The Ones That Got Away

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Ever wondered what the Wigan Athletic story might have been like had we ever signed certain players who, from one reason or another, managed to escape our grasp?

That’s the intro bit done, but the player who was perhaps the inspiration for this article wasn’t a Premier League superstar. It goes back a few years earlier than that.

Prompted by our recent resumption of hostilities with Preston North End, one name stood out a mile and not just for his protruding waistline. A player who we coveted but just wouldn’t sign for us and inevitably became a thorn in our side. We’re talking Sean Gregan, the fat s***house. But a fat s***house we’d have loved to have had on our team.

After a quick mention of a few big hitters in the form of Bobby Zamora, Scott “Scotty” Parker and Andy “Andrew” Johnson, we move to the main event. Yes, that’s right: DEAN WINDASS. For nearly every transfer window in the Paul Jewell era we were linked with the burly forty something and who knows, maybe if we had landed him, he could have done a job. Sadly we’ll never know.

It’s not often that Dean Windass and Pep Guardiola are mentioned in the same sentence but that’s just the kind of club we are. Paul Jewell’s attempts to, er, Pep up our midfield would have certainly made life interesting.

And staying on the Spanish theme, it’s also true that we made an enquiry about David De Gea. One can only wonder how the young Spanish stoppers career would have turned out had he spent his formative years playing in front of a Roberto Martinez defence?

Sticking with the big names and who could forget Dave Whelan’s audacious attempt to sign Michael Owen on a pay as you play and take a free tracksuit of your choice basis?

Meanwhile, back in the bargain basement, ex Swansea and Boro’ star, Danny Graham, didn’t fancy life under Malky Mackay too much, even on loan and I’m not sure whether the club fancied paying his reputed £35 grand a week either.

Another player who allegedly fell foul of a spot of Latics penny pinching (or failed extortion if you prefer) was Robbie Blake. I was never a fan myself, he just reminded me of a scruffier version of Sir Andrew Liddell.

Scott Murray was another who slipped the net, a much coveted thorn in our side when he was at Bristol City, bit clearly he didn’t fancy moving up north.

We threw it open to our Facebook group

who also came up with some good ones. None better than Dean Ashton, who apparently rejected us twice and Phil Jagielka also snubbing the biggest football club in the world.

Another notable miss was John Stones, and the hilarious conspiracy theory suggesting that the only reason he chose to sign for Everton over Latics was because Roberto Martinez told him to.

And just to throw another couple of randoms in, we tried to get Stewart Downing as a youngster and we also tried and failed to sign a free scoring Chris Greenacre. Who? I think he played for Mansfield Town.

In time honoured fashion, we’ll probably run a poll over the next few weeks to find Wigan Athletic’s biggest ever non signing. In the meantime, you can listen to our musings on this on this topic and a few other things in episode 21 of the Pie At Night podcast.  Listen on the player below, or on your favourite podcast app…


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