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Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

By Paul Lenehan :  27/01/2008 :  Comments (13) :
This appears to be the stick that is used to beat those who think that Everton Football Club is doing ok. We are accused of being Moyes apologists, accepting mediocrity, happy to be the best of the rest, happy to accept defeat by the top clubs and so on and so on. This is simply not true.

Nothing but the best is good enough. Is right. And where this football club is sitting is not good enough. I don't think you will find a fan anywhere who will say we are happy to be in a position where we do not challenge for the league each season. I know I'm not.

But what I see is a club who is still progressing. Yes, the dreaded word progressing. But we are. I read a thread where it named clubs that have beaten Chelsea recently. Fair enough. But over the course of 10 games how many teams can say they have had the better of Utd or Chelsea. By stating after defeat the fact that Chelsea are a better side (the league table over the last number of years does not lie) is not giving in as we all know every team is beatable and Everton are capable of beating the top sides on any given day. But if this does happen the stats show this as a shock because they are the better side.

What we need to do is bridge the gap. Now I accept Moyes is not flawless and has made mistakes. I myself feel we could've added a target man earlier in the semi-final at Goodison. But at the end of the game even Lescott was up front and we couldn't trouble Cech from open play. When it comes down to it, I think Moyes has made excellent signings, has guided us well to date and I hope can lead to the glory we all crave.

We are fourth in the league and in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup. Not good enough. Yes. But in light of our recent history (and yes this is relevant) its ok.... for now. I also see people poor scorn on those who raise the issue of finances. I can't see how this can be excluded as being irrelevant. It's highly relevant. Sure we spent £11.25M on Yak but look at what the top sides have spent. (Arsenal are an exception. But Wenger is a genius.)

Moyes is a very good manager but can't be compared to Wenger ? there is no shame in this as there are not many who could be. The Fergusons, Mourinhos, Benetizs, Spurs, Newcastles have all spent huge sums of money more than us.

I'm sure I will get all sorts of retorts to this post but can I just say it is refreshing that we are at least able to debate these issues as opposed to two weeks ago when it all turned rather sour.

Reader Comments

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 27/01/2008 at 15:33:40

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I think part of that sourness, Paul, is caused by people over-reacting to reasonable statements made as part of post-match analysis, or as comments on the level of progression our manager has reached on his self-proclaimed mission to get us into the top four and challenging the elite teams. That over-reaction is typified in statements you make like: "We are fourth in the league and in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup. Not good enough." ? who on earth is saying that’s not good enugh? It’s brilliant. It still means we are in with the chance of having a great finish to the season.

The issue comes down to whether you are permitted to make critical assessments about that level of progress, and point up situations where we could perhaps have done better, or whether you must use every message to restate the facts we all know underlying the progress we have made to date, and laud that to the heavens.

For me that boils down to a question of those who are looking backwards, and who see Moyes’s achievements so far as the main talking points, while there are those who are looking forwards and asking if we really are going to continue progressing, given the hick-ups and missed opportunities that could have put us into an even better position now.
Ian Ankers
2   Posted 27/01/2008 at 15:51:26

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Completely agree with you Paul. I cannot see why Evertonians are not happy at the mo. Of course we want trophies and we all get frustrated with Moyes at times, but the club is in better shape than its been since the 80’s. Its not looking back or being negative to be happy with our progress. We’ve been relegation fodder for ten years before Moyes took over. Of course we are still progressing for me I cannot see how that can be argued (although of course it will be). I’m 100% happy with the big picture at the moment and while I like everyone else will have a moan the odd poor result, i’ll still be happy overall. This is not me being negative or excepting we are also rans, far from it, its just seeing what we’ve done since Moyes took over and seeing the obvious...we’re much better for it!
Rupert Sulivan
3   Posted 27/01/2008 at 16:17:40

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I agree with you entirely Paul; with the exception of the proposed move to Kirkby (and other financial issues), I think that EFC is moving in the right direction; and that it has been since Davey arrived. EFC have the bones of a very strong squad and have proven themselves to be capable of competing with any of the teams in the league - with perhaps the possible exception of the top 3 (Note: I do not say top four because from where I sit, EFC have at least equalled if not bettered LFC (in derby matches) over the last few years but have lost out to atrocious refereeing decisions!)

The financial side concerns me, particularly the fact that Wyness and Co seem to be content to accept deals like the one EFC recently signed with Chang - EFC are regularly competing for European spots and should be able to command a better sponsorship deal in my opinion. As for the stadium... well...

