The wild rover

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He was the missing link in the promotion plans, the scorer of the club’s debut goal in the top flight and the man who dragged the team to the League Cup final. But before that he was the Judas who did a (I assume metaphorical) u-turn on the M6 when Harry have him a ring, the player who took on his last manager and lost, a moody, sulking prima-donna who wasn’t good enough at this level. Now he’s a Blackburn Rovers player and in keeping with modern Latics tradition that makes him the devil.

I’m sure you don’t need a lecture on the fickle nature of fandom, but us Wiganers seem to have honed it to a fine degree. That people in their thousands could, seemingly overnight, abandon the Rugby to join the Premier League dream is proof in itself. That’s not to say you can be too smug about it. There’s an equally worrying pattern in the way we treat our own.

In days gone by, when a player you rated left for pastures new it was easy to blame the club and it’s problems, we were after all a selling club. We’ve had some good players down the years and I can’t think of too many that haven’t left with our thanks and a smile. Of course we’ve had bad players too, whilst they may have been shown the door with a snarl, they’d soon be forgotten. These days you have to wonder what’s going on. At best a player who leaves the club is wiped from memory regardless of his achievements, more often they are treated with the sort of contempt usually reserved for politicians and their ilk.

Ellington, Bullard and Roberts may have made what seem like strange decisions but they didn’t commit any crimes. Saying that one club is bigger or a better option than another isn’t the same as saying the other club is shit. These players did, however, play an important role in getting the club where it is and they should be thanked and held dear for that. As I see it, Bullard and Roberts didn’t like the manager’s shopping list and scarpered rather than take their chances. The Duke looks to have seen the error of his ways and is looking to buy his way back to Wigan?

Roberts’ decision does leave the club in a bit of a bind. There’s no news on Camara’s new contract and the only other recognised striker at the club is David Connelly, a player many reckoned would be on his way out this summer. Whilst McCulloch and Johansson could both fill in, both could be better used elsewhere. Unless moves in the transfer market are swift then there’s a danger that pre-season will start without a strike pairing in the squad.

Seeing that the players report back on Thursday it’s getting pretty close to panic time.

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