The 12th Man: Latics fans have their say

Jordy Hiwula
Jordy Hiwula

LATICS fans give their verdict on last weekend’s fabulous 3-2 victory at Chesterfield...and dare to hope for more of the same from this weekend’s trip to Port Vale:

What a fantastic result at Chesterfield, for the team to show the fighting spirit required to come back from two goals down with just nine minutes remaining was a sign that there is indeed much togetherness in the squad and Latics boss Gary Caldwell is surely building a team that will fight for every point this campaign.

Caldwell has had his doubters this season, why I don’t know as we are only six games in.

Saturday’s performance, result and the way he changed the team around during the game to achieve this must have quelled one or two of the question marks hanging over hi by some of the doubters.

Caldwell’s team showed great character to keep going until the end and the performance could be a pivotal moment in the season as we chase an automatic promotion place, a much vaunted belief among the players that they have the attributes required for the challenge ahead became a reality in the final nine minutes last Saturday at the Proact Stadium.

It is obvious that Caldwell likes to set his side up in a 3-5-1-1 formation at the start of matches.

But it is also quite evident that he is prepared to change things around during games, for the formation to be fluid to face the different scenarios, this takes some coaching and hard working on the training ground.

It appears that our gaffer is very forward thinking and this can only be good for the long term benefit of the club, he isn’t stuck in a one track mode, he appears to be tactically astute and he also appreciates ‘other’ aspects that can influence his teams performance.

Caldwell, like his mentor Roberto Martinez is always quick to both praise the fans and ask them for their vocal support during games, he often cites examples from our recent past when the support was indeed the 12th man, the memorable day at Bloomfield Road in April 2011 springs to mind and it is an occasion that Caldwell often speaks about.

If we are to achieve our ambitions this season then that support will once again be crucial, along with the performance on the pitch the backing off it can be the difference between success and failure, the raucous support on Saturday at Chesterfield was fantastic and helped pushed the lads on. More of this again at Port Vale tomorrow and for the rest of the season and we could end up with a very memorable campaign indeed.


What a weekend to be associated with Wigan Athletic and what a comeback, it’s been an age since I’ve had a buzz after the football results!

I must admit, 2-0 down away at Chesterfield with 10 minutes remaining didn’t look promising. I had certainly given up hope.

I suppose that’s a reflection of how it’s been since the major disappointments of the last campaign, whenever we go one goal down I always doubt us and expect us not to get back into the game.

However, Saturday was different, it felt like the old memories came flooding back.

Gary Caldwell’s managerial repertoire has been likened to Latics legend Roberto Martinez, due to the fact he wants to play a passing style of football with similar formations and tactics.

But it looks as if that isn’t the only way Caldwell is similar to Martinez.

Caldwell now has a squad that believes in him just as much as he believes in them, just like Martinez had.

Judging by the comeback at Chesterfield, Caldwell can also galvanize, motivate and change his team to get the result when it’s desperately needed, just like Martinez did so many times. Everyone remembers the Arsenal and West Ham comebacks from 2-0 down, this was very similar, the fighting spirit and never say die attitude of Wigan is well and truly back.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the away end when Jordy Hiwula crashed home the winner; but a Latics fan wrote something to this on Twitter: ‘The frustration of last season has been built up for over year and it has just released through a last minute winner which blew the roof of the away end!’ That’s more like it.


The contributors to this page all separately submit their thoughts, and we each write about what we concerns us for that week.

I would expect most columns this week will be waxing lyrical about the comeback last Saturday.

But I’d like to take it a step or two further back and wax lyrical about how that performance came about. You might go back to the 6th April and the departure of Malky Mackay, or the appointment of Gary Caldwell the day after.

Both are clearly important events, but if you go back just over a week further it takes us back to March 27.

On that date the club announced the return of Jamie Roberts and his appointment as head of player Identification. The way we chose players was to be shaken up, the type of player we chose was to change, and thus far it appears to have changed for the better, much better.

Over the last couple of years we have had a variety of players that for one reason and another have been unable to contribute significantly to the cause in the right way. Owen Coyle was hit and miss in his recruitment, Uwe Rosler littered his squad with expensive mistakes.

Malky Mackay tried to clear out that squad in the January window and repopulate it with players more willing and more able to contribute to the cause.

