Another home defeat and a step closer to relegation. But following the desolate reign of Warren Joyce there are signs that positive football will once again become the norm at Wigan Athletic.
Graham Barrow is by no means universally popular among Latics fans. His supporters will say he is “Wigan through and through”, someone they associate with the successes of the Martinez era, a lover of good football. His detractors identify him as being the lowest common denominator in the club’s slide from their heyday. But in any case, David Sharpe has told us that Barrow can keep the manager’s job if he can steer them clear of relegation. That is unlikely, if not impossible.
With relegation staring their club in the face, fans are wondering if Latics can get back up to the Championship if they once again find themselves in League 1 next season. Last time they had a huge financial advantage over the other clubs in the division, through parachute payments. Will we see a fire sale at the end of the season, with the best young players sold off to the highest bidder? Would enough good players remain to get Latics back up?
The financial gulf between Latics and most of the other clubs in the Championship was highlighted once again yesterday when Villa brought the £12 m Scott Hogan off the bench. Villa’s lavish spending contrasts with the austere approach of the Sharpe-era Wigan, where the player most likely to help the team stay in the Championship was sold off in January. Sharpe may yet come to rue the £7 m sale of Yanic Wildschut.
This is not to suggest Latics should splash money around like the bigger clubs in the division, but perhaps they should have made more investments over the summer. One of the players that Gary Caldwell wanted, but could not get, was Barnsley’s Conor Hourihane, who played against them for Villa yesterday. Given the so-often woeful deliveries we have seen from set pieces this season, someone with Hourihane’s ability to launch dangerous deliveries into the box could have made a huge difference.
What kind of financial backing will the Whelan family continue to give Wigan Athletic? Is there any possibility that they will sell the club in the near future? Would the club be a proposition for a willing investor, given the fact that it is the Whelan family who own the DW Stadium, not Wigan Athletic?
Once again we trawled the social media following yesterday’s result. Our thanks go to the Cockney Latic Forum, the Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen. Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below.
Moonay on Latics Speyk responded:
…..Whittle …… you support a club who since breaking into the Football League in 1978 have reached the League Cup Final, spent 8 years in the top flight of English football, and put their name on the most famous Cup in Club football ……. you support Wigan Athletic.
‘Be reet ! ;o)
Laticsince1978 on the Cockney Latic Forum commented:
What an improvement! As daft as it sounds we were so much better today took the game to the opposition and looked the better side.We took the game to the opposition and have now finally got something to work on. The points will come now with performances like that even if its to little to late we were relegated 2 years ago with a poor side if were relegated again we still have a very strong squad. And as for the villa fans good support pity they weren’t behind the team that much when they were mid table just in front of us in the premier league last time they were here half full away stand another example of big club we support when we want.
Stewart Hart @No1fan tweeted:
Most entertaining #wafc performance for a very long time. Villa quality told in the end, but shows what a wasted 4-5 months under Joyce.
Fathamp on Latics Speyk said:
Whittle has a downbeat view, completely justified just now but the last few years have spoilt us and really we haven’t got the right to expect to be beyond the bottom 2 divisions. We are gravitating to where we belong so we simply should accept that, otherwise a world of pain awaits. I don’t see an Armageddon scenario unless the support drops off a cliff due to unfair expectations
Or should that be doesn’t deserve one. The townspeople simply won’t back the club enough to enable latics to properly compete now. We have had our day in the sun at whelans expense, but now it’s back to our natural place with the support we have….old div 3 or 4. Forget whether the rugby town, too many other clubs nearby, poor area etc excuses/ reasons are legitimate, the fact is that a club with 7,000ish fans….and fewer next term, can only be competitive in the lower leagues.
Vital Wigan @LaticsSpeyk tweeted:
#wafc so much better today despite the result pity Joyce wasn’t sacked 2 months back
Tertsflan on the Cockney Latic Forum commented:
That was a good performance. Awful decision by officials for first goal. Would have been a different game had we have got the foul on the keeper
Jonny_SuffolkLatic on Latics Speyk added:
Sharpey is making mistakes, and whilst they are financially costly, I don’t think they are club threatening – not like something you’d see at a QPR or Pompey. The ownership are often accused of being tight, and taking the cheap options, but whilst I don’t see that to be the case, the fact that such allegations are made shows that we are far from the recklessness financial spending that comes round to spell a club’s doom. Might be being naive, but I just don’t see the current ownership driving us to a position where our very existence is in question.
