Fan Views – Part 4 – Stephen Crainey and Markus Holgersson

Given that we now have a wider readership than in our earlier days we plan to occasionally republish articles from our archives, that many may not have seen. We ask our long-established readers will bear with us on this. We will continue to put out our stream of current articles.

Our site stats have shown that our readership has been particularly interested in perspectives of Latics players from fans of their previous clubs. Thanks to contributions made by bloggers on the fan sites of those clubs for these articles from our archives.

Click here for our previous fan views on Roger Espinoza and James McClean.

Click here for our previous fan views on Martyn Waghorn and Thomas Rogne.

Click here for our previous fan views on Uwe Rösler and Marc-Antoine Fortune.

 A Blackpool fan’s view of Stephen Crainey

Ex-Blackpool player Stephen Crainey thinks the game is massive for both clubs.



Written by: Dan Bennett of Vital Blackpool

Published: July 15, 2013



Although not one of the most exciting footballers to admire, Stephen Crainey certainly is one thing — consistent.

In total he has made 295 club appearances and had played for four different clubs before joining Wigan. He started his career at Celtic where he was never really first choice left back, and made 58 appearances over five years at Celtic Park before moving on to Southampton.

Crainey never truly found his feet at Southampton and only made 5 appearances for the club before a swift transfer move to Leeds United. It’s fair to say he did well at Leeds, his solid performances at left back won him many fans and in the 2005-2006 season made a total of 30 appearances for the club. This was the season Crainey had made the most appearances for any of his clubs until that point. 

However this was soon set to change as Crainey made his move to Blackpool, a club where his talents were truly appreciated. His ability never looked in doubt, and in the first season he spent with the club he made 43 appearances. His excellent work ethic and fantastic defensive play pleased many Tangerine fans and he soon became a favourite.

Crainey was part of the famous team that secured promotion to the Premier League with Blackpool, and featured many times the following year in the top division. Blackpool’s defence often came under scrutiny whilst Ian Holloway was manager of the club, and although Crainey was not the ‘perfect defender’ he rarely performed badly in a Pool shirt.

He’s certainly a player that Blackpool fans wanted to see back at the club next season; he was offered a fresh deal at the club but took the opportunity to move on. If he features frequently for Wigan next season, he’ll be a player that will always give his all in every game he plays. Even if he’s used as a squad man, Crainey’s performances are still likely to impress Latics fans.

He is certainly the solid and decent championship standard player that many of the clubs in this league desire. Luring Crainey to the club away from other potential suitors was certainly a great bit of business on behalf of Wigan Athletic. Latics fans will surely hope his championship experience can help you bounce back first time of asking.

A New York Red Bull fan’s view of Markus Holgerrson




Written by:Dan Ryazansky of, the  website for the MetroStars (now Red Bulls) of Major League Soccer since 2001.

Date: February 5, 2014.




It’s hard to think of a player whose lot with Red Bulls supporters changed as much as Markus Holgersson’s. He arrived in 2012 at the tail end of the team’s Scandinavian invasion: a group of players acquired by Norwegian Sporting Director Erik Soler and Swedish manager Hans Backe. A rather tepid show in preseason led to many question Holgersson’s inclusion in the starting lineup.

Yet there he was, from the get-go, starting in central defense and quickly becoming a liability. Too slow. Too awkward. Not able to keep up with MLS’s physical attackers. And — worst of all — poor clearances and defensive lapses that led to scoring opportunities and, alas, goals.

And then, with Thierry Henry absent due to injury, Backe gave Holgersson the captain’s armband. Was it a case of Swedish nepotism, the supporters thought?

But something happened to Holgersson. Thrust with new responsibility, the much-maligned defender started to improve. His ability to read the game trumped his slowness of feet. He became excellent in one-on-one situations. The mistakes started to disappear as well. Even the goalscoring came, as he became a threat on set pieces.

Then, the offseason came. With Soler and Backe fired, many thought that Holgersson would be gone as well. Not so; new head coach Mike Petke kept him on, but the Swede did manage to lose his starting job in preseason. He won it back after the first two matches and didn’t relinquish it afterwards, playing almost every minute the rest of the way. By the end of the season, he was the team’s most consistent defender. When called upon, he even played some at right back.

Unfortunately, Holgersson’s high salary (by MLS standards) made it very hard for the team to keep him. When his departure was announced, the same supporters that called for his head expressed concerns over his departure.

So, in summary: a solid central defender who should be able to hold his own on the Championship level. Might have difficulties adjusting early, but will be able to adjust. Good at reading the game. Can start the attack from the back. Can play right back if needed, but not an efficient crosser of the ball. Thrives when given responsibility. Passionate. Will be missed.

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Markus Holgerrson to sign for Latics


It is reported from reliable sources that Wigan Athletic are in the process of signing Swedish defender, Markus Holgerrson.

The highly-rated Holgersson is 28 years old, 6’2” tall and can play at right back or in the centre of defence. He comes from New York Red Bulls as a free agent, having allowed his contract to run down. He has one international cap for Sweden, having played against Qatar in January 2012.

Holgerrson started his career in 2005 with Swedish second division side Ängelholm, from a small town located on the south west coast. He played 89 matches for them, scoring six goals in his four seasons there.

He moved to the neighbouring town Helsingborg in 2009, joining first division side Helsingborgs IF. He played 80 matches and scored five goals during his three year stay there. In 2011 he was part of a Helsingborgs team that became the first Swedish club to gain the treble, winning the Swedish League, Cup and Supercup.

Holgerrson left Helsingborgs in January 2012, after allowing his contract to expire, joining the New York Red Bulls of the MLS. At the time of his signing coach Hans Backe was quoted as saying that “We need a strong physical back on our team.”

Holgerrson was to prove to be just that. He was named the Red Bulls defender of the year in his first season, making 31 starts, more than any other defender at the club. In 2013 he was to make 32 appearances in a successful season when the Red Bulls won the Eastern Conference before going out to Houston Dynamo in the quarter finals of the play-offs.

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