The 12th Man Column...Wigan Athletic fans look back on their team's midweek defeat to Lincoln
Wigan Athletic fans talk about the Latics' latest midweek loss and the reaction of supporters to that defeat.
The term ‘honeymoon phase’ can be applied to many different scenarios that involve a blissful transition period after a new partnership has been formed.
Since the takeover of Phoenix 2021 Limited last spring, one could say that Wigan Athletic and its fans have lived through a honeymoon phase of sorts.
Following the change in ownership, Latics produced a thrilling great escape that secured survival in League One.
We underwent a massive squad transformation over the summer that saw us bring in many exciting players. We won a host of matches over the first two-and-a-half months of the new season that helped us elevate to the upper heights of the league table.
After witnessing the events that have transpired with our club over the past few weeks, it’s safe to say that our honeymoon phase has officially ended.
Leam Richardson quickly established a reliable starting XI in August and as a result we won six of our first eight league matches and beat two strong sides to advance to the third round of the Carabao Cup.
On 31 August, we would suffer the first of six consecutive Tuesday night defeats, which would be spaced out over an eight-week time span.
A lively second-half effort allowed us to leave Plough Lane with a convincing 2-0 win over Wimbledon last Saturday.
That result was followed up with a disjointed performance against Lincoln at home on Tuesday and a frustrating loss.
It’s by no coincidence that we have fared so poorly on Tuesdays.
Regardless of whether we have put out our best XI for a league match or the reserves for a Papa John’s Trophy match, we have continuously come out flat and uninspired for Tuesday fixtures.
Anyone with an opinion could cite a potential cause for our midweek misfortunes that ranges from players to tactics to even the crowd itself.
It’s now on our gaffer and backroom staff to analyse these problems and find solutions that will allow for our team to establish more consistent playing form. We could face a strong Burton Albion side this weekend with as many as four of our regular starters out with injuries and yellow card suspensions.
Team selection will be as crucial as ever now. We will certainly see a different starting XI on Saturday than we did on Tuesday. If that same starting XI is healthy for Fleetwood next Tuesday, does Leam keep the same team regardless of win, lose, or draw this weekend?
It’s nerve-racking to see players pick up knocks. It’s concerning to lose so many matches at home this early in the season. The good news is that despite every letdown we have experienced over the past month, we are still in a very positive position in the league table. A draw or loss by Plymouth and Wycombe this weekend coupled with a Latics win would see us rise to top of the table.
We have won our last nine Saturday fixtures. The odds should favour Latics to raise that number to 10. The honeymoon phase is over and the harsh reality of a 46-game season is starting to set into place. Once again, it’s time for our players to summon the Latics fighting spirit and get the team back on its feet.
“Football’s a roller coaster just got to ride it”
Up and down could sum up Latics just now !
Underground, overground wombling free
The Latics of Wigan in Lancs are we
Making the most of the chances we find
De-flected OGs over the line
Jimmy Macs thunderbolt
Wild celebrations in another packed away end
And another three points
We’ve come through admin and Pheonixed into something new
- It’s what we do
Underground, overground wombling free
The upwardly mobile Latics are we
Tuesday night curse some would say
Another moaning manager coming our way
Talals response was just pure gold
“A bag of money’s never scored a goal”
Let’s be reet we were on our uppers
A scratch build re-set for the mudhutters
On the pitch head scratching - “go forwards down’t wings”
A third home on’t bounce loss - it’s becoming a thing.
So dust down and re-set for Satuday please
For now curse continues, no top of the league!
The moaners are out of the closet, though they never really went away,
They were biding their time till the timing was right,
To pop up and have their miserable say.
They delight in the chance for a whinge, and the prospect to vent all their ire,
To point out the problems, and tell us what’s wrong
It seems they relish us being in t’ mire (Not that we are of course !)
Their fingers impatiently drumming, by their keyboard, just waiting to type,
Consecutive home losses is all that it takes
To destroy any rose-tinted hype
The defence is clearly not good enough, the attack has no teeth and no bite
The midfield is clearly quite non-existant
In all, we’re a terrible sight.
If we carry on this way, we’re certainly doomed, we’re on our way down to League Two.
The Manager’s shown that he’s not up to t’ job,
He’s really just Paul Cook Mk 2.
Have you ever heard as much rubbish, such utter nonsensical drivel?
It’s all you can do not to bite through your tongue
To keep a chat or thread civil.
But hey, this is nowt new for Wiggin, there’s always some folk like a moan,
Third in the league just means nothing to them
“We’re not top, we’re entitled to groan”
So keep up your spirit young Leam, cos you’re really not doing that bad
It’s just that the Wigan Athletic supporters
Have moaned back since Adam were a lad.
As Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats once sang, I don’t like Mondays, well I don’t like Tuesday’s.
It’s been a right old struggle at home on Tuesdays this season.
Wycombe was a good performance and of course we had that win over Bolton but since then. Deary me.
Latics once again followed the script on Tuesday night. Not the one where we return to the top of the league following a comfortable win over lowly Lincoln.
But the script where we once again huff and puff at home under the lights and despite a late rally fail to turn the match around, well we’re the masters within that script.
That’s three consecutive Tuesday’s where we’ve failed to get any points.
Four consecutive Tuesdays with defeats if we include the loss to Sunderland at home.
I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis but equally I wouldn’t be correct if I said it wasn’t concerning me.
More concerning is the amount of injuries and indeed suspensions quickly building up. Callum Lang misses out on Saturday against Burton after receiving his fifth booking on Tuesday, Charlie Wyke who missed out against Lincoln is still a doubt and after losing Daniel Cousins against Bolton the other midfield lynchpin in Tom Naylor hobbled off on Tuesday night.
It capped a miserable night at the DW, no doubt about it, but dear me there were some knee jerk reactions after Tuesday.
Primarily on social media, but the non social media Latics fans are as bad.
According to one fella on the way back to the car park, we’ll be lucky to stay up this season and that Leam Richardson never had a plan B.
It’s a well worn path in WN to go massively overboard after a defeat so I shouldn’t be surprised. As bad as Tuesday was, Saturday was as good, Wimbledon was a different challenge than Bolton but we approached it in much the same way and we were well worth our win.
For the first time this season I would expect near wholesale changes against Burton. Expect Max Power to come in alongside Tom Bayliss, with Tom Pearce coming in to defence and one of Edwards, Massey or Jones to replace Lang.
As I said last week, it’s only October. We’re well ahead of where we expected to be.
Let’s not get too down about our position. Nothing was ever won in October.
Indeed during the 2015-16 season we found ourselves in sixth place at the end of Halloween weekend on 27 points after playing 16 games.
This season we’ve played two games less and are on 28 points. Our form on a Tuesday is concerning but if anyone had suggested this back in the summer you’d have snapped their hand off.