The False Parallels with 1984

Why romantic comparisons between the present and Howard Kendall's transformative third full season in charge are misleading and an FA Cup triumph shouldn't buy Roberto Martinez more time unless it's accompanied by huge improvement over the last eight League games.

Lyndon Lloyd 07/04/2016 54comments  |  Jump to last

Roberto Martinez may merely be the latest managerial appointment charged with the seemingly impossible task of emulating Howard Kendall's stunning success at Everton between 1984 and 1987, but is perhaps the first since Colin Harvey to be measured so closely with the club's greatest ever manager.

In that sense, the Catalan has become a victim of his first season in charge at Goodison Park — a fifth-place finish, the continued assembly of arguably the best group of players since that trophy-laden purple patch a generation ago, and genuine hope of finally rising back to the upper echelons of the domestic game all seemed possible by the end of 2013-14.

The reality, of course, has been — and continues to be — very different. A difficult and, at times, alarming second term has given way to an even more concerning third season where Martinez appears to have lost his way; in terms of results, strategy, method and team cohesion, everything that was so promising about his debut campaign (at least until the wheels came off at a crucial juncture with that home defeat to Crystal Palace) has largely evaporated. No surprise, then, that on the back of another galling run of results and an abhorrent home record, the calls from supporters for his dismissal grow louder with each defeat.

Yet, while Kendall's legacy weighs like some inescapable monkey on his back, his somewhat distant predecessor's journey to success has become one of straws to which those who can't bear to give up on him continue to cling. Kendall, too, faced criticism and a revolt from the stands in the discontented winter of 1983. Just six League wins before the New Year were evidence enough for the club's most vocal supporters to call for him to be sacked; then Chairman Philip Carter held his nerve, however, and the rest is glorious history.

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It might be that Bill Kenwright, being the unashamed sentimentalist that he is, is channelling some of late Sir Philip in standing by his manager. His typically effusive but uncomfortable post-match rhetoric of “what a manager!” following the FA Cup Quarter Final conquest of Chelsea last month was clearly an act in solidarity and support for the beleaguered Martinez. It may also have painted him into a corner should the season continue its apparently inexorable slide rather than mimic Kendall's experience 32 years ago.

Because as romantic as it may be to hark back to 1984 — right down to a possible date at Wembley with Watford in the FA Cup Final — the parallels between then and now are few and far between.

Having assumed control of an Everton side that had finished 19th (out of 22) in 1980 and 15th in 1981, Kendall's task was altogether more Moyesian than Martinez's. His first two full season were notable for progress — an 8th-place and then a 7th-place finish achieved while he added the personnel foundations for the virtually-all-conquering team that would lift two league titles and two major trophies in the space of three years.

As the latter half of 1983-84 demonstrated, Howard's team just needed a catalyst and two of them arrived, one he engineered himself with a now-legendary team talk before the FA Cup tie at Stoke City and one delivered unwittingly by Kevin Brock at the Manor Ground 11 days later. By the time they had cruelly lost the Milk Cup Final to Liverpool, the players say they were convinced that Everton were finally ready to compete and surpass their hitherto rivals from across Stanley Park. In no way could you say that the Toffees of today are ready to follow Leicester City in breaking the hegemony enjoyed by so-called "top clubs" of recent years.

Martinez inherited a team consistently finishing in the top half of the table with an average placing of 7th over the decade before his arrival. An explosive first season where he steered the Toffees to their highest points tally since the first Kendall era, has been followed by marked under-achievement and under-performance since. Where Kendall's first term was characterised by progression, Martinez's has come to be defined by regression, echoing his fortunes at Wigan Athletic. Since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, his win percentage in the league is just 36%; for the calendar year so far it's a 27%.

He has, of course, done some impressive squad-building of his own, albeit without finding the vital balance and blend to round it out as a complete “team”. Lacking Kendall's ruthlessness when it came to ridding his side of misfits and dead wood and knowing exactly what elements needed to be added, Martinez's Everton remains the unfinished article — bloated and unproductive in some areas, frustratingly deficient in others; last summer's unfinished business and January's highly questionable “marquee” signing compounding serious issues around fitness, tactics, formations and substitution policies.

The Catalan has spoken this season like his Everton team is tantalisingly close to everything finally falling into place like they did for Kendall after those two transformative cup ties in January 1984. Once perhaps merely elusive, that tipping point has proved to be illusory.

