Wigan Athletic's manager Roberto Martinez holds up the cup during a victory parade after winning the English FA Cup in Wigan

Roberto Martinez leaves Wigan, as Everton move edges closer

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The news all Wigan fans were dreading has arrived this morning.

Roberto Martinez has left.

Wigan Athletic’s eight year stay in the EPL ended just a few weeks ago and despite winning the FA Cup in heroic fashion against Manchester City, Martinez has finally resigned from his position at the DW Stadium.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has been told the bad news by Martinez earlier this morning.

Martinez offered his resignation and Wigan have accepted it. Whelan spoke to the BBC just a few minutes ago.

He wanted permission to move so I’ve given that. He has 12 months left on his contract, so whoever comes in for him must pay the remainder of his contract. He feels he’s not the man to lead us back into the Premier League. I’ve got to accept what he feels. Roberto loves Wigan and the fans. We have to move on now and want applications for the job.

So what do Wigan do now?

Whelan has reluctantly accepted Martinez’ resignation. But will be pretty stubborn when it comes to another club trying to haggle with the fee for his services.

That said, Whelan has won many friends in the game for doing things the right way, and when you think about the relative success Martinez has brought to Wigan not only as a player but back in his playing days, Wigan need to cut the cord and let the prodigal son move on. Quickly.

(More: Martinez further delays decision on future)

Martinez’ likely destination is Everton. His attractive style of play and ability to pick out gems in the transfer market make him very attractive for the Goodison Park outfit. Plus his wage demands won’t be astronomical.

Expect Martinez to be unveiled as the new manager at Everton very shortly.

But who would be a good choice for the new manager at Wigan? There are plenty of people who will want the position. Start applying now.

A great young squad of talented players, a well run and financial stable club, a side that will play in the Europa League next season and the chance to work alongside chairman Dave Whelan are all plus points.

(More: Should Martinez leave Wigan?)

But in a town where Rugby League is the main sport and soccer is still second fiddle, despite the FA Cup win and all the EPL razzmatazz, can crowd numbers stay high if the team begins to struggle in the Championship?

Things could go downhill very quickly after Martinez’ departure.

Mr. Whelan got Martinez’ appointment spot on in the past. Now, this choice is even bigger as he aims to get Wigan back in the Premier League at the first-time of asking.

West Ham extend Payet’s contract in “enormous show of faith”

West Ham’s Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring while soap bubbles are blown during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Newcastle at Boleyn Ground in London, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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West Ham United hope Dimitri Payet is going absolutely nowhere after the club announced on Thursday the 28-year-old Frenchman has signed a contract extension through the summer of 2021.

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Payet’s current contract was scheduled to keep him at the Premier League club through the summer of 2020, but a series of standout performances (6 goals, 4 assists so far this season, mostly during the season’s opening three months) and rumors of interest from “bigger” clubs meant tacking on another year — and plenty more cash — was the best way to keep Payet in east London for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed earlier this week that negotiations over an extension were underway.

“He’s the best player I’ve signed in 25 years,” said West Ham co-owner David Sullivan. “He’s a [$43 million] player. He’s a supreme footballer. He makes every player in our side play better. On his day, he’s world class, he’s unstoppable.”

Payet, who’s been at West Ham just eight months after signing last summer, could still depart in the summer should he finish the current season strong and/or show up and show out at the European Championship, which kicks off in June. In that event, West Ham would now bag a much heftier transfer fee than they would have done prior to the extension.

VIDEO: Dele Alli’s magnificent juggling goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon

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Remember that Dele Alli goal? No, not that one… that one. Of course you remember it. How could you not?

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How often does a player receive the ball out of the air, flick it over his head, spin 180 degrees and hit an inch-perfect volley from 20 yards out to secure all three points for his team? The answer is, of course, not very often.

[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines — Sunday’s top-four battle royal

Thus, a goal such as Alli’s stunning winner against Crystal Palace last month has been, and will continue to be, immortalized through numerous recreations in this Digital Age. Above is Alli’s goal recreated in hand-drawn crayon.

Watch Live: Guatemala vs. T&T; Canada vs. Guyana in Olympic qualifying

Canadian players wave to fans after a 2-1 loss to England in a quarterfinal of the Women's World Cup soccer tournament, Saturday, June 27, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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Group B is set to kick off Thursday night at the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, as Canada, third-place finishers at the 2012 Olympics, begin their quest to qualify for this summer’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

Guyana versus Trinidad and Tobago is up first (6 p.m. ET) from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Tex, followed by the Canadians, who will take on Guyana (8:30 p.m. ET) in the nightcap.

[ WATCH LIVE: Guatemala vs. T&T live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

[ WATCH LIVE: Canada vs. Guyana live on line on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

The U.S. women’s national began its Olympic qualifying campaign in impressive fashion on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over Costa Rica, while Mexico jumped to the top of Group A with a 6-0 victory over Puerto Rico.

Sunderland terminate Adam Johnson’s contract after guilty pleas in sex case

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson arrives at Bradford Crown Court, England, Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016. Johnson has pleaded guilty in court to one count of sexual activity with a child and another of grooming. The 28-year-old Johnson, who has made 12 appearances for England, denies two charges of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE
Peter Byrne/PA via AP
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SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Sunderland has fired winger Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl at the start of his trial.

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Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, continues to deny two further counts of sexual activity with a child.

Sunderland dismissed Johnson ahead of his trial resuming on Friday at Bradford Crown Court.

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In a statement, Sunderland announced Thursday that “in light of Adam Johnson’s guilty pleas, the club has today terminated his contract with immediate effect.”

The former Manchester City player joined Sunderland in 2012 for 10 million pounds (now about $14.5 million).