Wigan Athletic: The 12th Man: 'Week 279 in the Begbies house...and Gerald is on the phone to another six potential buyers and reversing the charges...'

The Latics players celebrate their victory at Northampton in midweekThe Latics players celebrate their victory at Northampton in midweek
The Latics players celebrate their victory at Northampton in midweek
Our panel of Latics experts reflect on a rare - but very welcome - victory in midweek, and ponder whether this could be the week that delivers positive news on the takeover...

Caddy from the 5:

I’ll start in a Geordie accent...

‘Week 279 in the Begbies house, and Gerald is on the phone to another six potential buyers and reversing the charges... no deposits have been put down as of yet... ‘More will be said in Friday's press release but we’re making progress’ has already been drafted”. Cut to Camera 5...“Same time, same place next week, Gerald?” asks Stanley, sat in Dave Whelan’s chair with a full Latics kit on, smoking a large Cuban grinning. “Can’t see why not?” chuckles Gerald. ”This week’s invoices are in.” Both laugh loudly... Anyway, enough of them. THE WORLD IS HEALING is a popular saying at the moment, none more so on the playing side of being a ‘Tics fan this week. A midweek win at Northampton with a Brazil 1970-like performance has us fans looking at the play-offs while still being in the relegation zone. Armbands being bought again for the away fans, alleged bids from Madrid of £100 million for Curtis Tilt and another gem in Luke Robinson being unearthed. Never say the Wigan fans aren’t optimistic! In all seriousness, we’ve not had much to cheer about this season, so forgive us for going overboard once in a while. God, we need to smile when we can. It’s been said many times before, but for me it can’t be said enough... the job Leam, Gregor and all the staff at the club are doing to even have us in contention for staying up is a credit to them and the attitude of the players. There genuinely seems another great bond between them all materialising (like last season) and, when backs are to the wall, we really do seem to revel in it – fair play. Our next two games are real tests, in Oxford away and Hull at home. I’m reliably informed we won these last two fixtures 15-0 on aggregate. Might be stretching it to ask for more of the same, but we’re Wigan...WHY NOT! In reality, these games won’t determine if we stay up, the games around us will. And we’ve got to start being better in these. Northampton was a start, but we need more consistency. Will we stay up? Of course we will. Again, we’re Wigan, ‘We’ll do what we want!’ Right, I’m off to Barnsley FC’s official twitter hearing after their account’s been suspended. Obviously I’ll be asking them to pay for me to be there, and I’ve eight ‘Bow on ice ready for the right outcome. ‘THE BLUES ARE GOING UP’!


Well the weekly Friday update still tells us nothing, information coming from any source is like gold-dust, the Supporters Club must be on mute with their lack of communication to the fans.

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We are led to believe the Bahrain bid has been with the EFL for three weeks...let’s hope it doesn’t drag on for 10 weeks before we get an answer of yes or no. On the pitch, two long-term injuries are not helpful, and the less said about the first half against Wimbledon the better. But a win at Northampton has lifted the spirits, and let’s take this forward and get a few more wins. Let’s get behind the team as best we can. Stay Safe.

Matt Auffrey:

A special feeling arose when the full time whistle blew in Northampton, and Wigan Athletic won their first match of 2021. It was a moment many Latics fans had dreamed about some time earlier in the season – whether they realised it or not. On 31 October, we faced Northampton at the DW Stadium. Despite a late Kyle Joseph attempt on goal that struck the post, we lost the match 3-2. That loss represented the midpoint of our 13-match winless streak that extended over the span of two months. Nearly 200 miles to the north at that exact same time, Motherwell had just defeated Livingston 2-0. Latics loanee Callum Lang scored the opener for Motherwell – his third goal of the season for the Steelmen. When Latics were inches away from completing a two-goal comeback and stealing a result, only to fall short, the question entered my mind – ‘How much better off would Latics have been if they had Callum Lang on the pitch today?’ Lang’s 82nd-minute winner on Tuesday provided a little bit of closure for Latics fans that was long overdue. The win could not have come at a better time for the club. Not only have Wigan suffered a string of harsh results to start the new year, they’ve lost some of their most promising players to injury during that stretch – most notably Joseph and Tom Pearce. With 20 matches to go, we sit 21st in the league table – five points above Burton in 24th, and two points below Rochdale in 18th. If you take one look at our squad, you see the quality and experience is there for us to be the ‘sleeping giant’ among the seven clubs currently set for a relegation scrap. Yet, with ever-changing line-ups that most recently saw 19-year-old academy product Luke Robinson make his first start, the prospect of Latics ‘gelling’ to the point they at least reach mid-table form may be a tougher task than anticipated. Our defensive set-up successfully stifled a Northampton squad that has only scored 20 goals on the season – the league’s lowest total. Will it be able to cool off a red-hot Oxford team tomorrow – not to mention two of the division’s best teams in subsequent matches – Hull and Lincoln? With supposedly satisfactory progress being made behind the scenes in our quest for new owners, and the League One and League Two salary caps recently being discarded, it is becoming easier to envision a brighter future if we can maintain our status in the third tier. Just like Northampton, Oxford got the best of us in our first match-up several months ago. Young Lang answered the call on Tuesday when a hero was needed to avenge our previous loss. We will need multiple other players to perform at a similarly brilliant level tomorrow and beyond if we hope to obtain more positive results.