Potential pivots to the campaign arrived in the form of Ross Barkley's injury-time goal at Bournemouth and Ramiro Runes Mori's at Chelsea, precious advantages and momentum squandered by ill-discipline and a refusal to shut up shop. Superb work in the League Cup semi-final against Manchester City — a first-leg lead and then Barkley's fine strike to open up a two-goal aggregate lead was undone spectacularly in the second by poor strategy, suspect decision-making and glaringly Martinez-esque defending. Another potential parallel with '84, a Wembley clash with the reds and a tilt at a trophy, was spurned. In between and either side, hard-earned leads and crucial points have been tossed away in the Premier League as the manager oversees one of the worst home records in the club's history.

The question as to whether Everton could conceivably sack the man who has just delivered them the FA Cup for the first time since 1995 has been pondered this week with many saying the board simply couldn't. On the contrary. No manager should survive on cup exploits alone.

That Martinez does not find himself under the kind of pressure that Kendall, Walker and Smith before him did from Evertonians and the media alike is almost certainly down to Everton's continued interest in the FA Cup. Social media may be reverberating to escalating calls of #MartinezOut and website polls like the one here at ToffeeWeb have delivered pretty damning verdicts in recent days, but until the clamour reaches the terraces and the boardroom, the manager wouldn't appear to be in immediate danger of losing his job.

Lose the semi-final on 23rd April and that could change; win the trophy and things get altogether more complicated. The question as to whether Everton could conceivably sack the man who has just delivered them the FA Cup for the first time since 1995 has been pondered this week on discussion forums and podcasts, with many saying the board simply couldn't. On the contrary.

Because, while ending the club's agonising 21-year wait for silverware — and qualifying for Europe in the process — would be a significant achievement, it can't detract from the very serious — bordering on critical — issues under-pinning successive disasters in the Premier League. As Martinez has shown over the past two seasons, the league and cup can be completely different animals in terms of performance and results but the league is king. Just ask Wigan. That is where sustained success can be built and, save for winning the Europa League, where the only gateway to the Champions League lies. No manager should survive on cup exploits alone.

If the arrival of Farhad Moshiri and the financial muscle he can provide is to herald the kind of seismic shift in Everton's ability to compete once more with its peers then that needs to be mirrored in the club's attitude, self-image and deed. Put bluntly, are we going to start like acting like a big club who will no longer meander along accepting under-achievement?

Mocked for very Abramovich-esque turnover in managers between Harry Redknapp and the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham Hotspur sacked Andre Villas-Boas when Spurs were 7th in the Premier League and with 100% record in the Europa League group stage. They also fired Tim Sherwood when it became obvious that their choice of young manager with an outwardly inspirational air and refreshingly honest take was leading them nowhere.

Liverpool, too, moved decisively to remove Brendan Rodgers when the reds were 10th but labouring under a flawed system, seizing the opportunity to hire someone better when he became available. Manchester City gave Manuel Pellegrini notice of his P45 while they were still competing in four competitions, one of which he has already won. Even Leicester, hitherto a top-flight also-ran, dumped the manager who had pulled off a miraculous escape from relegation (albeit for off-the-field reasons as well) to upgrade to an experienced European coach.

Pleas for patience with regard to Martinez were appropriate last year. The winter slump, the awful results against the likes of Southampton, Hull and Stoke, and, most importantly, the alarming things they said about Martinez's management were harbingers of the gloom that has followed but they were tolerable at the time in the context of possible second-season syndrome. 14 months on, they're one of myriad compelling exhibits in the case against his continued tenure beyond this season.

As we drift into April with a paltry four home wins in 12 months, the quest to end Everton's trophy drought should not be allowed to detract from the Toffees' dreadful league form or obscure the gathering evidence that all is not well in the team in terms of morale or direction. Any FA Cup triumph at Wembley in May should only buy Roberto Martinez more time if it is accompanied by unequivocal evidence over the final eight league games that he can turn things around and steer this team to a sustained challenge for the top four next season. Otherwise, just as it was three years ago for Wigan, it should just be his parting gift before he moves on.

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Reader Comments (54)

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Ian McDowell
1 Posted 07/04/2016 at 18:46:21
Should we fail to win the minimum of 1 of our next 3 games – Watford (a,) Palace (a), and Saints (h) – I don't see how on earth he could possibly be allowed to lead Everton in a Merseyside derby closely followed by an FA Cup Semi-Final.
Paul Conway
2 Posted 07/04/2016 at 19:04:56
Martinez is hawking the fact that he has reached two semi finals, a feat that hasn't been equalled since 1984.

There is absolutely no parallel, why? In '84 we were realising our potential and we were starting to soar. We continued throughout that decade and became the pride of Merseyside. We got worldwide recognition and if it wasn't for the ban imposed on English clubs we had the quality to triumph in Europe, something we did by breezing through the Cup Winners' Cup, beating the mighty Bayern on the way to a complete training session in the final.

