Latics fans react on social media to Man U game

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Only the most optimistic of Wigan Athletic fans would have expected their team to get some kind of result at Old Trafford.  Damage limitation was the best that most of us had hoped for. But Warren Joyce’s team performed well until Fellaini’s goal in the 44th minute. Latics had at least matched their expensive opponents up to that point and if Michael Jacobs had not fluffed a clear shot on goal they could even have been ahead before the big Belgian bruiser barged past Callum Connolly for that goal.

Once behind it was a tall order for a Latics team playing with just one forward. But early in the second half home keeper Romero fluffed a cross straight to David Perkins, one of the outstanding performers up to that point. But sadly Perkins is not known for his goal scoring and could not put the chance away. It was not an easy chance, but it was a lost opportunity to get back in the game. The seemingly inevitable was to follow, as Latics sank under United’s pressure.

Joyce had once again put on a cautious line up, loading the midfield. But until Fellaini’s goal they had looked well organised and were holding their own. The defence had been solid and the midfield industrious. Joyce’s influence on the defensive make-up of his teams is clear. He is making Latics a hard team to beat. However, it is on the offensive side where the work still needs doing. As yesterday’s game wore on, Will Grigg looked more and more isolated in the lone centre forward role. Given the team’s lack of goals it is worrying to hear rumours about Yanic Wildschut being sold off. Craig Davies has already left for Scunthorpe and Adam Le Fondre was not even on the bench yesterday. Neither was Jordi Gomez. Some say that Gomez is not a Joyce-type player. It would therefore be no surprise if he and Le Fondre were to depart in the next couple of days.

Yesterday’s Paul Kendrick’s headline read “We don’t want to sell Yanic – Joyce”, with the manager being quoted that: “It’s simple as far as I’m concerned – you don’t want to sell your best players. I’ve come here and I’m trying to build a football club. I don’t think Yanic had played a full game this season before I came to the football club. He’s progressed, he’s lost weight, he’s sharper, he’s fitter.” Rumour suggests that Wildschut will go if Latics are offered between £5-£6 m. The manager clearly does not want to lose one of his key players, but the Chief Executive and Chairman appear to have different ideas.

Losing Wildschut would be a hammer blow for a manager trying to keep his team in the division. Some would say that the club could use at least some of the funds to sign a replacement, but Latics will be reluctant to pay a significant transfer fee for a player who will expect a high salary to match. Given that Latics already have more loan players than they can field in  a match, the likelihood would be to go for a free agent or a younger player from the lower divisions.

All will be revealed in the next couple of days.

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.

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Max Power @power_m4 tweeted:

Great experience today, thought we gave a good account of ourselves despite the result! Thanks for the support.

David Sharpe @DavidSharpe91 responded:

Scoreline is harsh but very proud of the boys. 1st half we were excellent. Equally as proud of our fans, non stop singing for 90 mins

Argus on the Cockney Latic Forum commented that:

We’ve scored 1 goal at Old Trafford in what 9 goes and that was a last minute Baines penalty in 2006 I think.We were 1 minute away from a perfect 1st half performance.You really didn’t think we were going to go gung ho at them did you – they would have scored a hatful similar to their 3rd if we had. We should have been 1-0 up if Jacobs had connected instead of that air shot in the 1st half.

Morsy’s performance showed the class difference between the PL and the Championship. He was fairly anonymous today.That was one of our better performances there and we should be OK for the rest of the season.4th bottom will do at this stage then we can take stock and consolidate ready for next season.

Jonjo Gallagher @JonjoGallagher tweeted:

I mean this whole heartedly I do not want to get back to that greed league that isn’t football, where is my sport gone #wafc

 Jocklatic on Latics Speyk commented on the atmosphere at Old Trafford:

Well we tried hard to give them a game n up until their goal against the run of play we was holding our own. Had we held on to a 0-0 till half time then it wud have been a different game …but my oh my what an absolutely abysmal atmosphere there is from the ‘ tourist’ that visit there….it is awful n no wonder teams in the prem can come n get a win. No pressure from home crowd, no atmosphere, no intimidation of away team in fact it was so sterile it was like a pre season game. Even walking up to the game from the cricket club was directed….ffs support yer team (utd)…..worst home support I’ve seen …even worse than blackpool away last season who r boycotting the club…..big team my a..e

Donnys Page on the Cockney Latic Forum added:

If you go to a place like Old Trafford and try to stifle and slow them down eventually you get what you deserve. Totally different match plan from the last three games and left Grigg so isolated on his own. Brought on Yanic for pace but soon after took off the only striker at the club and no further positive options on the bench. Two of the pointless signings had a run out but hopefully we won’t be seeing them again. Let us hope we get back to the style and approach we had for the three wins. Very disappointed today but at the end of the day we were playing the bank but just wish we could have been more positive and not have just put up a brick wall. Could we have lost with a greater score?

