Joyce has gone – time to BELIEVE again

Do we BELIEVE that Latics can get out of this predicament? Table thanks to Statto.com

David Sharpe did the right thing today by dismissing Warren Joyce and his close associate Andy Welsh. Some might say the chairman deserves praise for swallowing his pride and realising he did the wrong thing in November. But Sharpe is pragmatic enough to know that if he had kept Joyce in charge, Latics would surely have been doomed to relegation.

One of the fundamental building blocks in Wigan Athletic’s rise from the fourth tier to mingle for so long with the elite clubs of English football was sheer BELIEF. It was the belief of Dave Whelan in his managers – Paul Jewell, Steve Bruce and Roberto Martinez – that led to the club to an FA Cup, a League Cup Final and eight years in the Premier League. Whelan backed them, not only with his chequebook, but with his driving ambition to hold Wigan Athletic up there.

There were certainly sticky moments along the way, but there was always the hope that things would turn out alright in the end. They did apart from that fatal night at the Emirates, just three days after Ben Watson’s unforgettable goal had won them the Cup. But Whelan had chosen his managers wisely.

Jewell’s teams were built on solid defence, but always had flair players in attack. Whelan opted for continuity when Jewell left, giving the post to his assistant, Chris Hutchings. Sadly it did not work out and Hutchings was gone after barely three months in charge. Bruce came back to the club, Whelan backed him in the transfer market and he righted a foundering ship. His teams were based on a solid defence protected by a rugged midfield, but with a good smattering of flair players to provide balance.

Martinez was brought in to keep Latics in the Premier League on a much reduced budget. He went on to produce the best results in the club’s history, away wins at Arsenal and Liverpool, the club’s one and only victory at home to Manchester United, that epic victory on cup final day. Martinez was a great ambassador for the club, through his insistence that his teams compete against star-studded opposition by sticking to the principles of skilful possession football. The FA Cup victory against Manchester City was no fluke: Wigan had played the better football on the day, with not a hint of skulduggery.

Was Whelan just lucky with his appointments of Jewell, Bruce and Martinez or did he have a vision of what they would do? If he was lucky with those three, he certainly was not with his appointment of Owen Coyle. Neither was he in appointing Malky Mackay and his grandson made a similarly woeful appointment in Warren Joyce. None of those three names – Coyle, Mackay, Joyce – became synonymous with good football at Wigan Athletic. Indeed it was quite the reverse.

But Whelan did make a good appointment in Uwe Rosler, who picked up the mess left by Coyle and got Latics to the FA Cup Semi Final and the Championship playoffs. Sadly the going got rough in Rosler’s second season, but rather than showing faith in a manager who had achieved so much, Whelan showed him the door, bringing in the hapless Mackay. Sharpe did a similar thing with Gary Caldwell, who had only months before won the League 1 title. His replacement was the inept Joyce.

Sharpe has done the right thing for the moment. The odds are that Latics will not be able to avoid relegation, but without the shackles imposed by Joyce the players can make things happen. Few of us really and truly believed that Joyce was the right man for Wigan. To BELIEVE that Joyce could save the club from relegation was asking too much, given his obsession with the defensive side of the game and the hoofball we were witnessing.

Graham Barrow has been appointed caretaker manager again. Barrow is a survivor who has seen six managers come and go since rejoining the club in 2009. Barrow is not the kind of coach who will throw caution to the wind, but we can expect him to field line ups that are more balanced that we saw under Joyce. Due attention will be paid to the offence, as well as the defence.

With Barrow in charge we at least have a hope that we can BELIEVE our team can avoid the drop.

Courtesy of Statto.com

 

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“Joyce must go” – Latics fans react to Bristol City defeat on social media

The fan reaction on the social media to the midweek win at Birmingham was muted, to say the least. Put simply, so many people were wondering if that result was the heralding of another false dawn. Sadly it proved to be the case. Yesterday’s defeat by struggling Bristol City was not a surprise, despite the fact that the west country club had not won away since September

On this site we make an effort to provide a balanced view. We have never advocated the sacking of a Wigan Athletic manager. But a week ago we suggested that David Sharpe might look at giving Warren Joyce “sick leave” until the end of the season, after even a German commentator had used the English term “Kick and Rush” during his commentary of the televised Blackburn game. Quite frankly, the transformation from possession-style football to the type of “fightball” that persists in the Joyce era has been numbing. The manager’s focus on stopping the other team playing has blown away his own players’ ability to pass the ball.

