On This Day – December 4th 1993
Having been knocked out of the League Cup at Goodison Park by Manchester United earlier in the week in front of over 34,000 fans, a paltry 13,667 hardy souls turned out for this dull encounter with Southampton. The big news circulating at the ground was that Virgin boss Richard Branson had linked up with Bill Kenwright for a takeover of the club but, as we now know, this didn’t happen.
The match was decided by a solitary goal by Tony Cottee, whose shot was blocked by Saints’ keeper Dave Beasant but struck the former West Ham man on the head and went in.
This game was also to be last with Howard Kendall in charge after the board refused to sanction a move for United’s Dion Dublin and he quit. Reserve team coach Jimmy Gabriel was brought in as temporary boss, a role he had fulfilled for one game in 1990 after Colin Harvey was sacked. But it was not a successful stewardship for the former Blues player as Everton slipped alarmingly down the table after defeats by Manchester City, Newcastle, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn and West Ham, with just one point accrued from six games.
As the slide towards the relegation zone gathered pace, the two consortiums vying for ownership of the club – one headed by Bill Kenwright and the other by Peter Johnson – agreed to a short-list of potential managers, namely Norwich City’s Mike Walker and Oldham’s Joe Royle.
In the end, it was Walker who was appointed boss in January 1994 though his reign was disastrous and short-lived, Royle succeeding him in November 1994 with Everton bottom of the table. ‘Big Joe’ revitalised the Blues and his ‘Dogs Of War’ side gradually moved the club to safety in the League as well as winning the FA Cup.