Wigan Athletic - Hope For The Future Part 2
Wigan Athletic supporter and Vital Latics member Robin Burgess aka rjb continues his series of Hopes For The Future articles, over to you rjb:
Several of the players who have come in during Roberto`s time have said openly that it is the way that he intends to play the game, RM himself, his philosophy and his plans for the club that were contributing factors to their `signing up`. They, having this talent, with an energy that will last only for a dozen, 15 years or so, clearly believe that that is the way they want to go. In today`s world money seems to be an overriding factor for many, but I think there are probably more footballers than we might think who value playing the game itself at least as much as the enormous wage they receive nowadays - way above what we `ordinary` folk earn.
Every now and again one of the players we regard as one of our best moves on to `better` things. A hope I have is that the loyalty that I think Roberto has for this club will in the not-too-distant future be matched by certain players who will want to come to/stay at Wigan Athletic because of the philosophy here. (Possibly Cleverley choosing Wigan [over Bolton or Newcastle] and Di Santo [over Blackburn] are a first sign of this? Indeed, Antonio Valencia expressed the thought that he almost wished he could have stayed under Roberto for at least one season, but there were too many competing incentives to move. Man U is a strong draw for a player who has limited time.)
Players such as Boselli (6 goals in pre-season), Alcaraz (excellent World Cup performances) and Moses (no comment needed) appear to have considerable talent but, like almost all others who change clubs need the time to come up to speed. (Ronnie Stam seems to be that pleasant exception, who has been able to hit the ground running [pun half-intended].) Remember how Hugo didn`t do particularly well when he first came; and RM was sorry he had to throw Scotland and Gómez in at the deep end because others already here had let him down. Neither `succeeded` last season, and Jason has chosen to move on. (But have we, I wonder, during the Hartlepool game, started to see for ourselves what RM saw in Jordi Gómez?!) I think that we, looking in from the outside, see only a fraction of what RM sees. Not only are we less football-aware (our talents lie elsewhere or we`d be football managers!) but he sees them almost every day: in training, while relaxing, those they work well with (the `partnerships` he refers to) and how well they respond to his ideas of how to play the game when on the pitch itself. We, really, only see the last, and even then I doubt our attention-to-detail matches his. Roberto has said 'We are not far away from becoming a very good side.' (At this - this was before the Tottenham game - the ex-footballer Sky pundits were exceedingly scornful. Oh, how we laughed at their `wisdom` afterwards!) We cannot see very clearly what is happening, so must be patient.
Several quotes that might help us take a step back, to see things in a wider perspective:
Harry Redknapp after the Tottenham match: 'We don`t usually drop points by ... being outplayed off the park ... They did their homework ... They got their own tactics spot on.' (Doesn`t that make you proud?)
James McCarthy, recently: ' The bottom line is: I'm happy here. It is a very good club to be at, a friendly and family-orientated place. Last season went well but look, I need to get my head down and work hard to stay in the side. The gaffer ... has a great way of coaching ... He encourages us to be creative and that suits me down to the ground. So far, he has been a great success at the club and we will get better.'
Mauro Boselli: ' Everything Roberto said about the club and English football helped a great deal and made me realise that this was the right move for me. In Argentina fans appreciate a player who plays with passion, and from what I've seen it's the same in England. Hopefully I can make the fans proud of the work I do on the pitch for them and for the team.'
markgreen433 (forum): 'I`m glad that Roberto stuck with his principles to get today`s result ... I`m just glad Roberto was able to show that his style of football can win us games, without resorting to hoof ball.'
Daily Telegraph (who`d have thought?!): 'In this world of demands for instant success, mostly unrealistic, it [was] refreshing to see Wigan chairman Dave Whelan back his manager to the hilt following two home [defeats] against Blackpool and Chelsea.' (emphasis mine)
DW: 'I spent Saturday pacing and walking around the garden very nervously. I can`t even listen to the commentary. I walked around, watched the rugby league cup final, and then switched over to see just how we were going. When I turned over and saw that we`d scored, I can`t do a somersault, but I tried! We are up and running now. A win at Tottenham changes things no end. That has turned our season.'
To finish, just one observation from the Tottenham match, at the time of the great corner taken by Hugo when Steve Gohouri almost scored: Did you notice how Ledley King elected, of all our players, to mark Alcaraz? Did he, with his vast experience, decide that he was our most dangerous player at that moment? Alcaraz kept moving before and after the corner came in, and so eluded King completely. When he went out so wide to receive the corner, King had lost him. Fantastic move (and we so nearly scored from it), no doubt planned by the 3 players involved and the manager. This is the kind of thing we can look forward to in the coming months! - and I hope for many years yet.
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