March 5, 2024
Roberto Martinez

Roberto: Will he stay or will he go?

Roberto Martinez
Roberto: Will he stay or will he go?

As soon as it became clear Gerard Houllier would not return to manage Aston Villa, rumours about who should replace him began to fly. One of those in the running was Wigan’s own Roberto Martinez, who was immediately instated as the bookies’ third favourite when chairman Randy Lerner expressed an interest in the Spaniard.

It has emerged today that Dave Whelan has given Martinez the opportunity to speak to the Villans, placing his future in the balance. On the one hand there is a contract extension offer from Latics, which he has been mulling over for some time, while on the other, the Midlands outfit will no doubt table a tempting proposition to bring Bob to Villa Park. Will he remain at the club that introduced him to British football or opt for a new challenge? Though Whelan reckons he’ll stay, I estimate the situation to be 50:50.

Despite Roberto’s strong affinity with Wigan, I very much doubt his decision will be clouded by nostalgia, and creative freedom may well be the determining factor. However, should Villa stump up the cash, I find it hard to see any other outcome than him leaving. It’s a nasty thought, as minds will be cast back to just over two years ago when Steve Bruce opted to leave for Sunderland. The Latics foundations began to crumble as a result, even if you could well argue that deterioration started as early as Christmas; whatever the case, his successor did a decent job of steadying the ship.

Big Brucey’s immediate departure after the 2008–09 season was somewhat inevitable. Roberto is in a different situation, having revived Wigan’s fortunes in the latter part of the season and finishing on a real high. Ever the professional, he may feel an obligation to honour his contract at the DW.

When Martinez was appointed Latics’ boss, one had the feeling his relative inexperience at the highest level could possibly mean disaster for Wigan. Dave Whelan placed total faith in his man, sticking by Roberto 100% through the tough times and never once intimating his position was in any danger. Even as other, seemingly more successful Premier League managers fell by the wayside, Roberto remained. This could edge the decision in Wigan’s favour, as he may never again find a chairman as patient as Uncle Dave.

Personally, I’m looking forward to another season under Martinez and am confident we can improve on our 16th place finish this coming campaign. Hopefully we shall see the continuation, or perhaps the culmination, of two years’ hard work rebuilding the team from the ground up. If Roberto leaves, we’d better get a decent replacement in there sharpish or else a mass exodus may result and we could be back to rebuilding once again.

4 thoughts on “Roberto Martinez in talks with Aston Villa: A question of faith?

  1. As a Villa fan, I have to say I am not enamoured about the prospect of him arriving at Villa Park.

    I’m surprised that he seems to be held in such high esteem by Wigan fans; Wigan are now an established Premiership side, and I would have thought that finishing below newly-promoted sides such as Albion and Newcastle – and only securing safety on the last day of the season – would represent something of a disappointment.

    I guess we are united in one thing – we both want to see Martinez staying at the DW.

  2. Hey Mark. It seems to me that Roberto is Lerner’s choice, a personal punt, if you like. I must admit I was extremely surprised to read on Teletext that Roberto was in talks, and disappointed, too. When your manager is “in talks” with a larger club, you really fear the worst.

    Roberto might not have got us challenging for the top ten, but you have to remember he’s only 37. To be managing –and keeping a team afloat– in the Premier League at that age is some feat. We knew it was a big gamble to take him on when we did, and if I’m honest we didn’t have great expectations. He’s still very raw, even at this stage.

    It’s impossible not to warm to Bob. He can turn the biggest doubters into his biggest supporters with just a chat, and he loves his fans forums. He has the attitude and mentality, he just needs to hone his tactical skills to take it to the next level, something we’ve started to see in the last 10-12 games of the season. Heck, if Dave Whelan, who is famously impatient with his managers, has faith in him, it’s hard not to agree.

  3. I can’t see him leaving the club just yet. He has the strong connection with the club and the fans, I feel that he will turn down the chance as this moment in time. Had they approached him next year or so, when he had got us into the mid-table with a decent squad then he may leave.

    Martinez likes what he is doing here and i think even though we don’t have the funds available like Villa do, I don’t think he sees that at a problem for him. Time will tell and by tomorrow afternoon either way the deal will be done.

    It just has go to show though give a good manager some time and he can create what he needs to. Look at Fergie when he first took over, it took him time to get United going right, but look at them now. I am not saying we will get like that, but he will certainly turn us into a top ten team pushing for Europa league, given the time and patience.

    HeapyLatic

  4. Heapy: All managers have to leave at some point, it’s a rule of Premier League life. Even Fergie will have to hang up his hairdryer one day, but he’s in the superb position of actually characterising Man United.

    I think Martinez deserves a lot of credit for keeping Latics in the league this past season, but yes, you do have to ask if he quite ready to move on yet. We said that two years ago when he took over, however. It’ll be a case of whether:

    a) He’s offered a better deal financially, which I’m fairly sure he will;
    b) He wants to repay Whelan’s faith and see out the final year of his contract;
    c) He thinks the time is right for him to go to the next level.

    Pfft, I still rate it 50:50 :/

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