The Sword of Damocles

The chop when it finally came was painfully overdue but there can’t be an Evertonian left who didn’t feel that by the end, it was the only merciful thing to do to relieve Roberto Martinez of his managerial duties before the final home game with Norwich City.

Lyndon Lloyd 14/05/2016 66comments  |  Jump to last

The chop – when it finally came – was painfully overdue... but there can’t be an Evertonian left who didn’t feel that, by the end, it was the only merciful thing to do to relieve Roberto Martinez of his managerial duties before the final home game with Norwich City.

A brace of horrible results away from home at Leicester and Sunderland in the space of the past week had made the Catalan’s position untenable, driving home what had been a growing acceptance among supporters that his tenure was on an irrevocable slide.

In truth, the realisation that Everton’s new era under Farhad Moshiri would begin in earnest without Martinez at the helm had been reached a lot earlier, the seeds sown in the wake of the debacle at Anfield where the former Wigan boss’s helplessness at the disaster unfolding in front of him was laid bare.

The desire to at least allow him to see out the season before calling time on his tenure was, ultimately, trumped by the imperative to spare him the ignominy of a toxic Goodison Park atmosphere on Sunday where fed-up and frustrated fans had pledged to make their feelings known if no announcement was forthcoming by then.

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In the end, protests planned for the end-of-season awards night (sensibly postponed — read: cancelled — even if the notice was a little short) and for that final match were headed off by the only decision left to make: Cut ties and move on.

A season that, just like the previous one, had held so much promise for the Toffees and their ambitious but frustratingly intransigent manager, was already over; the inquest into quite where Martinez had gone so wrong when his first season had gone so right was well underway.

Indeed, his debut season had been almost spectacular and the achievement of a record points haul, achieved with a fearless air that included a memorable Premier League double over Manchester United and a trouncing of Arsenal at Goodison Park, was celebrated progress from David Moyes and his reinforced glass ceiling. The alarming drop-off in Everton’s fortunes and results in his second and third seasons that followed, however, will no doubt ensure that – while he delivered some wonderful moments – history might not look too favourably on Martinez’s tenure overall.

He leaves the club mired in the bottom half of the table for the second year running, having achieved just one more victory in those last two league seasons combined than he did in 2013-14. A record of a mere five home wins since April 2015 was the obvious symptom of the team’s problem under the man from Balaguer but results away from home, so impressive until the final stretch, masked the flaws in his methods until they too began to unravel.

By the end, there was nothing more to say or write about Martinez’s Everton that hadn’t already been said or written by commentators from the fanbase to the general media alike; his intransigence over his deep-rooted footballing philosophies, forged over fires of admiration for Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola but unbending in the face of the realities of life in the English Premier League, was ultimately his downfall as the players became detached and the fans’ frustrations eventually boiled over.

It’s impossible not to feel some sympathy for Roberto, even if there are those who insist he could have walked way rather than stand defiantly under the Sword of Damocles to the bitter end. As his recent interview with Jamie Carragher showed, his confidence in his ability to make it work at Everton was undimmed and he no doubt felt that, with fresh capital to come in the summer from Moshiri, he could re-shape the team into a winning outfit again. Why walk away while there was still hope?

The change he brought to Finch Farm when he first arrived, sweeping in with an optimism and enthusiasm for the club, its history and its potential that had been long lost under Moyes, cannot be overstated. The club’s relationship with its fans changed almost overnight, reflected by Alan Myers’s brief stint as the open conduit between the communications department and supporters, unprecedented invitations to fan groups to interview the manager at Finch Farm, and light-hearted initiatives like the “Bring Me Sunshine” video which seemed to epitomise the new atmosphere.

Martinez was also a terrific ambassador for Everton, as a television pundit at home and abroad, as a speaker at events like last year’s BlazerCon, or taking time out to engage with supporters on pre-season tours. Anyone who saw his touching embrace with Margaret Aspinall on the pitch before the Bournemouth match recently would admit that there is so much to admire about the man. He “got” Everton, understood its traditions and its place in the city, and made moves that his predecessor wouldn't – like inviting club legend Howard Kendall to Finch Farm for a long-overdue visit. For all of that, you desperately wanted him to succeed with the Blues.

Unfortunately, though, it was on the pitch where it became apparent that Martinez wasn’t quite cut out for the Everton job. His time at Goodison became almost a self-fulfilling prophecy; the realisation of fears that eventually his methods would erode the defensive rock on which Moyes’s teams were founded and that Everton would become nothing more than a glorified Wigan… albeit without the silverware that he was able to land in his final campaign with the Latics.

As such, it was felt at the time of that ill-fated semi-final at Wembley last month — as it turned out, the final straw for Farhad Moshiri before the belated coup de grâce this week — that an FA Cup triumph, were he able to pull it off, risked prolonging what was an obviously failing tenure.

If the first glimmers that Martinez would eventually be undone by his rigid methods and ill-advised team selections can be traced back to that decisive home defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2014, that effectively handed 4th place back to Arsenal, the writing was clearly on the wall by the following winter.

A miserable festive season in which the Blues lost all four of their matches to Southampton (where he famously used no substitutes in an awful 3-0 defeat), Stoke, Newcastle and Hull was a jarring eye-opener for supporters already concerned about the start the team had made to the 2014-15 league season. The manager would later blame the psychological effect on his charges of their failure to hold onto leads at Leicester and Arsenal in the first two games of the season and the team’s involvement in the Europa League; however, until they imploded spectacularly in Kiev the following March, the team actually performed better in the Premier League while their European adventure was still in progress.

More telling were the revelations that key players had requested a meeting with Martinez to urge him to relent on his insistence on a patient passing game and allow quicker, more direct service to Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian’s acquisition on a permanent deal the previous July had been one of the Catalan’s finest moments but he was frequently isolated by a system that failed to consistently support him.

