Martinez and Everton's Champions League dream is just that


In professional football, optimism is a very healthy trait. Wild optimism however, is just plain barmy. 

New Everton boss Roberto Martinez is prone to it. In a garden full of weeds the Spaniard will always pick out the one flower that’s blooming. 

For example, despite every result going against his Wigan side prior to their must-win relegation clash against Arsenal at the Emirates last month, the FA Cup winning gaffer seemed utterly convinced it was ‘a positive’ to know that victory in north London was a necessity.

Then, after predictably suffering their fate, a genuinely flummoxed-looking Martinez confessed, “I never expected this to happen.” His team conceded 73 goals. Surely it couldn’t have been that much of a surprise. 

Martinez has it seems, teamed up with a kindred spirit in the shape of Everton chairman Bill Kenwright. Friendly, talkative, passionate and with a warmth of emotion few chairmen and managers dare to display, they are two extremely likeable peas in a pod. 

And, just like David Moyes’ replacement, the West End theatre impresario is also a sucker for making the occasional irrationally positive comment. 

Swept away by a moment of over-exuberance, Kenwright conveyed to the world on Tuesday that Martinez had boldly claimed in his job interview that he’ll “get Everton into the Champions League.” It was this confidence he said, which convinced him the ex-Wigan chief was the right man for the role. 

Call me cynical, but most people tend to stretch the boundaries of possibility in order to convince a prospective employer that they’re the best man or woman for the job. Given Martinez’s upbeat outlook on life he may well have believed it when he said it, but it was an outrageous claim nonetheless. 

I’m sure he regrets it now. For, the moment Kenwright made that revelation public at the press conference he’d inadvertently placed a noose around the neck of his new best friend. 

There’s simply no way that Everton can finish in the top four of the Premier League next season. Not a hope in hell. 

Within the four years of Martinez’s contract? It’s extremely unlikely. 

David Moyes achieved it once, way back in 2004/05. It was Jose Mourinho’s debut campaign as Chelsea boss, when the Blues trousered more points than anyone else in Premier League history (95) creating a skewed final table that left West Brom safe from relegation on just 34 points. 

The fourth-placed Toffees claimed a mere 61. That’s two less than last season’s tally, when Everton concluded an impressive campaign a distant ten points behind the last of the Champions League qualifiers, Arsenal. This, with what David Moyes described as his best ever Everton side. 

For all his success, David Moyes’ best points’ haul for a season at Goodison Park was 65, in 2007/08. It earned his men fifth-place, 11 behind the team in fourth. 

What these stats tell us is that it’s near-on impossible for Everton to compete with the big boys. 

Even when they out-do themselves, punching way above their weight, they are still little more than best of the rest. 

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are all considerably more powerful than Everton financially – and money always talks. Roberto Martinez won’t be able to buy the same calibre of player as any of them, and if an over-the-top bid arrives on his desk for Leighton Baines or Marouane Fellaini, he’ll be virtually powerless to resist. 

Next season will be a rebuilding process for Everton, as they readjust to a new manager’s tactics and ideals. 

Ageing at the back and in central midfield, there’s very real possibility that the side Moyes left behind has passed its peak. And there’s no question that last term’s consistent displays were the culmination of their former managers’ slowly-slowly catchy monkey development of his squad. 

Every player knew their job inside out, every player was comfortable with what they were being asked to do, the whole team was synchronised with their boss. 

Under a new coach it’s bound to be different. 

If only Martinez had promised Kenwright trophies instead of the Champions League. That would be a far more do-able quest. 

I wish him luck, but I fear the Spaniard’s wild optimism - and his chairman’s loose tongue - may come back to bite them both. 

Do you agree? If not, you can back Everton at 15.0 to finish in the top four next season

Read more from the ex-professional football Adrian Clarke