Wigan: How Long Can Martinez Make Magic?

Philip Cornwall compares Wigan to the Coventry of old - just about hanging on year after year. On paper it looks like it will be even harder this season. But it always does...

Last Updated: 13/08/12 at 16:26 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's Premier League Top Scorers Quiz - Answers

Post comment

One player was the answer twice. Naughty! Here are all the answers...

F365's Premier League Top Scorers Quiz

Post comment

We have 20 questions about every club's leading goalscorers in Premier League history. How well do you know your goal-getters?

All Articles

Last season:

Premier League 15th; FA Cup Third round; Carling Cup Second round

Manager Roberto Martinez (since June 2009) Odds on being first out of his job 12-1 (joint fourth) Transfers in Ivan Ramis (Mallorca), Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen), Ryo Miyaichi (loan, Arsenal)

Transfers out Hugo Rodallega (Fulham), Mohamed Diame (West Ham), Chris Kirkland (Sheffield Wednesday), Lee Nicholls (Northampton)

The Latics have a long way to go to match their achievements, but Wigan are gradually becoming the Coventry City of our era. The Sky Blues somehow survived in the top flight from 1967 to 2001 despite perennial engagement in relegation battles, no serious prospect of sustained improvement and crowds that struggled for respectability. On occasion they played some decent football, mind.

Wigan have a couple of decades to go before they can emulate Coventry's longevity but despite being annually tipped for relegation they are now embarking on their eighth campaign. They looked in severe peril at times last season but the final margin was surprisingly comfortable thanks to some outstanding results and indeed performances from late March. Winning at Liverpool meant less than it would in previous seasons but they did win at Arsenal too and should have beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, while Manchester United and Newcastle lost at the DW.

At the end of the campaign, Roberto Martinez's standing was remarkably high for a relegation fighter, even if some of Dave Whelan's remarks can be dismissed as hyperbole. The Spaniard did not accept any of the reported offers, but will he regret staying at the DW Stadium? Can things actually get much better at a club hemmed in by far bigger names?

If they can pick up where they left off in May then it is possible. But Chelsea visit on Sunday and Manchester United away is the first game after the international break, so the other early games - Southampton's first at St Mary's and Stoke;s trip to the DW - are surely important if the usual pattern of struggle is to be avoided.

Transfer activity has been minimal, with the 19-year-old midfielder Fraser Fyvie arriving from Aberdeen and the defender Ivan Ramis swapping Mallorca for mid-Lancs. They must hold on to Victor Moses and the loan of Ryo Miyaichi will not make up for his loss. Mohamed Diame and Hugo Rodallega have gone and that surely represents a net loss in quality.

Forget - I know it will be hard - Dave Whelan's endless pontificating and the unforgivable oxygen given his views by certain 24-hour sports news channels, and remember what he has done for his club. They may not be anyone's favourites but nonetheless Wigan have been sustained by Whelan and in the run-in last season they contributed greatly to one of the most exciting seasons we have seen, for which credit goes to chairman as well as coach. But any upswing is bound to lead to key players leaving because the club cannot grow. Geography, as well as the economics of modern football, works against them.

Good luck to Martinez - he will need it.

Philip Cornwall

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

toke though. Hmn. I don't think it was defending that made people dislike Stoke so much as the out and out cheating/nastiness they regularly displayed. That, and they kept buying the odd flair player and then ruining them (Oh! Tuncay, what were you thinking?).

megabrow (cufc)
Being Defensive About Being Defensive...

W

ell that really inspires me with confidence. No point in training, deciding on a coherent formation, or playing players in their best positions, let's just hope we get lucky.

mumbo_jimbo
Van Gaal: Luck is key

I

believe this is because for sepp Christmas is a 7 day feast finishing on the 25th

hiya
Blatter calls for early final

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Chelsea captain John Terry not planning England return despite Wembley heroics

John Terry has no plans to reconsider his international retirement despite an emotional Capital One Cup win at Wembley.

Eden Hazard says Chelsea desire strong for more trophies

Eden Hazard insists Chelsea will be relentless in their desire to add further honours to Sunday's Capital One Cup success this season.

Greg Dyke offers Wembley as venue for possible FIFA presidential debate

FA chairman Greg Dyke has offered Wembley Stadium to host a FIFA presidential debate, should one be arranged before May's election.

Mail Box

Jose Settles Most Boring Team Debate...

There's lots of reaction to Chelsea and Liverpool's wins on Sunday, plus one Mailboxer asking: Who is the Premier League's best midfielder?

Are Tottenham Right To Redevelop?

It's a really good Friday afternoon Mailbox, with thoughts on Spurs' ground development, the Europa league (leave it alone) and one man running for a very good cause...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company