Jack Pitt-Brooke: The drive of former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez's can decorate Everton's solid foundations
At Wigan he built a team with a definite identity which over-performed
Wednesday 29 May 2013
There is no such thing in management as a like-for-like replacement. No two personalities, philosophies or CVs are ever quite the same and so following David Moyes, with his decade-deep impression at Goodison Park, could never have been a simple switch.
Bill Kenwright certainly could appoint a manager with more cosmetic similarities to Moyes, whether Malky Mackay or Neil Lennon, who could match Moyes for intense strength of character.
But Roberto Martinez, now the clear front-runner, has his own similarities. Over the course of four years at Wigan, on declining funds, he built a team with a definite identity which over-performed, whether in the league or cup, every year.
Just as Moyes had to sell Joleon Lescott, Mikel Arteta, Steven Pienaar and others, Martinez lost Antonio Valencia, Mohamed Diamé, Hugo Rodallega, Victor Moses and Charles N'Zogbia. While Everton were trying to make Europe with mid-table resources, Wigan were trying to stay up with a Championship budget. They did it for three years but not in the fourth, having to make do with the FA Cup instead.
These restrictions force managers to look imaginatively for bargains. Moyes delved into the Football League to sign Phil Jagielka, Tim Cahill and Lescott while pursuing under-explored foreign markets in recent years. Marouane Fellaini came from Belgium before it was fashionable, Kevin Mirallas from Greece.
Martinez is an expert at this, signing cleverly from Spain, Scotland and Latin America, knowing that Wigan cannot compete with better-resourced teams elsewhere. It is a skill he will need at Goodison Park.
The most obvious difference is in style of play. While Moyes made Everton hard to beat and ferocious without the ball, Martinez is more imaginative tactically, with his pioneering 3-4-3 system, and more focused on stylish possession. While Moyes' team mastered the rudiments, Wigan – eventually doomed by their defending – seemed to do everything but that. That bravery on the ball, though, might be what Everton need. They already have a solid base and disciplined squad. But Moyes never won at the Emirates, which Martinez did, or at Anfield, which Martinez did. He never won a trophy, which Martinez did. On the way to that trophy, Wigan took Everton to pieces at Goodison Park, delivering one of the low points of the Moyes era.
So the task for Martinez, if he gets the job, is one of embellishment. Moyes has left resilient foundations at Goodison Park, which Martinez would be very fortunate to inherit. All he needs to do, with the style and ambition of his teams, is to decorate them.
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