Redemption. That’s what I’m hoping is going to be on the menu at the DW next season, perhaps served the traditional way as a pie filling. If history is indeed repeating itself then after a disaster of a season in the Championship, the club have hopefully appointed the right man to get us back up there.
I think the most important thing of all is that we stick with Paul Cook, no matter what. We’ve sacked managers hastily, even managers who have delivered results just a few months earlier and replaced them with no better. I hope Cookie does get off to a flyer but if for whatever reason he doesn’t then we need to stick by him and not be overly critical. Everybody makes mistakes, even the uber critical online element of Wigan Athletic fans whom are usually the first to leap on anything the manager does (or fails to do).
I like the fact we have pushed the boat out with Paul Cook, it shows that we intend to have a real go at things next year, and he is a much stronger candidate than I thought we could land given some of the names bandied about. I hope he can go on to be our manager for a number of years and achieve great things.As for how he will go about it, well he talks of setting his team up to attack but also believes in possession football and that is music to my ears at least. We seem to have had two camps over the past few years. Those fans who find possession football boring and error prone and prefer to see a more direct style implemented by a tracksuit (or shorts-wearing manager) and those who like to watch us play a good passing game, and sticking to defined principles, even if it doesn’t always work.
Hopefully the arrival of Cook will see a merging of the two conflicting camps, maybe we can even do a deal. Those who have been critical in the past of a passing game will accept that this style has given us all our success and big results over recent years (because it has!) and therefore this is the correct philosophy. And those of us who do like to see patient passing will perhaps promise not to be offended by the sight of Paul Cook’s knees. The perfect compromise!
Seriously, there is a happy medium to be found which will give us a style of play where we do dominate possession but also creates plenty of attacking chances. Possession is worthless if it fails to create opportunities but aimlessly hoofing it long and sitting back and letting the opposition have the ball is also utterly pointless, as we saw for much of last season. We want to watch our team playing football surely not the other team! The early signs from Paul’s initially interviews are that he fully gets this.
An interesting summer lies ahead in terms of recruitment, in and out but this is not a squad that needs a major overhaul. Cook will take a look at what he has, sell one or two at the right price maybe and use that to fund a few select players to strengthen in the right areas.
Whatever happens next year, the appointment of a new manager (at last) has certainly ignited a bit of excitement for the forthcoming season and I am looking forward immensely to seeing just what Paul Cook can do for us.
Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 2nd June 2017