The Kicks, the punches, the blows

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Where to start? The kicks, the punches, the blows – they keep raining down on us.

Week ten of administration and we are seemingly no further on to finding new owners than we were at the start of July. But here we are, a day away from the football league season beginning and just three days away from our trip to Ipswich. If it actually goes ahead that is.

One of the few things to come out of the administrators press conference at the end of August was that we would write to the football league to ask to be allowed to start the season. That was on Thursday 27th August, at the time of writing it is now Thursday 10th September and we still don’t know whether we will be travelling to Ipswich on Sunday and whether the football league will allow us to start the season. This despite both Gerald Krasner and Paul Stanley saying that permission had been granted in interviews earlier this week.

A statement on the club’s official website seemed to say otherwise though, explaining that the EFL had received our request to start the season and ‘would discuss it later this week’, confirmation at the time of writing still hasn’t arrived.

The administrators also said there would be no fire sale and that we would be better off in League One. So y’know, maybe the administrators aren’t the best people to listen to on this.

Away from the trials and tribulations of whether we can actually start the season there has been more conjecture and misleading statements from all sides as the grapple for control over our beloved football club starts to get even messier than it was a few weeks ago. A second bid was placed for Wigan Athletic and Christopher Park by the French American group led by Gauthier Ganaye which was rejected out of hand as the administrators want to sell Wigan Athletic as a full package.

The full package including the sale of the DW Stadium which covers Wigan Athletic’s legal fees and fees to the administrators (lest us forget those fees are increasing every minute we are without new owners). It may have seemed a good idea on Gerald Kranser’s part to price up all the property separately from the club, if a successful sale was to go through and the properties asking prices were realised the administrators would have successfully sold the club and realised the top end of what they were due.

Sadly it seems that most buyers have baulked at that strategy, indeed the only set of bidders that we have heard from throughout all of this have suggested through the Sun that their back-up option was moving home games to Leigh. I don’t see any real mileage in that, other than to force the hand of the administrators.

Numerous bidders have either walked away or refused to pay what the administrators value the stadium at so there must come a time where that pricing is re-assed. If not liquidation will follow and with it 90 years of history with it.

Although it caused much anger across social media earlier this week I can see why American business man would think the DW is not worth paying for. With the latest developments in the pandemic the turnstiles could be closed for a lot longer than originally envisaged. Add to the fact that the business rates, the upkeep and maintenance of the stadium and all other associated costs fall directly on to Wigan Athletic it’s a major investment to make when someone else (Wigan Council) have offered the use of a perfectly adequate stadium in the same borough for a fraction of the cost.

Please don’t get me wrong, I do not want to play in Leigh and would actively campaign for Wigan Athletic to remain in the town of Wigan. But from someone bidding for the club from outside of the town why would you pay £3m plus for a facility that doesn’t make a profit in normal times (£1m plus losses over the last three years) let alone during a pandemic. So despite not wanting to move, I can see why someone else may have thought it a sensible option.

So along with moving to Leigh, selling more players and every other bit of drama associated with Latics this week we’ve been linked with not one but two new managers. Simon Grayson and John Sheridan, hardened League One pros who I imagine would be brought in to help out Leam Richardson who must feel like the violinist on the Titanic playing until the waves hit.

Whether either wants to join us is another thing. We got a taste of what next season could look like against Fleetwood on Saturday. Two early goals gave way to a tired looking performance as our youngsters faded in the second half with Fleetwood managing to overturn that two goal deficit. If we are to start the season we need bodies in soon. Be that players or be that coaching staff to take some of the pressure off Leam Richardson.

A group of Wigan Athletic fans have announced that there will be a peaceful protest (following current safety guidelines) on Friday morning in Manchester, outside of the offices of Begbies Traynor. Whether you agree with that approach or not we can all agree this is an extremely frustrating and indeed distressing time for all Wigan Athletic fans and the longer it goes on the less we have left to salvage. People are desperate for their voices to be heard before it’s too late.

If we do manage to start the season it certainly isn’t going to be pretty. Let’s hope the dark clouds part soon and we can finally get some good news. Lord knows we’ve waited long enough.

Sean Livesey

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Endless limbo

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Statement on behalf of the Wigan Athletic Grievance Society

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