It is hard to believe, but Everton have endured a full 12 months of exciting football and good news off the pitch. New players to the squad have provided a welcome boost, and so far our big stars haven't been tempted away by oil money. On the field we have followed up our usual form at the end of the season with our best start in years. Below are the top 10 moments from Everton 2012.
10. Everton Goes To Wembley
In the end it was a heartbreaking loss to our neighbors across the park, but Everton making it to Wembley was one of the top moments in 2012. Evertonians turned out in full voice to support their club, and after taking a 1-0 lead it seemed like we had a real chance to get to the final. Instead some questionable tactics by David Moyes coupled with some defensive miscues meant we had to look at the red fools making.
9. Everton 1 Manchester United 0
People complain that Goodison Park is getting old, but occasionally the old girl has her moments. The start of the 2012-2013 season was one of those moments. A Monday night game against Manchester United created the perfect storm for a magical performance, and the Toffees delivered. Marouane Fellaini gave a hint of what this season would bring as he absolutely abused the United defense. It was a great way to start off the season and is a defining moment of this year; however it ends.
8. Everton 4 Fulham 0
The first of several 4 goal games on this list, Everton put a complete beatdown on the Cottagers in their second to last home game of the 11/12 season. Tim Cahill scored what would end up being his final goal for Everton and Nikica Jelavic added a brace as well as Darron Gibson getting one to complete the 4 goal romp.
7. Jack Rodwell Leaves Everton
As opposed to the Joleon Lescott saga, the transfer of Jack Rodwell played out quickly and painlessly. Rodwell had always been seen as a huge talent in Everton's youth ranks, but he never seemed to get things going on the senior side. Though he was touted as being worth 20 million quid, a nice and tidy sum of 12 million was well worth it for Everton. The move helped fund the arrival of Kevin Mirallas and Steven Pienaar which we can all agree is a big boost over Rodwell.
6. Everton 1 Manchester City 0
At this point, beating Manchester City is just plain amusing. With such an abundance of riches, the blue side of Manchester should easily win the title each year. Fortunately Mr. Mancini will never be able to figure things out, and we get great matches like this. It was a typical sit back and wait to attack match that Everton plays against top competition, but a Gibson goal put the eventual title winners behind the 8-ball, and it was fantastic.
5. Everton 4 Manchester United 4
This was one of the most entertaining matches for the 2011-2012 season. Everton struck early before Manchester United quickly ran the score up to a 3-1 lead. Jelavic showed his magic touch to narrow the gap, but United quicklly made it 4-2. The Everton spirit never quit, and another goal from Jelavic along with a beautiful Pienaar strike earned Everton a point. Sir Alex was furious, but Evertonians couldn't have been more delighted at the draw.
4. Support For The 96
There is a reason that the Merseyside derby is known as the friendly derby. Though the match is marked by animosity on the pitch, supporters often band together in times of trouble to support the other side. With a report on what actually happened at Hillsborough finally coming to light, Everton paid tribute to the 96 victims. A minutes applause preceded their match against Newcastle, and the highlight of the evening was 2 mascots, one in Everton blue and a number 9 and one in Liverpool red and a number 6. A truly poignant moment for a tragedy that still hasn't been closed.
3. Everton vs. Sunderland, Times 3
In the span of 3 weeks these two teams met 3 times, twice in the 6th round of the FA cup and once in the league. Phil Bardsley scored 12 minutes into the first of these three meetings, but after that it was all Everton. The first FA cup match ended 1-1, and the replay 10 days later was nothing but an Everton ass-kicking at 2-0. The culmination came in April when Everton earned 3 points by demolishing Sunderland 4-0. It was comprehensive and beautiful, it was Everton at its finest.
2. And A Belgian Makes Two
When the signing of Kevin Mirallas was announced, the general reaction was "Who is that guy?" The second reaction was that he could be a good squad player, and possibly develop into something special later on. It only took him a few matches to impress, and when healthy he has turned into a integral part of Everton's attack. For only 6 million pounds it was another astute piece of business by Moyes, and the only question is how long we can keep him for.
1. Gibson Arrives on Merseyside
Darron Gibson's arrival on Goodison has seen him reach an almost mythical status. Who knows exactly what happened when David Moyes and Sir Alex chatted on the phone, but Everton made out handsomely in this deal. Gibson has only lost once in league play when he has been in the squad, and his deep playmaking is sorely lacked when he is out injured. Without Gibson it is fair to say that Everton could be looking at a far less spectacular 2012, and that is why his signing was the best moment of 2012.