A mental amount of movement


Alan Nixon is not every Wigan Athletic supporter’s favourite journalist. But he is very active on Twitter and seems to get hold of inside information on what is going on at the club. Sometimes his prophesies come to fruition, but not always. Since tweeting the above message he has let us know that Bolton are interested in Adam Le Fondre and that Nathan Byrne and Craig Davies are on their way out to League 1.

Nixon’s phrase a “Mental amount of Movement around Wigan” seemed to strike a chord. There has been an extraordinary turnover of staff over recent years. Since the summer of 2015 we have had six managers – Roberto Martinez, Owen Coyle, Uwe Rosler, Malky Mackay, Gary Caldwell and Warren Joyce. Coaching staff have come and gone, with the exception of Graham Barrow who is in his eighth year since re-joining the club in July 2009.

When Warren Joyce was first appointed there were rumours of him being joined by ex-Manchester United stalwarts, Paul McGuinness and Jim Ryan. Since then there have been no announcements from the club, but yesterday a photo of McGuinness involved in Latics’ training appeared on Twitter.

mcguinnessRavel Morrison appears with Nick Powell, with another ex-United player, Cameron Stewart partially hidden behind Dan Burn.

So, the turnover at Wigan continues. McGuinness looks set to come in, but whether that would mean a departure for Barrow remains to be seen. Nixon could well be right about the possible ins and outs over the January window. The numbers might be well short of those of fire sale of January 2015, but could match those of last January.

The club itself has published details of the ins and outs of players at the club since May 2015. There has been a huge influx and outgoing of players since then. The stats cause one to question the club’s recruitment policies. Why has there been so much turmoil and when will it stop?

According to the figures released for 2015-16, there were 31 incomings and 44 outgoings, loans being included.

The stats for 2016-17 up until the summer transfer window show 14 coming in and 20 leaving.

The critics will say that the huge turnovers have been caused by poor recruitment, players being brought in but released within months. Indeed, if the rumours of the impending departures of Nathan Byrne and Adam Le Fondre prove to be the case then a couple of players acquired at the end of August 2016 will be gone in January 2017.

In some cases, such players have been recruited as free agents or for nominal transfer fees, although in others the quantities will have been more substantial. So many players have been given away at knockdown prices in efforts to bring down the wage bill and clear the way for new ones coming in.

Changes of manager have exacerbated the situation, with the newcomer typically wanting to bring in his own men, supposedly to fit into the style of football he prefers, although one remains to be convinced that has always been the case.

People have expected an influx of ex-Manchester United personnel since Joyce arrived. It could well be that Ravel Morrison and Cameron Stewart will be the first contingent to join Reece James, Andy Kellett and Nick Powell who worked with Joyce in Manchester.

Wigan Athletic’s recruitment policy continues to be a cause for concern, both in terms of causing instability and coming with a heavy financial burden that the club can ill-afford. The agents’ fees alone for all those incomings and outgoings would make interesting reading.

It has indeed been a “mental” amount of movement.

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