When will Latics’ luck change? Wigan Athletic 2 Gillingham 3


Kal Naismith pulled a goal back

Crisis club Wigan Athletic are in desperate need of a fillip after they slipped to a narrow 3-2 defeat at home to Gillingham.

John Sheridan’s team has been assembled quickly following a fire sale of their senior players but the new line-up should have got at least a point from this League One fixture after controlling much of the game.

Joe Garner gave Latics an early lead with a first time finish following good work by Viv Solomon-Otabor but the Gills hit back almost immediately through Jordan Graham.

Eight minutes later they added a second as Latics defence stood off and the former Aston Villa youth midfielder beat Jamie Jones from a tight angle.

Trae Coyle added a third for the visitors after the break as Latics’ defence was all at sea but the hosts rallied and pulled a goal back from Kal Naismith following a corner, and they might have had a penalty in added time when Christian Maghoma appeared to handle in the box.

Latics made four changes to the team defeated by Ipswich Town with Tom James and Nathan Cameron making their debuts in defence alongside the returning Danny Fox. There was also a first start and home debut for Alex Perry in midfield.

The hosts started brightly and could have been ahead after only six minutes when Lee Evans found himself free in the centre of the box but his hesitation allowed a Gills defender to block his effort on goal.

Solomon-Otabor then had a glorious opportunity to give Latics the lead but he mis-kicked when free inside the six yard box with the goal at his mercy.

Solomon-Otabor had a big say in Latics’ first goal however, as he used his pace and skill to evade his marker and cross for Garner to finish with a first-time volley past Jack Bonham.

As is often the case, Latics switched off after taking the lead and immediately conceded an equaliser.

They failed to clear several high balls and Graham was allowed to finish with ease from inside the box.

It was not long before the Gills went ahead as Latics’ defence once again switched off as Graham easily turned Cameron and fired low past Jones from a tight angle.

Latics were enjoying plenty of possession but their build-up play was too slow allowing the Gills to get back into formation and defend easily.

The hosts new defensive line-up was hesitant throughout and it was to be their downfall as the visitors increased their lead on 62 minutes. Coyle, was allowed far too much time and space on the edge of the area, before curling his shot into the right corner.

It looked like the game was now over but almost immediately from the kick off Latics reduced the arrears as Naismith poked the ball home from Gary Roberts’ corner kick.

As the minutes ticked down Latics were in almost complete control of possession as the Gills began to sit deeper and defend. Steve Evans usual time-wasting tactics were evident as the Gills players took every opportunity to slow the game down and not allow Latics to build any momentum.

In added time the hosts might have been given a lifeline when substitute Olly Crankshaw’s cross was headed against Maghoma’s arm by Garner, but referee Tom Nield waved away Latics’ appeals and their bad luck both on and off the field continues.

Posted in Joe Garner, Jordan Graham, Kal Naismith, League One, Trae Coyle, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brave effort by Latics but inexperience proves costly – Ipswich Town 2 Wigan Athletic 0

Joe Garner

Joe Garner hit the crossbar

Following administration and a mass exodus of players, Wigan Athletic fielded a hastily assembled team of youth players, short-term contracts and a few experienced professionals against Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

The Tractor Boys ran out 2-0 winners but Latics can be pleased with their efforts in very difficult circumstances.

Teddy Bishop gave the hosts the lead with a header on 11 minutes after a mistake by Emeka Obi and substitute Gwion Edwards sealed the points with a close range effort with 10 minutes remaining.

Joe Garner hit the crossbar for Latics with a spectacular overhead kick but the hosts later spurned several good opportunities with Jamie Jones making some excellent saves.

The big defender Obi had an unfortunate debut missing two headed opportunities in the first half and being caught out of position for the second Ipswich goal.

New manager John Sheridan was only able to name one player Kal Naismith, from the starting eleven against Fulham in the final Championship game of last season.

