Everton hires Roberto Martinez as manager
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) -- Roberto Martinez was hired as the new manager of Everton on Wednesday, concluding a four-year spell at Wigan where he established a reputation for playing entertaining football but couldn't prevent its slide out of the English Premier League.
Martinez signed a four-year deal as the replacement for David Moyes, who is taking over from Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, to become only Everton's 14th permanent manager in its 135-year history.
Linked heavily with jobs at Liverpool and Aston Villa in recent seasons, his stock remained high despite failing to keep Wigan in England's top division for the fourth straight season. He guided the northwest team to a first major trophy thanks to a surprise 1-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup final in May and insisted on adopting an easy-on-the-eye style that earned plaudits across the country.
"It's something I expected when he asked me if he could leave,'' said Wigan owner Dave Whelan, who allowed Martinez to begin talks with Everton in the wake of his team's relegation.
"Roberto has been for us one fantastic manager ... he's just such a wonderful character. He is going to a great club, great supporters and I wish him the best of luck.''
The 39-year-old Spaniard will be presented as manager at a news conference later Wednesday.
A technically gifted midfielder who spent most of his 14-year playing career in the lower leagues in England, Martinez has gained more repute as a coach, first joining Swansea in 2007 and then taking over at Wigan two years later.
Under Whelan at Wigan, he enjoyed the rare commodity of a secure job and never wavered from his principles of entertaining and passing football. Ferguson was among the managers who praised Martinez for his approach to the game.
Joining Everton will be a big step up for Martinez, with his remit changing to qualifying for Europe rather than simply keeping a team in the Premier League. Under Moyes, the club finished in the Premier League's top eight every year since 2007, despite having a small budget to work with, and placed sixth last season - ahead of local rival Liverpool for the second straight year.
Everton remains one of England's biggest clubs, with a large fan base around the world owing to its success in the 1980s when it vied with Liverpool as the country's biggest team.
Its last major trophy was the FA Cup in 1995, however, and success-starved fans will want Martinez to replicate the stability of Moyes, who was in charge for 11 years, but also add some trophies to the mix.
Martinez's first task will be to secure the futures of Everton's star players such as Leighton Baines, Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jagielka, who are in demand after strong seasons at Goodison Park.
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