A non-scientific guide
Previous managers 15%
Yeah, let’s blame Roberto Martinez firstly for getting us relegated, as many of his detractors like to crow about, setting aside 11th May 2013. And not pinning enough players down to long term contracts. Also for signing a certain players who play a certain way who despite their talents were always going to be sold on for a profit or struggle to adapt to this division or a different style of play. Which brings us to……
Owen Coyle for being a clueless ex-Bolton numpty who blew the McCarthy money on a bunch of ageing old pros who may well have been able to do a job if their hips and knees weren’t sewn on backwards and for sending out a team who literally didn’t have a clue what sort of system they were meant to be playing.
And of course let’s blame Rosler for signing a load of young fluff in the summer that promised lots and delivered little. For trying to somehow manage and motivate a squad of 30+ players and keeping them happy. And for trying to instil a fitness and disciplinarian regime on a load of overpaid spoilt b**tards who laughed in his face.
Dave Whelan 20%
And that’s being generous. Sorry, for those of you who think he can do no wrong well I’m afraid sometimes he is the single biggest part of the problem. As we’re fond of saying, there was a football club before he arrived and there will be one after he’s gone. Quite what sort of football club there is will be directly down to what state it is left in by him of course but either way it will be a very different football club.
He has been one of the best chairmen in the country the last 20 years and what he has done for Wigan Athletic is beyond our wildest dreams. His appointments of Jewell, Bruce and Martinez have all delivered magical moments. Even the Rosler appointment was spot on and revitalised our season. To be fair Rosler might not have happened if Whelan hadn’t have given Coyle a job. A mistake that will haunt us to this day considering he had the opportunity to fork out a bit more and secure McClaren and chose not to but that’s all easily said with hindsight.
Even so when Dave Whelan appointed Malky Mackay and said “Trust me on this one” I was sort of inclined to think he’d earned the right to say it in spite of the massive baggage and uproar it caused. Yet he couldn’t have got it more wrong. The amount of bad press and publicity that came with appointing Mackay; the number of fans who have walked away from the club; the direct negative impact it has had on his DW Sports business (stories of Jewish lads walking into DW gyms in Bolton and Manchester and handing their cards in are far from exaggerated); and what we have got is a manager who far from giving the squad the kick up the arse it needs is simply in limbo. The one area where we expected a lift in spite of all the trouble it has caused, we have actually gone further backwards.
The appointment has driven a wedge amongst fans like never before: a political divide; from the traditional hardcore socialist working class dyed in the wool Labour voting Wiganers to those who are a little bit more to the right of the spectrum. In my thirty years watching Latics, politics has barely mattered; it’s never been mentioned.
But when you put a man in the hotseat who’s under investigation for racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic abuse (did I miss any?) then I’m afraid it’s only going to end one way. And that’s even before Whelan put a Monty Python sized foot in his mouth repeatedly to The Guardian of all people. It has destroyed our reputation as a community club, as a family club. Every club we play including our lovable neighbours up the road can take the moral high ground over the “racist club” now. Has it really been worth selling our soul for that?
The Players – 40%
Without going all rugby league on you, it is getting to that stage where I utter the immortal words often spouted in the xenophobic world rugby fans live in “They’re not local lads”. None of these players grew up dreaming of playing for Wigan Athletic, they came here because we offered to pay them handsomely. And it is that cold relationship which we as fans struggle to understand that is dragging the club down more than anything else. They don’t care. They’re happy to pick up their 7 out of 10’s each week and decide that it’s someone else’s problem to win a football match. When their contract runs out they will walk away and their agent will find them somewhere else to play where they will also get paid more money than most of us can ever dream of.
They’re not all bad: James McClean has been the one shining light of the season – but he stands out so much because he’s the only one trying. He has too much personal pride in his output to stand in line with his slow handclapping protesting workers. I half expect one of his own players to take him out with a leg breaker, the dangerous doing-his-job maverick.
