Honestly, I published Friday’s match preview about ten minutes before I found out about the pitch inspection scheduled for this morning. I was quite chuffed at the time, what with all the stuff and nonsense about lil ole Wigan this week it would have been nice to see us pull off a coup and be one of the few sporting occasions to survive the ice. Imagine going from the invisible zeros to prepared heroes in seven short days.
But of course undersoil heating is made to fail at the most inconvenient times and as much as a cliché it is for pride to come before a fall, it’s probably not as much as if something can go wrong for Wigan Athletic then it probably will. And so, one spanner in the works later, we’re waking up to a frozen pitch and a free Saturday afternoon.
No nods, winks or under the table suggestions of any kind, but it doesn’t half fall at a convenient time. Roberto Martinez has made it clear that he’s looking to do quite a bit of business over January and as well as giving Bobby another couple of hours on the phone it gives him one less game where he has to cope with a squad that’s only one part his.
But, as the cynics will be quick to point out, it also gives other managers the same chance and the Sunday papers have made it one of those sticky, horrible days to be a Latics fan. Kirkland, Rodallega, N’Zogbia and Figueroa are all mentioned. All we need is a Titus Bramble link this afternoon and we’re faced with the removal of pretty much all that’s good with our team.
Bobby might be eyeing 5-6 of our current players moving on, but I doubt that any of those 5 would be in that list. At most clubs you’d be laughing at the thought that we’d even think about selling that amount of talent in one go, especially with the championship guillotine hanging over us, but this is Wigan Athletic and that’s out business plan.
And the logic is all there, we might not need to sell to balance the books, but selling to buy might be different? Bobby would like a bigger squad, but chances are that his wage budget is looking pretty thin. Get some cash in, move on some of your bigger earners and hell, you might be able to pay some transfer fees as well as paying players’ wages.
I’ve no problem with the club being run prudently, in fact I’m proud that we might have uncovered a way of sticking around in the top flight without chucking money around left right and centre. But I’m also a big fan of the advice given by Kenny Rodgers’ gambler:
“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.
Know when to walk away, know when to run
You never count your money, when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done.”
Put simply, there’s a time to stick with what you’ve got and there’s a time for chucking it all away, there’s a time for fighting and a time for walking away. And perhaps more importantly, there’s a time for cashing in and a time for taking a punt.
So whilst Latics might get tempted with some hefty profits this January, whilst the business plan says take them, and the business plan makes sense. The question is should we stick to it, even if it means we end up as the richest club in the Championship?
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