The TNS Top 50 all time Latics Players: Six share 50th spot

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OK so this is how it came out. A lot of those players who finished in the positions between 35 and 50 registered a similar amount of votes so hold an equal position. The fairest way of distinguishing between these players was to consider their length of service or more specifically their number of appearances for the club where there is a tied vote.

 

Don’t worry this gets a lot more straightforward as we rise up the rankings!

We have a tied vote of eight players who occupy the places from 48th – 55th so in order to rank these, we will consider the number of appearances made, put the top two in 48th & 49th position and the other six in equal 50th place. Look I don’t have to tell you this but – in the interests of transparency, I thought I would.

We’ll keep a league table at the bottom of each article as we reveal more results. So let’s crack on with our first of six players, a relatively recent performer in blue and white. When he wasn’t banned…

50th = LEE CATTERMOLE

Perhaps a controversial choice given he only gave twelve months’ service and left in acrimonious circumstances but 3% of all voters included Lee in their top ten, a young, combative midfielder to say the least noted for his tough tackling which often overshadowed his crisp passing skills in tight areas.

Lee signed for Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2008 for a fee of £3.5m from Premiership rivals Middlesbrough. During the 2008/09 he appeared in 33 Premier League games during which he netted once. On 13th July 2009, just two days before the start of a new Premiership season, Lee signed for Sunderland for a fee of £6m as former Latics manager Steve Bruce finally got his man after chasing him since he left for the Stadium of Light in May 2009.

50th = GRAHAM KAVANAGH
Grey haired players are in scarce supply these days but Sergeant Major Kav had plenty years still left in him when he arrived at the JJB Stadium on 4th March 2005 for a fee of £350,000 from crisis club Cardiff City. The Bluebirds were facing administration and had put their whole team up for sale.

Graham was the pick of the bunch. He had always been one of those players who had been a thorn in our side in previous encounters when he had worn the colours of Stoke and latterly Cardiff and many wondered how we would perform in our midfield alongside Jimmy Bullard. He made his Latics League debut on 5th March 2005 against Ipswich Town at the JJB Stadium. The game resulted in a 1-0 win. His signing was instrumental in helping the club achieve Premiership status for the first time in its history by the end of the campaign. He made 11+0 League appearances without scoring before adding to his International appearances during the summer and the following 2005/06 season.

By the end of the club’s first Premiership season 2005/06 he had made 32+3 further appearances for the club without scoring. He also featured in Latics’ Carling Cup Final defeat against Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium. By the end of the campaign his Latics career total was 43+3 league appearances with no goals scored. He played a pivotal role in our first season in the Premier League and was also remembered for scoring the winning penalty to knock Leeds out of the FA Cup in a replay at Elland Road in a shoot out.

He had made just two substitute appearances during the 2006/07 season before being transferred to Championship outfit Sunderland for a fee of £500,000 on 31st August 2006.

 

50th = HENRI CAMARA
Following the sudden departure of talismanic striker Nathan Ellington on the eve of the club’s first ever Premier League season, Latics turned to Henri Camara to fill the striking void. Henri was the club’s record signing when he arrived at the JJB Stadium on 6th August 2005. The fee of £3,300,000 made him the town’s most expensive sportsman following in the footsteps of Simon Haworth, Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts who all previously held that title. He signed a three-year contract and he made his Latics League debut on 14th August 2005 against Chelsea in the first ever Premiership game played at the JJB Stadium. Latics lost the epic encounter 1-0.

Four days later he made his first international appearance as a Latics player when he played in Senegal’s 1-1 draw against Ghana in a friendly game in which he was injured. On October 8th 2005 he became the first Latics player to ever score TWICE in an international game whilst at the club. The game was against Mali in an African Nations World Cup qualifying game and was won 3-0. Henri was also badly missed by the team when he went on African Nations Cup duty for over a month in January 2006. He played five games and scored twice as Senegal finished in fourth place, losing 1-0 to Nigeria in the third/fourth place play off.