Short-term contracts Dan Gardner and Viv Solomon-Otabor made their league debuts alongside Academy graduates Chris Merrie, Emeka Obi and Adam Long. Latics’ bench was made up entirely of players from the club’s Academy teams.

Latics made a positive start and might have taken an early lead when Obi came up for an early corner but his free header went wide of the left post.

Ipswich went ahead on 11 minutes when the unfortunate Obi deflected Freddie Sears’ cross from the left into the path of Bishop who headed past keeper Jamie Jones.

Three minutes later Obi had another great chance to score from Gardner’s cross but his header cleared the crossbar.

Jones then denied Bishop at the other end with a superb fingertip save onto the post to keep the score at 1-0.

Garner nearly drew Latics level on 40 minutes with a spectacular overhead kick but unfortunately for the visitors it crashed against the crossbar.

Jones was again forced into action just before the interval, producing an excellent block with his body at his near post to deny Freddie Sears.

1-0 to Ipswich at half time but Latics were unlucky not to be at least level.

Both teams made a change at the break, with midfielder Alex Perry making his debut for Latics in place of Gardner, whilst the Tractor Boys introduced James Norwood for Aaron Drinan.

Substitute Perry might have made it a dream debut early in the half, chesting the ball down before volleying agonisingly just over the crossbar.

Latics were starting to assert their passing game now with Solomon-Otabor linking up well with Tom Pearce down the left and resulting in Pearce’s low cross forcing a save from Tomas Holy.

But with 10 minutes remaining Ipswich effectively sealed the points when substitute Edwards poked the ball home from close range after right back Obi had been caught out of position.

With the clock ticking down Latics handed a seventh league debut, as winger Olly Crankshaw replaced Merrie.

With the final whistle imminent, keeper Jones pulled off another outstanding save to deny Edwards a second goal, superbly turning the ball round the left post.

Despite the defeat it had been a creditable performance by Latics with many pleasing aspects to their play. The style of football was generally good but some of the young players inexperience and a couple of defensive mistakes had let them down.

The challenge for new manager Sheridan will be whether he is allowed to boost the wafer-thin squad with a few experienced players so that the club can stabilise in League One.

However, off-the-field matters continue to dominate and the main priority must be to find new owners as quickly as possible, if the club is to come out of administration and move forward.

Posted in Gwion Edwards, Ipswich Town, John Sheridan, Teddy Bishop, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Save Our Club – Wigan Athletic are on the brink of disaster

Wigan Athletic are on the brink of going out of existence unless the supporters can raise £500,000 by Monday 31st August.

The Save Our Club appeal was launched today by the Supporters club and has an ambitious target of £500,000 to be raised in only five days.

Supporters can invest in the club with four levels of support:

Tier 1 £250 – £499 • Receive annual financial statements • Receive a quarterly report on club matters • Members’ names will be displayed in the stadium and on a dedicated page on the club website.

Tier 2 £500 – £999 All the rewards from Tier 1 plus: • Consultation on selected non-football commercial club decisions, for example kit choices, ticket pricing etc • Enjoy priority access to selected future club events • Receive an invitation to the Annual Supporters Club Conference.

Tier 3 £1k + All the rewards from Tiers 1 and 2 plus: • Access a training ground tour each season • Take your place on an official ‘team photo’ • Receive exclusive ‘bring friends’ tickets each season • Be part of a monthly briefing with the manager.

Tier 4 Business – We believe the support of our local business community will play a crucial role in the success of our campaign and in the future of our football club. As such, packages of rewards are available for businesses who are able to support our campaign with donations of larger value. To discuss your level of contribution and the rewards available please contact the Chair Caroline Molyneux by email: chairman@wiganathleticsupportersclub.co.uk

Latics were put into administration by the Next Leader Fund on July 1st and the 12-point EFL penalty condemned them to relegation to League One.

The administrators Begbies Traynor have overseen a firesale of Latics’ players and assets with the Euxton Training Ground the latest to be sold off.

