An Audience With Roberto Martinez - Part 1
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Blue Kipper met Roberto Martinez at the first team canteen at Finch Farm for what was described as "A Private Audience With Roberto."

Kipper represented Blue Kipper. Also around the table were Becki from Grand Old Team, Graham from When Skies are Grey, Simon from NSNO, Neil from SOS1878 and Ped from Followtonians.

The questions were asked by all the group, and some questions were duplicated, so I've edited into three parts as it was such a long interview, so that nothing is missed.

Everton made us welcome with a laid back approach we sat in a circle with a cup of coffee and after we all introduced ourselves to the manager, we took turns to ask questions. It lasted over an hour and a half,

but it seemed like 10 minutes had gone. I could have listened to Boberto all night. There is no doubt there was plenty of man love around the table.


Roberto: I'll be as honest and as open as I am. We all share the passion of the football club and that's why it excites me. I'd like to meet more regularly, but sometimes its difficult. I think it's important for the fans and I think it's important that I know what the fans think. Also I think its important that the fans know why I do things. Everything we do is planned. Some things come off some things don't, but always the direction is to achieve something long term. So we are half way through the season, and it'll be great to meet again with 10 games to go. I'm always open to hear your views. So feel free to ask any questions. Fire away.

Blue Kipper: Has the club exceeded your expectations?

Roberto: Well I'm still finding out. When I came to Everton I knew Everton was a special football club. I wouldn't say its exceeded expectations its everything that I thought it would be. A big, big football club with incredible tradition with a special feel around Goodison when you play football. I always felt that as an opposing manager it was an intimidating place to come. It has excited me and what excites me more is the group of players we have are ready to take us into the next level.

Blue Kipper: Have you been surprised how quick the players have adapted to your style of play, when they have been used to a more direct style?

Roberto: Yes a good question. When I started as a manager at Swansea. It was straight lines. Four four two. It took me six months to change the philosophy and become a possession team. When I went to Wigan obviously because of the financial situation we had it probably took about two and a half years of transfer windows to change the whole style. At Everton it took me seven weeks.

So from the first day with the staff, we were so impressed doing things in training that would take many sessions to repeat. Here they just got it in one session. I know in the game with Vienna, we conceded in the first minute of action. In any other dressing room that would have set you back a couple of months. Here it was the opposite. The players were more interested in finding out why.

People get things wrong. Playing from the back shouldn't be a gamble. If it is a mistake it has because you haven't done something right. So there is a very clear structure playing from the back. What you are doing is forcing the opposition to make a decision. Do they want to press up high and the gaps appear in the middle or do they allow you to have it and you control the game straight away. I would say I was so amazed how quickly the players took those concepts on. More from the experienced players than the youngsters. I knew that the youngsters would be more open, because as a young player you are brave, you have never been damaged before. You'll have a real good approach. The experienced players came on board. The centre halves who were averaging 22 - 25 passes a game are now averaging 60 - 65 passes per game. It's is a huge difference.   

The game against Juventus in USA was the moment I knew we were ready to be flexible tactically and  change things quickly. I never change things drastically. We just evolve and we slowly got into a possession where the West Brom game at home was frustrating, but you could see that things were coming together. The Norwich game was frustrating, the Cardiff game was frustrating, but they evolved into something special against Newcastle and since then we never looked back.

Its a very interesting question, because it depends on the dressing room. How quickly you can impose a way of playing relies on the nature of the player. I'm not saying the quality of the player. We are talking about a 5 to 10 yard pass. Anyone can do that. But players are open to do that. Other they are not open to do that and I was impressed with the dressing room straight away. In seven weeks since the day we started, the team was ready to play in that way.

Blue Kipper: Jags has said that he was surprised that the first session of pre season that the players were playing football as opposed to getting physically fit without the ball. Will you tell me in a bit more detail how you train the players.


Roberto: Yes I will. The season is split into two parts. Before the games start and then when the competitive games start. There is a big difference. In pre-season the difference with my method is many many teams work physically. They just work to try and get the athlete as fit as they can and then they introduce the ball. I never believed in that. I always believed that you get the footballer fit. The footballer needs to work with the ball. Just thinking. If you are going to run. The running action without the ball is different if you are going to run with the ball. So for me its pointless to run and run or do an exercise not linked to football. It's not going to get you fitter.

