Given that Wei Au Yeung’s stewardship over Wigan Athletic presided over just three games you could forgive him for not having attended any of the club’s games. With the current travel restrictions, you might forgive him for never actually setting foot in Wigan. You could, you might, but if you consider what’s happened over the last seven days at our football club then I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t.
Seven days is a long time in politics, it’s an even longer time when you support a football club that been unnecessarily thrown into administration by a faceless Chinese businessman, abandoned by a spineless governing body and on the verge of being broken up by administrators, because it’s potless.
It’s been a difficult seven days, to say the least, and Craig David hasn’t even offered to buy me a drink, let alone offered to lead a consortium to take over the club.
I’ve picked up the laptop to write something at least once everyday since the news broke, and this is the first time I’ve got past the first paragraph. Like thousands of other Wiganers, my head’s been too full, I’ve had too many words, too much emotion and too much anger to articulate myself properly.
There’s an irony that 15 years or so of warning that we could end up right where we are now is no sort of preparation for it. Every day brings another blow as more and more stones are unturned and the human costs of one man’s actions become clearer and more stark and the administrators make choices designed to keep wigan athletic afloat that wouldn’t even been on the table had Au Yeung not called them in.
If you’re not sure how we got here, then we trailed it a couple of weeks ago. The dodgy dealing, leveraged debt and tangled web of relationships were all there. The only thing we didn’t know was that Stanley Choi was in the process of removing himself from any involvement with our club handing it over to Au Yeung, lock stock and smoking howitzer.
Everything has spiralled out of control from there. There’s been information overload as lads in back bedrooms across the borough have done their damnedest to track down evidence of irregularity or illegality and chased the invisible man across the internet.
People have been amazing and if you want to catch up on where things are up to then check out the twitter feeds of our Dylan (@dylanharris) and Harry Robinson (@RobboHarry) who amongst a supporting cast have done a sterling job of lifting the lid on Choi, Au Yeung and IEC. The sort of job you might expect the EFL to do when checking the credentials of prospective new members of their ownership club.
They’ve uncovered a web that includes allegations of dodgy deals, insider training and bankruptcy; PO boxes in the Cayman Islands, betting rumours and the real possibility that the central figure in all of this Au Yeung Wai Kay (aka Kenneth Au Yeung) may not exist. Even if he does, he’s probably not not the sort of gentleman who has enough cash down the back of the couch to buy and then finance any football club, let alone one with a £24m debt around its neck.
It’s all bizarre, too much for my pie addled mind to make real sense of. It half feels like a film or like I fell asleep watching “The Laundromat”, with Dylan playing the Meryl Streep role.
Closer to a reality I can cope with, we have Jay Whittle (@JayWhittle6) setting up groups so that people who are struggling to cope mentally with the whole thing can help support each other. He’s also been out talking to some of the movers and shakers, getting the views of the politicians and financial experts, helping us understand that we’re not fighting this on our own. His efforts have brought massive kudos for Andy Burnham (helping prove my theory that all Evertonians are just frustrated ‘tics) and Lisa Nandy whose reputation as our MP has simply skyrocketed over the last view days as she lines herself up to play an active role in saving our club.
Whilst it’s easy to throw these names out there, the real heroes of the piece at the moment are harder to pin down. Chance are you’re one of them, along with everyone who’s donated to the Official Supporters Club’s “Let’s Hang On” appeal. Every one of you building a fund that will help get our club through to the end of the season, to pay for the vital things required to get games on. A fund that currently stands at £131k and rising. A fund that features donations from fans of a massive range of clubs from all over the world, including £100 of a ten-year old ‘tics birthday money (no, I’ve got dust in my eye).
As I said before, I’ve struggled for words this week. But words aren’t always that important. When the times get hard, it’s actions that really matter and the actions of the people I’ve mentioned above, and many more besides prove that Latics are a force to be reckoned with. We will not let our club go lightly. We will not lie down.
Keep on keeping on and keep the faith.
I’ll see you on the other side.
If you’ve not donated to the “Let’s Hang On” fund yet then you can find the donation page at:
Keep your eyes open over the next few days for another initiative that will hopefully raise another big chunk for the fund. In the meantime, we’ve resurrected and refreshed the classic Ticspotting design from a couple of years ago and t-shirts, mugs and other merchandise is now available on our store at https://thepieatnight.bigcartel.com/ with any profits made for the foreseeable future going into the fund.
There a plenty of other people, doing plenty of good fundraising at the moment, so if none of the above floats your boat then have a look around on social media and it won’t take you long to find something.
And if you can’t spare anything at the minute, then there’s no shame in that. All we ask is that you spread the message, share the posts and keep making noise so that people never forget that we’re here.
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