So the season ended much the way it began, far from being outclassed in games Latics had been competitive throughout the season. But never doing enough to make that competitive streak pay dividends.
Relegation to League One feels less of a shock than last time, mainly because it’s been coming for so long that not being relegated would have been a bigger shock.
Regardless of how it feels it’s still ridiculous to think that the side that did so much to banish the demons of 2014/2015 and that seasons relegation have themselves followed the same path.
Lessons clearly hadn’t been learned by the club and the sacking of Gary Caldwell whether you like it or not has had a detrimental affect on our chances of survival. Not necessarily getting rid of the aforementioned Caldwell, we all have our views on that.
But regardless a new manager arriving in October should have had more than enough to turn the side around in that time, sadly we gambled on Warren Joyce who no matter what you think of the man as a person was a disaster for the club.
It’s going to take a lot to recover from this set back. Yes League One isn’t as strong as the Championship, yes Bolton have gained promotion using a series of free agents and free transfers, but it’s still a difficult League to get out of. As we discovered countless times in the late 90’s to the early 00’s.
If we can keep the basis of this squad together, many of whom won League One at a canter last season and couple them with a manager who plays positively but more importantly plays to their strengths, we may have a chance.
I spoke to Jimmy Wagg on BBC Radio Manchester on Saturday along with Paul Middleton of the Mudhutter about in an ideal world – who we would want as manager. For the first time in a long time, I had no answer.
The lack of realistic candidates is startling and both an indication of how our stock has fallen from when Premier League bound Chris Hughton applied for the job and an indication of how few decent managers are around.
Whoever the new manager is we’re desperate for stability in the football club. Let’s hope that whoever the new manager is. Previous history with the club or not, can provide that stability.
First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 5th May 2017.
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