Martinez's unwavering insistence on playing players out of position denied his team balance and limited its attacking fluidity when things weren’t going to plan; when he ignored signs like Tim Howard’s dwindling form, it cost Everton goals and further irritated a fanbase growing increasingly restless with his methods.

Then there was the apparent ostracism of Sylvain Distin, followed this season by that of Kevin Mirallas, and the effects of the departures of conditioning coach Steve Tashjian and head of medicine Danny Donachie, the latter reputedly as result of irreconcilable differences with Martinez over fitness policies. All isolated causes for concern that would coalesce with the failings of this, his third season, to make the compelling case against his continuation in the manager's role.

For a few optimistic weeks last autumn, when Gerard Deulofeu appeared to have lit the blue touch paper on his second coming with a succession of crucial assists, Ross Barkley was blossoming in the midst of what looked to be his finest campaign to date, and Lukaku was scoring goals at a rate that threatened to supersede Gary Lineker's 30-league-goal haul some 30 years ago, it looked like Roberto's dream was alive again.

But a nagging inability to keep the back door closed, a persistent vulnerability to conceding goals — sometimes in quick succession — giving up leads, failing to see out games, spoke volumes about Martinez’s open admission that he wasn’t particularly interested in keeping clean sheets, merely outscoring the opposition.

It meant a campaign that hadn’t really caught fire – but had the potential to do so as 2015-16 wore on – was critically undermined by results that were as damaging to progress up the table as they were psychologically: the 3-3 draws at Bournemouth and Chelsea; the failure to put Norwich to the sword; the home defeat to Stoke City; the Capital One Cup loss at the Etihad – despite leading 3-1 on aggregate in the first half of that second leg... Everton led in all of those matches but were ultimately undone by defensive failings that had plagued them for the best part of two years.

The upshot was that, in the end, Martinez lost the faith of the players who didn’t so much down tools as simply lose their way under his management, something that was evident after the devastating loss to Manchester City in the League Cup in January. They roused themselves in the FA Cup, Lukaku briefly stirring from a slump that set in after the New Year to fire the Blues into the last four; but, by the time that date with Wembley arrived, the wheels had come off the wagon. Nothing illustrated that more than a harrowing night at Anfield last month – as miserable an experience as Evertonians have had to suffer through in living memory.

From that there was no way back. For all his optimism, his well-intentioned vision for the future of Everton, his focus on youth and plans for the development of Finch Farm to support a vibrant Academy, Roberto Martinez simply wasn’t flexible or aware enough to adapt to the ever-changing realities and demands of the Premier League. It was his utopian way or the highway and it eventually drove him down a dead end.

It could be a long road but he will no doubt find his way back, perhaps back in the lower leagues or in his native Spain... but for Everton, with a necessary decision having been made and Moshiri in the driving seat, it’s time to think big and start moving forward again. Onwards, Evertonians, indeed.

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Reader Comments (66)

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Chris Williams
1 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:37:12
Excellent piece again Lyndon. And well balanced

Now all together ' Bring me sunshine........'

Eugene Kearney
2 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:48:01
David Unsworth said that a good man has lost his job.....

Good luck to Mr Martinez....I really wished and hoped that his plans would start to give results and we'd be up there in the top 6 at least.

It just petered out and the dream faded......

Robbie Muldoon
3 Posted 14/05/2016 at 18:57:13
And that was the story of Everton's Martinez adventure.
Jeff Armstrong
4 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:14:44
I just don't get this focus on youth aspect. In the last 8 weeks when youth should have been given a chance, Martinez was found wanting, he had no faith in youth.

Connolly came on against Southampton and did nothing wrong, and yet he still went with Oviedo on 3 separate occasions at right back, when it was clear on each occasion he was the wrong choice. 3 TIMES..

Dowell is another one who would surely have done far better than some of the picks he was making towards the end, Osman FFS, youth could have come in and possibly have saved him, but he had no faith in a policy he seems to have sold to quite a lot of people who should look at the facts.
Jay Harris
5 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:15:58
Sorry to be so bitter but he should never have been appointed in the first place.

What other top 6 club would appoint a manager who has just got his team relegated.

However to give him his due allowing the Moyes system to flourish in 80% of his first season looked promising.

Then the cracks started to show and instead of CL we got 5th.

We then had the most amateur preseason ever seen in the Premiership and a couple of Europa games apart last season was a disaster and he should have gone at Xmas 2014.

His treatment of Distin, Baines, Mirallas and Garbutt shows he wasnt the nice man we thought he was.

No wonder Kenwright liked him because he was a Kenwright clone - cold shoulder anyone who dares to question you.

Good riddance and goodbye.

Jeff Armstrong
6 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:23:13
Jay, don't be sorry, you're spot on. I can't stand all this sentimental BS. It's good riddance and let's move on.
Paul Conway
7 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:26:46
As much as I wanted Martinez to leave at the end for his dreadful failings, I can't help think that with the purchase of Lukaku, the fact that big teams were coveting Stones, Martinez turned Everton into a very attractive selling prospect, which resulted in the arrival of Moshiri.

There were also other potential buyers, something that never happened under Moyes.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Moshiri came calling at the time we had very good desirable talent and a lot of assets. Whether it be down to luck on Matinez's part rather than pure astuteness can be questioned, given his disastrous Wigan connections and the Niasse fiasco.

Whatever the answer, there's no doubt that with the arrival of Moshiri and the fact that big name managers are being bandied about, can only mean one thing......Blue Skies ahead!
Paul Andrews
8 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:30:54

If you are not careful you are going to get head hunted by a sports editor on a national newspaper.

Great article

Brin Williams
9 Posted 14/05/2016 at 19:55:24
Sorry, but I do feel sorry for the man. Promotion in any job is something that every aspiring 'manager' seeks, every job should be a bigger, better challenge until one attains his ultimate, probably on retirement or death. There is also a downside to this aspiration thing and that is that on the way up, in any career path people are promoted to their ultimate level of inability or progress until they can go no further.

