“Nil Satis Nisi Secundus” – Only The Second Best Will Do?

By Mike Green 25/05/2016  0 Comments  [Jump to last]
I've been mulling over the current candidates for the job coming up and thought I'd cast an eye over our form in appointing managers and how those decisions have ultimately panned out.

I know that we have to take historical perspective into it (former players often becoming managers / you sometimes have to promote from the lower leagues as a successful top flight manager is unlikely to move from the club he's at / great managers usually grow from small beginnings etc) but our record looks a bit like this:

Cliff Britton – guides Second Division Burnley into the top flight and to a Cup Final in 1947, promptly made Everton manager. Takes us down in 1951. Win rate 36.34%

Ian Buchan – mysterious appointment, sacked by ambitious Moores after two poor seasons.

Johnny Carey – appointed after guiding Blackburn into the top flight, infamously sacked by Moores in the back of a taxi within three seasons, 5th his best finish.

Harry Catterick – appointed after guiding Sheffield Wednesday into the top flight and then taking them to second place behind Spurs. Wins two titles, an FA Cup and two Charity Shields in twelve years at Everton. Win rate 46.57%

Billy Bingham – former player appointed after failure to gain Greece qualification for the 1972 Euro's or 1974 World Cup. Previously successful at Southport and Linfield in Northern Ireland; failure at Plymouth. Oversees Everton's decline over next four years. Win rate 38.6%

Gordon Lee – lower league manager, appointed after 18 months at Newcastle, guiding them to 15th and a League Cup final. Despite good Cup runs takes Everton from 3rd to 15th within 4 years.

Howard Kendall – former player whose only managerial experience is guiding Blackburn into the Second Division. Struggles at first but leads the club to unprecedented success – two titles, one FA Cup, three Charity Shields and the European Cup Winners Cup. Left after European club ban. Win rate 54.13%

Colin Harvey – former player and first team coach, no managerial experience. Everton finish 4th, 8th and 6th but Harvey is replaced by returning Kendall after slipping to 18th in the League.

Howard Kendall Mk II – picks up partnership with Harvey after reasonable spells at Bilbao and Man City, cannot re-create the glory years of the mid-80s. Win rate 37.66%

Mike Walker – successful Colchester manager guides Norwich to third, famously beats Bayern Munich in UEFA Cup, losing to eventual winners, Inter Milan. Appointed manager of Everton where he finds himself completely out of his depth, sacked within ten months. Win rate 17.14%

Joe Royle – former player who after nine years guides Second Division Oldham into the top flight, with a League Cup Final and two FA Cup Semi-finals to boot. Appointed Everton manager, our last to win silverware. Resigned after dispute with Johnson. Win rate 39.83%

Howard Kendall Mk III – one season in charge, Everton escape relegation by a whisker. Win rate 26.19%

Walter Smith – successful Rangers manager, unable to recreate this south of the border, three consecutive bottom half finishes amidst wrangling with the Johnson. Win rate 31.55%

David Moyes – promotes Preston North End to the second tier, loses play-off final to take them into the Premier League. Steadies the ship at Everton and transforms us into very respectable top-half club, consistently challenging for Europe, breaking into the top 4 once. Losing FA Cup Finalists in 2009. Our longest serving post-war manager. Win rate 42.08%

Roberto Martinez – FA Cup winning manager with Wigan, who he also relegated. Finishes 5th in first season with record Premier League points tally, then 11th, then 12th. Sacked after rapid decline in form and relationship with players and fans. Win rate 42.7%

So – since the war we have appointed 13 managers (one of them 3 times).

• Six have been former Evertonians.

• None of them had any tangible top flight experience (unless you count Kendall Mk II and Mk III and Smith at Rangers). As for Walker (Norwich), Royle (Oldham), Martinez (Wigan), it's hardly the stuff of dreams is it?

• We have had only three silverware winning managers since the war – Catterick, Kendall and Royle - all of whom played for the club.

• Only one post-war manager has had a win rate over 50% (Kendall Mk I)

The final statistic I think is telling. When you look at our "competition" this is the standard they set:

Wenger – had a win rate of 48.9% with Monaco, his Arsenal record is 57.2%

Guardiola – 72.47% with Barca, 75.16% with Bayern.

Mourinho – since, and including Porto, always between 62%-71% except sacked for 58% last time around at Chelsea.

Conte – 67.55% with Juventus.

LVG – 61.46% with Bayern, 60.71% with the Netherlands – sacked for 52.43% at Man Utd.

Ranieri – 61.54% with Monaco.

Koeman – 57.9% at Feyenoord

Klopp – 56.3% at Dortmund, only 44% at Liverpool but clearly improving.

Bilic – 51.65% at Besiktas

Pochettino – the exception to the rule, 38% at Southampton and 32% at Espanyol before that.

The counter argument is if you look at the great managers of the past the likes of Shankly, Clough and Busby had little or no pedigree (a bit like our own Howard Kendall), while Stein and Ferguson were successes in Scotland. The only exception to all of them might be Herbert Chapman...?

I think those days are gone now though – in the modern game you have to aim high and get someone in with a record of success in their countries top flight - someone who is a clear "winner" at the top level available to them. People may have raised their eyebrows at Ranieri's appointment at Leicester but look at his managerial record overall and it's still pretty good (11 honours, 46.42% career win rate).

Now, I know much of this success is because they have been at big clubs, or clubs with little competition. I also realise that most of the teams above can attract a higher calibre of manager because they have had the money, which in recent years has been denied us but things now have got to change.

We no longer should employ someone who hasn't won anything, or have a win ratio of less than 50% – and with the TV money and Moshiri we should no longer have to.

So – who have we got in the mix (in order of career win rate)?

Cocu – 2 titles, 2 Cups, 67.11%

FDB – 4 titles, 1 Cup, 60.3%

Koeman – 3 titles, 5 Cups, 54.88%

Löw – 1 title, 2 Cups 54.6%

Pellegrini – 4 titles, 6 Cup, 51.7%

O'Neill – 4 titles, 7 Cups, 51.25%

Benitez – 3 titles, 11 Cups 50.77%

Emery – 3 Europa Leagues and a Second Division 49.5%

Bielsa – no listed honours…? 48.58%

Howe – 1 League, 46.7%

Garcia – 1 League, 1 Cup, 46.52%

Flores – 6 Cups, 45.52%

Moyes – 1 League, 1 Cup, 43.79%

Hughes – won nothing, 39.7%

I think that's the current contenders covered.

Whatever we do we can't revert to type and take on one of the three "P"'s (Moyes – Previous, Howe – Potential or Hughes – Player). Having said that, given our three last silverware winning managers were former players, maybe the man for the job is Bilic…? I think he's quite happy where he is for now though.

If you were completely dispassionate about it, I think it's also difficult to ignore Benetiz but I'll leave that one there for people to think about… and as for Martin O'Neill, maybe once upon a time but he's not the one for us this time.

Looking at the list above it's simple for me then – invite the three Dutchmen in for interview and offer the job to the one we like the best. One of them (De Boer) I'm sure will take it if neither of the other two are interested. I know their success is down to operating in a poor league but all three have real calibre as players, have already been successful as managers and Koeman has proved that he can make the grade in the Premier League with a comparable Dutch record to the other two. All three I think will make great use of our academy, and attract the players we need to compete at the top – and I think they'll really go for it too.

So – please Mr Moshiri – no more "Nil Satis Nisi Secundus", let's have a bit of "Nil Satis, Nisi Optimum" moving forward and appoint the best new manager we can get.

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