The 12th Man: Latics fans have their say on the appointment of Warren Joyce

The King is Dead! Long King Warren!

Friday, 4th November 2016, 10:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:48 pm
Warren Joyce and David Sharpe
Warren Joyce and David Sharpe

Do you remember when ex-Latics custodian, that nice Nigel Adkins had catapulted Scunthorpe up the leagues, left them in the lurch to join Southampton and then repeated the exact same feat with the Saints?

While sat safely in the midriff of the Premier League, there was a swell of discontent, from Saints fans and the football world alike the day his services were dispensed with.

Who did Southampton think they were, bringing in some foreigner with no experience of the English game and didn’t speak the language?

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How dare they get shut of a good guy who had worked wonders to put the Saints back in the top flight?

I suppose the rest is history as, despite his basic command of the Queen’s English, he turned the Saints into a top half side – a lean, mean organised machine.

They came to the DW a few weeks into his reign and I remember one passage of play where every red shirt was condensed into a 10-yard strip around the centre circle: harrassing, pressing, buzzing around our compressed lads.

It’s been quite evident that most of us thinking Wigan Athletic types – the ones who take time to write for fanzines, blogs, or craft pieces for this here column (not to be confused with the online anonymous message-board snipers, constantly seeking to shoot us down) – have expressed exasperation over the removal of Gary Caldwell.

Yet, we are also a thoughtful, tolerant bunch by default, who recognised a rookie manager may have some shortcomings and accepted them.

Even so, speaking personally, I am forward-thinking enough to see there may be a greater strategy at work here.

I’m not about to compare Warren Joyce to Mauricio Pochettino.

For one, it’s probable Warren has a better command of the English language, even if he is from Oldham.

Nor is he a newcomer to the English game, though he has skirted around the Wigan area to forge out a career with two of our biggest rivals.

The point I am making is perhaps this has been thought out, and we have – as David Sharpe said – managed to identify a truly talented coach from leftfield.

Maybe in six months’ time we will gleefully be saying: “Gary who?” as we sit gloriously on the fringes of the play-offs, playing exciting, revolutionary football and wondering what all the fuss was about.

It isn’t about being right or wrong, it’s about putting your faith in the management of the club, and whereas us “happy clappers” seem to have been the ones questioning the club’s decision to sack Caldwell and receiving flak for doing so, I’m sure we will also be the first to get behind the new manager, whether results improve dramatically or not.

Against this backdrop, Saturday’s game promises to be an intriguing affair against a resurgent Reading featuring a certain Ali Al Habsi.

We are only a win away from extracting ourselves out of the relegation zone.

But then, we always were, weren’t we?


You could be forgiven for thinking: ‘Who?’ when reading about the appointment of Warren Joyce.

Indeed many of our more vocal supporters across social media have done just that.

Many deriding a supposedly cheap option – which is harsh. On reflection, Joyce was probably the least cheap option.

The fact is we’ve paid compensation to Manchester United and offered him a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Also he’s not an untried manager – he was boss of Hull in the early 2000’s and was also in charge of Royal Antwerp during their link-up with United, with whom his record of 14 titles in eight years is unsurpassed.

He has a reputation for playing exciting football and developing young players, so should be an ideal fit for us.

What’s more surprising is how we got to this appointment in the first place.

I appeared on Radio Manchester’s Monday football show this week, along with Paul Middleton from the MFE fanzine and the BBC’s Latics correspondent Paul Rowley, and we all agreed Caldwell had been sacked too soon.

All season we’ve looked like just ticking, and Caldwell had been adamant a win was just around the corner.

He was proven right on Saturday and, although he wasn’t in the dug-out, I thought it showed the man’s class that he had contacted Graham Barrow and the staff to offer luck on the morning of the game.

Did the club panic or did something go on behind the scenes?

I suppose we’ll never know, but I still think Caldwell can feel harshly treated.

Football, though, is a results business and it’s now on Joyce to get those results.

Latics need to stay in this division, there’s no two ways about it, so let’s hope Warren, the coaching staff and players all manage that come May.


Last week I said sacking Gary Caldwell would only be the right call if we appoint the correct replacement.

Caretaker-boss Graham Barrow bought chairman David Sharpe some valuable time, by masterminding a 1-0 away win at Cardiff on Saturday.

Despite that, it looks as if we’ve made the wrong call in Warren Joyce.

Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for Joyce, because he’s seen as an important individual at Manchester United.

He has developed talented young players such as Marcus Rashford and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who have progressed into the first team.