Unless Joyce suddenly sees light on the road to Damascus, Latics are finished for the season. But the manager seems to have a stubbornness to confront reality, regularly shooting himself in the foot with inane comments that give people even more doubt in his credibility.

David Sharpe certainly made a mistake in ridding the club of Gary Caldwell so early, with Latics just one point from safety. But when Joyce was appointed we expected to see the kind of skilful football that his young teams at Manchester United produced regularly. Despite his lack of managerial experience Joyce must have been appealing to Sharpe. The promise of attractive football, together with an ability to develop young players, were Joyce’s trump cards.

The young chairman was hoodwinked. The standard of football we have seen since is on a par with that of the Malky Mackay era, hardly above what Latics could produce pre-1978 as a proud non-league club. Moreover Joyce has not used the young talent at the club, preferring to bring loan players from bigger clubs. Jordan Flores was dispatched on loan to Blackpool and seems unlikely to return. The exciting Luke Burke was pushed out of the senior squad and sent on loan to Barrow. In the meantime he is giving regular game time to young players from other clubs who will be gone at the end of the season.

Given the turnover that Latics have had with managers over recent years, added to the fact that Joyce has a three and a half year contract, Sharpe will be reluctant to dismiss Joyce. But if the inevitable (relegation) happens, and it almost certainly will, Latics will be back in League 1, but this time without parachute payments. What is even less palatable, for lovers of attacking football, is that Joyce might well continue. The near future seems bleak.

We have once more tried to compile a balanced view of social media comments, following today’s defeat. The reality is that pro-Joyce comments were practically impossible to find, following another sterile performance.

Once more, our thanks go to the Cockney Latic Forum, Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Facebook) and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen.  Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below.

Charlz54 on Latics Speyk stated:

When Mackay was sacked, Sharpey said that as a fan he wanted a manager that would bring back the Wigan way in terms of how we played. Good passing football with an eye for goal! Well what I sat through this afternoon was certainly not the Wigan way……absolute rubbish to watch and a style of play that clearly does not excite the crowd and does not bring results. We need to get shut NOW and then maybe, just maybe a new manager might just bring that uplift needed to get us out of this……I know it’s a big ask but the way we are playing at the moment we will be relegated sooner than later with games to spare.
I want to enjoy my
football again….I’m not saying we should always win, I just want to be entertained.

 Si @king_dezeeuw06 tweeted:

@DavidSharpe91  sorry but you’ve got to sack WJ. We tried to back him but hes just clearly miles out of his depth – our football is appauling

Paul Kendrick @PKendrickWIG commented:

Sorry but can’t find any kind of positivity today. Could still be out there, with Bristol City on the coach, and wouldn’t have scored.

Laticus on Latics Speyk said:

This manager needs to do the decent thing and resign.

Stewart Hart @No1fan tweeted:

Taking off Obertan summed up our time under Joyce. First time since Yanic left we had genuine class up top. Looked fit and up for it.

Tony Moon on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams replied to a comment by saying:

To be fair Dave Carter as I said, I could take that, but the way we’re playing is a throwback to John Beck & Dave Bassett…. though they did it better

 Jonnysuffolk_Latic on Latics Speyk commented:

 If I were Joyce I wouldn’t resign, Sharpe has to sack him. Joyce’s tactics are atrocious, but he’s gone through surgery and has got back to the touchline asap, I don’t doubt he has given his all to the job so he shouldn’t be expected to resign. Sharpe (or Whelan) is the one who gave him the job, he’s the one who chose the inexperience, unproven manager when we clearly needed the opposite, he must be the one to admit the mistake.

 SJL @livesey99 tweeted:

Can’t wait to be rattling around in that souless breezeblock next season. 5000 watching Joyce setting up for a point against Southend

Coach 43 on the Cockney Latic Forum opined:

 Must go now, tactics far too negative for the whole season and can’t believe how low the skill level has dropped. This was a must win game and we wouldn’t have scored if still playing now. Saw Skem v Frickley Athletic in a cup game last year and they played better football. Uncle Dave looked quite shocked at the end of the game so hopefully will have a quiet word.

Craig Aspey @AS_caspey tweeted:

Play with intent to win, play with passion, play the hardest you can and do it every game.If you’re still second best then that’s forgivable.

