12th Man – Engineers of their own downfall

Dave Whelan

Dave Whelan

Latics reached a low point on Tuesday night when they pressed the self-destruct button in an abject 3-0 defeat at Ipswich Town. In a must win game they committed football suicide by gifting all three goals to the opposition.

Mistakes by defenders Craig Morgan, Jake Buxton and midfielder Alex Gilbey presented the Tractor Boys with an easy three points.

It’s been a dreadful season at Latics and perhaps the most disappointing aspect is that many of the problems have been self-inflicted.

Gary Caldwell was unnecessarily sacked as manager after only 14 games of the season with the team only three points from safety with two thirds of the season still remaining.

When Caldwell was appointed Chairman David Sharpe said it was “an appointment for the long-term” and spoke about having a “blueprint for the future”.

But short termism quickly returned to the club as owner Dave Whelan had a big say in the sacking and the appointment of his successor Warren Joyce.

Joyce was recommended by Whelan’s friend Alex Ferguson and what a disaster it proved to be.

Joyce was out of his depth in the Championship and he introduced a negative style of football which was not only ineffective in accruing points but also deeply unappealing to watch.

He lasted only four months in charge and left the club deeply embedded in the relegation zone. Joyce was allowed to bring in 14 players in the January transfer window and many of these were either unfit or inferior to the players already at the club.

Latics also lost their talismanic winger Yanic Wildschut to Norwich City and creative midfielder Jordi Gomez left for Rayo Vallecano.

They had also risked a big salary on former Manchester United midfielder Nick Powell but he failed to deliver and missed most of the season with injury.

Latics have now sacked five managers since the start of the 2013/14 season and few other clubs in the Premier League and Football League have a higher turnover of managers.

Dave Whelan has achieved so much for Latics during his time in charge but the club currently lacks coherent leadership.

The Championship is full of impatient owners looking for instant success and chopping and changing managers on a regular basis does not guarantee success.

It is likely that if Latics had shown some continuity and been patient with Caldwell they would probably have finished above teams like Blackburn Rovers and Bristol City who have been very poor this season.

Following Joyce’s dismissal interim manager Graham Barrow had helped to improve performances against Aston Villa and Newcastle United, but Latics plumbed new depths with a desperate display at Ipswich.

Barrow will want the players to restore some semblance of pride against bottom club Rotherham United tomorrow at the DW Stadium.

But more importantly owner Dave Whelan and Chairman David Sharpe have some very big decisions to make about how the club operates in the future as they prepare for life as a League One club.

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 7th April 2017.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Championship, Dave Whelan, David Sharpe, Graham Barrow, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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