A Spaniard in Wigan? It may sound like the beginning of a terrible joke but in reality, it's a near on perfect match, of course I am talking about Roberto Martinez and Wigan Athletic.
In his playing days, Roberto Martinez made a name for himself as a defensive midfielder in Britain playing for a number of teams ranging from Motherwell in Scotland, Swansea in Wales and Wigan in England, after a short spell at Chester he moved into management, joining former team Swansea and despite a lack of managerial experience Martinez went on an incredible run with Swansea, only losing once in eleven matches during the 2006-2007 season, only narrowly missing out on a play-off place, the following year Martinez's footballing philosophy of good, attractive football paid dividends and Swansea won the League One title and took them to the Championship for the first time in over twenty years.
The Martinez lead revolution at Swansea didn't go unnoticed and soon enough clubs became interested in him, his former team Wigan eventually succeeded and he indeed joined them in 2009. Martinez transformed Wigan's playing style, taking them from a style and mentality which reflected a certain degree of fear towards opponents to a style and mentality which was based on good, young, players playing a style of football that was easy on the eye even when they were taking on teams of a higher reputation, this change in mentality took Wigan from signing players such as Jason Koumas to signing technically gifted players like Jordi Gomez, a player whom he worked with whilst at Swansea, this shift in mentality not only made Wigan matches minimally enjoyable to watch it also worked domestically and helped them to avoid the drop every season since Martinez has been in charge, an achievement which should be applauded due to the difficulty that managing a team like Wigan in a league where money and reputations are ever growing.
Some people call Wigan the great escape artists for their great end of season comebacks which see them dig themselves out of trouble by winning matches against impressive teams, an example of these big wins could quite easily be their 4-0 destruction of Newcastle last season, but if Wigan are the great escape artists Martinez is the great escapology teacher as without his signings and change in mentality I believe that Wigan would be in the Championship, something that would be a great shame.
Martinez has now taken Wigan to a very winnable FA Cup semi-final against Millwall, shocking the nation by beating Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park on the way, the FA Cup doesn't only offer Wigan an incredibly realistic chance of competing in Europe next season it also offers them a chance, albeit a slightly less realistic chance, of winning a major trophy, they had a similar chance to do just that in 2006 but lost in the final of the League Cup but since then Wigan have improved a lot and now have a manager who is capable of achieving amazing things in his footballing career, at Wigan and maybe even at a bigger stage, because right now, the job that he's done at Wigan has shown him to be one of the most talented managers in the Premier League, he may not have won major trophies but continually gaining survival with Wigan and now taking them to the verge of an FA Cup final makes him just that.