How different it could have been

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Well Saturday was a rude awakening wasn’t it?

After the boost of two league wins in a row following quick on the heels of the news of an imminent takeover things were beginning to look rosy again in the Wigan Athletic garden. Sadly a horror show at Crewe brought us crashing back down to earth, and indeed reality with a bump.

The Railway men managed to capitalise on some poor defensive performances to come out of the game with a three nil win, and it’s the first time this season we’ve actually looked out classed. As hard as the result is to take it’s important to remember that there’ll be many days like these this season. Leam Richardson, John Sheridan and the rest of the coaching staff have done a marvellous job so far with literally no resources and a team blended together of youth players and free transfers.

There have been enough high points to make us think that this season may not be one that could ultimately end in relegation, but as much as that is true it’s important to temper those expectations. Our squad is not the biggest and there is very little in terms of senior back-up if any of those first eleven are missing due to injury, suspension or covid as in the case of Nathan Cameron last weekend.

Speaking of Covid it was surprising in some quarters to see Crewe decide that they couldn’t fulfil their fixture with Oxford on Tuesday, despite managing to fulfil their fixture against us at the weekend. Even more surprising that Omar Beckles appeared for Crewe despite testing positive the previous week. I wouldn’t expect any retributions from the EFL of course.

Speaking of the EFL it wasn’t surprising to see Rick ‘I heard it was a bet’ Parry behind the project big picture that has set tongues wagging across football this week. A project that would focus all of English football’s decision making and power in to a small band of elite clubs. All of whom roundly rejected the proposals earlier this week.

The headline for the football league was an immediate bailout of £250 million and a future share of any Premier League TV Deals. All welcome offers but as a result major changes to the pyramid structure of English football.

EFL clubs desperately need support but they needed support before the Coronavirus pandemic too, if we accept that football’s problems have been exacerbated by the Premier League’s breakaway from the football league the solution surely can’t be to hand all of English football’s decision making power to six clubs on account of their financial might. English football desperately needs change and restructuring but this isn’t the way to go about it.

That Manchester United and Liverpool had reportedly threatened to the FA that they would form their own league if the plans weren’t supported tells its own story – even Sky and the worldwide fan base would get sick of Manchester United v Liverpool six times a season.

You disregard the English pyramid and the collective bargaining at your peril.

Back to the Latics and it’s a return to the Valley this weekend, personally I’m still having nightmares from that 92nd minute equaliser by the Addicks last time out. If we had managed to hold out for another two minutes in that match this summer could have been so different.

As it is John Sheridan will take his depleted Latics side to South London needing a reaction after the humbling defeat to Crewe last time out. Charlton, boosted by ending their own ownership worries this summer have recruited well with Sir Ben Watson among those big names arriving at the Valley. I think it could well be our toughest match of the season and I’d be delighted with a point frankly.

The domestic transfer window also closes on Friday and Latics are still in desperate need of defensive reinforcements, whether we can get anyone to come in to replace Danny Fox is another matter. It could have been very different if Krasner and co had managed to find (or rather accept) a bidder earlier than they did.

As it is we will have to go with what we’ve got, until the takeover is completed. The one bonus of the pandemic from our point of view is that there are still numerous players available who in normal times would have been snapped up but thanks to Covid are without a club so the transfer window closing shouldn’t affect us in that regard.

Sean Livesey

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