Martinez reached that point of his inability sooner than he probably anticipated, in fact I don't think he even now realises that that point was long passed months ago.
He must now live with a period of reflection before regaining his confidence and his pride at what, I am sure, has been a really rude wake up call.

Good luck Roberto , thanks for the effort and good luck for the future.

I am sure you will make a good manager somewhere, but not for Everton thank you.
Lyndon Lloyd
10 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:01:36
Jeff (4), with his plans for Finch Farm and the opportunities he gave to the likes of Stones, Barkley and Galloway, even Deulofeu, he clearly had faith in young players and was committed to bringing them through.

I think we all now realise he failed them on a number of levels after that but the focus was there.

In recent weeks, I think he was fighting for his job, the team was playing abysmally and the fans were starting to turn. I mentioned on Twitter the other night when the team for Sunderland was announced that those are not the conditions you would willingly throw young players into. It wouldn't have been fair to them so I can understand the rationale.

Andy Crooks
11 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:08:42
A good and decent article. However, I believe it is, in fact, utterly POSSIBLE not to feel sympathy for Martinez. Vastly paid, shite transfer record, inept tactics, arrogant, stubborn. He has taken millions from our club, Lyndon, and has offered only cretinous platitudes in return.

I can no longer afford to go to more than one game a season so the idea of seeing an inept babbling fool walk of with millions AND an iota of respect is really hard to stomach.

David Chait
12 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:16:05
True Paul.. Lyndon has always been excellent, but don't know what it is but his writing has become almost artistic last couple years. I always felt cricket columnists were the distant leaders in taking you into the action and bringing real substance to what they say. I feel Lyndon is the closest football columnist to that style of writing!

Keep it up Lyndon .. truly great work...

Ian Bennett
13 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:22:33
Not sure you can go back to the Palace game. That defeat had come on the back of a decent run.

I traced problems in the pre season of last year. Awful defensive showings against Tranmere, Celto Vigo, and Padderborn would be the start of the demise of the defence. 10 goals shipped in the opening 3 games, with Chelsea scoring 6.

Since then the side doesn't defend as a unit. Individual mistakes get punished as the pressure of chances allowed is just to much.

Martin Mason
14 Posted 14/05/2016 at 20:46:52
If only he had a clue how to coach football
Trevor Powell
15 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:03:26
Yes, Bryn #9, all managers need to seek promotion. However, I think it's Peters Law that states "Too often the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role [ie Wigan Athletic], rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role [ie Everton]. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence."


Tony Hill
16 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:07:07
He was fucking hopeless.
Matt Woods
18 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:19:59
Spot on Lyndon, but no mention of Niasse? 13.5 million in January to inject some life into a stale squad? Crazy bit of business.
Trevor Peers
19 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:32:07
Kind and sympathetic article, after the years of misery he inflicted upon us.
Yes, he was a great PR man and he probably did raise our profile for that 1st season when he breezed into GP full of bravado, in contrast to all those years of OFFM inferiority complex.

But that was the sum total of his ability, as a football manager he just doesn't have a credible plan. Winning the FA cup didn't make him a genius, lot's of bum manager's have excelled in the cups, remember Jimmy Melia ? by his second season he had been totally found out.

Roberto is the inspector Clusso of football, hilarious as long as he's not your manager. Mercifully he's in the past now, consigned to history, time will tell if he has any real ability, he can't damage us anymore and for that, we should all be very grateful.

Tony Hill
20 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:33:43
If I may say so, Lyndon, it's this sort of decent even-handedness that we need to lose at Everton. He was, as I've said above, simply dreadful and stayed on far too long. This season has been a total waste and it took this site too long to decide against him.

You managed it eventually but you should have done so sooner. If we are ever going to be successful then we have to have a harder edge and I challenge you and Michael to be bolder.

The site is excellent but I suggest that now you should be aiming editorial fire at Kenwright whose influence is woeful and whose support of Martinez was disastrous. We need him out and you should be taking a lead.

Dave Ganley
21 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:41:28
A good article Lyndon, well reasoned as always but I think we shall have to agree to disagree regarding several aspects of it. Like several others have alluded to, he should never have been appointed in the first place.

Evertons history and potential that had been long lost under Moyes? Really Lyndon? Don't forget how bad we were when Moyes took over. Moyes gave us back our pride and competitive spirit. Yes he had a glass ceiling but consider what he started with and how little cash he had he worked miracles. Please don't fall into the trap of media driven hype to suggest that we were awful to watch under Moyes because when he had built that team we weren't. Around 2008/09 we had a great team.....all that it lacked was a reliable front man. Much better in my opinion than anything we have witnessed on a regular basis that Martinez could conjure up.

You neglect to mention in Martinezs first season the disasters at Arsenal in the cup, the disaster at the RS. The signs were all there in that first season. We should have romped to 4th place, instead we limped to the finish. To say that we had a memorable double over Manchester Utd, well everyone was beating the mancs away, West Bromwich did it just the week before...hardly cause for going overboard in beating a very poor United team.

His second season was woeful and let's not dress up the Europa League either. Yes we beat Wolfsburg well home and away but let's face it, if the scoreline were reversed then no one could have complained. Only Lille at home and Young Boys were anything to shout about. The rest were laboured and lucky.

As to this season, well I have to disagree that it was full of potential and promise. After last seasons pitiful displays I was dreading it and so it proved. The only displays worthy of mention are City in first leg of the league cup and Chelsea in the cup. Chelsea and Southampton in the league ok. After that I really am struggling.....probably as much as the players struggled with fitness. It's no coincidence that Martinez had created one of the worst atmospheres I've ever known at Goodison. Even with 14000 in the early 80s there was more noise.

He has single handedly set back Barkley Stones Lukaku fact I could go through nearly all the squad, he has killed all natural talent and let them all develop such horrible sloppy traits. They are all shadows of the players that they should be.

