A New Era For The Latics


Chapter 26
No Major Changes Expected In The January Window
21st January 2026

Luton Town are very much in the promotion race themselves this year and they did their chances a world of good by getting one over on us. It was a tightly contested game, but they just edged us.

2.1 luton.JPG

And on top of that, we lose another player for 3 months!!

2.2 injury.JPG

Coming off the back of a loss, it's not ideal to be playing a Birmingham side that I haven't beaten in 3 previous meetings!

2.3 birm history.JPG

The bastards are definitely our bogey team :-(

2.4 birmingham.JPG

We got back to winning ways against bottom of the league Derby, although not in the most convincing style. We must play better!

2.5 derby.JPG

And we did play much better in our next match and there is no better team to do it against than your local rivals. Big result for us this is, especially with a tired squad during the busy Xmas period.

2.6 blackburn.JPG

My striker, Cristian Shpendi, is certainly finding his feet in English football now and his recent form has earned him the Player Of The Month award for December!

2.7 player of month.JPG

With the new year comes FA Cup football for the first time this year and we'll host Oldham Athletic. With them three divisions below us in the National League, there were high expectations we would cruise through this tie.

2.8 oldham preview.JPG

In the end it was pretty comfortable, although there was a hairy moment when they pulled it back to 3-2!! Still, we recovered and composed ourselves to assert our dominance again in the final stages and go through to the 4th round.

2.9 oldham.JPG

Centre back Jimmy Dunne has seen his first team football dwindle this season and therefore has been a but restless in the dressing room. With his contract up at the end of the season, I decided to accept a £175k bid from Charlton to allow him to leave the club and he becomes our first departure of the January transfer window.

2.10 dunne.JPG

Back to the action and a clash with 7th placed QPR resulted in another big win for us. It's good to see players like Tom Pearce and Stephen Humphrys who helped us out of League One, still scoring goals and performing well in the Championship!

2.11 qpr.JPG

I don't think the squad needs a lot of improvement during this transfer window, but a couple of reinforcements wouldn't be a bad thing and the first to come in is right back James Bree. He was released by Southampton in the Summer and I tried to sign him then but he was demanding salaries in excess of £30k per week. However, now he has been without a club for 6 months, I was able to snap him up on just £6.5k p/w.

2.12 bree.JPG

Jimmy Dunne would need replacing too, but I didn't want to turn to the permanent market just yet but will instead sign his full time replacement in the Summer. For now, I have brought in Scottish centre back, Luis Binks on loan from Bologna for the rest of the season.

2.13 binks.JPG

Meanwhile, I have a problem with Cisse Sandra. He has been playing a prominent role in the side lately (which has seen him turn mediocre performances into half decent ones over the last couple of games). However, he has the ump because I've not been playing him as a Mezzala and after a conversation, has now handed in a transfer request to leave the club. He cost me £2.1 million at the start of the season, so I need to recoup at least that!

2.14 sandra.JPG

2.14 sandra transfer request.JPG

The offers did start flooding in straight away, and although the transfer fees weren't too bad, all the clubs expect me to pay a proportion of the players wages which I'm not prepared to do!

2.15 sandra offers.JPG

Back on the pitch, we suffered defeat against Sheffield United. It was always going to be a tough one as we are both chasing down an automatic promotion place.

2.16 sheffield.JPG

We bounced back immediately with victory over Bristol City though. Always good to get a reaction straight after defeat.

2.17 bristol.JPG

That win ensures we hold on to 2nd place in the league and we have a small 4 point buffer back to Middlesbrough and Sheffield United in 3rd and 4th. Wolves have still only lost 1 game all season and opened up a 6 point lead over us at the top of the table.

2.18 league.JPG

Chapter 27
A Four Year Deal For Me!
25th February 2026

In the fourth round of the FA Cup, we have drawn Leicester City, who we knocked out of the Carabao Cup last season on penalties. Hopefully, we can prove to be a thorn in the Premier League team's side again.

3.1 leicester previous.JPG

And we did just that and this season we didn't need a penalty shootout to knock them out! Great defensive performance and an excellent result!

3.2 leicester.JPG

To celebrate the victory, the board offered me a new 4 year contract!

3.3 contract.JPG

Unfortunately, I couldn't celebrate my contract with a win. We battered Swansea for 90 minutes but despite having 16 shots at their goal, we were unable to find the the back of the net!

3.4 swansea.JPG

We had no problem putting our chances away against Cardiff though as we cruised to an easy win. It was all about the quality of chances for the sides in this game as Cardiff did have 11 shots to our 10, but our xG was 2.94 against their 1.12.

3.5 cardiff.JPG

Really disappointing to drop points away at Stoke though after racing into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 8 minutes! Definitely a case of 2 points dropped rather than 1 gained.