The administrators have set a deadline of August 31st for new buyers to come forward, but with many of their best players and key assets sold off, the club isn’t attracting many buyers.

With no firm bids on the table, the administrators are running out of time with the new season about to commence.

The supporters are now in a race to raise the funds so that the club can start the season and avoid liquidation.

Full details of the Crowdfunder campaign and how to contribute can be found here:


Posted in English Football League, League One, Save Our Club, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Refereeing mistake costs Wigan Athletic their Championship status – Wigan Athletic 1 Fulham 1

Wigan Athletic team

Latics were denied the victory they deserved against Fulham and which would have kept them in the Championship by a refereeing mistake.

Latics were leading 1-0 thanks to Kieffer Moore’s headed goal on 32 minutes when referee John Brooks mistakenly awarded Fulham a free kick on the edge of the area on 48 minutes after Joe Williams challenged Joe Bryan for the ball.

Neeskens Kabano drew the promotion-chasing visitors level from the resulting free kick. Raw justice for Latics who had almost overcome the farcical 12 point deduction imposed by the EFL.

Both teams had chances in the second half but it was to be referee Brooks’ error which had ultimately condemned Latics to relegation rather than the visitors exertions.

The other teams in the relegation struggle had mixed fortunes with Luton Town defeating Blackburn Rovers 3-2 and Charlton Athletic losing 4-0 at Leeds. Hull City lost 3-0 to Cardiff City but Barnsley won 2-1 at Brentford to stay up. Overall the results mean that Latics are relegated alongside Hull and Charlton unless their appeal is successful.

Paul Cook named an unchanged team for the season defining fixture.

Latics started slowly and Fulham’s leading goalscorer Aleksandar Mitrovic had a glorious chance after only 90 seconds but he blazed over the crossbar from 12 yards out.

David Marshall then had to make a good save on 14 minutes from a powerful Kabano drive.

The hosts gradually asserted themselves with Kal Naismith forcing a save from Marek Rodak low down to his right.

Jamal Lowe had an opportunity on 24 minutes when he broke clear but instead of going for goal he pulled the ball back and the danger was cleared. Samy Morsy then tried his luck from distance but his strike swerved wide of the target.

On 27 minutes Latics thought they had gone ahead when Moore tapped home after Naismith’s close range effort was saved but the linesman ruled it out for offside.

But on 32 minutes the hosts were deservedly ahead as Nathan Byrne burst forward down the right and clipped a superb cross to the back post for Moore to head past Rodak.

1-0 to Latics at the interval but early in the second half the hosts were undone by a terrible refereeing mistake.

Williams won the ball cleanly on the edge of the area but referee Brooks awarded a free kick and bizarrely gave Williams a yellow card.

Kabano stepped up and expertly curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner. It had been a horrendous decision by the referee and it was to prove so crucial in their ultimate relegation to League One.

Despite the setback Latics continued to press forward and when Leon Balogun surged forward and got on the end of a great cross by Byrne they almost went ahead again but Rodak produced an excellent save diving low down to his right.

Robinson then surged forward to set up Kieran Dowell down the left hand side but the Everton loanees strike only found the side netting.

Naismith drilled wide from the edge of the area on 77 minutes before Williams fired narrowly wide on 79  minutes. At the other end the visitors had a chance on 81 minutes when Bryan got forward but his effort from distance didn’t trouble Marshall.

Cook introduced Joe Gelhardt for Dowell on 83 minutes and the young striker almost immediately made an impact breaking forward only for Michael Hector to haul him down with a cynical foul on the edge of the box.

On 87 minutes Naismith had a shot just over the crossbar before he had another strike well saved by Rodak soon after.

In added time Gelhardt forced another good save from Rodak but Latics just couldn’t find the winner that their performance had deserved.

A cruel end to the season after a monumental effort by Latics’ players. Their performances since lockdown have been exceptional and many have been during the administration crisis.

Cook and the players should be extremely proud of the character, determination and skill they have shown in adversity. They did not deserve this ending to the campaign.

Without the EFL’s 12 point deduction Latics would’ve finished comfortably in mid-table after a great second half to the season.

However, they now face relegation unless their appeal against the points deduction which is due to take place on 31 July is successful. If there is any justice in football the appeal will be successful but don’t hold your breath.

Posted in Championship, Fulham, John Brooks, Kieffer Moore, Neeskens Kabano, Neeskens Kebano, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Late equaliser puts Latics’ survival hopes in jeopardy – Charlton Athletic 2 Wigan Athletic 2

Jamal Lowe

Jamal Lowe gave Latics an early lead

A stoppage time equaliser by Charlton’s Macauley Bonne denied Wigan Athletic a vital win in their search for Championship survival.

Jamal Lowe had given Latics the lead after only nine minutes when he headed home at close range after Kieffer Moore’s header was only partially saved by Dillon Phillips.

But the Addicts responded quickly and they drew level when Alfie Doughty volleyed past David Marshall following Adam Matthews’ deep cross.

The visitors went back in front on 40 minutes when Antonee Robinson surged forward and played a lovely cross to the back post where Kieran Dowell finished with some style.

The hosts enjoyed greater possession in the second half but it looked as though the visitors had held out until Bonne grabbed the equaliser in the 92nd minute.

Latics survival prospects are now hanging by a thread with the EFL’s 12-point deduction and Luton’s 1-0 win at almost relegated Hull City.

Latics must now win their final game of the season against Fulham on Wednesday and hope that Luton or Charlton lose or draw.

Paul Cook unsurprisingly retained the same starting eleven from the 8-0 thrashing of Hull City on Tuesday night with Joe Garner returning to the bench after suspension.

Latics started brightly and Kal Naismith fired over the Addicts crossbar from 25-yards after only four minutes.

Five minutes later they were ahead as Naismith broke down the right hand side and chipped a superb cross to the back post for Moore whose header was only partially saved by Phillips and who knocked the ball into the path of Lowe to head home on the goal line.

But within two minutes the Addicks were level as Matthews’ deep cross was expertly volleyed into the Latics’ net by Doughty.

The hosts grew more into the game and they started to create chances, the best of these fell to Bonne who was one-on-one with Marshall but the Scotland international made an excellent save with his legs to deny the striker.

In response to Charlton’s dominance Cook changed his formation to match up with the hosts 5-3-2.

Referee Gavin Ward wasn’t doing Latics any favours as he let several of Charlton’s dangerous challenges go unpunished, in particular an elbow by Bonne on Marshall.

Just before the interval Latics restored their lead after great work by Robinson down the left hand side. The USA international bombed forward playing a one-two with Lowe before clipping a neat cross to the back post for Dowell to convert.

2-1 to Latics at the interval but with both teams desperate for the three points it would prove to be a tense second period.

Charlton manager Lee Bowyer made early substitutions with Johnny Williams and Albie Morgan replacing Forster-Caskey and Field as they went in search of an equaliser.

But it was Latics who threatened on 50 minutes when good interplay between Lowe and Robinson resulted in Lowe’s drive from close range going narrowly wide.

Chuks Aneke replaced Davidson on 54 minutes as the hosts upped their aerial threat.

Naby Saar then forced Marshall into another good save from a curled free kick before Latics went close at the other end when Samy Morsy’s strike from the edge of the box was fumbled by Phillips and Lowe couldn’t quite capitalise on the follow up.

Lee Evans replaced Dowell on 66 minutes and Moore had an effort saved by Philips on 68 minutes.

Charlton were enjoying more possession but Latics always looked dangerous on the break and Moore headed Evans’ cross over the bar on 85 minutes.

Lowe was replaced by Gary Roberts as the game entered six minutes of added time.

It looked as though the visitors had held out, but on 92 minutes Aneke won a crucial header and Bonne slotted the equaliser to put Latics’ survival hopes on a knife edge.

