Barcelona?? Get Real (not Madrid)
Recent messageboard and guestbook activity on Swansea City websites has been dominated by the future of Roberto Martinez. With a lack of results and performances to bemoan, some people always have to find a negative in there, and so they've plucked Roberto Martinez jumping ship from nowhere.
Chris Kamara put it excellently when he said he was unsurprised at the level of attention now being focused on Swansea City, and our Spanish manager. Our results, performances and style of play have all been excellent in the 2 years since Roberto took the helm. As Kamara continued to say, Roberto Martinez and Swansea aren't a surprise package any more, and that extra attention will bring speculation - be it players in and out or the managerial merry-go-round.
So, what is the liklihood of him leaving? Martinez himself has always been the epitome of calm and professionalism in the press. When the subject of his future has come about, he has always maintained his future lies with Swansea as far as he's concerned. Even in his autobiography he pushed the fact that the only time he will leave Swansea is if the board's ambitions to go all the way did not match his own, or if he was let go, as he was as a player.
Big talk, some might say. Swansea have an infamous past with regards quotes such as these. Brian Flynn was told he had 'a job for life' when he saved the club from the abyss, yet less than 12 months later found himself unemployed.
Many people have written on forums and the like that Roberto would leave if Barcelona came in for him. Ridiculous. Now I am one of Martinez's biggest fans. Although the original appointment smacked of the 'cheap option' no-one can argue that the correct decision was not made. But Barcelona? The favourites for this years Champions League? Whereas I believe that one day Martinez will have both the reputation and silverware behind him to be linked with a job such as Barcelona's, that is a long way off right now.
The reasons? Well, whereas Martinez can walk into a dressing room here and command instant respect, do you think the same would be true if he walked into a dressing room containing Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry? They would look at him and in all honesty probably not know who he is. This is the reason so many high-profile players get the big jobs maybe before they are ready - they command instant respect within dressing rooms and football circles.
Now I believe Martinez commands much respect within British circles, but I'm not so sure about the Spanish ones. Remember this is a player who played no more than a handful of times for Real Zaragoza and spent the best part of his career at Wigan Athletic, whilst they were stranded in the lower divisions. As a manager, a wonderful job though he has done at Swansea City, it is a completely different pressure to satisfy the demands of the Catalan faithful. That theory can also be applied to any club big enough to tempt Roberto Martinez away, too.
It shows how far Swansea City has come since 2003 when some of the supporters biggest concerns is that the manager will jump ship for FC Barcelona, however.
At the end of the day, no Swansea fan has any reason to doubt Roberto Martinez's word. He dropped down a division because he didn't want to play against us when he left as a player, and has done nothing since to warrant any criticism frankly. He is one of football's gentlemen and I for one am so glad we have him.
-Congratulations to Roberto Martinez for his first Manager of the Month award at this level.
You can Dominic O'Shea's full range of articles on his website here