The First Season (2014/15)
I came into my first season in charge of Everton simply looking for some stability. A 7th placed finish was my very minimum, but I was hoping that I could sneak into a Europa League spot at the expense of Tottenham or Arsenal. I only really care about the domestic cups if I start making some progress in them, but I was fairly confident about the Europa League and thought we'd be able to make it out of the group stage easily enough.
Premier League: 3rd
We exceeded all expectations, finishing in a Champions League spot and at one stage threatening the title. We had a massive run of form through mid-season off the back of some heroics from Romelu Lukaku but struggled a little at the end. Nonetheless, absolutely chuffed with the way we conducted ourself in the league and I look forward to Champions League football next season. Some better results included a 4-0 home win over Manchester City, a 4-3 win over Arsenal, a 5-2 home win over Chelsea and a plucky 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
Europa League: Champions
It was a gruelling trip to the final but in a fairytale ending, we defeat our arch rivals Liverpool 7-3 in the final in Warsaw. We went undefeated in the group stage, winning every home game and losing every away game, and were drawn against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Round of 32. Dispatching of The German Team 5-2, Ajax 9-4 and Villareal 5-1, we faced our sternest competition yet in Internazionale in the semi finals. A 2-1 loss away from home had me scared but we backed up with a 3-1 win at Goodison Park to send us through to the final where we would play Liverpool.
It was one of the greatest European matches of all time, finishing 7-3 after extra time. Liverpool went 2-0 up after 38 minutes but we clawed one back to go in at half time 2-1 down. After the break, a goal from Mirallas and a brilliant free kick by Leighton Baines saw the game head into extra time where Aiden McGeady put us in front after just 1 minute. 11 minutes, Mirallas bagged his second to put us 5-3 up and in one of the best performances of his life, Gareth Barry managed a brace in the 105th and 106th minutes to deliver a priceless victory and Everton's first European silverware.
FA Cup: Sixth Round
Capital One Cup: Fourth Round
With our progress in the Europa League, the FA Cup waned in importance for me and I wasn't too devastated that we only made the Sixth Round before being bombed out at Stamford Bridge. The League Cup was even less important and I wasn't putting too much significance into a 1-0 loss at Arsenal.
I decided to add a little bit of spice to my attacking midfield stocks and brought in Rafinha on a loan and Hatem Ben Arfa on a free in the summer window. They both turned out to be great additions to the squad. In January, I went after a future prospect in Jack Whatmough and then a current star in Eder Alvarez Balanta to cover the sale of Antolin Alcaraz. Late in the window I decided to loan in Real Madrid star Jese for another option in attack and he too featured prominently.
In the departure section, I offloaded 2 ageing centre backs in Sylvain Distin and Antolin Alcaraz to make way for players such as Balanta and John Stones, as well as loaning out some bitpart players in Junior and Tony Hibbert.
There weren't any complaints from me with this season's Best Eleven. Tim Howard played every game, and Coleman, Stones, Baines and Mirallas were mainstays throughout the season. Hatem Ben Arfa tore up on the right wing whilst Lukaku top scored with 27 goals and had the highest average rating. On the bench were Osman, Balanta, McCarthy, Jese, Rafinha, Oviedo and Naismith.
- Rafinha (LM), Hatem Ben Arfa (RM) and Leighton Baines (LB) make the Premier League Team of the Year
- Romelu Lukaku wins Everton Player of the Year