Fans Forum a resounding success
The evening in the South Stand lounge was attended by 300 or so fans and was compered by Juliet Farrington from the BBC who had just driven down from Sunderland where she had been covering Roy Keane's departure.
Prior to the evening starting the two main screens played a slide show of statistics of Wigan beofre Bruce's tenure and since his arrival.
Amongst the most interesting were the fact that we had gone from being the 16th fittest club in the league to the 6th. When you think how many goals we conceeded int he last 5 mins of each half pre Bruce it supports this fact.
Add to this that pre Bruce we had a goal difference of minus 15 and at the same time this season we were plus 1 showing that the concentration was much improved.
The evening offically started with a film show of highlights from Bruce's first year in charge whcih ended with a round of applause.
It ahs to be said that if Steve Bruce ever decides to give up management he can have a profitable career on the after dinner circuit. He was funny engaging and honest.
Bruce acknowledged that last season it was a big challenge to keep us up and it has been a fantastic twelve momnths that has flown by.Keeping us up was his biggest achievement in his managerial career. He acknowledged the achievements of Bolton and Blackburn in qualifying for Europaen football in recent seasons and stated that this was his aim for Wigan.
The first set of questions submitted on cards were understandably about Zaki and rumours of a move in the transfer window. Bruce stated that there was no get out clause and that he would love to sign Zaki permenantly.He stated that his value had gone from around 6 million to around 12 million due since arriving at Wigan.
Put on the spot?
The next question was from the floor from a young lad regarding Bruce's decision to take Taylor off against the Baggies. There followed an honest answer that he was protecting Ryan by easing him back in and a five minutes comedy rapport between Bruce and the young lad,which earned several rounds of applause.
A question was then asked about the crowds. Bruce acknowledged that he would love to be playing in front of full houses and stated that Mr Whelan does his bit with the cheapest prices in the Premier League. He highlighted the big gate agaisnt Man City snd stated that he hoped to attain home fans attendance of 18k and that if we move towards a top ten place then we can attain this.
I don't like January
Juliet asked Bruce if he liked January with a reference tot he transfer window. This was met with a short and succint answer...'I hate it'.
England's number 9
Bruce then addressed questions regarding Emile Heskey and said that he would be mad to sell him for 2-3 million because he wouldn't be able to buy a suitable replacement dfor anything like that amount. He said it would have to be an offer in excess of 10 million as he is priceless to the team.
Bruce then drew comparisons with Valencia's value and that of other international midfielder s who ahve recently moved clubs. He stated that the 7 million pound transfer fee alledGDley being talked abput wioth regard to Valencia was less than half of what he was worth and he wouldn't sell for less than 15 million.
Out of loan
SIbs and King were the next topics. bruce stated that at Sibs age it was important that he was playing regularly to keep him match fit in case we needed to recall him.
With Marlon he stated that he had doen well for Hull and it hadn't happened for him at Wigan.
Bruce raved about both of them. Highlighted how instruemntal Palacios had been last season and the influence Cattermole has and that he nhad the attributes of Roy Keane and had the potential to be a Wigan Athletic captain of the future
Bruce acknowledged the quotes attributed to Mr Whelan in the press re having to sell before he can buy and stated that no conversation had occured between himself and Mr Whelan on the subject and that he had never been turned down by the chairman when he asked to buy a player.
He teased the audience by saying that there was a big money bid in for a player and that it would be a major coup for Wigan if it came off.
Bruce paid tribute to the development of Kupisz and Cwyka nad stated that they were only 20 and were getting stronger.
When asked about contract negotiations Bruce stated that with Boyce who was his 'steddie eddie', there was no urgency as there were two years left on his contract.WIth Taylor talks have alreadynstarted and with regard to Camara Bruce stated he thought his contract had ended last summer abut he had impressed him and it was down to Camara to prove his worth.
Bruce stated that he had now played in two reserve games and he hoped that he would be ready for the first team by Christmas.
Bruce stated that Chris had changed his regime becuase of his long standing back problem.
Bruce expressed his frustration at not signing Hendry in the summer and stated that he expected to sign him next summer.
In repsonse to questions abpout managing a small squad, Bruce stated that it wasn't a problema s the squad had real quality and that it was the best group of players that he had worked with.
Bruce is a big advocate of using video technology. He said the technology is there so why not use it.
The Newcastle Job
If offered would he take it? Bruce's reply was the one we all wanted to hear.'At the moment...no. He stated that he gets on really well with the chairman and he wants to repay it.
In repsonse to two questions regarding developing youth players and the number of WIgan kids playing for other N West teams, Steve highlighted the competition in the N West with so many clubs in so small an area and that there aren't enough quality youth palyers or resources to go around.
Bruce then went on to talk about the socuting system which now involves 15 games a week being watched by WIgan officals.
The evening ended with a tradiytional Latic's hotpot and raffle and autograph and photo session witht he ever affable Steve Bruce.
It was an excellent P.R. even ign and credit myust go to the club for organising it.
As one fan on the way out was heard to remark, they should do moen ever month'. I couldn't agree more