It seems like a lifetime ago since Wigan beat Manchester City to win the FA Cup. In fact it was only 29 months. Those 29 months however have preceded over a decline of seemingly impossible proportions.
It took all of a week for reality to bite after that historical final in London. Having flirted with relegation season upon season, defeat to Arsenal finally called their bluff and sent them packing.
This was followed by the summer departure of their cup winning Spanish coach Roberto Martinez, who left for Everton shortly after their wonderful day at Wembley, since when they have plummeted not one but two divisions.
So how did they fall so hard, so fast and what exactly are the chances of a return to the higher end of the football league? Under new manager Gary Caldwell things are slowly improving and the club is sitting just two points from the play off places, so maybe not as bad as you think.
It was somewhat inevitable that Wigan would eventually leave the Premiership. This small town, more famous for its Rugby team, had watched its plucky little underdog side threaten to get relegated for the majority of their eighth years in Football’s highest division. Nobody however expected them to go one further and drop another league within three years, but that is what has happened.
True, in their first season away from the Premier League they were almost a victim of their own success as their FA Cup win came with the “bonus” of entering them into the Europa League, forcing them too overload the squad and trawl across to Europe’s farthest corners. But the club hasn’t helped itself throughout that time either.
Since Martinez left for the Toffees, a conveyor belt of failing managers has rolled through the club. Initially, Owen Coyle was the man chairman Dave Whelan felt would be the ideal replacement for the outgoing Spaniard. Ideal was hardly the word for a man who was gone before Christmas with only seven wins to his name. Ex- Manchester City forward Uwe Rosler was next up and, despite an upturn in form that saw The Latics rise into a play-off spot and a reach second successive FA Cup semi-final, the German was sacked in November, just a few months into the following season.
Then came Malky Makay, sacked from Cardiff for controversial behaviour, who took until April to bank a single win at home. He was sacked in April having collected a measly 25 points and, with relegation looming, former player Gary Caldwell was bought in. He could little to prevent the drop though and losing to Rotherham sentenced the Latics to a second relegation in three seasons.
The good side to all this? Plenty of action for the keen football fan and the bookies alike. Betting on the outcome of a sporting event greatly increases the enjoyment levels of spectators. With the evolution of betting online and through your mobile device, sports betting has never been easier and consequently it’s never been more fun. Plus, there are so many competitors in this field that punters are finding value in the markets like never before.
The season so far has been a little bit hit and miss for the Lancashire side as they have won only one game more than they have lost and have nearly conceded as many as they have scored. Every time they pick up three points, they lose the next match and are seemingly back where they started. 14 goals scored in their first ten games is almost matched by the 13 occasions that goal keeper Richard O’Donnell has been forced to pick the ball out of his net, highlighting their problems with consistency nicely.
Currently they sit at ninth, tied on points with the mighty Southend United and if they are to reclaim their place in the Championship then they will need to tighten up defensively. Upfront they do have goals in them, spread around the squad too. Of the 14 goals scored, top scorer Michael Jacobs – a midfielder – has supplied just three.
Their new chairman Dave Whelan’s grandson David Sharpe declared that Wigan have a budget that is five times the size of their League One rivals and tipped Athletic to smash the league. They look some way off that. The noisy chairman also guaranteed a striker that would score twenty goals this season. They look somewhat short of that target too. To be fair, recruiting top talent is much easier when you’re operating at a high level and players want to join. They do however have a midfielder called Max Power so that has to be worth something, eh?
League one sponsors Skybet are offering 7/2 for a return to the Championship next year. But with the Latics only 7 points from the top, 12/1 is a more than reasonable price for the recent cup winners to win the league.
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