Championship Table courtesy of Whoscored.com


Posted in Alfie Doughty, Championship, Charlton Athletic, Jamal Lowe, Kieran Dowell, Macauley Bonne, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics blitz relegation rivals – Wigan Athletic 8 Hull City 0

Hat-trick hero Kieran Dowell

Wigan Athletic produced a record victory at the DW Stadium tonight with an 8-0 demolition of relegation rivals Hull City.

Latics were at their free-flowing best as they sought to overcome the EFL’s proposed 12 point penalty. The Tigers on the other hand were toothless and look like a team who have decided they will be dropping into League One.

The onslaught commenced from the kick off as the hosts surged forwards and went ahead after only one minute when Kieran Dowell superbly evaded two defenders before chipping the ball to the back post for Kal Naismith to head home.

Kieffer Moore added a second on 27 minutes after good work by Jamal Lowe before Dowell added the third on 32 minutes firing past George Long from the edge of the area.

Lowe scored the fourth at the near post and Moore produced a diving header for the fifth before Dowell added his second and Latics’ sixth. Joe Williams rounded off the first half rout with the seventh goal which was his first for the club.

The second half was a much less frenetic affair as Latics took their foot off the pedal but Dowell was able to complete his hat-trick with a great volleyed finish from Nathan Byrne’s cross.

Even with the proposed EFL 12 point deduction Latics are now above the Tigers because of their much superior goal difference.

Paul Cook made one change to the starting line up with Leon Balogun slotting into defence to replace the suspended Danny Fox.

Right from the kick off Latics drove forward with Williams forcing a full-length save from Long. From the resulting corner the hosts maintained the pressure and Dowell showed great skill to beat two defenders before chipping the ball to the back post for Naismith to head home at close range.

Naismith then curled an effort narrowly wide of the post before Lowe missed a glorious chance after Robinson had set him up with a surging run forward.

Lowe was the provider on 27 minutes when he set up Moore inside the six yard box and the big striker made it 2-0 at the near post.

Naismith nearly added a third soon afterwards after being set up by a slide rule pass from Dowell but the in-form utility player’s vicious 20-yard strike crashed against the post.

Dowell did make it 3-0 on 32 minutes with a powerful volley from the edge of the box. Lowe quickly added a fourth at the near post as Hull visibly crumbled under the constant barrage of Latics’ attacks.

Dowell made it six on 42 minutes with a low drive past the hapless Long.

Williams rounded off the first half blitz with a superb strike from 25 yards for his first goal for the club just before the half time interval.

A simply stunning first half display by Latics which will be remembered by the fans for years to come.

The second half was somewhat less eventful as the hosts were generally content to  maintain possession and made substitutions which slightly disrupted their momentum.

They were however able to score their eighth, which was Dowell’s hat-trick and it proved to be the best goal of the game.

The Everton loanee produced a first-time volley into the top right-hand corner of Long’s goal from Byrne’s cross.

Late on referee Tony Harrington bizarrely awarded Hull a penalty for an innocuous challenge by Byrne but then changed his mind to make matters worse for the demoralised visitors.

This had been a scintillating performance by Latics which will have given the players a huge confidence boost going into the final two games.

Despite the club going into administration and the break in the season due to Covid 19 Cook and the players have been magnificent. They’ve been on an amazing run of form with ten clean sheets in the last eleven games.

Even with the EFL’s proposed 12 point deduction it is looking as though they can escape the drop. If they pull this one off it will surely be the greatest of great escapes.

Championship Table

Posted in Championship, Hull City, Jamal Lowe, Joe Williams, Kieffer Moore, Kieran Dowell, Paul Cook, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics can still escape the drop despite setback at Oakwell – Barnsley 0 Wigan Athletic 0

David Marshall collected his ninth clean sheet in ten games

It was a nervous relegation encounter at Oakwell as Latics and Barnsley cancelled each other out in a dour 0-0 draw.

