This article first appeared on Grandoldteam on 4th April 2016.
The decision (or non-decision) on Martinez’s ongoing employment at Everton will clarify a huge amount about the club, our ambitions and the balance of power within the club in the next two months.
In my opinion he’s not the right person because he is not capable of taking the club to the levels that our current resources and talent (should it be retained) are capable of achieving, let alone the future.
The much bigger question however is will the Board, or if necessary, our new 49.9% shareholder Mr Moshiri, make such a decision, and what that decision says about the future ambitions of the club on the field now our search for investment has been successfully concluded.
It’s difficult to see how Martinez’ survival (assuming for a moment he did) can tie in with the idea that our new shareholder has the biggest of ambitions for the club – sure we’ll likely get a new stadium or a redeveloped Goodison Park in the fairly near future, we’ll almost certainly see improved commercial and sponsorship deals struck, and there is the promise of significant funds for new signings and player retention. However success has to be on the pitch even more than off the pitch for fans to feel they are part of the new promised land.
How confident can we be that a retained Martinez and coaching squad can firstly attract the type and quality of players we might expect given the record of the last two years (regardless of cup success or not)? There must be serious doubts as to how attractive ambitious players would view the current prospects of Everton being a success on the pitch under the current management. One year of under performance can be explained, but two? I very much doubt it.
There’s also the issue of player retention – as to be expected the press are full of stories of Lukaku going (not helped by his own contributions it must be said), no doubt Stones will feature and quite possibly Barkley and Deulofeu and may be others if the current management team are retained.
Of course, there’s also the discussion on whether Martinez could utilise the talent even if he can attract and retain it, but given my earlier comments, the assumption is that he can’t.
Martinez’ departure would also say a huge amount about Mr Moshiri’s influence and ambition and his relationship with Bill Kenwright and the Board. We’ve all no doubt seen the rather odd video of Bill and Mr Moshiri after the Chelsea game, and in particular Bill’s rather ebullient endorsement of Martinez, something which Moshiri was less willing to back up and in fact, something he looked decidedly uncomfortable with.
The question will be whether Moshiri (assuming he does have the same misgivings about Martinez) already has the power to override Bill, or perhaps more likely given the areas he has worked in the past the necessary negotiating and diplomatic skills to win Bill over? We may never know the answer as to how it may be achieved, in fact it would be very unlikely we ever would, but nevertheless it’s a fascinating situation.
So it’s a huge few weeks ahead of us, yes the prospect of a first trophy in 21 years, but if won, won in the knowledge that Martinez cannot build the platform required for sustained Premier League success and ultimately Champions League participation.
The removal of Martinez would say a huge amount for our anticipated direction of travel in the next few years, it would confirm where the true balance of power now lies at Goodison, and frankly would send a very powerful message out to fans and competitors alike that we mean business and are willing to make the decisions necessary to be successful.
If he stays, I’m afraid it casts doubts about our ambition and the degree of influence Moshiri has on the club – it would make for a hugely uncomfortable summer in my opinion, all the old worries about lack of ambition, player retention, and our future status in the game would not only come flooding back but be further embedded in the fan base.
If we have the ambitions I believe Moshiri has for us, then there’s only one decision and that’s one of timing of Martinez’s departure in the short term – if that decision is not made we’ve difficult times ahead.
I’m hoping for the right decision.