The FA Cup is a knock-out competition and the League Cup, up till the semi final. This gives the opportunity to have a go to plucky teams, with a bit of luck as well, to go on and win it. Martinez did it with Wigan! Whereas the Premier League is a measure of consistency; if you don't measure up, you could easily find yourself in 12th or 15th place after Easter, or worse!

Bob Carlton
3 Posted 07/04/2016 at 19:07:56
Articulate and beautifully written piece of journalism. Well said Lyndon.
Max Murphy
4 Posted 07/04/2016 at 19:18:59
Very good article Lyndon.

The only parallel I would like to make to this year's FA Cup run, is with our 1966 campaign when we never conceded a goal until the final – and then we gave Wednesday a 2-goal start before winning 3-2.

Happy days.

Ben Mackenzie
5 Posted 07/04/2016 at 19:22:31
What a great read, thanks Lyndon. I've been very pro Martinez until recently when I moved to 'the fence'. I'm not on the fence anymore after reading that.
Peter Mills
6 Posted 07/04/2016 at 19:30:31
Howard Kendall and Roberto Martinez should not be mentioned in the same breath.

Howard was a wonderful player, not only when playing as an equal amongst greats but also when pulling together a team of donkeys. He saved us single-handedly from being relegated one season (was it 72-73?), he was superb at Stoke and Blackburn. Yes, he appeared to be on the brink at the end of 1983 but he deserved his break. He understood football, he understood players and fans, and he adored Everton. Martinez is not fit to lace his boots and should be run out of town now.

This is the season of difference. Leicester City have given the lie to the nonsense that only money can win you things. In the long run that may be correct, but over a season, no. We don't have a season, we have 2 games. Someone at the club, Ferguson, Unsworth, Sheedy, Baines, it doesn't matter who, should lead the revolution, tell Martinez he will not be listened to, and take over. Then, in honour of Howard, take the team out for a few beers.

I'm serious here. Now is a time when heroes could be born. Just 2 games.

Chris Williams
7 Posted 07/04/2016 at 19:47:29
Kendall was an inspirational genius who started getting it right when he promoted Colin Harvey.

He supported and praised his players and had the vision to put MEN into His team. Reid, Gray, Ratcliffe, Southall and brought in other MEN, Bracewell, VDH, Stevens as well as the technicians, Sheedy, Stevens and created a great blend.

To compare this useless prick with Howard is a travesty. I realise that this is not the intention, Lyndon, but I would not have ever expected to see Howard do what Martinez has just done with Baines.

Barry Kay
8 Posted 07/04/2016 at 19:48:37
Great article, Lyndon. The team of '84 went on a great run in the league after Christmas leading up to the two finals. But you just knew this team was going places, they had hunger and desire, flair and when needed could mix the hard stuff with anyone.

The present team has none of these qualities and Martinez should not even be mentioned in the same breath as Mr Howard Kendall who gave us blues some of the best days of our lives.
Jay Harris
9 Posted 07/04/2016 at 19:59:38
Lyndon, had you written this post 12 months ago, you could have said almost exactly the same. Which reinforces my thought that he should have gone after last Xmas debacle. It is all jam tomorrow with this guy.

The only comparison I would make with Martinez is Mike Walker – another egotistical fantasist with more concern about his appearance than his team's showing and totally out of his depth at a club like Everton...

Lyndon Lloyd
10 Posted 07/04/2016 at 20:35:15
Chris (7): "I realise that this is not the intention, Lyndon"

Indeed, it wasn't, Chris. My intent was to compare (kəmˈper/ verb: estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between) not correlate.

Sid Logan
11 Posted 07/04/2016 at 20:37:17
Excellently crafted piece, Lyndon, which puts up a strong argument to that diminishing group of supporters who might still argue for Martinez's retention next season by citing Kendall's initial failings before his eventual redemption.

On TW we should be turning our minds to that age-old conundrum: how football supporters without little power or influence, but numbering tens of thousands, can influence a small number of people who run their club who do have a decision making ability.

The club's supporters have reached their collective verdict on the Manager as the TW poll demonstrates. However, as usual in these matters, almost everyone on the outside had no idea what the the current view is on the inside.

I really do believe that our name is on the cup. I hold this view not be because of anything Martinez might influence in terms of our play but rather because I am convinced the players will give their all, above and beyond the cause, in order to atone for the abysmal fayre they have served up for much of this season. Wishful thinking – could be but it doesn't really feel like that!

Let's get the cup out of the way decide how best TWebbers can make their limited influence heard in the right quarters. This will clearly be an even more difficult task once we have won the cup!