PieArmy on the Cockney Latic Forum noted:

I think we must remember that the vast majority of football managers are not highly educated men, and quite often they will make two statements that completely contradict each other:

Quote: “Ryan wasn’t really playing during his loan spell, so he had a lot of work to do when he came back.”

Fact: He actually made made 14 starts and 9 sub appearances in the 25 games played. He even played on 30 Dec!

Now if WJ had said something akin to “During the last 6 weeks of his loan spell Ryan wasn’t getting enough game time which has impacted on his fitness level” then he would not look so much of a buffoon.

But then again, I would suspect Colclough has had more game time this season than a certain Mr Grigg, who now plays 2nd fiddle to someone who was playing non-league football last season, and is anything but on fire. If anyone needs a proverbial kick up the backside its him!

 WN5 on Latics Speyk added:

Wigan 0-0 Preston
Wigan 0-0 Forest
Blackburn 1-0 Wigan
Wigan 0-1 Bristol City

If that’s not sackable then what is? An absolute disaster of an appointment. Sharpey should also be held to account!

 JonWigan on the Cockney Latics forum said:

The tactics today couldn’t be further away from Caldwell’s. The approach today was hoof it toward to Omar “offside” Bogle and hope we can pick up the 2nd ball. Piss poor as a tactic, p.ss poor as a manager. Has to go!

 Whittleblue on Latics Speyk concluded that:

Another must win game against a relegation candidate, another disgrace, woeful, utterly pathetic performance.
Bristol City’s recent record is sh.t, fans are chanting for the manager to go yet there was only one team that appeared capable of winning it by building a small amount of momentum and pressure that we couldn’t muster. I couldn’t care less whether it was or wasn’t a corner or if it was offside or not, a point in any case was not enough – it was the total lack of attacking intent whatsoever that completely pisses me off.

I didn’t think we could stay up but I thought we had reasonable fixtures and playing with some intent you just never know. On the basis of recent games I’m unsure why I thought that, are players aren’t great in certain areas but I at least hoped if we were to go down we’d go down fighting so it gave us a chance. I must have been deluded. For f**ks sake you can’t keep playing in the same unadventurous manner when you need to win, those tactics, the game plan, the performance was just utterly perplexing and completely soul destroying. Enough is enough.

Snowblind on the Cockney Latic Forum said:

 The problem we have as fans is there’s not a glimmer of hope in the current situation, there is nothing we can get behind and have a bit of faith in.

I really think we are down, it’s too late now.

C’mon WJ you’re a decent fella, do the right thing, walk away it will hurt our club to have to buy you out.

 Peter Millward on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams said:

Kenny Swain’s team tried to pass a ball. They were just terrible at it. To be fair, he was signing players from the Crewe second team at the time but, like Joyce, he wasn’t a manager either

Lowey on the Cockney Latic Forum commented:

The question for me is no longer can he keep us up but do I want to watch any more of this negative sh.te. Easy answer for me.

Don’t score, don’t look remotely like scoring and play not a jot of football.

David Green on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams added:

The damage is already done lets get the season over with joyce then start ln league1 with an experienced manager who can recover the damage and sort this sh.t out

Danny_de_Zeeuw16 on Latics Speyk focused on the January window:

Warren Joyce has had a go and proved to be worse than caldwell. He has bought some terrible players into the football club and his negative cage the players up tactics has wrecked any hope of survival. I agree that we should have stuck with the side that got us up. But also that it was the January transfer window that killed us off and for that sharpe should take the blame for penny pinching.

We lost yanic who was our only inventive player who could produce something out of nothing. Ok he could be quiet and disinterested in some games but when you look at his impact on our attacking game, even when he sometimes only put in 50 per cent he was still too much too handle at this level. He was a phenomenal talent who could bail out his teammates a goal or an assist or even a crazy run to relieve pressure and get us up the pitch. So we got a 7m which on the face of it looks a good price but the timing left us with no chance of a replacement. We could still of sold him if we had stayed up and sold him if we had gone down, I’d argue for the same money if not more. If we had kept yanic then I really believe he would have been the difference against sides like Bristol and Blackburn etc which would now see us looking cosy like burton. Instead we have now brought in players who are not upto speed fitness wise or even upto scratch or a young player in Bogle who needs time to bed in.

