Seeking the right blend of youth and experience

“Liverpool were a good, talented footballing side but our lads were a lot stronger against Liverpool. Tonight, playing against a very experienced team who have been around the block a bit was a massive learning curve for some of the younger players to know the standard if they want to make a living in the game and that will only stand them in good stead.”

So said John Sheridan following a home defeat by Port Vale in the EFL trophy. In reality the 3-1 scoreline was flattering to a Latics side who were out of their depth on the night.

Sheridan had put out a mixed lineup as he had in the game against the Liverpool U21 side.

The team included seven players who were under 23, together with Owen Evans (23), Tom James (24), Lee Evans (26), Dan Gardner (30).

On first glance the formation looked well balanced, but as play commenced, we saw that Chris Merrie was playing at left back, Tom Pearce on the left wing and Dan Gardner in holding midfield. After conceding a couple of goals due to errors Sheridan reverted to the line-up we would have expected, with Merrie back in midfield and Pearce at full back. Even before the errors the visitors were causing problems to a defence that was all at sea.

Sheridan has let it be known that he is looking for some more experienced players to supplement his squad: to get a suitable blend of youth and experience. Both Gardner and Viv Solomon-Otabor have signed extended contracts until January. Solomon-Otabor has looked impressive in his early Latics career. Gardner, who had worked previously under Leam Richardson at Chesterfield and Sheridan at Oldham, has looked less so. Nathan Cameron’s short-term contract is coming to an end shortly and Sheridan will have to decide whether to offer an extension. He has played in two league games so far but has been suffering from an injury.

The transfer window for EFL clubs closes on October 16. However, due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 virus many clubs have clubs have tightened their belts. The net result is hundreds of free agents available in the football markets.

Gerald Krasner has stated that he expects to be out by the end of the month, assuming the Garrido takeover is completed by that point. Whether the administrators will allow Sheridan to sign more players during that time remains to be seen, but there will still be free agents available beyond October should new ownership give the green light.

Krasner has taken a lot of flak from Latics fans, but if the sale to Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo goes through he and his associates might ultimately be remembered as the people who helped save the club from liquidation.

Jay Whittle has been an outstanding source of information for Latics fans in the times of crisis over these months. His interviews with key people involved in the fight to keep the club afloat have been both revealing and empathetic. This recent one with Gerald Krasner is well worth viewing if you have not already done so:

“The UK owners that I am dealing with have got a history in football”

What an under-reaction there has been from Wigan Athletic fans on social media to the Daily Mail’s news. Why is that so?

For weeks we have been waiting for news of fresh buyers for the club. They have been stressful, difficult weeks for us fans, worrying about the continued existence of the club. The lack of consistent news coming from the administrators and the media has hardly helped to ease an atmosphere of unease.

Gerald Krasner’s interview by a Channel 4 reporter did not go well initially. After having previously suggested a preference for a British buyer he over-reacted to the interviewer’s questions about it. The clip from Channel 4 news can be accessed here. The interview with Krasner appears at the 2:35 mark. Lisa Nandy’s comments on the administrators’ slowness of acquiring new ownership can be found at 3:26.

Reports this morning suggest that Frankel and Kalt have now dropped their offer from £4m to £2m following news of these players’ transfers.

Krasner had stated on the Channel 4 news that:

“The UK owners that I am dealing with have got a history in football. That’s why it would be better.”

My understanding was that the administrators are obliged to accept the highest bid and cannot discriminate between bidders. Does Gerald Krasner have the right to select a buyer based on their history in football? Have these potential UK owners been bidding a higher price than the Americans?

As the process of finding a new owner has dragged on so have the costs to be applied by Begbies Traynor. In mid-August Latics shareholders received an 89-page document entitled “Wigan Athletic A.F.C. (Limited): In Administration”. It contained a series of proposals related to the administration process for the club.

The document contained details of the charges that Begbies Traynor would levy and an estimate of the administrators’ fees:

At an hourly rate of some £358 for the duration of the administrators’ involvement is key. Put simply, costs will continue to climb very steeply as long as the process is not completed.

Rumour suggests that 36-year-old Joe Sealey, son of ex-Manchester United goalkeeper, Les Sealey is making a bid to buy the club. Sealey was involved in a bid to buy Macclesfield Town from Amar Alkahdi in January.

The other option working towards Latics’ survival continues to thrive and get nearer and nearer to the half million pound target: a terrific effort.

Meanwhile the preparations for the coming season continue to get better: