When Roberto Martinez met chairman Bill Kenwright for the first time over the vacant Everton manager’s position in 2013, the first words out of his mouth are said to have won the theatre impresario over instantaneously.
“I will get you into the Champions League,” the Catalan told him.
Three seasons later, and those words will no doubt haunt Martinez for the rest of his managerial career.
The 42-year-old strolled into Goodison Park off the back of bittersweet success at former club Wigan Athletic, having guided them to a first ever FA Cup title before suffering relegation from the Barclays Premier League a mere three days later.
Yet, for his maiden season at the helm of the Toffees, Martinez appeared to have learned from those harsh lessons with the Latics as he unleashed his vibrant, young Everton side onto the rest of England’s top flight clubs.
Marrying defensive solidity with an attacking swagger and verve, Everton looked like a team reborn after 11 years of same old, same old under former boss David Moyes.
A fifth place finish and 72 points – the Blues’ highest ever points tally in a single Premier League campaign – earned Martinez and his charges the adulation of Everton supporters across the globe, with many heralding a new dawn under the charming Spaniard.
Fast-forward to the end of the 2015/16 season, however, and those smiles, cheers and rapturous applause have been replaced by frowns, groans and angry protests as the fanbase turned on him.
Last season’s 11th-place finish can only be cemented again this term, providing Everton secure only a 10th league win of the season against already-relegated Norwich City on Sunday.
Should victory elude them, though, and other results go against them, the nine-time league champions could finish as low as 16th.
It has been a startling fall from grace for arguably Everton’s most talented first team squad in a generation – brought together under the tutelage of Martinez, but one that has been unable to live up to its undoubted potential.
And as much as Martinez’s footballing philosophy could be commended, it is a lack of pragmatism, willingness to adapt and stubborness which has ultimately cost him his job.
It could have been so much better for the former Swansea City manager too.
Everton fans are intelligent, loyal supporters. They would have stood by their manager if he had shown signs of culpability for another horrid season, had shown the ability to change his mantra and put results ahead of his own ideologies.
The Blues board also, with Kenwright and Jon Woods still very much a part of the furniture in L4, would have called for new majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri to show patience towards a man with whom the penny had finally dropped.
A tweak in his tactics, an unbeaten run, climbing the league table and, potentially, Everton’s first silverware in 21 years would have bought Martinez time and money to continue to build a dynasty at Goodison Park.
Instead, the Balaguer-born boss must gather his belongings and, after 143 matches in charge, leave Finch Farm, Everton’s training ground, for the final time.
There is no doubt that Martinez will be handed another opportunity elsewhere, whether in England or abroad. There is the possibility that his philosophy will succeed with another footballing institution, much like it was with Swansea City in the lower English leagues.
Once he had lost the fans on Merseyside and further afield, however, his time was up. Rumours of losing the dressing room and decreaing support inside the boardroom have inevitably followed.
Everton Football Club has never been further from that dream that Martinez spoke during that initial encounter with Kenwright.
It is now a dream that will never come to fruition at Goodison Park for the Spaniard.