10th Man*

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*Downgraded from 12th Man due to squad shrinkage

The end of the world or the beginning of a new dawn? A lot can change in a week. Emotions can be all over the place. Last Saturday’s feeble capitulation to a very poor Huddersfield side was magnified by an abrupt player exodus.

Not just any players though but the ones who kids have on the back of their shirts, an FA Cup winning goalscorer, our best creative player and a pair of talented youngsters. No matter what the circumstances it felt like a dagger through the heart. Waving the white flag of surrender via the medium of the transfer market.

Yet once the red mist cleared, the always approachable and articulate Jonathan Jackson did what many fans asked and has given the club’s side of the story. Like it or not, it makes perfect sense: we gambled in August on the players to take us back up and those players (and to a certain extent Uwe for choosing them) have let us down badly.

We know for certain that the Premier League riches won’t be heading our way again next season so we have to cut our cloth accordingly. Whether we stay up or not, we face a £10m drop in parachute payments. Plus, we need to cover the £10m loss we would have made last year had the much fabled McCarthy money not being banked.

Unfortunately a sizeable majority of football fans glaze over in disinterest when the phrase “making us sustainable for the future” is brought to the table but that is exactly what is happening right now. It is terribly sad that so many big names are leaving but can we honestly say any of them have been firing on all cylinders this season?

We have the huge drain of a £30m wage bill, we’re faced with income of around half that next year and we’re next to the bottom of the league. It’s drastic, it’s horrible but at least the club have now laid bare the situation and we as fans can only look to get on with it. Get living or get dying as some bloke in a film once said.

I still can’t say I’m enamoured by Malky Mackay’s approach thus far but I’m not so blind that I cannot see that we may actually emerge a better team once the incomings and outgoings are completed. Changing the squad around is always going to be a gamble but when you’ve nothing to lose, there’s every chance that we might come out of this transfer window looking a little bit better.

The fans are desperate for a win, something to cheer and maybe if that happens in the next couple of games we might just start enjoying watching our team again, whilst keeping one eye on that rather large gap between us and safety.

First published in the Wigan Evening Post 12th Man Column Friday 30th January 2015

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