Wigan Athletic Relegation, Thoughts & Everything else!

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We will be relegated……..well I just wanted to say it before Vat or Pete!

However in all honesty I am finding myself concerned with the way this close season is going and to be fair the way off field we’ve been since January.  Now I don’t know what goes on in the background of the club but we seem to have dropped the standard that was slowly improving back to NPL levels.  We’ve lost a multitude of saleable assets because we didn’t renew their contracts (can you imagine the kaisers face if a load of meat had been wasted at Pooles).  We’ve fell into the trap of banning paying fans on a whim because the GMP said they’d been naughty!  Forgot to organise pre-season games till last minute when teams are already booked up, missing out on targets cos the cheque books gone missing, not updated the website, etc.  I could go on!

Now without a doubt some of these have been tied up because of Bob’s dalliance with other teams over the summer yet again (he’s been very quiet since though).  Surely there’s no excuse for not being prepared/preparing for the new season just in case he stayed?

Then again he had that chance to go and spread the word of Wigan Athletic (never mentioned us once) as a pundit during the euros but at least it gave us a chance to scout/snap up talent before anyone else….oh wait….in 2 major competitions that he’s scouted/pundited (is that even a word) he’s picked up a grand total of…….wait for it…….0 players, and don’t try saying Alcaraz he was signed before the tournament in South Africa.

Now people may think I’m being over critical with this and that Bob was priced out etc.  But don’t forget when Paul Jewel went, Wwhelan blamed it on our near relegation the following year as he hadn’t spent the summer working properly for Wigan Athletic.  PJ agreed and yet at that tournament he found our mist expensive transfer out in Valencia.

As for the here and now for whatever reason we are only just putting together our preseason friendlies and heaven forbid we announce them to give our fans a chance to come watch us (I wonder if GMP had anything to do with this), surely this can’t be good for the team and to me it actually smacks of Portsmouth the year they had money problems (ok the first time round) and Everton last year when the bank pulled funding and they didn’t know if they could pay teams to play them.

I’m not saying that’s what’s happened but at the same time we’ve been notoriously slow starters and I would of though this is something Bob would of liked to have put right (then again it could be one of his sound bites like bikes for players to warm up on, floodlights, etc).  As for announcing ticket prices, etc I think the commodore Amiga for the website must of been stolen!

On the field links into the lack of cash again.  Don’t get me wrong I know we have financial constraints to work to but we lost 2 major players at the end of last season, 2 bit part players and 1 fringe that need replacing.  As much as I long for Callum Mc to make it he seems to of hit a brick wall/glass ceiling, Dicko needs more time, Golobart needs a year in the champ.  Also the reports of Nicholls at Accrington Stanley make scary reading so I can’t see any of those stepping in to fill the breach.

Mustoe I think can cut it a bit like Kelly at Liverpool because it isn’t the most skilled position in the world and just needs a left footer really (see Hutchings experiments after Baines toddled off).  So we need to bring in a minimum of 4 players plus replace any we lose which is likely in the case of Moses and Stam (contract wage rise if he plays again).

We’ve brought in Fraser Fyvie from Aberdeen who lets be honest if he was any good would of been at Celtic or Rangers (pre div 3).  Without wanting to write him off straight away you should know that all my family hail from Aberdeenshire (in fact most of them went the same school and from the same area as Fraser), they are all dons fans and hold season tickets at Pittodrie.

Some watch all levels and I myself was brought up at Aberdeen summer schools/5 a side tournaments set up by the club to find local talent, going to every game available whilst I was up there including watching greats like Alex Mcleish and my personal favourite Duncan Shearer (I know he was average at best but god he had great flame hair).

Therefore I had the inside line to people who’ve watched him grow up and play, there answer…..at 16 was better than James Mc, got a bad injury and hasn’t returned to the same level.  In all honesty their first answer was around the same potential as Eoin Jess and Stephen Glass (don’t worry they didn’t set the world on fire unlike Duncan’s immense head of hair).

That’s it do far apart from a couple of wads additions in 2 amigos and 2 from Liverpool.  We’ve seen long term targets move for small fees and estimated small wages but we’ve not gone near.

Are we waiting for victor to leave?

Maybe but Clyne (who in a few years will move to a top team) and Michu (top G’s from midfield in la logs last year, watched by Liverpool and Man United (in a team we’ve done business with before) have gone to our rivals for tiny fees.  You have to ask is the war chest empty?  Even respected national journos are asking whether the money promised for transfers has been eaten up!  If we want to stay up we need to strengthen!

And that brings me finally to the JJB analogy.  Just before the financial crisis people were finding it hard to find spare money with massive mortgage payments etc.  JJB a great Wigan store and a brand leader at that point made a decision that will haunt them forever.  For some reason someone at top level (Whelan, Ronnie, who knows) decided that instead of paying these big profits to top brands they would introduce their own brands such as Olympus, champion sports etc and then push these on the paying public.

However instead of pricing them as what they are cheap brands they put them in a band just below the top range, this meant customers had little choice in the top band and more alternatives in the lower band meaning they would save money.  They then planned that because more people would buy the lower band stock it would become more popular and in turn be able to be priced the same as top brand (and be as well known).  However someone made a booboo.  They didn’t realise in this image lead era people would rather pay a bit extra for a top name and make them last longer rather than buy a cheaper brand.  This meant people started going to Sports Direct etc and JJB falling to the gutter.

What’s that got to do with us?

Well it’s simple, every year we have to sell a player to stay profitable according to JJ, however over the last few years we have less and less real saleable items.

Right now apart from Moses you could say we’ve only got Ali and James Mc that could command high fees, add to them end of next year might see Di Santo (it sickens me to say it) added to that pair.

But we’ve no one really coming up behind those and where in the past we would sell Moses for ten and reinvest into 2 good players right now we seem to be saying well we will buy cheap and someone will buy them cos there’s no other option whilst at the same time pinning our hopes on the fact the new academy can improve the names.

Don’t get me wrong it’s early there’s a long way to go but for me this summer we’ve taken our eye off the ball all over the shop and it’s going to take a lot to bring us back on track!

Michael Owen anyone?



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