Big Duncan Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti Chase the Feel-Good Factor at Goodison Park - Season Highlights

Declan Houten
Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images
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Is there an extremely long German phrase which describes a perpetual movement from catastrophe to hopefulness and then back again? No? Well, at least we have the English equivalent, and it's 'Everton, that'.

Everton have had three different managers this season, and each of them have presided over moments of promise and euphoria, mingled with the feeling of disappointed expectations that has become all too familiar at Goodison Park.

Among all this, there are tentative signs that Everton are finally coming to terms with an identity which has been in a state flux during the tumultuous seven years since David Moyes left the club.

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The summer saw Everton fans full of hope that Marco Silva would be supported with resources to build on a promising eighth place finish, and like manna from heaven, Andre Gomes signed permanently from Barcelona, Arsenal's Alex Iwobi arrived and, most sensationally, Moise Kean, one of the hottest talents in Italian football, somehow ended up a Toffee.

It wouldn't be Everton if what logically followed was not an energetic challenge for Champions League football, but instead a lethargic challenge for Championship football. Everton lost nine of their first 15 games and slipped to 18th, with the Worst Possible Thing - a thumping derby defeat to Liverpool - hastening Silva's departure.

The Blues needed a hero ASAP, and there was no better man for the job than Duncan Ferguson, a grab-the-game-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck club legend who would put his noggin on a grenade if it'd win you a gritty point away from home.

Everton FC v Leicester FC - Carabao Cup: Quarter Final
Everton FC v Leicester FC - Carabao Cup: Quarter Final / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The obituaries were already being written for a man whose coaching badges appeared to have been awarded by the School of Hard Knocks, with Chelsea and Manchester United his first two assignments.

Instead? A pleasant surprise and the birth of a new star, with a now-typical 'only a mother could love' brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin securing a 3-1 win against the Chels, adding another verse to the ballad of Big Dunc.

On a side note, Ferguson's celebration for Everton's third and DCL's second in that game - picking up a ball boy and swooping him into the air - has to go down as one of the Premier League moments which plucks most at the heartstrings - especially as it came from the artist formerly known as 'Duncan Disorderly'.

Everton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

While no-one realistically expected Ferguson to last as the Toffees very publicly searched for a high-profile permanent replacement for Silva, Everton still managed one last bit of Everton-ing during this otherwise happy interim period.

It involved Kean, the man who was meant to be the club's star striker before DCL took the wheel, who during Ferguson's impressive away draw against Manchester United suffered the ultimate footballing indignity - being subbed on and off again.

When fresh hope did arrive, there were still one or two wrinkles to iron out.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League / Robin Jones/Getty Images

Like a purring Vespa/smooth Double Espresso/insert your own terrible Italian cliche here, Carlo Ancelotti frictionlessly began life at Goodison Park with a tidy home win against Burnley, only heightening his general aura of gracefulness by keeping Dunc as his assistant.

And yet with Kean struggling, Gomes sidelined with a sickening ankle injury and a restless fanbase expecting some continuity, there were contradictions at Everton that even the smoothest of smooth operators couldn't smooth over.

If Ancelotti thought he could bring stability to his new side, he might not have wanted it to be so hard-fought, and Everton had to face some real low points in the first few weeks, let alone months, of his tenure.

Everton FC v Manchester United - Premier League
Everton FC v Manchester United - Premier League / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The two biggest flashpoints were Everton fans confronting management at Finch Farm after they got dumped out of the FA Cup by Liverpool's work experience guys, and Everton somehow drawing a game to Newcastle where they were 2-0 with 93 minutes on the clock (pro tip for Jordan Pickford; try standing in front of the goal-line).

Everton's season even ended - however temporarily - on a low note, with Carletto getting it all wrong against his old club at Stamford Bridge and going down 4-0.

And yet, among all of these superficial defeats, there was a sense that Everton were close to finding enough quality to tip the balance.

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League / James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

The backline, Lucas Digne in particular, was beginning to settle, DCL couldn't stop scoring his trademark horrid goals, and Richarlison was looking ready to make the step up and become one of the Premier League's next superstars.

The Blues were more importantly looking better in regulation home matches and, Chelsea aside, no longer looked deathly afraid of the 'top six'.

You could justifiably say that with a successful transfer window and a strong finish in the league - perhaps around eighth - Everton might finally make the leap which surpasses their state of almost there-ness.

But then again, they said that about Marco Silva too.

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