He should have gone at the end of last season. Instead we have had to witness a death by a thousand cuts.....very slow and painful. Kenwright deserves never to make another meaningful decision at the club ever again after allowing him to continue after the Derby debacle. There can be no worse a fate than actually having koppites feel sorry for us after witnessing how bad we were. From a footballing point of view I have never been so embarrassed to be an EvertonIan after that game. I have RS fans living all around me and theIr pity for me was painful. Sorry Lyndon he out stayed his welcome a long time ago. He didn't get Everton at all. If he did then he would have known that we forgive most things but to coast through games with such little effort and endeavour is shameful. Allied to that his constant nonsense in his post match interviews just treated us with such contempt. He just assumed we were idiots and would tolerate any old rubbish that came out if his mouth. We don't and we aren't.

Again as others have came much too late. I feel absolutely no pity or sorrow for him. Ultimately he got exactly what he deserved which is our contempt back for him which is exactly what he showed for us. I am actually looking forward to the game tomorrow for the first time in months. I am sure I am not on my own. I appreciate that everybody has their own opinions but as I said earlier Lyndon, we shall have to agree to disagree on this issue I'm afraid. For me all he did for Everton was make us a laughing stock and a joke to the point that that idiot Ray Wilkins claiming Southampton are a bigger club than us. Say what you like about Moyes, and no I don't want him back, but that would never have been said while he was manager.

Steve Hogan
22 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:43:11
He was badly let down by the imbecile who recruited him in the first place. In the end Kenwright willingly 'hung him out to dry', then went into hiding when things started to get ugly back on Merseyside.

He really should have gone long before the debacle of the derby game, but no the chairman didn't have the bottle in the end to pull the trigger.

I take no satisfaction from watching Martinez talk like a broken man after the Sunderland game, he simply had run out of excuses.

The whole issue was further compounded by the over 'generous' and fawning Chairman offering the manager a contract extension (and a payrise?) after just one season, impressive as it was.

Kenwright simply needs to disappear into the sunset...and let's start acting like a REAL business.

Dick Fearon
23 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:45:20
Roberto and his ex Wigan assistants could not possibly accuse Everton of being unfair. They were well paid for their efforts even though we ended up looking like favourites for next seasons drop.
We cannot deny that across the park is an example of what a decent animated manager can do.
In a very short space of time Klop transformed a second rate side into one that was in the running for a place in the champions league.
He knows when to wield the big stick at under performing players. Unlike RM who appeared to be far too gentle on his highly paid charges.
Michael Kenrick
24 Posted 14/05/2016 at 21:55:35
I understand where you're coming from, Tony, but the site as it is attracts a vociferous and impatient cadre of Evertonians who are if anything often seemingly out of tune with the vast majority of fans at Goodison Park. It was only in the last few weeks of this dreadful season that that gap rapidly closed as the Catalan's catalogue of consecutive catastrophes plumbed new depths.

I don't think Lyndon should change a thing about the tone, position or content in what he writes, however, because, as this excellent piece shows, he has the ability to capture the entirety of the Martinez Era – encompassing the highs and the lows in one well-crafted piece.

Even as the clamour for Roberto's removal became deafening, the position we presented was more to reflect the changing feelings of the full fanbase than to lead the kind of campaign you are requesting. I don't believe we'll be doing that, as Kenwright's time is probably limited, with changes wrought by Farhad Moshiri set to continue as the path of the club's future destiny is hopefully redefined.

Edward Wallis
25 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:07:57
Tony Hill an unfair critique of the TW guys. The pieces are very well written, balanced, accurate and entice debate.
It is us making the comments that apply the pressure.
To the TW guys your time and dedication to this site is greatly appreciated. NSNO
Tony Hill
26 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:13:37
Thanks, Michael, for responding so quickly and courteously. I stand by my comments.
Paul Mackie
28 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:28:56
I still feel that if Martinez can figure out how to make a team of his be able to defend, he can be a good manager. There was some seriously good football played in the first season he was here (and some utter dross too!). I'll certainly never forget the 3-0 drubbing of Arsenal where Coleman did keepy uppys down the right hand side of the pitch just because he could.

Onwards to better things though.

Ernie Baywood
29 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:32:32
Michael... the site as it is attracts a vociferous and impatient cadre of Evertonians who are if anything often seemingly out of tune with the vast majority of fans at Goodison Park.

I'm sure you once banned me for suggesting that!

Paul Mackie
31 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:35:03
In fact, you know what, I've just watched the highlights of that 3-0 win against Arsenal and it reminded exactly how good we could actually be under Martinez when everything clicked. That front 3 of Mirallas - Naismith - Lukaku was utterly scintillating to watch. Why the fuck did we not do that more often :(
Damian Wilde
32 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:42:35
Excellent, well balanced and very well articulated article as usual Lyndon.

We must also remember that not only did the boring and ineffective football infuriate the fan base, but also feeling insulted after his ridiculous post-match interviews.

I'm pleased he has left, about time.

Mark Fitzgerald
33 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:42:36
A balanced and honest assessment of Martinez's final days Lyndon.

I do believe that, despite the recent vitriol aimed at Roberto, most fans would actually agree that he is a decent guy with genuine motives. But those same fans would agree that his position as manager was untenable at the end due to the appalling run results and performances. For me he did himself no favours with a series of post match interviews that bordered on delusional as opposed to his intended optimism.

it will be interesting to look back at Roberto's reign in a few years when the current views & emotions have had some time to settle down and a more reasoned evaluation can be taken. Will people say he was unlucky? Unfortunate? Will people remember any positive influences?
Or will his three year stint be consigned to the depths of the vault of 'Managers past', never to see the light of day again. And 'he who must not be named' will become a forgotten chapter in the history of our beloved club.

Andy Crooks
34 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:43:29
Michael, in my view, your ongoing, passionate, opinionated match reports are the best thing on this site. Paul Trail gives, to a supporter who can't get to many games, a great match day view. Lyndon and Ken give a reflective, considered analysis.

