We trawled the social media on the 2018 Transfer Deadline Day to get fan reactions on the comings and goings of players at Wigan Athletic.
Once again our thanks go to the Cockney Latic Forum, the Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum, The Boulevard of Broken Dreams on Facebook, and also Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen. Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below.
Let’s take a look at how the deadline day unfolded for Latics’ fans:
Adam O’Neill @adamONeillio tweeted:
Dan Burn been a brilliant player for us over last few seasons. Will be a huge miss but deserves a crack at the Premier League. Wish him all the best #wafc
Victor Moses on Latics Speyk commented:
Since we signed Kipre i’m not too fussed about losing Burn. Would rather we gained more money, but i think overall we will have a better player whos more suited to our system with far greater potential. Burn is suited to a deep defensive line that is focused on defending within the box. If we played that way he would be the better choice.
But it seems cook wants to play a high defensive line, which would suit Kipre far more. Dan lacks awareness, also gets caught out up the field with his positioning and lacks strength to dominate aerially. He’s better at attacking the ball with his head with forward momentum rather than being pinned 1v1 vs another player.
With a high defensive line the defenders will be exposed to a lot of 1v1 battles this season. The benefit is that our players will be higher up the pitch with the press and it will improve our general attacking play with players starting off higher up the pitch.
I like Burn, he’s been a quality player for us and wish him all the best, if he’s to come back here on loan i would expect him to be a backup unless an injury to Dunkley or Kipre. Watching Kipre gave me a lot of confidence in him, he stopped 4 or 5 1v1’s with the ball at the opponents feet and dominated a very high % of 1v1 aerial plays against Nuhiu and Joao. Two of the bigger forwards in this league.
Matt Jones @WafcMatt3 tweeted:
I absolutely adore Dan Burn and he deserves this move to the prem and I could see it coming but £3.5M surely it should be at least 5 need a replacement in summer considering he’s on loan to us this season #wafc
Peter Millward @PeteMillward79 tweeted:
Really puzzled Dan Burn’s loan back. I wonder if he’s going to be out injured until Nov and the loan from #bhafc point of view is that he’ll stay to get fit and playing before a Jan move. From #wafc point of view, we get a player for 2 months or so and the deal calms fan concerns
Studds40 on Latics Speyk added:
It’s a good deal for us. Good fee, good terms, if he returns on loan.
Personally, I don’t think he’s Premier League quality, so don’t understand what Brighton get out of the deal. Unless he’s a back-up for injuries or potential relegation.
Kipre still young and has a lot to prove. But it shows what kind of player you can pick-up around the £1m mark. Be interesting to see what moves we make in the next few hours.
Hindley Blue on the Cockney Latic Forum commented:
Good luck to the lad and I wish him every success as he was great for us and always gave 100%. I’m just really shocked a Prem team wants him, milk turns quicker and imo he’ll get found out.
Chris Stafford on The Boulevard of Broken Dreams commented:
Is it just me that thinks this Dan burn deal is a fantastic deal ?? He’s leaving at end of season anyway by the looks of it so would probably go for nothing but instead we are getting around £4 million for him and he’s being loaned back to us by all accounts ? We can now go and spend a bit of money today if needed
Duncan Holder responded:
If anyone thinks we can survive financially without selling players each season they need to give their heads a wobble!! Got him on a free and sell him for decent profit.
Peter Millward @PeteMillward79 tweeted:
I’d be gutted if @mp_1825 left us. I really like the lad. Infectious enthusiasm. Seems so important to us he squad #wafc
Alan Farrimond @AlanFarrimond tweeted:
I also like him as a lad and there’s no doubt he likes us, but I do have concerns as to whether he can hack it in Championship. Also we have an abundance of CM players and we can’t keep them all happy, so good luck to the lad.
WillJones89210 on Latics Speyk commented:
I love max he’s my favorite player and I’ll be sad to see him go because of his passion and style of play. That said he has never been a fit for cooks system. His strengths are not as a holding midfielder never will be. He may be good enough for the championship but I don’t think he is in cooks system. With Connolly Gibson Morsy Macdonald and lopes we have pleenty of options 3 of which are probably as good if not better. From a footballing perspective purely it makes sense to sell if we get a decent fee.