However, what he doesn’t have is Championship experience – something we desperately need, something Caldwell didn’t have, and one of the factors in his sacking.

So, in many ways, Joyce becoming the new leader of the Wigan Athletic first team is a sideways step for the club.

I hope I’m proven wrong – I always hate to be negative.

But I can only see us battling relegation for the remainder of this season.

The only way this decision could work is if he brings in a solid backroom team of his own – people who have the appropriate experience at this level of football – so we can have a better chance of being remotely successful.

Here goes nothing!


What a difference a week in football makes.

At Cardiff last Saturday, we recorded our first away win of the season, and now Warren Joyce is the man who’s taking over Gary Caldwell as the new manager.

I can’t say I’ve heard too much about the fella.

But what I’ve read on social media is Manchester United are losing a very good coach.

Apparently Blackburn interviewed Joyce for the vacant manager’s position in the summer, but chose Owen Coyle instead.

With how things are going for the Rovers, is their loss our gain?

Furthermore, some might say it’s a huge gamble David Sharpe is taking in appointing Joyce, as normally you’d expect an ‘experienced’ Championship manager to take over.

But every decision Sharpe has made so far has been the right decision for the football club, and there’s no reason to question his judgement now.

I hope we give the guy a chance, before we start slating and getting on his back.

Hopefully on Saturday, he can get off to the perfect start against Reading.


It’s been an unsettling period at Wigan Athletic following the sacking Gary Caldwell.

The dismissal was unexpected, and most Latics fans felt the hierarchy had harshly treated Caldwell.

And despite his success at Manchester United, there is still a feeling Warren Joyce is a risky appointment.

He is untried at Championship level, having spent the last eight years in the relatively protected atmosphere of reserve-team football.

He was successful at that level partly because of the exceptional resources available.

Joyce’s team played entertaining football in the so-called ‘United Way’, but they have the choice of some of the best young players in the world – and few managers are so lucky.

It will require a big leap of faith for many of Latics fans to accept Joyce is a better option as manager than Caldwell.

Joyce will have his own style, and will want to make changes to a team that was just starting to click together into an effective force.

But there are big challenges ahead.

He must familiarise himself with a new club, new players and a new division.

He will be expected to get results quickly, and will certainly be expected to keep Latics in the Championship.

Relegation to League One would be a disaster after last season’s promotion.

Now the appointment has been made the fans will have to give Joyce their backing, but the feeling remains Latics would have been better sticking with Caldwell.


I believe Warren Joyce is a very good, thinking-outside-the-box appointment.

People may argue his appointment is risky, but there’s risk involved with any manager you appoint.

Joyce has built a reputation for turning talented individuals to a team of hard-working players with a winning mentality, and this is exactly what we need in the long term.

With a mix of experienced heads and youth talents, Wigan is a brilliant platform for Joyce to start from, and it will be very interesting to see who he brings in to help.

Joyce is a good appointment in my eyes – some fans will argue, but that’s football.

Either way, we’ve got to support him and get behind the lads starting this weekend.


When you’re finished with something you just toss it away, right?

Drop it off at the landfill to be buried and forgotten about within days.

Like discarded orange soft drink cans, bits of screwed up notepaper (with ‘4-5-1’ written on them)...or even Teletext?

That’s how the world works. One day, someone will decide that you, too, shall be thrown into a pile of other people’s unwanted possessions, recycled as a feral fox’s salty teatime snack – and that’s if you’re fortunate.

The people you leave behind will take credit for all you have achieved, automatically assuming your worldly successes as their very own.

This you simply cannot control, especially as you’ll be (legally) burned to a crisp by that point.

You were merely a freelance drone hired to die for their sake. Whatever you did and whatever you achieved, it was never enough.

‘They’ always expect more - the most. Today, tomorrow, yesterday, forever.…

In this endless frenetic three-legged race we call modern society, the phrase ‘deferred gratification’ is an extreme profanity akin to the very worst of those seven words you can’t say in a newspaper article about Wigan Athletic.

Speaking of whom, a certain managerial pillary recently became vacant, and I do believe a certain ex-Latic was recently made available.

In less than two years as a manager, he has already secured the League One title after entirely rebuilding a team in deep crisis.

They compared him to invincible comic book heroes. He signed a man so successful they wrote a hugely-successful disco single about his burning goal-scoring prowess.

Most importantly of all, our candidate is inexpensive.

Hmm, seems like the most sensible choice to me.

Sign him up, Sharpey!

Maybe next time...