Roberto Martinez has made a better start to his Everton league career than David Moyes -- and any other manager at Goodison Park since club great Harry Catterick.
An ESPN FC analysis of Martinez’s first 25 Premier League games in charge shows that he collected three more points than Moyes did after taking over in 2002.
His record over that period is also better than that of Howard Kendall, who went on to win two league titles at Everton after taking charge in 1981.
The only one of the club’s managers since the Second World War with a better record over their first 25 league games is the legendary Catterick, who took charge in April 1961 and went on to win the title in his second full season as boss.
But although Catterick won more games and, pro-rata, collected more points over that period, he also suffered more defeats.
So Martinez can claim the remarkable statistic of having fallen to fewer defeats in his first 25 league games than any other manager in Everton’s history.
Perhaps more significantly, his team continue to sit higher in the table than that of their former manager Moyes, whose Manchester United side are three points behind the Toffees, and 11 off a Champions League spot.
ESPN FC analysed the record of every manager to have spent at least 25 league matches in the job -- which is as many as Martinez has faced since replacing Moyes in June.
The statistics show that the former Wigan boss has racked up 12 wins, nine draws and four defeats in the Premier League this season, amassing 45 points.
Moyes won 13 of his first 25 league matches after taking over from Walter Smith in March 2002, but drew only three and lost nine, giving him a tally of 42 points.
That puts him just behind Colin Harvey, who collected 43 points from a total of 12 wins, seven draws and six defeats after replacing Kendall in 1987.
Kendall himself managed nine wins, eight draws and eight defeats from the start of the 1981-82 season, which added up to 35 points in total.
But the best post-war start belongs to Catterick, whose first 25 league games brought 14 wins, four draws and seven defeats. That brought him 32 points under the old Football League system of two points for a win, but would have given him 46 today.
The analysis does not take into account cup results, although Martinez still has a chance to emulate Joe Royle, who won the FA Cup at the end of his first season in charge, in 1995.
Nor does it factor in the state of Everton’s team when a manager took charge -- Harvey’s strong start, for instance, was aided by the fact that he inherited the 1987 league champions from Kendall.
By contrast, Kendall -- cited by Everton’s own website as the greatest manager in their history -- took over a team who had finished 19th and 15th in the previous two seasons, and only enjoyed his greatest success after a rocky first two-and-a-half years when his job looked to be under threat.
Similarly, Moyes took on an Everton side deep in relegation trouble, and had to overhaul an unbalanced squad containing ageing stars such as Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola.
Martinez, on the other hand, took over a team who have managed seven consecutive finishes in the Premier League’s top eight.
Moyes made a comment to that effect shortly before his United side were beaten 1-0 at home by Martinez’s Everton in the Premier League in December.
“I always told them they could play without a manager because they are very well organised,” Moyes said at the time. “But Roberto is doing a really good job keeping it going.”
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has also highlighted the differences between the situations Moyes and Martinez faced on arrival at Goodison Park.
When Martinez was appointed last June, Kenwright said: “When David Moyes first came to see me 11 years ago, we were in a bad state. And the first words he said were: ‘You’re not going down.’
“With Roberto, almost his first words to me were: ‘I’ll get you in the Champions League.’
“He’d obviously looked at what we’d been doing over the last few years. He’s obviously recognised the massive achievements that David Moyes has made.
“He came into my office. Look I’m not going to say to you that it was like David Moyes, and he got me in 30 seconds. It took him at least 45 seconds.”
But while Martinez undoubtedly benefited from the fact that Moyes left behind an experienced squad with most of the key players signed up on long-term contracts, he has built on that with both his work in the transfer market and his efforts to bring through young players.
Gareth Barry, James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku have all made an impact since arriving in September, while midfielder Ross Barkley -- who featured only sporadically under Moyes -- has developed into a strong contender for England’s World Cup squad, and defender John Stones had broken into the side.
Under Martinez, Everton have an eight-point gap to make up on fourth-placed Liverpool if they are to make the Champions League, although they have a game in hand after the postponement of Wednesday night’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace. The manager said earlier this week that he believes that gap can be closed.
“There are many points to play for,” he said. “What is really exciting is the momentum that teams are starting to build, and that’s throughout the league, not just at the top.
“Whether it’s fighting for the title, for a Champions League position, for Europe or to avoid relegation, it’s as close a fight as you’ve seen for a long time.”
The least successful league start from an Everton manager, not including caretakers, was by Mike Walker, who won just five of his first 25 league games in 1994.
Walker, who lasted only 10 months in the job, has the lowest win percentage of any permanent manager in Everton’s history.