The natives have been restless for some time at Goodison and the source of the frustration is now Roberto Martinez. Growing calls from supporters for the man in charge to be shown the exit door have transcended from quiet discontent to loud demands – verbally and visually.
Currently lying in 14th place in the Premier League table with only 9 wins all season they are safe from relegation but at the start of the season that would not have been mentioned as a target, more realistically they would’ve been talking about a possible cup success and a push for a place in Europe.
Cup success is still a possibility for Everton but whether or not Martinez will be there to oversee that remains to be seen. Everton face a tough away fixture to Crystal Palace tonight and with Palace still fighting for Premier League survival this could be a big blow to Martinez’ future at Everton if the result was to go against them. Martinez does of course have history with the FA Cup and famously won with Wigan back in 2013 but also got the same team relegated from the Premier League.
The relationship between Martinez and Everton looked at first like a good marriage, on the one hand here was a manager wanting to progress and progress with a certain style of play that has become synonymous with the modern game – possession driven, and on the other hand a club that have a blend of youth and experience capable of taking a leap from perennial mid-table mediocrity to establishment among the contenders for honours.
So why is this marriage seemingly heading for divorce? Results. Results have not been good enough and out of the nine league wins all season only four of those have come at Goodison, but perhaps even worse, out of the ten league defeats eight of those were in front of the home faithful with only two losses on the road. This tells its own story, the expectation among the Everton fans is there and its high and rightly so, that will not change and its only enhanced by the fact that the squad, on paper, is capable of more than they are currently producing, with the likes of Stones, Jagielka, Barry, Barkley to name a few the Everton fans are rightly entitled to expect more.
Style. Everton’s style or more Martinez’ style although sometimes attractive and has its own rewards is a high risk one and although the mantra coming from the man at the helm has always been to blame him for the mistakes made by the players thats easier said than done when its the players getting the shouts of discontent from the stands when they are asked to stick to the principle of possession based football. That adds pressure to players – experienced or otherwise and its the pressure that only builds when combined with poor results. Pressure leads to mistakes and mistakes mean poor results and the cycle continues in a downward trend.
Martinez has always appeared to be a manager with morals and a man who looks to defend his players – a classy operator, so when Leighton Baines verbalised exactly what the majority of Everton fans were thinking you might have expected Martinez to be in support and agreement of the club captain and legend. Not so, Martinez openly chastised a man that is Everton and Baines was made to look like a naughty little boy. Yet, in complete contrast when only weeks earlier Romelu Lukaku – Everton’s top scorer and arguably player of the season, was hinting at underachievement at Everton and eyeing the exit door in search of Champions League football, Martinez clearly feared losing a young, in demand striker and stood in full defence of the player fundamentally saying exactly what Leighton Baines was saying and what the disgruntled Everton fans are thinking.
This was in bad taste and perhaps the straw that is close to breaking the camels back. The pressure is on Martinez and can go some way to explaining why he has strayed from his mantra. The pressure is written all over Martinez and any interview or press conference normally sees him searching for more and more words that he thinks the fans want to hear. The problem is, the damage has been done, he has spent to long trying to fool the fans that pay the money to see their team play, too often he has declared they have performed well or things are going in the right direction when they are not. The fans are not stupid nor are they ignorant, they see whats going on so why can’t Martinez and just be honest.
The writing is on the wall and view from the Everton fans speaks volumes. They want a new man at the helm that is going to get the best out of the current Everton team and with new investment coming into the club perhaps now is the time to reach the level all Everton fans aspire to.
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