Stuart Glover @StuartGlover tweeted:
Don’t forget Power wanted to leave last season and wasn’t all that effective in Championship year before (though few were). McDonald is better and may allow Morsy to get a little further forward.
C_Latic on Latics Speyk commented
Got no problem losing Power if the fee is right. We’ve upgraded in Connolly. The only worry I have is that Max is a great character and I’m guessing a key figure in the dressing room. Very much a Bullard type. It’s vital we don’t lose that togetherness as that group of players who have been with us since around 2015 start to dwindle.
MightyTics on Latics Speyk commented:
WIGAN. SHEFF U. Evans deal is on. Truly stunned by that.
Martin @_MartinWAFC tweeted:
Very happy with midfield options of Morsy, Gibson, Evans and MacDonald #wafc
KingdeZeeuw06 on Latics Speyk commented:
I’m absolutely made up if we get Evans back – it was a huge mistake to not sign him when he went Sheff U. I’ll be over the moon if we do that deal. Wow!
Not sure who Joe Garner is but reading both the #wafc and #bwfc hashtags he may be about to become my favourite player.
HudWiganFan on Latics Speyk commented:
Kept all but one of the key players (even he’s returning on loan), signed some excellent players for our level and splashed some cash in the process as some had demanded – this window couldn’t have gone much better IMO.
WIGAN. Garner deal done at around 1m. BOLTON seen off in end. Evans deals should happen later on buy to loan basis. Power to SUNDERLAND the same basis as it only moved close too late.
Dudestalker on Latics Speyk said:
Twitter saying Garner signed £1.2 million…suppose we’ll see at 9am.
Lee Evans move to Wigan Athletic is back ON. The Blades will only allow the midfielder to leave if they are to receive a fee, with the Latics willing to commit to a loan-to-buy purchase in January. [Alan Nixon] #sufc #wafc #twitterblades
The trip to Home Park to meet a Plymouth side unbeaten in their last eight matches was not going to be easy. Moreover, the home support had come out in numbers for the Pilgrims’ best crowd of the season of 11,942. But Wigan’s clinical finishing was to enable them to come away with a valuable win that puts them five points ahead of Shrewsbury, who could only draw at home to Doncaster Rovers. In truth, Latics had not played particularly well and the home side’s approach work surely merited a better scoreline than the 1-3 result.
Will Grigg had a good opportunity as early as the 6th minute, but could not show the sharpness needed to put the ball away. Chey Dunkley’s ill-judged tackle Plymouth’s on Graham Carey on 27 minutes led to a home team penalty that the same player converted. But Latics equalised a couple of minutes later when Grigg this time showed the sharpness required to deflect home Nick Powell’s sublime cross. A superb counterattack saw Gavin Massey grab the second on 45 minutes. Although Plymouth continued to threaten Dan Burn’s header was deflected into his own net by a Plymouth defender on 69 minutes. Wigan’s two goal lead was to prove a mountain that the home side could not overcome.
Paul Cook so often displays a refreshing kind of fairness and openness, rare among football managers, in his post-match comments. He was spot-on in his depiction of this match:
I thought it was a very difficult game; Plymouth were excellent in the game, they kept knocking on the door and started well. We never got into our rhythm like we normally do away from home and didn’t dominate the ball and Ryan Taylor caused us a lot of problems.
I felt the second goal came at such a crucial time because we weren’t the better team on the pitch and, makes no bones about it, Plymouth were the more aggressive team and caused us problems but for them the third goal was a hammer blow and they definitely didn’t deserve that on the day. That’s football, though, the lads had to dig in today, which they did, show a lot of character after a tough game on Wednesday and it was great to come down here and go back with the three points.”
Let’s take a look at some talking points arising from the game:
Latics showed physicality
Being unable to impose their customary midfield control, Latics had to fight for possession and to keep Plymouth out of the danger areas. The way they did this did not go down too well with the Home Park crowd, who were unhappy with their physical approach. However, the home team certainly fuelled the crowd’s anger by going down on occasions as if poleaxed, followed by teammates pressurising the referee. It was a difficult game for the official, but although he booked four Latics players to Plymouth’s none, it could have been much worse if he had buckled to the roaring of the crowd.
