when they won two league titles, the FA. Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup from 1984 to 1987.

In 1994, needing to win their final home game against Wimbledon to have any chance of staying in place, they trailed 2-0, to earn a 3-2 win which, thanks to further results, saved them.

Although they finished sixth in 1996, two years later it was a similar story as, 1-0 down in their last home game against Coventry, they missed a penalty and only conceded a late equaliser. minute only for their rivals to falter and allow them to survive on goal difference.

Even in those two dark seasons, they were in better shape after 25 games than they are now. They lost 15, managing a meager 22 points – their worst performance ever adjusted to three points for a win. The 46 goals they conceded are their worst since 1976/77.

On the road they are utterly despicable, having lost nine and shot two of their last 11 and failing to muster a single shot on target in two of their last three.

Their defense against Spurs would have put a pub team to shame at times. It’s impossible to believe that ailing centre-back Michael Keane was once an England player while aging full-back Seamus Coleman now runs like a hobbled donkey.

Mason Holgate looks terrified of playing the ball anywhere but upside down and even England keeper Jordan Pickford had a howl.

They have a group of largely anonymous midfield brawlers where Anthony Gordon has stood out simply for trying to show initiative, while forwards Richarlison and injury-ravaged Dominic Calvert-Lewin have barely a touch, let alone a chance.

Everton have gone 27 years without a trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 1995, while the last of their nine league titles came in 1987, but any thoughts of a return to glory will have to be firmly shelved over the next few months. weeks. .

Their next two fixtures are at home against Wolves and Newcastle, where they really need to score some points ahead of a tough run against West Ham, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester City.

However, the two most important games may well be their visits to Burnley and Watford, two teams below them who are miles apart in terms of top-flight pedigree but who know the ropes of a relegation dogfight that ‘Everton need to learn quickly.