At the beginning of the season I predicted that Latics would be amongst the teams challenging for promotion. What a shock it’s been to see Wigan relegated to League One. Few people could have predicted such a dramatic demise.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to the failure including: poor transfer business, lack of a goal scorer, appointing Malky Mackay, too many players past their best, a massive turnover of players and lack of a team spirit.
The performance at Brentford was fairly typical of our season, after a good opening 25 minutes Latics failed to take the lead and then, when they went behind, the players’ heads went down.
The difference between the two teams at Brentford was for all to see. Brentford are a hungry, attack-orientated team who like to pass the ball and show great movement. They have a small squad with a great team spirit. They have players who are capable of going past their opponents and creating opportunities.
Wigan in contrast were pedestrian, our build up play was far too slow to threaten the opposition. When they did get near the Brentford goal the forwards looked incapable of evading their markers and getting a shot on target.
So where do we go from here?
Many of the Wigan players on display at Brentford will not be at the club next season and rightly so. Gary Caldwell has a major rebuilding job ahead of him in the close season if the club is to stand a chance of a quick return to the Championship.
The retained list should make very interesting reading. The loan players have returned to their parent clubs and Latics will have decisions to make about Oriol Riera, Andy Delort, James Tavernier and Rob Kiernan.
That great servant Ali Al-Habsi has already indicated that he will be leaving the club and I expect that several others could leave including James McClean, Scott Carson, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Kim Bo-Kyung, Gaetan Bong and William Kvist.
Lee Nicholls has been offered a new deal and FA Cup winning captain Emmerson Boyce may be offered a playing and coaching role with the club.
Caldwell will give a chance to young players such as Tim Chow, Louis Robles and Jordan Flores but top of the shopping list must be a striker who can guarantee 20-plus goals in League One.
Caldwell has promised the fans that they’ll see a better team on the first day of next season. We will just have to trust him that this will be the case.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on 8th May 2015