There’s a lot of the use of this word “agenda” doing the rounds at the minute. Does the club have an agenda? Can fans have an agenda? The idea that fans will demand a certain style of play, or round on a manager who refuses to conform to that style of play is a highly speculative theory.
I’m a firm believer in watching things unfold in football. We like to think a football club is our club because players and managers come and go whilst we stay loyal but is that even true? Our football club is nearly 85 years old now and will hopefully outlive all of us. In reality, we hop on our supporting journey when we go to our first game and either get off when we’ve had enough, or when it is time to shuffle off our mortal coil.
The truth is we have very little influence bar the physical and vocal support we give the club, only a handful of people are really responsible for the actual decision making. As fans, we get into watching our team not knowing whether we will win the FA Cup or get relegated, one scenario bringing great delight, the second massive anger. There’s not many football clubs who can do that in the same season mind you.
So now we begin again on another journey with another manager, who has had something of a baptism of fire. He may baffle us by leaving strikers on the bench, ostracising popular players and setting us up defensively, yet the pedigree of Warren Joyce suggests that he will have a plan in place.
My only input during the Caldwell era was to defend him against those criticising his every move, this was after all a man who won us the league just a few months back. Now, we face another overhaul, just 12 months after Caldwell oversaw the last overhaul, while the club makes noises about having got their man for their long term plan. Just as Caldwell, 18 months earlier was the long term man for their long term plan.
Given this scenario, it is possibly right to retain a degree of scepticism. Yet football is a results business and so long as Warren Joyce can turn in some better results for the rest of the season than Gary Caldwell did to keep us up, then for me, he will have done a great job.
In the short-term I look forward to the subtle changes in both the personnel and the way the team play, and watching them make an impact on the field. There is always that temptation when things seem to go wrong to pipe up and ask what on earth is going on but hopefully there is a long game going on.
As Warren Joyce continues to cut his teeth in management once more, we will hopefully see a resurgence in form the longer that he gets to work with the squad and impress his ideas on them. And if we don’t see that? Well, it’s all part of the journey isn’t it, and what can we, as fans, do about it anyway?
First published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 25th November 2016