I got a shock when I came in 1995 to do fitness exercises that had nothing to do with a footballer. It was more being an athlete or a runner. Then after four weeks they throw the ball  in and then you have to get fit playing games. For me its something which hasn't evolved enough. The straightforward answer is as a footballer, you need to get fit as a footballer. Running with a ball you use different muscles than when you run in straight lines.

You don't see runs in a football game which is longer than 33-34 yards, because everything is stop start or moving around. It's a completely different type of fitness. So the players were very surprised that they had the ball straight away. It's tiring, but enjoyable, because you are with the ball. At the end of the 60 days. We work around 60 sessions in pre-season. The perception of the players is 'we've done nothing here'. But the footballer was fit. I think they got a shock when they looked at the fitness stats. They showed that they were the fittest that they have ever been after the period of pre-season. It's a different way of working.


Blue Kipper: You always seem to praise the players in the interviews I've heard and you talk about the players enjoying their football. Do you enjoy being a manager?


Roberto: I do, but don't make no mistake about it. It's the second best feeling in football. The best feeling is being a player. Being on the pitch and make decisions, take people on and loose the ball and react to that. That is the best job in football. But I do enjoy being a manager. Especially seeing footballers enjoying their football and performing well as a team. Nowadays in the modern game, you don't get four defenders and a striker. Everybody has to be able to defend. Everybody has to be able to attack and its a team effort. That's the biggest strength we have at Everton and we've got that. If you do that you should be able to enjoy your football, whichever the aim is behind it.


Blue Kipper: Who or which team influenced you to produce your style of play?


Roberto: It's a combination. The truth is the biggest influence the way I play the game is Johan Cryuff at Barcelona in 1993. I would say that's the best team I've ever seen play football. When Johan Cryuff arrived he changed the philosophy of the football club. You are talking about a club which is just not a football club. It's a political vehicle. To change things in such a huge football club takes a long time and the start was very difficult. For the first six months, they wanted Johann out and it was a big situation for the chairman, who stood strong. Then the style became very successful and are still getting the rewards now. This made me think more about the game.


But previous to that I am a player who was a technical midfielder. My managers in Spain said to me when you go to England you will last two months. You will be back . No way you will be able to play there even in the lower leagues. So I had the opportunity to experiment with things. So with my background in Spain and Zaragoza I had a good education and with the way Barcelona play the game, I always experimented and its a combination of things that work in the British game. There are many ways of trying to put the ball in the box as quick as you can, putting balls in the corners. It's just a matter of seeing what works in the British game in a possession way of playing background. So it's a combination.


Blue Kipper: Where you a Barcelona fan?


Roberto: No. I was a Zaragoza fan. I was born in the middle. My Dad was a Zaragoza fan. I ended up playing for Zaragoza. But that wasn't enough in Spain. You need to follow Barcelona of Real Madrid. All my friends followed Barcelona. I was a bit more different. I was just a Zaragoza fan. Obviously I'm a Catalan and that's a big influence. You always see Barcelona.


Blue Kipper: You managed at Swansea and Wigan. Both Clubs you knew as a player. What was it a like to join Everton with no ties to the club?


Roberto: Sometimes you don't see from the outside the relationship with the chairman. An old fashioned relationship were you sit down and discuss the plan for the next six months or the next three years. Or in the next five years we should be here. I knew straight away I could trust the chairman. He is an incredible Evertonian. The amount of stories he told me about the club was amazing. I felt excited and every department you meet in the football club is very professional. Everyone makes you feel very welcome and we are a unique football club in that respect. So to join Everton it was exciting. There was a lot of work to be done, especially with the talent they have was a new prospect for me.


Blue Kipper: Do you think getting rid of the underdog tag has helped the players go and win against the top teams.


Roberto: Yes. I think you can talk to the players as long as you want, but only when you get the proof. Only when you get on the pitch you only get success with a top teams playing eye to eye you don't believe it. I think we had an incredible experience when we played Man Utd away and Arsenal away in a week. The performances were magnificent. I know we got 4 points out of it, but we should have got six. Since then and the Liverpool performance, the belief grew into the squad.

