‘Battle-weary’ Martinez leaves Everton in a real mess

Date published: Wednesday 11th May 2016 8:44

Roberto Martinez: Ready for Belgium challenge

Everton’s season of huge underachievement means the decision for Everton to sack Roberto Martinez should be a simple one, writes Derek Bilton.

Ever since their last-gasp FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United, it’s been perhaps the worst kept secret in football that Roberto Martinez is a dead man walking. Patience seems to have finally run out on the beleaguered boss from Balaguer, and the fact his post-match press conference that followed their hapless 3-1 defeat to Leicester City on Saturday night lasted all of 100-seconds perhaps tells its own story.

Martinez admitted his side “never turned up” and concedes that “we never understood what was needed.” Perhaps what’s needed now is for the powers that be at Goodison Park to put the personable Spaniard out to grass.

Jeff Schlupp: Earned Leicester a penalty

It was quite a spectacle on Saturday. The air at the King Power crackled with anticipation. The stadium was bouncing and you got the feeling the fans who had braved the trip from Merseyside were expecting the worst. They got it too. In spades. Leicester dominated and a 3-1 scoreline doesn’t do justice to their superiority over 90 minutes.

Before the match this most surreal of Premier League seasons was getting the most surreal encore as Andrea Bocelli appeared on stage with countryman Claudio Ranieri and belted out a few classics as the crowd went nuts. But if Ranieri was enjoying himself Martinez most certainly was not. He cut a forlorn figure on the sidelines. Surveying the action with the eyes of an old army general who had seen too much war (see above picture!).

Given that Leicester had been partying since Monday evening, it was a truly lamentable effort from the Toffee Men, who once again were collectively all over the shop. Indeed if you had just landed at the King Power from outer space to take in the game you’d have thought it was the team in white who had, to use Big Sam speak, been on the pop all week.

Everton fans Roberto Martinez banner

With every misplaced pass, shirked challenge or laboured track back the calls from the Everton fans for Martinez to go grew louder and louder. There were scarcely over 3000 Everton fans but the chants of “Roberto Martinez – Get out of our club” from the away contingent could be heard throughout.

It’s been a remarkable fall from grace. On paper this Everton side is a formidable one. A side comprising John Stones, Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley, Tom Cleverley and Romelu Lukaku. With a cast list like that how on earth can you explain away the fact they have now won just seven out of 29 league games since September 28? And two of those wins came against Aston Villa.

He said his side could take “no positives at all” from that Leicester defeat. The bottom line is even the most optimistic Blues fans would struggle to take any positives from the entire campaign. Last year was underwhelming. This season has been worse and for an Everton squad that is reputedly the best in a generation it’s simply not good enough.

They are on course for potentially their worst ever finish in the Premier League since a disastrous effort in 2004 that almost saw them relegated.

They wrap up the season with an away trip to Sunderland on Wednesday night followed by a home game against Norwich. Then the inquest will begin. And having seemingly lost the fans and the dressing room it’s an inquest that will surely conclude with the club saying ‘Hasta la vista, Bobby’.

Derek Bilton

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