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