Spurs 4-0 Latics
Sunday 11th November 2007

Whether or not Chris Hutchings had lost the dressing room became a fairly moot point yesterday as his stand-in went one better and somehow managed to misplace his team somewhere on the road to White Hart Lane.  How else could you explain a performance as weak as this one?  Other than the culprits being part of an international gang of football look-a-likes hell bent on ruining the ambitions of Dave Whelan, following a bizarre misunderstanding over the opening of the Chippenham branch of the JJB gym? 

To any reasonable individual the above tale is quite obviously made up.  For followers of a team facing up to welcoming back the manager they saw sacked just a week ago, well, anything seems possible and at least it would give some hope that they can get out of the mire, just as soon as they find out where those dastardly doppelgangers have hidden the real players.  Life as a Latics fan is that strange at the moment, part farce, part soap opera but not enough football club, or maybe I just watched too many episodes of Dream Team.

Up until now, Juande Ramos’ Spurs revival might have been helped along by some weak opposition, but surely not as weak as they came up against in this game.  A Latics side looking for a confidence boost should have relished the opportunity to get at the fragile Spurs back line but instead gave them a walk in the park.  At the other end the likes of Berbatov, Keane and Jenas were frankly just messing about, toying with a clueless visiting defence.  A little less cuteness and the score could have been doubly embarrassing.

To be fair, Spurs haven’t become a bad side overnight.  Their attacking unit is still one of the best in the division and will give better teams than ours the run-around.  Still that shouldn’t excuse the ineptitude on show from Latics.  They’d been given the chance of a fresh start, a chance to make a mark for the manager that they were all (except, it seems, Paul Scharner) ‘shocked’ to see sacked.  Did they take it?  I guess you know the answer.

This game served as a reminder that something is very wrong at Wigan Athletic.  Then again with Paul Scharner sharing his views on the departure of Chris Hutchings in mid week a reminder was hardly needed.  Whether or not his uncle is really his aunt, Scharner’s attitude in recent weeks belies more about the state of the squad than any words about ‘the group’ coming from his captain.

Frank Barlow is quite clearly not the man for the job, and no one knows it more than him.  Ignore the formation, forget the recall of Coterill and continued selection of the Austrian, he simply doesn’t want the job.  I know it, you know it and the players will know it.  If they couldn’t be bothered before then how’s working for a man who can’t wait to be out of there going to change things?

The stench of relegation has come a little bit earlier to the JJB this season and the group of wasters, free loaders and fragile egos of the Wigan Athletic squad need a leader, fast.  They quite obviously can’t (or won’t) pull together for the sake of their own pride and unless someone who can inspire (or force?) them to pull their act together is on board sooner rather than later then we can start moaning about how the manager is not making best use of the parachute payments.

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