Wigan may have failed to establish themselves in the Championship at the first time of asking, but it is at these times that everyone connected with the club has to stick together and believe that the team will come back stronger next season.
It is the only way that we can overcome the disappointment of a campaign in which the Latics never really got going, as feeling sorry for ourselves is not going to help the club progress and build towards a brighter future.
We have to place our trust in young chairman David Sharpe to learn from the mistakes made and make the important decisions that ensure that Wigan enjoy another promotion campaign in League One. Bookmaker Ratings are likely to fancy us as strong favourites to replicate our title-winning success of 2016 next season, but with a rebuilding process required, this summer could be one of the most important in the club’s history.
Relegation felt inevitable during the closing stages of the season, even though caretaker manager Graham Barrow deserves credit for trying to keep the spirits up and picking up a few results along the way, but the repercussions have already seen players leave.
The club have announced that Stephen Warnock, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Gabriel Obertan and Andrew Taylor have all been released; it is sad to see Warnock depart the DW Stadium as the veteran full-back always gave his all for the cause and never stopped working in an effort to improve Wigan’s plight.
Other players may follow them through the exit door as part of the wage restructuring, with Nick Powell, Dan Burn and Michael Jacobs amongst those who may have caught the eye.
We would love all three to stay at the club and play leading roles in getting the team back into the Championship, but they may not fancy the prospect of League One football. It would then be down to Sharpe to provide Barrow, or whoever is appointed as the next Wigan manager, with the funds required to bring in the level of players that are capable of taking us back up at the first attempt.
Sharpe may have seen his gamble on Warren Joyce as Gary Caldwell’s successor blow up in his face, but it is imperative that he gets the next appointment right. Steve McClaren and Paul Cook have been strongly linked with the job, and while both stand out as excellent choices, it would be beneficial to the club moving forwards if a decision was made sooner rather than later.
It would certainly help the players know who will be in charge when pre-season preparations begin, along with give the fans added confidence and belief that, under the right guidance, Wigan can bounce back.
An experienced manager who knows what it takes to build a promotion-winning side is certainly what Wigan need at the present time, and as Cook has taken Portsmouth up as League Two champions, his profile certainly stands out from the other contenders for the job. All of the betting apps listed on Bookmaker Ratings would get behind Wigan if Cook walked through the doors at the DW Stadium, but even if it turns out to be McClaren or someone else, we need to get firmly behind the team next season and show our support in what could be another gruelling season in League One.