Ihaventaclue on Latics Speyk was positive about the performance:

We were great today. Well done every one. Cracking good atmosphere – in our corner, but blimey how 60,000 can do nothing except a half hearted cheer when a goal goes in ….. is beyond me. No wonder they needed all the help they could get from the ref. Actually with their reputation I was really surprised, I was expecting more.

Dave Carter on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams said:

I think it’s open for debate whether the keeper should have come out for the ball. In my eyes, Connolly was too lightweight and allowed Fellaini to outmuscle him. That said, it was a decent defensive performance till the goal, but it was game over when it went in with Joyce’s reluctance to support his lone forward.

Loudmouthblue on Latics Speyk thought the goalkeeper was at fault:

The cross for Fellaini’s goal came from wide and was very high, in the air a long time and travelled along the six yard box, any decent keeper, especially one that is 6ft 7in would have come for that.

Hindleymonwafc  on Latics Speyk questioned the case:

The cross was excellent….how can you blame any keeper for being in two minds about that .

 MightyBongsmon on Latics Speyk added:

That cross was too high & deep for any keeper to come out for. If you want to look at blame for the 1st & 2nd goals blame the players who didn’t put pressure on the guy who crossed it & the full backs for getting out muscled & outjumped. Mind you that’s nit picking. I looked at taking 4-0 before kick off but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I also thought that in the 1st half Latics were the better side but that Jacobs miss & their goal killed us

Northern Soul on Latics Speyk thought Connolly had been fouled:

Outmuscled? I’d hardly calling getting elbowed in the face outmuscled. Since when is that anything other than a foul?

Piemon on Latics Speyk questioned the consistency of the refereeing:

Completely sour grapes from me here but …If Fellani commits two professional fouls and isn’t booked for either, and then Burn is booked for one similar foul . . . how was Fellaini still on the pitch to score the opener? At the end we just ran out of steam after a stonking first half performance

 Noel Wards Leg on Latics Speyk summed up by saying:

Lots of plus points aside from the result. For me the biggest was that we created chances – something we failed to do against very ordinary opposition until quite recently. The players are fitter and working hard.

Several players who did not look up to the task earlier in the season are now looking very, very good players. I thought Max Power looked our classiest player today but I’m just in awe of Perks for his ability to break up play and run all day at an age when others are retiring.

I liked Gary Caldwell and am grateful for what he did for us but even last season I was never overly convinced of his style of play. For me he erred too much on the side of patience and not enough on the side of urgency. Warren Joyce is beginning to have success at instructing players to look for the forward pass and to have players looking for space between the lines. It provides for more entertaining football I feel and we saw evidence of that today even against the richest club in the world.

I’m desperately hoping that we get a new striker in in the next couple of days but I would imagine that whoever it is will only be there providing support to Will Grigg and not necessarily improving the team.
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A Fulham fan’s view of Ryan Tunnicliffe

 

Last week Ryan Tunnicliffe was signed on loan from Fulham until the end of the season, when his contract expires. He made an appearance off the bench after 76 minutes in the win against Brentford on Saturday. The 24 year old had a previous loan spell at Wigan under Uwe Rosler which was terminated prematurely.

On signing Tunnicliffe, Warren Joyce said: “Ryan has got a terrific attitude first and foremost. He has been educated through the United Academy and he is a player I always thought would do well.  He has built up considerable experience now in this division and we are confident he can be a really positive influence to the group in the immediate future.”

Tunnicliffe reciprocated by saying that he was delighted to work under Joyce again.

The question is: can the manager get the best out of a player who promised so much under his charge at Manchester United, but whose career seems to have lost its way since then?

Ryan Tunnicliffe was born in Heywood, part of the metropolitan borough of Rochdale. He made rapid progress through the Manchester United Academy, signing professional forms as a 17 year old in December 2009. He went on to win the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year Award in the side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2011, ahead of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison.

