Roberto Martinez, Wigan and Everton (Guardian Comments)

There has been a lot of both optimism and pessimism among Everton fans about their new manager, Roberto Martinez. And some of the doubts raised by the naysayers are fair questions, in all honesty:

1) FA cup is on one side, but didn’t Wigan just get relegated with him at the helm?

2) We remember Steve Bruce and Paul Jewell doing well (as well, if  not better than Martinez) with Wigan in the PL. So what’s so special about this guy? 

There was this super comment on the Guardian Website (Article: Roberto Martinez.. Everton… Champions’ League) by crackergray, which researched this issue and the debate out very well, I though. Here:

Wigan’s recent record in the numbers:

05/06 (Jewell) spent 11.5m, net 3.7m, decent first season in EPL 10th 51pts
06/07 (Jewell) spent 15.6m, net 5.6m, survived only on final day finishing 17th, 38 pts
07/08 (Hutchings/Bruce) spent 12.1m, net 1.2m, 14th, 40pts
Note – Bruce came in for 3m himself (increasing the net to 4.2m and was on a 2m per year contract (more than e.g. Moyes)
08/09 (Bruce) spent 15m, net -0.5m (sale of Palacios (12m)), finished 11th, 45 pts, decent return

Now…. Martinez:
09/10 spent 7m, net -15m (sale of Valencia at 16m and Cattermole at 6m), final day of season survival
10/11 spent 9m, net 7.3m (note – purchase of Boselli at 6.5m), safe on 42 points
11/12 spent 8m, net -2m (sale of N’zogbia at 9m), safe 43 points
12/13 spent 8m, net -2m (sale of Moses at 9m), relegated on 36 points

Note – reduction in wage bill by 22%
Note – increase from -11m loss to 4.3m profit on lowest t/o in league
Note – lowest wage bill save for 3 newly promoted clubs in 2012 (although high as a % of turnover)

What does this mean…? Not sure. How about these conclusions:

1. Martinez’s predecessors did better than he did in the league, but we’re close to bankrupting the club save for handouts from DW. Martinez was asked to make the club self-sufficient. He did. BK at Everton will love that. And, frankly, anyone who values having a club in a few years time will too.

2. His predecessors’ achievements weren’t THAT much better than his with Wigan. One great bit of first season syndrome aside (the second season was dump) and the points totals on much larger budgets were comparable. Not the same, but comparable. 45 points after that first season was the best they got. Under tighter financial constraints Martinez got to 43.

3. Apart from one doomed purchase (Boselli) he has operated handily in the transfer market and has made money for the club in his 4 years.

4. He’s won a trophy despite all this hamstringing.

5. In his first season, Wigan beat 3 of the “big four” (ferkin’ hell I hate that phrase), including Arsenal in one key game. His record in knockout comps or when the chips are down is actually pretty solid.

Fair points, I think. Roberto Martinez’s record is not shabby. He might not be the second coming, but he has a fine record. And he has come to manage a big club (which Everton definitely is), on merit.

He might or might not be a success at Everton … There are many things that need to go right to make a successful managerial stint at a club. But here’s wishing Martinez luck. His Wigan teams, especially the Feb-May avatars, were a joy to watch; notwithstanding that my club was on the receiving end so very often.


FISO’s Matt Martyniak WINS Fantasy Premier League!

Reflected glory if there ever was!

One of our FISO boys won Fantasy Premier League ’12-’13. First among 2.6 MILLION players. Spidermatt, take a bow.

He also plays in Fantasy Football Scout. Here’s what they say about him.

[Edit: And here’s the FISO dedication]

[PS: Join FISO. It’s addictive, it’s intelligent and it’s friendly. And once you are in, message /comment me here. I’ll help you navigate.]

Rafa Benitez has had a great half-season at Chelsea

No questioning that now – with the Europa league win.

And all of this while having to contend with the fans, who were disgusting, by the way.

Here’s a post from F365.

Well done, Rafa. Here’s hoping to see more of you at the Premier League, or if not, at the Bundesliga and the La Liga. Those are the only three leagues I follow :)

Premier League Playoff


(a) Arsenal win 2-1 at St James’ Park;

(b) Chelsea draw 0-0 at the Bridge against the Toffees on the final day,

Both teams will be identical on (a) points (b) GD (c) goals scored (d) goals conceded. 

and there could be a playoff to decide on third place.

Would not happen, surely. But in the realms of possibility. Interesting.

Stat courtesy F365.

About Dave Whelan – Now that Wigan’s relegated

Dave Whelan. Photo from

This is a comment from RuggerTyke at a post in the Guardian:

It’s been a fairy-tale for the man who built a sports empire after breaking his leg in the FA Cup final, taking his local club from the bottom tier to the Premier League, culminating a stay of 8 years which many expected would merely last a year, with an FA Cup win against one of the richest side in the world only to then a few days later, do what had been expected of them ever since they were promoted and get relegated.

This has come in the same year that the business Whelan, a proud Thatcherite, founded, JJB Sports, a company he ran with very dubious ethics, finally went in to liquidation and ceased to exist, having been bought out by Sports Direct, owned by the chairman of Newcastle United and the team they could have pipped in their race for survival.

It’s been the end of a seriously elongated fairytale for Dave Whelan, the man who polarised a strong Rugby town when he built the stadium that propelled the Football side and had the Warriors grudgingly share, which has ended in a very bittersweet manner; a script so outlandish it is, along with the carving on the trophy made where Whelan was born, already engraved in folklore.

Martinez will most likely leave but despite being younger than the longest and most successful football manager in British history, it remains to be seen whether Whelan has the heart and desire to continue, so this may well be the end of the Latics – of the least recognisable with that moniker merely a decade ago – and their David; the Goliath slaying minnow may never reach the dizzy heights of the Top Flight again.

Then again, I wouldn’t put it past DW to employ the man who took them up originally, Jewell and bounce straight back up. With the usual blend of carefully sourced South American flair and homegrown heroes plucked from obsecurity, naturally.


Of course, you would find a lot of DW hatred across English websites and sports pages. In Guardian because of DW being a Thatcherite; and in the others because of him being an old blusterer.

But really, it’s been a fairytale for him and for Wigan. Loved their stay at the Premier League.

May they jump right back up.

I fear, though that it might not happen.