When Skies Are Grey

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Is the nightmare nearly at an end? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Will there be sunshine when skies are grey?

It feels too good to be true, we’ve been burnt too many times in the last year – it feels like it still can’t be real. But real it is and although not ‘officially’ signed off we’re closer than we have been throughout all of this.

What a turnaround it’s been over the last few weeks, after the defeat to Charlton at the start of the month it felt like that could well be it. On the pitch we were struggling for a consistent run of form and off it lead administrator Paul Stanley implied that the takeover trail had gone very cold indeed.

What happened in the last couple of weeks seems nothing short of a miracle considering where we were, or rather it was always going to happen like this. Despite what Paul Stanley had led us to believe the Bahrain consortium were farther on in their approach for the club than the administrators would like to admit as the Supporters Club clearly stated at the beginning of March.

On the pitch we weren’t far away from putting together a run of form to help us to edge away from the drop zone. Indeed that’s exactly what has happened.

The relief on Monday night as the takeover was announced was palatable, anyone with even a passing interest in Wigan Athletic will know the pain that the last twelve months has caused. Not knowing if there would indeed be a Wigan Athletic at the end of this whole wretched period. Through a mixture of the callousness of Choi/Yeung, the incompetence of the EFL and Begbies it felt like we may not get there.

Indeed as recently as January when the four months wasted on the Spanish bid finally came to a head it looked as though there wouldn’t be the happy ending we craved. But blissfully it looks like there may be a happy ending after all.

It’s not finished yet but in some of our darkest moments this year I don’t think many would have imagined a takeover being complete by the end of March and a real chance of Wigan Athletic remaining in League One. Thanks to some herculean efforts that’s a real prospect at the moment.

There’s a lot of people who deserve thanks and recognition through this. The Supporters Club and Caroline Molynuex who at times have faced some unfair criticism provided the platform for the club to first complete the season and secondly provide a safety net if we had faced the worst scenario and a takeover couldn’t be completed.

Jonathan Jackson who despite being made redundant worked constantly to save the club and also worked unpaid until the autumn to ensure the club was in the best shape it could possibly be. Their efforts both publicly and behind the scenes in negotiating for our future really deserve praise.

Every Wigan Athletic fan who donated to, organised or simply helped to promote the fundraiser’s and keeping Latics plight in the public limelight. The ongoing pandemic has made all of this ten times harder than it would usually be and everyone’s efforts will be remembered as Latics continue to fight another day.

So what of our new owners? Well we’ve heard more from Talal Al Hammad our new chairman than we ever did Stanley Choi and although it’s far too early to pass judgement yet the first impression has been very good. That confidence may turn out to be misplaced but let’s have it right A) They literally can’t be any worse than the previous lot and B) The approach of the Phoenix 2021 group has been completely different from the Spanish who came in speaking about further redundancies and salary cuts.

On the pitch we couldn’t quite make it three wins in a row against Wimbledon but ahead of Saturday’s trip to Accrington we remain outside of the bottom four, that’s exactly where we need to be, come the end of the season. What a boost it would be for everyone in the town if we can do that ahead of the anticipated return of supporters in August 2021.

The pain of what happened to Wigan Athletic over the last nine months will never go away, we’ll never forget what was torn away from us but as we emerge from the pandemic Wigan Athletic have a real opportunity to write another famous chapter in our history.

Who would bet against us repeating 15/16, 17/18 in 21/22? But all of that is a long time away, first we need to ensure that Wigan Athletic stay in League One. With the boost of the takeover and hopefully some settled futures for players and staff alike it will be enough of a confidence booster to get us across the line.

On July 2nd last year I wrote the following, “So now I feel a pain like no other, and pray someone somewhere wishes to take a punt on a little football club in Lancashire like Dave Whelan did 25 years ago.

“And if not for my sake for my little boy, that little boy of five like I was when I went with my Dad to watch my football team play at Springfield Park.

“I pray he can experience what I did with my Dad and a buyer can be found to save us and for us to continue to upset the odds.”

Thankfully it seems that little boy will be able to go to watch his football club with his dad again.

Sean Livesey

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