Tunnicliffe spent the first half of the 2011-12 season at Peterborough, where he made 27 apperances. On his return to Old Trafford he was a regular in Joyce’s reserve side that won two trophies. Tunnicliffe made his senior debut in a League Cup game against Newcastle in  September 2012. He went on a month’s loan to Barnsley in February 2012, followed by a six month loan at Ipswich in the first half of the 2013-14 season.

Ex-Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen signed Tunnicliffe for Fulham in January 2014. He was a regular in the lineup until Felix Magath replaced the Dutchman. After falling out of favour he was sent on loan to Latics in February 2014. In summer 2014 he was sent on a season long loan at Blackburn, but Fulham recalled him in January 2015. He had made 10  starts for Rovers, with 7 appearances as a substitute.

In order to learn more about Tunnicliffe’s time at Fulham we reached out to Peter Grinham on Facebook. Peter previously wrote a fan view for us on Dan Burn.

Here’s over to Peter:

Rene Meulenstein brought him to Fulham after working with him at Man U where, I believe, he was their U21 skipper. He was well thought of at Man U at that time but his career at Fulham has faltered, not initially helped by then manager Felix Magath who was a destructive influence to ALL.

Ryan has never really got going at our club and doesn’t really fit the current Fulham playing style which is pass and go, dribbling past players if need be. He has a lot of energy and is a fully committed player with a decent engine. He has played everywhere across the middle of the park for us but I am really not sure of his best position. He likes a tackle and has a really committed attitude to his game.

When playing as an over age player for the U23s this season, he has simply got on with it, fighting for a 1st team place – where others out of the team appeared to sulk. Sometimes he can go AWOL during a game; I’m not sure if it is a concentration problem or just catching his breath after some powerful committed runs.

A case for cautious optimism in the Joyce era

 

A couple of weeks ago many Wigan Athletic supporters had probably never even heard of Manchester United’s reserve team coach Warren Joyce. The betting at the time was on Old Trafford icon Ryan Giggs. But as the talk of the former Welsh winger gradually evaporated, the harsh reality hit us. How likely was it that Latics could actually afford Giggs, or that he would even seriously consider a relegation battle in the Championship at Wigan?

The process of appointing Joyce seemed to drag. Indeed, a thread on the normally effervescent Vital Wigan forum entitled “Excitement levels reaching zero” referred to his impending appointment.  The premature dismissal of Gary Caldwell was still ringing in our ears, leaving a feeling of lingering discomfort among some. There were hopes for a big name like Giggs or maybe an experienced ex-Premier League or Championship level manger.

But as time has worn on people have started to learn more about Joyce and his potential to do a good job at Wigan. Indeed some questioned why he would want to take the job, given his successes at Manchester United and his high standing within the club. More than a few of us are now wondering whether David Sharpe has made an inspired choice in recruiting the Oldham-born coach.

Joyce might not be a household name, but has certainly been held in high regard in Manchester. He had spells managing clubs at both Hull City and Royal Antwerp and had a highly successful record with the Manchester United development squad. But where can he take Latics? What will be his brief? What kind of backing will he get from Sharpe?

Although Joyce’s appointment eventually came as no surprise there was an element of the latter in him being given a three and a half year contract. Previous managers had been appointed on rolling contracts, so why has Joyce been treated differently? One possibility is that he would not have taken the position without that security. It is only 18 months ago that the chairman was talking about Caldwell being at the club long-term. Or was Sharpe making a statement by offering his new manager such a deal?

In the last 24 hours we have been able to listen to Sharpe talking about the new manager’s appointment and Joyce himself talking about his new job and his past experience. Sharpe commented that:

Warren is the perfect manager and coach for where we are at as a club right now. He’s great at developing younger players, putting his time into younger players and coaching them into becoming winners and better footballers but he also relies upon experience too, like we already have.”

The chairman also made it clear that the club would not be splashing money around like Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday.

Joyce’s immediate task is to lift the club out of the relegation zone. In the long term his ability to develop young players will be of paramount importance in a club that will no longer be buoyed by parachute payments. Put simply, he will be responsible for enabling the club to punch above its weight in a division where so many others are splashing out money like confetti.

In order to maintain financial stability at Championship level, without major injections of funds from the Whelan family, the club will need to generate the bulk of its revenue through the development and sale of young talent. If that is indeed the club’s desired direction, Joyce appears an astute and logical appointment.

In the meantime, his focus will be on a win or two to ease the nerves that led to Caldwell’s dismissal, and his arrival.

