Paul Kendrick looks back on 2016/17 and dishes out his annual alternative awards...
FALSE DAWN #1
The return of Jordi Gomez last summer promised so much yet, for a number of reasons, sadly delivered so little.
FALSE DAWN #2:
The emphatic 3-0 win over Owen Coyle’s Blackburn in August suggested neither side would be in the Championship for long. Unfortunately, that proved to be correct.
THE ‘COULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING’ AWARD
September’s 0-0 bore draw with Fulham was as predictable as it was drab. What is it with this fixture and it being an utter snoozefest?
THE ‘LITTLE DID WE KNOW’ AWARD
Will Grigg’s last-gasp winner against Wolves on September 27 proved to be his sixth and final league goal of a very frustrating term for the 2015/16 Golden Boot winner.
THE ‘WELL THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY’ AWARD
On the Saturday, Latics were unlucky to lose 1-0 to table-topping Brighton. By the Tuesday, boss Gary Caldwell been fired. A tad prematurely, in the eyes of many.
THE ‘DON’T ORDER THE BRONZE JUST YET’ AWARD
Owner Dave Whelan pledged to build a statue of Caldwell’s replacement, Warren Joyce, if he could get Latics back in the Premier League. Good job he didn’t phrase it ‘if he gets us out of the Championship’...
THE ‘WHAT HAVE I LET MYSELF IN FOR’ AWARD
Less than five minutes into Joyce’s reign, Latics were 2-0 down at home to Reading, and being booed by their own fans. Sadly, it didn’t get much better...
THE ‘TRANSFER WINDOW MUST BE OPENING SOON’ AWARD
Yanic Wildschut’s incredible televised display at Huddersfield in November not only single-handedly saw off the eventual play-off winners, it probably also indirectly paved the way for his January exit.
THE ‘WHAT GAME ARE YOU WATCHING’ AWARD
Referee Keith Stroud awarded Ipswich a penalty in December. For a perfectly good tackle from Dan Burn. Yards outside the box. No, me neither.
THE ‘THIS NEW LAD LOOKS A GOOD ‘UN’ AWARD #1
Sam Morsy’s form after being recalled from Barnsley in January made the decision to loan him out look even worse than it appeared back in August. Which appeared baffling enough.
THE ‘THIS NEW LAD LOOKS A GOOD ‘UN’ AWARD #2
Callum Connolly’s loan arrival from Everton in January was so last-minute he was named on the team sheet for the trip to Burton before his signing had been announced! 90 minutes – including two debut goals and a clean sheet – later, we all knew who he was.
THE ‘BEST DIRECTIONS’ AWARD, SPONSORED BY GARMIN
After a fee was agreed with Grimsby on January 31, Omar Bogle was told to ‘get over to Wigan ASAP’ by his agent. Hours later, he arrived at the DW Stadium. Only problem was everyone else was at Euxton. A quick taxi-ride later, and he beat the deadline...by two minutes!
THE ‘I’D RATHER BE ANYWHERE ELSE THAN HERE’ AWARD
Whoever at the EFL fixtures office gave Latics fans a Tuesday trip down to Wolverhampton on Valentine’s night has a heart of stone. At least Jake ‘Cupid’ Buxton delivered the perfect present for the few that braved it!
THE ‘YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING’ AWARD
Latics needed three goes to make a sub at Blackburn in March. Interim boss Graham Barrow pointed the finger of blame firmly at the fourth official. And I for one am not arguing with him...
THE ‘ONLY ON GRAND NATIONAL DAY’ AWARD
Quite how Rotherham goalkeeper Lewis Price ended up on Nick Powell’s back in April is anyone’s guess. But it allowed the Latics man to score a dramatic last-gasp free-kick winner – and keep Wigan’s survival bid alive.
THE ‘NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES...SOME OF THEM WEAR THE NO.25 SHIRT’ AWARD
Nick Powell’s incredible hat-trick off the bench saw off shell-shocked Barnsley as the campaign reached fever pitch. But unfortunately it could not stave off relegation. ‘What might have been’...which summed up the season as a whole.
THE ‘PLAYER OF THE YEAR’ AWARD
Dan Burn. Literally head and shoulders above the rest.