How Everton went from relevant to relegation candidates: A five-step guide to a proud club's decline

Before the season, everyone was picking Everton to get relegated. After finishing with 39 points -- a massive drop from the season before -- the trajectory looked like it might be irreversible. They'd won seven league titles, they'd been in the first division since 1954, and the Premier League hadn't existed without them. But English soccer's post-Everton era was just 38 games away.

Then ... they finished fourth -- at least that's what happened the first time around. After finishing in 17th in 2004, with the fewest points in club history, during David Moyes's first full season at the club, Everton were a popular pick for relegation and Moyes looked like a good bet for First Manager Sacked. Instead, they qualified for the Champions League and then, over the next eight years, established themselves as one of the best-run clubs in Europe: consistently outperforming their budget, unearthing unexpected stars, and frequently finishing just outside the top four. The operation was so impressive that Moyes was seen as a no-brainer replacement for the most successful manager in Premier League history, Sir Alex Ferguson.

This time around, well, you might as well flip that previous paragraph inside out. With 18 games to go, Everton are in 19th, tied with Southampton for the fewest points in the league. Per FiveThirtyEight, they're the heaviest favorites for relegation: with a 68% chance of going down. The bookies have them as second favorites after Bournemouth. They just fired their manager, and they're certainly in the running for Worst Run Club in Europe.

How'd it happen? Here's Everton's step-by-step guide to getting relegated.