Unlocking the Powell enigma

Can Caldwell unlock the enigma who is Nick Powell?

Can Caldwell unlock the enigma who is Nick Powell?

In the 66th minute of a deadlocked game on Saturday, Stephen Warnock launched a superb cross into the Burton penalty box. Wigan’s number 25 made a run from midfield, ahead of a defender, dived in and headed it with power. Sadly for Latics the ball was to flash narrowly wide of the post. It had looked a certain goal.

Nick Powell had got himself into a great position and almost delivered the goods. It was not the worst miss we will see this season, but it was to open up a debate as to which Powell we are seeing right now. Would the dynamic young player who thrived under Owen Coyle have put the ball in the net? Or were we seeing the one who floundered under Uwe Rosler?

Three years ago to this month Powell starred in a Europa League victory over Maribor. His first goal had come after 22 minutes: a simple header into an empty net after the Slovenian goalkeeper had made a hash of a punch. Ben Watson added another 12 minutes later, but Maribor clawed their way back into the game as Latics went flat, scoring after 61 minutes. Powell’s deciding goal came in the 91st minute when he somehow found the energy that most of his teammates did not have to slalom through the visitor’s defence and score with style.

Powell’s stock was high. His name was being touted around the media as the one who could go back to Old Trafford and lift his parent club out of their lethargy. He had become a key player in Coyle’s squad. Given the number of games Latics were facing the manager was operating a rotation policy but Powell seemed to be the one Latics forward who could go the full 90 minutes on a regular basis. It prompted fans to wonder about the fitness levels of his team mates.

Following Coyle’s departure, Powell started in both of Graham Barrow’s games in charge, but was substituted early in the second half. He was pulled off after 65 minutes in Uwe Rosler’s first game, a 2-1 defeat at Maribor. However, in the next match he came back to play the full ninety against Bolton, scoring with a spectacular bicycle kick in Latics’ 3-2 win.He went on to score in the 2-1 win at Reading in the next match, but was taken off at half time.

Around that time in late December media speculation over Powell’s future was going haywire. Whether it was due to the media hype or to a series of niggling injuries, Powell could not recapture his early season form. What was visible to the fans was a Powell not showing the same kind of physical commitment that they had seen earlier in the season. Moreover the swagger that the young player was showing in his body language earlier in the season that had been seen as a sign of self-belief, was now being interpreted by some as a “couldn’t care less” attitude.

Powell went back to Manchester United when his loan expired in the summer of 2014. He started in the United team that lost 4-0 to the MK Dons in the League Cup, being taken off after 57 minutes. Within a week he had joined Leicester City on loan, but had to be content with just three appearances off the bench. His loan spell was cut short at the end of December with Leicester citing a lack of commitment to training. On his return to Old Trafford he was to be out for nine months with a hamstring injury.

In December 2015 he came on as a 69th minute substitute for United in a Champions League defeat at Wolfsburg. A week later he came off the bench after 74 minutes in a 2-1 reverse at Bournemouth. In early February 2016 Powell joined Hull City on loan, making his debut in a goalless draw with Arsenal in the FA Cup, being withdrawn after 78 minutes. He was to go on to make three Premier League appearances off the bench before completing a full 90 minutes in a 4-0 FA Cup defeat by Arsenal.

In the two years between leaving Wigan and returning, Nick Powell made a starting lineup 4 times, completing the full 90 minutes-plus just once. He made 8 appearances off the bench. Can he put this nightmare time behind him?

Gary Caldwell stuck his neck out in summer by signing Powell, given his form over the past two and a half seasons. Moreover the 22 year old is surely going to be on a salary above most of his teammates. Why did Caldwell take such a gamble? Can Powell get back to full fitness and the kind of form he showed three years ago?

Powell’s best times at Wigan were when he was playing as a central striker. However, Caldwell has been playing the Crewe-born player in his preferred role in midfield. Up to this point he has started 5 times with 5 appearances off the bench. His best performance up to this point was in his first appearance against Blackburn Rovers, where he scored from a free kick and had a good all-round game.

Although he has not been able to keep up his form of the Blackburn match, he has completed the full 90 minutes in three games. Given the player’s injury problems over the past couple of years it is a step in the right direction. Caldwell clearly has faith in this talented player who had lost his way. Can the Scot nurture Powell back to the match sharpness that will make him the threat to opposition defences that we saw under Owen Coyle?

