Has A Manager Ever Failed Upwards Like Roberto Martinez?

By Gary Connaughton

Picture the scene. You have just been sacked by Everton, paying the price for a torrid run of form after what had been a promising start to life at the club. As a manager, you have failed to capitalise on that previously strong position by spending quite a bit of money on poor signings.

You're unsure what your next career opportunity will be. It is unlikely that a club near the top end of the league will come calling, while building up a squad lower down in the division may not be a very appealing prospect.

Then, a golden opportunity arrives. Somehow, you have been offered perhaps the most attractive job in international football.

Belgium had long been touted as the next big thing on the international stage, producing a 'golden generation' of players that was capable of competing with any nation in the world. With talent such as that at their disposal, they would have had the pick of potential managers.

For some reason, they chose Roberto Martinez.

What followed was over half a decade of disappointment on the global stage. Despite having perhaps the best squad in world football, they fell short at both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020.

It's also fair to say that Martinez failed to get the best out of many of the top class talents at his disposal. Romelu Lukaku aside, few of his squad members managed to replicate their club form in a Belgium shirt.


By the time the World Cup rolled around in Qatar, it was clear he had essentially wasted the nation's golden generation.

When he was sacked after the tournament, he found himself in a similar position to the one he was in after he left Everton. The Spaniard had not done a good enough job with Belgium to justify another top position and his next move looked uncertain.

However, as seems to be a theme in his career, it appears that he has fallen on his feet once again.


It has been reported this afternoon that Roberto Martinez is set to be appointed as the next Portugal manager, with an announcement imminent.


Similar to when he became Belgium manager in 2016, Martinez is set to inherit one of the most promising squads in international football.

The Cristiano Ronaldo era may be all but over, but there are a huge amount of emerging talents in Portugal at the moment. A quick look at their World Cup squad tells you everything you need to know about their prospects in the years ahead.



The likes of Ronaldo and Pepe aside, that is a team that has the ability to compete for the biggest honours over the next half decade or so.

Roberto Martinez falls into another top class job

This is another incredible opportunity for Roberto Martinez, one that his recent CV doesn't suggest he deserves.

It all leads to one question: how the hell does he keep doing it?


Few managers have continually failed in high profile roles, only to then be offered an even more attractive job. You could argue that it dates all the way back to his relegation with Wigan Athletic, although he did lead them to an unlikely FA Cup triumph.

The man can seemingly do no wrong, at least in the eyes on prospective employers. He must be a hell of an interviewee.

In short, people are confused as to how this has all worked out for him.

The fact that Portugal have looked outside of their own country for a manager is a rarity in itself. They have done so only twice, with Brazilians Otto Gloria and Luiz Felipe Scolari the foreigners to manage the side.

In other words, Martinez will be the first non-native Portuguese speaker to manage the national team.

If you asked their supporters, you'd imagine that many of them would have hoped for a more inspired appointment if they were to break the mould of their previous coaches.

For Portugal's sake, you'd hope that the next few years does not play out in a familiar fashion. They are a nation that consistently produce good players, but the current generation is a notch above the norm.

Roberto Martinez has shown that he has a tendency to squander such resources. Let's hope that isn't the case on this occasion.

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