Friday, 23 November 2018

The PWU Podcast Presents - Darren Royle and Jonathan Jackson Special

Darren Royle and Jonathan Jackson joined the PWU Latics podcast crew for this week’s recording at the Beech Hill Book Cycle studio.

The dynamic duo spent close on two hours with us as we discussed all things Latics, got to know a little of Darren’s background, how he became involved with the new owners and the vision for the future.

A fascinating insight and we felt very positive about the coming months and continuation of the legacy that the Whelan’s have built at the club.

The recording of the evening is available below, simply click play on the embedded player and please feel free to leave any feedback.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Goodbye Dave, Hello Melvin

An emotional day last Sunday as the Latics bid farewell to the Whelans. The 23rd minute round of applause was a great tribute celebrating 23 years of the family’s ownership of the club – and what a 23 years it has been.

Whatever your thoughts on Dave Whelan’s reasons for buying the Latics back in the day, and there are a vast array of opinions on this, one thing that cannot be disputed is the success that he brought to what was a very small club, struggling not only to retain its league status but also struggling to avoid going out of business.

The first game under his stewardship, a Tuesday night in late February, 1,452 fans turned up to a dilapidated Springfield Park as we beat Hartlepool 2-0 in what is now League 2, hardly an indication of what was to follow.

I was at that very first fans forum when he declared that the aim was Premiership within 10 seasons, I didn’t laugh, I thought that is just what we need - ambition and that had been missing at the club for a number of years where survival was the only goal.

The journey had started, the first promotion under John Deehan was achieved, the new stadium being built gave us the focus that we were indeed on the up, exciting players came to the club, great managers, two more promotions, eight years in the top flight, the magic of the FA cup win and a European tour, what an absolute privilege to be around to witness this.

So thank you Dave Whelan, David Sharpe and all the family who have provided me, through the Latics, with so much pleasure over the past 23 years.

Welcome to Melvin Yan Min Zhang, Thomas Chan, Joe and Darren Royle, you have big shoes to fill, hopefully you can build on the success and legacy that has been passed on to you.

Looking forward to the next 23 years.

Up the tics!    

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Meet The Ref - Boro v Latics

The Latics are back on the road this week when we travel up to the Riverside Stadium to meet high flying Middlesbrough.

The man charged with keeping the game flowing will be Barnsley referee, the aptly named, Darren England.

This is England’s fourth season as a Football League referee. 

The 33 year old born and bred Barnsley man does have ‘big game’ experience, indeed his name should be very familiar with Latics supporters, cast your minds back to the 13th April 2013, Wembley Stadium, FA Cup semi-final, he ran the line as the Latics beat Millwall on the road to winning the famous old trophy.

England has been running the line for several seasons in the Premier League, he also ran the line the 2015 FA cup final between Arsenal and Aston Villa and he has experienced Champions League games and international matches, but he decided to swap the flag for the whistle and bowed out running the line in an international friendly between Norway and Sweden.

England says about his decision to become a ref – ‘I will miss being involved in Premier League and international and European games but the aim is to be back there as a referee one day. It’s short-term sacrifice for long-term reward. Being involved in the big games as a referee would be even better than running the line in them.’

Darren England is also a former academy coach at Barnsley FC, one of his former players there is current Everton defender John Stones, he also worked for Barnsley Community Trust before moving to the Football League Trust where he is employed promoting the National Citizens Service for teenagers.

Darren England last ref’d us back in September 2016 when we went down 2-0 at Brentford back in September.

MIDDLESBROUGH v Wigan Athletic
Referee - Darren England
Assistants – Nick Greenhalgh & James Mainwaring
Fourth Official – Tom Nield

Darren England Card Watch 2018/19

Games -10
Yellows – 37
Reds – 1

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Away Day Hoodoo

This feels a little awkward to be honest, questioning the team after the midweek loss at Millwall, but considering it was the 6th defeat from seven away days, 7 from eight if you count the EFL Cup defeat at Rotherham, there is a definite trend to be considered.

Our performances and results at the DW Stadium are electric, unbeaten and 17 points gained from a possible 21 is promotion form, so where does the problem lie?

At home we play a high energy, high pressing game that keeps us on the front foot, on Saturday against West Brom we never allowed them to settle in possession at the back and harried and harassed what is undoubtedly a very talented team so much so that, barring the opening 20 minutes, they never had a look in. It was a typical Paul Cook side performance.

Move on to Tuesday and the energy, drive and fire had vanished, lumping aimless long balls up field, not closing down space or players and allowing what can only be described as a very poor team in Millwall to somehow muster over 20 attempts at goal, certainly leaves you scratching the old head as to what brings on such a transformation in our play away from home.

If at the start of the season I’d have been told that following 14 games we’d be 12th on 20 points I would have been delighted, and I am, absolutely delighted, but we need to sort out our away day blues as a priority.

We have certainly missed the pace and directness of Gavin Massey. 
Will Grigg and Michael Jacobs are also big losses at this time but Cook needs to find a solution to this and keep us in the top half of the table as we approach winter.

I have every confidence that we will break the away day hoodoo, it is just a little frustrating and disappointing at the moment.

Up the tics!

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Meet The Ref - Sheffield United v Latics

We are back in action at the end of a busy week on Saturday when Sheffield United will be hosting us at Bramall Lane, to ensure that the play is within the laws of the game Hartlepool referee Tony Harrington will be officiating.

Harrington, who is in his 6th season on the National List and part of the Select Group 2 professional officials, has been in charge of six Latics games previously, he had three games in our last Championship campaign, the 1-2 away win at Huddersfield back in November 2016, he had a great game that night failing to be conned by the theatrics of the Huddersfield players as he waved away two stonewall penalty appeals, good lad, he was also in charge of our 2-1 win over Wolves at the DW Stadium in the September, he issued six yellow cards that evening, three to each side, Jordi Gomez, Shaun MacDonald and Nick Powell picking up the bookings for us, Will Grigg banged home the winner right at the death.

The 3rd game that season was a very disappointing 0-2 home defeat to Aston Villa, that was the first game of Graham Barrow’s final reign as boss having taken over from the inept Warren Joyce the week before.

The other three games all came at the DW Stadium, a 2-1 Championship win in November 2013, there was also a goalless draw against Brentford in October 2014, again in the Championship and last season’s final game in League One when we picked up the title but got smashed by Barnsley 1-4 with Chris McCann seeing red late on.

Of Harrington’s 9 games this season 8 have been in Championship, the other one coming in the EFL cup.

Tony Harrington Card Watch 2018/19

Games – 9
Yellows – 28
Reds – 1

Sheffield United v Wigan Athletic
Referee –
Assistants – Paul Hodskinson  and Geoff Russell
Fourth Official – Andy Halliday