When you look at his yanic replacements and signings

Obertan – looked good yesterday no idea why he got subbed. Actually has a bit of go forward. For me looks fairly rudimentary but if we play him wide right he will hurt lesser teams. Why has it tasked so long to play him???? He’s a professional athlete he’s fit enough he should be starting.

Connolly good young player but cannot be expected to play every single game. Starting like a house on fire and now he’s gassing and showing vulnerability in his pace and positional awareness. He will be a good un

Gilks I like him good solid keeper

Bruce – decent player but where is he and why are we paying for him if he’s injured? We have decent depth at centre back that’s a waste of money and cheaper 4th choice would ha e been better.

James weir – powderpuff player who has decent technical ability but lacks the fight or physical attributes. A nothing signing he’s a squad depth player and he doesn’t suit the style of play.

Bogle – great talent but he’s one for the future. You can’t pin your hopes on him he’s not ready yet. Get onside for gods sake

Mandron -league 1 at best, solid in the air but nothing we should be looking at. He’s a poor mans Craig Davies.

Tunnicliffe bloody awful he’s league 1 at best. Why on earth is he here? Jobs for the boys

Jamie Hanson – committed player decent cross might be one for the future but he looks like a right back who’s being forced into centre midfield. He never attacks

Laurent- no idea I need help on this one

Jack Byrne- looks a decent centre mid from when he was at Blackburn

Marcus Browne – barely played

Why did Joyce take colclough back to put him on the bench.

Time for a new manager or even barrow till the end of the year with a view of attracting the right man next year. We cannot show we accept mediocrity at this club

 LostockHallLatic on the Cockney Latic Forum said:

 This was a big game in our disastrous season and after Tuesday I was hoping that we would grasp the game by the scruff of the neck and go all out to win. Alas no, he turned a draw into defeat. Not spoken to a single fan who is happy with his cautious, try to sneak something style. No doubt he’ll reel off the excuses without having the balls to admit he’s got it wrong. I’m almost resigned to life in Div 1; so young Sharpie needs to act promptly, otherwise season ticket sales for next season will be non existent !

Joyce Out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Latics fans comment on Blackburn game and Joyce’s tactics on social media

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A couple of years ago to the week Dave Whelan said his goodbyes to the crowd before a home game with Leeds United. The man whose investment of time, money and belief had lifted a struggling club from the fourth tier to unbelievable success was stepping down as chairman. His 23 year old grandson was taking over.

There had been quite a buoyant mood before the match had started as Latics had won their previous two league games. There was some degree of belief that Malky Mackay would be able to salvage the season and pull Latics out of the relegation zone. Sadly it was not to be, Latics lost 1-0 and were nine points adrift of safety at the end of the day. It took another month to sack the hapless Mackay, but by then the rot was truly set in and new manager, Gary Caldwell, was unable to turn things around sufficiently in the handfull of games that remained.

Two years on from those dark days Wigan Athletic find themselves in a similar predicament. Another 1-0 defeat, this time against a poor Blackburn side. Sadly the credibility of the current manager, Warren Joyce, is at rock bottom. His woeful tactics and lack of positivity have taken the standard of football down to levels we have not seen for decades. It is hard to have belief in the manager given his negative approach and his unwillingness to embrace good football. I watched yesterday’s game on a live feed from Germany, where even the German commentator referred to Wigan’s approach as “kick and rush”.

It was sad to see Joyce with his face patched up, present but not giving orders from the front line. The cynics had suggested that the manager’s illness was simply a ruse to avoid attending the fan forum during the week. It was clearly not and we all must wish him a speedy recovery.

David Sharpe will need to make decisions about the manager’s position over the coming week. Last time he left it late to bring in someone new. Latics have only won one game out of the last six and are heading for League 1 unless something drastic happens very soon. Significantly, reports suggest that Dave Whelan was at the game yesterday against his old club. Sharpe and Whelan will surely need to do something about a situation where a manager has not only been struggling with his job but has a seemingly major health problem to cope with too. Should they opt to put Joyce on medical leave until the end of the season they would be helping both the club and the manager himself. In the meantime a temporary appointment could be made within the club to provide the kind of positivity and belief that is lacking at the moment.

We took a look at the social media following yesterday’s match and came up with a wide range of views. Our thanks go to the Cockney Latic Forum, Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Facebook) and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen.  Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below.

