1. Sack Mackay
Or agree to terminate by mutual consent. It’s not worked. It’s never worked and it never will work. Those charges hanging over him are preventing him from doing his job. He has not moved up north by all accounts and is not likely to either. We have made mistakes in the past by sacking managers too quickly but that’s because we have appointed in haste. I’m not saying Malky isn’t a good manager, he is just completely the wrong fit for Wigan Athletic. Please get rid.
2. Find a new manager
Undoubtedly the hardest bit to get right. Nigel Adkins has been touted or even Paul Jewell. Jewell is not someone I would have considered a month ago but I’d have him back in a heartbeat now. I’m not sure Adkins would come as our stock has fallen so much and I don’t even know if he’s the answer, he lost his last game as Reading manager 8-0. But even so it’s better to lose one game 8-0 than lose 8 games 1-0.
Whereas I wasn’t too disappointed with Rosler going after the capitulation at Bolton, it would have been interesting to see if he had hung on till January whether he could have turned the squad around. I suspect we wouldn’t have been in as bad a position as we are now but that is all with the benefit of hindsight goggles.
The answer to the “who” question is probably somebody else again or even someone appointed from the inside, however what is most important is to….
3. Give them a three year contract
Send a message to the fans and more importantly, the players, that this guy will be sticking around. Give him the time and the funds to build slowly and make it clear that there is a plan. It doesn’t need millions of pounds just an honest answer as to how much is available.
I don’t know who our next manager is but he needs a promise of time and commitment from the board and patience from the fans. We’ve b**gered up the quick fix option we planned in November so it’s time to find a long haul manager. It will help if we…..
4. Come out now and state we are preparing for life in League One
Because it really is that obvious that most people at the club have accepted relegation. Actually coming out and saying it is not giving up, it is re-setting expectations. The team who gets relegated first in any division is usually the one who is best prepared the following season for a tilt at going back up. It might actually improve the mood of the fans if the club publicly admitted it rather than telling us how hard they are working to get out of it, when they are patently not on the field. We made a team with one of the worst defensive records in the division look like the famed AC Milan catenaccio yesterday simply because they were trying, they cared, they outfought us. We’re not. It’s fooling nobody.
And if we were to somehow miraculously stop up, then we’ve exceeded expectations. I don’t see it happening until No.1 above happens however.
5. Tell us the five year plan
Whereas some fans are having kittens over an impending relegation, many of us who have been around a while are more concerned about the longer term future of the club. Can someone tell us what this is? It’s fine. Many of us have worked out that it does probably lie in the lower divisions again. But from where we stand currently it looks like the officials are slowly letting this club die. Tell us what the plan is for this football club many of us have invested our lives in. What is the succession plan when Whelan steps down? Who will be on the board? How will the club be funded?
Re-assure us that we’re not going to be looking for something else to do on a Saturday afternoon in ten years time because the football club we love has been wound up.
6. Get rid of the bad eggs
I’m not naming names, you can just check my twitter feed to see who I think isn’t pulling their weight but suffice to say if some of those players on the field are the “good eggs” then God help what the rest of them are like. Again, it will cost money to terminate contracts but if we had realised our mistake and got shut earlier the mood amongst the squad might have been a bit more positive by now. Do we really want to be playing in League One with a team of anonymous, clueless ex-Cardiff players in our team next season? Whoops, gave it away there.
7. Go back to basics
I seem to have been cast as a curmudgeonly troublemaker over the past few months, happy to lay the boot into the club at every opportunity. Well, I do that because it’s my club (and yours) and I want the best for it. I have questioned the legitimacy of the Fans Advisory Board to some dismay of the club and it’s appointed voluntary officers so let me explain. Well, firstly as someone who has written about the club in an independent capacity for 25 years now, it is my right to question things.
Secondly, and this bit is dead simple: we don’t need better pies, or better stewarding or a redesigned season ticket pack right now. The one easiest way to improve the “match day experience” is for us to actually win a football match.
We’ll have no fans left if we don’t do it soon. The rest is a nice idea but I’d rather the club scrapped it immediately and concentrated all its efforts into on field performance at the minute. Reintroduce the warm, fluffy stuff when we’re in a more stable position.
8. Get the fans onside with positive messages
To be honest, it’s a difficult sell when we’ve not won at home for five months but a new manager aligned to a three year plan would be a good start. Sadly, we couldn’t hear any of that when Mackay was appointed because our chairman was too busy creating the mother of all media sh*tstorms by giving his outdated views on race and religion.
Manage it better next time please. Somehow. The silence is absolutely deafening right now. The reason there are pages and pages of angry message board posts, twitter rants and smart ar**d blogs from the likes of myself is that nobody at the club is telling us what is happening so all we are left to do is speculate.
A new manager, a new plan and a statement of commitment would work wonders to stopping the malaise.
9. Join an fans’ organisation.
Yes this is for you, the fans, just this one. The best way to directly influence your football club during times of turbulence is to mobilise independently. Apathy is a killer. We’ve mentioned Latics United on here. Free to join and aiming to provide a collective voice of the fans. It’s currently just some fans with ideas. Hopefully working in a positive way initially. But if any of this article resonates with you, just remember I am one voice. Imagine if hundreds of voices felt the same and used their combined effort to influence change. That’s all it is. Sign up here
10. Bringing the fans back
I had a call this week inviting me to take out a hospitality package for yesterday’s game (My response: “No thanks, I’ll wait till next season when it’ll be cheaper”). It seems they are more concerned about filling 100 seats in boxes while 1,000’s have gone missing from the stands, many unlikely to ever return. Priorities are totally wrong. It seems we have given up trying to attract new or lapsed fans and are now just trying to milk a few more bob out of existing season ticket holders. Gee, thanks for that.
When we’ve got a new manager and ethos in place, we need ticket deals to bring fans back from now till the end of the season. Bear in mind the alternative is do nothing and get nobody watching us as there is currently nothing in the slightest to entice people to come and watch us. Even the core requirement of basic effort is completely absent from many of those players wearing the shirt and whereas the players are accountable for that, well if you can’t motivate as a manager then you’re not a manager.
I understand cheap tickets causes consternation amongst (some) season ticket holders so get season ticket holders on board as well by getting early bird prices out for next season.
If I was told I could renew now at say £200 I’d bite their hand off. I would hope that a new manager, a new plan and a new commitment over the next two weeks would entice many others to do the same no matter what division we are in.
Use the parachute payments to foster some loyalty to try and retain those supporters for the future rather than paying another player thousands of pounds per week.
Somebody will no doubt lambast me for this idea but if we have half a million quid spare from (probably) selling McManaman what would you rather have done with it: Pay Danny Graham £30,000 a week till the end of the season to try and keep us up or give supporters a discount of £100 for early renewal of their season ticket as some compensation for the dross that has been served up this year?
A classic “Where do you stand on Modern Football?” question to finish with there….
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