However, as Michael pointed out, EFC cannot legislate for the opinion of those who remember the more glorious days... whereas if one compares EFCs performance now to the last 10 years, EFC are markedly improved.
Paul Lenehan
4   Posted 27/01/2008 at 16:06:27

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I'm sorry, Michael, I think you have missed my point. If you read my post again you will see that what I'm saying is we are doing ok and progressing well. But I think everyone will accept in the long term sitting fourth and in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup is not good enough as we all want to be challenging for leagues, cups, and in the latter stages of the Champions League. I'm bemused to see how you can suggest this typifies an over reaction?

Of course everyone should be allowed to make critical assessments and again I was merely making the point that this is exactly what has happend unlike two weeks ago when there were an awful lot of insults being traded. On this occassion there have been some thought-provoking posts such as Greg Murphy?s article. I welcome that and take on board what he and others are saying.

I acknowledge some fans feel Moyes made critical errors against Chelsea. But I have my own views on the two Chelsea games. There is nothing wrong with that. I feel in the first Chelsea game we didn?t have the quality to keep possession in midfield that lead to our demise. But again its only my opinion and is up for debate.

I have no doubt that mistakes have been made. But I remain convinced that Moyes is the man to take us to the next level. There is no doubt he will make more mistakes along the way. But thats football. Im a happy Blue and extremely optimistic and positive about the future so I will "laud it to the heavens". Just as those who wish to laud to the heavens that they are not so optimistic are free do so.

Desmond Prosper
5   Posted 27/01/2008 at 17:06:57

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Good post, Paul!

I have yet to see any of Moyes fiercest critics explain 1) how they would manage a competitive team in the one of the most expensive leagues on the planet--with a shoestring budget and 2) which manager out there could do better than Moyes given all the constraints that he has to work under (small squad size/ lack of financial support/less than modern stadium/ small to medium sponsorship deals/ lack of "brand name appeal" relative to the Big 4 and Spurs, Newcastle, etc.)

Before anyone gets on here with any knee-jerk responses, read this carefully. I am all for criticizing Moyes’ tactics when he gets it wrong--but I will not accept that the man’s entire run here at Everton has been nothing but underachieving. That is just plain nonsense.

If you could just replace your manager and move up 10 spots in the league and start winning trophys, don’t you think "doing a Newcastle" would be the norm and not the exception? Obviously, even the super-rich clubs in the Prem realize that building a quality team requires patience and time.

Carry on Mr. Moyes and bring on the UEFA Cup!

Terry Smith
6   Posted 27/01/2008 at 17:49:04

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I think we just have to keep letting Moyes do what he has to do and get the backing from the Board. For Everton to be a consistant top 4 team challenging for trophies & Europe etc I do think this will probabaly take another 4-6 years and hopefully we will be given more money to spend on quality to add to the squad. I do agree with the above quote but I am more happy where we are now than being out of all cups with nothing to play for exept a relegation fight. Onwards & upward COYB
Michael Kenrick
7   Posted 27/01/2008 at 17:54:24

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Paul, I didn?t miss you point at all: "I?m saying we are doing ok and progressing well." Yea... and I?m saying we could be doing better. You?re satisfied with progress being made; I?m not. Why does that make me wrong and you right? Why should I lower my expectations to match yours? I won?t.

Sadly, Desmond, your response does typify the knee-jerk defenders of Davie?s honour. Re your questions: (1) It?s not about his critics having to manage Everton themselves ? where do you people get this idea from? Everton have a manager and his name is David Moyes and he?s been the manager for the last six years. And he will in all probability continue to be the manager for the foreseeable future. So please, let?s knock that nonsense on the head, shall we?

2) See the response to (1) above. Moyes is the manager; deal with it.

How many times doe it need to be reinterated that it's not about bringing in a new manager? It's about accepting the manager we have, recognizing his limitations of failings, and hoping he works to improve them. I feel sure only a very tiny number of Evertonians would want to see Moyes replaced at this point.

I do find it tiresome that the those who want to defend Moyes continue to invent statements ascribed to his critics, viz: "I will not accept that the man?s entire run here at Everton has been nothing but underachieving. That is just plain nonsense."

Who on earth has said that? It?s this continual over-sensitivity that I find irritating. It?s as if Moyes?s critics aren?t really giving you enough to have a go at so you have to keep inventing stuff!

Paul Lenehan
8   Posted 27/01/2008 at 19:43:23

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I think we will have to agree to disagree Michael.