 

joycestats

Stuart Alker @stuartalker tweeted:

Embarrassing day for us. The chairman will surely now be questioning the change of manager. Looks more ridiculous with every game.

Hindleylatic on Latics Speyk said:

He has to go before training on Monday.

Paul Tymon on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams

We are set up basically not to lose at all costs which isn’t working and as soon as we go 1-0 we struggle.

He also added:

Everybody knows wat we need to do apart from the manager which is worrying

Adgjlzcbm on Latics Speyk commented:

Didn’t the Blackburn announcer said “Finally Wigan have made a substitution”? Who overruled the sub as we were clapping when we thought Tunnicliffe was coming off?

Paul Kendrick @PKendrickWIG tweeted:

Carnage here. Seemingly a double change for Latics as Jacobs and Bogle replaced by Obertan and Grigg. Boos from the away end as Bogle off…

Dan Thompson  @DanThompson_89  tweeted:

It’s that embarrassing we can’t even make a sub correctly!!!

Dean Chambers on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams said:

I thought it was a well balanced game: both teams were sh.it. Never heard an away following turn on the management before. That substitution could have been in a Carry On film. They’ll get shut with 5 games to go and stick the plumber in charge for the rest of the season. Might as well do it now as were boll..xed. MoM: Burn and Buxton with special mentions to Crackers, Morsy and Bogle

Whittleblue on Latics Speyk commented on the atmosphere at the match:

For those not there it was genuinely that bad, both the performance, effort and the full time reaction from the fans, it went beyond discontent it was pure venom. Rational part of me says it went beyond what was acceptable- in fact it did but on this occasion I can understand why.

Regarding that sub Tunicliffe actually left the pitch – in a strop – before being pushed back on – I’m not sure he should have been allowed back as the sub had been made. Grigg looked bemused, Bogle was not happy when they tried to hook him, fans were going berserk, other players were looking round wondering what was going on, it was an absolute joke.

Rob Murphy on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams stated:

16 defeats out of 18 by a single goal must be some kind of record

Craig Aspey @AS_caspey tweeted:

We hammered Blackburn 3-0 earlier in the season. We’re a completely different team to then. Going down with a whimper. Embarrassing

Victor Moses ;)on Latics Speyk was far from happy:

Truly dreadful setup. I don’t think we could play any less effective without trying to lose games. Asking Bogle to run the channels and come back on defense is a complete waste of his ability.

Playing with wide players so deep, looks like 4 fullbacks on the pitch. Their not forward enough to be considered wingbacks. Never a pass available for the ball carrier. Cant describe how bad that is in words.

This is against sides with weaker squads(even at best), this would never work against stronger opposition. It doesn’t work against any opposition. Yet Joyce must think under 20% win ratio is enough. Feels like an amateur vs a professional system, week in week out. 5 defenders in midfield and 4 defensive defenders. Bogle trying to play as a complete solo attack unit. Never going to work over a period of time.

Without doubt Joyces tactics today. This system will relegate us from league 1 next season.

Bernard Ramsdale @BernardTNS said:

Here’s an idea WJ. Why not start every game thinking we are 1-0 down? You can then get rid of the defensive sh.te. #eyeswideshut

Zeb2 on the Cockney Latic Forum summed up the performance:

Can’t argue … “nil” again and no more than we deserved…yet another game where their keeper could have played, sat in a deck chair. A bit of late huff and puff (to no avail) when they finally decided to field the line up they ought to have started with. Simply not enough attacking intent. My first and last away of the season

Charlz54 on Latics Speyk added:

Well, it was the same old same old same today and let’s face it we look like we are going to be relegated now. We keep hearing the same old same excuses but NOtHING changes….the fact is we can’t win football matches and that means relegation and league one again next season…..embarrassing

 Bigroy on the Cockney Latic Forum summed up the season by saying:

With us only scoring a goal every other game this season its been a bloody awful season for supporters and most feel completely despondent I’m sure. Don’t think I’ve witnessed a latics team with such a lack of invention and it’s bloody pitiful to watch. Not one player can beat a player, create a killer pass, shoot well. It’s awful to watch and um surprised more haven’t boycotted what must be the worst Latics team in around 20 years.

Daryl Rogerson @darylrogerson tweeted:

Depending on other teams games in hand, we could be 6pts from safety which is twice the gap when Joyce took over.