Latics had that extra quality
Although this was by no means a top performance from Latics, there can be no doubting the team’s willingness to work hard to get a result. But added to that were flashes of real quality that were to prove the difference between the two teams.
Nick Powell had a good game and his pass using the outside of his foot for Grigg’s goal was a pleasure to behold. He also had a hand in the second, winning a tackle around the half way line to pass inside for Max Power who ran forward to put in a slide-rule pass for Gavin Massey to neatly score.
Power is becoming a better player under Cook. Too often in the past he has looked for sideways or backwards passes, but now his play has more emphasis on going forward and he has the technique to thread through quality passes. Moreover, his crossing, from open play and set pieces, has been a joy to behold in recent weeks.
Graham Carey – worth considering
Playmaker, Graham Carey, has been inspirational in Plymouth’s rise up the table. On Saturday he caused problems for the right side of the Latics defence, with his close control and ability to dribble past the opposition. Fortunately for Latics he was moved to the rother flank in the second half where he was less effective, although he was still able to whip in some quality balls with his cultured left foot.
Carey is a 28 year old Irishman who spent four years in Scotland with St Mirren and Ross County before joining Plymouth in 2015, where he has scored 32 goals in 110 appearances. Carey’s best position is in the Nick Powell role, behind the centre forward, but he is often played out wide. Saturday’s goal put him on a total of 11 for the season, the same as Nick Powell.
Paul Cook recognised Carey’s performance by saying: “Credit to Graham Carey, though, he is an excellent player, he is a constant threat and he will cause problems.”
Would Cook consider an approach for the player in the transfer market?
Reverting to three central defenders
Alex Bruce was brought on for Nick Powell after 78 minutes, Cook once again opting for a back line of three central defenders plus wing backs. It could be argued that it was primarily a defensive tactic, but the presence of a third central defender gives the full backs more scope to attack, as we saw in the days of Roberto Martinez.
The manager has been criticised in the past for a lack of tactical flexibility, but this is a very viable option that he has decided to employ. Bruce might lack the pace of his younger days, but in the centre of a back line of three central defenders, he has the kind of positional sense and reading of the game that can make him a major asset.
In summer Erik Samuelson, Chief Executive of AFC Wimbledon, wrote to fans asking them to donate money to boost the wage bill and help keep their club in League 1. Around the same time Wigan Athletic were courting Chinese investors interested in taking over the club. With an injection of serious cash maybe Latics could even get back to the Premier League.
The match highlighted the difference between the wage bills of the two sides. The Dons, a club owned by supporters, rose six tiers in the English football pyramid to reach League 1 last season. To finish in mid-table was an accomplishment, given their resources. But yesterday’s defeat saw them plummet to 23rd place, with Wigan Athletic continuing to head the table. Understandably there was a big gulf between the standard of football the teams played, the home team’s long ball approach so often finding the heads of Wigan’s tall central defenders.
The first half saw Latics play their usual brand of football, which could be termed “stylish” for League 1. They created chances, but could not put them away, as the home team played with spirit, employing their uncomplicated brand of football. Moreover, on a tight pitch, with the crowd so close to the play, it was by no means easy for the away side.
The beginning of the second half saw an increase in tempo, with three Wimbledon players and Nick Powell being booked within the first ten minutes. It was becoming very competitive, but Latics were to go ahead in the 57th minute through Michael Jacobs. The home team continued to play with spirit but were rocked on 69 minutes when Harry Forrester was sent off after receiving his second yellow card. Latics went on to dominate with Nick Powell and Max Power scoring with blistering drives and Ivan Toney getting another in the closing minutes.
In the end, the 4-0 scoreline flattered Wigan, but they were the better team throughout. Any chance that Wimbledon had of winning the game had disappeared with Forrester’s dismissal.
Let’s take a look at some talking points:
Max Power has never been a prolific scorer. Prior to joining Latics he scored 12 goals in 99 starts and 10 substitute appearances in league football for Tranmere. But in the 2015-16 season he scored 6 for Gary Caldwell’s League 1 title winning side, in addition to coming close to being voted “Player of the Season”. Until yesterday his last goal had been scored at Swindon in March 2016. After a wait of 72 games it was no wonder he celebrated his goal. He has now scored 7 goals in 91 league starts and 10 substitute appearances for Latics.
