So all that remains of this disappointed and disjointed season is for Roberto Martinez’s future to be decided.
This FA Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Manchester United summed us up at the moment. Everton basically carried their form from the derby over into the first half – after Romelu Lukaku had a shot cleared off the line in the early stages the Blues offered very little going forward and it came as no surprise when Marouane Fellaini put United ahead.
There was an improvement after the break though, and by the time substitute Gerard Deulofeu’s low cross was deflected past David De Gea it looked as if all the momentum was with the Toffees. Typically though, with extra time looming, Ander Herrera got a massively spawny break of the ball and played in Antony Martial for the winner.
That was a kick in the dick, for sure, but we were never totally convincing. We’ve said it before, if you are going to be so open then you need to be clinical when you get your chances. We struggle to even convert penalties, with De Gea making a very good low save from Lukaku’s midway through the second half.
The writing appears to be on the wall for Martinez now then. A really likeable man who has produced some great performances at times and is to be admired for wanting to play football the correct way, the results this season and the whole mood around the club will almost certainly dictate that he is taken out behind the woodshed.
Ultimately, whether it’s through being liked, feared or respected, the manager’s job is to motivate and inspire his squad to go out and perform, and for most of this season that just hasn’t been the case. There has to be a unity of purpose, from the stands to the pitch, and the manager is the focal point for that. You only have to look at the Teutonic Martin O’Neill across the park to see someone who, despite being a massive Texan, gets the players wanting to play for him and the supporters believing in what he’s trying to achieve.
That’s why the Blues, with telly money coming and apparently investment from the new owner, need to make some sort of similar totemic appointment now. The idea of Jose Mourinho seems absurd given the other options he will have, while Manuel Pellegrini just seems too old and uninspiring for the particular job that’s required at Goodison. Plus, we don’t want anyone who would see us as a step down while he tops up his pension. It has to be someone who covets the job and for whom it is all-consuming.
Eddie Howe’s been mentioned and would fits the bill in terms of the two men Bill Kenwright has recruited previously. Young, ambitious, with a reputation for playing decent football, you could see it happening. The only question though is whether he is too young for a job this size – are we ready for another fella to do much of his learning on the job?
Ronald Koeman’s another being mentioned, and again, when you see the job he’s done at Southampton you couldn’t really be disappointed if it was the big, ruddy-faced Girl Guide. A lot would probably depend on whether Kenwright and Farhad Moshiri could convince him that we’re a better bet than the Saints. Or whether he’d rather sit tight there and wait for a more glamorous role to come up somewhere.
David Moyes has been mentioned too, but that would be absolutely mental. A lot of people were bored of him before he left and he burnt bridges with the way in which he managed the whole exit. He’s a good manager and probably would sort out many of the team’s recurrent flaws, but he just comes with too much baggage. Jesus, could you just imagine his first game when he swaps the wingers over after 15 minutes and there’s been no substitution by the 65th minute?
It would be unbearable.
It’s crap that it’s come to this for Martinez. If he ever gets to build the perfect team that exists in his mind’s eye then it will be a thing of rare beauty. However, he’s paid to deal in the filthy reality of winning games in the Premier League gladiator school, and too often it looks like he struggles with that.