The term has often been used over the years but it is never more apt. Supporting Wigan Athletic is very much like being on a roller coaster, especially if you’re the sort of person who gets violently sick with a sudden shock, or if you get carried away with the occasional moment of jubilance, only to get jolted back to reality a few minutes later. The fairground of our dreams/nightmares is located every bit as much on social media these days, as it is on the ploughed furrow of the DW pitch, but again that is the sign of the times. With each new piece of information, either your heart flutters or your stomach goes into a knot.
I am quite sanguine about a lot of elements on the field. Have you ever been less upset about a 5-0 home defeat than on Tuesday? Upset, a little bit maybe, but angry? Definitely not. I am only cursing myself for not putting Blackpool on my coupon, as it is evident, that any team coming up against us on a Tuesday night is going to have an easy evening. Mainly because we have no strength in depth and a teamsheet that simply hasn’t been playing first team football for very long, or for a very long time, prior to joining us.
The only person to blame for this is thousands of miles away, and even if we were in normal times, he would neither hear nor care about any accusations that were flung at him. I have always been confident that we will get an owner and we will come good towards the end of the season. Even though “good” by this year’s standards would be to win two games on the bounce, after which a point per game would probably keep us above the drop zone, given the low quality of teams around us.
I am also managing my own expectations that this might not happen, after all, the clock is ticking. I would certainly hope that the first part will happen, and sooner rather than later. We need an owner and it is a pretty big decision as to who it is. It will shape and define our whole future. We are told there are promising signs a resolution could be close, but we’ve been here before and that roller coaster might suddenly decide to jolt backwards and chuck us all up into the air once more.
I’ve also got this idea that if we get a new owner next month, that they will be willing and able to throw a bit of cash in to bring in four to six players in key positions to get us out of this mess. The one upside of a global pandemic and a tightening of footballing belts outside the greed leagues is that there are plenty of decent lower league footballers available on a free. That might not work though. Just like we have seen with Clough, Johnstone and Whelan, there might need to be a bedding in period, which is a luxury we don’t really have.
This has been the biggest issue we; well, Leam and Gregor, have faced all season: trying to build a competitive squad, bringing players in. Only for the existing, and usually better players, to be sold or released from beneath them. It is an impossible challenge, and they must have the patience of saints. For that reason, if we don’t turn it around and we do end up in League Two, then so be it. I certainly won’t be pointing fingers at anyone other than Stanley Choi and Au Yeung.
I have heard two years being used as a benchmark for a club to turn themselves round after being put into administration, so if we can turn it around this year and stay up, it will be a minor miracle. The next few days are critical, mainly involving clutching of rosary beads to ensure we don’t lose any more players before the transfer window closes in the face of some pretty derisory offers from rivals who would like to dance on our grave a little harder. Ditto Bristol City for kindly offering to take one of our best players on loan!! Tell you what, why don’t you give us Joe Williams back till the end of the season, seeing as he claims he is fit and you’ve not played him all year? It is squeaky bum time between now and the end of Monday regardless.
Nevertheless, it is not and never will be the Wigan Athletic way to get out of any situation easily. Who wouldn’t bet against us remaining in 23rd place until April and then winning the final three games on the bounce to stay up on the last day? Either way, we’ve had the ride of our lives prior to our whole world falling in last summer. Will there be another dramatic twist yet, or will we gently fizzle out?
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