Power has played in a variety of positions over the past three seasons, but largely as a central midfielder. This season he has not been able to command a regular place in that position due to the form of Lee Evans and Sam Morsy. Evans has a career record of 11 league goals in 109 appearances and 26 appearances off the bench. Morsy has scored 15 goals in the league from 200 starts and 34 substitute appearances.
Massey closer to good form
Although only Gavin Massey is only 25 years old he has a career record of 198 starts in the lower two tiers of the EFL. Last season he made 36 league appearances for Leyton Orient, scoring 8 goals for a club which was to suffer relegation from the EFL. Massey is by no means a dynamic winger, but has genuine pace and a real work ethic on the pitch. Earlier in the season he was an essential cog in Paul Cook’s system of play. Over recent weeks his form had waned, and he lost his place to Ryan Colclough. With Colclough unavailable yesterday, Massey came back into the starting lineup, coming close to a goal in the early stages and setting up the first one for Michael Jacobs.
Massey and Colclough have different attributes. Colclough has a superior career record as a goalscorer, but has lacked consistency and has never commanded a regular place at Wigan since Caldwell signed him from Crewe in January 2016. He remains a work in progress, but he is still only 22.
There is a tendency among a minority of Latics supporters to jeer their own players. Gavin Massey does not deserve such treatment. He is a committed professional, a team player and has been an integral part of Wigan’s fine start to the season. Moreover, with more experience in a team that is high flying at the top of the division, he can continue to develop his game.
In Massey and Colclough, Cook has good options for the right wing position. It would not be a surprise if he were to seek someone in the transfer window to challenge Michael Jacobs for his place on the other wing.
The outstanding Burn
Yesterday’s game was meat and drink for Dan Burn and he must have loved it. I lost count of the number of long balls that he headed away. Given the tendency of players in League 1 to launch long balls a player with Burn’s aerial ability is of paramount importance to Wigan’s promotion push. But Burn has been much more than just a heading machine. His positional play and tackling has been excellent. Burn keeps it simple: when under pressure he clears his lines, with no ceremony.
When Burn first arrived at the club he struggled to cope with Caldwell’s insistence of playing out from the back. Moreover, his more uncomfortable moments this season have been when he has been challenged by smaller, speedy forwards. But Burn showed last year that he is good enough to be a successful central defender in the Championship division, but could he eventually make the transition to the Premier League?
For the moment, Dan Burn is probably the key player in Cook’s lineup. Is there another central defender in the division who can match him?
The chasing pack
There are those who argue that League 1 is weaker this season than it was a couple of seasons ago when Latics were there. Such an argument is purely academic and is hard to substantiate. What we can see at this stage is that, despite their outstanding record in the season so far, Latics are being pursued by a pack of teams. A comparison with the table around this time of year two years ago shows that the pack of this season is overperforming:
However, in 2015-16 three of the top six were to fall out of contention for promotion by time the playoffs started in May 2016.
Will the same happen this season?
AFC Wimbledon’s future
Although the football played by clubs bearing the name of Wimbledon has not always been aesthetically pleasing, one can only admire the huge achievements of the current club. Formed in 2002 their ascent to League 1 has been stunning, particularly given their lack of financial clout. Their projected move to Plough Lane, near the home of their previous encarnation, is something special. In the era of “Moneyball Football” it is refreshing to see a club that is community run show such a sense of ambition. One can only wish them well in their efforts.
Result: AFC Fylde 1 Wigan Athletic 1
A goal up at half time and having totally dominated the match up to that point, who would have thought that Latics would come away with just a draw? Sloppy defence in the 70th minute led to Nathan Byrne making a reckless tackle, with the National League’s leading scorer, Danny Rowe, slotting home the resulting penalty.
After simply “parking the bus” up to that point, Fylde brought on another striker in Matt Blinkhorn in the 62nd minute. It showed at least some ambition on the home team’s part. But even after Fylde equalised Wigan continued to dominate possession. But the home team’s defence held firm.
