If you work for Wigan Athletic, don’t even think of asking for annual leave on 31st January. Ever. I can’t decide whether it’s great planning or terrible planning that we always seem to have so many ins and outs on deadline day but we can certainly have no complaints that it’s boring.
Pity those poor clubs who have no activity on transfer deadline day. Or was it Leeds last year who put a tantalising late night tweet out for the fans to expect some news, then half an hour later announced two players were LEAVING and nobody coming in?
I don’t know what to make of our business but what is pleasing is that we have actually signed several young players, with one eye on the future, rather than relying on short term deals between now and the end of the season to get out of the brown stuff like we did under Mackay.
Under Owen Coyle, we signed older, proven players on top wages and under Uwe Rosler, we signed younger, talented players…but on top wages. We’re now entering the post-apocalyptic, I mean post-parachute payment world, where we have no option but to sign younger and cheaper players whom we can develop and sell on at a profit.
Whereas I wouldn’t expect every them all to pay off, there’s potential aplenty amongst the slightly unfamiliar names grinning away wearing the shirt at Euxton.
As for the outgoings, well it was a shame the departure of the fondly remembered FA Cup winner Jordi Gomez was overshadowed by the storm over greedy mercenary Yanic Wildschut.
The club publicising his transfer request had the impact of turning a fans’ favourite into public enemy number one at a stroke.
It’s easy to forget that in our Premier League years eighteen months was somehow considered a “decent shift” for a player to stay at our club, as the vultures continually swooped in for anyone with 30 decent top flight games under their belt. The Yanic move was sadly symbolic of how the Championship is now starting to follow suit.
Despite my neutrality above, the whole affair and especially the interview he conducted afterwards left a very sour taste in the mouth and I look forward to hurling abuse at him along with many other Latics fans if he returns on Tuesday. Sorry Yanic, but that’s what happens should you suddenly consider yourself far bigger and better than our small but perfectly formed football club.
The reported £6m profit should more than cover any perceived shortcomings Gary Caldwell had elsewhere in the transfer market and enabled us to fund the purchase of several more players and pay the wage bill for a year.
Farewell to Yanic but there is a new crop to get excited about now. We move on. Staying up is still going to be very tough but at least this time we have players who give the impression that they will stick around and not leap on to the nearest ostrich and head to East Anglia at the first sign of a few bob.
First published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 3rd February 2017