After a disastrous Liverpool derby, Roberto Martinez’s career as Everton manager is hanging by a thread. In the same fixture earlier in the season, Brendan Rogers- then firmly in charge at Liverpool- was dismissed after a 1-1 draw. That was apparently not considered a good enough result to save his job. So why is a crushing, humiliating and unacceptable 4-0 defeat enough to keep Martinez in a job?
The FA cup semi final today probably has something to do with it, because if there’s on thing Martinez knows a thing or two about, its cup glory- he won this very trophy with Wigan in the not so distant past. However, that is literally the only thing that is keeping him employed. If Manchester United defeat them today- and on recent form, it is fair to assume that- he will be in deep, deep trouble. Everton’s board have turned a blind eye to the recent failings because, quite frankly, the club have been without a trophy for 21 years, having not won since 1995. If Martinez can secure them a title, it will make up for the frankly terrible season they have had, although even glory here at Wembley would not be enough to extinguish the hatred the fans have towards him. That broken relationship will most likely prove to be too broken to repair.
As an Everton fan, it is a strange situation to be in. I want the boys in blue to triumph, because any fan that wants their team to fail in a cup competition is a moron, but there is a real and acute concern that success may mean he keeps his job. If he stays at the helm, there is a very, very real possibility that he will take Everton down next season. On the other hand, a defeat here today will destroy any good feelings left for the man- and there aren’t many fans of him left- and that will probably be better for the long term future of the club. What is more important to the board? The instant success of FA cup victory or the eventual relegation of a team that should be aiming for European competition? It is a confusing time, and in a way it is admirable that they are attempting to take their time and avoid any rash decisions.
I think the future of the incompetent Spaniard will be decided today, although I think that only solves half the issue. He will be given a stay of execution- he is unlikely to be in charge next season unless something miraculous happens to turn the fans back onto his side. However, if Martinez wins Everton the FA cup, will there be a change of heart from his many enemies? Quite possibly. Although next season, when he takes Everton down into the Championship, the FA cup glory will be a distant and depressing memory. Nothing is going to be enough to do anything other postpone the inevitable. At least, I hope so.
Note:- having now witnessed the match, I can only say that Everton were beaten in the harshest, most heart-breaking way possible, courtesy of a last ditch goal. I don’t even want to talk about it. However, the same failures were evident that have been there all season- an inability to defend, a lack of end product and some questionable substitutions. Martinez may say the same old nonsense he always does, and the team played with heart and were a little unlucky, but his position is still untenable. He deserves to go- hopefully this FA cup exit speeds that process along a little.