We thought we would trawl the social media to get some fan views on the match. Our thanks go to the Cockney Latic Forum, the Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum, the Boulevard of Broken Dreams on Facebook and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen. Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified blow:
Stuart Alker @stuartalker tweeted:
Tonight was one very poor night in what will ultimately be a successful season. Don’t dwell on it. Congratulate the opposition. Move on.
Dragnet on Latics Speyk stated:
Give Fylde some credit, they did not play kick and rush, passed the ball well, closed us down so that we had to pass side wards and backwards, and for ten minutes during which we conceded the penalty had us on the back foot. The playing surface for this time of the year was a credit to them, and we would be foolish to take them too lightly in the replay. The more I look at max he reminds me of Ray Wilkens who was a master of the sideways and back pass, I am sure he must be playing to orders.
Chris Roughley @WAFC_CHRIS1 tweeted:
Power has one average game after 4 MoM performances and now must be sold to Basingstoke. Get a grip.
Nottinghamlatic on Latics Speyk responded:
Draggers – to be fair, Power did try a few forward passes, but only one actually came off. He looked very ordinary on a stage where he could and should have starred.
Filmoss on the Cockney Latic Forum said:
From an armchair point of view I thought it was awful ! They were there for the taking, especially in the first half and we were woeful with the final piece of the proverbial jigsaw!
Ihaventaclue on Latics Speyk commented:
Does anyone know what to do when the opposition fill the box and ‘park-the-bus’ with all its passengers, conductor and driver. It’s kinda what happened last night, and happens often in the league games. Away teams at the DW should arrive in a minibus, for starters.
Runcornfan1978 on the Cockney Latic Forum said:
… We are a decent side & are where we are in the league on deserved merit. Last night was a classic cup tie where the minnows, whilst totally outclassed by higher league opposition, performed as a unit & fully deserved their draw. Admittedly! I believe we treated the game as a training match & should have been more ruthless. I get the impression that after we scored, we took the foot off the peddle & thought “game-over.” Plus, fylde did come at us more in the 2nd half.
I agree, Cook does need a word with them. And, im also sorry for you & your boys matchday experience, which should have been (regardless of the result) a thoroughly enjoyable evening out.
LaticSloth @LaticsSloth tweeted:
Official: any fan who “BOO”s their own player as he comes on as a sub, and before he’s even had a chance to kick a ball….IS A COMPLETE W–KER!!!
Richard Ricardo on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams stated:
Power was fine; Jacobs was a dynamo; Burn was a bit off the boil and should have weighted his pass to Powell a bit better, Byrne was trying hard, Dunkley held the defence together; James is playing like Jimmy Ryan used to for Man U about 40 years ago, but most of all it is important to give the underdog false hope. It’ll be a walkover at the DW. We are still in ‘THE cup’ which already has our name on it, which is a lot more that some will be tomorrow.
Horc on the Cockney Latic Forum said:
I thought Burn was great, if only he had shown a bit more composure near the end when, after a great run he over hit his pass to put Powell clean through.
PS Max Power should be in for shooting practice tomorrow with Evans and Michael Jacobs needs to be bought a new sat nav as he didn’t show up tonight.
We should have won by three or four goals on the balance of play and chances created, but at the end of the day we have another match to go to, so its not all doom and gloom.
Moonay on Latics Speyk gave the view that:
Cook has really got to sharpen up his shooting, and improve his positional sense when trying to get on the end of crosses.
It was my first visit to the New York Stadium and it proved to be an enjoyable one as a high-energy display by Wigan Athletic saw them overcome the home team. The ground was built in New York Island, so called because of a foundry there that used to export iron and steel to “The Big Apple”. Although it its capacity is only 12,021 it is a pleasant venue for football.
In talking to Latics supporters before the game, Dan Burn’s absence through suspension was high on the agenda. Rotherham had the division’s leading scorer in the 6 ft 5 in centre forward Kieffer Moore. Replacing Burn in the line-up was the 5 ft 11 in Alex Bruce. Moore’s aerial presence was surely going to be a threat, but the general consensus was that Wigan would still win.