However, I would have hoped for a more vociferous view over the last few months.The time of Martinez was done long ago and I think, Michael, you agreed. Yet, I felt there was a timidity about the editorial content that was in contrast to the views of the majority of contributors.

I fully appreciate the balancing act you are achieving here but, I think you have quite a bit of influence.

Paul Mackie
35 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:48:22
Mark (33) I think that in the future people will see Roberto as exactly what he was. A gamble. This was a manager who had just relegated Wigan but done it playing entertaining football.

Andy Crooks
36 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:53:04
Also, Michael, do you really think we, on this site, are out of tune with the majority of matchgoers?
Sorry, that isn't an argument, just a genuine question.
James Marshall
37 Posted 14/05/2016 at 22:59:23
The only person that let Martinez down, was Martinez. He's stubborn, single-minded, and egotistical to the point of his own failure.

I was at Southampton away that day he stood there, arms folded on the touchline while about 3000 of us screamed at him to make a substitution - he carried on standing there as we lost 3-0. At least I think it was 3-0, as most of us walked out when the third went in.

I'll never forget that day - for me it was indicative of him and his personality, and the day for a lot of us that we gave up on him.

When he was appointed I said we'd get some great results, play some attractive football at times, and occasionally get slaughtered ourselves, and so it transpired. We won away at Utd, beat Chelsea and had a few good games but over the course of 3 seasons we were as predicted - wide open, easy to play against, and lacking any flexibility or tactical know-how.

Defend first, know your roles, work hard, close down the opposition and the rest will come. Martinez doesn't adhere to any of that and it shows in his team results.

I'm glad he's gone, and though I bear him no personal grudge, I'm delighted he's no longer our manager.

Mark Fitzgerald
38 Posted 14/05/2016 at 23:00:26
Paul (35), I think you may be right.
Dan Davies
39 Posted 14/05/2016 at 23:18:54
A relative newcomer myself granted, I too thought TW took a little too long to turn on Martinez, but what's gone is done.

Also I agree with Michael in that we don't need TW to initiate a ' Kenwright Out ' campaign, the sacking of Martinez to me, proves we have a new No. 1 at the club now.

Hopefully the hiring of a big name manager soon will also prove this.

Time to turn the page, a new chapter is about to begin...

Tom Bowers
40 Posted 14/05/2016 at 23:26:10
I believed he would have 10 to 12 games at the beginning of this season to turn things around and despite the win at Southampton he didn't and BK should have changed things then but I suppose he didn't want to buy out the 3 and a half years left on the contract at that time.
Now that the season has become what it is and Moshiri is here, the decision was a lot easier to make otherwise I am not so sure RM would have been sacked even now after the woeful performances of late.
Ian Burns
41 Posted 14/05/2016 at 23:56:00
Yet again Lyndon, your article articulately paints an accurate picture of events - your overview of Martinez tenure is right on the money.

It is impossible to cover every aspect of his reign in one article but for me two events stood out, one of which has rankled with me for almost 2 years and I posted my displeasure on TW at the time

The first was the lack of pre-season when he over-stayed his time in Brazil. I remain convinced we went into that second season totally unprepared, which followed on from the debacle against Crystal Palace at GP were the cracks really began to show.

The second from the very early days of his tenure was his constant and sycophantic praising of the Chairman, who he has subsequently blamed (the board) for not backing him. If it wasn't for Mr Moshiri, that might alone have kept him in the job!

Mike Hughes
42 Posted 15/05/2016 at 00:08:07
Andy Crooks # 11 beat me to it.

Impossible not to feel sympathy for Martinez?
Well, I've achieved the impossible.

He was detrimental to EFC through his incompetence and intransigence.

I suspect those feeling sympathy have misplaced loyalties.

Roberto will be crying all the way to the bank. He won't give EFC a second thought - just as he didn't for Wigan.

He was a nice guy with nice philosophies? What are we? A registered charity?

Sympathy my arse.

Jack Convery
43 Posted 15/05/2016 at 00:53:31
Pleased he's gone - nothing was ever his fault.

Not dropping Howard sooner - not his fault.
No back up for Coleman - not his fault
Decline of Stones - not his fault
Baines no longer taking pens - not his fault
Falling out with Distin / Etoo - not his fault
Not finding a back up for Peinnar - not his fault
Buying Kone / Alcatraz and playing them - not his fault
Falling out with Donachie - not his fault
Buying Delafeou and not playing him - not his fault
Falling out with Mirallas - not his fault
Having no replacement for Barry - not his fault
Playing Besic when not fit - not his fault
Decine of McCarthy - not his fault
Playing Oviedo at left back again and again - not his fault
Hanging Baines out to dry - not his fault
Letting Lukaku say what he wants - not his fault
Decine of Barkley - not his fault
Ruining a solid defence - not his fault
The shambles at Anfield - not his fault
The Worst home record ever - not his fault
The worst levels of fitness - not his fault
The purchase of Niasse - not his fault
The decline of EFC under his tenure - not his fault.

Bob Parrington
45 Posted 15/05/2016 at 01:08:42
The king is dead. Long live the king!
Nice guy Roberto Martinez. Good Luck to him in the future.

The damage has been done. No use crying over spilled milk etc etc etc. Let's now see the selection of a first rate manager and support the re-build from our own tarnished reputation.

Onward and upward. NSNO.

John Daley
46 Posted 15/05/2016 at 02:32:51
"..praising of the Chairman, who he has subsequently blamed (the board) for not backing him"

Ian, can I ask when and where Martinez is supposed to have blamed the board for failing to back him, financially or otherwise?

If you're basing that on the so called Martinez 'press statement' someone posted on here (after reading it on The Telegraph website....who got it from a Twitter account full of such dodgy, dubious and downright fake as fuck stuff) shortly after his dismissal was announced then, I'm sorry, but it was a send up and not something Martinez actually said.

