Who would want to be a Wigan Athletic fan at the moment? The club’s Premier League status is precarious and likely now out of their hands. They face an FA Cup final at the weekend as massive underdogs, and the future of their prestigious manager has been called into question by major football events this week.
The sudden retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United boss has well and truly started the managerial merry-go-round for next season. After 11 years loyal service to Everton, David Moyes has decided to leave Goodison Park to fill the breach at Old Trafford, creating a vacancy on Merseyside.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is the favourite to take the job with the Toffees, alongside Swansea gaffer Michael Laudrup and former Toffees playing hero Stuart McCall, who is working miracles in the SPL with Motherwell.
Martinez has refused to talk about speculation on such a big week ahead for his current employers, and that has to be seen as the right approach. However, what could Wigan offer the Spaniard that Everton can’t?
They have a stadium that’s more modern, and can offer the chance of European football next season. However, swapping Dave Whelan for Bill Kenwright is no problem, nor would be the better playing squad at Everton, the chance to bring better youth through the academy system and the attacking football that Martinez would bring to any position.
Whelan has admitted himself that he fears losing his manager in the summer. Martinez has turned down Aston Villa twice, and despite meeting Liverpool owners in Miami last summer when they dismissed Kenny Dalglish, he elected to stick with his current employers. In all honesty, it will be difficult to turn the blue half of Merseyside down if they end up making an approach, especially if the Premier League survival battle is lost.
All the hard work from last weekend’s fortunate but precious victory away at West Brom was undone on Tuesday night at home to Swansea. The Latics led the game twice against opposition with nothing to play for. However, some cataclysmic defending, which frankly belonged in the Football League, allowed the visitors in to grab a 3-2 victory that saw the likes of Fulham, Sunderland, and especially Newcastle and Norwich breath a huge sigh of relief.
Realistically, the battle to beat the drop is out of Wigan’s hands. Three points behind Newcastle with two games to play, they need some kind of result at the Emirates against Champions League chasing Arsenal on Tuesday. Failure to do that, and it won’t be trips to the Emirates, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and the Etihad Stadium next season, it will be long journeys to the Goldsands Stadium, the Keepmoat Stadium, Hillsborough and Oakwell.
And all this comes ahead of Saturday’s historic Wembley final appearance in the FA Cup. It hasn’t been the easiest week for the club, and the next nine days will either be very delightful, slightly underwhelming or absolutely calamitous for Wigan Athletic Football Club.
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