MAY
23
2014
When Blue Kipper Met Roberto Part 4
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Blue Kipper met Roberto Martinez for the second time this season at the first team canteen at Finch Farm for an interview with Everton Fans.

Monsieur Bleu represented Blue Kipper. Also around the table were Paul from Toffeeweb, Graham and Phil from When Skies are Grey, Dave from NSNO, Joe from SOS1878, Barry from Footyscene and Ped from Followtonians.

The questions were asked by all the group, and some questions were duplicated, so I've edited into a few 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. We took turns to ask questions. It lasted over an hour and a half. 

This is Part 4. Click here to see Part 3

Blue Kipper: Aiden McGeady, you brought him in in January, and I think its fair to say most Evertonians have been impressed with his cameos. He's not started many games, is that a conscious decision with relation to his fitness, or is that you consider him at this moment in time to be an impact player? 

Roberto: When he arrived, remember that with Aiden McGeady we had everything sorted for the summer. That was a signing for the summer. In the end, we were able to bring him in in January for a small compensation, I felt that it was well worth it, and now he's well ahead in his Everton career if that makes sense. But when he came back he needed six weeks to get his fitness levels, physically now he's perfect. He's adapted to the premier league - it's the first time he's played in our league. I do think he missed the preseason, from a tactical point of view, so I haven't been able to put him in too much, in games, because he doesn't really know what the team needs if that makes sense. We'll get the best of Aiden after this preseason, but I still think that everything he's done, he's shown incredible magic feet. He's terrific in one v one situations, and he's going to be a very important player for us.

Blue Kipper: He seems to have two great feet as well. 

Roberto: He has, he does things in training where the players just go "wow, what happened there?". When he's in the right position on the pitch at Goodison, I think the fans will see something that is quite unique in those situations. 

Blue Kipper: We were talking in reception about how media heavy your schedule is at the moment, and how you still seem to maintain an enthusiasm for it, and a positivity, you never seem jaded. How do you keep up your energy levels for that, with the repetition from situations such as this? 

Roberto: You don't see it as a chore. You don't think "oh I need to see the press now". I just enjoy the pure football debate, and I'll never hide from being open, and saying what we're trying to do, and what the thinking is behind doing things in a certain way. I really enjoy that. I can see some people who just see it as something where you just need to tick a box, where as a commitment it can be really difficult. I just enjoy football full stop, so I always take anyone's view and I like to get into a debate because football is not about right or wrong, its just a matter of opinions and how you can get the ball in the back of the net. That's the way I see it so I can get enjoyment out of talking and facing the press in that respect.

Blue Kipper: The Dani Alves incident in Spain last week, a lot of people are saying he handled it quite well but it's a very unpleasant thing to happen obviously. We could get drawn against a team from certain countries next season, an eastern European team for example where our black players may be subject to racial abuse. Do you feel you need to do anything to help them prepare for that, or are they big enough characters to take it on the chin? 

Roberto: Obviously it's a very serious issue, and I think FIFA and the big organisations, and even the governments now, they need to act. What happened in Spain is really disappointing. Because I'm from Spain I understand the culture, and it's a cultural issue, and some of the people who do those things, they don't even realise what they're doing. They think that it's a joke, and its something that is a bit of banter, and part of the game, and they are so wrong. They need to be educated. Other countries, maybe they're doing it with racist connotations, and that's where the governments and the big institutions need to get hands-on, educating people. Our players have always been really strong in all these issues, but I do think that we'll have to be aware, depending on what games we face, because that could be something where they see it as a joke, or football banter. Clearly we see it in a very different way, sometimes that makes it a bigger issue than it actually is but we need to be very careful. 

Blue Kipper: One of the real success stories of the second half of the season has been Steven Naismith. Prior to this season he had a bit of a rough time here. Do you think that was about where he was playing or just that his confidence was low, and how did you build his confidence back up? 

Roberto: I think with any player, when you arrive in a new league, you need a bit of an adaptation period. I think when Stevie arrived, he had to work so hard to be part of the team that I think he forgot about himself a little bit. When I watched Stevie play, because when I arrived I wanted to watch all the Everton games and I watched all the games back, I didn't see the Steven Naismith that was playing for Rangers, or even at Kilmarnock. I went to watch Stevie when he was at Kilmarnock, when I was manager at Swansea, because he was this young bright player with a lot of movement, very clever, playing in between the lines. That wasn't the Everton Steven Naismith - this was someone always concerned about his defensive role, and working hard, and he didn't want to mistakes. It was a matter of sitting him down and saying - "look, you need to be yourself". Then if you, by being yourself, do well - you'll play. If by being yourself you don't play, then you need to move on. You can't just move through football like it is a punishment. Straight away he opened up and he was himself. He's intelligent, I never worked with a player with that intelligence. He's someone that always attends training - there's never an excuse. Physically he's reached great levels for ten months, and he's an incredible finisher. Then off the ball, if you give him three jobs - there are players who you can only give one job, and say "look, you're doing this" - Steven Naismith you can give three jobs and he'll do them down to a tee. I thought his performance against Arsenal off the ball was as good as it gets. 

