OPINION: Opening-day promise, two major farewells, 'turn it blue', and the Premier League is back

As opening days go, that well-known Danish lager firm couldn't have bettered Wigan Athletic's efforts at Derby.
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The Mike Danson era is up and running in style, with an impressive performance deservedly seeing off the pre-season promotion favourites.

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Callum McManaman career revival has left Wigan Athletic chief with a major regre...

And even more than the result, it was the manner of the display that bodes so well for the rest of the campaign and beyond.

Latics look to be on the right track again under Shaun MaloneyLatics look to be on the right track again under Shaun Maloney
Latics look to be on the right track again under Shaun Maloney
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Already - just weeks into the project - we had a clear vision of the way Maloney wants Latics to play.

At times, it was like watching the Latics of old - when Maloney was pulling the strings in the No.10 shirt.

Of course, one swallow does not a summer make, and it would be wrong to get too carried away. after 90 minutes (actually, more like 105 minutes...).

After all, Latics are still eight points off the top of the table, and five points from safety.

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But after the carnage that the fans have had to put up with in recent times, those scenes at full-time at Pride Park were more than overdue.

The small matter of a League Cup trip to Wrexham - and a swift reunion with James McClean - aside, attention now switches to Saturday's visit of Northampton Town.

Cobblers? No, it's true! (Gag copyright 'Soccer AM' circa 1998)

The collective message has been to 'turn the DW blue and white', to welcome in the new owner and project.

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And what better sight for the players to run out to as they try to put Maloney's plans into practice?

It's no secret the stadium is around double the size that it needs to be at this level, and atmosphere has been a problem over the years.

But it's great to see the Supporters Club - backed by the manager and the club - being so proactive and positive in terms of trying to address that.

Of course, the biggest factor in boosting the atmosphere around the place is having a winning side to enjoy.

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And whisper it quietly, but the Class of 2023/24 might be worth watching this term.

Not one but two big farewells this week to reflect on.

First, we had James McClean's shock exit on the eve of the campaign to join ambitious League Two outfit Wrexham.

Then, at the beginning of this week, news filtered through of James McArthur's rather less surprising decision to hang up his boots at the age of 35.

Two great servants to the football club.

Two outstanding blokes away from the pitch.

One major question...how on earth did that side that contained them both - and Gomez, McManaman, Powell, Watson, Boyce, Carson and others - not get promoted straight back to the Premier League in 2013/14…

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The Premier League returns this weekend, and it’s hard to see anyone other than Manchester City leading the way again.

Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle have all strengthened, but the gap between them and City still looks considerable.

At the other end, Sheffield United and Luton Town have it all to do to stay up, but I’ve a feeling Vincent Kompany and Burnley could surprise a few by finishing nearer mid-table than the bottom.