Well, the waiting is over and pretty soon the games will be coming at us thick and fast. I’d love to tell you that I am anticipating this season much more than the last few years but the truth is I’m not. Like many of us, I have high expectations every year and for the last two seasons in particular, those expectations have fallen drastically short.
I often look behind the scenes at our football club to try and spot signs that we are winding down proceedings, and it certainly felt like that in January when yet another fire sale took place. Yet what we seem to be emerging with now is a completely new squad from 12 months ago. This is always a risky proposal but when the last bunch were so used to losing, then we really do have nothing to lose really, do we?
That’s not strictly true as by dropping a division, many fans expectations have shifted considerably. Didn’t we learn anything from last time? Again, looking at it pragmatically, we have made some great signings, we will undoubtedly have one of the strongest squads in the division, and are among the bookies favourites.
I think at this stage, all we can do is to give full kudos to Gary Caldwell for reshaping the squad and David Sharpe for sanctioning the investment in it. It may not be full of internationals and star names like the past few years but not only did quite a lot of those players let us down but we are also a League One team now where household names are hard to come by.
Of course, we know from painful experience that having a good squad is one thing, being able to use it wisely is a different matter and as it is finally time to test our mettle against our League One foes, we will start to see in the next fortnight just how we are shaping up.
A lot of younger or giddier fans are suggesting that we will “Smash It”. Hey, even our young chairman said it! However, most of the sensible, cynical types I knock around with are quietly opining publicly that a mid-table finish would be quite acceptable given the turmoil of recent times. I suspect that privately, we’re all secretly hoping for a little bit more than that and just don’t want to pile any pressure on our rookie manager and chairman.
So to Coventry, where it begins, a big old club fallen on hard times who will be the first of many seeking to give the new boys to this division a bloody nose. With Coventry’s own pre-season being somewhat abject, we should be in with a good shout but let us not allow an ounce of complacency creep in, otherwise we could be walking home with our pants down Lady Godiva style.
Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man Column Friday 7th August 2015
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