Should you place money on Wigan to be relegated?
The news that Roberto Martinez has turned down the overtures of Aston Villa to remain as manager of Wigan Athletic has cheered many in the world of football. One of the reasons Martinez cited for knocking back the Midlands club is the support shown to him by chairman Dave Whelan. There were moments this season when it looked as though Wigan were certs for the drop but they managed to fight their way out of the drop-zone. Okay, they didn’t secure their safety until the dying moments of the EPL season but when your season goal is to stay up; does it matter when you achieve it?
Can Martinez beat the drop again?
However, Wigan Athletic have definitely struggled this season and you get the feeling that they will be in the mix to go down again this campaign. After surviving twice under Martinez, it may be that their luck runs out and the Spanish manager’s reputation becomes tarnished. There is definitely a knack in leaving at the right time and it remains to be seen if Martinez has made the right choice but he may feel he has yet to consolidate his Premier League credentials and if he does, he would be right.
When it comes to big heads, Caldwell beats them all
Wigan have suffered some truly embarrassing defeats under Martinez but they have also taken a number of big name scalps. They made a great signing in Irish starlet James McCarthy, who is rumoured to be a signing target of Liverpool but they also paid £1m for Gary Caldwell. Not only that but the defender with the biggest head in the world only had months left on his contract, making it a huge fee to pay, in fact, almost as large as Caldwell’s head. Caldwell is Martinez’s captain and he may well be the man that drags his boss down with him. However, Martinez remains in charge and most neutrals will hope that their brand of football survives once again in the top flight.
Attention therefore remains on the Aston Villa manager’s job and you wonder if it is all a smoke-screen until Mark Hughes becomes available on the 1st of July. Candidates like Davie Moyes and Owen Coyle will be named but the longer the Villains go without naming a new boss; the more likely it will be that Hughes will step in.
Unlike Martinez, many football observers may then decide to have a closer look at the integrity and honesty of Mark Hughes…but hey, it’s modern football and they aren’t the most important qualities to have in the game.