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

England's Player Ratings v Italy

Post comment

Phil Jagielka, England's forgotten man, was amongst their best performers, whilst Michael Carrick again calmed things down. As for Theo Walcott, we're worried...

You Have To Keep Sterling High Up The Pitch

Post comment

As Raheem Sterling's contract negotiations rumble on, WhoScored examine where he performs best. 'Why would you play him at wing-back Brendan?' is the question?

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

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Italy 1-1 England: Andros Townsend equaliser keeps Roy Hodgson's side unbeaten this season

Substitute Andros Townsend rescued England's unbeaten post-World Cup record as his late goal in Turin earned a 1-1 draw.

Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy step up Arsenal comebacks

Jack Wilshere scored as he stepped up his comeback from injury against a Brentford XI at Arsenal's training ground on Tuesday.

England's Andros Townsend happy to silence critics with equaliser in Italy

Andros Townsend was delighted to repay Roy Hodgson's faith with the equalising goal as England drew in Italy on Tuesday.

Mail Box

Why Do Arsenal Have So Many 'Internet Warriors'?

The Mailbox has an open letter from Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, questions Phil Jones' bulldog spirit and asks: "Why do Arsenal have so many "internet warriors?"

It's All Just A Ruse By The 'Southern Press'...

A varied Tuesday morning Mailbox, with thoughts on the England U21s, a Sterling ruse, Kane realism, Wenger coaching youth and enjoying the charity match...

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