Friday, 18 September 2020

Somebody Stole My Sunshine


“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away”


The lyrics to a terrace song that is synonymous with Wigan Athletic Football Club, a song that has been sung by Latics fans throughout the decades, from the Springfield Park days to the modern era.


Have those lyrics ever been more poignant to us than they are today?


Our club, our only club, the joy that the club brings, even when we are in a lull of form, the memories of our past achievements fill the supporters with so much happiness, and yes we do love our club, as has been proven over the past 10 weeks with the lengths the fan base, former players and officials have gone to, in order to keep the club afloat.


The song was originally written, ironically enough, back in 1932, when Wigan Athletic came into existence, and first performed in 1933,  but the writer, Oliver Hood, did not copyright it, he believed music was a ‘not-for profit’ venture, subsequently like the Latics, Hood was conned and someone else claimed the copyright for the lyrics and music.


Hood wrote a sequel in 1957, which he did copyright, ‘Someone Stole My Sunshine Away’, though never recorded. The feeling that ‘our’ sunshine has been stolen reverberates around the Latics supporters at this moment in time, we are in a very dark period indeed.


To nick a verse from that sequel:


“Somewhere the sun is shinning

But there’s rain in my hearty today.

There’s no denying

My heart keeps crying –

Somebody stole my sunshine away


I am a glass half full person, always optimistic, but even I have been feeling frustration which is driving me to despair. A lack of clarity of where we are, coupled with confusing and conflicting statements from the administrators is weighing heavy.


There is a saying ‘the darkest hour is the one before the dawn’, often used as an analogy for troubled times as you reach the bottom and there is only one way left to go.


I fear we are in that ‘darkest hour’ now, seeking the breaking dawn and rising sun to put some light back into the club, we have got to hope that we are close to that, yes someone stole our sunshine, just give it back.


#AllTogetherNow #KeepTheFaith #Believe #YouAreMySunshine


With thanks to David Wright for the inspiration



Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Meet The Ref - Wigan Athletic v Gillingham

Saturday at the DW Stadium will be a special day for the match referee, Mr Tom Nield, it will be his first League game since the 7th March when he swapped his referee kit for a nurses uniform.


As well as being a National List Ref (League’s 1&2) Nield is also a senior nurse/matron with the Acute & Emergency Service at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and he was thrust into the frontline when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the UK back in the Spring.


Tom says - "On March 7, I refereed Walsall against Exeter and it was just emerging; things were starting to hot up a bit within the NHS at that time," he explains. "I received my appointment for my next game, which was Leyton Orient against Plymouth on March 17.


"Our appointments come out at 4pm on a Monday. I think I made a call to Mike Jones [PGMOL National Group Director] on the Tuesday, or Wednesday and said, 'Mike, I don't think I'm going to be able to fulfil this fixture, things are changing at work. I'm needed there'.


"It's about trying to protect other people, and colleagues as well, and minimise my contact with them. I took the decision to remove myself off games, based on PGMOL advice. They were really great and supportive about it. That Friday, March 13, the decision was taken to suspend all professional football anyway. It was the right time. Around that week, I realised that this was going to get bad."


A big thank you to Tom and all his colleagues in the NHS for their work, from us all here at the Progress With Unity podcast, but any dodgy decisions Tom and you’ll still get some stick J


Tom Nield was appointed to the National List back in the 2017/18 season, his first game was Cambridge United 1:2 Carlisle United and he has gone on to ref 79 games in the following three seasons. This campaign he has officiated in two cup matches, Tranmere 1:1 Harrogate (EFL Cup) and Mansfield 0:3 Man City U23 (Football League Trophy).


Tom Nield Card Watch 2020/21


Games – 2

Yellows – 8

Reds – 0


Wigan Athletic v Gillingham
Referee –
Tom Nield
Assistants - Gareth Mellor and Stephen Wade
Fourth Official – Paul Stonier



Any Previous? Wigan Athletic v Gillingham

Gillingham are in town on Saturday as the Latics prepare for their first home game of the season.


Down the years the two clubs have had some great tussles, two that definitely stand out for me are the 1987 FA Cup 3rd tie at Springfield Park and the 2000 playoff final at Wembley.


The FA cup tie was a bitterly cold day, 19th January, in front of a hardy 3,549 fans. I vividly remember the Gils starman, Tony Cascarino not only wearing gloves, but also black tights, just one look and you could tell he didn’t fancy it. Goals from Chris Thompson and Bobby Campbell gave the Latics a 2-1 win over their 3rd Division rivals and saw us march onto a 4th round tie against top flight Norwich City.


The 2000 playoff final at Wembley was a game packed with incident and drama, we had a legitimate goal from Arry De Zeeuw ruled out for not crossing the line, it was clearly 2 yards over, Latics had also hit the bar when a close range effort from Simon Howarth smacked the woodwork.


Carl Asaba had put Gillingham ahead, despite the Latics dominance, Simon Howarth equalised with a delightful flick and the game headed for extra time, but not before Latics left back Kevin Sharp was sent off in the dying embers of the 90 minutes.