Martin Nicholls
12 Posted 07/04/2016 at 20:55:34
Peter (6) and Chris (7) – well said guys. An absolute insult to Howard's memory to mention this clown in the same breath as such a great manager and (in my opinion) an equally great player.
Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 07/04/2016 at 21:04:46
Chris (7) you can say that again, "he started getting it right when he promoted Colin Harvey," this was the day after the leaflets were given out for Howard to be sacked.

The night before he also brought on Peter Reid who helped to change the game, was it against Coventry? This was the game which turned the tide, not the often repeated one, at Oxford.

Colin Harvey's role in Everton's success is very under-rated, as is Peter Reid's,. Before this game, Kendall had hardly used Reid; he came in and was an extra captain along with Andy Gary who was bought around this time.

I will always be grateful to Howard for giving us our pride back but there was a great team around him, on and off the pitch.

Matt Woods
14 Posted 07/04/2016 at 21:10:35
Superb analysis, Lyndon. I backed Martinez longer than most. I was was duped by some exciting football after years of hoofball. I was wrong about him and you are totally correct that tipping points and opportunities that couldn't be taken have culminated in a situation where all has been laid bare and he has subsequently lost the players.

A couple of months ago, I watched on YouTube two games from the 80s: Southampton in 85 and Chelsea 87 – both away wins. The chasm between the effectiveness and quality of those teams and today's had me squirming at how poor my judgement in today's team was. The fight and desire across the pitch in the 80s was wonderous and an embarrassment to today's charges.

Martinez had has his chances but, for me, failing to win when two goals up in FOUR separate games is totally unforgivable. The players too are not without serious blame. They are nowhere near the hype that is getting thrown at them. Hugely over-rated. Barry is the only consistent exceptional footballer in terms of touch and game intelligence and he is practically finished.

Martinez must go now for the good of the club; there is no hope once the players have given up on you.

Chris Williams
15 Posted 07/04/2016 at 21:24:05

I think we are violently agreeing.

George White
16 Posted 07/04/2016 at 21:28:51
"Having assumed control of an Everton side that had finished 19th (out of 22) in 1980 and 15th in 1981, Kendall's task was altogether more Moyesian than Martinez's. His first two full season were notable for progress – an 8th-place and then a 7th-place finish achieved while he added the personnel foundations for the virtually-all-conquering team that would lift two league titles and two major trophies in the space of three years."

Have you forgotten the end of 1983? Eleven goals from half a 42-game season, 16th in the league. 0-0 at home to Coventry in front of 13,659?

No false parallel, the previous two seasons were history. Everyone wanted him gone, probably more than want Roberto gone now, but Phillip Carter kept his nerve thankfully.

Not suggesting we're going to dominate Europe in the near future but give both sides of the argument instead of cherry-picking the ones that suit your cause.

Dennis Ng
17 Posted 07/04/2016 at 21:36:24
Internet should have an error page whenever Martinez is mentioned in the same passage as Kendall.

As you mentioned, Kendall's first stint was marked with signs of improvement, season over season. We gave him 3 years and he has given us nothing but disappointments and excuses.

The only problem now is the discomfort of him being manager until the FA Cup is over. Anyone thinking he can redeem himself with a cup win is completely ignoring the possibility of a relegation scrap next season with the continued deterioration of our team.

Ian Hollingworth
18 Posted 07/04/2016 at 21:38:32
Deluded is the only word to describe this charlatan. Comparing this season to 1984 based on two cup semi-finals is typical of this clown.

I presume he wants us all to believe we will win the League next season like the Howard Kendall side did.

Peter Mills
19 Posted 07/04/2016 at 21:41:54
Dave #13. Spot on in your comments.

And " there was a great team around him (Howard)" - that's the whole point, isn't it? Kendall was prepared to allow strong characters such as Reid, Gray, Southall and Ratccliffe to wield their influence. And Colin Harvey must have been constantly in his ear. The narcissist in charge now could never allow that, could never allow the likes of Distin, Eto'o and now Baines to speak up.

A good manager in any industry will listen, accept wise counsel, empower staff. This guy can't handle such things, he stands exposed.

Lyndon Lloyd
20 Posted 07/04/2016 at 22:14:26
George (16): "Have you forgotten the end of 1983? Eleven goals from half a 42-game season, 16th in the league. 0-0 at home to Coventry in front of 13,659? ... give both sides of the argument instead of cherry-picking the ones that suit your cause."

Progress is, quite rightly, measured by full seasons, George, and the whole point of the article was to point out that while Kendall struggled in 1983 (which I haven't denied), his team came out the other side, finished 7th again that season, and eventually went on to dominate Europe.

Whereas Martinez has had two seasons of struggle now and anything akin to a "Stoke (A)" or "Kevin Brock"-type catalyst has come and gone without providing the spark for this present side to click into place.

