Today the news broke that Roberto Martinez will be leaving Everton after three years as Toffees Boss. I have to admit, when I first heard the confirmation it felt like a weight off my shoulders, I felt elated in a strange sort of way – even though a man was losing his job, which is never nice to see, I couldn’t help but feel that as a Club we can now breathe again, we could end the malaise we’ve found ourselves in, and I could look forward to watching Everton again.
The Martinez effect of 2013 feels like a distant memory and over the course of the past 18 months to two years he has found himself taking his Everton side backwards, with a stubbornness and refusal to address his faults, admit his mistakes and be open and honest in his approach. Instead the positive sound bites continued, as did the tactical naivety, the sticking with players who were failing him, the hyping up of performances and potential, even though results drifted from bad to worse. He fell out with certain players, the cracks began to appear, an embarrassing exit from Europe last season and a bottom half finish resulted in many Evertonians losing faith – I was one of them – and instead of addressing these critical problems, this year we saw a continuation of the same, disappointment after disappointment followed and thankfully this season will finish before any further damage can be done. The Derby debacle, the semi-final exits of this season, in the midst of erratic form, late defeats or draws, players looking unfit, our shocking home form, conceding more goals than our previous two seasons, breaking unwanted record after record, players looking lost, lacking leadership, players wanting out, speaking out, and us looking like a shadow of ourselves from just two years ago, and all of this with apparently the best squad we’ve had for decades and some real talent at Martinez’ disposal. Yet he still wouldn’t change his ways, he continued to talk his way through the consistent frustration, and tell us everything would be fine. Unfortunately his philosophy, his use of words such as phenomenal, and character, became the butt of jokes and it was evident that a Martinez-lead Everton was destined to fail. It was all too predictable in the end.
It turned into a sorry state of affairs and I am saddened that it has come to this, Martinez is a nice guy but he just wasn’t the right fit at Everton and too much has happened which cannot be reversed. We’ve become a laughing-stock and the heavy defeats at Leicester and Sunderland were the final nail in the coffin for the Spaniard, but in my opinion this decision to sack him could have been made a long time ago and we still could have salvaged something from our FA Cup campaign at least. Before the protests started and things began to turn sour, the Everton Board could have moved quickly to dampen the fires that had begun to rage in recent weeks and months but unfortunately they’ve waited until the final weekend of the season to make their move. There was no way he could have attended our awards ceremony this evening and no way he could have set foot inside Goodison Park on Sunday; Martinez deserves criticism, questioning and calls for his head, but he doesn’t deserve abuse and tonight and Sunday would have been the final times he was seen as Everton Manager and it would have been awful to see, so Kenwright and Co simply had to act now.
We have to move on now, Martinez will, but most importantly Everton will. I am not going to speculate about who will be our next manager but whoever it is has a big task of keeping the quality in this squad together and putting the spring back into Everton again. Royle and Unsworth will be in the dugout for Sunday and Big Joe will no doubt steady the ship, the awards ceremony had been postponed and planned protests have been cancelled. The Martinez chapter has ended, we simply could not go on like this, and I hope now we can begin to look forward again. It’s almost like for over a year we’ve been stalling and waiting for this to eventually happen, as Everton drifted into a wilderness of nothingness. We’ve all felt empty watching the Club we love and it will be nice to feel that fire in our bellies again. Hopefully we can begin to believe once more, appoint an exciting name and show our ambition in the market this summer. Mediocrity is a word thrown at the Club as a critical term and it’s time that this became a thing of the past, just like Roberto Martinez has done today. We have a proud history, great values, some excellent players and the best fans in the world who deserve success, it’s time our Club matched supporters’ ambitions and made a statement in the Premier League and ended our long-awaited quest for silverware.
Since Martinez was appointed I’ve seen major splits in our fan base, divides that have become bigger over the last year or so, not everyone wanted him out but the majority did. Factions appeared, as they usually do amongst Evertonians, but now those divides need to fade, we need to unite as a group of supporters and come together – as cheesy as that may sound I believe it. We all have our opinions of the Everton hierarchy but I’m not going to go into that now, Moshiri is on Board, progression is what we need, both on the pitch and off it, and I hope for the sake of all our sanity that we see signs of this with our next managerial appointment and performance in the next transfer market ahead of a big season next time out.
We need to clear out the dead wood and anyone who doesn’t want to play for Everton, from top to bottom let’s shake things up, put Martinez’ time at the Club well and truly behind us and begin to make strides forward again with our new investment, and under a new Manager who will take over a Club that needs guiding back from the wilderness.
Finally, after what feels like an eternity, I will look forward to watching my team play football again following today’s news that Roberto Martinez has left his position as Everton Manager. It’s a sad ending to what at first looked like a blossoming romance, and whilst I thank Roberto for his efforts as Manager of my Club and wish him well for the future, I have no regret in saying that Everton’s decision to part company with him today is the right one, it is best for him to step aside and most importantly it is best for Everton FC to press on without him in charge, I just hope that Evertonians get Nothing But the Best from here on in, because our motto is our standard.
Up the Toffees.