So, it’s official …
Roberto Martinez is no longer Everton’s manager. His first season was spectacular, his second was unconvincing and his third was only decent in parts. One win in ten Premier League matches is not good enough. He’s left a team who don’t want to play for him, or each other, or even the fans and a very uncertain future.
I was at Sunderland last night (sat in the Sunderland end – an incredibly strange experience) and I would love to say I’ve never seen anything more pathetic on a football pitch in my life. But that just isn’t true. I saw worse in the Derby, I saw worse at Leicester last Saturday. We lost 3-0, and yet I thought it was our best performance, bar the harsh semi-final defeat, in weeks.
The future is uncertain. Sunderland were by far the better side last night, which doesn’t bode well for next season. Sure, it’s one match – but just how many of those players will be there next year? I severely doubt Lukaku, Stones and Barkley will be. All they need is a good Euros, a decent offer from a club with actual potential and the promise of higher quality football and they will be off. I can easily see Mirallas, Oviedo, Hibbert, Osman, Pienaar, Gibson and Kone buggering off too. While none of those except Kev will be a huge loss, this summer will be the end of an era. I’ll be especially sad to see Osman leave, I’ll always have nothing but positive memories of his career at Everton.
I could say that hopefully this will see youngsters such as Garbutt, Dowell, Pennington, Davies, Connolly, Ledson, even McAleny breaking through but, just as easily, they could all leave.
Maybe upheaval is a positive thing? I’m not sure.
All I know is that it can’t get much worse than it has been this season.
Most Everton fans are happy today, they are glad Martinez has gone. I’m not. I loved Roberto Martinez, as a man, and, yes, as a manager of Everton. My final year as a season ticket holder was his first season and I’ve never seen football that pure, that stunning, that beautiful. Everything clicked, and we were world beaters on our day.
I saw us pass Arsenal off the park, destroy a Moyes-led Manchester United, win games 4 and 5-0 on more than just rare occasions and had such an air of confidence and belief I had never felt at Goodison Park.
No season means more to me than that one. You don’t beat that, you just can’t, and the sad fact is, we never will.
So, am I positive?
No, I’m not. It doesn’t matter who comes in, Everton are a mess from the top to the bottom. And no-one can save that. This will go one of two ways. Either we will do an Aston Villa, try having scapegoat after scapegoat of managers before sinking into the Championship or we will recover and be a renewed force. I hope for the latter, I’m genuinely concerned it’ll be the former.
Roberto Martinez wasn’t the man for Everton in the end, I’m gutted this didn’t come true. I regret writing this, and I’m sad it had the chance to end as it has. It was the love affair you always wanted, only to find out you weren’t right for each other. And it slowly destroys you, ruins your confidence and leaves you with no prospects for the future.
I’m sure we’ll rebuild. I just can’t see it being any time soon.
And, for Bobby, good luck for the future – I wish you all the best and I sincerely hope you find a club that suits you and your style. We need more good guys in football.