The reason for that, in my opinion, is that there is very little comparison between the two managers. Unlike Kendall, Martinez does not appear to know how to turn his team around after struggling very obviously for form and results for the best part of 20 months.

Michael Penley
22 Posted 07/04/2016 at 22:30:15
When I saw this topic appear I was convinced it would be about Orwell's 1984 and its similarity to the Martinez regime.

Now having read it, I'm kind of disappointed that it's not. I could definitely see Roberto, if he stays much longer, having Leighton interrogated in a darkened room for his thought crime of believing we lack chemistry on the pitch. Two plus two equals five, Leighton, you know that. You should know better.

George White
23 Posted 07/04/2016 at 23:00:45
Fine, Lyndon, but don't sugar coat Kendall's start and ignore the debacle that was the first half of 83-84, the vitriol the man got and the 90%+ of the fan base who wanted him sacked. There was no progress over those five months and no sign of it, we were fucking abject.

Carter saw something most of us didn't, thank God.

Roberto has not ever (as yet) put us in such a dire position playing such garbage as Howard did in that period. I'm not saying we need to keep him, just giving it some perspective.

Patrick Murphy
24 Posted 07/04/2016 at 23:16:09
George (#23), The 1983 team struggled to score goals and therefore struggled to win matches, but the framework didn't alter a great deal over a lengthy period and with the addition of Gray and Reid things started to gel, the run from early January 1984 to the FA Cup Final saw 10 league victories and just 3 league defeats – 2 of those in the immediate aftermath of the FA semi-final victory.

Also, our neighbours were on their way to a third consecutive Title which didn't help Evertonians patience in those days.

This current team has gone backwards in the last 2 years – since we beat Arsenal 3-0 at Goodison and there is no real indication that it will be much different in the remaining games or next season should Martinez retain his position as manager.

Phil Walling
25 Posted 07/04/2016 at 23:26:01
A very bad day for Martinez but one he will survive. Sadly, I continue to believe that by agreement with Moshiri, Kenwright continues to call the shots on all things football.

On that front, he will not wish to admit he made an error with the appointment of Martinez nor complete his own term of office without seeing a trophy in the cabinet. Two wins at Wembley will satisfy his pride on both counts. And another season of the Spaniard beckons!

It goes without saying that if the current season finishes potless, the continued employment of Martinez will be called into question although I very much suspect it will have to be the new half-owner who finally 'pulls the plank'.

So patience, fellow readers, for sadly, the Roberto saga still has some time to run, I think.

Jack Mason
26 Posted 08/04/2016 at 03:57:50
@ 25 Phil. I agree, patience is what is needed now.

Lyndon's article is excellent, although I've always maintained Martinez has more in common with Lee than Kendall.

Perhaps we'll see a Martinez and Kenwright swansong ending with an FA Cup victory. As opposed to them both as I am, they will have my gratitude and applause.

Then in the summer, perhaps we'll see a complete overhaul of the club. Till then, let's hope it's just a waiting game and not a crying one.

Ian Jones
27 Posted 08/04/2016 at 06:29:27
Great piece, Lyndon.

Made me wonder whether we have experienced a 'Crystal Palace' moment to rival the 'Oxford' one. In reverse!

Kieran Fitzgerald
29 Posted 08/04/2016 at 07:15:39
An FA Cup win won't be enough. It will all come down to money and the league is where it is at. The Premier League is a gravy train at the moment. League places earn you millions, there is world wide interest and sponsors are lining up to get involved.

Continued poor football, poor league placings and an awful lot of negative press and publicity will cost the club millions. Millions that despite the new shareholder the club just doesn't have. Moshiri may have deep pockets but a Premier League club is ran on multiple revenue streams. Everton has struggled to raise revenue streams and has been bailed out in recent seasons by TV money related to simply being in the Premier League.

The current revenue streams related to being in the Premier League will shrink if we continue under Martinez. Our performances will make it harder to renew sponsorship deals, will reduce what fans are willing to pay for tickets and merchandise and will reduce the amount of games that TV companies will air.

Moshiri will want to drive the club forward and he may be a breath of fresh air and new impetus for the Board. This, plus the fear of losing money may be the factor that will see Martinez lose his job.

Craig Walker
30 Posted 08/04/2016 at 08:24:50
I can remember when Colin Harvey was sacked as manager. He'd achieved 4th, 6th and 8th placed finishes. We'd just lost a League Cup game to Sheffield United (I think) and were languishing in the league (but it was October – not April). We'd reached the FA Cup Final the previous season, losing 3-2 to the RS in extra-time.

