Sometimes in life, you just know when it’s time to go.
For most Everton fans, the time for Roberto Martinez to move aside is now. The Merseysiders have always been the nearly club. They nearly won trophies, they nearly broke into the top six, they nearly triumphed in Europe – they nearly did everything.
Under David Moyes it was the same. Although this season, aside from the FA Cup run, it has been little short of a disaster at Goodison Park.
Defensively, Everton are a shambles, with Stones in and then out and then in again. The Toffees are hapless all along the back four because Martinez is clueless about defending. Wigan were the same.
Defeats are always the referee on the day’s fault, the opposition players’ fault, the pitch or someone or something else’s fault – never the fault of Martinez though. He moans and groans and whinges his way through post-match interviews and is coming across as a decidedly average manager. The FA Cup semi final is papering over the cracks and with a new investor about to pump money into the club, it is time to change things around – starting with Martinez. The way things are at the moment, Everton will not attract star names, but will almost certainly lose their own.
To put into context how bad the situation is at Goodison, here are some startling statistics that will have Everton fans covering their eyes:
Everton have now won just one of their past nine Premier League games at Goodison Park.
They have the league’s worst defensive record at home having conceded 28 goals – already the most they have shipped in a 38-game Premier League season.
The Toffees’ record is worse than bottom club Aston Villa, who have let in 25 at Villa Park.
They have kept only two clean sheets at home in the league this season and their Goodison Park record reads: played 16, W4 D4 L8.
There are the reasons for unrest on the blue half of Merseyside.
Last year a memorable Europa League run masked their domestic deficiencies and it may well be that cup competition gives Martinez some breathing space this time around. Sadly though, Everton have not pushed on and progressed and currently sit in 12th place in the league – 12 points off 5th place.
As some Toffees fans now consider Martinez to be one of the worst managers ever to take the Goodison Park hot-seat, the thoughts turn to who realistically could come in and take Everton to the next tier.
Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo has been named as a possible successor. A winner, he guided Chelsea to glory in 2012, he was sacked by Roman Abramovich before managing Bundesliga side Schalke. After a 6th place finish and missing out on a Champions League place, Di Matteo and club officials fell out when discussing the club’s future. He’s been a bit quiet since then, but certainly a name to throw into the pot.
Andre Villas-Boas – Probably not a name that springs readily to mind, but AVB has gone a long way to repair his damaged reputation at Zenit St. Petersburg. He won the Russian Premier League last season and this season he has led the club to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they were favourites to progress against Benfica. The Portuguese manager will be available in the summer and may well be interested in a move back to the Premier League.
Again, not a choice that would come to the minds of many, but Michael Laudrup, in his relatively short spell with Swansea in the summer of 2012, led the Swans to Capital One Cup glory – beating Bradford 5-0 in the final – and 9th place in the Premier League. Another manager with an eye for attacking flair, this could be an outside bet.
David Moyes – Sometimes it’s better the Devil you know. Whilst at Goodison Park, Moyes established Everton as consistent challengers for the Champions League places. They only achieved their goal once in 2005, but considering his budgetary constraints, Moyes is widely praised for his achievements at Everton. However, since the Scot departed Goodison Park, nothing has gone his way. Following his Manchester United sacking, another came in quick succession at Real Sociedad. Back to the Premier League then?
A real outsider, but worth a punt – Eddie Howe. Howe is doing wonders with Bournemouth and will surely keep them in the Premier League for next season. The 38-year-old Englishman has a very strong reputation within football and it seems only a matter of time till he moves from Bournemouth onto bigger things. Everton could be a good fit, but will he want to move on after the last spell away from the South Coast at Burnley?
Other names will emerge should Martinez leave Everton, but for now the Toffees are well and truly stuck with him.