By the end of season 2005/06 Henri finished the campaign as the top league goal scorer with 12 Premiership goals in 25+4 Premiership appearances. In December of the following 2006/07 Premiership campaign he was named as Senegal’s Player of the Year and paid tribute to Latics by declaring, “People back home laughed at first when I joined Wigan but now they know I’ve never been happier in my career”.

He subsequently went on loan to West Ham and Stoke before moving to Sheffield United and never really managed to re-capture that form he had during his first season at Wigan Athletic elsewhere.

 

50th = PAUL JEWELL

Anyone else surprised to see the name of Paul Jewell only sneaking in to the joint 50th spot? Even if this was a poll of past Latics managers he’d easily make it to a Champions League spot. Well you voted not us! Well we did as well but nevertheless when combined, The Jeweller only hit the mark with 3% of fans’ votes.

As a player, Paul was often the understudy in the earlier days to the likes of Mike Newell, Warren Aspinall and David Lowe but became a first team regular when the previous three were sold on to bigger clubs forming a useful partnership with the legendary Bobby Campbell before ultimately being sold himself to Bradford.

Paul was signed by Harry McNally from Liverpool in December 1984. He made his Latics League debut on 22nd December 1984 against Rotherham United at Millmoor in a game that resulted in a 3-3 draw.

The highlight of his Latics career was being in the team that won the inaugural Freight Rover Trophy at Wembley. He stayed at Springfield Park for four years before joining Bradford City for £80,000 at the start of season 1988/89. Paul played a total of 117+20 League appearances for the Blues and he scored 35 League goals in the process. The fee paid to Latics by the Bantams was repaid beyond even their wildest imaginations when he led Bradford into the Premier League at the end of the 1998/99 season and then kept them there at the end of the following season.

Of course, Paul will go down in history for his managerial exploits at the club after taking Wigan Athletic up through three divisions into the Premier League.

 

50th = MAYNOR FIGUEROA

The first member of the current crop of Wigan Athletic players to make the list is Honduran stalwart (in today’s terms) Maynor Figueroa. He was signed by Steve Bruce on 15th January 2008, after impressing during a month’s trial at the club. He made his Latics Premiership debut as a substitute on 5th April 2008 in a 2-0 home victory over Birmingham City and has appeared for his country twice since signing for the Blues. His next and only other game during season 2007/08 was the final home game of the season against Manchester United, after which the Red Devils lifted the title following a 2-0 victory over the Blues but Maynor impressed keeping by the shackles on Ronaldo.

He returned to his former club at the end of the season but on 28th July 2008 he once again signed for Latics in a six month loan deal with a view to the move being made permanent. This was duly done on 23rd December 2008 when he signed a three and a half year contract. As at the end of season 2011/12 his playing record for Latics was 113+2 Premier League games played during which he scored twice. You might remember one of his goals. Not that I’m plagiarising anything other than Bernard’s archives here at TNS but it says on Wikipedia he has only got eight toes and has to have specially made boots by Nike. There’s got to be a song in that somewhere (if it’s true!)

 

50th = GRAHAM BARROW
Last but not least as we are counting up here we have former player, former manager, Chorley lad and member of the backroom staff Graham Barrow, widely acknowledged to be one of the hardest midfielders around in his playing days.

Signed for a princely sum of £10,000 from non league Altrincham during the summer of 1981, he made his Latics League debut on the opening day of that season, 29th August 1981, along with John McMahon, Kevin Sheldon, Les Bradd and Clive Evans. The match was against Bradford City at Valley Parade and ended in a 3-3 draw. He played 173+6 League games for Latics and scored 35 League goals before leaving Springfield Park to team up with ex Latics manager Harry McNally at Chester City.

Coming up next in our TNS Top 50 countdown we have a pocket dynamo and a non league legend….

To learn more about our past Latics players, feel free to delve into Bernard Ramsdale’s brilliant A-Z of Latics league players archive: http://thisnorthernsoul.co.uk/category/history/latics-players-a-to-z/

 

The TNS Top 50 was compiled last year and collected over 2,000 votes from Latics fans across a variety of platforms. There have been initial discussions with the club and other fan sites to turn this into a bigger survey and produce a book of the Top 100 Latics players next year with pen pictures written by fans

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