Jay Wood
47 Posted 15/05/2016 at 03:09:41
A very succinct - and fair - summary of the 3 years under Roberto, Lyndon.

To pick up on a couple of things:

"the first glimmers that Martinez would eventually be undone by his rigid methods and ill-advised team selections can be traced back to that decisive home defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2014, that effectively handed 4th place back to Arsenal."

I recall my own disquiet at the unbalanced, overly attacking, selection for that game, but I think it is largely hindsight that people suggest that game as some turning point.

Many a TW poster has gone as far as to claim that in the second half, or final third, of his first season, things were already unravelling. Not true.

Dave Ganley @ 21 (someone whose views and postings I enjoy) is an example of this historical revisionism: "The signs were all there in that first season. We should have romped to 4th place, instead we limped to the finish."

That Palace defeat ended a run of seven consecutive PL wins and either side of it we totally tanked both the Arse and Manure at GP. Yes, there was a mini-blip, losing 3 in 4, but we still won 9 out of 12 (nearly a third of a season) of our closing fixtures. That is almost equal to our entire points tally this season and title winning form. That (Dave...) is not "limping to the finish."

I think I'm right in saying also, that Palace fixture was rearranged from a couple of months earlier (when we were in a rich vein of form) due to high winds. There was a Malaysian Blue who missed out in seeing us in the flesh as a result, I also recall.

Sliding doors, eh? "If only" we had played them when scheduled. "If only" we had then won. We could well be looking at a completely different history to the one that has unravelled.

Secondly, "It’s impossible not to feel sympathy for Roberto."

Then like Mike Hughes, I've also achieved "the impossible."

He had 3 years in the post. He kept telling us he and the team were 'learning' from the mistakes, the dropped points, the goals conceded, the games lost.

However, simultaneously, as demonstrated by the Carragher interview you referenced Lyndon, the man was not for changing. He was not going to compromise, or be pragmatic, or change in any way his footballing beliefs.

Under Martinez then, we were destined to continue to repeat the mistakes and failings of the last two seasons with potential disasterous consequences.

I have wrongly, falsely, been accused by some on here of being anti-Martinez. I never was. I was, am and always will be, pro-Everton. I wanted him to succeed and wrote as much more than once. Because if he was successful, so was the club.

I never resorted to gratuitous insults of the manager. I never once called for his head. Ironically, many of his most vocal acolytes turned on him and called for his head long before me.

This very season I spoke up in his defence. But I also critiqued him when I thought appropriate.

Only after the semi-final defeat did I say there was no longer any rational reason to continue with him as manager and that his position was now untenable.

The club and its owners made a dog's dinner of his dismissal last Thursday, effectively sabotaging the new kit launch in the morning and the awards dinner that evening.

That he was dismissed rather debunks the theories of some on here, adamant that Bill Kenwright is still the deal breaker and maker at Everton.

This is now Farhad Moshri's club. Chopping Martinez was the first step to demonstrate to this supporter he has a firm grasp of the situation and what is needed.

The appointment of his choice of manager, the transfer budget he will sanction, his plans for a new stadium/GP rebuild, will further inform us of his vision and ambitions for the club.

So, thanks and so long Roberto, but I for one am relieved Martinez is history and am filled with excited anticipation for the future of the club under Moshri.

Jay Wood
48 Posted 15/05/2016 at 03:13:29
John @ 46.

Is right, John. Because it appeared in the Daily Telegraph's live feed, I was one of those taken in. I took it as genuine at the time.

It would appear to be a spoof, as you say.

As far as I'm aware, there has not been a word uttered in public on his dismissal by Roberto.

Gavin Johnson
49 Posted 15/05/2016 at 03:38:14
A very well balanced piece that perfectly summarises the highs and lows. I agree with every point made. I liked Martinez. He got the club and was a great ambassador.

There was the incongruence between his view of how the game should be played and the realities if the English game that meant he would inevitably come up short once the honeymoon period ended and some grit and determination was required from the players. They needed him to lead by example he wasn't the man to install any realism. Instead he continued with optimism that soon began to grate.

If he does go to La Liga to manage Valencia or Espanyol I think he'll be relatively successful and I'll continue to keep an eye on how his career develops.

John Daley
50 Posted 15/05/2016 at 03:43:03

It seems a lot of people took it on face value and, as you say, the Telegraph jumping on it probably had a lot to do with that.

It originated fom someone on Twitter who goes under the name GeorgeWeahsCousin and who seems to take great pleasure in reposting 'tweets' (or 'retweeting'? Whatever. I don't really get twitter) of people buying into his spoof stories/statements.

There was another Everton related one on there that was supposed to be a statement from Bill Kenwright saying how Martinez had not only let him and the club down but also his own family.

Not funny to me and all a bit in bad taste (and, yes, i'm fully aware the words 'pot', 'kettle' and 'black' can be slapped together in a single sentence).

Ernie Baywood
51 Posted 15/05/2016 at 04:24:17
I do find it strange Roberto hasn't spoken yet. While that era has ended and we should now look forward, I am interested in what he has to say (possibly for the first time). I wouldn't have taken him for the sort to hide away, licking his wounds in private. Maybe he feels he shouldn't cause any distraction until after the final game?
Tahir Abdullah
52 Posted 15/05/2016 at 04:56:05
Balanced article as always....Dave Ganley and James Marshall hit the nail on the head though.
Anto Byrne
53 Posted 15/05/2016 at 05:38:47
In 50 plus years of living and breathing Everton I can honestly say I've never been so depressed as an Evertonian so much so that when Bournemouth equalized I was resigned to breaking out in a short laugh. Not turning up for the next two games was deplorable.

I feel so much more optimistic that the club is now taking responsibility and will in due course make the correct decisions with regards to the next manager.

