With all the goodbyes on Sunday, one slipped under the radar. John Nicholson says we won't miss Michael Owen because, for the last few years anyway, he hasn't really been here...
Being sniffy about the Europa League is ridiculous. All football is inherently pointless and this competition is no more pointless than any other. Well done Rafa and Chelsea...
This is surely David Moyes' last season as Everton manager.
Like all British managers Moyes enjoys a huge degree of feather-bedding by the press and TV people. He is lauded for his efforts every week. No-one who has won nothing at all for so long gets more praise, except perhaps 'Arry, but even he has actually picked up a trophy. David, despite his excellent wild, staring eyes, can't claim that.
Moyes' achievements are said to be keeping Everton competitive with relatively small resources compared to the top four or five clubs. This is true but compared to everyone else in football, they do OK out of being in the Premier League. It's not the grinding poverty it is sometimes painted as being for Moyes.
With the exception of two seasons Everton have finished between eighth and fourth. This is clearly some achievement but whether it deserves quite the lavish praise it receives on a weekly basis is a little less clear. They are playing good football most of the time this year, but that hasn't always been the case. After the defeat to Norwich, some feel he is still too negative.
We're told time and again that stability of managers is the key to success but Moyes has been in the job for 11 years and what have Everton won? Nothing. Proof that this mantra is out-dated nonsense. Being any good is the key, not merely being there.
It's true that Everton don't have the big boys' resources but then most clubs don't, and some have done much better than the Toffees in recent years. For example, in his period of tenure, Middlesbrough, Celtic, Rangers and Fulham have all reached European cup finals on similarly unspectacular budgets. Everton have made a mess of all European campaigns under Moyes, to varying degrees, but this seems to be brushed under the carpet somewhat.
The disastrous Champions League qualifier defeat of 2005 against Villarreal was perhaps the most prominent but there have been 5-0 thrashings and first round exits too. The best they've done in Europe under Moyes is to reach the last 16, just once. This is always interpreted as an illustration of the lack of resources for Moyes to play with but another way to look at it is that he just hasn't been good enough. After all, Everton's income from the Premier League has been greater than some other European clubs who have actually won the UEFA Cup and Europa League by playing better, more effective football than Moyes' sides. Money isn't a get out of jail free card for every defeat or failure.
But the lack of money is always made an excuse for Moyes. He buys well sometimes, but sometimes he buys Andy Van Der Meyde. He plays good football sometimes but sometimes it's dull and negative. There is no evidence that if Moyes had a giant pile of cash to spend that he'd elevate Everton to the top four but the blind assumption by his fans is that he would. At Everton he probably will never have that money, so we'll never know.
If he can win Everton the FA Cup this year, he's done; if he doesn't win anything again, he's also done. Everton will never win the league with the level of resources they have now, they can only hope to win a cup but Moyes has so far managed just one final out of 22 attempts. If they finish in a European position, he has proven nowhere near good enough on that stage. So what's the point in keeping on going for either the club or Moyes himself? If it's not producing trophies after 11 years, it probably won't ever do so.
Pretty much any manager could keep Everton in the Premier League and as Moyes has not been any good in Europe, the much-praised regular top-half finishes are somewhat irrelevant, not least because the Europa League is hated by managers so much. If you're not committed to a European campaign then you might as well finish 14th as fifth. It gives you a few million more in merit payments but that money is drowned out by the huge TV deal about to kick in. Certainly the merit payments for the eight top eight finishes Everton have enjoyed haven't made them any more successful.
Finishing in the top half every season is certainly an achievement but it's not such a huge one and certainly not one to give a manager the big reputation that Moyes enjoys in the media, at least. Football, at some point, especially for a club as legendary as Everton, which enjoys a packed, noisy crowd for every home game, has to be about glory rather than merely hanging on and saying, 'Hey, things could be worse'.
For all that Moyes is painted as steadying the Everton ship and making them a decent side, which he has obviously done, it could just as easily be said that someone with a bit more talent would have won them something by now and if Moyes doesn't want that said about him then he has to go somewhere else and prove himself to be the winner his fans say he is. Either way, his time at Everton is almost over.
On a recent The Game Podcast Danny Finkelstein explained that the Premier League table could be largely predicted by their annual wage budgets. He also said that only three managers consistently took their teams above their position in the wage table, those managers were Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce and David Moyes. I'd rather be an Everton fan than a Pompey fan.- tbassam