OKAY, there has been no silverware, but what an exhilarating season for Everton’s fans. Roberto Martinez’s revitalised team didn’t quite pull off their exciting bid for Champions League qualification, but they finished on a high with an away win and they claimed fifth place – one better than last season – and secured European football next season.
It remains to be seen whether formidable loan stars Gareth Barry and Romelu Lukaku remain at Goodison, but the supporters can be optimistic that, with lads like Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas, Aidan McGeady and James McCarthy on the rise, the immediate future looks rosy.
The problem for Martinez – as it is for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool – is dealing with the expectation that an improved season brings. But it is a good problem to have, a problem that means you are doing your job. While Everton improved their position by one place, Liverpool rocketed from seventh to second – and still will feel they missed a big opportunity to be No 1. With champions Manchester City’s star still rising, Chelsea sure to spend big this summer and Arsenal so unlucky all season with injuries, Rodgers knows the job of overhauling these big players won’t get any easier.
Meanwhile, Everton, under the astute guidance of Martinez, will keep nibbling away at the top four. If the competition next season is half as exciting, none of us will be disappointed.