Vital Latics brings you the Wigan Athletic fans ‘Hopes and Fears’ series as we build up to the seasons big kick-off against Chelsea next Sunday.
Wigan Athletic supporter and Vital Latics member, russialatic gives us his thoughts on the coming season now, over to you russialatic:
Is it just me, or is August a shocking month for all Latics fans?
Each year we survive in the last few games of the season in May with a huge surprise to everyone in the football world, except us. All those same journalists who write about our Houdini-esque escape act then go away for their holidays and come back in July even more convinced that Wigan shouldn’t be in the premier league and put us at the bottom of all of their thoughts, except the relegation favourites list. Meanwhile, dangerously, we start to believe. We start to talk confidently of mid table security, without the threat of relegation. We even start to think about the E word after a few pints before being roundly ridiculed by our mates. Then August arrives.
By August our hopes for prudent recruitment in July have already evaporated. Those key players we’ve been linked with over the summer from Colombia or Costa Rica haven’t arrived. We’ve lost out on them to football powerhouses like Fulham, or West Brom, or Sunderland. We’ve inevitably already lost a key player or two by this time and invariably we’re in the middle of a fight to squeeze an extra 250K out of a predatory club trying to capture one of our best assets who we’ll sell at 11:55pm on 31st August. After weeks of counting down, the season suddenly appears and in the eyes of the media we’ve lost our best players and struggling to hold on to the player who represents our only chance of survival from the drop by Christmas. Yet still, we believe!
Following a magnificent end to 2011/12 our hopes of mid table security suddenly appear to have more than just emotional bias to support them. The squad is strong, we finally have a plan that actually works for more than patches of 10 minutes at a time, and we have a big feel-good-factor behind the club. The playing staff is settled, balanced and there are no hangers-on left in the playing squad. We have a good balance of youth and experience, and there appears to be a conveyor belt in development producing hungry young footballers who are better than we’ve ever produced, with the exception of Baines. Frankly, we have a lot to be positive about and our hope for mid table security could actually fall within the realms of reality for a change.
On the playing front we hope Di Santo will add goals to his game, we hope the Moses situation will be resolved before the season starts, we hope McCarthy’s suitors will stay away until at least summer 2013, and we hope that our key players will all sign new deals. Perhaps we might even get some premiership goals from Boselli, or am I now back onto emotional bias. Speaking of which, to a man we all hope West Ham lose out on their Olympic Stadium bid to a proper club, Leyton Orient, and are declared bankrupt shortly after we relegate them, AGAIN, at the DW!
Although we’ve proved the footballing establishment wrong for so long, we secretly fear that eventually they’ll be right. We’ll start slowly as we have done so many times, we’ll revert back to unsuccessful 4-3-3/4-5-1 tactics and we’ll lack those inspirational leaders to pull us through. We’ll finally get relegated. We’ll lose our incredible young manager and his backroom staff will go with him, stripping the club of the young management team full of ex-players that know and feel the spirit of this small but endearing club. Di Santo won’t live up to his promise, Moses will go and won’t be replaced or will stay and look disinterested, Maloney will get injured, McCarthy and McArthur’s form will revert to previous levels, Caldwell will go back to making sloppy errors and Figueroa, Alcaraz and co won’t sign new deals. Al-Habsi will leave for Arsenal. Ramis will be a flop and will sit in the reserves with Boselli dreaming of Latin summers. Dave Whelan will answer the calls of the annoyingly vocal minority and walk away, without a suitable plan in place.
Without doubt the team that ended last season was less dependent on any one individual than ever before, but it is difficult to imagine our brilliant results from March to May without Caldwell, Maloney, McCarthy, Moses and Di Santo.
For me, if Di Santo can add goals then he’ll be the complete striker that we’ve never had at Wigan. Even without those goals, his work for the team and all-round ability make him worthy of his place, providing the others can share the goal burden.
Special mention also needs to go to Caldwell and Al Habsi. There`s something just incredibly inspirational about both of these guys. You get the feeling that they are true pros. I’d want them in our team for those 6 pointers and I’d want them working for the club behind the scenes also. They are Latics legends in the making.
Premier League Finish: 12th
Carling Cup: Quarter Final
FA Cup: 4th Round
Player of the Year: Franco Di Santo
Flop of the Year: Piscu
Most Improved Player: Mauro Boselli
Most Improved Youngster: Callum McManaman
Golden Boot: Franco Di Santo
August 2013 Crisis: Big clubs chasing Di Santo, McCarthy and Martinez!
Starting XI at end of season:
Al Habsi, Figueroa, Ramis, Caldwell, Beausejour, Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Maloney, Crusat, Di Santo
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Latics and Proud
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