I wrote 2,500 words on this a few weeks back so I’m not going over it again. They are collectively responsible and they have collectively decided that they don’t care about getting out of this situation. They don’t hurt like we do. They go back to their big houses in their flash cars to count their wages while we sit in the pub cursing them. They won’t play for Rosler and they’re playing even less for Mackay. So it’s OK saying sack Mackay and bring someone else in. But what happens if we sack Mackay and they don’t play for the next manager? See, it’s not easy this.
Malky Mackay – 24%
I don’t believe he tells them to lose, we must assume that he has got too much professional pride for that but just like the players, he doesn’t care enough to want them to win. He’s in limbo with what could be a particularly nasty charge hanging over him, working at a club which he probably would have turned his nose up at had he not found himself in a spot of bother. The players know this too. Why should they go out of the way to impress him when he could be on his way any day? Plus players like our fans come from all backgrounds, races and religions so just like the fans – some will find Mackay’s laddish text banter hilarious whereas others may well not want to work under a man with a dubious record in equality and diversity.
Yeah but let’s not worry about all that, let’s talk about his track record of getting teams up. Let’s ignore 1 win in 8 and some of the most spineless, turgid performances we’ve ever seen. So yeah he’s a good manager. So is that Steve McClaren chap I mentioned earlier. Yet he was out on his ear within six weeks when he oversaw a similar run at Nottingham Forest. It’s as much about the fit. And whether it’s fear or disinterest, Malcolm Mackay doesn’t look too comfortable right now.
Gary Caldwell 1%
Because he’s always at fault somewhere. Oh stop it, I’m joking. If we sacked Mackay tomorrow I’d make Captain Chaos the manager straightaway. It would have the added benefit of keeping him off the pitch too.
The Fans 0%
Yes that’s right it’s definitely not our fault this time, not even a little bit so is there any chance we can stop falling out with each other? I believe, me, my fanzine and this website have all taken a lot of stick on social media because of our stance on Mackay and the Leeds boycott. I understand why that might be from certain quarters, indeed a lot of my mates let me know they weren’t happy with it (sorry Alan) as they’d already sorted their pass out. However, I’m not going to apologise for it as the outcome of it was that 500 people got £18 of ale money back in their pockets.
I don’t want to go on about the Mackay situation but what I will say is that not every one of our football fans is a white Stone Island wearing Anglo Saxon male. We have grown as a club just as society has grown.
We have black and Asian fans, we have Jewish fans, we have Muslim fans, we have gay fans, we even have women watching us these days! No, I’ve no idea who’s at home getting the tea ready either! Have some of that Stan Boardman fans!
But do you know what – we are not such a big football club that we can’t afford to not be all inclusive because there’s enough people out there who hate Wigan Athletic already, many of them in our own town without us falling out with each other.
We have fans who are 8 and fans that are 80. Fans that are unemployed, struggling to bring up a young family, fans who are infirm or disabled, fans who are exiled through work or are in the Armed Forces serving abroad.
Fans who for whatever reason can’t make every game, whether they did in the past or they never have been able to. It doesn’t mean they are less of a fan than you or me. Let’s not get into slagging off people who fall into those categories because it’s just not as simple as that.
There seems to be this mentality of “Let’s all stick together” followed rapidly by a “not like that lot over there with their different opinions”. Kind of defeats the object doesn’t it?
Debate and discuss our current plight as much as you like but let’s not turn on each other. it’s a difficult thing to do to stay united when a football club is in turmoil but the fans are the one constant who will be around long after all of the above have shuffled off. We’re better than that or at least we can be.
As I sit here typing these notes, my mate’s dad is critically ill in hospital after taking a fall at St Andrews yesterday. There’s lot of sympathy and perspective doing the rounds but you can bet this time next week the same feuding voices will be at each other throats again unless this miraculous upturn we’ve been expecting actually happens.
We all support the same team, albeit each in our own way. But above all we support each other.
Keep the Faith
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