Martinez rejected Liverpool move to build a legacy at Wigan

Spaniard chose to repay chairman's faith – but demanded new training ground in return

Most managers want more money to stay at a football club. Some want a greater transfer budget. Roberto Martinez wanted a new training ground. The choice this summer between Liverpool and Wigan Athletic, who play each other tomorrow at Anfield, seemed on the surface a nonsensical equation. Sir Alex Ferguson's advice for any manager weighing up a competing offer is go to the highest point of each stadium and look down.

Martinez would not have needed to go anywhere near Anfield to know the view from the Kop dwarfed that from the Boston Stand or anywhere else in the DW Stadium.

As he prepared to meet Liverpool's owners in Florida, Martinez seemed the likeliest candidate to succeed Kenny Dalglish – the young ambitious 40-something club owner John W Henry had been looking for to secure the long term. His chairman, Dave Whelan, appeared to accept he would leave.

If anything was offered in Miami – and Liverpool deny anything was – Martinez traded it in return for securing the long term at Wigan. "What happened in the summer was the right time for it to have happened," Martinez said of a period when Liverpool were not his only suitors.

"I had an agreement of three years with my chairman, who has been loyal and supportive. I had the opportunity to pay back that loyalty after my second season here [when he rejected an approach from Aston Villa].

"The third year was the time to think what it was he wanted to do. I wanted certain things done internally for me to stay. That meant investing in a new training ground, which we are 12 months away from. It meant investing in the structure of the Under-21s and trying to keep the players we wanted to keep."

Did he expect Whelan to agree to his demands? "Oh no," Martinez replied. "It took the chairman a week or two to think about it. Then, he was as excited as I have ever seen him."

On the surface, Martinez's request to build up Wigan's infrastructure appears a strange one, especially because it is often the man who succeeds you who reaps the benefit, just as David O'Leary did with the young players brought to Leeds United by Howard Wilkinson in the 1990s.

"I like to build a football club. I did at Swansea and there is a pleasure in seeing football clubs three or four years down the line even when you are not involved," said Martinez, who argues that the club's new training ground will be as important to Wigan as the stadium was when it opened in 1999.

"Having been in the Premier League for eight years, Wigan have not got enough to show for it. The summer was a key moment to do that and the chairman agreed to have a legacy to leave behind."

By staying on, Martinez acknowledges that he is running a risk. Wigan have a small squad and operate on a limited budget. They have already lost the winger Victor Moses to Chelsea and loss of form and injuries would make the club intensely vulnerable. As Owen Coyle discovered at Bolton, strong relationships between chairman and manager corrode with relegation.

Logic demanded that Wigan should have been relegated already. The last time Martinez prepared his team to go to Liverpool in March, they were bottom of the Premier League, having won just one of their previous 14 games.

It is perhaps no coincidence that there is a picture of Gary Caldwell celebrating the winner at Anfield above where Martinez is sitting. That win, he remarked, produced something he could not teach, not even in a state-of-the-art training facility: belief. They won at Arsenal for the first time and also beat Manchester United the week before, a side that hitherto they had not taken a point from. It was exhilarating but probably not something Martinez's wife would want him to go through again.

"You have the risk of losing any job in football," he said. "That is the nature of the game. What is important is that you understand what you have got and how you can improve it. Always have a plan, not for one season but for the next two, five and 10 years. There is always a right time and a wrong time to leave a football club."

Here's who you could have had: Moves that never happened

Brian Clough to Newcastle United, 1982

Over dinner at the city's Holiday Inn, Clough appeared to agree to join the club as managing director. The dinner was hosted by club shareholder Malcolm Dix. "Brian asked about his salary and we said: 'You'd be managing director, you would write your own salary'... The feeling was Brian would sell so many season tickets he would pay for himself." However, Clough often flirted with other clubs with the aim of bettering his contract at Forest and he killed the deal by leaking it to the press. Newcastle soon got their season-ticket seller with the arrival of Kevin Keegan.

Alex Ferguson to Tottenham, 1984

It was Irving Scholar's knowledge of football trivia that impressed Ferguson. The Spurs chairman and the Aberdeen manager shook hands on a salary that would be more lucrative than anything Man United would later offer. However, there were issues. Scholar said Ferguson's "father-son" relationship with Aberdeen chairman Dick Donald hampered talk about quitting Pittodrie. His wife was also not keen on moving to London. However, had Scholar offered Ferguson the five-year contract he wanted and not the three-year one he rejected, the "glory, glory days" might have returned to the Seven Sisters Road.

Bobby Robson to Arsenal, 1995

On one side were Bobby Robson and his assistant, Jose Mourinho. On the other was Jorge Pinto da Costa, the president of Porto. In the middle was an offer from Arsenal for Robson and Mourinho to succeed George Graham at Highbury. Pinto da Costa brought inducements in the shape of a gold pen, with probably some "loyalty bonuses" and a refusal to enter into negotiations with David Dein and Peter Hill-Wood, who had already agreed the deal in a meeting with Robson in London. Had Pinto da Costa not dug his heels in, it is unlikely Arsène Wenger would ever have set foot in the home dressing room.

Andre Villas-Boas to Burnley, 2010

Nobody doubted AVB's CV which had seen him working for Mourinho at Chelsea and then steering Academica de Coimbra clear of relegation. His presentation was impressive, but it was the jargon they didn't get. Burnley chief executive, Paul Fletcher, recalled: "Tommy Docherty used to say he never said anything to his players his milkman wouldn't understand. I don't think any milkman would fathom Andre's presentation. Would Burnley players have understood if he had told them to 'solidificate'?" They appointed Brian Laws, who lacked the jargon and the ability to keep Burnley in the Premier League.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum