Wigan Athletic – many questions, but no answers

Back in February I wrote on the bizarre decisions being taken by Wigan Athletic Football Club, asking was it “Strategy or Catastrophe?”

Well the answer was made available before the final game of the season was played. The FA Cup winners from two seasons ago were relegated to League One.


Once again giving up after 45 minutes. Collapsing 3-0 to a Brentford team who are on the verge of Premiership admission via the Championship playoffs. “Latics” fans are not happy.

Some of the emails I’ve received from many disgruntled fans are asking how this lack of leadership on and off the field has been allowed to happen?

One season ticket holder comments:

Never in my adult years of following The Latics from non league status to Premier League have I witnessed a squad of players so disinterested in playing for the club.

Another fan said:

How have two professional managers (Rosler and Mackay) been unable to fix the ongoing team problems over a full season, like scoring goals? You would assume they work everyday on training routines. But come match day nothing changes. Can someone explain this to me?

Some asked questions from a business perspective:

They say football isn’t a sport any longer, it’s a business. OK, so why wasn’t my club run like a business? Dave Whelan is defined as a shrewd, knowledgeable man of business. Like the players did he just give up this season?

Understandably some comments have been rants of frustration. Comments not for this polite publication. But one, as he calls himself, an elderly fan sent me a photograph and commented on behalf of his late father.

The photograph shows his father looking out onto Wigan Athletic’s old ground, Springfield Park from new terraces he was helping build, circa late 1960s.

My father passed away two years before we (Wigan Athletic) won promotion to the Premier League season 2004/05. Oh how I wished he could have been there on that momentous day.


He followed them from the days they played against Wigan Rovers (I still have the programme). He saw Jackie Milburn play for Newcastle United at Springfield Park in the FA Cup 3rd round 1954, Wigan having secured a draw at St.James Park.


He was there with his beloved team home and away from the Cheshire League, Northern Premier League, Conference, Football league status in 1978, gradually moving with them up the divisions. It was only illness which finally defeated his ability to attend the games.


Just as I wanted him to see his teams ascendency to the Premier League, I’m grateful he wasn’t around to witness this season’s embarrassment.

Another fan summed up what many thought at the time:

Winning the FA Cup was the worst event in the history of Wigan Athletic. Staff and players seemed to think they were now with a big time club. The work ethic stopped and hasn’t returned since.

From trying outwit the talents of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, next season it will be Fleetwood, Oldham and Bury. At least the fans won’t have far to travel.

Wigan’s management team trusted with righting the wrongs, will comprise of 23-year-old Chairman David Sharpe (grandson out outgoing Chairman Dave Whelan) and 32-year-old Gary Caldwell, ex-club captain.

They will become the youngest Chairman / Manager pairing throughout the Football League.

The general fan consensus seems to be, none of these appointments would be a problem if they were planned, thought through, and explained. Instead it looks like another, “let’s give it a try” option.

Caldwell has openly stated many of the current squad won’t be with the club next season. Like those political documents which become available to the public after years hidden away, the truth being requested by Wigan Athletic fans may take years to emerge.

The Author

Owen Peters

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