Blue Kipper: Does he feel more appreciated by the fans now? Obviously there's been a massive shift, previously there was almost a sarcastic element amongst fans if he lost the ball, and it wasn't very pleasant. But this year there's been a massive shift in terms of perception from the fans. Does he recognise that? 

Roberto: Immensely, remember as a player you want to be professional and you want to try to just get away from what's around you and concentrate on your job, but I always say that Goodison has got a special effect, in a positive manner. But if there is negativity it can have a massive, massive negative effect. When I saw Stevie in the early games, and as you say there was a little bit of sarcasm coming from the terraces, that was a really tough time and any other player would have crumbled and would have found it impossible. He was the opposite - he just wanted to turn that perception around. Its been a testament to him and he has a typical Everton heart, someone that will never accept defeat. I don't know who it was against, it was Man United or Arsenal at home, and he got for the first time - "there's only one Steven Naismith"? 

Blue Kipper: I think it was Arsenal? 

Roberto: Yes - and that was him full circle in nine months. An incredible story. 

Blue Kipper: We've talked a lot about football and the time that you spend in football. Do you have any time outside of football? What sort of films, what sort of music do you like? 

Roberto:This season the chairman has given me a few tickets to watch Evita... (everyone laughs) ...to watch Cabaret, and there was another one, so three shows I've seen this year. But I just switch off watching football. I enjoy it, it's a strange kind of therapy if you like. When you watch a game that you've got no link to whatsoever, and it doesn't matter what the result is, I get real satisfaction from just watching the game - seeing other people's problems, I really enjoy it and its therapeutic for me. 

Blue Kipper: Have you been surprised at the way the Evertonians have taken to you then? Obviously it was a bit unusual when you came in, because usually when a manager leaves a club its because they haven't done very well, but Everton had been doing quite well under the previous regime. You've obviously bought into the history and the fans have bought back into that. I've had a lot of messages on my way here saying "tell him thanks for giving us Everton back". Have you been surprised by the warmth that you've had? 

Roberto: I was very surprised at how special Everton was for the fans. There were two incidents. One - when I arrived for the first time at Goodison, the press conference, I had at least six or seven people there and they were proper fans, I could see that that was their day, that was their main moment of the day. Then when we went to Austria Vienna. We'd worked for twenty sessions, and it was the twenty-first session, it was a ten v ten. I'm looking at the away stand and I could see just blue everywhere, and I thought - that can't be our fans can it? So at that point I thought - "I need to find out, what's this relationship between the fans and Everton?" Just to understand it. And that's when you get a little bit captivated by it. I must admit that the support and the patience from the fans for the first three or four weeks, that was for me the moment I appreciated the fans the most. I knew it was difficult and I knew that everyone had their doubts and their question marks - "can these players play this way?" and "we've got a successful team now", "what are we going to do?". And nobody was disrespectful towards our work or towards the players, there was a real understanding. Even the nil-nil against West Brom, there were a lot of issues going on in the transfer window, and once the window shut we beat Chelsea. The support from the fans and the happiness from the fans has been fascinating. 

Blue Kipper: Have you ever seen supporters celebrate a goal like Evertonians? I watch other teams, like Man City last night, and there was just a lot of clapping. We score against anyone and everyone's hugging and kissing and its absolute bedlam! 

Roberto: I don't know who brought it in, but I watched a video of seven minutes of the fans celebrating at Old Trafford, the victory, and that was just one of the best insights I had into the away stand. It was incredible. As you say, that's what we are, that's Everton.

Blue Kipper: Finally, this new song that's going around - "Roberto had a dream", have you heard it? Roberto: Yes, I think the lyrics are fantastic, I like the school of science concept, I love that. When you read about Will Cuff, and he's saying "I prefer the way we play rather than the result", that's me, and its spooky at times to see that its so fitting. And the school of science is what I pride myself on. Ross Barkley's goal against Man City, which is something we do in training - from Tim Howard it goes through and it goes into the back of the net. That's the DNA of our club, so I love that - "the school of science has reopened". 

Blue Kipper: Just to say Roberto, what the club means. I can only speak for myself, but I'm sure its probably similar to everybody in this room: outside of my wife and my kids and my job, it's the most important thing. 

Roberto: And I know that that's genuine. Sometimes you can say that someone doesn't really mean it, that it doesn't affect your life, but it does, I've seen it. Every Evertonian family is incredible. 

Blue Kipper: I suppose you're in work Monday to Friday, and you're doing some ridiculous task that you can't stand doing, and in the back of your head you think "oh, I'm going to the match on Saturday". 

Roberto:  ...going to see Ross Barkley! Well gents, thank you very much, its been great to see you, and I hope you have a great summer.

What Do You Think Of The Second Interview With Roberto? Comment Below

Click Here for the First Interview with Roberto in January 2014.

 

 

Email Bluekipper at enquiries@bluekipper.com

Comments about When Blue Kipper Met Roberto Part 4
 
1
Thanks BK. He has me totally convinced. CL next year? Or higher than that.
Win, Stafford, 6:08 PM 23/05/2014
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