12th Man: Time Gentlemen Please

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Time gentlemen please

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain…

You can certainly say we’ve done it ‘our way’ this year, sadly ‘our way’ has just been the wrong way all through the season. So where to start with the weekly review of all things Wigan Athletic?

Saturday was excellent, despite the defeat Latics could and once again should have got something out of the game at St James Park. Despite going behind to the best side in the division we got ourselves back in to it thanks to Michael Jacobs virtuoso goal and could have been ahead if someone had reached Ryan Colclough’s cut back.

The Newcastle supporters I spoke to on the way out of St James and on the train home were all impressed with how Graham Barrow’s side had conducted themselves and thought we were one of the tougher games of the season. Sadly though, despite the improvements it still gained zero points.

Those of us who may have retained a slight bit of belief after the Newcastle game, saw that belief evaporate in 45 minutes of Tuesday night. You don’t take it lightly when someone like Graham Barrow says you’ve let him down, I imagine the players didn’t take it lightly either when Graham was giving them his verbal volleying in the dressing room at Portman Road.

For too long this season the players have escaped criticism, the blame was put on Gary Caldwell after the poor start to the season and when that wasn’t working the hapless Warren Joyce was the latest to face the can, swiftly followed by Graham Barrow. When even Graham Barrow who publicly at least is supposedly revered by the players is faced with that performance, what more can the club do?

I’ve backed the players as much as I can this season as I believed and still believe that they are too good to be in this position. I realised the shortcomings of Gary Caldwell although I didn’t agree with his sacking and anyone could see Warren Joyce’s tenure wasn’t working when it came to an end but how long can the player be immune to criticism?

Ipswich was the ideal chance to claw back some ground and at least take the relegation battle down to the last few weeks. Instead we put up one of the worst performances of recent weeks and like both Blackburn and Bristol City the month before, we blow an ideal chance to get ourselves back in to it.

It’s on the players now, three managers they will have seen off by the end of this season and regardless of your thoughts on all of those managers there will be an element with each one where the players have let them down. Amazingly there is still a chance of us getting out of this and retaining our Championship status next season, but I can neither see it or have any faith in the side giving us a chance.

The players need to stand up and be counted on Saturday, if pride is all we have left to play for then let’s see the pride back in the shirt. Give the home fans something to shout about and build some sort of encouragement for next season.

Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 7th April 2017

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