Vital Latics regular and Wigan Athletic nut Philadelphia based fly eagles fly has written an open letter to Latics boss Roberto Martinez asking a few direct questions about the sale of Lee Cattermole and the fee received, read on:
Open Letter to Roberto Martinez
Dear Mr. Martinez,
Hey, I wanted to start this off by telling you that with this letter, I really am holding the best interests of the club at heart. As one of the growing contingent of international Latics fans, I’m proud to say how passionate I am about our club, despite what barriers there may be for a fan from overseas (particularly one without much in the spare-cash-for-transatlantic-airfare department) to really commit themselves to one of the ‘less favorable’ (read: Not Man U) English sides.
You will be the fourth manager I’ve seen at the helm of our team, and I must say the manager I was most enthused to see put in place. As one of the many fans calling for your appointment, I was thrilled to see Mr. Whelan bring you home from Swansea, and I am very much looking forward to watching the attacking brand of football that this season seems to have in store.
However, one recent development at our club has caused me a great deal of concern – the recent sale of Lee Cattermole. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can fully sympathise with your reasons to sell the player – as the one unhappy frog in a team that otherwise seems very happy to be under your management, I fully understand his quick expulsion.
I saw what happened to the team at the end of last season, and I watched that episode of the Crossbar Challenge where Amr Zaki missed the bar by about five miles and nobody so much as snickered. I can see how poor camaraderie can negatively affect a team and I appreciate the fact that you recognized this and addressed it before it became a problem.
But six million pounds??? He was one of the stars of our team last year, Steve Bruce (of the millions and millions and millions of spare cash to spend) was clearly enamored with him, he’s a 21 year old player already gunning for the England National Team, he had rumored interest from Arsenal and Liverpool, transfer market prices are inflated to the bursting point, and you sell him for six million pounds with three weeks left in the transfer window?
I don’t claim to be a Steve Bruce fan since his unceremonious departure (likewise with Mr. Cattermole, actually), but given evidence in the past year and a half, it’s clear that he would have demanded eight figures – and likely received it this August.
While I can see holding onto him for a couple more weeks before letting him squeak out the door by the end of the window (do you really think Bruce would have refused? It’s not as if asking for an extra 10 mil is really an issue), I fail to see the logic behind at least holding out for 2 to 4 million more.
Because you see I guarantee that those 4 million pounds would matter to us more than they would to Sunderland, particularly in light of some of our recent purchases, before and after your tenure here began. For example, £4m makes 2 James McCarthys, one Mohamed Diame, or about 20 Antonio Amayas. It makes a Jordi Gomez and a Jason Scotland. It makes two of Michael Brown, who has been a great signing and an instrumental part in helping keep us up these past couple years. It makes a Hugo Rodallega, it makes half of a David Bentley, it makes another Lee Cattermole.
If I could ask you to do one more favor for me before I conclude this letter, I want you to think back to the later days of Paul Jewell, once the Latics had gained a good deal of recognition for their first season in the Premiership, and when their players had as well.
That first season’s team, if you recall, was somewhat quickly and unceremoniously soon to be broken up, with clubs such as Spurs and Everton swooping in for such stars as Pascal Chimbonda and Leighton Baines. And if there was one thing that left Latics fans unsatisfied, it was the too-small fees being received for players.
Then in came Steve Bruce, and with him a slew of new faces, many of them not the most memorable (I’ll refrain from naming names as many are still members of our team), but in particular one fresh-faced Honduran named Wilson Palacios. El mago turned out to be a superstar for our team, a box-to-box defensive-styled midfielder with an attacking flair.
Soon enough, teams were knocking on our door for him, but Bruce held out for three full weeks until Tottenham Hotspur finally forced us to sell. But when one of our fan favorites left us all in despair, we were rewarded with a glittering 14 million pound fee, ready to invest in new faces, to give us a shot at signing another future fan favorite.
So imagine our reaction when we find one of the players that emerged in Wilson’s absence, a 21 year old international-in-the-making with perhaps more value than Palacios due to his demonstrated potential, nationality and age, sold for less than half of the price. It always stings to lose one of your stars, especially one with the potential to be the second player to ever play for England while wearing a Latics shirt, but to lose him for what feels like little more than a bag of beans leaves a lump in the throat that just won’t go away.
Now I don’t write this out of anger, and overall I’m not unhappy with the sale – I value the fact that you are trying to preserve the chemistry of the team, and I feel this managerial quality is one of the reasons that your Swansea teams were able to achieve as much as they did. But this is a letter not to criticize, but with any luck, to make you think twice about signing a player away too quickly, before the acceptable price is really reached.
Don’t get me wrong, nobody wants you to be Steve Bruce, but I’m sure few people forget Leighton Baines’ too-hasty exit two years ago, and I don’t think any of us want to relive those days, either.
fly eagles fly
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