Although I would like to add I never once suggested you were wrong and I quote myself above "i take on board what he and others are saying" - in respect of Greg Murphy’s article, I also said "its only my opinion and its up for debate". I never asked you to lower your expectations again I quote "Im a happy Blue and extremely optimistic and positive about the future so I will "laud it to the heavens". Just as those who wish to laud to the heavens that they are not so optimistic are free do so". So I would appreciate if you do not misreprsent what im saying. Those who are not optimistic and not happy with our progression thats fair enough. I was posting my feelings and opinions nothing more.
Ottar Gadid
9   Posted 27/01/2008 at 19:50:54

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It is easier to see where you're coming from now, Michael, and I don?t think anyone sees Moyes as infallible, probably even less than a bunch of other managers who get heavily criticised every once in a while (Mourinho, Rednose and Wenger spring to mind). One man?s mistake is another one?s bad luck, and criticism in hindsight is always easier. I think our formation on Wednesday was ok, some don?t. Some like the Beatles and some like the Stones.

Where some take offense is when the criticism gets too personal. To say that our tactics were cowardly is one thing, to say that the manager is a coward a completely different one. And when the personality of the manager becomes the emphasised point, the question of alternatives is relevant. If someone says: "The manager fucked it up", it?s his call, if he says "the manager is a fuck-up" that?s something completely different. Just like I think it poor to boo an Everton player even if one thinks he?s crap.

Hopefully we can stick to debating the tactics and the results, or even better, that there?ll be nothing left to discuss ?cause we win every game... :-)
Desmond Prosper
10   Posted 27/01/2008 at 20:54:50

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Many posters have come on this forum and said multiple times that Moyes has carried us as far as he can OR that he is limited and can only take the club so far. That makes the discussion of alternatives relevant. If you can’t see that--well, that’s okay, I guess. I don’t know what else to say to make the point clearer.

Maybe you haven’t seen any of the threads questioning the capability and character of our manager. I have. I am simply stating that I disagree with those opinions. />
If you wish to characterize that as oversensitivity, there’s not much I can do about that, either. It’s a little odd that you find it irritating that fellow fans of the club you support want to support their manager-- blindly or not. So what if we are wrong? We’re fans! Not lawyers!

Lighten up!
Paul Hirst
11   Posted 27/01/2008 at 21:48:19

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These threads come across as an iterated line of argument; either Moyes is delivering progress or that there is a spurious line of argument that states criticism is valid and if one disagrees with it then the disagreement is flawed. How about, Moyes has brought forward progress, the team is more coherent, more fluid and more competitive than at any time since the 1980?s. However, in terms of competitiveness in the Premier League there are still significant areas in which we need to develop, essentially a cutting edge, the essence of nils satis nisi optimum. Give the bloke credit for progress what is your alternative - swingeing debt and a manager undermined by the ignorance of franchisism?
Peter Corcoran
12   Posted 28/01/2008 at 08:38:22

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Do the top three managers never get criticism - you bet your life they get criticised. So what is wrong with giving DM some criticism from time to time - but also recognise the good he has done.

Just listen to LFC fans views, "Rafa just needs financial backing and he WILL win the league" - crap, look at all the money he has wasted on players we wouldn’t want. Some LFC fans think they have a great manager - I don’t, but he does not seem to get half as much criticism as DM. If DM had spent what Rafa has spent and achieved the same I think ALL EFC fans would be criticising him. Yet LFC fans are very demanding and mostly totally unrealistic believing they have a devine right to win - but they do want to win and so do we. If DM had spent what Rafa had spent I am sure he would have achieved more than has been achieved across the park.

So to put things into perspective I think DM has done quite well given the finances available - but quite well is not what we aspire to. It does not mean we have no faith in DM it just means we want more than what he has done so far, fewer mistakes and more money from the board!

Nothing but THE best is good enough.
Peter Grealey
13   Posted 28/01/2008 at 14:31:05

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I find it unbelievable that there are still evertonians out there who do not appreciate the job Moyes has done and is still doing. I was born in 85 so was to young to remember the glory days of the 80’s. I’ve grown up watching relegation dogfights and when we were lucky mid-table mediocrity. Then Moyes comes in and within 6 years we’ve qualified for europe twice and are currently sitting nicely above the shite in 4th. I could understand if we’d stopped improving but we haven’t, this is the best everton squad i’ve ever seen and the signs are we’re going to get even better. The point i’m trying to make is to the evertonians who insist on being negative. I know moyes can get tactics wrong from time to time but overall he’s worked wonders. These fans need to stop living in the 80’s because those times have gone, just be grateful you were there. One of the things i hate most about Liverpool fans is how they shove their history down your throat and how every season it’s "their year" because they still live in the past. I’m just starting to wonder that maybe it’s not just Liverpool fan’s who are like that. We’re a team definitely on the up and so let’s start realising it.

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