If we all pull together

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Time to concentrate on the league eh? I said I would be happy if we competed and compete we did, there was to be no 2018 style fairy tale but even being on the pitch in the first place is a fairy tale that I and many other supporters need reminding of.

There was some fantastic press coverage in the build up to Monday night and the overriding theme was how lucky we are to be here.

It’s become a cliché to be ridiculed “hey at least we’ve got a club to support” but to ridicule that is to ignore stories such as Graham Barrow being called by Shaun Maloney on his family holiday in Portugal* to be told that ‘it looks like we’re gone’.

Or how Shaun Maloney gave up his family holiday to try and convince Mike Danson to save us, or how driving to work during that week did Maloney consider his career (money, kids, wife) or stay in the hope he could help save our club and build again.

Thank god he chose the latter as did Gregor Rioch and the overriding theme in that press coverage is how lucky we were and continue to be. One article among the many stood out in the I from their chief football writer Daniel Storey.

He interviewed Caroline Molyneux – another person (who alongside Shaun Maloney and Gregor Rioch and every other hero that helped to save us (twice) ) deserves our eternal gratitude.

Caroline explained in length what had gone wrong under Phoenix 21 and how Mike Danson had come to save us.

Things had gotten so bad last summer that we were days if not hours from liquidation, not the comparative comfort blanket of administration but liquidation.

I was lucky enough to appear on Radio Manchester’s build-up programme ahead of Monday’s match and explained that in the history books there would be an asterix after the 2013 FA Cup winners. Like Aldershot Town we would cease to exist. It was that serious a situation.

If we look back to last summer, June specifically and told our support that a few short months later our academy led side would not only reach the FA Cup third round, but would then draw Manchester United and in front of the biggest attendance at the DW in over a decade would compete with United and on another night could have got something from a game that never ran away from our young lads – well they’d think you were daft.

But that’s what’s happened.

Because of those that have saved us – Mike Danson, Shaun Maloney, Gregor Rioch, Caroline Molyneux and the many more unnamed but equally deserving heroes.

As Latics entered the pitch to fireworks on Monday night I couldn’t help but feel the ultimate pride – call me a happy clapper if you like, I don’t care. Our football club lived to fight another day and Monday despite the result was a night to saviour.

Forget the controversy over the East stand, I know that upset a lot of people but in the end I think the decision was vindicated. If there were United fans in the home ends then they disguised themselves very well.

There weren’t the sort of unsavoury scenes that we witnessed regularly in the Premier League, and the atmosphere in the home ends particularly the West and North was some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. That may not have been the case if those extra 2,000 United fans were looking for tickets in the home ends.

Yes there’s a lot to work on both for the club and the infrastructure surrounding it. The ticketing system put in place by our old owners needs binning off as soon as possible and replaced with something that works (I’d even take ticket master back at this rate) and the club need to appoint a board as soon as possible that allows us to set a direction for the future.

There was a positive update in terms of the Fans Fund ahead of Monday with the Heart and Soul banner looking excellent being passed along the North, I know a number of people have raised concerns about that so it will be good to get clarification on what will replace that soon.

Takeovers take time, and our time had run out last summer. IEC did around 12 months of due diligence before buying us and that was a debt free club with no issues.

As Caroline mentioned to the aforementioned Daniel Storey there was no time for due diligence, he bought us having not looked at the books in an effort to save his hometown football club.

There are probably many nasty surprises being found at the moment. That shouldn’t prevent us holding the club to account but it should remind us that patience is a virtue and if we are patient, with the right people in place who knows where we can go as a club.

Monday reminded us of the good old days, they aren’t that far out of reach if we all pull together. Wigan Athletic and the memories of those people who are no longer around to watch us deserve that.

For David Porter and Phil Highton – two Latics lads of the finest variety who were taken too soon.

Sean Livesey

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