The Twohundredpercent Pre-Season Previews: Wigan Athletic

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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18 Responses

  1. David, Gomersal says:

    Usual reporting, let’s trash little Wigan and their supporters, who live in mud huts. What happens when the benefactors of the other big teams lose interest? Man U, Man City, Chelsea etc. Is this any different to “little Wigan”. We are punching above our weight, however we could well surprise some bigger teams this year, my team is well run and an improving team in the premiership on a budget. Lets see where we end up at the end of the season?

  2. AJ says:

    Dig a little deeper and you’d see Latics have been addressing their financial situation for a number of years. We are ahead of the curve, most other PL clubs still don’t acknowledge the financial reality. Our reward for such moves and developing a young squad is to be criticised in the press for our lack of transfer activity, plus numerous patronising comments from the likes of the Mail.

  3. Ian says:

    I don’t know where you get the idea that what I wrote is “trashing little Wigan and their supporters, who live in mud huts”, David. Your comments bear no resemblance to what I actually wrote.

  4. Ian says:

    AJ: I don’t think that the level of debt is the major problem at Wigan, which is why I only lightly touched upon the subject and pointed out that this level of debt will have been reduced by Whelan converting such a large amount of the debt owed to him into equity.

    The big problem that Wigan has is that of ongoing cashflow. It is not a criticism of Wigan supporters to say that a 20% drop in home attendances in five years is a problem for the club, and neither is it a criticism to say that this problem is compounded by the cost of season tickets being so low.

    It is an intractable problem brought about by the size of the town – Wigan had a population of a shade over 80,000 according to the 2001 census, and this will limit crowds. Other towns in the North-West (Blackburn springs immediately to mind) are in a similar position.

    For the 2009/10 season, 88% of the club’s income was made up of television money and this level of dependence will be likely to become a major problem should the club be relegated. The way to reduce this dependency is to continue to depend upon sales such as that of N’Zogbia this summer and/or (I would say both) increase commercial and match-day revenues.

  5. Nathan Allen says:

    The 88% point is interesting, where do you get such information?

  6. Ian says:

    That particular figure was from the Swiss Ramble article on Wigan, based on the 2009/10 accounts, as far as I am aware. Even if it turned out to be wrong by ten per cent, it would still be… too high. I’ll dig out the link this morning.

  7. Jack Lyden says:

    Well Ian I feel you have taken generic facts of football clubs at the top level in this day and age, added a few specific facts about Wigan and tied it up with the inaccurate aims of martinez.
    How can you write about the detail of wigan support without identifying that they have shot through the leagues and outgrew the fan base?
    Generations of football fans in little wigan are fans of the bigger clubs granted but young support now grows planting the seed for future generations.
    For future referrence latics have been in the premier league for longer than 5 years and martinez’s aim is a safe season.
    With regards revenue the foundation for success is in place; no stupidly large wages or massive transfer fees, Rome wasn’t built in a day a concept understood by the wigan chairman and faithfulls.

  8. Ian says:

    The reason for this, Jack, is that if I did, I would probably be accused of patronising the club and its supporters. I would not try and argue that Wigan have “outgrown” anything. The final paragraph of the article states that, “On the pitch, Martinez’s immediate aim will be seventeenth place”. I, unfortunately can’t answer the question of how you feel that this differs radically from your assertion that, “martinez’s aim is a safe season”. Finally, my concerns over the club’s well-being are not based upon “stupidly large wages or massive transfer fees”, but on matters of cash-flow, commercial revenue and match-day income that is at best static on account of falling attendances.

  9. Jack says:

    My point being you can not mention finacial well being without analysing expenditure. Income will improve with fan base but for now the dependancy on television money and selling players is acceptable.
    I feel you have missed key points in your season preview, no mention of V Moses the player expected to fill charles’ boots or even James Mccarthy with all the interest he has generated.

    Seventeeth is not a safe season. Martinez has his aim on a top half finish.

  10. Ian says:

    Victor Moses is a decent player but, as you may have noticed, we haven’t been going through each team player-by-player in these previews. There is no section on him – or indeed James McCarthy – for the same reason that there is, say, no paragraph on Chris Smalling on the Manchester United preview and no lengthy description of Andy Carroll on the Liverpool preview. This site is really not *about* which players will be hits and which will be flops, or whatever. Each preview is, if you like, a “state of the nation” article on where that club is at this time.

