Rewind to May 2013. Wigan Athletic, led by Roberto Martinez, have just clinched the FA cup thanks to a last minute Ben Watson goal, minutes after Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta was dismissed.
The win changed public perspective of the Spaniard completely. He was no longer seen as the plucky upstart, riding the crest of a wave that started during his time as player-manager for Swansea. He was now one of the top young managers in Europe, highly respected for his purist approach to the game and replicating Barcelona's total football style in south Wales and then north-west England.
This new found reputation earned him the attention of numerous Premier League clubs who were aware, that with Wigan's imminent relegation, they could get their hands on a potentially world class manager fairly easily. Martinez was approached by Liverpool and Tottenham before deciding to join Everton thanks to chairman Bill Kenwright's promise to give him total control over player acquisition.
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In the last three years at Everton, the Spaniard has - on many occasions - been lauded for his side's impressive style of play and ability to overcome sides with pace and strength. Gaining a reputation for being entertaining and, if you listen to the majority of the English press, it's a complete mystery that they don't achieve more.
But things in football are so often not what they seem. Frustration among the Goodison faithful is rising. Just guaranteeing a place in the Premier League for the following season might be enough for the Swansea and Wigan, but not for a club with the history and expectation of Everton. The fans are starting to ask, is the Catalonian really capable of taking the blues back to where they want to be?
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Martinez's record during his Everton tenure is something seemingly out of consideration when the Spaniard's quality is discussed in the press. A total win record of just 43% and no major honours are the tip of the iceberg.
Everton are in the midst of a 16-year trophy drought. In that time Portsmouth, Birmingham City, Wigan and, odds are that come May 15th, Leicester will all have won major honours. More frustratingly for the fans, they have become the bridesmaids of English football, featuring in three semi-finals and three quarter-finals without managing to lift a trophy.
In the league, Everton have managed just nine wins this season and the single point gained this weekend against Watford puts them 12 points off the drop. Granted it would be a shock if the Merseyside club were to be relegated but the fact that it is even a topic of discussion is an indication of how, without anyone really noticing, they have underachieved for yet another year.
"There are three types of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics."
Everton have become a marketing masterpiece in recent years. Not due to their ability to sell shirts and key rings, but in their ability to convince armies of well-informed journalists and pundits that they are one of the great footballing sides of Europe, without having the results to back it up.
There are plenty who have spoken in raptures about the dynamism of Martinez's side, as well as the prodigious talent of Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and John Stones. They will have to cling rather tightly to the above words of Benjamin Disraeli if they are to maintain that assertion in the face of some pretty damning evidence.
This season has been the third under Roberto Martinez in which Everton will finish without anything other that a certificate of participation. Notably, this is also a season where opportunities have been abound for traditional underdogs, such as Everton, to take advantage of the underwhelming performances of the top sides.
With the arrival of their new shareholder, Iranian billionaire Farhad Moshiri, the club looks likely to have the resources to add to a team that already possesses some undeniable talent. The question is, should Roberto Martinez be trusted with the management of this potential new dawn at Everton. More and more people are starting to think not...
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