Deb Chapman:

Cracking win midweek against Northampton. New players on board, but I think they’ll all be busting a gut to keep us in this division. Unfortunate injuries to key players, but we’ll have to deal with it. Another three points on Saturday will be very much welcomed. After a good result, I always feel upbeat, not so if we lose. But for me, our main objective has to be a takeover. I know it’s been said we’ll be okay until the end of the season, but what then? No new owners, no club as we know it. Our administrators and the EFL have to make a decision about one of these bids sooner rather than later. Let’s try to stay positive and hope for a ‘statement’ worthy of some news, not stuff we already know. Stay safe.

Sean Livesey:

Talk about mixed emotions, Saturday evening was the lowest I felt in a long time. We’ve had defeats, lots of defeats in this hellish season but very few felt like they did Saturday. They say it’s the hope that kills you and there’s nowhere that lives up to that like WN5, despite being 2-0 down as the clock ticked to half-time against a very ordinary Wimbledon side Latics had managed to pull themselves level and there was only one winner as Latics were in the ascendency heading in to the last quarter of the game. A rush of blood to the head from Jamie Jones, among a missing defence and all of that hard work was un-done in a couple of minutes. Once the referee pointed to the spot you knew what was coming and it was very difficult to see us getting anything out of that match and as it transpired that’s exactly what happened. We had faced both Wimbledon and Swindon on torrid runs of form and managed to lose both games, in the process managing to lose ground on relegation rivals. Things looked very bleak on Saturday evening. The Latics hashtag on twitter can be a glum place at the best of times but after that sort of defeat it’s worth turning your phone off for a couple of days. A lot of accusations were thrown at the players on Saturday evening: ‘They don’t care’, ‘They’re here for a pay day...’ Out of all of the vitriol directed towards the players these are probably the points that hurt the playing and management staff the most. Days of Latics being a big pay day are long gone, although it has similarities to the Malky Mackay and Warren Joyce seasons this is anything but. Yes we’ve brought a lot of new players in, but I imagine monetary gain is the last thing on their mind. Why sign for the one club in the football league currently going through an insolvency event? Also not caring is an accusation thrown in the heat of the moment but can really hurt staff, hence the unique situation where club doctor Jonathan Tobin was forced to defend his players on twitter. Jamie Jones has had a torrid time of late, there have been a number of goals conceded that can be attributed to Jones. Members of the goalkeepers union will always tell you that keepers are the first to face criticism as they’re the last line of defence. But as Leam Richardson alluded to after the game against Wimbledon that there was a lot of players who should have prevented the ball reaching the Latics area long before Jones got involved. So it was heartening to see despite all of this that Latics managed to get that three points that has alluded us since the New Year on the road on Tuesday evening. Northampton had a decent home record and despite struggling at the bottom of the division would have been favourites against a Latics side low on confidence. Thankfully Latics were definitely good value for their win, Callum Lang who looked an isolated figure up front until the last 10 minutes did marvellously well to hold of the challenges of two defenders as he slotted in to the bottom corner. Latics held on despite the seven minutes of injury time and there’s just no telling how valuable that three points could be. It was another makeshift side for Latics as Jamie Proctor was self-isolating after a positive covid test and Tom Pearce looks like he is now out for the season. Adding to the injuries of Lee Evans, Gavin Massey and Kyle Joseph.

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There’s four players there alone who look to be out for a long time who would walk in to any side in this division. Reflecting on that, and the fact that Luke Robinson another academy product came in to make his debut is it any wonder we’re struggling the way we are? Frankly I think it’s astounding that we’re still in with a chance and a good chance at that of staying up this season. We have to remember that defence hasn’t played together before, the more time this side has to gel and let’s hope they do gel the better we’ll be for it. There’s a long way to go but as the takeover saga rumbles on off the pitch, Leam Richardson, Gregor Rioch and the coaching staff are doing all they can. If things don’t go right for us it isn’t for the want of trying. Speaking of takeovers it’s been another quiet week on that front, as the first shoots of spring emerge soon we get ever closer to the really worrying time in all of this. The EFL will not allow a club to start two seasons of football in administration. August 2021 is currently a long way away but we know that time goes fast when you’re in this situation and we’re running out of it.

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