Max Power’s emotional open letter to Wigan Athletic fans about his move to Sunderland

Max Power endeared himself to Latics fans
Max Power endeared himself to Latics fans

Max Power – as the name would suggest – certainly made his mark during his three years with Wigan Athletic.

After signing for Sunderland earlier this month, he returned to Euxton last week to clear out his locker and say his goodbyes.

In this open letter published in the Wigan Observer, he revealed just how big a decision it was to leave...

I dropped back in on Monday morning last week to say my goodbyes, and it was great to see everyone before going for good.

I leave on very good terms, and that’s not always the case when players leave clubs.

I sat down with Paul Cook and the staff, we had a good chat, and we all agreed it was the right time for it to happen.

Obviously no-one’s ever guaranteed a place in the team, but when it becomes clear (following the signing of Lee Evans) it’s going to be hard to see yourself playing in the first team...

There comes a point where you have to make a decision...there comes a point where you know your time’s up.

There’s no bad blood at all, and I’d like to thank Paul and his staff for the way this has been handled.

They could easily have dug their heels in and kept me here, but they didn’t.

On deadline day, the club received a bid from Sunderland, and they decided to accept that bid.

They didn’t want to stand in my way of wanting to play first-team football, but at the same time I wasn’t forced out of the door either.

It was a hectic few hours on deadline day, I have to say.

I leapt into the car, and drove all the way up to Sunderland...and it was a tough drive, I’m not going to lie.

I didn’t necessarily want to leave this club, even though I knew the path to the first team would be incredibly tough.

I made some phonecalls on the way up – people who’d been at Sunderland, other people whose opinions I respect...people like Gary Caldwell and Stephen Warnock.

They all felt it was a really good opportunity for me, and to go for it.

At the same time, you don’t want to drop out of the Championship, having worked hard to get up there.

I want to prove to people I can play at that level, and I still think I can... although the journey to get back there has just been extended for another 12 months.

I’m joining a huge club – the facilities, the manager, the stadium, everything.

It was very similar to me signing for Wigan three years ago... the biggest club in the division by a stretch, who are desperate to get promoted.

There’s a good feel about the place, they’ve sold more season tickets this summer than last year in the Championship.

I’m sad, but at the same time very happy and excited to be joining a big club like Sunderland.

I’m 25 now, and it’s an exciting prospect to be able to hopefully help them up the leagues like I did here at Wigan.

The fanbase up there speaks for itself, and I can’t wait to experience a home game for the first time.

It’s funny, you’re always seeing arguments on social media about size of crowds, and the Wigan fans...

One thing’s for sure – number of fans don’t win you games out there on the field.

I’ve loved the Wigan fans while I’ve been here, and the relationship we’ve had has been very special.

They’ll be the first to tell you they’re not happy, but at the same time it’s a great place to be when it’s all going well.

And I’d like to think I’ve endeared myself to them over the three years I’ve been here.

I’ve met some great people along the way, I’ve been involved in charitable causes, I’ve tried to integrate myself into the community wherever possible.

That only adds to the sadness that it’s come to an end for me here.

I’ve seen Wigan described as the biggest small club in the country, which I think says a lot.

Wigan seem to get under the skin of a lot of people up and down the country for some reason, I’m not sure why.

You get the jibes about it being a rugby town, and that’s part and parcel of being a fan.

I think maybe a lot of clubs are a little bit envious of what this club has achieved over the last 15 years... Premier League, the FA Cup win, Europa League, down to League One and then going back up.

It’s certainly never dull here, but I’ve loved every minute and I’ll always hold the place close to my heart.

I had a little blip last summer, as everybody knows, but I like to think I made up for that and made it right.

I don’t think many players would have come back from that but it was important for me that I did.

There’s so many memories...Doncaster away,Fleetwood away, Blackpool away, Man City in the FA Cup...I’ll never forget it.

I always gave everything I had for the club, I played through injuries, out of position...things that some people don’t always see.

It’s funny, the gaffer’s told me I probably would have played on Saturday at Aston Villa – but not in the centre of midfield.

I might have been out on the right, and that’s not helping me or the team in the long run.

As I leave, I look around and there’s only Griggy and Crackers left of the original Gary Caldwell signings, so that shows how much things can change in three years.

Obviously Perks left earlier this summer so I’ve had to go, I couldn’t stay without him!