As someone who has always been a fan of underdogs and those who are willing to fight against the odds, my heart goes out to the fans of Wigan Athletic who deserve better.
Wigan Athletic is a club that is caught between two worlds. On the one hand, it is a rugby town, which means that its fanbase is limited in size and the club struggles to compete financially with the larger football clubs in the area. On the other hand, the club has a stadium that is fit for the Championship or even the Premier League, which means that it has higher costs to maintain than a typical League One or Two club.
To make matters worse, the club is being overcharged for business rates by the council and has a flamboyant expenditure that is way too heavy. All of these issues have contributed to the financial troubles that the club is currently facing.
But it’s not just the fans who are suffering. The players have also been hung out to dry. The club has been paying their wages late on five different occasions this season, and it’s currently unclear whether that issue will crop up again between now and the end of the season. The players reportedly went on strike last Friday to make their feelings known to the club about the unpaid wages situation, and some of the high earners are currently on course to remain at the DW Stadium beyond the end of the season.
It’s a sad state of affairs for a club that was in administration less than three years ago and was in real danger of going out of business until its current ownership came in. The fans will be desperate to avoid a repeat of this in the future, and it’s promising news that chairman Talal Al Hammad has pledged his commitment to the club.
But actions speak louder than words, and whether the club can make it through to the end of this term will depend on whether it can find the £7m reportedly required to keep the club going. The fact that the club needs to pay its out-of-contract players for the entire month of May and June as well before it can offload them adds to the financial burden.
It’s clear that the EFL should have looked closer at the Bahrain group and kept them under control with reckless spending. The club’s financial troubles should have been spotted earlier, and measures should have been put in place to prevent them from spiraling out of control. There is no excuse for EFL headquarters being just a 30-minute drive from Wigan.
In conclusion, Wigan Athletic deserves better. The fans and players have been let down by a combination of factors, and it’s time for the club and the EFL to take responsibility and take action to ensure that the club survives and thrives. It’s not just about the money; it’s about the spirit of the game and the love that fans have for their club. Let’s hope that the future holds brighter days for Wigan Athletic. It’s not just about the money; it’s about the pride and passion that the fans have for their club.