Rosler sacked: How it unfolded

Ex-Wigan Athletic manager Uwe Rosler
Ex-Wigan Athletic manager Uwe Rosler

WOW! International break...the perfect time to take a couple of days off ahead of the free weekend. Or so I thought.

The missed calls from the Wigan Evening Post office and the Wigan Athletic media department suggested something significant may be developing.

But it was still a massive shock to learn of the sacking of Uwe Rosler yesterday afternoon.

Only days earlier, Dave Whelan had very publicly backed his manager in this newspaper, stating Rosler ‘had not become a bad manager overnight’.

That’s inevitably led to some fans questioning what’s happened this week to change his mind.

Some have criticised Whelan’s decision to pull the trigger so quickly after his vote of confidence, believing it to be a knee-jerk reaction.

I’d actually argue that the opposite is true.

Whelan’s gut feeling after watching the horror show that was last Friday’s game at Bolton would probably have been to consider making a change.

All the evidence pointed in that direction.

The way the team capitulated so easily after falling behind suggested something was not right.

Rosler himself called it an ‘embarrassment’, believing several players had thrown the towel in long before the final whistle.

With Latics slipping into the bottom three after the Saturday programme, and well over a third of the season gone, the pressure was cranked up a notch.

The current league position would be a concern for any club in the Championship.

For the pre-season favourites for promotion - a club desperate to regain its place in the top flight - it’s not far off a full-blown disaster scenario.

But Whelan’s first reaction was to back his manager, as he has tried to do throughout his two decades in charge.

The Latics chief is frequently cited as the example for other clubs to follow, with managers being replaced up and down the country as often as some chairmen change their socks.

It’s a reputation that’s been well earned over the years.

Paul Jewell led Latics into the Promised Land of the Premier League only after an extremely troubled first couple of years that could easily have ended with the sack.

And Roberto Martinez gloriously brought back the FA Cup after a four-year tenure containing far more downs than ups - including a 9-1 spanking at Tottenham, an 8-0 hammering at Chelsea and a 4-0 disaster at Bolton that was arguably even worse than last week’s humiliation.

The message is simple: When Whelan believes he has the right man, he’ll stick with him through thick and thin.

And he clearly didn’t want to make a change this week, believing - quite understandably - that Rosler remains ‘a good manager’.

But after a few days’ reflection, a few days’ soul-searching, even Whelan had to concede that this time loyalty had to give way to overwhelming evidence in favour of a change.

Regrettably, we’d gone past the point of no return.

Uwe Rosler’s reign at the DW can be summed up in two perfect halves - the second half of 2013/14 and the first half of 2014/15.

And the way he turned around Wigan’s campaign following his arrival 12 months ago cannot be understated.

Treading water in mid-table, Latics were suddenly transformed into the form team of the Championship, gate-crashing the play-offs against the odds and coming with eight minutes - and then an agonising penalty shoot-out - of making a second successive FA Cup final.

On the back of going so close to immediate promotion, and with a full pre-season to build on, Latics were expected to pick up where they left off and go one better this season.

For one reason or another, it simply hasn’t happened for them this term.

A pre-season dogged by injury and fitness issues left several players noticeably off the pace come the big kick-off.

There was also the off-season departure of Jean Beausejour and Jordi Gomez - two established Premier League stars who Latics simply couldn’t afford to keep having remained in the second tier.

With Nick Powell also having returned to Manchester United, Latics had been robbed of their two leading goalscorers - responsible for nearly a quarter of their 61 goals - from the previous campaign.

The subsequent loss of James McArthur on deadline day was quite simply a hammer blow from which they are still reeling.

Latics are currently on a run of just one win in 12 matches.

Prior to that, they had recorded back-to-back victories. It is absolutely no coincidence whatsoever that the sale of McArthur dissects the two sequences.

No-one is saying McArthur shouldn’t have been sold.

It was a simple economic decision - the harsh reality of a Championship club with reduced income and falling gates being unable to turn down a cheque for £7million.

But there’s no question that the departure of McArthur left not one, but two or perhaps even three gaping holes in the team.

Apart from his quality at both ends of the field, he was also a natural leader, a shoo-in to succeed the captaincy after Emmerson Boyce.

Adam Forshaw and Emyr Huws are fine young players who I believe, in time, will turn out to be fabulous servants for the club.

But being thrown in at the same time, along with fellow new-boys Don Cowie and William Kvist - and in the continued absence of Chris McCann and Ben Watson - meant teething troubles in the engine room were inevitable.

Likewise the situation up front, where proven continental goalscorers Oriol Riera and Andy Delort have not had the necessary time to bed in because of the need for instant results.

With defensive errors becoming more and more frequent, it’s been a recipe for disaster.

I agree with the chairman’s belief that Uwe Rosler remains a good manager, who will more than likely go on to experience success elsewhere.

And I sincerely hope he does, having been as accessible media-wise as any manager I’ve come into contact with, and great company with tape recorders switched off.

It’s just a shame he couldn’t deliver the success both he and Latics both crave and deserve.

The FA Cup quarter-final victory at his beloved Manchester City, that set-up a fourth trip to Wembley in the space of 12 months, was his greatest moment, another ‘I was there’ moment in the ongoing fairytale story that is Wigan Athletic FC.

If Latics could have held on for the dying minutes at QPR in the play-off semi-final last May, it could easily have been Rosler and not Harry Redknapp leading his side back into the Premier League.

On such fine margins is history made.

Auf Wiedersehen, Uwe.

Thanks for the memories.