End of the nightmare

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Nine months after the nightmare began, when the sun came out on the hottest day of the year and at 20:21 the nightmare finally ended.

The EFL the body that had done so little to prevent the nightmare confirmed that Wigan Athletic were no longer in administration.

Phoenix 2021 the ownership body set up by Mr Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi with Tamal Mubarak Al-Hammad as incoming chairman completed the purchase of Wigan Athletic, we had our first glimpse of our new owners with videos released across social media in a co-ordinated approach that also confirmed the mystery twitter account was indeed ran by Tamal Al-Hammad.

It was difficult to gather my thoughts on Tuesday night, everything with this wretched pandemic is difficult. In times such as these your first instinct is to celebrate and to celebrate amongst fans but obviously we can’t do that.

So although my mind was back in Wigan and the Anvil my body was most definitely not. It’s part of what’s made this situation far more difficult to bear for Latics fans.

No one ever expected when we walked out of the DW after the 0-0 stalemate with Luton over 13 months ago that that would be the last time we saw the team, let alone see our friends and in some cases family.

That’s why administration has been so much more painful, in normal times football clubs still function as well as can be expected. Supporters still go, games are still played and revenue is still generated and potential owners can see what clubs can offer.

We’ve had none of that, we haven’t been able to go and shout our encouragement to the side. Display our anger with those that put us in this situation and those that have profited from our misfortune.

So on Tuesday as all of that came to an end I was unsure exactly how to feel, I think the realisation that we have survived and will live to fight another day no matter what division we’re in next season will eventually come.

I also had an overriding feeling of anger. Anger for everything we’ve been put through, anger for those people who were made redundant through no fault of their own, those people who have lost their livelihoods – it was all so unnecessary.

The pain of the last few months will never go away, the pain of knowing what’s happened and what we’ve lost but if it can help to shape the club and make us appreciate what we have more than we did, well that’s a good thing.

The first impressions for our new owners are very good, there is clearly money available but that will be tempered. The aims from Mr Al-Jasmi (who it must be said has an amazing desk in his office) were sensible.

Building on our academy and aim to return to the Championship. That is exactly what we need to aim for.

With football finance experts Tom Markham and Oliver Gottman on the board alongside Mal Brannigan and Wiganer Richard Bramwell there is an experienced leadership team there who will be looking at how best to build on our academy and the hard work put in place by Gregor Rioch and the team over the last few seasons.

Whether our rebuild will come in League One or whether we drop back to the level we were when Dave Whelan took over when we started our journey up the leagues back in 1997 remains to be seen.

Wednesday’s match with Gillingham was as frustrating as they come. We dominated for long periods of the game, created a number of excellent chances that we failed to take and Gillingham scored with their one real chance to take all three points.

I wasn’t expecting anything from Gillingham, but to lose in that fashion once we had performed so well was frustrating. We’ve eight games left and probably need four wins to stay up.

It isn’t an impossible task by any means but it’s extremely difficult. Especially when you look at a lot of the sides that we have to face over the next few weeks.

That starts with a buoyant Portsmouth on Monday afternoon. We took all three points when we travelled to Fratton Park in September. What I’d give for the same result on Monday.

We simply have to start picking up wins, no matter how they come. What a boost for all of us if we can manage to turn this around and stay in the division.

However we can do it, give the lads your support – they need it more than ever now.

Sean Livesey

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