Extra time, even withg 10 men the Latics looked the most likel;y to score, and they did, Darren Sherridan was upended in the box, substitute Stuart Barlow stepped up and crashed home to give us the lead and looking likely to win the game, unfortunately two late efforts put paid to that and Gillingham ran out 3:2 winners on the day, but what a great game and occasion it was. 


 Youtube Link Gils 3:2 Latics


Previous Encounters

Played 36, won 15, lost 14, drawn 7


Last Six

League One


Latics 2:0 Gillingham

League One


Gillingham 1:1 Latics

League One


Latics 3:2 Gillingham

League One


Gillingham 2:0 Latics



Gillingham 2:1 Latics



Latics 2:0 Gillingham


Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Telephone Q&A With Gerald Krasner Pt 3


The third meeting with Gerald Krasner took place this evening, Tuesday 15/09/20.


Below is a report of what was said, on the record, from a telephone conversation that lasted 27 minutes.  


Progress with bids – I’ve never met with any Saudis, just fake news, I am not down to one bidder by any means, I’ve got three, possibly four bids, all at nearly the same stage. These are actual bids and there are another four interested parties, one of which I spoke with in Spain, but that lasted around seven minutes as they didn’t even know what they were buying.


The bidders are people who have done a lot of due diligence know exactly what they’ve got to do, talking with their lawyers, we’re at that stage. But it’s slow progress, I don’t expect any announcements this week. If it changes we’ll put it on the website.


With regards to the new bidders, it’s the nature of the beast, people coming in at the last minute, we only had one bidder early, they went when we got relegated, then I had to sort out the Yeung debt, £25 million, nobody wanted to touch us with that.  That was going to cost another £6 million @25p in the £. That delayed serious bidding, we got a lot of interest but that delayed serious bidding until August. None of this helps of course, just telling you the facts behind it.


You can’t generalise on what may hold up negotiations, they are all different , some are poker faced, whist other sit there with a big smile on their face, you know, you are dealing with human beings who will go at their own time, the worst thing to do is to pressurise them.


Debt – We have got enough money to settle the football debt of £6.4 million, a lot of that has been paid already, that’s why we don’t have a lot of money because we’ve used it to pay off the football debt, which we can’t sell the club with, when we sell the club we still have to pay £1.3 million to save 15 point deduction this season, if we don’t get enough money we won’t be able to pay that, in addition the loss in administration of £3 million+


We’re asking £3m for that stadium, which has got to be worth £10m of anybody’s money, we’re asking half a million for the training ground and half a million for Sharpey’s. None of that is expensive, none of it is overpriced, we’re asking a pound for the football club, that’s definitely cheap, but that £ is only if the rest of it gets sold first.


You can’t cherry pick, it’s a package deal, in fact we’d even let it go without Sharpey’s for £3.5m and we’d sell that separately. The important bit is the stadium with the football club.


Incentive to sell rather than liquidate - None of the legal or administrators cost are being charged to the football club, now when I say no legal costs, the cost of the appeal (EFL) will have to be charged to the football club, our costs and the others are being charged to the property sales.


We owe £1.3m to creditors and the football club owes about £3m in PAYE and VAT, we haven’t hit the end of the quarter yet, this debt is our responsibility. Whoever picks up the club as no liabilities whatsoever to football or creditors except for TUPE, which is taking over the employment rights of people employed at the club. So basically the new owners would be starting with a clean slate.


John Sheridan – The manager should stick with the football and we should stick with the administration and we shouldn’t try to do each others jobs. So if we need a manager we will appoint a manager.


Price for club - We’ve been negotiating for weeks and now we’re at £4m, if we get it wrong we are answerable to the high court.


Dean Watson – He went to the match because he wanted to go, he was asked on Friday if he was going then changed his mind, he drove there and back in the same day and put the petrol in out of his own money.


Transfer Fees - We will do a report, though we won’t break the transfer fees down individually, we will say what we’ve received for players sales and how we’ve spent it, so far we’ve spent quite a bit of it on keeping the players and paying their wages.


Time Scale - Can’t see anything happen this week, it’s Tuesday evening and unless someone moves over night, I don’t think it will be until next week that it moves.


The next step is we could have a signed contract by Friday morning, but the next step is a big one. That is singing that contract and dumping the money in their lawyers account. Then it has to go to the EFL and that takes three weeks, but once I’ve got a signed contract which is subject only to the EFL, we can then start putting pressure on them.


The transfer window shuts on 5th October and once it shuts it’s shut, the buyers now this. The consolidation of the club and making sure they don’t get relegated is what it’s about this season.


When I came in on the 1st July I had 28 days to find £1m or the players would have walked. I haven’t done everything I set out to do, I wanted it sold by the end of July, I’m upset that didn’t happen, but you can’t force someone to sign a contract but what we have done is paid all the wages up to the end of August, done the deal with Mr Yeung, in record time and we finished last season, thanks to the Supporters’ Club. That is remarkable given what I know that has managed to happen. Fans are just going to have to be patient, I’m not going to be forced into doing something we’ll all regret later on.


The figures have to balance.