Shaun Farrell continues his series of articles looking back at the 2009/10 season this time taking a look at how the press viewed Wigan Athletic this past season, over to you Faz:
Well its been one of those years. I feel like the Press have decided that we have finally outstayed our welcome in the Premier League. I feel a bit like Wimbledon did in their last few years in the Top flight, being criticised for crowd sizes, off field issues and things beyond our control. Could it be that the West Ham supporting rags have had enough of us or could it just be prejudice against a small northern town?
We`ve taken it from all fronts this season. It`s not just been the snidey digs either it`s been full on TV reports, tabloid exclusives and demands for action.
Yeah we have had crappy crowds this year but so have everyone but then you don`t want to have a go at London teams, yeah we have had a player go down but as fast as you condemned us you`ve forgotten we sacked him unlike other teams, yeah we had a bad pitch but so did many other teams yet nothing was said! Let`s be honest your just a bunch of hypocritical old men who are trying to live of your or your supported teams glory. I also love how the ones that always seem to be having a pop either support West Ham or a fallen giant! The sooner some of our ex players start popping up the better.
Well let`s look at some of the main points from the year:
The Martinez affair. Yes we all remember the empty seats and the offering of cups of tea to the reporters all because we had hit a snag but the question is could it happen again? Oh wait it did! We were the main story on SSN after Brenda yet again had to be pictured next to a empty chair. That`s 2 managers in a row now, it can`t happen again can it? I do find myself wondering is this the point that the press turned against us and had enough!
Marlon the woman beater King: Or should I refer to him under his new name al-smack-her! Why we ever signed this former convict I`ll never know. Even when we sent him on loan he was causing trouble fighting in a Casino and accusing someone of stealing his watch.
The fact that the incident happened when he wasn`t at the club didn`t stop the press from having a go at Wigan over the incident. If you don`t know what happened Marlon decided to touch up and then punch a young girl that rejected his advances. To be honest I do still think there was more in it but those are the facts from the case. We also found out that as well as his conviction for car crime over the last year he had also been cautioned for assault, and for using a cloned credit card to buy a laptop computer (45k a week and using a cloned card).
The press deservedly came down heavy on him yet we also took the flack as a club yet we sacked him straight away (prem rules meant we had to give him notice) no other club has done that before. He got a custodial and left us struggling without a striker but after Gerrards dodgy Not Guilty it was always going to be a custodial sentence. I didn`t hear the press having a go at Liverpool for the Gerrard incident or Newcastle for the Barton affairs so why us?
I just hope that the Custodial sentence isn`t the end of it for King and when he comes out he is left in the wilderness with us then suing him for breach of contract.
Whelan`s Autobiography: I`m not a Whelan hater though I do have strong views on the guy, however I do feel that the press do use him as a walking sound bite. They know that if they want to get a controversial view on something no one else will speak about then they give Big Dave a ring.
Yet when his autobiography came out with the money going to a good cause they seemed to turn their backs on him and only print the weeing on his hands bits. Yes it was expensive but all proceeds went to the new Wigan Boys and Girls club something I would proudly defend. For all the bad we say about the chairman he always defends us and I hope he continues to do so for many more years!
The FA Cup Crowds: Look we know it was a bad turn out and we know that not many attended but people in the press forget that we are in a recession that has hit Wigan extremely hard.
People are struggling to find the money to live so a extra game can be difficult to find the money for. In some ways we fell into a trap with these games by closing the South Stand and giving the press the perfect photo of Stripey and the Tiger being the only two in the stand.
Other teams had massive drops in crowds yet it was us that took the stick, maybe the club should of done more but at the end of the day the real fans turned up and we should be congratulated for that.
The Fulham Game: They brought less than a handful yet who got the stick????? Us again. What was it that they said “Rome or Wigan”. Well I tell you now I`d take Wigan every time rather than those greasy knife carrying Italians!
The Pitch: After the worst winter for many years we first got stick for calling the game off and then when everyone else did and that was forgotten they then decided to have a go at the pitch. Yeah it was crap but other pitches this year have cut up and looked shocking for instance Wembley and Old Trafford yet you only have a go at Wembley when Fergie starts having a go. But look at what we did. As soon as people complained we re-laid the pitch at a cost to ourselves, we didn`t blame anyone else like the Rugby we just accepted it and as such made sure it was sorted. Then what happens they still have a go!
I`m sure some journalists and commentators don`t realise we have re-laid it! At least Wenger didn`t use it as a excuse! If he had we`d be facing it all over again. Instead they`ve decided to start some sort of campaign that stadiums cant be dual usage. I wonder if this is a way to kick us out when we achieve the results because I haven`t heard anyone else mention that Manchester United gets used for Concerts and Rugby or Wembley takes everything. Never mind the grants most stadiums were built with stated they had to be all year round and dual usage stadiums.
There`s many more that could be spoken about like the Local Press but I`m getting more and more worked up as I look back.
The truth is we will always be the poor man of the Premier League and the Mockneys will never want to give us any credit (it does my head in that they always talk about Lampard, Terry, Ferdinand etc being ex West Ham players yet never Heskey and Baines!) but we don`t deserve a lot of the bad press we get and in some ways it`s because they are scared of us. I just don`t understand why we don`t stand up to some of these reporters and the local press and maybes it`s time we did.
Faz`s other articles:
Manager and Coaching Staff
Seasonal Expectations and Targets
Transfers In and Out
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