Two ex-Latics moved closer to “home” this weekend as they embarked on the next stage of their careers. Roberto Martinez has joined Graham Barrow at Chester whilst Magno Silva Vieira returns to English football by signing for Brentford. Both players have signed as free agents, Bobby having been released by Swansea and Vieira seemingly returning from a year off.

When the young Brazilian left Latics he was tipped to join Carlisle but reportedly decided to take his chances with a Greek side. Whether that happened is now in doubt, as it seems that it was work permit problems that prevented him going to Brunton Park and his last twelve months have been spent getting wed and flitting between Italy and Greece.

Either way, it’s nice to see him giving it another go.

Roberto’s story is one of Latics legend. The first Spaniard to play in the English lower leagues, one of three signings that announced to football that Mr Whelan meant business and a player that those of us who were around back then will always hold dear.

Of the cull that preceded Paul Jewell taking up the Manager’s post it was Bobby’s departure that hurt the most. That he turned down an offer from another second division side to avoid playing against the team he loved merely confined his status as a true ‘tic, whilst his announcement that both Rioch and Bruce had tried to sign him for longer means to this day that John Benson has a job on to convince the fans of his good intentions.

In some ways, losing both of these players was to the detriment of the club’s character, with Bobby it’s for obvious reasons. Vieira? Well the fact that we had a Brazilian playing for the reserves nearly always raise a chuckle of disbelief. Any way, before I get all dewy eyed and sentimental, a hearty good luck to both players, I’m sure many ‘tics will be keeping a check on you over the Season.

*If this doesn’t mean “Good luck Bobby; Good luck Magno” blame the Babel fish, not me.

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