12th Man – Let’s cut out the backbiting

Gary Caldwell

Gary Caldwell doesn’t deserve negative criticism. Photo courtesy of Wigan Athletic.

It was great to see Latics get back to winning ways against Wolves on Tuesday night. It was a hard fought but deserved victory against a very good Wolves team who had recently beaten Newcastle and Brentford.

Prior to Tuesday’s game Gary Caldwell faced a lot of criticism and it appears that some of our supporters have taken a dislike to the manager and want him to fail. The negativity towards Caldwell from some quarters is very strange indeed.

The Scot did a brilliant job last season, rebuilding the club, transforming the playing staff and winning the League One title in his first full season as manager, but some fans are set against him.

Latics haven’t had the best start to the season, but it’s fair to say that Caldwell’s team hasn’t been outplayed so far and they haven’t been beaten by more than one goal in any game. They have dominated possession in most games and their performances deserve to have more points on the table.

In a very tight division and were any team is capable of beating another. Fine margins will dictate who wins the points. A defensive mistake, a top quality strike, a refereeing decision, an injury to a key player can all decide where the points will reside. So the resentment towards Caldwell and his style of play remains hard to comprehend.

For the uninitiated, Caldwell believes in possession, building from the back and trying to play football on the ground. His previous managers Bobby Robson, Gordon Strachan and Roberto Martinez have influenced his footballing beliefs.

But he is also his own man, a modern manager who is still learning and developing all the time. He is still one of the brightest youngest managers in the Football League at 34-years-old, and he has already shown that he is more than capable of being a success at a higher level.

The current vitriol directed towards Caldwell is often irrational and covers everything from Latics’ style of play, the formation, his connection to Roberto Martinez and being stubborn and sticking to his football beliefs.

Whatever some detractors think Caldwell will continue to instruct his players to play the ball out from the back and pass their way to success. This style of play is not unique to Latics; it is a progressive system that has been successful with many top teams.

Rather than constantly criticising the manager the fans should be congratulating him on having a well thought out system of play.

It is still early in the season, we are a new team in a new division and we don’t have the resources of some of the bigger clubs in the Championship.

Latics are not far off becoming a good team and Caldwell should be given the time to deliver better results. The backbiting needs to stop now, the fans need to get behind the manager like they did last season and the club can continue to move forward.

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 30th September 2016.

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Brentford, Championship, Gary Caldwell, Newcastle United, Wigan Athletic, Wolves and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 12th Man – Let’s cut out the backbiting

  1. Well said Ian, fully agree with your comments

  2. JJ says:

    Very well articulated, Ian. Well said!

  3. Steve says:

    But watching us play is like watching paint dry. This is the most boring football we have ever played. It isn’t rubbish, as some of us have witnessed in the past, and to be honest it is quite effective but it is not the type of football that entertains. Tuesday was no different than the match at Deepdale. It was like watching paint dry.
    This may be Gary’s idea of football but not the many people who left the DW on Tuesday night. We have been crap in the past but crap and losing but playing football, moving the ball forward and shooting in and out of the box. We have even been crap but by mixing long and short passes, moving the ball at pace etc we may have been crap but we still looked forward to the next match. Now it’s the next ordeal of drab football but dreaming of some kind of positive change.

    • ianhaspinall says:

      Sorry Steve, I can’t agree with you. I’ve been to most of the games this season and we’ve been the better team with more possession and shots than the opposition in the majority of them. We comfortably beat Blackburn with some great attacking play and we were involved in an end-to-end 4-3 match at Nottingham Forest. We dominated PNE and were very unlucky to lose. The win against Wolves was hard fought but we were up against very good team that had just beaten Newcastle & Brentford.

      We are obviously still a work in progress after signing 14 players during the summer plus we’ve also had injuries but I think we are improving game by game.

      I’m happy with the style of play, and don’t believe it is drab or boring. But Caldwell himself has said that it is up to the players to get into the penalty area more often and be more clinical.

      We have a difficult fixture today at Brentford but overall I’m optimistic that we will have a good season and establish ourselves in this division.

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