UNITED KINGDOM, May 13 – Ronald Koeman is Everton’s No 1 choice to be their manager after Roberto Martinez was sacked.
The board decided to end Martinez’s three-year reign to spare him a toxic atmosphere at Goodison Park on Sunday for the final game of the season.
David Unsworth, Everton’s Under 21 head coach, and club legend Joe Royle will select the team to face Norwich but the search is already on to find a successor.
While Southampton manager Koeman tops the list, Frank de Boer could be an alternative after the former Holland defender quit his post in charge of Ajax also on Thursday.
He is the bookmakers’ favourite and has indicated he would jump at the chance to work in the Barclays Premier League. His brother Ronald said: ‘In my eyes he’s the right man for the job, but it’s up to Everton to make their move.’
Everton have not made contact with any club or individual but whoever they appoint will be given the biggest transfer budget in the club’s history.
Martinez’s chequered record in the transfer market counted against his prospects, he spent £13.5million in January on Senegal striker Oumar Niasse, who has shown nothing so far but the tipping point was his team’s poor performance and the loss of the fan base.
Everton postponed the club’s end-of-season awards on Thursday night after they made the announcement that Martinez had been axed.
Supporters’ groups had planned to protest outside the venue against the 42-year-old.
Martinez, who had three seasons left on a five-year deal, did not report to the club’s training base on Thursday morning and that signalled the end was coming.
He is understood to be frustrated with how things have ended and is yet to reach a financial settlement with the club.
This is not a decision Everton’s board wanted to take.
They had sacked only one manager — Walter Smith in 2002 — since the turn of the century but results, particularly since New Year, have been impossible to ignore.
Martinez’s assistant Graham Jones, along with the rest of his backroom staff, are expected to follow him out of Goodison.
In a statement posted on their website, Everton said: ‘The Chairman (Bill Kenwright) and the Board of Directors would like to place on record their thanks for the dedication and commitment Roberto has shown during his three seasons with the Club.
‘Roberto has been a great ambassador, conducting himself at all times with the utmost integrity and dignity. He secured the highest Premier League points total, a place in the last 16 of the Europa League and appearances in both domestic cup semi-finals.’
Koeman has 12 months left on his contract with Southampton.