I believe Mr Moshiri will completely transform the club from top to bottom. I'm sure the Arsenal business model is the way forward.

I look at the club and think how amateurish it is well that has to change and the Brand has to become global.

Lyndon Lloyd
54 Posted 15/05/2016 at 06:51:27
As others mention above, it would have been impossible to cover all of Martinez's reign in an article of this length and, having written so much about his failings recently, the scope was always intended to be broad. As such, there were obvious omissions, Niasse being one of them (Matt, 18) , his deluded wittering to the press towards the end would be another.

I disagree with Andy (11) and Mike (42) when they say that Martinez's tenure was universally awful because it clearly wasn't (as his first season demonstrated) and I think it's important to look past any bitterness over him overstaying his welcome (or being allowed to stay too long) and portray an accurate reflection of his entire reign.

I don't agree with Andy over his transfer record either. Off the top of my head, Lukaku, Deulofeu, McCarthy (yes, I believe there is a good player there if he can be coached correctly and he was very important in 2013-14), Barry and Galloway were all good signings.

Kone was a "safe" signing for a new manager and could have been a decent acquisition and back-up striker, but after his knee injury, Martinez's biggest problem was how much he persisted with him when it was quite clear he wasn't cutting it. Niasse? Well that was a shit show that is still playing out and if it was Martinez's decision, he probably deserved the sack for that alone!

As for us taking a more tougher editorial line, there was quite clearly an evolution in my own editorial that, obviously, reflected my own thinking on the matter. I started seriously doubting whether Martinez had a future in late January and eventually drew a line at the Anfield derby.

I very much doubt that ToffeeWeb coming out earlier than that and categorically stated he had to go would have made the blindest bit of difference. Results had to get so bad that there was no way he could stay on, particularly in Kenwright's mind it would seem, and that has really only been the case over the past month.

Regular readers will know that I try and take a balanced approach to everything regarding the club – not as editorial policy (although it's convenient when trying to cater to a broad audience) but that is genuinely the way I think and feel. When I feel strongly about something, believe me, I will nail my colours to the mast as I did with Kirkby, the badge fiasco and now the need to call time on Martinez. Otherwise, I'll keep an open mind.

Jeff Spiers
55 Posted 15/05/2016 at 07:01:57
To ALL suffering fans, lets put this season to bed and enjoy the summer break
Ian Burns
58 Posted 15/05/2016 at 08:32:44
John - 46 - many thanks for point that out - I hadn't realised it was a spoof, I thought at the time it was a strange thing to say - but that's me - gullible as I was during the first months of his tenure!
Ian Hollingworth
59 Posted 15/05/2016 at 08:40:01
Good riddance to the guy.

Nice guy, not in my book the way he was ruining my beloved Everton FC.

Let's forget the clown and move on to bigger and better things.

Also please don't be fooled by Billy Liar, he reluctantly pulled the trigger for one reason only and that was to save his own skin.

Phil Walling
60 Posted 15/05/2016 at 09:01:08
Without making any public statement BK has, typically, distanced himself from the decision to dismiss Martinez. The words of his emissaries including Unsworth tell us as much.

I hope his defence of the hapless Catalan will be the first verse of his swansong !

Mike Hughes
61 Posted 15/05/2016 at 09:06:53
Lyndon #54

Please highlight where I labelled RM's tenure as "universally awful".

I think you'll find this is an incorrect statement much like your previous assertion that "it's impossible not to feel sympathy for RM".

Your other point about RM's successes in the transfer market is also flawed. Lukaku, Deulofeu and McCarthy may be decent players. But not in the way they were deployed by RM.

You can be as balanced as you like but getting the facts right is just as important.

Barry Pearce
62 Posted 15/05/2016 at 10:39:34
I'm in with those who thought him inept. Also for taking Evertonians for fools, with his pyschobabble.

Good riddance.

Damian Wilde
63 Posted 15/05/2016 at 12:14:42
Agree with Barry. He insulted us with his post-match rubbish. He's been at it again with his recent statement banging on about last 16 in Europe, two semi's, etc. Funny how he slways misses out the two third round cup exits last season and the two lower table finishes and the club's worst hone record ever...mentally filtering, Roberto!

As for did the wheels fall off in the first season; I don't think they did, but the 'signs' were there e.g. 4-0 drubbing at Anfield (could have been seven or eight).

His transfer record – poor I think. Let's go through them, giving them a 'hit' or 'miss'

* Barry – good player: 'HIT'
* McCarthy – what does he offer? 'MISS'
* Lukaku – poor attitude and lazy at times, but scores goals: 'HIT'
* McGeady – why on earth did he buy him? Terrible: 'MISS'
* Deulofeu – decent player, though not always: 'HIT'
* Alcaraz – poor; Martinez deserved sacking alone just for playing him in Kiev: 'MISS'
* Robles – better than Tim Howard, but not the answer: 'MISS'.
* Kone – terrible; it saddens me players like this are at the club: 'MISS'
* David Henen – 'MISS'
* Brendan Galloway – did well when he played. Don't get people on here saying he's finished. 'HIT'.
* Lennon – done well, though probably only a squad player: 'HIT'.
* Atsu – 'MISS'
* Tarore – 'MISS'
* Eto'o – 'MISS'
* Besic – decent at times, but can be poor: 'HIT'.
* Niasse – words fail me: 'MISS'

The Spaniard didn't do great, eh? An article from 2013:

Roberto Martinez's signings make Everton look like relegated Wigan hopefuls.

Brian Dagnall
64 Posted 15/05/2016 at 12:49:33
A thoroughly nice man but without the managerial and coaching skills necessary to achieve success for our Club. Sure it was a poor choice by the Club ..... but I just can't remember what other choices we had at the time. Roberto promised our Club Champions League, but maybe he meant Championship. Certainly the latter was nearer to what he actually achieved.

