Time for a change of direction at the club

by | Mar 27, 2023 | News

Phoenix 2021, listen

So years ago Dave Whelan promised us that we would have one of the best academies in the North and proceeded to give Steve Bruce every penny who in turn spent it on players wages the likes of Siberesky Heskey Melchiot and Bramble hunting for the glory days.

This in turn nearly sent us into bankruptcy and thankfully Bruce left for Martinez to takeover who was given the job of clearing the money earners out and save the club.

Since then, we’ve done nothing bar survive and the youth set up has always taken a back seat with relegation and promotions taking the front seat season after season.

When Al Jasmi took over in March 2021, I was glad to hear Talal say that they weren’t going to throw money at the club (fair enough I totally agreed) and that we were going to concentrate on the clubs youth academy set up and develop our own crop of youngsters to me a very good idea.

Just before administration we had the basis and a crop of super talented young lads that we were coming through and it was a matter of time before they started to break through.

Then suddenly through going into administration a generation of super talented young lads were lost in the matter of a few months and how the youth coaches survived this period of time still baffles me to this day.

So roll on 2 years since then and were now watching Dave Whelan Part2 we’re on the brink of bankruptcy due to huge mistakes, massive operational overspend and the youth set up stood in a stagnant puddle while 30+ year old players who offer fcuk all draw their £10k a week as they close in on football retirement.

Now zoom up the road and we have a similar size club in Blackburn run by the Venkys who over the past 10 year have made Blackburn become only the second club to possess a Category One Academy outside of England’s top two divisions, following Wolves who enjoyed a brief spell in the third tier during the 2013/14 campaign.

They have reaped the rewards of their long term plan and now have a heap of young talented first team players in and just below been first team ready.
Blackburn went through one stage were they had at least one youngster that had come through the academy starting for the first team and this went on for over 500 consecutive Blackburn games which is incredible.

Blackburn have a squad the houses only 2 players over the age of 30 keeper Kaminski and defender Ayala. The squad is riddled with young lads brought through their youth system with 23 players been under the age of 25.
At Wigan with have 13 players 30+ years old and a list of young lads who never make the bench never mind play.
Senior players command far better money granted but, in our case, live within your means, we cannot pay a host of senior players £10k a week.

Blackburn are in 5th position 61 pts
Wigan are in 24th position on 31 pts

The cost of per year to run Blackburn’s Category A youth set up is roughly around £3million mark per year but Blackburn are now reaping the rewards with a whole host of young lads now playing and named in nearly every Blackburn match.
Wigan Athletic have a catchment area in the North West that is huge and only 20ish miles from both Liverpool and Manchester. We have 4 of the biggest clubs in the world on our doorstep to cherry pick those who don’t quite make it
Let’s say you’re a young footballer didn’t quite make it at one of the big boys clubs and Blackburn or Wigan came knocking, where would you go?,

Blackburn? were you get top end coaching at in a Category A academy set up and a good chance you’ll play for the club or move on to bigger and better things,
Come to Wigan with little investment, good coaching but with average coaching facilities and little investment and were achieving 1st team football is nothing more than a pipe dream because “Their not ready” is the clubs moto.

The closest you’d get to making it as a footballer at Wigan is, been loaned out to Salford or Tranmere then play say L2 football learn nothing then come back to be released, this will attract a absolutely no one.

So to our owners Al Jasmi and to Talal and Gottmann and Markham can also give it a read if they’ve got the time,

do this,

If you want to compete with a similar competitive and successful business that’s in the same line of work as yourself then copy their business model.

I suggest you all take a trip up the road and look at clubs like Blackburn and their long term business plan for their youth then take photos and notes.

As a club we have no long term future paying stupid wages. Every other year we end up hiring a gang of overpaid overaged average and injured players all top dollar then we watch our youth set up struggle on pittance while fistfuls of the clubs money leaves our club and drops into the wallet of these injured money making players most who are on their the final best pay packet contract before it all comes to an end.

Talal needs to wake up and smell the coffee it’s wafting down to Latics from up the road. There’s a business model up there that we can take a leaf out their book.

If Robinson leaves Fulham and we do end up with a windfall of say around the £5million plus mark then I suggest we use it to vastly improve the training facilities and more to the point the academy set up and let’s tap into it and pinch some of these youngsters that might not make the grade at 1 of the big 4 clubs local to us.

We as a club outside are in probably the best geographic position bar London prime for a youth player catchment area. We’ve done in the past with the likes of Baines and McManaman.

I’m sick to the back teeth hearing manager after manager Cook been the best, “They’re not Ready” when asked about any of the young lads breaking through.

How many of you had heard of Hughes before Toure spotted him and gave him his chance? A chance is all some of these young lads need not send them on loan to a say Chichester or a Halifax.

It’s time our owners stopped it now!!. Stop bringing in average players on top money. The whole ethos of the club needs to go back to how it was when we got in the league when we had a changing room full of young lads the likes of Newall Jewell the changing room sounded like a bar on Kirby.

Talal, build the academy,
Give these young lads the very best chance to make it into the first team.
Let’s grow this youth policy so young lads in our catchment area WANT to come to Wigan when they’ve heard and know of our set up and it’s the best place around for their development.

Put it this way….if we hypothetically got rid of Wyke Cousins and Fletchers yearly wage we could fund a top class academy for a year.

It’s time for a huge change at this club and Al Jasmi and Talal need to have a board meeting not with Gottmann and Markham instead go and have a chat with the Venkys.

Their long term plan is a very successful one and one that might just take them back into Prem while we head to Lincoln.


Time for a big change Talal

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