AS understatements go, Roberto Martinez’s assertion that this summer has been ‘interesting’ takes some beating.
Less than eight weeks have passed between Wigan Athletic ending last term with a 3-2 victory over Wolves and our meeting at Christopher Park on the first day of pre-season training.
But in footballing terms, it’s a lifetime ago – given what’s happened in between.
After inspiring Latics to another Great Escape, on the back of seven wins from the last nine matches, Martinez instantly became the hottest prospect in management.
He saw himself installed as the bookies’ favourite for the managerial vacancies at – in chronological order – West Brom, Aston Villa, Liverpool and finally Tottenham.
Martinez even found himself odds-on to become the next Everton manager – with David Moyes still happily in the job!
It certainly wasn’t the most comfortable of summers for Wigan supporters, desperately hoping that the rug wasn’t going to be snatched from under them.
But all’s well that ends well. Lengthy discussions with chairman Dave Whelan have persuaded Martinez that the club’s ambition continues to match his own.
And it’s all systems go as far as the new season is concerned.
“It’s been a very busy summer, an interesting summer, but this is the right time to be busy if you like,” Martinez tells me, in his office at the training ground.
“I never like anything to distract from the real business of the football club – the football matches – and that has been the case.
“Obviously it was an interesting summer, predominantly because we were so successful in the second half of the campaign – and that is credit to everyone at the football club, not just me.
“After that, it was a time for contemplation, and a very important period for everyone, because it’s been three years since I arrived.
“That was always going to be a time where we’d look back and assess the improvement and achievements we have made both on and off the pitch.
“The chairman is still full of energy, and is desperate to kick on and continue taking this football club forward.
“We are all excited about the new project, how we are progressing as a football club on many levels, and getting ready for what will be a challenging and fascinating season ahead.
“I feel we are there in terms of matters on the field.
“And in other departments of the football club we are slowly progressing towards where we want to be – and where we have to be.”
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