Martinez – Twist or Stick?

By Lee Evans 28/01/2016  0 Comments  [Jump to last]

I like Martinez. There, I said it. I’ve seen people call him a visionary, and I don’t agree with that by any stretch of the imagination (although perhaps he himself may do), but I do appreciate what he is trying to achieve, more so probably than I have any of his predecessors.

At the moment, Everton have three players aged under 22 with a transfer value in excess of £50 million. Deulofeu, if he could ever last an entire match, won’t be far off (hopefully). McCarthy is a very good Premier League midfielder, linked with Arsenal and Tottenham in the summer. Besic had been astounding since his return from injury.

These six are Martinez’s players. (I count Stones and Barkley as Martinez players as I don’t think either would have played half the games for the club as they have by now under Moyes, nor would they be established internationals).

The only real comparison we have to go off is with the previous manager, so a lot of this is hypothetical, but I think they are interesting questions to consider.

So, would Romelu Lukaku have signed for David Moyes at Everton? (Remember the perpetual Alan Smith transfer rumour during his reign, the embodiment of low ambition)

Would David Moyes have picked out the likes of Deulofeu and Besic in the transfer market at low cost? (Coleman OK, but I’m thinking of truly class, technical players)

As I’ve already touched on, would Moyes have given Stones and Barkley a run of games, an extended run of games, allow them to make mistakes? Or would he have ‘Rodwell-ed’ them?

I’ll give you McCarthy in the interest of fairness, as he’s a Moyes-type player through and through, although he never managed to get Scott Parker over the line.

The reason I mention this is that these players are now at the core of the most exciting team we have had since the eighties. And it is Martinez, no one else, that has put this team together.

The team is frightfully young. The average age doesn’t seem so young, but it is skewed by the likes of Howard (37), Barry (36) and Jagielka (33), whereas the likes of Tottenham, with a slightly lower average, do not have such drastic anomalies. Our problem lies with the in-between players lacking the personality to bridge the team. Coleman and Baines, too placid. Mirallas, too selfish. So in effect, we have a fragmented set up, which seems to be at the heart of it when things go against us.

And Martinez just doesn’t seem to be able to figure out what the fuck to do with them.

I appreciate how Moyes stabilised the club in his time here, but had he been here for the past season and a half, I have no doubt that though we may have finished a couple of places higher, but we will have been made well aware of the continued effect of the glass ceiling. That what has been achieved is the best you can hope for.

Martinez, from day one, has never gone for this. When City brought on £55 million pound sub Kevin De Bruyne on Wednesday, Moyes would have reminded us how unfair it is when he turns around and is faced with a choice between Arouna Kone and Aaron Lennon.

Martinez talks a lot of shit, and he increasingly sounding like a bit of a whinger, but he never uses the inferiority line.

There have been games where Martinez has looked completely clueless, where the sideways passing has left me watching subs warming up for entertainment. There have been inept, weak performances, but I have yet to see a game where I have not believed that Martinez has genuinely not set out to win. The way he has set up to win may not be the most suitable, and the application of his players may not have been 100%, but this has not been borne through an initial lack of intent.

Moyes threw a derby. To win another derby in the semi-final. And then lost that one anyway.

It is the hope that kills you, but I think the point I’m trying to make is that Martinez has brought some hope. No more £400 round trips to the Emirates just to look at the teamsheet and realise that the manager is simply trying to keep the score down. No more severely weakened teams in the cup because the bread and butter of three points away in the league to West Brom are more important. Sometimes it’s naïve, sometimes it’s just plain fucking ridiculous, but at least it’s having a go.

And I’ll be honest, it can be fucking good fun.

Now, there are two main reasons why I think Martinez should see through the summer at least, but firstly, let’s just calm down – we are not going to get relegated. There are at least three teams in the division that are in a world of shit much worse than ours, and that, in my current frame of mind will do for now.

I think that Martinez has shown that he will not be bullied in the transfer market, and he represents Everton’s best possibility of keeping hold of their best players for next season. If he chooses to sell, I think he has proven astute enough to be trusted to re-invest in the team. He has his misses, but I think that his hits have been of sufficient quality that I truthfully believe we would not have attracted without him.

Crucially though, I look around and cannot see anyone realistic that Everton could attract.

Moyes is still out there you know, and if it came down to it, he would be seriously considered. Mark Hughes is the only one I’d prefer to Martinez, but would he realistically leave Stoke for us?

I saw someone mention Glenn Hoddle in one of the comments sections, last seen doing fuck all at Wolves amongst others. Surely there’s better than him out there, but who? Eddie Howe? Struggled when he went to powerhouses Burnley, ended up straight back at Bournemouth?

Someone from abroad? Would you trust our board to do this properly? More likely Felix Magath than Jose Mourinho.

Michael Laudrup would be an interesting one, but currently taking the coin in the Middle-East rather than testing himself in Europe.

Realistically though, at this moment in time, it would be Moyes wouldn’t it. Not a bad thing necessarily, he knows how to keep a relegation battle at arm’s length. But come on?

I think we are all guilty of searching for that ‘Oxford’ moment, that spark, when it all comes together and we obliterate everyone in our path (it felt like it again fleetingly on Wednesday when Barkley scored). But we are looking for it because we sense, we all sense, that we are on the cusp of something special, that we are not that far away. Is it worth starting again?

In summary, I think that we will have a stronger squad of players for next season with Martinez in charge than without. Give him ‘til Christmas to figure out what to do with them. If he can’t then he’s clearly not up to it, off he goes, and we still have good players, all tied down to be re-motivated whether they like it or not.

Of course the ideal scenario would be for Moyes to come back in as Martinez’s right hand man, stay in the background until matchday, and then as soon as we go a goal up, big Dunc pins Martinez to the floor, tapes his mouth up, and Moyes takes over. And if we lose, Moyes does the post match interview as well. Hardly Mr Charisma himself, but at least he wouldn’t make things worse by sprouting a load of shite.

Anyway, it would be interesting to hear what other people think, or if there are any other (realistic) options you think are out there.

Of course, if we lose in the cup at the weekend, please disregard everything above and accept that it’s never going to happen.

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