James: It was a brutal season

James McClean accepts his player of the season trophy
James McClean accepts his player of the season trophy

JAMES McClean last night picked up Wigan Athletic’s Player of the Year award, but admitted he’ll take little consolation from a ‘brutal’ campaign.

The Irishman was honoured by the supporters for his individual contribution during a car-crash campaign.

We are where we are in the league. To call a spade a spade, we’ve been brutal. It’s not where anyone at the start of the season would have visualised us finishing

James McClean

McClean, who turned 26 last week, looks set to finish the season as the leading goalscorer with six goals from the left wing. His attitude and desire have been a rare shining light in a forgettable term.

But he typically pulled no punches in a frank assessment of where it’s gone wrong for a team that started the campaign as one of the favourites for promotion.

“You go into every game wanting to win, and we just haven’t been good enough or won enough games this season,” McClean told the Evening Post.

“We are where we are in the league. To call a spade a spade, we’ve been brutal.

“It’s not where anyone at the start of the season would have visualised us finishing.

“But every single one of has just not been good enough.

“What’s done is done, and we just had to try to move on, and kind of apologise to everyone for letting them down.”

Wigan’s fate was sealed in midweek, when Rotherham saw off Reading 2-1 to lift themselves six points clear with only one match to play.

“I think realistically we were expecting Rotherham to finish the job, with the Reading players already in holiday mode,” McClean added.

“If they had something to play for, it might have different - but it wasn’t to be.

“We weren’t pinning too much hope on that happening, because at the end of the day it was ourselves who let us down, no-one else.

“Depending on other people to get results for us is not the way to go about it.”

Elsewhere James Perch was voted Players Player of the Season for the second year in a row.

“I know it’s been a tough season for us all, but to be voted by my team-mates again still means a lot and it’s a big honour,” said the defender.

The other main award-winner was teenage striker Louis Robles, who won the Michael Millett award for Young Player of the Year.

“Louis is a shining example, on and off the pitch, of what everyone at Wigan Athletic is striving to achieve,” said Academy chief Gregor Rioch. “He’s a leader in both senses too, wearing the armband and scoring 30 goals.”

The awards were presented at the ‘Evening With Dave Whelan’ at the DW Stadium, which recognised the former chairman’s 20-year stint at the helm.