The BBC match report features the following line: "[Roberto Martinez], who is winning a cult following amongst Evertonians on Merseyside...".

Is he?

According to, "cult" is defined thus:


1 - a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object: the cult of St Olaf

a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members: a network of Satan-worshipping cults

a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular thing: the cult of the pursuit of money as an end in itself

2 - a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society: the series has become a bit of a cult in the UK

[as modifier]: a cult film


  1. for starters, this has nothing to do with religion. Anyway...
    • Evertonians might be a relatively small group of people in the absolute sense, but in a footballing context we are not. Particularly on Merseyside. And our belief in Martinez doesn’t seem to be regarded by anyone as strange, as pundits of various allegiances are (to one degree of patronisation or another, let’s not get started on that) unanimous that he’s doing darn well. Which at a stroke dispels any notion that he might be imposing excessive control over us, the "cult following", as the non-"cult following" are so far pretty convinced too.
    • Satan-worshipping? Wrong side of the park! I jest, of course. But it seems unlikely that we are misplaced in our admiration for the "thing" that is Martinez, as he has taken what OFM assembled and, with some well-selected additions allied to increased trust in certain of what was already there, made an effective if often stodgy team achieve arguably better things, given how seasons have tended to start in recent years, while being that much easier on the eye. He has had to earn our admiration, as many felt he was an appointment that held risk having seen the way his Wigan teams defended. Evidently not so. Nor are we being excessive; I don’t feel that any among us is getting carried away by what has been, it must be said, an impressive start to his tenure. We are all aware that the loss of an important player or two to injury could make a huge difference to things. Not that this is Martinez’s fault, or even a new problem.

  2. Yes, Martinez is popular, maybe even fashionable, among the particular group or section of society known as "Everton fans". Of course he is. Look at the Premier League table. But here we reach the commonly-accepted concept of a "cult": a group following of some belief or discipline or similar that runs counter to the mainstream. Here, the mainstream is as the BBC website puts it, Evertonians on Merseyside. It follows, therefore, that for Martinez to be "winning a cult following amongst Evertonians on Merseyside", the majority of the mainstream would need to be disbelieving or at best undecided. I dont live on Merseyside, so I dont know for sure, but I find it hard to believe that this could be the case.

    And I think I remember hearing some years ago from the mate of a man in a pub that Martinez was cast in a very small role in Pulp Fiction. The scene apparently ended up on the cutting room floor and his cult film career never took off. He became a footballer instead.

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Reader Comments (16)

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Matthew Williams
1 Posted 05/01/2014 at 07:42:14
Jez get over it, hardly worth going into it so deeply.
Anthony Lewis
2 Posted 05/01/2014 at 10:03:25
I concur
Jon Ferguson
3 Posted 05/01/2014 at 10:17:58
Few in the media, and fewer in the sports media, seem to know the meaning of words anymore. The day someone gave Paul Merson the title 'analyst' something in the space time continueum snapped, and even previously adaquate presenters have become completely useless.
Kane Green
4 Posted 05/01/2014 at 10:54:13
Some people have way too much time on their hands.

You started off by completely disregarding anything related to 'religion'. I'd say this is the exact context the word is used in when used in football writing.

Patrick Murphy
5 Posted 05/01/2014 at 11:07:48
A cult of personality is similar to hero worship, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda.

Peter Thistle
6 Posted 05/01/2014 at 11:07:54
Wouldn't worry about it :)
Derek Thomas
7 Posted 05/01/2014 at 11:10:55
A cult following...cult = not enough for a minority, utter bollocks. The feature ( which actually in the OP starts ..eature etc ) unnamed, seems as per usual more journalistic simplistic bandwagon jumping.

File under; why even bother.

Mike Gwyer
8 Posted 05/01/2014 at 11:04:13


For many blues Everton is more than religion, much more. Weddings have been postponed, rearranged or just built around games that Everton have played. You can now even celebrate the death of a loved one at Goodison and if permitted leave the ashes of family or friends. I have mate's who have lied to family and work to allow them to travel and see the blues play in Europe - fuck I know people who have split up with partners because of their affinity to watching Everton.

It is a hard task to try and glorify or belittle what the media say about our club or even to try and quantify what you believe is the intensity of supporters who follow Everton. Including myself, I know many, many blues who live and breath this club, and right now Martinez has returned the sole to the blues. Most media outlets are reporting an upsurge in the style and play of Everton, however, some journo's are more clued up, they are more in the know and they can feel and see big changes at Everton football club - and they will report it as such.

Ben Mackenzie
11 Posted 05/01/2014 at 13:52:35
I'm not religious in any way, but I worship Everton. It's one of the most important things in my life.
Peter Fearon
12 Posted 05/01/2014 at 17:03:46
While you have the OED out, Richard, look up "metaphor" and "hyperbole". When a commentator says a shot was a cannonball which almost broke the back of the net, he doesn't actually mean it was fired from a cannon and almost broke the netting, does he? Compared to the ignorant rubbish many in the media say about Everton, the cult of Martinez line is way down the list.
Colin Glassar
13 Posted 05/01/2014 at 17:23:02
I didn't read the article in full, as I tend to avoid religious and political arguments on a football forum, but I do think Roberto is now the holy ghost and will soon be God. Move over fatty fowler you blasphemer.
Brian Williams
14 Posted 05/01/2014 at 20:48:42
Richard. Where I work we have a saying that we sometimes use towards a certain type of person.

"He could tell you the square root of a jam jar but he's f****d trying to get the lid off."

Go'n take the lid off mate ;-).......................

Darryl Ritchie
15 Posted 06/01/2014 at 02:40:27
A passion (you bet), a fixation (absolutely), an obsession (probably). A cult? Not bloody likely!

Everton is an incredible football club that attracts a lot of like-minded from around the world. About the only thing we have in common IS the club. Martinez is the manager of the most fascinating football club in the universe: nothing more.

Nick Swallow
17 Posted 06/01/2014 at 03:46:29
There goes 5 mins of my life I'll never get back
Si Cooper
18 Posted 06/01/2014 at 16:12:40
"the commonly-accepted concept of a "cult": a group following of some belief or discipline or similar that runs counter to the mainstream"

There's your problem Richard; commonly-accepted doesn't necessarily mean correct. There is no reason a cult following has to be permanently counter to the mainstream, just that it is something that the mainstream were unaware of initially.

As the majority of Evertonians were unsure of how RM would perform but are now increasingly being won over the final definition you list works perfectly well, especially as no matter how many Evertonians there are they remain "a particular group or section of society".

Ian Burns
19 Posted 07/01/2014 at 16:01:44
Just wasted 10 minutes gin drinking time. Couldn't swallow trying to get the point.

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