It just sums up how our standards have changed and how we have come to accept mediocrity over the years. Moyes was lauded for getting us consistently in the top 7 and reaching an FA Cup Final. Colin Harvey was sacked for only achieving an average of 6th place in his 3 seasons and getting us to the final.
Clive Lewis
31 Posted 08/04/2016 at 08:45:29
The team in 1984 had Chemistry!
Andrew Presly
32 Posted 08/04/2016 at 09:03:06
This is a conversation to be had after we win the cup.
Eddie Dunn
33 Posted 08/04/2016 at 09:35:46
Things are stacking up against Martinez. The next two games are seen as winnable, but will prove to be anything but. The derby game coming so close to the FA Cup Semi-Final will put pressure on him to rest certain players, but the consequences of a tame derby defeat will cause him to contemplate using his strongest team, and then the consequences of fatigue in the semi will come home to roost.

His days look to be numbered, and his options are running out. Shame that he is ruining our chance of a trophy, a derby win and holding on to our precious youngsters in this car crash of a season.
John Crawley
35 Posted 08/04/2016 at 10:13:56
Good article, Lyndon, and I completely agree. In the second half of Kendall's third season, out of the last 19 league games we won 9, drew 7, lost 3. We'd more than matched the champions Liverpool at Wembley and we went onto win the Cup Final.

This is a world away from what's going on at present. If we lose the next two games against Watford and Palace, I think he needs to go before the FA Cup Semi-Final.
Barry Pearce
36 Posted 08/04/2016 at 10:44:39
Very well written article, Lyndon.

Martinez's record as you said, is simply not good enough. He absolutely shouldn't still be in charge of our club. Other than the odd game, the football along with the results are shocking.

Until the powers to be see what most fans see, I dread to think what the future holds.

Terry Aylward
37 Posted 08/04/2016 at 10:51:03
If this was one of Bill's theatre productions getting such bad reviews because of an inept director, he wouldn't tolerate it for a minute, the director would be gone. So why have we had to tolerate this buffoon directing our club into oblivion?

Could it be because his theatre audiences would vote with their feet whereas we just turn up zombie for any crap that's served up to us?
Dave Ganley
39 Posted 08/04/2016 at 13:02:37
Good article, Lyndon, and pretty much sums up my thoughts also. Have to say though, I would have had him gone last season such was the dire level of football and how much we had gone backwards.

What is key in this article is when you state how ambitious is this board. In managers who have been shown the door when performing much better than Martinez, you neglected to mention Dogleash also. He won the League Cup and also got to the FA Cup Final and was shown the door.

Some people laud the fact that we have got to two semi-finals. If we accept that as any kind of barometer for success, then it's no wonder we are so far behind the top clubs.

This is, as you rightly say, a pivotal moment in Everton FC history. If the board get rid of Martinez and actually appoint somebody with a proven track record of winning domestically and in Europe then nobody can have any complaints. If we keep Martinez then that will show, sadly, that the fat Spanish waiter was right all those years ago, we are a small club....and that inaction will cut far deeper than any dire football match we have been forced to endure for the last 2 years.

Matt Williams
40 Posted 08/04/2016 at 13:41:35
There are absolutely no comparisons in anyway between between Kendall and Martinez. Here's why.

As a footballer, Kendall was a great midfield player highly rated by everyone with a bit of everything to his game. Martinez was a shit 4th Division footballer.

As a manager, I don't need to list Kendall's achievements, but he knew how to run a football club and when talking to the press, his answers were always intelligent and considered and he never sugar-coated the defeats. By contrast, Martinez is an incompetent buffoon who spouts incomprehensible drivel.

As a man, Kendall was a genuine leader who knew how to handle his players and get the best out of them. The vast majority of lads who played for him (wherever he managed) liked him and respected him and held him in the highest regard. On the other side of the coin, none of that can be said about Martinez, who I believe, is considered by most to be a complete a idiot.

Phil Hoyle
41 Posted 08/04/2016 at 15:32:50
Lyndon – as always, another great article.

I have been, until recently, fully backing Martinez but my patience (and I have a lot of it) has all but gone. The last straws for me were our performance on Sunday, and then the way he has handled the Baines comments.

I don't know about others but I thought the Baines comments referred to on the pitch chemistry, that as a team they are not clicking and that we are achieving results by individual moments – I would totally agree with this.

I have never called for a manager's head. I have criticised contributors on this site for the 'sack the manager' rhetoric both in Moyes's and Martines's era, but unless the performance in the next 2 games improves SIGNIFICANTLY (and to be honest I don't care about the result) then the board need to look carefully at whether Martinez can continue.

Sorry Roberto but you have all but lost me!!

Michael Forshaw
42 Posted 08/04/2016 at 15:52:12
Yeah nice read Lyndon. I just hope people who matter read it. I have no faith whatsoever in Martinez.
Barry Sherlock
43 Posted 08/04/2016 at 16:48:49
An excellent, well written article.

