Time Changes Everything

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“We gave the last bloke four years”

Yes we did apparently, although I’m not sure whether that means the fans who supported him, hated him, tolerated him or refers to the chairman himself who has about 50% of the power when it comes to determining how much time a manager spends in situ in the Wigan Athletic hotseat.

I found this data on a betting website and quickly did a bit of basic analysis of it. Some of the older data is a bit ropey and I’m fairly certain Dave Philpotts was manager for longer than minus one day but it nevertheless makes interesting reading.

It will come as no surprise that the longest continuously serving manager of Wigan Athletic is Paul Jewell – and it’s also no coincidence that he presides over our greatest period of success.

He is however gazumped by Ian McNeill in the total length of service column given the Scot’s two spells of club lasting 7 years (two as player manager plus five more taking Wigan Athletic into the league into the process)

Others who had two spells in charge include Steve Bruce, Ray Mathias and Bryan Hamilton. Indeed, current incumbent Graham Barrow is also in his second spell having been fired by Whelan once before. Awkward.

Third on the list was our first ever manager Charlie Spencer and the 4th longest serving manager is none other than Roberto Martinez.

So for all the hand wringing over him ditching us for Everton in certain quarters some would say it’s an eternity in football. Indeed many would having taken umbrage to his tippy tappy nonsense throughout much of that period!!

Just last night there was a backlash on Twitter aimed at “people talking about Martinez”.

Yeah I know what you mean lads: it’s not as if he’s a cult hero, one of our longest serving players and managers, kept us in the Premier League longer than any other manager and has just won us the only major trophy in our history.

Why shouldn’t Wigan Athletic fans be pleased for him given his long affinity with our club?

Maybe if you feel that strongly about it you should get yourself off to Old Trafford or Anfield and tell them to stop wittering on about the Busby Babes or King Kenny? Make them close down the blogs and websites who adorn past players’ and managers’ names and shut movements such as Spirit of Shankly and silly films like Class of ’92. Now who’s being ridiculous?

So he left. However, Martinez will (or at least should) always have a special place in all Wigan Athletic fans hearts and be revered just like Paul Jewell will for taking us into the Premier League and Ian McNeill will for taking us into the Football League. Indeed, if there are still any fans around from the days of Charlie Spencer – I nearly broke into a spot of Marc Almond then – I’m sure that our first ever manager would be equally revered.

It’s no coincidence that the better the length of service, the better the manager. At any club.

Anyway, as our 33rd longest serving manager has recently departed we are left to speculate about who the next bloke will be and how long he will last.

If we exclude a lot of the low lying names many of whom were only employed on a caretaker basis and maybe take the Top 30 then the average length of service is a mere two years.

Fergie and now Wenger are indeed one of a kind, although being at the club they’re at helps somewhat. For Wigan Athletic, the formula is a bit simpler:

  • Underperform you get fired
  • Overperform you get poached

So as we move into a new era, let’s hope the latter scenario occurs with the next manager as it will at least mean that they’ve done a good job for us.



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