The Statistics Behind Moyes' Reign - It Might Surprise You
It now appears certain that David Moyes will be replacing Sir Alex at the helm of Man Utd. Contrary to some opinion, Moyes does in fact represent the safe route (as I explained yesterday). An alternative choice like Mourinho was too risky a venture for a club built on stability.
With Moyes now confirmed to take over Ferguson’s barely cooled seat, those who criticise him for his lack of ‘success’ will be out in their droves. My intention is therefore to examine Moyes’ Everton career and subsequent legacy to determine how successful a manager he has been.
Many opponents and detractors to this appointment will highlight Moyes’ apparent lack of success. Indeed, in his time at Everton Moyes has won as much silverware as most of England - that is to say, nothing. That much is indisputable.
However, ‘success’ is always relative. A reasonable measure is not against titles and trophies such as that made against his predecessor, but rather his achievements versus other Everton-sized clubs and those with similar purchasing power and spending history.
In his 11 seasons with Everton, the Toffees sustained an average Premier League position of 7.7. This is in contrast to similar sized clubs like Aston Villa (10.2), Sunderland (16.7* - if Championship finishes are counted as 20), Newcastle (10.9* - if Championship finishes are counted as 20) and Tottenham (7.5).
Furthermore, in 2003 Everton qualified for the Champions League, usurping Liverpool for the fourth spot. Since 2003, only Tottenham (twice) and Newcastle (once) have managed such a feat.
I’ve discussed relative spending before, last year when Van Persie went to Man Utd, and there are some remarkable statistics to be viewed. Everton’s spending over the last 10 years has been less than that of all comparable clubs, including Newcastle, Sunderland, Aston Villa, West Ham and Tottenham. The stats are listed below (courtesy of The Transfer League).
What is even more impressive than the difference in spending (£50m+ less than Newcastle and Sunderland over the last 10 years - both of whom have been relegated (Sunderland twice) - is that Moyes has traded in the transfer window for an average loss of only £863,450 a year! Now, it's hardly fair to call him 'unsuccessful' when you compare that to Chelsea's average loss of over £52m a season...
Everton have clearly been run incredibly well over the last decade, performing far better than similarly sized opposition whilst spending next to no money. Even Tottenham who have averaged only 0.2 higher places in the League over the last decade have done so to the tune of over £238m in additional spending.
Now none of this accounts for spending on wages - which to some degree may explain how Arsenal can make a profit on transfers of around £1.5m a year whilst retaining even more impressive league results than Everton - but it does clearly show Moyes' resourcefulness.
As I've argued before, the Premier League is very predictable and nowhere near as competitive as some would have us believe. Those over at 5 Added Minutes and The Guardian have also made compelling arguments to support this recently. Indeed, in recent seasons it has been possible to predict a team's final position to within two places purely on spending alone (only West Ham's relegation in 2011 went against this rule of thumb). That said, this only takes into account spending, not profit and loss, so despite it being a predictable league, a team breaking even mid-table is still more competitive than one losing millions just above or below it.
With this in mind, it could well be argued that despite winning no silverware, David Moyes has accomplished great feats at Everton. To achieve such finishes on a consistent basis, whilst playing attractive football and protecting the bottom line, Moyes is one of very few managers to find the perfect balance. Aston Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle have all suffered far more (and continue to do so!), whilst spending many millions more. In every reasonable measure, Moyes has been successful, but for Man Utd fans, the hope is that this is only the beginning.