Martinez cannot be retained on the back of an FA Cup win. We long for a trophy but he even if we win it the league position and general league form is disgraceful.

Next season is going to be even worse. Next season will be one of transition, players are going to leave this summer. That is very clear. However, if we were to bring in a top quality manager, then maybe, just maybe some of the players may change their minds and stay. Perhaps it's too late for Lukaku.

Clive Mitchell
44 Posted 08/04/2016 at 17:56:45
The 'humiliate Baines' stuff is unforgivable. If it isn't a lack of chemistry then it has to be that the manager has lost the players.

I've seen some terrible Everton teams, but never one where there was anything like this gulf between the team and the sum of its parts – with the parts adding up to several times the weight of the team. That's some achievement Roberto. Two points behind WBA with those resources. Phenomenal.

Paul Doyle
46 Posted 08/04/2016 at 21:16:31
A good cup manager of a Championship club is what this clown is. Martinez and Howard should never be mentioned on the same page.

I remember the owners at the tin mine telling Houllier he had to finish in 4th place at the least one season to qualify for the Champions League. He did and they then fired him.

Winning the cup should never be a reason to stick with this manager.
Eric Paul
47 Posted 08/04/2016 at 22:37:47
George White,

Howard was always going to succeed as he recognised where it was going wrong, Martinez just keeps doing the same things expecting different results "madness".

Philip Abbott
48 Posted 08/04/2016 at 23:02:00
Well now I'm off the fence and I want this guy out. What I want to see is a new manager brought in ASAP to give us some sort of chance in the semi-final, and finish the league games off with some wins. Then at the end of the season get rid of all the deadwood.

We all know who they are and with the new guys money let's get some quality in and get us competing at the right end of the league. Winning the cup should not save this clown. We know it I just hope the new owner knows it and if we lose the next 2 games I think he will get the message at the next home match.

Just look at the Arsenal fans, they have won the FA Cup for the last 2 years and they still want Wenger out due to their league position and they are in the top 4.
Roberto Granelli
49 Posted 08/04/2016 at 23:38:41
'In nomine Dei'
Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar. Renunciar.
Don Alexander
50 Posted 08/04/2016 at 23:57:01
Trevor Aylward at 37, you hit the proverbial on the head. All boards depend on attendances. Kenwright exploits us to the max.
John Raftery
51 Posted 09/04/2016 at 01:30:15
In addition to the aforementioned parallels or non-parallels with Kendall, Walker and Lee, I offer one with Harry Catterick in 1966. We won only one of our last eight league games, lost four of the last six and finished eleventh in the table. Our only victories in the closing weeks of the season were in the semi final and final of the cup.

Winning the cup from two-nil down eased what little pressure there was on Catterick. Of course in those days there was much less focus on managers or on short-term result patterns but despite the cup win it was clear something major was required to transform the team.

After being totally outclassed by Liverpool in the Charity Shield the following August Catterick spent a club record fee for Alan Ball. The rest is history. In 1966 the primary focus was on players' performance with that of the managers regarded as secondary. Now all the focus is on managers with the multi millionaires on the pitch shielded by the failures, perceived or otherwise, of their manager. In the current climate the social media pressure on Martinez will be eased only slightly by several wins in the league and a cup final victory, but it would certainly relieve any pressure within the club.

Given the abject nature of recent performances it seems highly unlikely the players have the ability or guts to deliver such a run. The manager looks and sounds like a rabbit in the headlights. The most likely outcome for this season is a continued slump in league form and at best some sort of glorious failure in the cup. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

Jack Mason
52 Posted 09/04/2016 at 02:31:10
John @ 51, Good post.
Richard Lyons
53 Posted 09/04/2016 at 08:00:07
Don't worry everyone – there's no way we'll win the cup...
Danny O'Neill
54 Posted 09/04/2016 at 09:08:07
Great journalistic piece Lyndon, supported with sound evidence.

I wouldn't put myself in the "clutching at straws" category however through fear of upsetting the masses, I want Martinez to turn it around and succeed; I've always wanted every Everton manager to succeed, whether they fit my footballing belief or not. If they succeed, then Everton do. Stating the blinding obvious clearly so ask me the question as to whether I think he will succeed: right at this moment, no and I echo Eric Paul – he never will anywhere unless he stops repeating the same mistakes.

