Roberto Martinez out at Everton after disappointing season
Everton’s manager Roberto Martinez gestures to Everton’s Leighton Baines during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Everton at King Power stadium in Leicester, England, Saturday, May 7, 2016.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Roberto Martinez was fired by Everton on Thursday with three years left on his contract after failing to get the best out of what is widely regarded as the club’s strongest squad in years.
It is the first big move by Everton since billionaire Farhad Moshiri bought a stake in the Premier League club in February to become its majority shareholder.
Disgruntled fans had started to make their feelings known toward Martinez, with the team winning only one of its last 10 games in all competitions. A 3-0 loss to Sunderland on Wednesday left Everton in 12th place in the Premier League with one game remaining, at home to Norwich on Sunday.
By firing him after three years in charge, Everton’s board has ensured the 42-year-old Martinez will be spared further abuse at Goodison Park this weekend.
Everton said in a short statement that Martinez has been a ‘great ambassador for the club, conducting himself, at all times, with the utmost integrity and dignity’ and pointed to his role in developing youngsters into the first team and onto the international stage.
Everton reached the semifinals of both the FA Cup and League Cup this season, losing both, but it is the team’s league form that has most disappointed. Everton has won 22 of 75 league games in the last two years under Martinez, with the defensive concerns that plagued his four years at Wigan carrying over to his time on Merseyside.
Only the bottom five teams in the league have conceded more than Everton’s 55 goals this season. The team was also prone to dropping points through conceding late goals.
Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, John Stones and Leighton Baines are among the big names in Everton’s team, whose form has dipped dramatically since March.
Frank de Boer, who announced Thursday that he will be leaving Ajax after deciding not to extend his contract at the Dutch club, has been linked with the Everton manager’s job.
Moshiri, an Iranian-British businessman, bought a 49.9 percent stake in Everton after recently selling shares in Premier League rival Arsenal to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has established a reputation as being loyal to his managers but the arrival of Moshiri appears to have ushered in a tougher approach.