On the pitch, I think there’s a good chance we may settle to our natural level for the size of the club in League One, but the right manager and squad can still change that. Problem is, Wigan Athletic have had a journey that other clubs can only dream of over such a short space of time of only decades; promotion through the leagues, Premier League survival miracles, Europe and an FA Cup win, and the problem is that adjusting to the slightly more mundane reality most clubs hold as the norm will take some getting used to. The idea that we may float along in League One for a number of seasons is so alien to us that questions about the future of the club can seem grave, but I imagine that even if we end up with seasons of obscurity in League One, we’ll still be striving for something, and there will certainly still be a Wigan Athletic.
Peter Millward @PeteMillward79 tweeted:
Barrow: ‘We want to try and throw all that caution out of the window – get out there and enjoy it’. And so say all of us! #wafc
Jocklatic on Latics Speyk summed up the performance:
I too came away from the Villa game with a better feeling than I have for a few months albeit with disappointment in not getting something out of the game. I could have taken where we are in this league now if we’d given the same sort of fight / determination we did today all season but sadly we didn’t thanks to the negativity / set up we had under WJ. Saying that tho we are still woefully lacking in any sort of goal threat / clinical finish despite the stats increase from today’s game. Had we this impetus a month or so ago then who knows…..might even have been sitting mid table safety by now….. . But hey as we know that’s not the LATICS way…till its mathematically impossible to survive then BELIEVE…. u never know.
I get what ur saying in that the stadium is too big for us but there’s nothing we can do about that & despite the lack of parachute payments next season I just hope upon hope that we can keep a good chunk of this squad if / wen we go down….if not then it cud be very Portsmouth esq. No doubt numbers will decline but we’ve hardly been blessed with a big fan based nor even a very vocal one despite the great effort today against a near capacity away end who for the first 10/ 25 min made us sound like the away support…..great atmosphere today btw & just shows how the crowd respond to positive play.
On a side note…. the fat lady ain’t singing yet
Leylandlatic4ever on the Cockney Latic Forum provided his perspective:
Yes can’t disagree. Much better performance and unlucky not to have scored given the number of chances (when was the last time we said that?). Downside….well that’s sadly obvious. Whilst we’re not technically down, and I won’t give up until it’s physically impossible, I think today was the end of the line. Now 7 points off safety…a minimum of 3 games. Sorry but just can’t see us escaping from that, especially with the away games we’ve got. Even if we can win all 4 home games left, 46 points is very unlikely to be enough.. Upside…we’re going to Southend again to stand under that corrugated iron roof
Neil Eccleston @wiganlaticsgoon tweeted:
If Barrow can get a performance like that after only 4 days he will do for me , just luck the Difference today , still Fighting #wafc
YonMon on Latics Speyk gave his opinion:
I would say Wiganers will support a Wigan Football team. But only if they are winning regularly. Our rise up the leagues proved that from averaging around 1500 when Whelan took over to just under 20000 in our last Premier League season. Unfortunately we don’t have a large established fan base to fall back on like our Northwest neighbours. As attendances drop as we fall back down the leagues they will grow if we climb back up.
I still think though that the Barnsley performance and result last season had a negative affect on this seasons ST sales. A large expectant crowd left disappointed meaning some of our old fans not returning this season.
TrueLatic4ever on Latics Speyk suggested:
Divisions 3 & 4 are full of skint clubs with no ambition and owners who refuse to invest.
We will fit in nicely.
Pskl on the Cockney Latic Forum added:
Tell me why anyone wouldn’t buy us. Stadium runs 12 months a year weddings etc plus whatever we get from the rugby. It as a restaurant unlike alot of stadiums and a football team which will attract crowds in a region of 10000-12000 fans in the championship. All this could be sold if the whelans would include the stadium in the sale.
BickyMon on the Cockney Latic Forum concluded:
Really enough saying its manager fault ._..The fault lies directly at the top thats where our problem is.
We are owned by people that are stuck with the club and cant sell it and wont push the boat out anymore
Thats why we get likes of caldwell joyce and its not their fault ._.Yes we know they where not good enough the owners knew and took a huge gamble that has made us see the worst season in football i have seen in years
Worst of all not one of the owners have stood up and said anything to the fans about this tragedy of a season
And why they let it get into this sorid state. Whelan out
He also said:
Was not long ago whelan stated if a suitable buyer came along with good intensions for wigan athletic he would sell the club to them for just 1 quid. Has he did not want to burden his familly with wigan athletic if anything happened to him. Thing is nobody will buy wigan athletic for 1 quid because it would not include the stadium or any training facility
He wants to sell but own the stadium thats the problem what would any buyer be really buying ?