Dear Paul

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An open letter to Paul Cook

Hello Paul, I’m a Wigan Athletic fan. I wouldn’t dream of claiming to speak for all Wigan Athletic fans yet I still feel the need to write a few words about the past week.

You’ve probably noticed that we reside in a 25,000 seater stadium and it’s barely a third full. There’s not much we can do about that right now, but please don’t blame the ones who do turn up. We can’t speak for the rest who aren’t there. Just understand that it often makes it a difficult place to create an atmosphere and it’s an easy place to hear dissenting voices.

Don’t ever mistake this for a lack of passion though, the 8,000 fans who rattle round the DW are as good as any throughout the country. Just look at the support we provide at away matches or come and join us in the pub before or after the games if you like, and you’ll see that fervour in abundance.

You know that this is a special club. It is still that warm, homely, family club where you started your career and that the spirit of Springfield Park and the non-league underdog will always be in our soul, even though football and time moves on.

We have had some special players and some special managers in the past but the ones we remember most fondly are the ones who have been both. Since you came here, you have done almost everything right, won over the fans immediately and set us up for what is shaping up to be a great season; the latest chapter in our history. I have every faith that you fit the bill.

I always feel that it’s a dangerous route to go down when a manager starts criticising our own club’s fans but I, as just one fan, support everything you say. Not because I blindly trust you but because I’ve been through over 30 years of highs and lows that Wigan Athletic have enjoyed/endured and you are perfectly right, we are second in the league and have very little to complain about right now.

The uproar after we lost our first game at home since March was something of an over-reaction, and it’s not something I can personally apologise for, as I tend to surround myself with more level headed types but I do feel slightly ashamed that it happened.

The perpetrators do not speak for me and of course, nor do I speak for them. If it helps, however, they’ll probably turn on me now after reading this. I’ll just put my flak jacket on.

So, please feel free to ignore them for they know no better. They don’t know how lucky we’ve got it, nor indeed how lucky we’ve had it these past 20 or so years since we nearly got dumped out of the whole league.

The rest of us will continue to support you and the club in our own meek, compliant, happy clapper ways and try not to claim to pick the team for you. You’re doing a great job Paul, and long may it continue!

Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 24th November 2017

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  1. Maybe you want to take a listen to the last 10 minutes of the podcast which you have, without irony, chosen to attach to this article. When you’re going to produce podcasts that pick apart the squad, individual players, and by implication Paul Cook your doing far more than any single voice is to be negative. The Scottish bloke you had on tries to put across the point that the Tics are doing alright at the moment, and is there really anything to moan about, but for the most part the contributers continue to discuss what is wrong and what might go wrong.

    You want to distance yourself from these fans that don’t know better like yourself, good luck with that, it seems they are closer to home than you like to think.

  2. Ouch.

    It’s probably worth pointing out (as you’ve probably noticed) that there’s more than one voice involved in the podcast. Different people write on the site too and despite what some people think, we don’t have a massive agenda or exercise thought control over each other. This is one person’s view, the rest of us *might* think Jimmy is talking nonsense.

    There’s also a massive difference between four blokes talking shite in a pub (microphone or not) and people screaming abuse at players and the manager during the course of the game. We’d also never try to suggest that we speak with any authority amongst Latics fans.

    – If people agree with us (any or all of us), then fair enough, we like to think we talk sense occasionally
    – If people disagree with us then we’d prefer it if they told us, we’re always up for a good debate
    – If people blindly take what we say as some kind of truth just because it’s on the internet then they really need to have a goo hard look at themselves

    And if people want to blame us for anything that’s happening in the ground then they really, really are over estimating our influence. I mean, imagine thinking that, just because you’re on a podcast, people pay any attention to your opinions.

  3. Aw how cute, someone made up a name to take a pop at me! Well done for listening to the first 90 minutes though to get to that bit.

    In terms of the article above, what bit of “I wouldn’t dream of claiming to speak for all Wigan Athletic fans” did you not read?

    In terms of the podcast, I simply fielded the question “where do we need to strengthen in January?” Apart from suggesting we might need some back up at right back, I do not feel I was critical, others might be but that’s their opinion

    Anyway, thanks for your comments Bill

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