Everton draw ’66 final opponents in fourth round

The FA Cup fourth and fifth round draws have been made and Everton face the club they beat to win the 1966 final in the next round.

Sheffield Wednesday will be the next opponents for Everton in the world’s oldest competition with an almost certain tie against Tottenham after that, if they beat the Yorkshire club.

The Toffees face the team they played in the 1966 FA Cup final at Wembley in one of the best finals of that or any era.

That match saw Wednesday take a two-goal lead and look very comfortable before the Blues staged a terrific comeback to win it 3-2 and make it a Merseyside double as Liverpool had won the title that season, just as they had both done sixty years earlier.

The final was remembered not only for the goals and the comeback but also an Everton fan running on the pitch and evading the chasing security just when it looked like they had him! Those were more innocent times.

Everton’s Ray Wilson went on to secure the World Cup as well on the same Wembley pitch just a few months later as he was the left-back for the England side that defeated West Germany 4-2 in that famous final.

This history lesson is only to underline just how important the FA Cup competition used to be. In fact wining it was almost as prestigious as claiming the league championship back then.

These days the Cup isn’t as highly regarded a tournament it seems and many of the bigger clubs -including Everton sometimes – often tend to field weakened sides or teams of youth players.

That’s partly a consequence of the fact that some overseas coaches in the Premier League don’t have that more traditional view of a domestic cup tournament, but also because the FA themselves give the impression that don’t regard their flagship competition with the same respect nowadays.

They have conceded to limiting replays so there are none of those epic ties that used to go on for two, three or even four games before one team won through (although that would be very difficult to manage these days!) and moving the time of the final from it’s traditional 3 pm on a Saturday.

But it’s also because the increased demands and pressures of European competition, which is where all the money is now, inevitably take precedence.

Anyway the Toffees need to take this season’s Cup seriously, it’s the only trophy the club can win and it’s route into Europe, although with this draw it’s not going to be straightforward.

Having said that, Everton do seem to struggle to put weaker sides away (as they showed again against Rotherham) and then sometimes raise their game against better teams. They’ve done that in the Premier League recently.

Anyway a tie against another struggling Championship team is what awaits the Blues next before that Spurs game, unless Wycombe Wanderers can pull off a real shock beforehand.