In Depth

Frank de Boer favourite to replace Roberto Martinez

Everton manager sacked after three seasons of underachievement as relationship with fans and players collapses

The ramifications of Sunderland's win over Everton at the Stadium of Light have been felt across the Premier League. 

Not only did the result send Norwich and Newcastle out of the Premier League, it also proved to be the last straw for Everton, who have sacked manager Roberto Martinez with one game left to go this season.

The move at least avoids the embarrassment of seeing Martinez heckled at the club's end-of-season awards dinner in Liverpool tonight and the prospect of more unrest during the final game of the season at home against Norwich.

With the Canaries already relegated and Everton now managerless and smarting after another season of underachievement, the atmosphere at Goodison Park is likely to be rather flat.

"It was a matter of when rather than if," says the Daily Telegraph. "Everton have picked up only four points in the Premier League since March 5 and their 3-0 defeat to Sunderland stretched their dismal run of form to just one win in ten matches in all competitions."

Everton have won only 22 league matches in the past two Premier League seasons and have failed to deliver on the promise of Martinez's first season in charge, when they accrued their highest-ever Premier League points tally of 72.

Getting rid of the Spaniard is also likely to cost the club. "The 42-year-old has three years remaining on the lucrative contract he was given by Everton at the end of his first season in charge in 2014," says The Guardian. "The manager is believed to earn at least £3m a year and the club's hierarchy faces a substantial severance payment for the remainder of Martinez's contract and those of his backroom staff."

The Toffees got to the semi-finals of both cups this season, but came unstuck after losing in the FA Cup. Martinez's relationship with fans and players has collapsed, says Elliott Bretland of Mail Online. "Conceding ten goals in their last three away matches, Everton have allowed 121 shots on goal in their last five games," he notes.

Martinez's tactical acumen has also been questioned, with Everton dropping 48 points from winning positions during his reign. This season, "the side have lacked any penetration, idly passed the ball around defence and looked devoid of ideas when they do labour forward... and it was clear the 42-year-old lacked a Plan B", says Bretland.

Frank de Boer has emerged as the early favourite to succeed Martinez, reports The Telegraph. He resigned as coach of Ajax on Wednesday after his agent made it clear he would be interested in the Everton job.

Odds on the former Dutch international taking over are just 2-5 on.

Other names in the frame include Stoke boss Mark Hughes, outgoing Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini and former manager David Moyes, who was at Goodison Park for ten years before he moved to Manchester United.

An announcement is not expected before the weekend, with David Unsworth in line to take charge for the Norwich game.

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