When David Moyes replaced Walter Smith in the Everton dugout at Goodison Park, with the Toffees dangerously flirting with relegation, Roberto Martinez was plying his trade north of the border, making a mere 16 appearances for Motherwell before having his contract terminated as the club entered administration.
Both, Moyes and Martinez, have come a long way over the last decade and the Bill Kenwright’s decision to replace the United-bound Scotsman with the Spaniard is as straightforward a decision as the Everton chairman is ever going to make.
If some doubted Moyes’ investiture as Fergie’s successor, there won’t be any such thing surrounding Martinez’s arrival at Goodison Park. Nor there should be for, over the last couple of years, the Spaniard has developed into one of the finest managers in English football.
During his four years at the DW Stadium, Martinez and Wigan thrilled and shocked in equal measure. Defensive lapses were as common as good, enterprising, football, as well as inspired run-ins that kept the club in the Premier League.
Obviously it would be naive to exempt Martinez of any responsibilities for Wigan’s relegation this season but, as hard a blow as it was, it was undoubtedly softened by the FA Cup triumph.
Winning the FA Cup – or, indeed, winning anything at all – is something David Moyes never managed during his days at Everton, leading some, even among the Evertonians, to wonder whether the Scot had what it takes to lead his club to success.
That criticism of Moyes is perhaps unfair, for he took over at the club with Everton in serious danger of being relegated from the Premier League and went on to establish them as regular top-eight finishers – Everton finished outside the top eight only three times under Moyes – but, much like Martinez’s at Wigan, Moyes’ tenure had run its course.
“There is a right time or a wrong time and last season or the other times wasn’t right. My relationship is very strong with the Wigan chairman and we had our little aims and targets that we pursued. But now is the right time and Everton fits,” said Martinez whose acumen in the transfer window undoubtedly appealed to Kenwright.
The Spaniard reduced Wigan’s wage bill of 22% during his four years in charge and while Everton will benefit from the new TV deal, his predecessor was also ask to work with a relatively tight budget.
Moyes performed admirably in the transfer window when one looks at the likes of Tim Howard, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, less so when one considers how James Beattie and Andy Johnson – both club record signings – fared at Goodison Park.
Martinez’s and Moyes’ approach to football differ from one another, the Spaniard’s passing game a sight rarely enjoyed by the Goodison faithful over the last decade but, crucially, both managers share a common belief in promoting youth.
The likes of Callum McManaman, James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman and Wayne Rooney speak volume for the faith both managers place in young footballers, something that Martinez will be looking to continue at Everton.
“Roberto’s first words were: ‘I’ll get you in the Champions League.’ During the last four weeks I have met some of the finest individuals in football and the finest of them is sitting next to me now,” said Kenwright upon unveiling Martinez as Everton’s new manager.
Undeniably, Everton are still some players short of sitting at Europe’s top table, but if there’s a man capable of continuing what David Moyes started, then the former Wigan manager is surely the right man.
Do you think Roberto Martinez is the right man for Everton? Can he carry on Moyes’ legacy and finally deliver a trophy to the blue half of Merseyside? We want your views so have your say below or get involved on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.