Lazysid on Latics Speyk added:

I will take relegation now if it means I don’t have to put up with watching this sh.te every week in trying to survive in a league we don’t deserve to be in.

Truelatic4ever on Latics Speyk was not happy:

Time for Sharpe to admit he screwed up yet again. We are absolute garbage,negative sh.te,we are going down.

Paul Kendrick @PauKendrickWIG commented:

Graham Barrow: “Defence kept us in the game. I think the finger has to be pointed at those further up the pitch who have to do better”

MudhutsMedia @mudhutter responded:

@PKenrickWIG there wasn’t anyone further up the pitch apart from the Bogle, that’s the whole problem

Bickymon on the Cockney Latic Forum commented on the owners’ quietness:

 We started preparing for league one when we sold yanic and brought in those league one type players in January. The owners are very quiet about the whole sorry mess we are in._.But then again its their fault just dont think they are interested anymore

NorthernSoul on Latics Speyk commented on the Wildschut transfer:

 In the season was undoubtedly the sale of Wildschut, just after we’d won back to back league games, started creating chances and scoring and looking like climbing the table, we let our key attacking player leave.

4m upfront with over 1m going to Boro, with 3m in performance related installments, now Norwich have missed out on the play offs and are a total shambles and Yanic can’t get in the team and seems unsettled down in East Anglia, it’s unlikely to see us get anymore than 3m in the end.

Was losing 6/7m or so a season in revenue, with relegation worth this panic sale? Yanic may have been bang out of order but if we’d have kept him and and agreed to sell him in the Summer, it would probably have kept us up. Without his pace and power we have absolutely nothing at all creativity wise. Whoever sanctioned the deal should probably resign.

Donnyspage  on the Cockney Latic Forum urged Dave Whelan to stop the downward spiral:

I for one have such a lot of gratitude for Dave Whelan and the journey we have been on but at the moment the journey seems to be going back to the lower leagues. There are the cynical amongst us who will think Dave has had other reasons than football too, like raising his own personal and business profile and having this profile shown to the world along the way. Who can blame him, the two have gone together. It could have cost a fortune to raise the business profile so much with stadium and shirt sponsorship alone. A huge chunk of money invested. Remember for all the money that he has put in Latics, Dave still owns millions in assets with the stadium and land etc and still the company name is flashed on TV every week.

I just think it is a shame after taking us up there to be on the slide which could have been prevented with a fraction of investment again rather than perennial fire sales. Someone somewhere should be accountable for this ridiculous and downward spiraling of Latics and let us hope Mr Whelan can find them, stop them and do something about this slide. I hope he is patient because it is looking like he will have to start this process from league 1 and without a parachute payment which will need the right personnel and investment from the off. It will also require the ruthless side of his business life with a full clear out of most players, the chairman and board, the manager, all the coaching staff, all the hanger ons. Let the upward journey begin again Dave.

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Another fire sale, another relegation?

   firesale2

The January transfer window was approaching and Wigan Athletic had just lost their fifth game out of the seven they had cahmp-table-2014-15played under their latest manager. Their line up in that match against Sheffield Wednesday was studded with ex-Premier League players. They were playing a mid-table team with the lowest goals-for record in the division. Sadly it was not to be and Latics went down 1-0.  Callum McManaman’s sending off after 68 minutes surely being a contributory factor. The New Year of 2015 saw Latics second from bottom of the Championship with just 20 points from 24 games played.

There are clear parallels between the current New Year period in 2017 and that of a couple of years prior. Latics are once again second from bottom and their new manager yesterday suffered his seventh defeat in nine games in charge. Rumours are already floating around the social media of another fire sale of players, as happened in 2015. But surely the club has learned from recent history? Is another fire sale the answer to turning around the team’s fortunes?

But the fundamentals of the situation of a couple of years ago and that of now differ. In January 2015, the club did it as a means of drastically slashing its wage bill. Malky Mackay was the hapless manager who had to oversee it and patch up his squad, largely with young champ-table2017loanees and free agents on short term contracts. There was surprisingly little uproar from the fans at the time, with the likes of cup final heroes Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman and Ben Watson being dispatched at bargain prices. People had been so disillusioned by a perceived lack of effort from the players that many did not question that a big shake up was required.