Are there parallels? Yes but only parallels, not history repeating itself and there is a subtle difference. If my then 12-year-old brain recalls, we were in true dire straights that winter, not in the throws of mediocrity as now. Genuinely staring into the abyss at the turn of the year. The mood wasn't just vocal, it was vitriolic; leaflets handed out "Kendall Must Go" to those who had bothered to turn up and fill our stadium to little more than 25% of its then capacity and 18th in the league on 14th January 1984. This on the back of a previous season's finish of 15th following Gordon Lee's 19th in 1979-80. It most certainly wasn't blue-tinted glasses throughout all of Howard's first tenure and my youthful recollection is of an atmosphere that far surpasses the current resigned boos at the end of another disappointment.

I wouldn't quite say his task was Moyes-esc. Yes, more Moyes-esc given what Martinez inherited, but aside from 79-80, the decade following the Championship victory of 1970 seemed characterised by a dip then mid-table averageness; indeed Lee achieved 3rd and 4th place finishes prior to his 19th showing that cost him the job. Not my decade, but I don't recall being annual relegation fodder throughout the 70s.

I think Howard's persuasive and winning mentality is what came through. Also, given it had only been a decade since league glory, the fan base could still recall and have its own winning belief more easily reignited. Unfortunately, 3 decades of decline, relegation fear followed by Moyes' style (personal opinion) of KITAN1, which hit the proverbial glass ceiling, has bred a generation (and converted older ones) that wants to believe but can't let itself!

I like the mention of Tottenham; they for me are the model. Sustained building over years, both on and off the pitch. They, not Leicester (freak one-off who totally underwhelmed me at Goodison) are who I would like to see succeed this year. An astute Chairman who deserves huge credit for the manner in which he runs his football club.

Liverpool I think only removed Rogers when someone in the mould of Klopp became available. Their example is good, but it is an example of move when the right man is available, not just for the sake of frustration (had it been the former, he would have gone sooner I suspect).

I'm probably all over the place here! Agree, disagree, isn't that what football debate is all about? To finish, Martinez is on borrowed time unfortunately. He has assembled the best collection of players (quality and technically wise) we have witnessed since Kendall's all to brief spike of success in the mid-80s, which compounds the frustration. It is missing just a couple of final ingredients; sadly after such early promise, it transpires that one of those ingredients is the manager's ability to shape them into a team that functions on a consistent basis.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope Martinez proves me wrong. And I concur; an FA Cup win, whilst nice, isn't a measure of success. It is a platform from which to progress (á la 1984) but true success is measured by your league standing. As one of our many nemesis' across the park once stated; that's your bread and butter.

Steve Davies
55 Posted 09/04/2016 at 12:12:12
Sack him before the semi-final. Why delay the inevitable. I am starting to dislike Mr Martinez. Having a go a Baines was the last straw for me. Imagine what the dressing room is like with this buffoon in charge.
Danny O'Neill
56 Posted 09/04/2016 at 18:19:07
Lyndon, just looking at your post (#20); as one of Howard's '80s disciples and someone who named my own baby brother after him, hindsight is a great thing.

"Unlike Howard......". I wont finish all of the sentence. Did we truly know at the time whether he knew how to or whether he was going to turn it around? Many didn't think so and wanted him gone. I can genuinely say I believed but I was young and naive.

Fact is at the time we didn't know whether Howard Kendall was going to be the great manager he did become and if you'd have listened to the masses he never would have been. "Kendall he must go" as the kopites still remind us of to this day.

Daniel Joseph
57 Posted 09/04/2016 at 22:11:50
I wonder where all those "cushions" went to? Could do with one right now....
Mark Andersson
58 Posted 10/04/2016 at 16:07:34
Brilliant article and some great posts. Sad thing is I can not see Martinez being sacked. Bill Kenwright is not the true blue he claims to be.

Billy boy, and Martinez have ego's too big to see the bigger picture. It's laughable the way a lot of fans think we can win the FA cup. Just because we beat Chelsea in the last round. Swansea beat Chelsea on Saturday, so that put's that one into perspective.

So if 90% of blues fans wanted Howard Kendall out all those years ago, what chance have today's fans got influencing the egotist, to sack his appointed "what a manager"

To all match going fans, stop wasting your energy, money and sanity and boycott all remaining games. Of course you wont, because you live in hope that either Martinez or the team might just click, like the Kendall dream team.

More of the same rubbish both on and off the field beckon next season. The Everton I grew up with, was a proud respected club. Now we are rightly looked down as a small club. We are heading the same way as Aston Villa and Newcastle.

As a life long born blue, I find it quite sad that the likes of Harold Mathews passed away recently, knowing that his beloved Everton are now 2nd rate also rans.

Roberto Birquet
59 Posted 11/04/2016 at 06:54:17
6 Peter Mills

Money wins you things is no lie. It is a statistically incontrovertible fact.

However, just about everyone in the Premier League now has money. 11th two seasons running is unacceptable.

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