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The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

Liam Prenderville, 12th June 2013 - 15:18

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Just seven days ago, Bill Kenwright sat in front of the watching media and insisted he had gone with his instinct once again.

After a four-week search to find the next manager of Everton Football Club, the Chairman admitted that after multiple interviews and meetings, not just in this country but across Europe, there was always one outstanding candidate. 

He had known all along that the man sitting to his left was the right person for the job.

These words had been heard before, albeit 11 years ago, when the Club were seeking to replace the departed Walter Smith, with our 124-year top flight status in real danger.

That day, Mr. Kenwright was welcoming a fresh-faced Glaswegian, who insisted that he would stave off relegation and build towards a brighter future. 

The Chairman and the board got it right that day.

This time, the setting was the same. Similarly, this manager is the younger side of 40 and again, incoming is a coach who built up an impressive reputation in the Red Rose County. But their intentions are strikingly different.

The confirmation of Roberto Martinez as the next Everton manager signalled a new era at Goodison Park and one which the Spaniard believes will involve Champions League football.

It may be more of a long-term dream than a short-term ambition but it is a realistic target and perhaps could have even been achieved in the last campaign, had disappointing draws been turned into three points.

This wasn’t used as a half-hearted statement to sell himself to the club’s supporters or to get their hopes up that he may have the funds to bring in world-class talents. It was an objective he has set himself and the players, in order to progress to the next level and take Everton Football Club back to where it belongs.

This is arguably the best squad for decades and the Goodison faithful will be hoping that the wonderful free-flowing football seen during the last campaign is a taster of things to come and judging from his previous side’s attacking prowess, Everton have the right man at the helm to maintain that style of play

Like any high-profile decision, there were sceptics and people have the right to have an opinion. There were, of course, Chelsea supporters disagreeing with the decision to re-appoint their latest manager, regardless of his sparkling CV and former glories. But that is football.

Whilst pundits purred at the expansive nature of Wigan’s attacking play, it was hard to ignore their defensive frailties, which ultimately led to their relegation.

But at Goodison Park, Martinez is inheriting a back-line led by new Club captain Phil Jagileka which is a stable unit and one which held the fourth-best defensive record in the Premier League last season. The foundations are already in place.

During his first press conference, the former Swansea boss admitted it would be difficult to fill David Moyes’ shoes but he will have one good go at it.

We must remember, Martinez isn’t someone who is fazed by hurdles and difficulties.

This is a manager who saw his side suffer eight consecutive league defeats at the start of the 2011/12 campaign, as Wigan were staring relegation straight in the face. Remarkably, the players turned it around, as the Spaniard guided the club to safety after an outstanding run-in.

This is a manager who masterminded The Latics’ remarkable F.A. Cup run, culminating in a 1-0 success over Manchester City last month and in turn, was responsible for Roberto Mancini losing his job.

Martinez represents a piece of history as the first foreign manager in the Club’s history but he echoes the sentiments that have surrounded Goodison Park for decades.

The 39-year-old was touted as Kenny Dalglish’s replacement at Anfield, before being linked with a switch to Aston Villa but he remained loyal and devoted to Dave Whelan and Wigan Athletic, characteristics which our football club is based upon.

During last week’s press conference, there was an indication of how privileged Martinez felt to be the Club’s new manager and this will only be strengthened when he stands in the home dugout at Goodison Park for the first time, when the new season gets underway.

Everton Football Club is changing. Whether it is the manager, the captain, the Club crest or next season’s kit; a new era is about to begin on the Blue half of Merseyside.

But the tradition and history remains the same and as has been the case for centuries, ‘Nothing But The Best Is Good Enough’ and I am in no doubt Roberto Martinez knows that.

The Club made a fantastic decision over 11 years ago but this is the start of a new chapter. It is time to get behind the new manager and trust our fantastic Chairman’s instinct once more.

Welcome Roberto.

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