First impressions count

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You want to know why Roberto Martinez won’t play 4-4-2?  It’s because he thinks that it’s too easy to play against.  You want to know why he persists with Jason Scotland?  It’s because he believes he’s a very good player who needs to catch a break.  You want to know what Jordi Gomez brings to the team?  He’s an intelligent player, capable of changing the tempo of the game and it’s the rest of the team that needs to catch up with the way he plays, not the other way around.

Of course, things were never that confrontational, the questions never that short nor the answers that defensive.  After all we were all there “for the love of Latics” and after that introduction, delivered without a sense of obligation or irony, who wouldn’t be sold?  Certainly the “hairy blokes” of the Latics wide web (thanks Warbo!) should have left Christopher Park yesterday in no doubt that Roberto Martinez is totally focussed on the future of Wigan Athletic, not for the next eleven games, not just for Premier League survival but for years to come and for a consistent European challenge.

You might not believe it will happen or that it’s even possible, but after spending around an hour listening to him speak about Latics and football in general, you can be left in no doubt that Bobby believes that it’s a real possibility and that he has the plan to make it happen.   Not only is the confidence overwhelming, it comes without an ounce of Mourinho style ego nor any glib “Motivation for Dummies” style spiel.

The biggest story of yesterday’s gathering was always going to be that it happened, this wasn’t a huge forum controlled by an MC or a “move along” style open day, it was an open and candid gathering between eight blokes with strong feelings for Wigan Athletic.  I can imagine the cynicism bubbling out there, but this was no PR trick, this was about addressing fans’ issues, it was a brave move that could have gone horribly wrong, but didn’t.

It didn’t because of Bobby’s honesty and ability to engage others.  The people sat around the table might not have been prepared to chuck in some of the “loaded” questions that had been (at times aggressively chucked around ahead of the meeting, but they didn’t even have to think about how to rephrase them.  The manager is so obviously in touch with the fans frustrations that we could have just given him one word prompts and he would have given us the answers that you wanted.

He covered it all from the “very disappointing” reaction of players that should have been “very big for Wigan Athletic” to his view that naivety can be just as important as experience.  How being shorn of leaders in the first half of the season affected the team’s ability to react to on pitch disappointment and how his experiences in the old Third Division gave him a better grounding than a cushy top flight career might.

And he held no punches, Kapo, de Ridder and “I shouldn’t say this but…” Koumas were highlighted as let downs.  He admitted that Lee Cattermole was a key player to his plans ”the play maker” that he feels would go a long way to completing the team, but pointed out that since leaving Latics, Lee now looks like someone who “is not enjoying his football, has gone backwards”.  Agents got a poke of the stick too, but that’s hardly a surprise.

There was so much covered in that hour that it would be a waste for me to try and squeeze it in here, and there will be more to come over the next few days covering some of the topics in more detail, in the meantime there’s some excellent reading out there from the other guys around the table and I’ve given you some links at the bottom of this post.

To finish Bobby addressed the burning issue seeing as it’s National Pie Week.  He only likes Meat and Potato although he’ll partake more now he’s not playing.  Of course he says that he prefers Pooles, but I might take him a couple from the Rollin’ Pin next time around see if we can’t wean him onto something better.

A Boy From Balaguer – Mudhutsmedia
Roberto Martinez Meets the Fan Sites &
Roberto Martinez and the 4-4-2, 4-1-2-1-1 etc – Vital Wigan
Roberto Martinez Up Close and Personal – Ye Olde Tree and Crown
Roberto Break the Mould With a First Fans Site Interview – Cockney Latic
Martinez Interview in Full: Part one – Wiganer.net

Thanks to Paul from Wiganer for the pictures, Warbo for the tip off, Ed Jones for the arrangements but most of all to Bobby for the words and his time.

I’ll leave you with a plug:

The 19th of March sees the annual WASTC dinner at the DW stadium.  This year’s dinner is themed around Latics 1985 Frieght Rover Trophy victory and much of the team from that day have confirmed their attendance.

More information on the dinner can be found on the WASTC here.

It looks like a good night is there for all, a reasonably cheap dinner and if even if you’re not interested in Latics and are on a diet, it’s a good excuse for a drink.





You can find the latest episode of the Pie at Night Podcast on ITunes, on Stitcher or by searching for us in your favourite podcast App. You could also pop along to our SoundCloud site where you can find all our episodes. Or you could just use the player below. Give it a go, we might go on a bit, but you might enjoy it.
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