'This is your time to become Wigan Athletic heroes', Roberto Martinez urges players
Roberto Martinez wrote the book on Wigan Athletic surviving – and thriving – against overwhelming odds.
And the FA Cup-winning manager says the club’s current crisis is not only something that will be overcome by the famous Latics spirit.
In an exclusive interview with the Wigan Observer, he says it will be looked back on forever as the ultimate show of unity, belief and triumph.
“I think now is the time to rally around, to almost look for the opportunities on the other side,” he said.
“And we have to realise this was a disaster waiting to happen, this is not normal what has happened.
“This is not Wigan Athletic at all.
“When you see a club that is sold with no debt at all 19 months ago, you have to do things in a very horrible manner to be that irresponsible. And in that respect it’s better to get the wrong people out as quickly as possible.
“There are two big challenges now...the challenge of finding a new owner, and the challenge of finding four more wins.
“The way the team is playing, it is certainly more than possible they can pick up enough points to achieve that.”
Martinez was the man who introduced the mantra ‘Sin Miedo’ – ‘Without Fear’ – into Wiganese vocabulary.
And he says that is exactly the attitude needed now - on and off the pitch.
“Now is the moment...and I know it’s very difficult because the fans cannot get into the stadium,” he said.
“But in a typical Wigan Athletic fashion, with the belief the fans have always shown to beat the odds, now is the time to be there for Paul Cook and the boys.
“And the mentality has to be very, very clear – this is an opportunity to overcome all this irresponsible behaviour.
“That opportunity will come on the pitch, and the boys have nothing to lose.
“Everyone understands this is a very tough and unfair challenge that has been thrown.
“I think the football challenge this year has already been achieved with the amount of points on the board.
“The stuff they’ve been playing in the last nine or 10 games has been so enjoyable and productive. And the players and Paul Cook and his staff deserve enormous credit for the way they have done that.
“Now is the time to treasure the substance that is Wigan Athletic, which is coming all together, and beating the odds.
“Can you imagine what it would be like if the players could overcome the 12-point deduction and still stay up? That would be one of those moments that will be remembered forever.
“It would be normal to accept your fate, because everyone expects Wigan Athletic to be relegated.
“But this is an opportunity to write history, to right a wrong the team did nothing to bring on itself.
“This is down to the people who called themselves owners, but they were not fit and proper custodians of Wigan Athletic.
“Now is the time to take the wrong off the field and make it right on the field.
“It’s the time to be the underdog, and to excel with it.
“This is the time for Wigan Athletic.”