Talking football: Wigan Athletic's pursuit of Portsmouth star Jamal Lowe is just the way of the world

Jamal Lowe
Jamal Lowe

"...a club like Wigan..."

If I had a pound for every time I've heard that, I'd have enough money to buy Jamal Lowe myself.

Jamal Lowe, in case you've been off social media for the past week (you lucky person, if so!) is the Portsmouth player being strongly linked with Wigan Athletic.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett admitted at the weekend that two bids had already been turned down, but that's unlikely to be the end of the matter.

Top-end League One footballer being courted by a Championship club looking to strengthen and consolidate...nothing much to see here...right?

Apparently, not the case.

'Wigan's a rugby town'...'they only have 35 fans'...'they'll be in League One next year anyway'...are just some of the nicer things some Pompey fans have said about the news.

In other words, the usual tripe.

Meanwhile, on planet earth, it's blatantly obvious why a highly-rated young player would be open to moving up a division, playing with and against better players, on a far bigger platform, while increasing his wages by three or four-fold in the process.

It's the same reason, if things had gone differently last season - if Gavin Massey hadn't turned into Gavin Messi at Leeds, and if Pompey had managed to get over the line in League One - the talent drain could easily have been going the other way.

Fair enough, Pompey averaged 18,223 fans in League One last season - making them the second-best supported club in the division.

Third on the list was Bradford City, who'll incidentally be playing League Two football next season, with 16,130.

By the 'numbers' rationale, would a summer move for Lowe to Valley Parade be a sideways switch?

League One champions Luton averaged 9,516 fans at Kenilworth Road. Would that be a downwards step?

Latics' average at the DW last year was 11,663 - over a thousand more than Bournemouth (10,532) managed in the Premier League.

Before anyone points it out, yes I'm more than aware that's the capacity at Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium.

But that's kind of the whole doesn't matter how big your ground is, or how many fans you have.

It's what happens on the field that counts.

Always has been, always will be.

And Latics, at the moment, are bigger fry than Pompey.

Consider this:

* Latics have spent more time in the Premier League in the last 20 years than Portsmouth.

* Latics have spent more time in the top two tiers in the last 20 years than Portsmouth.

* Latics have won a major trophy more recently than Portsmouth.

* Latics have played in European competition more recently than Portsmouth.

(*Portsmouth have also been placed in administration during that period, whereas Latics is one of the most sensibly-run clubs in the EFL. But we digress).

Also worth pointing out, this is not to belittle Portsmouth in any way.

A traditional 'proper' club, that's hit hard times in recent years, and thankfully look to be on the way back to where they belong.

I genuinely hope they get back to the Championship in the not-too-distant future - it's a cracking trip to a lovely part of the country.

But they're not there yet.

And it's not Jamal Lowe's fault if clubs further up the food chain want him.

That's the way the game works.

Does anyone serious think Portsmouth's First Division triumph in 1949-50 is in his thought process at the moment?

Or Portsmouth's 'bigger-than-Wigan' average home attendance?

When a move to the DW would see him gracing huge arenas such as Leeds, Stoke, Derby, Forest, Cardiff, Swansea, West Brom, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham every other week?

In no other industry would someone moving jobs be subject to the same scrutiny - and scorn - about a personal decision.

Footballers come and go, it's the way of the world.

Latics themselves lost Nick Powell earlier this summer - due to simple economics.

Bigger club, bigger stage, bigger prospects, bigger absolute no-brainer.

It says a lot for Powell's ties to Latics that, even with such a lop-sided decision, he took so long to make up his mind to go to Stoke.

But he went with the best wishes of everyone, and will be welcomed back to the DW Stadium with open arms when Stoke visit next month.

As long as things are done in the right manner, there should be no issue.

Yanic Wildschut, by his own admission, handled his departure to Norwich in 2017 badly, which caused a bit of bad blood with a section of the fanbase.

But no-one seriously begrudged him his move - it was a great deal for him, Latics and (at the time, at least) Norwich.

As far as I can tell, Jamal Lowe hasn't done anything wrong.

Apart from in the eyes of some Pompey fans.

Who I'm guessing wouldn't have had a problem with him 'bettering himself' in 2016 when he was plucked from obscurity at non-league Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Identified by the then-Portsmouth boss, a certain Mr Paul Cook.

Since then, he's more than repaid Pompey, scoring a 13-minute hat-trick in the game that won them promotion from League Two, before adding another on the final day to help them clinch the title in dramatic fashion.

Last season, he did more than anyone to get them promoted to the Championship, scoring an impressive 17 goals.

It's only natural Cook has kept tabs on his progress, and only natural Lowe would see a reunion with his former gaffer as an attractive option.

Maybe that's the crux of the problem.

Would the Pompey fans be so up-in-arms if he was going to Preston, Blackburn, Barnsley, Millwall, Luton or Charlton - clubs on a relatively similar level to Latics?

Or is it the thought of a reunion with Cook - whose departure still rankles with some - that is fuelling this ire?

Jamal Lowe may or may not join Latics...only time will tell.

But you can't blame him for doing what's best for himself and his family.

Especially when most of us would do exactly the same thing in his position given the chance.