Paul Cook and his players answered the critics with a comfortable 3-0 win against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night. It was pleasing to get back to winning ways as the moaners and groaners had been out in force since Saturday’s first home defeat to Bradford City.
Bradford will be in the promotion mix at the end of the season and they produced one of their best away performances. The match could easily have gone either way but just when it looked as though it would end in a draw the Bantams scored an injury time winner.
All Latics’ fans were disappointed with the result but some of the post match comments about Cook and the team really do beggar belief.
Some so-called fans on social media have gone to extreme lengths and have been calling Cook clueless, spreading malicious rumours about the manager and sending abusive tweets directed at individual players, which can only be harmful to the players’ confidence.
The fans are entitled to an opinion but this type of behaviour goes beyond what is acceptable and can only damage the club’s prospects.
Some of the fickle fans were absent from the game on Tuesday despite the Bradford game being Latics’ first defeat in the league at the DW Stadium in eight months.
It made for a few more empty seats but at least the atmosphere was less negative.
Paul Cook had rightly identified the negativity at the DW Stadium during the game against Bradford and prior to the Doncaster game he made an accurate assessment of the current situation.
“Nowadays there’s so much negativity around the game, it’s quite sad really, but we can’t change that. All we can focus on is the fact we’re only 17 games into a 46-game season, and there will be plenty more disappointments along the way, but our job is to get as many points as we can and hopefully that comes with a win tomorrow night.”
In contrast to Cook’s levelheadedness, his critics really do need to get a sense of perspective. This is Latics’ best ever start to a league campaign, they are second in the League One table, with the most goals scored and fewest conceded and yet still some of the fans aren’t happy.
I’m sure in the long term Cook’s approach will be fully vindicated and the progress which the club has made under his management will be properly recognised.
In the meantime Latics come up against former player Paul Warne’s Rotherham United tomorrow and they could go top if results go their way, but whatever the result Cook won’t be getting too carried away as there are still plenty of games to play.
This article was first published in the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 24th November 2017.