So here we go again, just two short years since our first game back in the third tier we’re back again. Ready for another attempt at League One and as Joe Fagin sang in Auf Wiedersehen Pet ‘Get it right this time’.
It’s been a summer of change in the corridors of power at the DW Stadium and with it the last connections to our Premier League days left as Graham Barrow and numerous members of the backroom team departed in May. Paul Cook’s appointment was met with an unusually high level of approval from the Latics fanbase and following the divisive appointment of Warren Joyce last season the club have hopefully got the right man this time, a manager that the supporters can get behind fully.
Some would say Latics had been going about their business quietly, that was until it was revealed that Max Power, Omar Bogle and Jack Byrne were training with the under 18’s and seemingly without a future with the club. I don’t know the ins and outs of either of the players situations but it’s particularly disappointing. A statement posted by Max Power and swiftly retracted seems to indicate he sees his future back in the Championship, whilst the situations surrounding Omar Bogle and Jack Byrne are more mystifying.
The one thing I do know is that no player is bigger than the club and although Max Power in particular should be commended for his service to Wigan over the last two seasons he is simply one player, and no player is bigger than our club. It’s time for the club to put itself first and if Paul Cook is putting the club’s interests first then he’ll get the backing from the terraces.
And what of the aforementioned Mr Cook, he’s made a quiet if impressive start to his second (third if we’re counting the loan from Burnley) spell at Latics, you can’t help but be impressed by what he has to say and the ideas he has for the club. If he’s as successful at Wigan as he was at Chesterfield and Portsmouth we’ll have made the right choice. Cook spoke a couple of weeks ago of trying to get the club back to how it was under Gary Caldwell the last time we were in League One and he’s of course right.
Despite what some will have you believe Caldwell achieved an awful lot in his short spell in charge and sadly all the hard work was un-done by a combination of factors last season. Cook hopefully recognises that, and the need to get that feel good spirit back in the club.
If we can get the players – the vast majority who were part of the squad the last time we played in League One believing in themselves again it could be an enviable squad, compared to the rest of the league. Happiness is a big part of that, Cook seems to be big on motivation, with Peter Reid also in the background the club shouldn’t be short of a laugh or two, if that can be harnessed in the right way it’s a brilliant addition to your armoury.
If the club manage to hold on to the bigger names of Grigg, Powell, Jacobs and Burn we’ll have one of the strongest sides in the division. Too many players under-performed last season, add that to the instability off the pitch and sadly there was only one way we were heading but that was last season.
It’s a clean slate for the club now and with Blackburn also looking to get back to the Championship at the first time of asking League One will once again be compelling viewing. Last season felt like a near carbon copy of the 2014/15 season, if we can have a near carbon copy of the last time we were in League One I think Wiganers the world over would snatch your hand off right now.
With well over a thousand Wiganers descending on Milton Keynes at the weekend what better way to start?
Three points please lads.
First published in the Wigan Post 12th Man column, Friday 4th August 2017
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