When Warren Joyce was appointed to replace Gary Caldwell as Wigan Athletic manager on the 2nd November there were some raised eyebrows amongst quite a few Latics supporters, we were sitting in the deep-end of the Championship and to all and sundry the obvious choice would have been an experienced manager to come in and steady the ship.
For some reason we opted for a left field choice, a 52 year old who had never managed in the Championship, indeed his last and only job in management in England was at then bottom tier Hull City back in 1998.
He lasted just 17 months in charge of the Tigers before getting the boot following a mediocre season, Hull were the 4th lowest scorers in the division at the time but only three sides had conceded less.
Joyce worked with the reserves/Development Squad at Manchester United from 2008 up to his appointment at the Latics in 2016, eight years working as a coach with players hand-picked for him from around the world for being the best in their age group, coaching in a league with no relegation and virtually non-contact, more or less a completely no pressure role. Just how he was considered the ideal choice for the rough and tumble of the Championship is way beyond my comprehension.
Joyce’s first game in charge against Reading on Bon Fire Day saw us two goals down inside the first five minutes, the set up of the team that day was strange, we had David Perkins on the right wing, but in fairness it would be harsh to put that defeat down to Joyce but the following nine games demonstrated, to me at least, that we had a manager/coach that was left scratching his head with the standard of play in the Championship.
Five points came from the available 27, a draw at Barnsley where we could easily have lost by three, a win at Huddersfield when they were denied two blatant penalties and missed a host of chances, plus a plucky draw at Derby, we were fortunate not to have been whitewashed on that run.
The return of Sam Morsy from Barnsley in January gave the club a lift, the Egypt international was the focal point of the side as we put in two of our best performances of the season against Burton and Brentford, winning both, scoring goals and playing with a high pressing game, but that lasted just two games.
The run since has been shocking, 9 points from 30 available, losing to relegation rivals and scoring just twice in our last six games, set up with no width, the full backs quite clearly under instruction not to get forward, hitting long hopeful balls into the channels for whoever is up top to chase, but given no support, we have no movement in and around the opposition box, defensively we are sound, well drilled, compact with seven players forming a defensive block, but football is played at both ends of the pitch and we looked devoid of ideas or men going forward.
Warren Joyce appears to be tactically inept, he sets us up not to lose when we need to win, when we go a goal down there is no coming back, he is incapable of seeing a different way forward, we are playing the dour football of a bygone era, his record at Hull perhaps is a reflection of the type of game he wants us to play, most definitely not the Wigan Athletic way.
With Joyce’s constant reflections on his time at Manchester United during press conferences perhaps he is regretting the decision to leave the sanctuary of Old Trafford, also his remarks regarding players’ fitness issues are both tiresome and quite disrespectful to their previous clubs, themselves as professional athletes and dare I say a deflection of the wider issue of Joyce himself being completely out of his depth managing a professional football club of the standing of Wigan Athletic.
Warren Joyce will, if left in charge, without any shadow of doubt take Wigan Athletic into League 1, if he is still at the helm next season then that will hit significantly the number of supporters willing to hand over their hard earned wonga to watch dull as dish water football, for that is all he is capable of producing, with this scared to venture forward brand of playing we will struggle to keep our heads above water in League 1 irrespective of who is in the squad, so for the good of the football club Joyce simply has to go, he should never have been appointed, that was plain as day back in October when Caldwell got the sack, Joyce was not the man, he’s never shown any inclination in the following five months that he could be the man, in fact he has taken us backwards in both style and substance.
The last four games against Nottingham Forest, Blackburn, Birmingham and Bristol City have summed Joyce’s tenure up at the club, just one goal scored, the fans shaking their heads at the standard of football on offer.
No more please, it’s time for Joyce to go!
Check out the latest PWU Podcast – Let’s Put The Soul Back In The Club
Warren Joyce’s tenure as Latics manager finally ended, now’s the time to get the soul back.