LONDON • Roberto Martinez has been sacked by Everton after the English football club's board decided to begin a search for a new manager in the wake of a desperately disappointing season.
Any lingering hopes that the Spaniard had of holding on to his position were extinguished on Wednesday when Everton slumped to a 0-3 loss away to Sunderland, which guaranteed they will finish in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
David Unsworth, the Under-21 coach, will take charge of the team's final game of the season at home to Norwich City on Sunday.
Support for Martinez in the Everton boardroom had been steadfast until recent weeks, but it became clear that their belief in their manager was wavering when Jon Woods, Everton's deputy vice-chairman, walked out of the Merseyside derby on April 20 after Liverpool raced into a 3-0 lead.
With the club's supporters also turning on the manager, Bill Kenwright, the Everton chairman, and Farhad Moshiri, the majority shareholder, have made the decision to put Martinez out of his misery.
Everton reached the semi-finals of the League Cup and FA Cup, but Martinez's side have under-performed in the league despite boasting a squad many regard as the Merseyside club's best for many years.
They have won just one of their last 10 league games and some fans turned on the manager after they lost 0-4 to local rivals Liverpool last month.
Martinez won 21 league matches in 2013-14, his first season in charge. In the past two seasons, he has won only 22 more. And not a single Liverpool derby win, either, in six attempts.
His win percentage dropped from 55.3 in 2013-14 to 31.6 last season and to 27 this season.
Everton's priorities now will be to thrash out a compensation package with the Spaniard, who has three years remaining on a contract worth an estimated £4 million (S$7.96 million) per season, and to identify a potential replacement.
Frank de Boer, who admitted earlier this week that he would be interested in the Everton job if it becomes available, left his post as Ajax manager yesterday. Mark Hughes, Ronald Koeman and Unai Emery, the managers of Stoke City, Southampton and Sevilla respectively, are all likely to come under consideration as well.
THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS