The 12th Man: Latics fans have their say on Manchester United, Sheffield Wednesday, deadline day...and Yanic Wildschut

Callum Connolly, Jake Buxton, Max Power and Sam Morsy
Callum Connolly, Jake Buxton, Max Power and Sam Morsy
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If you work for Latics, don’t even think of asking for annual leave on January 31. Ever.

I can’t decide whether it’s great planning or terrible planning that we always seem to have so many ins and outs on deadline day, but we can certainly have no complaints that it’s boring.

Pity those poor clubs who have no activity on transfer deadline day.

Or was it Leeds last year who put a tantalising late night tweet out for the fans to expect some news, then half an hour later announced two players were LEAVING...and nobody coming in?

I don’t know what to make of our business, but what is pleasing is that we have actually signed several young players, with one eye on the future, rather than relying on short-term deals between now and the end of the season to get out of the brown stuff like we did under Malky Mackay.

Under Owen Coyle, we signed older, proven players on top wages, and under Uwe Rosler, we signed younger, talented players…on top wages.

We’re now entering the post-apocalyptic, I mean post-parachute payment world, where we have no option but to sign younger and cheaper players whom we can develop and sell on at a profit.

While I wouldn’t expect them all to pay off, there’s potential aplenty among the slightly unfamiliar names grinning away wearing the shirt at Euxton.

As for the outgoings, well it was a shame the departure of the fondly-remembered FA Cup winner Jordi Gomez was overshadowed by the storm over greedy mercenary Yanic Wildschut.

The club publicising his transfer request had the impact of turning a fans’ favourite into public enemy number one at a stroke.

It’s easy to forget that, in our Premier League years, 18 months was somehow considered a “decent shift” for a player to stay at our club, as the vultures continually swooped in for anyone with 30 decent top-flight games under their belt.

The Yanic move was sadly symbolic of how the Championship is now following suit.

Despite my neutrality above, the whole affair – and especially the interview he conducted afterwards – left a very sour taste in the mouth, and I look forward to hurling abuse at him along with many other Latics fans if he returns on Tuesday.

Sorry Yanic, but that’s what happens should you suddenly consider yourself far bigger and better than our small but perfectly formed football club.

The reported £6million profit should more than cover any perceived shortcomings Gary Caldwell had elsewhere in the transfer market, and enabled us to fund the purchase of several more players and pay the wage bill for a year.

Farewell to Yanic, but there is a new crop to get excited about now. We move on.

Staying up is still going to be very tough, but at least this time we have players who give the impression they will stick around, and not leap on to the nearest ostrich and head to East Anglia at the first sign of a few bob.


Well as transfer deadline days go, even by our standards, that was a frantic one.

Eight incomings and four outgoings was a lot of business to get through, and there must have been some frantic paperwork filing going on.

I wonder if we lost one or two under the enormous pile waiting by the fax machine?

Of course it was a massive disappointment to lose Yanic Wildschut.

He was our cult hero and we all thought he loved us too.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand he may have wanted to better himself financially, and I have no problem with that – even the handing in of a transfer request.

That’s football, but it was the comments made on his opening interview with Norwich that have soured my feelings towards him.

Jordi Gomez’s message to the Latics supporters following his move back home to Spain showed the way to conduct yourself.

Wildschut has a lot to learn both on and off the field.

We picked up some good signings, though, and Alex Bruce and Gabriel Obertan should be great additions.

There are some lads with great potential coming on board too, with Jack Byrne, Josh Laurent and the very excited Mikael Mandron – his video on the Latics youtube channel is well worth a watch!

We also brought in 19-goal Omar Bogle from Grimsby, a big bustling centre-forward in the mould of Jason Roberts.

Like Roberts, Bogle had to drop down to the non-league scene to make his name and he certainly did that.

A legend in Grimsby, “he’ll never have to pay for Haddock and Chips again”, one of their fans quipped.

Believe me, that is a big statement over that way!

Warren Joyce has been backed by the board to bring in the players he wants – mostly young, hungry lads bursting for a chance.

He has worked with most before or at least knows them well through his connections in youth football, and hopefully – and for the sake of all concerned – this large turnaround will succeed.

Since relegation from the Premier League, the Latics have averaged 12 incomings per transfer window.

That is a large amount of disruption, and can’t be any good for stability and progress at the club.

Let’s hope we now have a squad that will require minimal tweaking and can go on to deliver what we all want both in the short and long terms.

Up the Tics!


As weeks go, I don’t think Wigan Athletic will have faced a busier one in recent times.

Let’s start off at Old Trafford – and in all honesty I was a bit disappointed on Sunday.

The buzz around the tie beforehand, and the amount of upsets on Saturday, had given the Latics faithful hope.

For the best part of 50 minutes that was true, we were well in the game, and if David Perkins had converted his chance at 1-0, who knows?

As it was, the game followed the usual path of Latics’ visits to Old Trafford.

Plenty of endeavour, poor refereeing decisions, great support, but four goals conceded and none scored.

Bit if there’s one positive, it means we can now fully concentrate on our survival battle.

Speaking of which, Friday’s side against Sheffield Wednesday could look very different to the one that finished last weekend.

Wigan were the busiest club on transfer deadline day, bringing in eight signings.

I won’t lie to you, I know very little about most of those, other than Omar Bogle, Alex Bruce and Matt Gilks.

The younger lads have clearly been brought in with potential in mind and, with Warren Joyce and Andy Welsh at the helm, we hope they can fulfil that potential here, preferably in the Championship.

Friday is a huge game, as results in the league over FA Cup weekend mean we’re back in the bottom three, albeit with games in hand.

We need to pick up where we left off in the league against Brentford, and hope the defeat against United hasn’t knocked confidence too much.

Let’s hope the new lads can settle fast and help the cause.


What a crazy Deadline Day!

The madness started on the penultimate night of the January transfer window when Yanic Wildschut handed in a transfer request.

I have no issue with players wanting to leave the club to better their career, but there’s a way of leaving places.

And I’m afraid Yanic went about it the completely wrong way.

He should be remembered for the all the good he did for the club in League One, but now he’s going to be categorised alongside the likes of Pascal Chimbonda.

Moving on to deadline day, and I still can’t believe we signed EIGHT players.

Having said that, Warren Joyce has brought competition into the areas that needed improvement, as well as reducing our wage bill, which is a massive bonus.

And he found a quality like for like replacement for Wildschut in Gabriel Obertan.

Think what you want about Obertan but, in reality, he should never be playing for us and that’s the bottom line.

Joyce can also give Will Grigg a much-needed boost up front now he has strikers Omar Bogle and Mikael Mandron at his disposal.

Yes the squad is huge at the moment.

However, the signings we made this month will have an impact on both the short-term and long-term future of the club.

The loan deals have seen Joyce bring in players that he trusts – people who will come in and help us try to achieve our short-term goal which is staying in the Championship.

Then obviously some of the younger players we brought in, the likes of Josh Laurent and Jack Byrne, were signed with one eye on the future.

Joyce now has a lot of players at his disposal, and I’m sure he’ll be able to handle the many different personalities, having previously coached the likes of Pogba and Rashford.

Let’s hope the business we have done will keep us in this division, so Joyce can trim down and further mould the squad into his vision in the summer.


The January transfer window proved to be even more hectic than usual.

It was always expected Warren Joyce would want to bring in his own signings, but the turnover this time has been unprecedented.

Latics brought in an improbable eight players on deadline day, and 14 in the window overall.

Joyce and his recruitment team have generally gone for young players with a high work rate and who are capable of improving.

The Manchester United connection is a strong one, with many of the signings having played under Joyce before.

The manager has perhaps gone a little over board on the recruitment of midfielders, so the fight for a starting place in the centre of the team should provide fascinating viewing.

Fitness, however, could be a problem for some of the recruits.

As far as deadline outgoings were concerned, the most controversial was Yanic Wildschut’s last-minute departure to Norwich.

The Dutch winger had been very much part of Warren Joyce’s plans, but the player couldn’t resist the opportunity of an improved salary at Carrow Road.

However, the club at least made a significant profit on the deal, having signed him from Middlesbrough for £1million only 12 months ago.

It was sad to see fans’ favourite and FA Cup winner Jordi Gomez move back to Spain to join Rayo Vallecano, but it seemed he just didn’t fit into Joyce’s plans for the club.

Overall it was a positive window with some marquee signings, some promising young recruits and a few experienced older heads arriving.

The big challenge now is for Joyce and his coaching team to blend the new players into an effective unit that can escape relegation.


In, out, in, out, shake it all about!

It’s safe to say transfer deadline day was probably the most hectic in the club’s history.

A total of eight signings and four departures has left us with an almighty big squad.

In a way, having a relatively big squad isn’t such a bad thing, as Warren Joyce has plenty of options available.

The likes of Will Grigg and Michael Jacobs, who in my opinion have been on the team-sheet due to no competition, now have to set up to the plate, or they may find themselves on the bench.

We’ve got about 15 midfielders, which is far too many.

It’ll be interesting to see how Joyce fits most of them into a system, or whether he just plays a formation of 0-10-0!

I wonder how many of the eight which came through the door will actually start against Sheffield Wednesday.

The arrival of Omar Bogle will be good competition for Grigg, who now will have to find his scoring boots.

Joyce also has the option to play two up front.

Who knows – Bogle and Grigg may turn into the next Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts.

It was disappointing the way Yanic Wildschut left.

A guy the fans adored a few weeks ago – and now they literally hate him within the space of a few days.

He showed little respect to a club who took a chance on him.


Ticketmania 2017!

“Simply implement a five-tiered ticketing system to reduce the number of disappointed fans,” yelled the man at the back of the queue.

But is that really so easy?

You might first point to the cost of upgrading the club’s (presumably) 20-year old ticketing software and training staff to use it.

Is Jimbows Toutmaster 2000, or whatever it might be called, advanced enough to log the number of away matches a fan has attended this season? Then there’s manpower.

Are there really options to employ temporary staff in the week leading up to a prestigious FA Cup tie or league encounter with Newcastle or Blackpool?

You could ask Father Christmas, who is largely underemployed save for that one week a year he’s surfing the lead-grey Lancastrian skies with toys in hand.

Maybe that’s not such a great expense, especially considering the potential monetary returns associated with an increased away following.

And since Santa is magical, he has no need for cash.

But wait – from a purely cynical business standpoint, is this really so lucrative?

A tiered ticketing system may satiate the travelling hardcore, but would it necessarily win new supporters?

Well, probably a few. As humans, we naturally like to feel as though we belong to something, and that ‘Tier 1 Supporter’ badge is something you would proudly display on your Trollfacebook page.

Semi-facetiousness aside, such a system could just as easily divide as unite.

Equal opportunities dictates that all Latics fans ought to have an identical chance of getting tickets, no matter their level of supportership (if that’s even a real word).

And at the risk of being jeered, I’m even including those who – and I need to phrase this diplomatically – also follow another team.

Here’s a simple way of putting it: wouldn’t you be annoyed if a guy could jump the queue at Poundsavah just because he had ‘been there three more times than you’?

And don’t tell me you haven’t stared into the first-class carriage and instantly poured scorn upon those enjoying their creamed Bovril and caviar toasties.

These things are definitely barriers to progression with unity… as a society, of course.

The United cup tie posed a unique problem, and it relates to that one guy we all know who ‘supports both Man U and Latics’.

He’s the convenient scapegoat, deflecting blame from ‘genuine’ Wigan supporters who ‘genuinely’ can only afford one away trip a season.

But it is a unique problem – you won’t play Man United or Liverpool away every year.

And those ‘once a season’ supporters will only be an issue… well, once a season.

I would have asked Sharpey’s opinion on this matter, but I already know what he’ll say: “Come back when we’re selling our away allocation every other game and we’ll talk about loyalty cards.”

Well, Mr Chipmaster General, we may very well do that!

Anyway, at this time we ought to be focusing on more pressing matters, like the mysterious disappearance of club mascots Phoenix and Blue.

Maybe we should assign our resident private investigator Nosey Barstool to the case…