I’d like to open this letter with an invitation for dinner with your Latics family during your stay in Boston. I am a lifelong Latics supporter, who in his childhood would fly over from Colombia — my family’s home at the time — to watch you, Isidro, and Jesus at Springfield Park. We’d stay with my grandad, who attended the very first Wigan Athletic match in 1932. He used to send my father and I a parcel full of newspaper clippings with match reports, league tables, and footnotes on the awful refereeing that cost us important points. Grandad passed away the January before our promotion to the Premier League but was immensely proud of what the club was achieving. He loved the new stadium. His deep love of the club was passed along to my father, known on our site <threeamigoswigan.com> as Jakarta Jack, the truest Latics supporter I know.
But the family connection does not stop there. In 2008, amid torrential rain and a lively dance floor, I married your now biggest fan — Kathleen — and in doing so, inherited my American family. Her mother, Chris, watched Latics’ first Carling Cup final against Manchester United in a bar in Tanzania. Her father jumped up and down with us like monkeys as David Unsworth’s penalty kept us up against Sheffield United. Her older brother John runs the Latics supporters club in Washington, DC. I introduced them to the DW for the 3-3 draw with Blackburn back in November. Our nephew Sammy, 4, currently supports a mysterious team called “Digham” but his baby sister Anna is frequently pictured in the royal blue and we are confident he will come around. Your American Latics family welcomes you stateside!
I think I speak for the majority of Wigan supporters when I say we are immensely proud of your personal achievements and those you have choreographed at our football club. We are proud that a club of Liverpool’s size and history is interested in hiring you for what must be an incredibly tempting prospect. But what we have witnessed in the last quarter of the season was your vision realized. The defensive solidity, midfield dominance, attacking penetration — it was a joy to watch. Stylish, brave football. Sin miedo.
Your decision to omit Mo Diame and Hugo Rodallega from the starting lineup in that final stretch has meant that — as it stands — we only face losing one key player in Victor Moses, and even that is not a done deal. This presents an opportunity to really kick on next season, rather than spend the first half of it rebuilding and reshaping the team as in the past. With few of our players involved in the Euros or Olympics, we might even start the season with a fit squad. What we just witnessed in April and May was truly spectacular, but it shouldn’t mask how fragile we still are. We are asking you to give us one more year (or two). Guide us to a season of mid-table safety, maybe even an outside chance at Europe, and then make your move.
I encourage my fellow Latics supporters to leave you a message in the comments section of this post. We all have our unique history with the club, our support and love for it, but we are united in our wish for you to stay on. It is rare to be so proud not only of the sporting achievements, but the integrity and human decency of the club’s manager.
And if you have time to meet with a Latics family during your stay in Boston, we would love to have you —
Ned & Kathleen
PS- if in fact, you are on a beach in Barbados with your wife, have fun and consider a stop on the way back!