I find the chorus of ingratitude and dismissive criticism of Tim Howard’s contribution to Everton astonishing. We hear all the time that players should be more loyal to clubs and fans than they usually are but the reality is that many fans don’t offer much loyalty either. Howard deserves to be defended.
In his first season, Tim Howard conceded 36 league goals, 14 fewer than his predecessor the previous season. Over the seasons since, he has regularly conceded fewer goals than all but the top four or five clubs. In 2007/8 for example, he conceded 33 goals. Only Man Utd, Chelsea Arsenal and Liverpool’s keepers did better. In 2011/12 he conceded 40, but that was still fewer than all but the top 2.
In 2013/14 he conceded fewer goals than the runners-up and in In 2012/13 he conceded fewer goals than the Premier League champions. Did he also have some poor performances? Yes. He is getting slower. He is 37. It is ridiculous, however to claim, as some have done, that he is a mediocrity or merely average. The whole world saw his record-breaking performance performance for the USA vs Portugal [ It was Belgium – Ed]. That was not the work of a mediocrity.
There have been plenty of great performances for Everton over the years too. And one great goal! No matter how you cut up the numbers he has been statistically one of the top performing goalkeepers in the Premier League for most of a full decade.
Despite his recent form, I doubt he would have let in either of the goals which Arsenal scored on Saturday. So I for one, while accepting it is time for him to move on, thank him for the last ten years and wish him well. We should all hope his replacement does as well.