It’s often said that Wigan Athletic achieved more in 25 years than most clubs did in a 125 years.
Although it mostly went Pete Tong after relegation from the Premier League Latics under Dave Whelan and then David Sharpe continued to punch above our weight. I think that’s what makes the last few months even more painful, it’s been a long time since Latics struggled on the pitch as much as we are now, and it’s a whole generation since we struggled off the pitch like we are now.
Indeed speak to many of those that were around in the late 80’s and early 90’s and even this is worse than those dark days.
In normal years an FA Cup draw of Wigan Athletic v Chorley live on the BBC would have been a cause for celebration, instead in this painful year of years it was just another reminder of what we’ve missed and continue to miss out on. If any club was due to suffer an upset in the Cup this season it would be Wigan Athletic – a club completely unrecognisable from the one that so nearly upset the odds to remain in the Championship last season.
Latics had failed to win in the previous eight matches before Sunday’s FA Cup game so surely they could stop the rot against the side bottom of the Conference North? Of course not – this is Wigan Athletic we’re talking about here. Despite an impressive start to the game and a two goal lead the sending off of young Adam Long turned the game around and allowed Chorley to get back on to level terms.
Even then Latics should have finished the game off, the fact we didn’t and Chorley managed to get ahead in Extra-Time was no surprise. You could feel it coming as soon as Chorley equalised.
John Sheridan has been on the end of a lot of criticism in the last few weeks, a lot I thought unfairly. He came in to an impossible job and without any sort of pre-season with his players seemed to cajole them in to some decent performances and at the back end of September had even managed to turn results around.
Since the start of October we’ve had an horrific injury list and without any senior professionals the young lads have been forced to carry the side on their shoulders. Without the ability to sign anyone thanks to a hugely un-fair squad limit placed on us by the EFL both John Sheridan and Leam Richardson have been working with their hands tied behind their backs.
But all that being said I won’t be shedding any tears over Sheridan’s reported departure to Swindon, despite the strong performances of the young side he seems unable to exude any sort of enthusiasm. He has a habit of hauling young lads across the coals such as with Adam Long on Sunday afternoon.
He reminds me of the very worst days of Warren Joyce and frankly in our position we aren’t asking for the world at the moment. Just some positivity that may transmit to these young lads on the pitch. The season isn’t over yet and there’s a lot of football to be played, survival in League One will be a fantastic achievement and these young lads are capable of that but they need someone to guide them, looking in from afar John Sheridan is not the man to do that.
Speaking of survival we are now 44 days on since the administrators announced that they had reached agreement with a Spanish based consortium to purchase Wigan Athletic. 44 days later and not much has changed despite continued dialogue between the EFL and the prospective new owners the EFL feel unable to yet sign off the takeover, whilst the administrators have extended the exclusivity period (reportedly for a further week).
Forgive me for my scepticism but if the prospective owners have been unable to provide the EFL with what is required in over six weeks, I fail to see what difference an extra week would make. Everything Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo spoke about in his series of interviews with Wigan Today last week made sense and I think most Latics fans would love to see that type of model being put in place for us. But as we discovered with IEC and Au Yeung – talk is cheap. If the Spanish can’t prove what is required by the EFL then it’s time for the administrators to move on.
Those close to the process tell us that there are many other bids, arguably better than this we’ve seen ready and waiting to step in. Well in that case the administrators should move forward with these other bids as every day that passes just damages Wigan Athletic further and if we’re not careful before long there’ll be nothing left to save.
The criticism of Begbies Traynor has seemingly been quelled in recent weeks but let’s not forget some of the miss-steps and approach from the administrators that has now left us in the position we are in.
As I said last week we’re in a battle for our survival, on and off the pitch. At least we have two weeks away from matches now to regroup and hopefully tackle the winter in a stronger manner than we have the Autumn.
Who knows who’ll be in the dugout but these young lads have shown they can play, the big issue is that we’re asking a whole squad to step up where usually you may blood two or three players maximum in one season. Although the defeats are hard to take the youngsters are giving their all and that’s all we can ask.
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