Roberto Martinez has been fired by Everton after a dismal run of form at the end of a hugely disappointing season.
Just two weeks ago, the former Wigan and Swansea manager came out fighting after the latest round of talks suggesting that his time was up, saying that any criticism should be based not on recent form but on his record since he joined.
"It shouldn't be scrutiny of the last two months or three months. It should be of three seasons, scrutiny about the team we've put together," he said.
Martinez went on to defend his record, pointing to the fact that Everton recorded a record Premier League points tally in his first campaign, were the last British team out of Europe in his second season, and made it to both League and FA Cup semi-finals this term.
Jose Mourinho looks on as Roberto Martinez celebrates a goal
Image credit: Reuters
But that rose-tinted spin on his record belies the fact that Everton have looked increasingly frail under his stewardship, rather than stronger. Their Premier League points tallies have grown progressively lower, not higher; and his players appear to have stopped making an effort for their manager.
Ultimately, Everton have done exactly what Martinez asked: this decision has been made on the basis of three years' worth of underachievement, not three months' worth.
Eurosport's expert analysts have cast their critical eyes over Martinez several times in recent weeks, and pinpointed the failings of the Spaniard's regime.
Jonathan Wilson: 'A story of decline for Everton'
"When Martinez took the Everton job in 2013, replacing David Moyes as he made his ill-fated move to Manchester United, he had just won the FA Cup and been relegated with Wigan Athletic," wrote Jonathan Wilson last month.
"His reputation was of a bright young(ish) manager who spoke engagingly of his belief in proactive, attacking football. If there were concerns about his capacity to set up a team to defend, they were outweighed by the feeling that most of his problems at Wigan had been a result of their limited budget.
"Everton finished sixth that season, two points ahead of Liverpool. The next season they climbed to fifth and, even though they scored just six goals more than in 2012-13, the perception was of a more open, progressive style. Could it be, it was asked, that Moyes’s conservatism, far from being the attribute that preserved Everton’s top-half status despite limited funds, had been holding them back? Goals conceded, unexpectedly, also improved by a single goal.
"But since then, it’s been a story of decline for Everton: they were eleventh last season and occupy that position again this. Martinez’s first season brought 61 goals for and 39 against. His second brought 48 goals for and 50 against. With five games of this season remaining, they’ve scored 53 but, critically, have conceded 44."
Since Wilson's piece, things have become no better: Everton are now 12th, having lost three of their last four matches. Furthermore, their goal difference has worsened significantly: with 56 for and 55 against, things look substantially worse than they did even a few weeks ago, making Wilson's criticism all the more pertinent.
"As Martinez has skipped through Pollyanna-ish press-conference after Pollyanna-ish press-conference, relentlessly taking the positives, the accusation that he does not learn has come to seem increasingly valid," Wilson added.
"The problems seem systemic: what went wrong at Wigan is going wrong at Everton and there’s no evidence Martinez is able to fix it."
Richard Jolly: 'Martinez undermines his progressiveness with an enduring sniffiness about the fundamentals'
"In the heady days two years ago, when Everton surged into fifth place, playing intoxicating, attacking football that showed ambition and intelligence alike, it was 'future Barcelona manager Roberto Martinez'," he wrote.
"Now the perception is radically different. The Spaniard has become 'under-pressure Roberto Martinez'. The Nou Camp does not beckon so much as unemployment…
"The Everton manager has a range of adjectives, usually superlatives he deploys with great enthusiasm. Wednesday's 4-0 Merseyside derby defeat prompted him to extend his range, to abandon his usual fondness for branding events or players unique, incredible or phenomenal to adopt a policy of brutal candour. For perhaps the only time, he used the words disastrous, embarrassing and horrible."
Everton fans with a banner regarding Everton manager Roberto Martinez
Image credit: Reuters
Jolly then added a note of sympathy, suggesting that this is just a normal case of a wannabe manager falling short of the very highest standards.
"Martinez deserves better than some of the vitriolic attempts at character assassination that linger in cyberspace. The accusation that he is a fraud is simply wrong," he wrote.
"What he is, however, is a manager who is suffering because he has failed to address the fatal flaw in his make-up.
"There are others, ones whose early exploits suggest they are bound for the top but who remain unwilling or unable to improve. Those who progress year by year, like Mauricio Pochettino, are rare exceptions…
"Stubbornness is a prerequisite in the profession but it is also a problem that prevents many from realising their potential… Martinez has imagination, but undermines his progressiveness with an enduring sniffiness about the fundamentals. He seems to think goals scored in open play are more virtuous which, even if true, should not deflect from the inarguable truth: they count for no more than those bundled in off someone’s backside from a corner. A disdain for dead-ball situations is reflected in a reluctance to practise them…
"Without an acceptance of the need to change, without a concerted effort to avoid the concession of so many unnecessary goals, Martinez will join the ranks of the managers who were touted for greatness but never came close."
James Dutton: 'The Toffees look further away from football's top table'
"In his first season in charge Martinez smashed the perception of that glass ceiling. The irony that a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in December of that year – their first in 21 years – came against their former boss was not lost on many Evertonians," he wrote.
"A progressive style of play saw them leap beyond the expectations that Moyes often set, but with a top-four place in full sight Everton fell away despite registering their highest ever Premier League points tally.
Roberto Martinez speaks to David Moyes before Manchester United's 2-0 defeat at Everton (AFP)
Image credit: Eurosport
"Martinez has failed to kick on, and well into his third year in charge, the Spaniard is still finding it hard to shake the underdog mentality that gripped the club under his predecessor…
"While he has brought a sense of footballing bravado to Goodison Park, the Toffees look further away from football's top table despite the inarguable improvements to the squad. They remain the nearly club that they have been ever since their glory days in the 1980s ended."