Ok, so Paul Jewell’s departure might not have been that much of a surprise but I bet you his replacement was. Maybe not so much that Chris Hutchings has taken over the hot seat, but that the decision was taken seemingly within minutes of Jewell’s departure was very un-Latics like. It would have been much more expected if the club had been linked with every man Jack under the sun before turning to the man who was already here.
The timing of Hutchings’ appointment deprived fans of the speculation that they love so much, would it be Mike Newell or Sven Goran Eriksson; Billy Davies or Fabio Capello? In the hour or so between the two stories breaking, the focus was on managers who could emulate the ‘Jewell effect’. Davies, Newell, Simpson and the like were all thrown up and the most glamorous suggestion was Chris Coleman.
So when the announcement finally came you might expect that the response might be quiet, but that people would hold their judgement. You’d be having a laugh though wouldn’t you? Giving Hutchings the job has opened the door for every single Whelan cliché in the book. He’s doing it on the cheap, just wants a yes man or needs a front for John Benson. You can be rest assured that whatever reason Whelan has for appointing Hutchings it’s not that he thinks that he can do a good job.
I’m fairly sure that Jewell will have been consulted over the promotion of his number two and I’m also sure that he will have told Mr Whelan that Hutchings is a capable coach who is respected by the players, and that’s fine. Or at least it would be if the set of players that we had were good enough to keep the team in this division on their own. The evidence suggests otherwise and with a fairly big piece of maintenance lined up you have to wonder what is in store over the summer.
The natural reaction is that if Jewell struggled to bring players to the club, then what chance does Hutchings stand? But in the end, unless you’re going to be managed by one of the really top guys then your club has to do the selling. Andy Johnson didn’t go to Everton because of Moyes, Parker and Owen didn’t choose Newcastle because of whoever was manager that week.
If Wigan Athletic can’t sign ‘big’ names, it’s because we’re Wigan Athletic. We got where we are by having a little bit of class mixed with a whole lot of heart and trying to change that nearly broke us. Maybe it’s time to go back to the blueprint and maybe Hutchings is the man to do that. He’s certainly no Charlie big balls and he knows what he’s taking on.
Whilst I’m not cock-a-hoop about the whole thing I’m starting to come around to the idea. It’s not quite the boot room but it’s nice to see the job go to ‘one of the family’. Ok, I probably wouldn’t have made the same choice if I was asked to but Hutchings has been with us for a while and at the very least he deserves our respect, our time and our patience.
Good luck Chris, welcome to the jungle.