And so it ends. Our long national nightmare is over at Everton. Roberto Martinez is gone. With him goes a philosophy that has been heralded as, "The next big step in English football," never mind the managers propagating it are all sitting at home now.
With Roberto Martinez gone there seems to be better days ahead. The depressing week in week out disappoint of results will give way to summer optimism. A new owner and now a new manager gives Everton a chance to return to the competition for Europe. Remember that the men in this squad did not suddenly forget how to play. There is a reason John Stones was going to cost millions of pounds, why Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley are England internationals. That ability is still there even though we didn't see it very often. Roberto Martinez somehow suppressed that ability, a new manager will have to unlock it.
In the end though Roberto Martinez was not done in because of the results, though they actually played a part. Instead Martinez was doomed because of the most basic part of managing, he lost the players. The dirty secret of managing is not in identifying players, scouting the opposition, or introducing tactics. Instead it is about player motivation. It is the hardest part of managing a team and why so many managers fail. Look at David Moyes. His win percentage at Manchester United was actually better than current man Louis van Gaal. But Moyes got sacked because he lost the players. He wasn't Sir Alex Ferguson and they lost faith in him, no more and no less.
After last year we brushed off Everton's poor season to an anomaly. We'd seen the occasional poor season early in David Moyes' tenure and thought this was a similar thing for Martinez. By this past November it was obvious we were wrong. For every good moment, and despite what some may say there were a few, Everton took three steps back. We managed to make the semi finals of both cup competitions, a good accomplishment, but the club sank to the bottom half of the table. It was obvious over the past month that the players did not care. Roberto Martinez had lost the dressing room and it showed on the pitch. We've highlighted poor tactics and listless performances, it can all be traced to player mentality. If the players were still in Roberto Martinez's corner they would have continued to fight, not sit around like matadors in defense.
Perhaps the best way to describe the descent of Everton is this, three years ago our goal was the Champions League, now our goal is the top half of the table. When you bring it to the basics that is why Roberto Martinez is no longer at Everton. But now the future is scary. We all may have been a little too cavalier when Moyes left, we assumed Everton would continue on as is and improve. Even the hesitancy over Roberto Martinez was plastered over with thoughts of how great Everton is as a club, but an institution is only as strong as those inside it, and the man with the most influence was not up to leading this institution forward. Now the club not only has to try and claw back to our position of three years ago, but put together a plan to improve on it.