That got us relegated again. Gary Caldwell was left with the job of clearing out some high earners, some mistakes, and essentially starting from scratch.

Gary and the backroom team have clearly done their homework as we are starting to see that they have assembled a squad which appears to have talent, desire, and for the future, some resale value.

At this stage of the season I expected us to be lower mid table, a good few points off the top, and then to grow into the season, and start to bond and build towards the back end of the season.

There will be bumps along the way, of course there will, but we’ve already shown in two games that we’ve got some of the qualities required to have a very good season.

They are starting to look the part already, and that is down to the hard work of Gary Caldwell and the coaching staff.

I’m sure Gary will get his plaudits, but I’d like to thank the identification department for helping bring in the right blend of players in the first place.


Last Saturday was a great example of the difference between this season’s Wigan Athletic and the one that went before it last season, 2-0 down with under 10 minutes of the game remaining many Wigan Athletic fans thought Saturday was heading for yet another away defeat but a crazy 10 minute spell changed all of that.

If Latics had been in this position at any point last season there is no way we would have seen what we had and that’s a tribute to the skills of Gary Caldwell and his staff – to increase the confidence and attitude of this young team.

Although Latics weren’t at their best on Saturday they didn’t expect or deserve to be 2-0 down coming in to the final stages of the game.

Latics had their fair share of chances against a strong Chesterfield side and either side could have gone in ahead at half-time, it felt like the season was following a similar path as Latics spurned a number of chances and found themselves 2-0 down.

To score three goals in nine minutes and actually win the game could be a big turning point for our season, Saturday meant many things – it meant we got our first three points away from home this season, our first away goals and our first comeback of the season.

A win of the like on Saturday will do wonders for a youthful and ever improving Wigan Athletic side – the substitutes on Saturday made a big difference and key among those was Jordy Hiwula and Andy Kellett.

He showed some great composure to get the winner whilst Kellett made a big difference to Latics attacking chances alongside Chris McCann who showed the sort of driving runs we haven’t seen since the high point of Uwe Rosler’s time in charge.

It’s now one defeat in five games for Wigan Athletic, with three of those being wins.

Gary Caldwell’s young team seem to be finding their feet and if we can keep in touch with the leading pack over the next couple of months we would certainly be in with a chance of the play-offs come the end of the season. It feels far too early to think of anything more than that.


What a fantastic comeback at Chesterfield. Latics looked down and out at the Proact Stadium after 68 minutes when Leon Barnett put through his own goal to make it 2-0 to the Spireites.

But Barnett soon redeemed himself with an excellent volley and Craig Davies’ penalty and Jordy Hiwula’s last-minute winner produced an amazing smash and grab victory.

Latics had shown great fighting spirit to score three goals and turn the game around in the space of only nine minutes. But Gary Caldwell should also be congratulated for his tactical changes and substitutions.

The three substitutes – Chris McCann, Jordy Hiwula and Andy Kellett – made a difference and had a crucial role to play in all three goals.

During their eight seasons in the Premier League Latics had some memorable comebacks.

Back in April 2010 they came back from 2-0 to win 3-2 to shock Arsenal. In the process they ended the Gunners’ title bid and practically secured their own top-flight status for another season.

Three goals in 10 minutes turned the game in Wigan’s favour late on, with future FA Cup hero Ben Watson scoring the first.

A clanger from Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski allowed Titus Bramble to head Wigan level and then, in injury time Charles N’Zogbia’s strike won it.

It was a stunning end to a game that Arsenal had looked odds on to win.

It was real Roy of the Rovers stuff at the end of the 2010/11 season as Latics had to win their final two games of the season to survive.

It was all going wrong when they were 2-0 down at half time to relegation rivals West Ham in their penultimate game.

The roller coaster encounter saw Latics come back and win 3-2 in the 94th minute with a modern-day Roy Race that was Charles N’Zogbia getting the last gasp winner.

But probably the greatest ever turnaround was against our next opponents Port Vale on a Good Friday in 1979.

3-0 down at home to the Valiants with just 20 minutes to go, many disgruntled Latics fans decided to leave early, some angrily throwing their season tickets into the players’ tunnel.

But Latics stormed back to win 5-3.

Centre forward Peter Houghton scored a sensational hat trick in the space of just 10 glorious minutes before Derek Brownbill and Micky Moore completed the amazing comeback.