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Page last updated at 08:18 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 09:18 UK

Life after Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez spent two highly successful seasons at Swansea City

By David Dulin

When Roberto Martinez was handed the reins at Swansea City in February 2007, his appointment raised a few eyebrows.

The Spaniard was already a fans' favourite as a player before he was released by predecessor Kenny Jackett eight months earlier.

But some questioned if he was the right person to take the club forward as he had no managerial experience.

Roll on to June 2009 and those questions have been answered.

Martinez guided the Swans to the League One title in his first full season in charge, finishing 10 points clear of nearest rivals Nottingham Forest.

Steve Coppell

Out of work after quitting Reading last month. Has a track record of taking teams up into the Premier League most recently the Royals, but is most likely to want to take a longer break from the game.

And then in the first season back at Championship level for 24 years, the Swans narrowly missed out on the play-offs by six points.

On top of that, they did it in style, playing some dazzling football along the way earning plaudits from all corners - with one or two experts comparing them to European giants Barcelona.

But success comes at a cost and unfortunately for Swansea, it is the imminent departure of Martinez and his famous brown shoes to Premier League side Wigan - the club he spent six years at as a player from 1995 when chairman Dave Whelan brought him and two other Spaniards to England, known as the Three Amigos.

He will become the first Swansea manager to leave for another club since Terry Yorath committed himself to the Wales job full time in 1991.

For a young and ambitious man like Martinez, you cannot really blame him for swapping the Championship for the Premier League.

For some the departure is sooner than expected, but in reality it was always on the cards.

It will leave many supporters upset and some even angry over the issue of loyalty. Martinez has gone on record in the past to say he would only leave Swansea if he was forced out.


But more important to others might be the thought that Martinez has put Swansea City on the map not only for his success but the manner in which he did it.

He has built the club in his image and has guided it through the most successful spell since the John Toshack era almost 30 years ago - and that is going to be one of the most difficult tasks the Swansea board will face in finding his replacement.

A number of names have already come to the fore including former Reading boss Steve Coppell, Sheffield United player-coach Gary Speed, Exeter manager Paul Tisdale and Jordi Cruyff the current assistant manager at Maltese side Valetta.

There are also three ex-Swans players mentioned - Bury manager Alan Knill and former striker Jimmy Gilligan, who is part of the England Under-21 set-up, while Falkirk boss John Hughes has ruled himself out by taking the Hibernian managerial job.

Whoever takes over will have a tough act to follow in terms of matching Martinez's playing style and taking the club on to the next level which is undoubtedly the Premier League.

Gary Speed

Coming to the end of his playing career and already has some coaching badges under his belt. Understood to be interested in job as a first step into management, and the Swans have had success with the last two rookie managers

The Swans have come a long way since controversial chairman Tony Petty was ousted in 2002 after taking the club to the brink of oblivion and then in 2003 when they escaped the drop from the Football League.

Jackett helped the Swans climb out of League Two and then Martinez led them out of League One and to eighth in the Championship.

The last thing the club wants to do now is take a step backwards and that is why it is vital the board get the next appointment right.

Do they go for experience or another rookie like Martinez and Jackett?

The new manager will want to put his own mark on the team and may also face a battle to keep hold of some of the club's star players like midfielder Ferrie Bodde, defender Angel Rangel and striker Jason Scotland - which may delay the progress.

But sometimes you have to go back before you go forward. As they say, it is all part of the job.

So as one chapter ends in Swansea City's history, another is about to begin.

Adios Roberto. It was fun while it lasted.

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see also
Wigan explain Martinez deal delay
12 Jun 09 |  Wigan
Mixed years for Martinez
19 Apr 08 |  Swansea
Martinez is the toast of Swansea
13 Apr 08 |  Swansea
The Swans are going up!
12 Apr 08 |  Welsh
Martinez appointed Swansea boss
24 Feb 07 |  Swansea
Swansea release skipper Martinez
30 May 06 |  Swansea
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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