Ah yes, Stan McEwan. The bloke must have been on wages of a hundred grand a week given the number of people who claim to have thrown money into the famous collection buckets.
I will try and probably fail to keep this brief in case in the hope it can somehow by read by a wider audience who switch off at my longer ramblings or indeed anything longer than a tweet.
At the weekend and in the Wigan Observer on Tuesday, I requested answers from the club as to what is going on, along with a thousand other screaming voices. We just want to know who is to blame for our current predicament which I suspect again is a shifting beast.
Also in the Wigan Observer, there was an extensive interview with Jonathan Jackson. He also rang me on Tuesday afternoon. After me asking the by now traditional opening question – “I’m not in any trouble am I?” He proceeded to give me a similar overview as to what is going on.
Not trying to show off here by the way. He has me down as a “voice of the fans” you see, being somebody who has written for and edited the club’s fanzine for probably around 25 years in total now, long before the internet and it’s rabid, ranting ASBO afflicted offspring, social media, took over proceedings. It helps that he used to come and buy the fanzine off us on the bridge years before he became CEO of the club.
I have pointed out to him that probably only 10% at best read the Mudhutter or the stories on TNS and the other 90% will continue to scream for blood on social media regardless of what I write. If they do read it, it’s certainly not acknowledged, therefore in reality my influence is minimal and I’m more likely to get abuse thrown at me for my 25 years of writing about Latics than praise from some quarters.
I’m not doing this to appear “in the know”. Nor am I doing it because I suspect it’s exactly what Jonathan Jackson wants me to do, to cascade the message after my prior criticism. It’s just my thoughts again. So this isn’t about me, and the paltry amount of notice that will be taken by the masses over this blog, this is about that noble institution that is Wigan Athletic FC.
I’ll stick to short sentences per paragraph and hope the points flow logically:
We spent a fortune on players in August around £10m. Reinvesting the “McArthur Money” plus more, with a view to getting back in the Premier League and it hasn’t paid off, in fact those players have let the club down terribly
I personally believe that most of the squad are more than capable but Jackson used the analogy of a lack of “chemistry”
For whatever reason we have had a bad player power situation where none of them are pulling their tripe out
Either way, it shouldn’t have been a gamble but it was and six months later it hasn’t paid off.
Parachute payments fall next season by £8-10m. That’s £10m less we have to spend/balance the books with.
Not only that, but you have to consider that we only managed to avoid making a £10m loss the year before due to the cash received in the form of the now infamous McCARTHY MONEY (and Kone) quite a lot of which was banked
For comparison, similar sized clubs to us Blackburn lost £43m last year. Bolton lost £50m. Due to greater prudence and player sales we managed to bridge that gap.
However, as it stands we were running a £30m wage bill last year, ridiculous for a Championship club and only sustainable due to parachute payments.
Next year the parachute payments will drop to £8m and we’ll be lucky if can bring in £3m through the gate and commercially. You do the maths.
But what about the hundreds of millions Whelan has taken out of the club over the past ten years?
Thankfully 95% of our fans have now worked out that this isn’t the case, and only complete lunatics seem to keep banging on about it.
It’s more likely to be £100m he’s put in all things considered.
Dave Whelan is 78 years old.
Nevertheless, he could start the whole cycle again and pump another £100m to get us back to the Premier League but why should he?
And even if he did, what guarantees would there be that he would achieve the same outcome?
The feeding frenzy at the top of the game is such that the top clubs are only getting richer and richer and we are probably better off out of it in our little new found world of financial hardship. A £100m gets you very little.
The begging buckets aren’t out just yet but we need to learn to stand on our own two feet as a club because the money we collected during the good days nearly all went back out into agents and players pockets
Even if Dave Whelan has decided no longer to fund the club from his own pocket (i.e. let us run at a loss and cover the cash shortfall himself) then he is still guaranteeing the overdraft.
And a football club without a secured overdraft is a bust football club.
The only thing I feel that we as fans still need clarity on, is what is becoming known as the “Barbados question”.
What is the plan for the Whelan family for the long term future of our football club?
David Sharpe has done and probably will continue to inherit wealth but he hasn’t made millions, in fact he appears to have recently lost £1.3m on a chip shop he had little interest in running.
He may one day inherit all the Whelan family wealth, a scary and exciting prospect – but if I was him, I wouldn’t be looking to blow £100m on a football club. Would you? Yes, stick to the computer games perhaps.
Plus there is the niggling fact we are being financially managed as a responsible, well run, profitable football club suggests that the club might be in the shop window.
Whichever way you look at it, there are tough times ahead.
Most rational fans know that we have punched above our weight for many years, thanks to Whelan’s investment.
They know that even when the ground was full our income was low. Our season tickets are cheap, we don’t have the pull of bigger clubs and our fans are predominantly based in Wigan with relatively low income.
Take away the money the Premier League gives us and the money is no longer there. Even though we’re no longer in it, we remain a slave to it.
Whereas the results leave a lot to be desired, the signings (linked and actual) point to a future where we have lower paid but hopefully more industrious players.
And seeing as he’s not going anywhere, well for all the stick he’s been given, maybe a few people (least of all myself) will have to learn to accept Mackay.
Despite having the worst record of any Wigan Athletic manager, it maybe took a week like this to realise just what he has got to work with.
We’ve still seen no improvement since he took over, in fact we’ve gone horribly backwards but maybe this has been the first week he really has been able to change things in so we will eagerly await the output.
And for the fans (those that are planning to hang around) maybe this week has made people realised that nothing lasts forever and we have to adjust to a new frugal future.
Apart from the younger ones, there’s not too many fans out there who admit not being there during the darker days, so now’s our collective chance to prove it.
If you don’t want to be a part of Wigan Athletic’s future then stop screaming about how unfair it is on social media, because an age of austerity awaits.
The party’s over, so either shut up and ring a taxi or hang around and help the rest of us clear the empties and the vomit up.
We will regroup before long, under this manager or the next. Hopefully with a stronger, united fanbase who can stop shouting and start listening a bit more. Save your voices for the match.
We just need to see some fight on the pitch and we will respond. Over to you Malky.
PS. Will that do Jonathan?
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