Trouble at t’mill

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Maurice Lindsay’s role at the club is yet again up for questioning. He’s managed to keep a low profile since joining the board but those allegedly ‘in the know’ are telling us that he’s about to oversee a cull of the admin staff at Latics. First in line seems to have been commercial manager, John Fillingham, who is said to have jumped before he was pushed. More departures are expected to follow.

Now the admin staff at Latics have come under a fair bit of criticism over the years but the one thing they’ve never been slammed for is not wanting the best for the club. Many of them have been around since the Springfield Park days, and indeed that has been part of the problem. If Latics are now looking to bring in professionals, with experience within football, then, although it would detract from the ‘close knit’ aspect of its image, it would be fair enough. The stories suggest however that Lindsay will look to bring in ‘his own men’, and for many that reads as ‘rugby men’.

It may well be that this is the start of the much mooted merger of the clubs’ off the pitch interests. I can fully understand why that would be attractive to some people, especially someone who has to pay for it all, but I can’t say that I’m comfortable about it.

It has long been argued that the rugby have a better off the field set up than Latics but football is a bigger and badder beast than RL and you’re not comparing like for like. As much as we like to tell people that it’s turning blue, promoting rugby in Wigan is like shooting fish in a barrel. The extensive local press coverage is more reflective of the attitude of the papers than any hard work by the RL club. Despite everything being in their favour they still appear to be struggling to get people through the turnstiles.

That’s without considering the conflict of interests. Although the two clubs will never compete on the pitch and there are fans on either side who would never show any interest in the other, they do compete for the disposable income of a large number of people especially at the beginning and end of the season. In this context it’s difficult to see how a joint marketing strategy would benefit both parties.

Clubs are often criticised for selling their soul to the corporate dollar. For a club, like Latics, without a solid footing in the top flight that would be a big enough risk. To put your future in the hands of people who traditionally look to prosper at your expense would be sheer folly.

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