This is just a saga now

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In the words of The League of Gentlemen’s Pappa Lazarou – “This is just a saga now”

So what new drama will the next week bring? In the strange world of Wigan Athletic we can never be sure what’s approaching around the corner. Lazarou himself could appear at the DW next week, multiple wives in tow uttering the phrase “You’re my club now” and I wouldn’t be surprised.

After ten weeks had passed since the takeover was first announced the Football League finally came to a decision on Friday evening and it wasn’t a wholly surprising outcome Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo was disqualified from owning a share of an EFL club and as such prevented from becoming part of the ownership structure at Wigan Athletic.

After taking a number of weeks to finally submit the required paperwork it looked like we would receive a decision one way or another last week. Instead we were left further in the mire. This didn’t really come as a major surprise, Garrido had spent the week aiming to raise funds for his share in the club by re-mortgaging his property portfolio in London and taking out a loan from Barclays.

Unsurprisingly (or surprisingly if we take the last Wigan Athletic takeover in to account) the EFL refused to sanction the takeover in its current form. Friend of the paper Jose Miguel is out as is his brother Antonio Garrido Papadopaulo. In a glut of departures from Companies House Victoria Condratova an accountant who specialised in company restructures alongside Garrido Cristo also left.

There was some quite understandable dismay when the exclusivity period was once again extended last Friday evening. With other bidders ready and waiting there was a sense that a decent resolution was being locked out by the administrators, but then on the other hand being ten weeks down the line you can see the reluctance from administrators to start the process all over again.

The new holding company set up to run Wigan Athletic is now in the sole control of Felipe Moreno – the owner of Leganes. I think some people were put off the scent (myself included) when news of the takeover first broke back in September. Felipe Moreno and his wife Victoria Pavon had reportedly tried to buy Wigan Athletic in the past (imagine the pain we could have been saved if they had).

If news had come out that Felipe Moreno had been the sole bidder I think people would have felt a lot more comfortable, as it is all of the talk and the public declarations have come from Garrido Cristo and indeed a lot of the financial worries from not having the money to sustain the club, to questionable business records are also accountable to Cristo.

With him out of the picture surely the EFL will approve the takeover? Well not quite, a week later and a week since the Spanish bid was restructured to remove Garrido Cristo and make Felipe Moreno the sole purchaser it still hasn’t been signed off yet. As with everything since this nightmare began at the end of June we are in a state of limbo.

So what do we know of the new *new* prospective owner, well like Garrido Cristo he has history of football ownership and quite successful he has been too. Leganes are very much like Wigan Athletic formed just four years before the Latics CD Leganes are based in Leganes  on the outskirts of Madrid.

They were in financial trouble before Moreno and his wife Pavon took over where they took them through the Spanish leagues and in to the La Liga where they had a highly successful spell in the Spanish top division.

If we had been presented with this bid back in August I think many of us would have jumped for joy, it sounds like the exact model we need. Worries persist though – worries that are natural after the turmoil we’ve gone through in the last few months.

Worries like why was Garrido Cristo so heavily involved and then dispensed of so easily and what had he done that required disqualification from the EFL? The plans of turning a profit in year one seem widely ambitious considering our current position and the continued absence of supporters from the DW. Also what will the role of Andrew Clilverd be and will there be any senior staff left at the club who know Wigan Athletic and its supporters?

It would be a huge worry if there is no representation within the decision making roles of the club of Wigan. Like it or not we are a unique club and a unique fanbase, it needs someone who understands that. Jonathan Jackson who has represented the club and acted as that bridge between the club and fanbase.

He’s a Latics fan and as my friend Tony Topping put so succinctly last week “The Jackson family’s dedication to Wigan Athletic has never been in doubt”.

Jonathan was made redundant back in July, he won’t need people like me to fight his corner but people like Jonathan and those others who lost their jobs in the bloodbath of the summer are essential for us to carry on being a progressive force for good in our community. We need Wiganer’s in those roles people who understand us and what we stand for and I worry that we won’t have that in any new ownership structure.

Also could the Wigan Athletic Supporters Club recommence talks with the new owners now Garrido Cristo is seemingly out of the picture? Would they be more willing to invest that significant sum in to the club with Moreno at the helm? And if so would Moreno offer a better share of the club than the insignificant 4% on offer back in October.

As always there are more questions than answers and I think there’s still some twists and turns along the way, I’ve not been privy to any discussions but a lot of people have raised concerns with the Spanish bid. Unfortunately that information isn’t in the public domain for all of us to make an informed choice and as such we’re left to hearsay.

So as we head in to week eleven Wigan Athletic are still in limbo, let’s hope better days are just around the corner. After the heartening display of the youngsters in the win over Sunderland last week what a boost it would be if we can bring some players in in the new year to give them support.

All eyes over to Madrid for that.

Sean Livesey

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