The rumours of the next departures are already floating around the social media. Nathan Byrne to Charlton, Sam Morsy to Barnsley on a permanent deal, Will Grigg to any club willing to pay £2m for him, Adam Le Fondre’s loan from Cardiff to be cut short, currently linked with Scunthorpe. We will doubtless see many more rumours flying around the message boards in the coming weeks. Some will have substance, some not. Once again many fans will welcome a shake-up, with so many players in the current squad being labelled as League 1 players, not of Championship standard.

A current poll on Vital Wigan indicates that 56% of fans believe that Warren Joyce can turn things around if given time. A significant proportion cast the blame for the club’s current predicament on Gary Caldwell and his recruitment team. Others cite Joyce’s inexperience as a manager and the woeful tactics and team selections we have seen over the past couple of months. But how much longer will David Sharpe be willing to wait if Joyce cannot deliver over the coming weeks? Sharpe will hopefully have learned from two years ago when he left it too late in the season to rid the club of Malky Mackay.

Rumours suggest that Joyce is trying to sign 34 year old Dean Whitehead, an experienced higher leagues player, although his better days are behind him. The big question is whether Sharpe will back Joyce with the funds needed to bring in quality reinforcements, a task complicated by the fact that Latics are currently on track back to League 1. Given the recent pronouncements of Jonathan Jackson on the club’s finances it seems more likely that Latics will sell off their prime assets – certainly Will Grigg and possibly Yanic Wildschut – and bring in loannees and experienced players of the ilk of Whitehead on short term contracts. With the prospect of a return to League 1 looming, Jackson and Sharpe will be unwilling to speculate on big money and long term contracts to tempt quality players to come in.

The fire sale of two years ago led to relegation. Repeating such actions this month will surely lead along the same path.

There are dangerous times ahead in the coming weeks.

 

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Latics fans react to Rotherham defeat on social media

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Local journalist, Paul Kendrick, was summing up Wigan Athletic’s first half performance through Twitter. The second half saw Latics shaking off the lethargy of the first 45 minutes, dominating the play, pulling back two goals. But sadly it was not enough.

The starting lineup was a shock to most of us. It had just one holding midfielder, with two wingers and two central strikers. For the second game running Warren Joyce had put forward an attacking lineup. But it proved to be a naiveity as Wigan’s  midfield was unable to feed those attacking players and to adequately shield its defence.

It has been a depressing Christmas period for Latics fans. The announcement of a loss of £2.3 million for  last season was accompanied by a realistic, if somewhat foreboding, statement from Chief Executive Jonathan Jackson:

“The future outlook after the current season is a challenging environment. The club is now receiving the final year of parachute payments which have significantly inflated turnover for the last four years. The EFL Championship is populated by clubs backed by extremely wealthy owners, who are prepared to lose enormous amounts of money in pursuit of promotion to the Premier League. Even clubs recently relegated from the Premier League are finding it difficult to compete in this expensive and ultimately unsustainable race for the ‘promised land’.

The financial support of the Whelan family has allowed the club to enjoy incredible success in recent years, without incurring the large financial losses suffered by similar clubs, and that support allows us to continue to pursue long-term goals in the future. The club will always aim to compete at the highest level possible but we must also be realistic in our ambitions and ultimately financial sustainability must continue to remain our priority.”

At the moment Latics are on the road back to League 1. Can Joyce turn things around? Will he get the backing he needs from his chairman for urgent January signings? Are the current problems due to the manager, the players or “the club” itself?

We took a look at the social media following yesterday’s match and came up with a wide range of views. Our thanks go to the Cockney Latic Forum, Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Facebook) and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen.  Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below.

 

Jordi Gómez ‏@JordiGomez14  tweeted:

Missed opportunity to get a result today, but table looking the same than yesterday. Let’s keep going.

Paul Kendrick ‏@PKendrickWIG listed the injured players unavailable to Joyce:

Worth pointing out missing from today’s squad: Morgan, Burke, Garbutt, Daniels, James, Powell, MacDonald, Perkins, Gilbey, plus Bogdan #wafc

Chairman David Sharpe ‏@DavidSharpe91 tweeted:

Know you all care, so I understand your frustrations. However, we’ve always faced adversity together, so let’s continue to face it together.

But ex-Latics captain and WISH FM commentor Neill Rimmer ‏@neill_rimmer sent a couple of tweets saying:

Terrible result today, time to stop blaming the managers & look above!

Lot of good people have been pushed out of the club. Results getting worse.

