Roberto Martinez has endured a mixed spell at Everton, his first season in charge saw him defy the expectations of the club’s board and supporters. But the following season we saw the Merseyside club struggle with the added ‘distraction’ of Europa League football which had a massive effect on their Premier League form.
Now in charge of his 3rd campaign, it’s a season where the Merseysiders have to push on.
In each of the opening three games we’ve seen improvements from Everton compared to the large majority of last season, with Martinez fully aware that improvements had to be made to satisfy the clubs fan base. The question is can they build on the start and have a similar season to the 13/14 one where they ran Arsenal close to the final Champions League place?
Optimism is high with Europa League football out of the picture for another twelve months, following the detrimental effect it had on their Premier League campaign last term. However the pressure is on the club along with chairman Bill Kenwright to spend with the Evertonians having one of the lowest levels of transfer activity in the country with plenty of supporters running out of patience with the most unsuccessful board in the club’s history.
Kenwright brought the club on Christmas Eve 1999, he promised that he didn’t have endless amounts of money to spend but he had a plan to make the club a success.
Just short of his 16th year in charge and the success that Kenwright spoke of has yet to materialise, with it looking like barely any money has been invested. With Kenwright’s reluctance to invest, the Everton faithful have seemingly lost faith in both him and the board.
We’ve seen two stadium development plans fall through, broken promises regarding transfers, unanswered questions; the list is endless which has gradually caused angst in the blue part of Liverpool.
In 2002 Wayne Rooney announced himself in the ‘Premiership’ when he scored a sumptuous goal against Arsenal with many expecting this 16 year old boy to push Everton onto the next level. Bill Kenwright would later come out and say he will not be sold, not even for £50m.
Rooney was eventually sold to Manchester United in 2004.
Situations like that have lead to years of frustration, giving the club no chance to develop its potential in the top flight. Considering how well they’ve done with limited resources, imagine where they could go with an ambitious owner who will look to take the club forward rather than sideways.
This lack of ambition will eventually lead to even more stars leaving the club; both Ross Barkley and John Stones have big futures at club and country level but will likely seek greener pastures, especially if Kenwright maintains his current course.
Commercially the club once again have failed to perform, with a total income of £12m in 2014 showing just how reliant the club are on broadcasting money. It’s a direct result of the club’s business model which is, no surprise, rather negative. Utilising all assets instead of investment; meaning they’ve sold everything and outsourced everything they can to ensure they don’t spend a penny.
It leaves Martinez in a sticky situation; in charge of a reasonably good squad who have serious potential to build but lack the required backing to really succeed. He certainly has the trust of owner Kenwright who is more than happy to keep a man in the job as long as stay in the Premier League, but this trust isn’t reinforced with the tools to see him excel.
Everton can be proud, with a fraction of the financial power they find themselves in the same bracket as sides like Tottenham, and like the North London club will ultimately chase the dream of playing in the Champions League but whilst Tottenham spend money and fail, Everton barely give themselves a chance.
The board’s position should be untenable due to their inability to be flexible and promote a plan for the future, not only on the pitch but off the pitch too. Until changes are made they will stagnate and become yet another club with big potential to slowly drift away.