Despite losing defender Danny Fox to a red card on 70 minutes the ten men Latics defended well and held out for what could prove to be a vital point in their relegation battle

The Tykes best chance came on 60 minutes when Michael Sollbauer volleyed just wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.

Latics best opportunity came when Kal Naismith drove forward and Jordan Williams made a goal saving block inside the six yard box.

Neither team wanted a draw but Latics are still optimistic that they can escape the drop despite the EFL’s likely 12 point penalty.

Latics are now on 54 points (appeal pending the 12 point penalty) and Barnsley are bottom of the Championship table on 43 points with three games remaining.

Paul Cook named an unchanged team for the trip to South Yorkshire with Leon Balogun, Anthony Pilkington and Michael Jacobs injured and Joe Garner suspended.

The visitors started nervously as Barnsley threatened early on with Elliott Simoes firing dangerously across the six yard box in the first minute.

Marshall saved well from Cauley Woodrow on six minutes and he had to make an even better save on 13 minutes diving low down to his left to tip the ball around the post from Jacob Browne’s strike.

Latics’ first threat came on 30 minutes when Kieffer Moore rose to head Kieran Dowell’s corner into the bottom corner but Jack Walton got down well to save at his near post.

In a scrappy game Latics were struggling to cope with the Tykes formation and manager Cook decided to copy the hosts and go to a 3-5-2 formation on 40 minutes.

Just before the interval Dowell had a good opportunity to put the visitors ahead but his shot was well blocked by a Sollbauer challenge.

Early in the second half Jamal Lowe had another effort blocked on the edge of the area.

The best opportunity of the game fell to Sollbauer on 62 minutes when he was eight yards out and volleyed narrowly wide of Marshall’s post.

Latics were really up against it on 70 minutes when Fox was given a straight red card for a high challenge on Simoes.

The ten men battled valiantly and they might have snatched all three points when Naismith drove forwards played a one-two with Robinson before toe poking the ball towards goal only for Williams to save the day for Barnsley.

Moments later Naismith was involved at the other end denying Simoes with a superb block.

In added time Marshall came to Latics’ rescue with another top class save to deny Callum Styles and keep his ninth clean sheet in ten games.

Neither team could make the breakthrough that they so desperately sought but Latics will be the marginally happier given the two clubs remaining fixtures.

Latics’ supporters couldn’t fault the effort today but the quality just wasn’t there. Defensively they had been excellent but the strikers just weren’t firing.

It had been a scrappy game as the two teams desperate for survival had cancelled each other out. But at least the other results went Latics’ way and they are still capable of escaping the drop.

Championship Table courtesy of Whoscored.com
Posted in Barnsley, Championship, Danny Fox, David Marshall, Paul Cook, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics’ players magnificent in adversity – Wigan Athletic 1 Queens Park Rangers 0

Kieffer Moore

Kieffer Moore with a vital goal for Latics

In the midst of an administration crisis Latics’ players responded to Saturday’s defeat at Brentford with a totally committed and characterful victory over Queens Park Rangers at the DW Stadium.

Latics totally dominated the first half and should have been out of sight by half time if it was not for some profligate finishing and resolute Rangers defending.

After Jamal Lowe, Kal Naismith and Kieran Dowell had missed presentable chances they went ahead on 33 minutes when captain Samy Morsy drove forward before setting up Kieffer Moore who smashed the ball past Lumley for the only goal of the game.

Rangers enjoyed more possession in the second half and might have drawn level when Ilias Chair forced a good save from Scotland keeper David Marshall but Latics still had plenty of chances to increase their lead with Moore curling an effort just wide and Lowe forcing Lumley into another good save.

Latics move level with QPR on 53 points and eight points above third bottom Hull City but they have the EFL’s 12 point deduction hanging over them.