Nottinghamlatic on Latics Speyk suggested that Latics do not belong in the higher echelons:

Brutal fact of football life is that if too few fans are interested a club will not survive at the top level i.e. Premier League and Championship. We are heading back to our natural level i.e. League 1/2. This is where we belong after our brief flirtation with the big time. I think we have to get used to it. We have people at the top who won’t take risks now. Wigan people won’t take risks with their hard earned dosh, either.

Neil Aspey on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams said:

The owner and the alleged chairman need to think about what they want for the club. Cheap everything done on the cheap and a series of disastrous decisions have got us to where we are now.

Stuart Alker‏@stuartalker was also critical of the chairman:

The sooner some of our fans wake up and get from up the chairman’s backside and realise he’s a big part of the problem, the better. #wafc

Bickymon on the Cockney Latic Forum talked about the Whelan family possibly selling up:

Not looking good is it i said give joyce a chance but now i fear for the clubs future. Only way forward is whelan familly to sell up and go. Too many huge mistakes made last couple of years we are going backwards division 1 looks like our level With this lot.…….I must be going blind because we seem to be heading back to those dark years before whelan. Understandable nobody wants to buy us whelan knows that his familly is stuck with the club and we are stuck with them

Henski on Latics Speyk advocated a return for Gary Caldwell:

Sharpe made the biggest mistake of his short career sacking Caldwell. He followed it up with an even bigger one.He has ruined the season and perhaps many more to follow.He should go cap in hand back to Caldwell before it’s too late. Sharpe needs to fix this mess he has created!

Hindleygreenlatics on the Cockney Latic Forum went so far to suggest that Graham Barrow be put in charge:

I am not one for changing managers – I never wanted Caldwell to be sacked I firmly believe he was starting to turn it around and we would have been ok. I also believe the club has made a big mistake with Joyce. I don’t like him putting the cones out before the game, him wearing shorts, seemingly side-lining all the coaching staff, making Barrow sit in the dug out when he used to do an effective job in the media gantry sending down messages to the bench. I don’t like him referring to one of our players as “Powelly”. I don’t like the fact that he comes across as an idiot!

I guess I don’t seem to like his amateur approach. Most of all I don’t like the negative almost defeatist attitude to games.A mistake has been made in this appointment and while it will look bad on the club I believe the mistake needs to be rectified ASAP. Even if that means giving the job to Barrow until the end of the season.

King_dezeeuw06 on Latics Speyk added:

We can never say how Rosler and Caldwell would’ve done for sure. But if they stayed without a big improvement in their managerial skills, results, performances and transfer dealing we were very likely going down. So sacking either made sense and i look back i don’t regret either.But the issue has come with picking poor replacements and things getting worse. Those replacement choices I do look back on and regret.

Wiganfanfrank on Latics Speyk commented that:

It’s a joke that managers are fired these days for so little. We havent had a healthy right back all year, no true goalkeeper, inconsistency in the center of the park, striker personal issues and a lot of unlucky goals. Then we had to start over in the middle of the season, and the performances have not been any different than under Caldwell. We have the talent to stay in this league, we need a lot of help in January to stay in this league. I never agreed with firing Caldwell, but now I think sacking another manager would hurt us even more.

Tom Prescott@tomprescott94 tweeted:

Joyce doesn’t fill me with any enthusiasm but I still think it’s as much the players then the manager. We just aren’t good enough. #wafc

Garswoodlatic on the Cockney Latic Forum put the blame on the players:

it was the Summer window in which we got rid of players who had bonded well into a feelgood team who knew how to win, and replaced them with some very poor replacements.Not Joyce’s fault. Blame the so-called players.

Owen Hughes on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams advocated bringing in youth:

AFTER TODAYS RESULT PLAY THE KIDS AT LEAST 5 OF THEM ARE GOOD ENOUGH WE WILL SEE MORE EFFORT

Paul Knowles ‏@paulknowles66 tweeted Paul Kendrick@PKendrickWIG

I feel like the managers lack of charisma is reflected in the team. Our players are better than this! #WAFC

Bert Hughes @_Bert_Hughes tweeted the chairman:

@DavidSharpe91 Depressing financial message last week and now this result. We are in a downward spiral at this moment in time.

bert

Elbalson@elbalson tweeted:

BREAKING NEWS:

Wigan Athletic’s strategy for the upcoming transfer window revealed –

elbalson

 

 

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