Everyone know that we can play anyone. We are good in what we are doing and we are ready to play against anyone. I do feel those three games. Those experiences have given us the belief to believe in ourselves throughout the season. There has been maybe we can't see eye to eye with these sides. That it was a different kind of game. That we try to beat every opposition beside the top four, and it was being a bit more cautious. I think we have changed that mentality now completely. When we went to Arsenal the first 40 minutes were as good as we have played. That mental block of playing against a top side and given them too much respect, was gone and we were magnificent and the mentality has changed.


Click here for Part 2  - Roberto on Ross Barkley, the new players coming through.

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Comments about An Audience With Roberto Martinez - Part 1
6 Months and already fast becoming a legend, Just love Roberto to bit's.
Peter b, Walton , 10:44 AM 10/01/2014
Never underestimate the power of positivity on people. Roberto always has a good word to say and is a natural motivator who will hopefully get the best out of the players, fans and club. Great stuff
Arthur, Buckingham, 8:34 PM 9/01/2014
I feared disaster when Moysie left - I thought he held the club together with the strength of his personality. And I was very doubtful about El Bob after some of Wigan's defending. But I am so pleased to be so wrong. As well as being a top bloke, he knows his stuff.
Big Dave, South Bucks, 2:19 PM 9/01/2014
Great interview, shows Bob at his best. Whoever made the final decision to appoint him deserves all the credit. That's one in the eye for all the haters out there. What will they whine about now?
Tony, Stoneycroft, 9:57 AM 9/01/2014
Honest, articulate and intelligent Roberto oozes class every time he speaks about our great club superb appointment by BK and can't wait to see where he can take us COYB
Adam, L12, 11:37 PM 8/01/2014
I informed my wife and kids that I was joining Hitzhisface today and coming out due to my man crush on Martinez... can't remember genuinely 'enjoying' watching Everton play regardless of result as much as I have so far this season, we have been top class!
Brian, Chester, 10:25 PM 8/01/2014
Really enjoyed that, great insight into the mind of Roberto - Just what I suspected a clever dude! Nice work Bill K!
Rossy, Keady, 9:28 PM 8/01/2014
Can't wait for part2. What a read!
Aidan, Drogheda, 8:27 PM 8/01/2014
Anyone who hasn't already done so should listen to the whole podcast, as it's not just what he says, it's the manner in which he says it, so much passion and belief. I was never a great Moyes fan because of his dour Scot negativity, although I think even the most grudging amongst us would have to admit he left us better than he found us. But such words as "refreshing" and "positive" that roll off the tongue to describe Bobby, could never be associated with his predecessor. We may not actually win any more under Bobby than we did under Moyes but at least it will be an adventure. He's already put the smiles back on Evertonians faces and brought back the feeling that its ok to dream, and we owe him a debt for that alone.
Eric Haworth, Lydiate, 6:58 PM 8/01/2014
Great interview. Love his style of play.
Barbara, Aigburth, 6:58 PM 8/01/2014
A very insightful interview,you can see enthusiasm and wisdom in droves coming from our Manager. Makes you feel ten feet tall in the manner in which he constructively answers the questions,interspersed with a deep and historical belief in how football should be played. Looking forward to the conclusion.
the obsructed view, liverpool, 5:40 PM 8/01/2014
Wow, can't wait for part 2, part 3 and how ever many parts there are. I could listen to or read about what Roberto has to say all day long. He is a very open, honest, intelligent and technically brilliant footballer/manager. I also hope that the Kenwright knockers, take notice of what he says about blue bill. It is about time BK got some credit COYB, NSNO
Kevin, Waterloo, 4:51 PM 8/01/2014
Great Interview, Bobby is bringing Everton into the 21st Century . What an earth where previous coaches doing with our players. No point them doing they're A and Pro licence if not getting the basics right. I did not know 100% what was going on at bellfield and finch farm in terms of Moyes and back room, and could not judge, but knew it was not right for present day. But Martinez has proved in 6 months that they where way off-side and out of date . I would predict that the Academy from 10+ to U21 will also drasticly improve
Ray Owen, Haydock, 4:51 PM 8/01/2014
Good stuff. Waiting for part two.
Bob, L4, 4:40 PM 8/01/2014
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