Paul Cook made one change from the team which lost at Brentford with Danny Fox replacing the injured Leon Balogun. Joe Garner was unavailable due to suspension and Anthony Pilkington and Michael Jacobs are both injured.

The hosts started very brightly with Lowe forcing Lumley to save with his legs and Naismith having a goal bound shot deflected for a corner inside the first four minutes.

Soon afterwards Moore’s whipped cross just evaded Lowe at the near post and Naismith coming in at the back post couldn’t make a proper contact. Latics really should’ve been ahead in those opening ten minutes.

Everton loanee Dowell showed great vision and skill by setting up Moore on 20 minutes but the big striker somehow managed not to finish from a very good position.

Bright Osayi-Samuel had a rare effort on target for Rangers on 22 minutes but it was comfortably collected by Marshall.

Latics pressure eventually paid dividends on 33 minutes when Morsy surged forward and played in Moore who lashed the ball past Lumley from inside the box.

Naismith nearly doubled the lead just before the interval but Lumley saved well diving low down to his left.

The hosts had been in almost total control throughout the first half but manager Cook would have been concerned that they had not turned their dominance into more goals.

Moore had another great chance early in the second half when he curled his shot just wide of the far post from a central position.

Soon afterwards the Wales international striker had another effort deflected over the crossbar.

The visitors were enjoying more possession in the second half and their best chance of the game came on 60 minutes when Chair forced Marshall into a crucial save.

But Latics had managed to keep QPR away from goal for most of the game and they claimed a vital three points in their quest for Championship survival.

Captain Morsy had once again led by example with an inspiring display in midfield but this was an excellent all around team effort.

In an extremely difficult week Cook’s men had been magnificent and if they can maintain this form they could still accumulate enough points to escape the drop, and despite the EFL’s harsh 12 point deduction.Championship Table

Championship Table courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Championship, Kieffer Moore, Paul Cook, QPR, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics must keep fighting despite difficult week – Brentford 3 Wigan Athletic 0

Paul Cook

Paul Cook said ‘I can guarantee to the supporters that we will not be lying down and just fading away’.

It’s been an incredibly difficult and emotional week for everyone associated with Wigan Athletic and things didn’t get better on the pitch as they were outplayed by an in-form Brentford at Griffin Park.

Said Benrahma scored a hat-trick for the hosts as Latics failed to re-create their recent good form against their free-flowing opponents.

It was difficult from the off for the visitors as they lost centre half Leon Balogun to injury after only five minutes with Kal Naismith having to drop back into defence and Benrahma giving Brentford the lead after only 19 minutes.

It was one-way traffic as Latics failed to come to terms with the Bees slick pass and move.

Early in the second half Benrahma’s speculative effort floated over goalkeeper David Marshall for the Bees second.

Before Benrahma completed his hat-trick on 66 minutes when he shot low into the bottom corner after good work down the right flank from Josh Dasilva and Christian Norgaard.

The visitors just couldn’t get a foothold in the game and matters got course when substitute Joe Garner was given a red card for a high boot on 81 minutes.

Latics drop to 16th place in the table on 50 points but the EFL’s proposed 12 point deduction would put them at the bottom of the table.

Brentford remain in third place just two points behind West Brom who play Hull City today.

Paul Cook made one change from Tuesday’s night’s starting line-up with Kal Naismith replacing Michael Jacobs.

Latics were under pressure from the kick off as the Bees went in search of three points in their quest for promotion to the Premier League.

Latics lost centre half Leon Balogun after only five minutes with Kal Naismith having to drop back into defence and substitute Gavin Massey replacing Naismith on the wing.

The Bees buzzed from the kick off, dominating the game and it seemed only a matter of the time before they would go ahead.

It didn’t take too long as Benrahma fired home from inside the area on 19 minutes from Emiliano Marcondes’ header.

Benrahma’s second came 12 minutes into the second half when what appeared to be a cross deceived David Marshall and floated into the top right corner for 2-0.

