Dave Whelan is well known for supporting his managers and his comments during the week have already taken pressure off Owen Coyle ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield match at Wembley.
Whelan said that he regards the match as “a show game and a bit of a friendly game”. He downplayed its importance in comparison with league games adding that “It is the game in the football season that our boys can enjoy. Every league game is something where there is a lot at stake – three points – and we’ve got to fight for every single point.”
Coyle will be leading out a team that has his stamp on it. He has made ten new signings and at least half of those are likely to start the match. He has already adapted the tactical system in an almost seamless transition. His players – new and old – are united in the aim of getting Wigan Athletic back into the Premier League. Moreover he has already won over the fans, many of whom were initially leery about his appointment.
For Moyes it is a “no-win”, no matter what the result. Manchester United have beaten Latics in 15 out of the 16 times they have met. Nothing short of an emphatic win is expected by their fans – any other result would be unacceptable. If United do win it will merely be a step forward to the start of the Premier League season. After all what is a win over a Championship side worth to fans who are expecting their team to win at least one of the Premier League or Champions League?
Moyes has already been under intense media pressure and his progress in the transfer market is under scrutiny. He will be leading out Ferguson’s team at Wembley, not having made any major signings up to this point.
Wigan are likely to go into the match with the same starting lineup that played in the 4-0 win at Barnsley last week. With up to 6 substitutes allowed Coyle might well take the opportunity to give squad members a taste of the Wembley experience. Providing he is fit we can expect Callum McManaman to come on at some time and he will be anxious to impress. The occasion provides dynamic young players like McManaman and James McCarthy a stage upon which they can show their talents in front in front of a large TV audience.
Manchester United won the first Charity Shield – now known as the Community Shield – in 1908. They have won it 19 times – more than any other club.
Just like in the FA Cup Final the odds are stacked against Wigan Athletic and a win for the Reds is by far the most likely outcome.
But Latics fans will continue to “Believe” – Wigan have nothing to lose and an upset remains possible.