That’s So Wigan

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So Wigan.

We often talk about things that are just ‘so Wigan’, things that don’t happen to other clubs.

Like your owner putting you in to administration after threatening to liquidate you a day after completing the takeover. All during a deadly pandemic. So Wigan.

That trend of unique effects has continued as Wigan Athletic become the form team in League One, four wonderful wins in a row for the first time since Leam Richardson and Paul Cook led Wigan Athletic in search of the 2017/18 League One title. Infuriatingly other sides at the bottom of League One who couldn’t buy a win over the last six months have too decided now is the prime time for a revival of sorts.

So Wigan indeed.

That’s a slightly downbeat assessment of our current predicament and it isn’t meant to read as such, indeed the positivity cup (did Roberto Martinez invent that phrase? If he didn’t he should have) for Wigan Athletic fans at the moment is overflowing.

After the defeat to Portsmouth on Easter Monday I think many of us resigned ourselves to the possibility of having to start the great re-build in League Two. Leam Richardson, Gregor Rioch and these excellent players we have representing us had different ideas though.

Four wins in a row, twelve points and only three goals conceded and ten scored is an excellent return. Many of us thought four wins would do it, now it could possibly need another win and maybe even a draw. With three matches left at the time of writing we’re ahead of Northampton by four points and ahead of Rochdale by five points but crucially Rochdale have a match in hand. The only way to guarantee our safety is to simply keep winning.

Tuesday’s win over Shrewsbury was probably the hardest fought win of the run, Shrewsbury weren’t for laying down and pressed right to the end and if it wasn’t for Jamie Jones we could have ended up conceding an equaliser in the 95th minute. Jones’ Gordon Banks esque save from a header that seemed a certain goal ensured all three points travelled back up to Lancashire.

If that wasn’t enough good news for us Leam Richardson was named the next permanent Wigan Athletic manager on Wednesday evening, a reward for Leam’s hardwork over the season. Where he, his staff and players have stood up to be counted and ensured that this club didn’t sink without a trace like many do when in administration.

It’s also an appointment that actually shows some thought and nous, it offers a much needed bit of continuity to the Cook era and ensures everything that had been built up in the first team and academy over the last four years wouldn’t just be cast aside.

It gets lost in the mire of Au Yeung, Choi and dodgy deals but Wigan Athletic the football club was operating quite successfully before that seismic event threw our lives upside down.

I thought that the pull of Paul Cook would be too much and I’m not the only one thinking that as there has been disbelief amongst many Ipswich fans that Richardson wouldn’t be joining up with Cook, especially with their struggles at the moment.

It should also help to convince a lot of the current squad that their future lies with Wigan Athletic, the team spirit at the minute looks as strong as anything we’ve had before and it really is credit to all the staff from Leam down that they’ve got a set of young lads, out of contract pros and short term loans to compete as such a unit.

I hope that the likes of Darikwa, Keane, Dodoo, Johnston see the faith paid in Leam and decide that their future lies with Wigan Athletic.

Imagine what this side could do over the course of a full season with some added strength in depth.

The job isn’t finished yet but that target is coming in to view now, if we can somehow get a win on Saturday against Burton we could be celebrating the greatest great escape of all times.

But it’s not done yet, let’s give the lads every bit of encouragement we can to ensure we get over the line.

One last mention this week should go to Ash Houghton, Wigan Athletic’s communications director who is leaving for pastures new after seven years with Latics. You’ll struggle to find a bad word said about Ash and like many staff over the last year I imagine the administration has hit him hard.

Our media approach has gone up a number of levels since Ash arrived, be that in terms of the content produced or the fan engagement and I’ll be sad to see him go.

Sean Livesey

 

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