Why Wigan aren’t all that bad

by admin

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Wigan are hardly the most popular of Premier League teams.

Pantomime villains as they survived relegation at the expense of little old Blackpool (or “the people’s champions” as Match of the Day’s Steve Wilson sickeningly described them), the Latics were seen as the party poopers on Survival Sunday.

Rather than admire Wigan’s resolve as they surpassed the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool by beating Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, neutrals shrugged and grunted disapprovingly.

The 1-0 win against the Potters secured a seventh season of Premier League football for the Lancashire club, yet still the masses crowed about a club which did not deserve to be in the top flight.

There is a feeling among opposition fans that Wigan are little more than a bunch of cheeky Football League upstarts who have outstayed their welcome in British football’s top tier.

Detractors claim the club has no history, while rival supporters are less than glowing in their appraisals of an afternoon spent at the DW Stadium, sharing the experience with the Latics’ sparsely populated fans.

There is, however, a peculiar attraction to this less celebrated Lancastrian football outpost.

In Roberto Martinez, they have one of the Premier League’s finest young managers. Eloquent, efficient and unswervingly devoted to playing attractive football, the Spaniard is a class act.

On the pitch, meanwhile, the likes of Charles N’Zogbia and Hugo Rodallega can combine to thrilling effect and sometimes serve up some sumptuous attacking play.

They punch above their weight and there have been some memorable upsets, with Chelsea and Arsenal among those to have been felled at the DW Stadium.

The most impressive aspect of Wigan’s success, though, is undoubtedly their scouting network.

Up there with the likes of Udinese and Villarreal, Wigan have plundered Central and South America to great effect.

From the Colombian livewire Rodallega to the Honduran with a left foot Alan Partridge would liken to a traction engine, Maynor Figueroa, Wigan’s scouts have trawled the globe for new talent.

Another Honduran, Wilson Palacios, was sold on to Tottenham for a healthy profit, while Hendry Thomas has also made an impression since joining from the Central American republic.

Wigan have unearthed some gems closer to home as well, with James McCarthy and James McArthur both proving to be assets having moved from Hamilton Academical.

The Premier League’s vultures are sure to be circling around N’Zogbia and McCarthy, but Wigan are unlikely to struggle too badly should they need to find replacements.

The Latics have a generous owner, Dave Whelan, who has bankrolled their progress from non-league to top flight and is sure to delve into his deep pockets again should his hometown club require help.

Whelan was determined to make Wigan a football town as well as a rugby league hotbed, and as long as they keep discovering stars like Rodallega and Figueroa, Wigan Athletic could even be as famous as the town’s pies.

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    If there were more owners and managers like Whelan and Martinez rather than the greedy selfish ones currently running some of the top clubs, football and the English leagues could return to being a pride of England showing the world what started in the UK. Does not have to be a grubby greedy money-making sport now portrayed worldwide. Well done Wigan.

  • Keith

    And don’t forget Antonio Valencia

  • http://dafpritchard.wordpress.com Dafydd Pritchard

    Would have mentioned Antonio Valencia but he had already been signed by Villarreal, so the pedant in me stopped me from using him as an example…

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