And maybe we kept him longer than he deserved ... I certainly think so. But that is the Everton way, we are a loyal Club that does not shoot from the hip. And BK through his Hillsborough 96 involvement has caused many people (many redshiters) to vote Everton the classiest Club in the Premiership. Shame our team is not the classiest team in the Premiership, where we have to admit we have been pretty poor?

Those who have advocated that "the whole board be replaced" must be on some hallucinatory drugs. These board members own the Club, why would they ever give up their position? ..... would you if you owned so many shares in any business? I sure as hell wouldn't. Same about the BK OUT group. You have zero say on who holds the power in the club. Let's keep our feet on the ground, and trust these guys will do their best for we supporters. What else can you realistically do?

What I am hoping for is that these people who own the Club will appoint a new manager who has some history of success, can coach a team to "pass and run" a la Arsenal and give us a bit of entertainment. With luck we could also win something, but even if not, we could watch a team that plays forward passing football, not backward, sideways nonsense we have seen this season.

Constructive forward football is what I want to see from the Blue boys. I believe success will come if we start from the right spot, but then I may be wrong. If I am, no doubt some keyboard wonder will explain how easy it is.

Trevor Powell
65 Posted 15/05/2016 at 13:10:56
... and he still does not understand what has happened .... read his comments on

BBC Website

How come when I go to work, If I am sacked I do not get a two year pay off?

Oh, I know, Iget sacked for gross misconduct or at the end of a disciplinary sequence, in which targets for my improvement are given. If I keep failing then I go to higher disciplinary level and finally I am shown the door!

Perhaps, if EFC had such a system, the Board could set targets and if they are not reached take advice about how these are re-targetted and what methods might be used?

Charles Barrow
66 Posted 15/05/2016 at 13:45:02
It's interesting that the Crystal Palace game in April 2014 was mentioned in the article. I was at that game and what struck me was how Martinez seemed to change the role of certain players - Ross was played as a deep lying midfielder with the task of linking defence and attack.

He actually did quite a good job of it but that meant we were exposed on the Palace counter attacks (defending not being his forte) and we missed his creativity further forward.

Phil Walling
67 Posted 15/05/2016 at 13:47:50
Kenwright obviously lumped all the blame for the sacking on Moshy who was having none of the nonsense the Chairman bought into.

I am happy to have been wrong about our new investor and can only hope that his ruthlessness is matched by his wisdom in choosing Roberto's successor.

Terry Underwood
68 Posted 15/05/2016 at 14:21:00
Good luck and goodbye. Episode closed, Move on. COYB
Dave Ganley
69 Posted 15/05/2016 at 20:21:06
Jay #47, Thanks for the complimentary comments on my posts, I also enjoy reading your posts too.

As for historical revisionism, well yes we won quite a few at the back end of the season but lost crucial games at crucial times. We lost 3 of the last 5 that cost us 4th place only winning against a very poor Man Utd side and a relegated Hull team. So we did kind of limp to the finish line. Maybe I am being unfair to you know who as I really didn't want him in the first place, however, the 3 games we lost were all so winnable and so very disappointing. Southampton and Palace especially. We did kind of bottle it, although to be fair, that wasn't just endemic to our FM, we seem to do that very well down the years.

I just feel that our FM has set us back quite a bit with his anti-football and totally killed my match going excitement and anticipation, something I didn't think anybody could possibly do to me. Sorry, but I am in no mood to see any positives he had on our club. The rumours and stories in the stands today about fall outs and fights behind the scenes with our FM, backroom staff and the players just show how little respect the players had and how frustrated they were under his regime. Today showed how much happier they look now he is gone and so is the crowd. Good riddance to him and all he brought with him, L4 is a brighter place now he is gone.

Russell Fairhurst
70 Posted 15/05/2016 at 23:33:11
The accusation that Bill Kenwright hung Roberto Martinez out to dry if accurate has to be applied to... how many players did the same in the latter part of the season? In truth for all the thousands a week they draw how many of them can claim to have matched the club's motto, Nil Satis Nisi Optimum?

Someone said they wonder where we would have been without Lukaku's goals. But let's reverse the statement and ask, Where would we have been without some of his glaring misses, some of Barkley's selfishness and the dearth of goals from Coleman who had clubs chasing his scoring prowess a season or so before? Much higher than 11th and probably in the FA Cup Final...and all under Martinez.
Lyndon Lloyd
71 Posted 16/05/2016 at 01:13:02
Mike (61), my apologies, I meant Tony Hill (20).

But while I'm here, it is my opinion that it's impossible not to feel sympathy for him. You take it or – as I suspect – leave it.

Jay Wood
72 Posted 16/05/2016 at 02:19:43
Dave @ 69.

I think we are of a like mind - relieved that RM has finally gone.

I recall on his appointment I sent family and friends an email which contained nothing more than the subject line 'Fucking Martinez???!!!'

Safe to conclude from that, like you, I was underwhelmed. However, I don't consider myself an absolutist like some on here, who refuse to adjust their opinion if the evidence or data stack up against you.

Thus, by the end of RM's 1st season I was a convert. If the points return of the final 12 games I referenced could be repeated over a 38 game season, that would give us a potential title winning 85-86 points.

As we well know, we never came close again to replicating the promise of his 1st season. I can (just!) understand how he was given the benefit of the doubt and allowed this 3rd season.

Given BK's 'what a manager!' comment, but for Moshiri's buying into the club, if Bill still had virtual sole control of the club, RM would probably still be in situ into next season.

I've been waiting for evidence of what Moshiri's ambitions, vision and plans are for the club. Thursday was the first step of many (I hope!) that will go some way to convince this supporter he is a serious player.

As I predicted, GP reflected the relief of many today and Rhino's fun team selection was richly rewarded and gave the faithful a happy memory to carry them over the summer. We've got more than one diamond, on today's evidence...

Let's hope Moshiri's new manager, transfer budget and targets, and plans for a GP rebuild/new stadium will bring even more relief and good humour to the much subdued faithful.

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