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Everton’s misjudgement has cost them dear

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the decision to offer Roberto Martinez a bumper five-year contract has proven to be a costly mistake

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

There was understandably a lot of anger when the news broke regarding Roberto Martinez’s pay-off by Everton. Only in the world of football can failure be rewarded so handsomely.

Despite being sacked with the club seemingly in a tailspin and the supporters in outright mutiny, Martinez has walked away with more than £10m in his back pocket.

The Spaniard invoked a clause in his contract that demanded Everton pay the remaining three years of his deal.

That totalled £12m but after an independent hearing a figure of £10.75m was agreed with the sum to be paid in one instalment.

The decision to reward Martinez with a bumper five-year deal in the summer of 2014 has proven to be a costly error, especially given the former Wigan boss still had three years left on his existing deal.

However, before we completely lambast the club it pays to remember that the vast majority of the fanbase were delighted when news of the new contract broke.

I know it’s difficult to remember given the two-year long malaise we’ve endured since but Martinez’s first season in charge was magnificent.

The team played some of the finest football seen at Goodison Park in a generation, racking up a record points haul that would have secured Champions League football in four out of the previous five seasons.

Martinez was suddenly seen as one of the brightest talents in the game and was even touted as a future Barcelona manager.

It would have been a dereliction of duty had Everton not sought to tie down their key asset for the long-term. Don’t forget that David Moyes had allowed his contract to run down at Goodison Park in the summer of 2013 that meant he could join Man Utd for nothing.

Not many would have foreseen the dramatic reversal in fortunes in Martinez’s second and third seasons.

Everton’s lawyers tried to use the team’s dreadful form as mitigation for a smaller payout. But with a signed contract in their hand, Martinez’s legal team had a watertight case and the club had little option but to pay the money.

Was it worth it? Definitely. Everton were going nowhere under Martinez and this summer would have certainly seen an exodus of key players.

£10m is nothing compared to the cost of relegation - which is where many believe Everton were heading under their previous manager.

Everton’s biggest mistake was not including break clauses in Martinez’s new deal.

When Moyes was sacked by Man Utd in April 2014 he received just £7m despite signing a six-year contract the previous summer.

United had inserted a clause in Moyes’ contract limiting any pay-off should the club fail to finish in the top four.

It’s surely no coincidence that Moyes was dismissed just days after a defeat to Everton ensured Man United would not qualify for the Champions League.

Similar performance-related clauses in Martinez’s contract would have saved Everton a lot of money

The hope is they have learnt their lesson; football’s unpredictability is one of the game’s enduring appeals so clubs have to try and guard against all eventualities.

There is little point in complaining now though. Everton have a new manager and Martinez is in a new job. It’s time for this chapter to be closed for good and all parties to move on.