This was not a lone voice. Ian Ayres, the Liverpool Chief Executive was publically abused the other day by some ‘fans’ for considering Martinez.
As both a Liverpool and Wigan fan, this constant, and unfair, criticism of Martinez is becoming tiresome.
So, I added up the total transfer costs of the Wigan first team (not including subs). It came to £6m, plus two players’ fees undisclosed. So, the probable total cost of the eleven players who started most matches last season was just £9m.
So, from February until the end of the season, with an entire team that cost no more than Liverpool squandered on Charlie Adam, Martinez managed to finish just nine points behind Liverpool.
In the last 15 matches of the season, Wigan gained 28 points from 15 matches, including away wins against Liverpool, Arsenal and Fulham, and home wins against Man United, Newcastle, and Stoke. Wigan didn’t as much beat Newcastle as demolish them.
In that same period, Liverpool managed a huge 16 points. If the season had lasted another four or five games on the same form, Wigan would have been level with Liverpool.
Now, Martinez managed this without the luxury of being able to go and spend £35m on a striker; £20m on an (very average) winger; or £9m on a truly awful midfielder.
Yet Wigan played superb football with a winger bought for £2.5m (Moses), who makes Downing look pedestrian, and a midfielder from Celtic (Maloney £1m) who is far superior to Adam, or Henderson, for that matter.
And why weren’t the Wigan fans complaining when the club was rooted at the foot of the table? The answer was that they could see what their manager was trying to do. And it paid off. Even then, they tried to on the right way. It was just a matter of gaining belief, which Martinez gave them.
There are two ways of looking at the situation. Many fans are advising, even urging Liverpool not to bring in Martinez. I would advise Martinez to think twice about going to Liverpool. If the fans and owners are not prepared to be patient with what will take time, then he should avoid it like the plague. He is better than that.
I’ve got mixed feelings. As a Wigan fan I’d hate to see him go. As a Liverpool fan, there’s only one place I’d want him to go to if he does leave. He is well good enough for Liverpool.
I’m convinced that Martinez has it in him to become one of the very, very, top managers around, and I don’t just mean in this country. He sets out well-balanced teams that play lovely pass and move football. He is a superb motivator and has given this small town team the belief to beat anyone.
He would not be my current first choice at Liverpool. My preference, like many fans, would be the return of Rafa Benitez. However, if this doesn’t happen, then I’d be quite happy to see Martinez arrive. If so, he must be given a fair chance. My fear is that the reaction of some of the fans at present might put him off the idea.
If that happens, he might well become the best manager Liverpool never had.
Will Martinez get the time he needs at Liverpool if he is made manager?
image: © illarterate