    I would, however, dispute your claim that “Income will improve with fan base” to a very significant degree. Season ticket sales are, I understand, up on last season, but they are amongst the least expensive of all 92 league clubs, never mind just the Premier League. As I said in the original article, this is not the fault of the football club. It is where it is, both geographically in terms of being in the Premier League.

    Tell me, Jack, do you “expect” Wigan to manage a top half finish this season? Because I don’t, and I doubt if you’d find many that do. I’d also be surprised if Roberto Martinez, seeing how close his team came to relegation last season, does. This isn’t a slight upon Wigan Athletic, but if you’d prefer me to merely tell you what you wish to hear (and I have this same conversation all the time with supporters of various clubs), I might as well just tell you that Wigan will finish in the top six and win the FA Cup, and leave it there.

  11. Jack says:

    With a larger fan base the club can command a greater ticket price or at least sell more tickets, your comment is short sighted. I personally believe 14th is a realistic aim for the club. I’m by no means asking you to tell me what I want to hear. If you insist on writing articles including the manager’s aims do a little research not hard to find out the on pitch intent for the up and coming season. I believe there is an audio clip available on the bbc website, listen and be “suprised”
    Skeptical views like yours make it even sweeter every season we stay up and I would like to thank you for that!

  12. tranmeremart says:

    Off topic I know, but I heard Rochdale described as a “Lancashire” club on The Football league Show last Saturday, have heard Bolton described as similar, and this article suggests the same for Wigan.

    Cards on the table, I have no time for the metropolitan counties such as Greater Manchester or Merseyside, so in reality have no problem with the above descriptions. However, I never hear Tranmere Rovers decribed as a “Cheshire” club these days, so why the double standard?

    Metropolitan counties either exist or they don’t, but I just wish the media would show some semblance of consistency!

    Anyway, carry on, & sorry for briefly hi-jacking the comments.

  13. Michael says:

    I don’t understand how far can Wigan improve its fan base, situated in a town with a population of 80000, midway between Liverpool and Manchester, can dramatically improve its match income.

    They were actually going the right way in importing quality Caribbean players, both improving their squad and helps merchandising abroad. However, they should tap towards more affluent markets like East Asia.

  14. Jack says:

    Michael are you from wigan? 8/10 football fans support the bigger clubs ie united or liverpool however look at stats and you can see the fan base is majorly young people, kids. The longer wigan stay at a top level the more generations of football fans will support latics instead of “big clubs”. Where is this 80000 from the borough is much greater than that! Admitted attendance will never reach the heights of big city clubs but atleast

  15. Jack says:

    Michael are you from wigan? 8/10 football fans support the bigger clubs ie united or liverpool however look at stats and you can see the fan base is majorly young people, kids. The longer wigan stay at a top level the more generations of football fans will support latics instead of “big clubs”. Where is this 80000 from the borough is much greater than that!

    I totally agree latics do well to not buy established names and chip into a wider market.

  16. Nathan Allen says:

    I dont see how you can just quote 88% from another article without having any proof in front of you, you should write for The Sun. Jack, you are dead right in all you say. Ian, do a bit of proper investigation before you write an article, don’t just read what other people write and then write it in your own words.

  17. Ian says:

    Here’s a link to the original article. The guy is a chartered accountant and, as far as I am aware, orders a copy of the club concerned’s accounts in order to write each article.

    http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2011/06/wigan-athletics-unlikely-survival.html

    The guy that writes this site has been doing it for a couple of years and is very well-respected. He is a chartered accountant and, as far as I am aware, orders a copy of the club concerned’s accounts in order to write each article – the figures used are for 2010. This isn’t merely “copying” anything; it is using a well-respected source. I would refuse to accept that he merely made up this figure and I think that he would as well.

    Unless, of course you are suggesting that, before even commenting on a company’s financial state, I should request a copy of their annual company accounts myself. If you wish to prove this figure wrong, feel to do so. I will be more than happy to accept that it is incorrect in that case.

  1. August 10, 2011

    [...] Premier Leauge Pre-views (Wigan) – TwoHundredPercent [...]

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