Kevin Ratcliffe joined Everton as an apprentice in June 1977 after playing at Under-15 and Under-18 levels and within 18 months had signed professional for the club. He made his debut as a 19-year-old, in a 0-0 draw, against Manchester United on Wednesday 12 March 1980, in front of an Old Trafford crowd of 45,515. In 1983 at the age of 23 he was made captain, and with Ratcliffe as captain, Everton won the 1984 FA Cup Final, the Football League Championship in both 1984–85 and 1986–87 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1984–85 too. There were also two other FA Cup finals, in 1985 and 1989. Ratcliffe made 489 appearances for Everton and scored two goals, one of them, a 30-yarder in a 2-0 Merseyside Derby win at Anfield in February 1986.