In recent matches Powell has alternated with Jordi Gomez for the “number 10 role” behind the centre forward. Gomez too has been some way short of full match fitness after so little involvement in Sunderland’s pre-season. Both have the capability of controlling the flow of midfield play, together with potent goalscoring prowess.

Should both Powell and Gomez reach peak fitness, Caldwell will surely have a selection problem on his hands. There is a strong argument to suggest that there is not room in the midfield for the two of them. Each needs a good share of the ball to function. However, Powell can also play as a central striker, although Latics now have three others in Craig Davies, Will Grigg and Adam Le Fondre.

However, the reality at this moment in time is that Nick Powell has just started back on the road towards recuperating his football career. Should he manage to shake off those injury problems that have bugged him for too long he will also have to recover the kind of self-belief that he had as a 19 year old in the Coyle era.

Powell is certainly a high profile player at Wigan, but a real enigma. Can Caldwell unlock the enigma in a way that no manager has done over the last couple of years?

Like all players Powell has his supporters and his critics. In this same month three years ago the former surely outnumbered the latter. But since then a downturn in form has turned around fan opinion of him.

There is a long road ahead for Nick Powell in his bid to regenerate himself as a footballer. Let’s hope that in the months ahead that we will see his swagger as a manifestation of the levels of self-belief that he showed as a 19 year old.

A Bolton fan’s view of Andy Kellett

Photo courtesy of Manchester United magazine

Wigan Athletic yesterday announced the signing of 21 year old full back/wing back Andy Kellett from Bolton Wanderers.

Kellett was born in Bolton and came through the Wanderers academy to make his first team debut as a substitute against Leicester City in April 2014. He again came off the bench in the next match against Sheffield Wednesday. In October Kellett joined League 2 club Plymouth Argyle on a one month loan, which was extended a further month.He was to make 12 appearances, scoring one goal .

Although Kellett was more likely expecting a return to Plymouth in the second half of the season he was to join Manchester United on loan in early February 2015. A Daily Telegraph  article tells how Bolton’s first team coach Garry Parker broke the news to Kellett of United’s interest in him.

“Sit down Andy, We’ve got some good news and some bad news. “You’re not going back to Plymouth,” was the bad news. After that body blow, Kellett asked to hear the good.“You’re going to Manchester United,” Parker said.

Kellett went on to make 10 appearances for United’s development squad before returning to Bolton.

In order to learn more about Kellett we reached out to Chris Mann of the Burnden Aces fan site http://www.burndenaces.co.uk (Twitter @BurndenAces ).

Here’s over to Chris:

The lasting memory of transfer deadline day from times gone by usually hindered around Harry Redknapp talking to reporters from his car, or crowds gathering at stadiums and training grounds with indescribable adult-themed objects.

A new trend seems to have been set, however, and that is ‘Transfer Deadline Day = Andy Kellett is on the move’.

Having spent the early part of last season on loan at Plymouth Argyle, Kellett had looked set to return to Home Park only to become one of the country’s biggest talking points when he sealed an 11th-hour switch to Manchester United back in February.

United were short of options at full-back, but the move baffled supporters of both clubs. As predicted, though, Kellett’s time at Old Trafford was consigned to the development squad that would eventually go on to win the Under-21 Premier League title.

Kellett signed on at Wanderers as a seven-year old and, having impressed at youth level, made his senior debut in April 2014 – making a total of three appearances before the end of the 2013/14 campaign.

Hopes were high for the hometown boy, but a change in management seemed to put the brakes on his progression and it quickly became obvious that he just wasn’t rated by Neil Lennon.

His big chance arrived in a game at Rotherham United in January, prior to his United move, but a shambolic performance from the entire team saw Kellett sacrificed after 51 minutes – at 3-0 down – and he hasn’t been anywhere near the first-team since.

Kellett was a popular figure amongst the Bolton fans, many of whom believe he should have been given more of an opportunity. But Lennon has granted chances to the likes of Zach Clough, Josh Vela and Tom Walker, while a group of other names are also on the verge of breaking through, so the manager has shown he will put his faith in youth if he deems them good enough.

It’s a shame to see him leave, but Kellett had entered the final year of his contract and wasn’t being considered for what has been a position lacking in cover. Lennon hasn’t made many mistakes in terms of player recruitment so far, so we’ll trust his judgement and wish Kellett the best of luck down the road.