Friday, 10 January 2014

Cherry Chimes chats with Jesus was a Wiganer

Match Preview
Wigan Athletic v AFCB
11 January 2014
Blogger interview: Jesus Was a Wiganer

While we did not have a Rival Lines for the Brighton re-match, I have been in contact with Dan Farrimond again who writes the Jesus Was a Wiganer blog, so he is the first to make a second appearance on Cherry Chimes for a rival blogger - big congrats! He may have a few scores to settle with AFCB after the home game we had with Wigan in August so hold on tight - Eunan O'Kane is one player that strikes fear in him!

CC: You have a new manager Uwe Rosler. I imagine you have been impressed so far with how the team is playing now, do you notice much difference to how Owen Coyle had them set up?

JWW: Aside from a marked improvement in general fitness (no more doughnuts and orange soft drinks allowed!), there is more emphasis on passing than the frequent 50-yard strikes on goal we saw under Coyle. I know that last sentence was a slight exaggeration, but Rosler has taken us back to a much calmer, controlled style of play. Dare I say it is… Martinez-esque?

I am of the opinion that Coyle probably would have survived much longer if he had another fit striker or two at his disposal, and indeed this is something Rosler has also been struggling to adapt to. Ne’er mind, for the transfer window is finally here again. Yay. (Sarcasm/dry wit intended.)

CC:  Wigan are sadly out of the Europa League but do you think the experience will have benefited some of your players?

Of course, it’s a wonderful thing to have on your CV, even if the quality of opposition wasn’t always first class.

On a personal level, take the example of third choice ‘keeper Lee Nicholls, who played a handful of Euro games. In the past couple of years he has risen from training on concrete car parks with Wigan Reserves to the pristine surfaces of the Europa League! He mightn’t ever top that in his footballing career.

At the risk of devaluing the competition, you’re always grateful of game time – it definitely helped the rehabilitation of Callum McManaman. In a purely footballing sense, you understand. Ahem.

CC: Dave Whelan went to Jamaica with the FA Cup recently as he wanted to give children there the chance to see the cup. Do you think winning the cup has changed Wigan Athletic?

JWW: The cup win has, in my opinion, reinvigorated the fans. Support this season has been magnificent, Coyle boo-boys excluded. There was a certain nervousness throughout the last league campaign, but now it’s all fun again, even with the Shortsman dissenters.

Our above average (by Wigan Athletic terms) attendances a result of the season ticket price freeze or the cup win? I don’t care as long as they help carry us back to the Premier League. Although the Championship is more exciting, I want that Martinez rematch as soon as possible.

CC: On reflection has it been a good/bad calendar year as a Wigan supporter?

JWW: I should say bad, seeing as last year’s official Wigan Athletic calendar was hilariously overpriced!

Nah, this one depends on whom you ask. “Would you rather win the FA Cup and go down or vice versa?” I say the former, because promotions and relegations come and go but cup finals are remembered forever. Ask Arsenal – through gritted teeth they’ll say it’s the silverware that matters.

It’s been eventful as usual, and as a Little Wigan supporter I suppose that’s all you can ever ask for. And as a blogger, a manager’s comical dress sense is always great for cheap material! (Thanks, Owen.)

CC: Do you expect to spend big in January?

JWW: Providing Whelan hasn’t already spent it on plane tickets (for himself and Mr F.A. Cupp) to Jamaica, there is the small matter of £12million from the sale of James McCarthy. Coyle would often visit the Bank of Wigan Athletic (Whelan’s house) and shake his fist at the great pile of cash, embittered by the fact he could not spend it before the last transfer window closed. Of course, he received a good chunk of that for his own summer holiday fund when he was paid off.

The only problem is that January prices are akin to distortion, so what remains might be blown on a business lunch for just one target. Best to choose our potential signings wisely, I think.
CC: Do you think any clubs will come in for Nick Powell this transfer window?
JWW: Powell is currently on loan from Man United so I’m not sure what the terms of his contract are. For all I know, he could head back to his parent club at any point if there is a midfield injury crisis.

