Well after the big gust of wind on Saturday night, or should I say our defeat to Swindon Town in the FA Cup, I’ve been blown off the fence and have landed in the garden of the dark side. Martinez has to go. I can still see what the light side are talking about and I do still sympathise with his predicament a little, but I now think the negatives far outweigh the positives.
When Bobby took over we had just finished in 11th position with 45 points. In Bob’s two full seasons here we have finished 16th on 36 and 42 points. Now, under Steve Bruce we may not have played very much attractive football like we occasionally do under Martinez, but we very rarely went into games waving the white flag and we certainly knew how to defend. Under Bobby we have suffered defeats to the tune of 9-1, 8-0 and 6-0 which are the three worst defeats in our history.
We have been knocked out of the Carling Cup by Crystal Palace and then favourites for relegation from the Championship Blackpool (ok, they were promoted that season but that doesn’t warrant the 4-1 hammering we took there) and have been knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two sides Notts County and Swindon Town. It is those types of negatives that blew me into the garden of the dark side. How many times does this club have to be laughed at for its on-field displays? We have a hard enough task trying to get a fair crack of the media whip due to our crowds, history and even the standard of the town at times (usually said by people a long way away from Wigan at the time) without being flogged on the pitch by teams some 53/54 places below us in the ladder.
Now, I can hear the light side cursing from here and this is where I sympathise with Bobby. He was given the tasks of lowering the wage bill and keeping us in the league, which so far he has done. I can’t deny that he has had his hands tied with regards to signings, but he asked for 3 transfer windows to get HIS team together and he can’t argue that this is exactly that. The problem is that this team, despite his comments that it’s the strongest ever, isn’t good enough. There are numerous players who are not Premier League quality in my opinion. Gary Caldwell, Maynor Figueroa, Connor Sammon, Franco Di Santo and Adrian Lopez would all struggle to get a game at most Premier League sides yet Bobby signed 4 of them and regularly plays the other. Every Manager makes bad signings. Sir Alex Ferguson paid £28m for Juan Veron and something silly like £15m for Kleberson once, but his list of good signings far outweighs his bad. I don’t think you can say that about Martinez.
Onto his team selections. Many of us on the board have criticised the 4-5-1 formation and now the 3-5-whatever the hell it is, but I don’t mind it. The problem that I have is his reluctance to change it. He will play that formation no matter the scenario. Last Tuesday against Sunderland we had a brilliant chance to get out the bottom 3 and put some space between us and relegation as well as burst the bubble of a relegation rival and drag them back into the mix. I, and probably most of us, would have stuck to the same team we have the last few weeks when performances have improved and gone to win the game. Instead, Roberto has rested two of our best (if not the best) players we have.
No problem, we’ve still dominated the half and were unlucky to be 1 down. Second half we’ll be all over them. Martinez didn’t appear to give that team talk and we got flogged. Again. (Seems he gave the same team talk at half time against Swindon) He then of course baffled everyone (and probably peed the kit man off) by bringing Mohammed Diame on with 2 minutes of injury time to go with the score 1-4. The point? On Saturday he brought Connor Sammon on on 90 minutes. Why? The fish should have been on with Moses as soon as they scored and we should have been pumping balls forward with Moses and McManaman (who he actually took off) sniffing around. What was Connor Sammon expected to do in 3 minutes? Did he even touch the ball? Pathetic management.
I don’t think we’ll ever see Bobby get the sack from Whelan in the same way I don’t think Blackburn will sack Kean why the Venky’s are there. He’s a yes man. A nice guy who will do exactly as he’s told. I may be wrong of course, but I can’t see him turning round to Whelan and saying that to get into Europe we need to spend and that we won’t do it this way. Saying that, I think DW knows that and is quite happy that the Premier League stay is going to end. The saving grace from a fans perspective is that he appears to be getting the finances in order before it happens so that we will still have a club next season and won’t be in positions similar to Leeds and Portsmouth. Are we as fans happy with that though? Are we happy with simply saying “well we were here 6 years longer than everyone thought and now we’re going”? I’d love to see us show some ambition and do a Fulham. By that I mean become a regular fixture in the division that finishes in the top 15 most seasons and occasionally qualifies for Europe and has a decent run. A club that has a good crack at the cup competitions. The 2006 Carling Cup Final was a great day and I want more. I’d love to see us win that major trophy and qualify for Europe (typically we’d get Shamrock Rovers and lose but still). I’d love us to do all that under Martinez. A guy that loves the club and a guy that I idolised as a player at Springfield Park, but after 2 and a half seasons of mostly garbage………I can’t see it.
I love you Bobby, but I’m sorry your time is up. The door is over there -->
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