Behind closed doors: what are the implications for Wigan Athletic?

6906AB4A-E6FC-4C8F-8E07-5C522252DA3C

DW Stadium

There is still a lot of uncertainty about when, or if the Championship season will resume, but matches could resume in June, dependent on the Government giving it the green light.

If they are allowed to resume it is likely that they will be played behind closed doors. Under current EFL plans the fans will only be allowed back into the DW Stadium in October.

The clubs desperately need the TV income to pay wages and to survive over the summer so games will have to go ahead without spectators.

With nine Championship fixtures remaining Latics are precariously positioned just above the relegation zone.

Although they were in good form prior to the lockdown with 12 points in the last six games, the long lay-off could have a detrimental effect on the players and it may even feel like starting the season all over again for some.

Some fans will quip that it will make no difference to Latics’ players as they are used to playing in front of empty seats, but the reality is that completely empty stadiums will pose a new psychological challenge for the players.

Such matches are known as “ghost games” and playing a Championship match without a crowd will be an “eerie experience”.

For professional footballers it is the supporters who make the matches so special and the atmosphere that crowds generate is essential to the game.

The games will be televised either by the main broadcasters, or on the iFollow network but it will be a strange experience for everyone that could impact negatively on Latics’ results.

The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic also poses a threat to Latics’ competitiveness.

Brighton loanee Leon Balogun has been a significant catalyst in Latics’ revival but his contract ends at the end of June and therefore his loan would have to be cancelled before the season finishes, unless Latics can sign him permanently.

Other loanees include Dujon Sterling (who is contracted to Chelsea until the end of 2021/22 season) and Kieran Dowell (contracted to Everton until the end of the 2020/21 season) who Latics are trying to sign permanently.

Several first-team players whose current deals finish at the end of June may also have to be released.

Seven first-team squad members are in this situation – Chey Dunkley, Michael Jacobs, Joe Garner, Anthony Pilkington, Gary Roberts, Danny Fox and Lewis Macleod.

Although the financial situation could dictate matters it is still possible that some workaround could be sorted.

Many teams will be in this situation so a short-term extension to the contracts may be possible and then sort out future contracts when the current season ends.

So much is still unknown, but if the season does restart it will be like a mini-tournament with nine games to decide the big issues, with the majority of teams in the Championship having something to play for, with either promotion or relegation still to be decided.

Champ table 26 April

Championship Table courtesy of Whoscored.com

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Behind Closed Doors, Championship, DW Stadium, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.