I have been very impressed with Powell, however. For a long time he was the closest thing we had to a striker and kept us afloat for a good few months, which isn’t bad for a 19 year-old. In all, a great bit of business by… Coyle? Oh no, I cannot praise Coyle!

I hesitate to say Powell will go on to world superstardom due to the ‘Curse of Wigan Athletic’ (players usually sustain long-term injuries when they leave – see Kone, Bullard etc.), but he has the potential. There, that’s a proper political answer for you, Jeremy Paxman!

CC: Would missing out on promotion and the play-offs this season still be seen as failure or with a change in manager do you think the fans and your chairman will be satisfied if the team continues to progress and has another crack at it next season?

JWW: Again, it depends who you throw this question at. There are those who will accept nothing more than instant promotion, but I would consider top six a success.

A club like QPR has had a whole season for the squad and manager to settle, even if they were relegated in comical fashion. Wigan lost their boss and half a team over the summer holidays so it might be a while before things settle, especially given the sacking of Coy- er, that other guy I have mentioned far more than Rosler.

Whelan is infamously trigger-happy when he feels something isn’t working so I suppose you’re bound to hit on a decent manager once in a while. Hopefully the next to take up that mantle is Rosler. There, are we redressing the balance yet?

CC: Which do you think is the tougher tie -  Wigan v MK Dons in the FA Cup rather than Wigan v AFCB? Last season in the 4th round MK Dons beat QPR - sorry to worry you!

JWW: Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I think there will more pressure on this game, and that’s purely down to the fact Wigan are the current cup holders. The eyes of the world are once again upon this little club, and it isn’t quite as well equipped as last year.

CC: By the way Eunan O'Kane is back in AFCB's team and playing well. If you haven't seen his goal against Yeovil you might want to take a look. Do you think you'll have any special plans for him?

JWW: Naturally, we’ll be watching that YouTube video on repeat while eating raw eggs and feverishly hitting punch bags in preparation. Not that he’ll get knocked out (although that might be a viable tactic considering the general quality of Football League refereeing), but we’ll be wary of conceding in much the same way as last year’s FA Cup 3rd Rd tie. We’ll probably double mark him or something. ;)

CC: Your are keeping some clean sheets now but are you worried about Wigan's home form?

JWW: On the whole, our home form has been a huge improvement over last year, when we actually did better away from the DW. Must have been the catering or something (Pooles Pies are better than Holland’s!). Anyway, our home form has dipped lately, but the quality is returning so I am sorry to say I think (hope?) we will just scrape this one! At any rate, I hope we don’t see another 0-0…

CC: Having seen AFCB in the cup ties last year and in the league in August, do you think the Cherries are on route to keeping their Championship status?

JWW: Yeah, 30 points is a decent haul up to this stage. Heck, we didn’t reach those dizzying heights until the very end of last season!

I jest. I am aware this is a different league but still… nnngh, I will stop short of saying ‘you will be OK’ because I said that about us last season and look what happened! Remember this: good football doesn’t always win you games, but bribing the ref does. Wait, what?

As I always say, good luck for next Saturday, but not too much. ;)

CC: Thank you Dan for an entertaining set of replies as always. I think quite a few of our fans will try to get to the DW Stadium if they can brave the UK's lovely weather at the moment. Some may well be saving their cash for more FA Cup memories, but we know that points in the Championship are a priority so expect a tough game this weekend. Catch up on all Dan's Wigan chat on his site where he also has a podcast that will be well worth a listen. You should also find me on his site somewhere!

The observant of you will also see we have a new advertiser on the blog. If you are over 18 take a look at the Free Bet Negotiator site and see if you can have a lucrative weekend. In the year ahead it is hoped that some exclusive bets can be arranged with readers of Cherry Chimes.

If you are also looking to market on Cherry Chimes contact me after reading about how you can have a presence on the site.

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