Roberto Martinez goes into his second campaign at the helm having set the example for the future by committing to the cause for 5 more years. Martinez is the first Everton manager from outside Great Britain and Ireland, and there is no doubt that his ambition, positivity, thorough planning and forward thinking has stepped us up a few gears.
Martinez landed in England when signing for Wigan Athletic in 1995. He was influential in Wigan's rise, helping the Latics to the Football League Trophy in 1999 before moving to Motherwell, Scotland. He returned to England joining Walsall before going to Wales with Swansea City. Martinez captained the Swans from the bottom tier of English football to League One. He was released by Swansea in 2006 and moved to Chester City, but returned to Swansea as manager less than one year after leaving.
In 2007 Martinez guided Swansea to the Championship and his patient yet modern approach to the game based on passing saw Dave Whelan ask him to take over Wigan Athletic from Steve Bruce in 2009. In 2011, Aston Villa approached the Spaniard to switch to Villa Park, but their approaches were rebuffed by him. One year on, and Liverpool attempted to sign Martinez, but he spurned them too.
The decision proved right, as Martinez led the Latics to a 1-0 FA Cup Final win over Manchester City at Wembley - Wigan's first major football trophy.
After David Moyes' departure down the East Lancs Road, Bill Kenwright approached Dave Whelan to secure the services of Martinez and in May 2013 Martinez informed his Chairman he wished to move to Everton. In his first season, Martinez had a successful campaign guiding the Blues back into Europe and playing a patient, possession based style of fluid attacking football. He secured a Toffee-record Premier League points tally in doing so and showed ambition and belief in emerging youth with his trust in players like John Stones, Ross Barkley, James McCarthy, and the loan signings of Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona and striker Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea. The manager's ambition has recently been recognised with a number of key players extending their contracts with the club and Lukaku becoming a permanent fixture.
Martinez plans thoroughly and shows no favouritism towards any individual within the dressing room, instead picking a side to beat the opposition. He isn't scared of taking any risks in order to gain three points - a prime example being with 20 minutes to go away at Manchester United last season and bringing Deulofeu on, playing higher up the pitch and reaping the rewards with a 1-0 win; our first at Old Trafford in over 20 years.
The manager is extremely hands on, taking a keen interest in the Under-21 and all the Academy sides. He tries various systems, predominantly deploying a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-5-2, with his full backs pressing very high up the pitch, and two defensive midfielders allowing a player to support a lone striker with wide players getting to the byline. However, this pre-season he has been trying a 4-3-3 approach, the future of which remains uncertain.
It is hoped that Martinez's approach and belief in young, quick-thinking and pacy players will push us on to the Champions League places, a good Europa League campaign and hopefully some silverware come May 2015.
Graeme Jones made the switch to Merseyside along with Martinez, the third club they have paired up at having worked together at Wigan and Swansea. They were first acquainted, though, at Wigan Athletic as players, where Jones was a striker.
After retiring from playing Jones stayed at his final playing club, Hamilton Academical, as assistant manager before moving south of the border once again to take a seat alongside Martinez in the Swansea dugout. He followed the Spaniard to Wigan and helped them win the FA Cup in 2013.
Jones' training methods are considered to be top drawer amongst the players and staff within Finch Farm, and his close relationship with Martinez, along with sharing a similar philosophy, has seen him touted for the Swansea job in recent months. However, Jones has stayed put to help Martinez push our club on, and long may the successful relationship continue.
Dennis Lawrence is a former player of Martinez's at Swansea, where he won the League One title in 2007-08. A former international for Trinidad and Tobago (over 80 caps) he was a defender for Wrexham before moving to South Wales. He had a trial period as a coach at Wigan Athletic under Martinez before being offered the role on a full time basis.
Duncan Ferguson needs no introduction as far as his playing career goes. He obtained his coaching badges with the Scottish FA and was offered a coaching position by David Moyes within the Academy set up in October 2011. He worked with the Under 18s alongside another club legend, Kevin Sheedy, and was offered the chance to step up with the first time in February 2014 by Martinez.
Inaki Bergara worked with Martinez as goalkeeping coach at Swansea City in 2007 before following his countryman north to Wigan Athletic. As a player, he was largely a backup at his clubs before moving onto the coaching staff at Athletic Bilbao. Bergara oversees all goalkeepers at the club, predominantly working with Tim Howard and Joel Robles at Finch Farm, but he also knows what he wants in the young, upcoming goalkeepers.
Richard Evans is another of Martinez's trusted colleagues, following the Spaniard from Swansea to Wigan and then on to Goodison. Richard is the Head of Performance in the side. He oversees Sports Science and Physiotherapy at the club, preparing and maintaining the fitness of the squad.