One way or another, the English Premier League will lose two teams with rich histories when the fight for survival reaches its conclusion on Sunday.
Everton, Leicester and Leeds all face a nervous final day of the season when their places in English football’s top division will be at stake.
Everton have spent 69 years in the top flight and are hoping for another dramatic rescue act, having narrowly avoided relegation last season.
Leicester were the architect of arguably the most unlikely title triumph — winning the Premier League as a 5000-1 underdog in 2016 — but have to hope Everton drop points at home against Bournemouth to stand any chance of climbing out of the relegation zone.
Leeds, meanwhile, have only been back among England’s elite for the past three years, but have a storied past, with their team of the late 1960s and 70s winning multiple trophies during that era. At the turn of the century they were Champions League semi-finalists.
Two of the three will join last-place Southampton in relegation to the second-tier Championship.
Everton go into the last day in the strongest position largely due to their shock 5-1 win against high-flying Brighton this month.
“Of course, we didn’t want to be in this position but we have to deal with what is in front of us,” winger Dwight McNeil told Everton’s website.
The Merseyside club sit one place above the relegation zone with 33 points — two points ahead of both Leicester and Leeds. Everton had turned to Sean Dyche in January in a bid to climb the table after dispensing with Frank Lampard but have only won four of his 17 games in charge.
The cost of relegation could be more significant for Everton than any of their rivals, with the club planning to move into a new waterfront stadium in 2024.
Their slump has come despite majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri spending around $780 million in a bid to transform the fortunes of the club.