So, it turned out to be. Latics had gone into the game with a determined approach and it was no surprise when they were rewarded with goal after 14 minutes. Will Grigg does not score many headers, but he took this one well, evading his marker from Lee Evans’ free kick to glance the ball home. A couple of minutes later Moore rose unchallenged and flicked a header into the path of the skilful David Ball who took his chance with clinical precision. Latics got back ahead in the 28th minute through Alex Bruce’s invention. A clash between Moore and Dunkley saw both leave the field, with the former coming straight back, but Dunkley going off for some time for repairs. Lee Evans filled in at centre back until the big centre back returned. Moore’s physical approach continued to upset Latics, his flailing arms drawing complaints towards the referee. It had become a physical contest, with an element of needle.
Wigan continued in their dynamic, attacking vein as the second half unfurled. Rotherham’s tactics were based on the long ball approach. However, Dunkley’s challenge left Moore writhing in apparent agony, with the home crowd baying for a red card. Dunkley survived it, getting a yellow, but Moore was to prove a diminished force. On the hour mark Rotherham centre back Michael Ihiekwe was dispossessed by Grigg, who looked certain to score, but home keeper Marek Rodak did well to push the ball away, but not so well when Michael Jacobs’ shot passed by him a couple of seconds later.
In the end it was a result well earned by Latics. They had played the better football throughout.
Let’s take a look at some talking points:
A different blend in midfield
Paul Cook continued with his experiment of playing Max Power in place of Nick Powell. It worked well. Power is by no means a direct replacement for Powell, but he linked up really well with Lee Evans and Sam Morsy, the trio dominating the centre of midfield. Since his return to the starting line-up, Power has demonstrated why he was such a key player in Gary Caldwell’s title winning team in 2015-16.
A mixed day for Dunkley
Chey Dunkley remains a rough diamond, needing a little more polish to become a top player. However, he has shown that he can learn from his experiences. He was the obvious choice to keep a close eye on Kieffer Moore. But nobody challenged Moore when he flicked the header that led to David Ball’s goal.
Dunkley is nothing, if not resilient. He reappeared after at least ten minutes off the pitch due to the injury he had picked up in an aerial challenge with Moore. From then on he seemed determined to win his battle with the big man. Moreover, he looked threatening on attack, coming close to scoring.
A weaker referee might have sent Dunkley off for his second half challenge on Moore, but it was not a red card offence. Dunkley had a fine second half.
A positive return for Bruce
Alex Bruce is 33 and is still playing despite an Achilles injury that threatened his career. Although he does not have the pace he used to have, his reading of the game makes him a very useful performer at League 1 level. If Leonel Messi had scored a goal like the one of Bruce it would have made the headlines. Bruce showed great touch and imagination with his goal, not something expected from a centre back. He was also a solid presence in defence.
Despite his extensive experience in higher divisions, Bruce has had to bide his time. He stood in capably when Chey Dunkley was suspended in September, but had not appeared in a league game since.
It is an indication of the strength of Wigan’s squad that players of Bruce’s quality can step in when injuries and suspensions come into play.
Stand up if you love Latics
There is certainly a contrast between the vocal support Latics receive home and away. At the DW the crowd can often be muted, sometimes outshouted by opposition fans. However, away from home the reverse is true.
As a phenomenon it is not peculiar to Wigan Athletic. Other clubs have similar outcomes. But the noise that the visiting support made at the New York Stadium on Saturday surely spurred their team on.
It makes one wonder if the players actually prefer playing away where their support seems so much more vocal than at the DW.
As an away supporter one is confined to one end of a stadium, where it is difficult to follow the play at the other extreme. But it is heartening to be surrounded by like-minded people whose passion for the club is commendable.
What can be frustrating for the more senior supporters is having to stand in an all seater stadium. “Stand up if you love Wigan/Latics” is a rousing chant, but….
The New York Stadium is not in a scenic area, but it has a pleasant atmosphere. Before kick-off the club was selling food and drink from within the stadium, but to fans who were still outside. There was not a hint of trouble.
The Amex Stadium in Brighton is another which offers something different. Home supporters can enjoy food and drink after the game in their main stand and people can stay for an hour or two after the game chewing the cud.
Food for thought maybe?