GRAHAM Barrow admits he’s still at a loss to comprehend how Wigan Athletic ended up being relegated to League One at the end of last season.
Having started the campaign as one of the favourites to win promotion to the Premier League, Latics started badly and never recovered, resulting in a return to the third tier after a gap of 12 years.
Barrow worked under three managers during a car-crash campaign – Uwe Rosler, Malky Mackay and Gary Caldwell – and is still coming to terms with what happened.
“Last season is still a bit of a mystery for me,” he told the Evening Post.
“Having a poor season is one thing, it happens to a lot of teams. But for us to have got relegated was unthinkable.
“I’ve got my own opinion on what happened, but that’s all history now.
“We just need to let it go and be ready for the challenge of bouncing back next season.”
Having been relegated to the third tier, Latics now find themselves in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – a competition they twice won under its previous guises. Indeed last week marked the 30th anniversary of the Freight Rover Trophy victory of 1985, with Barrow an integral member of the side.
“It’s quite scary to think that it’s that long, but nice to look back at the same time,” the Latics assistant boss added.
“I was privileged to play in two great Wigan Athletic teams – the first under Larry Lloyd and the second under Harry McNally that was taken on by Bryan Hamilton.
“Seven or eight of the lads went on to play at the highest level, which showed the talent in the team.
“Who knows, if that side had stayed together we might have reached the Premier League before we did.
“I’ll always remember David Pleat saying around that time that we were the best team outside the top flight.
“And it shows there was a Wigan Athletic story before Dave Whelan arrived and made it all happen.
“To be honest, I think our story is a better story than the Wimbledon story, which a lot of people always bring up.
“I’m obviously biased, but what we’ve achieved, over a longer period of time, was something pretty special.”