Last chance saloon

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Thirteen weeks and six days, thirteen weeks and six days literally thrown away.

The best part of four months being told that it’s nearly done, that it’s just a few days away. That all’s fine we’re just dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Being told not to worry about another week passing by as it’ll definitely be done next week.

There’s very few words to describe the anger I felt last week, the anger wasn’t solely about on the pitch matters. In this hellish period for our football club on the pitch has always come second but I felt anger for those who have been affected by this takeover far more than those of us who are merely football supporters.

It was no secret that a number of staff had been informed by the Spanish consortium that they would be facing large salary cuts or redundancy. A number of staff including the first team medical staff and head of HR decided they would jump before they were pushed leaving jobs they had been in for a long time.

How must they have felt as the takeover finally collapsed last week? What about those who were made redundant back in the summer? So many people affected and still affected by our situation. It’s important to remember that this situation goes a lot deeper than the visible turmoil on the pitch.

Begbies deadline on Friday evening saw the news that a number of parties had expressed an interest and that formal negotiations had begun with a number of bidders. Subject to proof of funds.

One of the loudest parties left on the sidelines when the Spanish consortium entered in to talks to buy the club was the well-publicised bid of Wigan ex-pat Tony Frampton financed by Alistair Jeffries. Frampton had made it clear that he was convinced the Spanish bid was doomed to failure and that he and his group could be installed within a few weeks.

Frampton’s bid has  been much publicised, some of the plans we’ve heard are extravagant to say the least. A sliding roof on the stadium anyone? But equally there’s clearly a lot of money within the group. Matters have progressed through the week and we’re now awaiting a further update from the administrators to confirm that the bid is being progressed.

We’re very quickly approaching the last chance saloon in this process and it may well be that Tony Frampton does become the Wiganer returning home to save his local football club. I understand the worries of Frampton’s links with the Rugby and indeed his fondness for a number of other football clubs but let’s face it we’re fast running out of options and it seems Frampton and co are the only show in town at the minute.

We have to hope that it hasn’t been hot air over the last few months and that the most unlikely takeover in living memory can get over the line. Especially if the other options are Norman Smurthwaite and disqualified company director Saul Loggenberg who one national publication suggested was a credible option over the weekend.

After a Covid enforced absence Wigan Athletic return to on the pitch matters on Saturday against a Rochdale side who inflicted our heaviest defeat of the season back in December. The vultures are once again circling the DW with Kyle Joseph and Tom Pearce the latest to be linked with a move away, moves that could well happen for as long as Begbies are in charge and the ownership situation has yet to be resolved.

There are also a number of loan players including Darnell Johnson, Curtis Tilt and Matty Palmer who have returned to their parent clubs since we last played a league match. There was a couple of bright bits of news among the gloom this week as Dan Gardner and Thelo Aasgaard signed new contracts with the club. We also brought in another Leam Richardson connected signing – Tendayi Darikwa arrived from Nottingham Forest until the end of the season.

It’s ironic that we had tried and failed to sign Darikwa in brighter days, he comes with a fantastic pedigree and as a player Leam knows well hopefully he can hit the ground running. We’re in desperate need of reinforcements but even more worrying is those we can lose.

We just have to hope that Leam and Gregor can keep the show on the road for as long as possible. It’s been a horrific seven months for our football club – but we just have to hope brighter days are ahead.

Sean Livesey

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