Joey Barton believes Everton are set for a bleak future if manager Roberto Martinez fails to turn the club’s fortunes around.
Barton, a lifelong Evertonian, currently plies his trade at Championship outfit Burnley but keeps an eye on his club he has supported since he was a boy.
And, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live last night, the 33-year-old is terrified that the Toffees face uncertainty under Martinez – if the Spaniard cannot improve results on the pitch.
“Everton hugely worry me, they petrify me as an Evertonian,” the midfielder said.
“Barkley, Lukaku, Stones and Coleman could all potentially leave the club this summer and what would you be left with? It’s really worrying time at Goodison Park.
“There is definitely discontent there (with the fans), all my family are Evertonians and I visit them once or twice a week for dinner and all they do is moan about the club. Some of them are even refusing to go the game any more under Martinez, that’s how disillusioned they are.
“He had a tough act to follow in David Moyes who put out a really strong defence, but that defence slowly but surely over the last few years has got older, it’s picked up injuries and started to dismantle – Distin leaving, Tim Howard’s going to leave in the summer by the looks of things, Baines not having a great run with injuries, Jagielka struggling with a few injuries, and all of a sudden the solid foundation that Moyes built his teams on (is disappearing).
“They finished 6th, 5th, 5th, 8th, 7th, 7th and 6th before Martinez turns up, who then finishes 5th, and then 11th and where are they going to finish this year?
“It’s a dangerous precedent and I’m looking at his Wigan results thinking is there is way out of it? And Wigan were in the Premiership 4 years before Roberto turned up and they finished 10th, 17th, 14th, 11th, then after Roberto 16th, 16th, 15th and they get relegated the year they win the FA Cup finishing 18th.
“His teams historically cannot defend – they are very good going forward, an abundance of flair going forward (but) I’m now starting to worry because Everton have got really good talented young players but how long are they going to say ‘We’re not playing the Europa League, we’re not playing the Champions League, we need to go, we need to move’?”