‘Lonely’ Martinez still be­lieves, de­spite Ever­ton fans’ sta­dium protest

Ever­ton Clev­er­ley 7, Baines 64 2 Bournemouth Pugh 9 1 Att: 38,345

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE - By Chris Bas­combe

What­ever the Ever­ton board de­cide about their man­ager’s fu­ture, we learnt one im­por­tant fact on Satur­day evening. Roberto Martínez will not sneak out of the back door.

There were 110 protest­ing Ever­ton fans still in their seats 90 min­utes af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle against Bournemouth, flanked by stew­ards, wait­ing to make their point.

Play­ers and of­fi­cials usu­ally make their way out of the sta­dium via the pitch­side tun­nel and as Martínez com­pleted his me­dia du­ties a con­cerned ste­ward asked if he would pre­fer an al­ter­na­tive route.

Martínez de­clined. He took his usual path, was in­evitably spot­ted and the sup­port­ers chanted for him to “get out of our club”. They made their point. He made is.

The Spa­niard may be short of al­lies but he will not hide. Like those sup­port­ers with their ban­ners, he would not be moved. You must ad­mire him for that.

Martínez could never have felt so iso­lated in man­age­ment. Few, if any, have spo­ken on his be­half even when it was known that such dis­sent was com­ing. If he is to be re­lieved of his du­ties – and it is hard to see how he can sur­vive – it seems cruel that he had to en­dure this. It would have been far worse but for goals from Tom Clev­er­ley and Leighton Baines se­cur­ing a 2-1 win over Eddie Howe’s side.

The board is bid­ing its time, ei­ther pray­ing Martínez can mirac­u­lously re­verse the tide of opinion in a cou­ple of mean­ing­less league games or pre­sum­ing a post-sea­son change is more dig­ni­fied. They gam­bled that Martínez would avoid a more rapid, un­seemly demise, but it was not an es­pe­cially im­pres­sive per­for­mance and fur­ther mutiny was pos­si­ble when Marc Pugh equalised for the vis­i­tors .

“Be­ing a man­ager is a lonely job and it has to be,” said Martínez. “All I want is the best for Ever­ton. It’s not about me, it’s not about mak­ing safe de­ci­sions, it’s about be­liev­ing in what we have to do to progress and reach where we want to go,” he said.

“I wasn’t think­ing about ram­i­fi­ca­tions if we con­ceded at the end – you don’t think in that way. It was just think­ing about the vic­tory, as we al­ways do. “We have been through dif­fi­cult and painful lessons to­gether, and maybe it was about that. It is an hon­our to be Ever­ton man­ager. I know the his­tory and ex­pec­ta­tion we have, but I bring that on my­self any­way. It’s not about win­ning the fans over with talk­ing, it’s about do­ing it with wins.” Aside from the mood of the sup­port­ers, Farhad Moshiri and Bill Ken­wright’s main con­sid­er­a­tion will be who is best equipped to spend £100 mil­lion when pro­ceeds from Romelu Lukaku and John Stones’s likely sales are added to the sum­mer bud­get. Will they judge Martínez on his ear­li­est deals on Mersey­side – such as Lukaku and James McCarthy – or will they be more con­cerned by Oumar Niasse chas­ing a foot­ball like an ex­cited dog af­ter a stick on Stan­ley Park, or even Mo Besic’s alarm­ing de­fi­cien­cies (al­beit cur­rently in an un­fa­mil­iar full-back role)?

“I ar­rived at the club in 2013 in a very im­por­tant mo­ment, be­cause we lost prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant goalscor­ing threat in the team with [Marouane] Fel­laini and [ Vic­tor] Anichebe,” said Martínez.

“The av­er­age age was nearly 30, now it’s around 26. The record is there, the work we have done in those six win­dows shows the record we have ... we have five or six play­ers in the un­der-21s who will make the grade to be an Ever­ton player, and I think the record is there. You need to have a be­lief in all the play­ers we have in the squad – and I’ve got that be­lief in Oumar.”

We will know shortly whether the Ever­ton board have the same trust in their man­ager.

Suf­fer­ing: Roberto Martínez on Satur­day

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