12th Man: The new gaffer

Warren Joyce

Joyce oversees his first training session as Latics manager

So just over a week after Gary Caldwell was sacked as manager of the Latics we know who is replacement is. You could be forgiven for thinking ‘who’ when you read about the new appointment. Indeed many of our more vocal supporters across social media have done just that. Many deriding a supposedly cheap option.

I think that’s harsh. On reflection Joyce was probably the least cheap option out there. The fact we’ll have had to pay compensation to Manchester United and have offered the manager a 3 and a half year contract.

Also he’s not an untried manager. He was manager of Hull in the early 2000′s and was also manager of Belgian side Royal Antwerp during their link up with Manchester United whilst his record with that club of 14 titles in eight seasons is unsurpassed. He has a reputation for playing exciting football and developing young players so should be an ideal fit for Latics.

What’s more surprising is how we got to this appointment in the first place. I appeared on BBC Radio Manchester’s Monday football show earlier this week along with Paul Middleton from the MFE fanzine and Paul Rowley the BBC’s owm Wigan Athletic correspondent. We spent an hour discussing the managerial situation at Latics and we were all in agreement that Gary Caldwell had been sacked too soon.

All season we’ve looked like just ticking and Gary Caldwell had been adamant that a win was just around the corner. He was proven right on Saturday and although he wasn’t in the dug out I thought it showed the man’s class that he had contacted Graham Barrow and the staff to offer luck on the morning of the game. Barrow also alluded to the players wanting to do it for Caldwell. Indeed all of that squad are Caldwell’s not one player has been signed by another manager.

Which brings us back to why did Caldwell lose his job so early in the season? Did the club panic or did something go on behind the scenes? I suppose we’ll never know but I still think Gary Caldwell can feel harshly treated. We reportedly offered the job to both Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville before approaching Joyce tells me we didn’t have a plan in place before letting Caldwell go.

But football is a results business and it’s now on Warren Joyce to get those results.  Latics need to stay in this division.

There’s no two ways about it so let’s hope Warren, the coaching staff and players all manage that come May.

Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Evening Post, Friday 4th November 2016