Dare we dream that this living hell that we’ve all been part of for the last three months may be coming to an end?
Nearly three months to the day that Begbies Traynor walked through the door and the life of every Wigan Athletic fan was tossed up in to the air a statement was issued on the club’s website, stating that the administrators had agreed a deal with a preferred bidder from Spain.
We of course have been here before, the 22nd July to be precise where that preferred bidder pulled out a few hours after Latics relegation had been confirmed. The difference this time? The new bidders had placed a substantial deposit.
The new preferred bidders seem to have come out of no-where, not the French American group led by Gauthier Ganaye that for so long seemed to be the only bidders to show their hand.
What do we know of these new bidders? And this new bid? Well very little, whereas the French American bid seemed to have been conducted exclusively in the media this has come out of nowhere. All we know is that the bid will pay off the creditors, thereby avoiding the potential for a 15 point penalty this season and also keeps the DW Stadium owned by Wigan Athletic and out of the hands of a third party.
It felt at times like the Stadium was going to be the biggest victim of this travesty to befall the club. To lose Euxton was one thing, but to lose our primary source of income and our home for all of its flaws was impossible to comprehend.
There’s a number of avenues that we can visit to try and find out the identity of the bidder, indeed a number of Spanish clubs have investigated setting up a portfolio of clubs. The more excitable of us may have linked the words bidder from Spain to our undoubted links with Spain through former players.
One of which still resides in Parbold and has a Wigan twinge to his accent. Although the Romantic in me would love that to be true I can’t see it and nor should we expect it to be true. But thanks to Dave Whelan and the Three Amigos a small part of Wigan will always be Spanish.
Indeed Martinez’s time as manager may have had more influence on this than any potential financial involvement. My family lived and worked in Spain for the bulk of time that we were a Premier League side and it was often said that the most popular British clubs in Spain were Wigan Athletic and Swansea City due to both clubs links with Spain through managers and players.
Our links with Spain stretch far beyond the Three Amigos of course – numerous players in the Premier League who became stars in England, many of those with FA Cup winners medals have helped to keep the club alive thanks to donations to the Supporters Club crowdfunder.
Whatever the reason it is undoubtedly great news for the club – but still that news needs to be tempered, with what has happened over the last few months. We don’t know the intentions of any new bidders – we hope they’re honourable and that’s why we still desperately need supporter representation in the club.
Our amazing supporters, former players, managers and everyone else associated with Wigan Athletic have managed to raise close to a million pounds during a global pandemic for our club. I would love to see it invested in the club to ensure that supporter representation is part of any new ownership structure for Wigan Athletic. One of the reasons why people were so disappointed to lose the French American bid is that did offer the chance for the supporters to take a share in their club.
Caroline Molyneux mentioned to Barry Worthington that discussions between the new group had already taken place and that she had a good feeling that these new bidders would be keen to work alongside the supporters club for the good of the club and indeed the town.
If that is the case it’s very good news for us. Jonathan Jackson who has been working for free for the club every day since he was made redundant during that awful July is someone who the new owners should lean on once a deal is hopefully completed. Someone who is as Wigan as the rest of us and knows the pain that we’ve all been through since July.
It’s amazing how things can change in the space of a week, we’ve not even mentioned the fantastic result at Portsmouth last weekend. If John Sheridan’s side can follow that up with another strong performance on Saturday and the takeover continues to progress without a hitch I think all Wiganer’s will be entitled to raise a glass of Rioja, a bottle of Cruzcampo or pint of Estrella in celebration.
We’re not there yet – but things are looking up for the first time in a long time.
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