On the precipice

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“The daily scrutiny from people who actually aren’t that educated, but seem to have the biggest opinions – I personally find quite difficult.” 

No one could ever claim that the relationship between administrators Begbies Traynor and Wigan Athletic fans had ever been all rosy but relations soured even further this week as another dramatic 24 hours revealed the increasingly worrying mess that Wigan Athletic are in.

So let’s recap before we speak about the comments made on Talksport by ‘two clubs’ Paul Stanley. After a reported week of frustratingly difficult discussions between the Frampton group and the administrators it was leaked that the Frampton group had pulled out of the race to buy Wigan Athletic.

Hot on the heels of that was the first sight of the latest administrators report which covers the period of July 1st to December 31st 2020. The timing was certainly less than ideal for a fan base hurt, scarred and bereft of any tangible positives to cling on to over the last seven and a bit months.

So let’s take a look at the headlines from that report – Begbies Traynor’s time costs from July 1st to December 31st comes in at an eye watering £370 per hour. On top of that the administrators have already agreed an uplift of one third of their time costs. Further on top of that the administrators anticipate further costs in relation to time with estimates ranging from between £300,000 to £600,000 (dependent on a successful sale).

Despite those eye watering figures that isn’t the most alarming element of the administrators report no, that actually comes from the total of £9.27m received in relation to player sales. Well nearly £10m not too bad you might think. Until you consider that we have either sold or released 27 players over the last few months. TWENTY SEVEN!

The majority of those coming from our first team squad that represented some of the best talent ever assembled in a Wigan Athletic shirt. Not to mention some of the finest young talent in England in the form of Alfie Devine, Joe Geldhart and Jensen Weir.

When you consider that and then consider most of our players signed for Premier League sides or those with Premier League aspirations it is a criminally low figure. We’ve basically sold everything not screwed down for less than Brentford paid for Ivan Toney.

To make matters worse Begbies have actually employed someone to facilitate those bargain basement sales, Yatin Patel from Keith Harris and Partners has been paid £120,000 to date. As many have said Orville himself would have done a better job.

In fact they could have asked Jonathan Jackson to facilitate these sales and he’d have done a damn sight better job and not charged us £120,000 in the process.

Administration is a nasty business,  it is tough, it is heartbreaking and very rarely will you end up in a better state than when you started but as I seem to say every single week – there is absolutely no reason why this administration should have been as painful as it has been.

Paul Stanley (sadly not the one of Kiss fame, I’d imagine he was more personable) was back on Talk Sport on Wednesday. Not live of course, he prefers to get his digs in to Simon Jordan in a pre-recorded state. Mr Stanley makes a big play on his common football man persona, season ticket holder for two clubs in Manchester City and Stockport County.

A bloke who knows what’s what when it comes to football fans, yet managed to come out yesterday and accuse Wigan Athletic supporters of not having the required education to comment on administration so we should keep our noses out. Paul if you’re such a big football man surely you can see why so many Wigan Athletic fans are so angry right now?

Paul also mentioned that neither he nor the administrators had managed a holiday since July. I didn’t think that many of us would have managed a holiday during a global pandemic but hey ho what do I know. The final salvo from the Talk Sport interview was Mr Stanley stating that he wasn’t media trained. Probably the only truthful statement we’ve had off him in seven months.

Inadvertently it was also received that ‘the guys back in Hong Kong’ would be receiving the money from the properties and as apparently this isn’t Wigan Athletic’s money we shouldn’t worry about it. But Paul here once again you are wrong, those assets were Wigan Athletic’s. Assets left to us by Dave Whelan to ensure our club would have a secure future not so two chancers from Hong Kong could literally gamble away our future.

It’s been an unhappy relationship between Wigan Athletic and the administrators but I think relations must be at the lowest ebb yet after this week. I said last week think of the normal everyday people who have lost their jobs and their livelihoods through no fault of their own how must they have felt earlier this week when they saw this? I know how they felt and it’s not even a fraction of the anger that Wigan Athletic supporters will be feeling. It’s even worse.

Wigan Athletic is on the precipice, no clear front runner to buying us. Administrators who couldn’t give a damn of where we end up and a pandemic preventing Wigan Athletic fans from gathering and making their voices heard. In whatever form it takes we must survive but I’m a lot less confident of survival than I was four days ago, let alone four months ago.

Sean Livesey

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