Gathering clouds

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It’s never dull following Wigan Athletic is it? Depressing maybe, dull? Never.

After the thoroughly woeful performance against Brentford last time out a cloud hangs over Paul Cook and his team. Goodwill towards the gaffer had been built up over the last month or so with credible performances against Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Bristol City and Swansea. Despite the concern over only actually getting one point out of three games where we should and could have got nine.

Brentford should have been the match where all of that changed, where Wigan Athletic finally got the three points their performances deserved and where we could see some tangible progress. Sadly from minute one Latics were out fought and out classed by a Brentford side who look far better than their position suggests.

For the first time since Warren Joyce’s tenure I felt the anger rise from the stands towards the manager and I couldn’t really find fault with them. Paul Cook has been fantastic for Wigan Athletic. The 2017/18 season including the title win and the FA Cup run were one of the most enjoyable I’ve had following Latics and despite what many people think last season was a success. Paul Cook managed to keep a Wigan Athletic side in the Championship for the first time since 2013/14. But this season is already shaping up to be more difficult than last season.

Big money signings have come in to the club and not really delivered, certainly not consistently and the manager doesn’t seem at least so far to have the answers to those challenges. There is of course time yet, it’s only November but as the matches pass by and the time slips by the opportunity for us to have a successful season also slips by.

Last season our early season form and home form kept us out of the relegation zone over the winter, we don’t have that buffer this season and with a rejuvenated Stoke coming up against us on Saturday we could well find ourselves in the relegation zone on Saturday evening.

The manager needs a decent run of results from somewhere and quickly, our next four games give us the opportunity to do just that. Stoke, Millwall, Reading and Luton are sides all around us in the table and sides we need to take something from to have any chance of staying out of that bottom three over the festive period.  If we don’t do that I worry about Paul Cook’s future as Latics manager.

Another cloud moved in this week as it was announced, close to 12 months to the day that IEC would be looking to move the ownership of Wigan Athletic in to a new fund set up and operated by Stanley Choi the infamous poker player behind a lot of IEC’s business dealings. So what does this mean for the future of Wigan Athletic?

I wish I knew, sadly moves like this are often shrouded in mystery but it shows the change we were always going to experience after the Whelan family moved the club on. The steady hand that we all knew has gone, IEC have made some very impressive strides forward with the club in the last twelve months and have seemingly backed manager and chairman without any questions asked.

We have to hope this continues under our new ownership model. I’m really unsure what I make of it and until we get a more definitive answer on the motives behind it it’s difficult for your everyday supporter to pass judgement.

There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the club at the moment, what a win on Saturday would do for morale – both on the pitch and off it.

Sean Livesey

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