I think it was fairly evident what my views of Malky Mackay where from day one, if not within these pages then via other publications. He’s not a man I ever wanted appointed, nor did I believe that his style of play was the answer for the position we are in and I take no pleasure from it ending in tears.
Yet contrary to the last, I actually ended up feeling a bit sorry for him on Monday. The job felt something of a poison chalice, albeit partly one of his own making due to the controversy surrounding him. But am I glad he’s gone? Absolutely!
There’s no point hauling over the coals of the last few months, indeed all season has been an unmitigated disaster but with any luck we now find ourselves in reset mode. The fans, the club, the management: our whole future direction.
Expectations are as low as they have been for some time as short-term (bad) decision making has cost the club dear and for those reasons, the new man, a certain Mr Caldwell will hopefully be given all the time in the world. Yeah right, this is a football club we are talking about!!
Once you segregate Caldwell the player from Caldwell the manager, what you hopefully identify with is a young, intelligent man with natural leadership qualities and fresh ideas. I always felt that Coyle and Mackay had only one way of working, an outdated one at that; alternatively Rosler had plenty of visionary ideas but it was evident that he had no player buy-in whatsoever towards implementing them.
There is still that thorny issue of player power, and as I’ve said in the past – not many footballers grow up dreaming of playing for Wigan Athletic. The relegation effect is not unique to Wigan Athletic with the likes of Fulham or Wolves plus near neighbours Bolton and Blackburn both suffering times of turmoil post Premier League exit.
In all likelihood, you have players who think they are Premier League stars on Championship wages – a “we’re too good for this league” type attitude who can get overturned by established Championship teams and gung ho up and comers like Brentford and Bournemouth. We have suffered this more than most possibly because we were historically not as big a club as some of the others to withstand it.
Putting a 32 year old rookie in charge of arresting this malaise may be a gamble but as several more established names have failed miserably we basically have nothing to lose. For those of us who go in for those wishy washy beliefs of football clubs needing an identity, the fact that Gary Caldwell has been around a while means that he hopefully gets it. He will bring new ideas to the table whilst trying to get us back to doing what we have historically been good at.
For the remainder of this season, I expect nothing more than a glimpse of optimism but it is clear that Caldwell’s introduction cannot fail to inject a bit more positivity for next year no matter what division we are in which has got to be great news for all those doom mongers like me who are quick to hark that everything’s going wrong.
I’ve also been perhaps a bit hasty to take the mickey out of our young chairman, just because that’s what I do – but I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that his words and more importantly actions are nothing other than impressive right now and David Sharpe is quickly winning people over.
First published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column Friday 10th April 2015
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