“Our immediate priority is to identify and appoint a first-team manager or head coach. That recruitment process is already well underway, and we will focus on ensuring that we appoint a manager who fulfils the criteria we have set in terms of the type of person we wish to employ and someone who has the ambition, drive and intelligence to enhance and help develop the structure we have created over the last few years. It’s important to appoint someone who will create a culture for success, which is something we have failed to do this season.”
The words of David Sharpe published in Wigan Today this Monday.
Sharpe is clearly following a different route than he or his grandfather, Dave Whelan, have taken over recent years. He has been looking at a host of potential employees, hoping that he will make the right decision. The stats show that Wigan Athletic have had seven managers in the last five seasons. Too many rash decisions have rocked the club back on its heels. The end result has been turmoil, with a massive turnover in players as new managers have come and gone.
But the process of selecting the “right” manager is a slow, deliberate process. In the meantime the club is without someone at the helm as players contracts come to an end. It seems inevitable in football that when a new manager comes in he wants to bring in his own backroom and coaching staff and his own new players.
However, according to Sharpe’s recent comments we will not be seeing the kind of turnover of players that we have seen in recent summers:
“Unlike in 2015, when we had to significantly rebuild the squad, the basis of a very strong group of players is already in place. We may see some movement in the transfer market, and we want players who are prepared to achieve success in League One next season. But compared to previous transfer windows, we will not have the same level of movement. Stability is important, and we will stress that to any new manager.”
Names of potential managers for Latics have been constantly bandied around the social media and message boards. Moreover supporters have claimed that some of those candidates have been spotted at the DW Stadium. But Sharpe is holding his cards close to his chest, possibly waiting for the playoffs to be completed before coming to any decision.
The bookmakers’ odds change rapidly. Previous favourites disappear down the list and new names appear. Moreover it depends on which bookmaker you choose to consult.
For the purposes of this article we will take a statistical look at the top seven candidates according to the current odds offered by SkyBet.
It was the American writer, Mark Twain, who attributed that famous comment on statistics to ex-British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli: “There are lies, damned lies and statistics”.
However, in this modern football age stats are enjoying an increasing use. Here, for better or worse, are the WDL stats for the candidates (supplied by Wikipedia):
Current club: Portsmouth
Current club: Luton Town
Previous club: Rotherham United
Current club: Oxford United
Current club: Bristol Rovers
Born: Altenburg, East Germany
Current club: Fleetwood
Current club: Chesterfield