By the 66th minute, the Algerian forward completed his hat-trick shooting low into the bottom corner from just outside the area.

Matters got worse for Latics with nine minutes remaining when substitute Garner was given a red card card for a high boot on Jan Zamburek.

The Bees deservedly ran out comfortable winners in what had been a devastating week for Latics.

The team must now pick itself up and regroup for Wednesday night’s game against QPR at the DW Stadium.

The battle for survival continues both on and off the pitch. With five games remaining Paul Cook’s men must accumulate as many points as possible and hope that the EFL see sense and that the decision to deduct points is rescinded.

Let’s Hang On Appeal

The Wigan Athletic Supporters Club “Let’s Hang On” appeal has already raised over £110,000 to ensure that Wigan Athletic Football Club have the necessary funds  to complete the season.

The club have confirmed that they will use the funds raised to help with travelling to away fixtures, overnight stays and helping to pay the wages of over 500 staff.

If you have not already done so please PLEDGE NOW to support Wigan Athletic Football Club


Posted in Brentford, Championship, Paul Cook, Said Benrahma, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wigan Athletic – Dodgy owners, financial naivety and EFL incompetence

Wigan badge banner Wigan Athletic banner

As a lifelong fan of the club the news that Latics have gone into administration has been devastating and sickening. I am still in shock about what has happened but my immediate thoughts are follows.

On the playing front the club was in fantastic form with Paul Cook’s team having taken 27 points from a possible 39, unbeaten in nine with seven clean sheets in a row. The club had moved to 14th in the Championship table and was virtually safe from relegation.

Behind the scenes the club had changed hands only four weeks ago when the International Entertainment Corporation, a Hong Kong-based, Cayman Islands-registered company led by Stanley Choi, sold the club to Next Leader Fund in which Choi still has a 51% stake.

Worryingly under the change of ownership the Next Leader Fund loaned Latics £28.77m at an interest rate of 8%, rising to 20% if the club defaulted on payments.

The EFL’s test and takeover process involves determining that a new owner has the money to buy a club and support it financially for at least the remainder of the season and the whole of the following season.

However less than a month later and a week since the partner Au Yeung was announced as the new majority owner, the club has appointed the administrators Begbies Traynor.

It’s a murky story, why were Next Leader Fund allowed to pass the EFL’s ‘Fit and Proper’ test when they did not have the resources to run the club?

Surely the EFL should take some responsibility for their poor decision-making?

But instead they immediately issued Latics with a 12-point deduction which dumps them at the bottom of the Championship table and staring relegation starkly in the face.

The EFL have a track record of poor implementation of ‘Fit & Proper’ and several clubs have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous owners and this seems to be another example of such behaviour.

The administrators have said that they may appeal the 12-point penalty and it would seem they would have a strong case given the EFL’s negligence. If an appeal doesn’t work, then the club should have recourse to the courts.

Latics’ English board members, Chairman Darren Royle, Director Joe Royle and Chief Executive Jonathan Jackson should also take some responsibility for allowing this to happen without making their concerns known about the change in ownership and the financial penalties that were involved.

The board may say they were not in control but they are the custodians of the club and they should have made their concerns known to the EFL.

In the circumstances my immediate priorities for the administrators would be as follows:

  • Stabilise the club and continue to pay the players and other staff with help from the PFA and league
  • Complete this season’s fixtures and maintain the contracts of the current players, while a buyer is sought
  • Appeal to the EFL against 12-point deduction and if that doesn’t work take the matter to the courts
  • Approach Dave Whelan to see if he will help in the short-term with financial help
  • Ensure the new owner is a ‘Fit & Proper’ person or company.

Despite the current difficulties I’m still optimistic the club can get through this and survive.

I’m sure Paul Cook, Samy Morsy and all the players will show their character and commitment at Brentford on Saturday. The rest of us should be equally committed and show our support in whatever way we can. The battle for our existence must commence now. Stay strong and believe. Up the Tics!

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