Talking football: Wyke exactly is Wigan Athletic striker public enemy No.1?
Charlie Wyke has certainly found himself at the centre of attention during Wigan Athletic’s last two fixtures.
Last weekend, he capped another selfless performance for the team with his first two goals for Latics in the romp at Accrington.
In midweek, it was a slightly different story.
First of all, Wyke wasn’t even playing, as boss Leam Richardson opted to shuffle his pack in the Carabao Cup.
Secondly, it wasn’t the Latics fans but followers of Sunderland who spent most of the 90 minutes chanting his name.
As anyone present at the DW will testify, it was not in very pleasant terms.
Hell hath no fury, it seems, like a football fan scorned.
But why the hate in this instance?
One look at the stats shows Wyke scored 42 goals in 88 starts during his three years at Sunderland.
A strike rate most would kill for, including 31 alone last season.
No-one did more than him to try to get Sunderland promoted. Indeed, the Black Cats offered him a new contract, such was their recognition of his contribution.
What Wyke did next was only what every single one of us would be in their rights to do.
He had a look round, having seen out his contract, and saw what was out there.
For weeks it looked as though he was bound for the Championship, with even Celtic mentioned as a possible destination.
Then, right at the last minute, Latics became active in the race for his signature...which appears to be where all the trouble started.
While seemingly accepting of Wyke moving up a division or being attracted by Celtic’s size and Euro qualification, moving to Wigan was a different matter altogether.
Must be money...greedy sod...not even that good anyway...you get the picture.
The dog’s abuse he received on the opening day of the season was noticeably more than that directed at Max Power, who also swapped Wearside for Wigan over the summer, also after seeing out his contract.
But it was nothing in comparison to the, for the most part, disgusting – not to mention libelous bile being spouted from the away end in midweek.
Towards a player, let’s not forget, who wasn’t even playing.
Who had turned up on the night to support his team, as well as to meet up with his ex-colleagues, with whom he was pictured with laughing and joking on the pitch before the game.
Looking at his comments since leaving Sunderland, Wyke has said absolutely nothing disparaging about his former club, nor uttered anything remotely inflammatory since joining Latics.
Having spoken to him a couple of times, he seems a softly spoken, down-to-earth individual from Middlesbrough – surely not part of the problem? – who just chose to move clubs.
For a bit more money? Show me any player who isn’t entitled to do the same.
Latics themselves lost a couple of players over the summer, reportedly for a few more quid at other clubs.
George Johnston’s name was greeted with indifference when Bolton visited last month, while I’d be staggered if Lee Evans got anything other than applause when he comes back with Ipswich.
Looking back over the years, Yanic Wildschut and Pascal Chimbonda copped a bit from Latics fans, but there was at least reason behind that – they slapped in transfer requests in less-than-ideal circumstances.
As for Wyke? Simple case of ‘man changes job’.
It’s often said fans don’t boo bad players – or those they don’t care about.
Which he should take as the biggest backhanded compliment going.
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