Wigan were relegated from the Championship after going into administration, but with no buyer for the club in sight, they could tumble further…
With the new season almost upon us, we’re mostly concentrating on assessing which teams can perform on the pitch, new signings, managerial changes and so forth.
But for one club there’s something much more fundamental at stake, as George Elek and Ali Maxwell discussed on the very first edition of The Totally Football League Show: Extra-Time this week.
“This is the big question,” said George, “we’re all very worried, everyone who follows the EFL, about Wigan. Things off the pitch don’t look like they’re as advanced [in terms of a takeover] to get them where they need to be.”
Wigan were relegated from the Championship last season despite gathering 59 points, which should have been enough for 13th place. However, after the club were put into administration by their owners, they were docked 12 points and ultimately finished second bottom.
But their place in League One is the least of their concerns, with no buyer yet found for a club in turmoil.
“There’s understandable frustration & concern at the seeming lack of progress,” said Ali Maxwell. “The administrators have been in for a while now trying to get the club ship-shape and ready for a takeover. As we stand at the moment there are a few interested parties, but it feels like – as ever – there’s complicated wranglings.
“Not just for the club itself, which is up for £1, but there’s so much attached to it: the stadium, the training ground and even a chip shop next to the ground.
“That means is the squad is having to be sold off to keep paying the wages and keep the club running day-to-day before a takeover comes. So they head into the season with a shell of the team that was so impressive in the Championship last season.
“A couple of their players would be far too good for this level if they are there and motivated. It’s a really tough spot for those players because they would have suitors at Championship level at least.
“They are running behind, if we’re talking about footballing matters, squad-building ahead of the new season. The transfer window has another month, so there is time, but they are swiftly running out of it.
“Even if a takeover does go through in the next week or so, they would be shopping in the bargain bin – they will have missed out on a lot of targets.
“The only objective is that their club continues to survive and they’re taken over by someone who can help to move it forwards and keep it on an even keel.”
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