Lack of hope leads to despair until ultimately there is hope and defiance. The sooner we get out of the desperation stage the better for all concerned, whether that is by virtue of a miraculous climb up the table or a general consensus that we are adrift and it is best to start planning for the future.
We will have a future right? I keep telling people ‘things will get better’ and they usually respond by pointing me in the direction of December’s fixture list. However, I’m not talking about the next game, the next month and maybe not even next season. I’m talking about the long game.
I’ll admit that I’ve always stuck by Bobby and only in recent weeks do I feel that Martinez and his squad have been cheating the fans. People seem to think I have an answer as the club’s fanzine editor but I don’t. I’ve never been hot on tactics or dissecting the game, football for me is about the fans, the culture, the great days and the not-so-great ones we’re enduring at the minute.
I’ve no idea whether replacing the manager will do any good or not. Many of you reading will be of the option that whoever we brought in could hardly do any worse than losing eight on the bounce. Others implore us to get behind Roberto and see the bigger picture. Well, again it’s hard to see the bigger picture when even the next worst teams in the league are beating us easily.
In true Martinez style however, I see football from an ideological perspective: it might take 5 or even 10 years but the good times always return. We may not remain a Premier League club but when all the pundits and indeed many industry professionals continually point out that we’re ‘defying gravity’ staying here it seems that the only people who demand Wigan Athletic should be in the Premier League is our own fans.
We may need to accept that our future lies in a lower division. But a lower division where we will have great away days, where we’ll not be charged £40-50 a ticket, every game is winnable, more young players are given a chance instead of mercenary foreigners and a media circus doesn’t follow us everywhere we go.
Of course as a football club we want to play at the highest level possible but maybe we need to take a couple of steps back in order to regain that winning mentality. Ever since he arrived at the club, Roberto Martinez has never been allowed any kind of margin of error, punished for every mistake and trying to implement a system that clearly works but not for a football club of our size in this division, where we cannot impose ourselves due to the massive inequality in wages and transfer fees.
Some people out there seem to think this being rooted to the bottom three could be the end of us. That all depends whether you love the football club or you just love the Premier League.
First published in the WEP 12th Man column, Wednesday 9th November
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