3.6 stoke.JPG

A player that is currently performing to the very best of his ability and probably even exceeding it too, is Stephen Humphrys. Six goals and two assists in his last seven appearances have made him one of the first names on the team sheet of late!

3.7 humphrys.JPG

3.7 humphrys form.JPG

Our next game was going to be a top of the table clash and we knew that if we lost to Wolves, they would extend their lead over us to 8 points which would make them very hard to catch.

3.8 top of table clash.JPG

However, we also knew that we would close the gap to just 2 points if we won and with a defensively sound performance, that's exactly what we did. It was Tom Cannon that got the winner with a cheeky backheel after Stephen Humphrys cut inside to the byline and pulled the ball back for the on loan striker.

3.9 wolves.JPG

Our defence has been the foundation of so many victories this season and once again that was the case against our fiercest local rivals.

3.10 blackpool.JPG

But we couldn't back it up against Hull and it's a disappointing home defeat against The Tigers.

3.11 hull.JPG

Luckily for us, Wolves also lost their last game so maintain only a 2 point lead over us at the top of the table. However, it's the teams queuing up behind us that I'm more worried about right now and holding on to an automatic promotion place won't be easy at all.

3.12 league.JPG

Chapter 28
First Time Taking On One Of The 'Big 6'
1st April 2026

In the FA Cup 5th Round, you could say we were handed a lucky draw as we were set to host League Two side Cambridge United. Surely it would be easy passage through to the quarter finals right?

4.1 fa cup.JPG

Absolutely right it was and the winning margin should have been higher with 26 shots on goal, 5 clear cut chances and an xG of 4.82.

4.2 cambridge.JPG

It was the 100th competitive win of my Wigan career, so a nice little milestone to reach!

4.3 100 wins.JPG

We will now face an away day at Old Trafford in the next round.

4.4 fa cup draw.JPG

I approached the board to invest further in the club's youth recruitment network and they duly oblige.

4.5 youth.JPG

Before we play our massive FA Cup game against Manchester United, we had two more league games to play first. Both games were incredibly tight against strong opposition, but we only manage to take a single point from the 6 available.

4.6 2 games.JPG

There was no surprise to see that we would be outsiders for the United tie, although I probably expected them to be even shorter than they were.

4.7 odds.JPG

Although that might be down to the fact they aren't exactly flying in the Premier League and have already lost 10 times this year in the league alone.

4.8 united position.JPG

But based on the starting lineups, they are still a **** of a lot stronger than us on paper!

4.9 lineups.JPG

And they proved that with a very dominant performance to knock us out of the competition. But the manner in which we lost is bitterly disappointing, pretty much handing it to United on a plate with an own goal and two first half red cards. Our discipline completely got away from us here and we must hold it together better on the big occasions.

4.10 united.JPG

At least we reacted in the right manner and got straight back to winning ways in the league against Plymouth. Both goals were a little scrappy after scrambles in the opposition box, but we'll take it!

4.11 plymouth.JPG

Our next game would be against a Crystal Palace side that have been incredibly disappointing this year and find themselves in 13th place following their relegation last year. To be fair though, selling £257 million worth of talent last Summer probably didn't help.

4.12 palace sales.JPG

Although they don't really have any excuses as they did then go and spend over £100 million of that on rebuilding their squad.

4.13 palace transfers in.JPG

And we cruise past them with relative ease in all honesty and the game was firmly in our control after two goals in two minutes inside the opening 17!

4.14 palace.JPG

Things are certainly going to go right down to the wire in the title race, with the top 5 all separated by just 4 points. Our game in hand over everyone could prove to be of huge importance!

4.15 league.JPG

Chapter 29
The Run In
21st May 2026

This year's youth intake is probably the best I've had in 3 years, but it's still not fantastic. There are a couple of players who might develop into half decent prospects but only time will tell.

5.1 youth.JPG

The first of our final 7 games saw us taken on 6th placed Portsmouth who were probably out of the title race, but firmly in contention for a playoff spot. And they have boosted their chances of bagging one too after beating us here in an entertaining game for the fans, although it's theirs that are going home happier.

5.2 portsmouth.JPG

We bounce back right away as Scott Twine's double secures victory against relegation battlers, Coventry. Twine should have had his hat trick but missed his 96th minute penalty.

5.3 coventry.JPG

We are still holding our game in hand as we approach the final run in, with 5 games remaining for us, whilst all the other title chasers have now played 42! Luton have moved to the head of the table, but it's so tight that anything could still happen.

5.4 run in.JPG

Sheffield United have the hardest of the run ins, with games against Middlesbrough and Luton still to play. That could all play into our hands as we take on no side higher than 10th...can we kick on this season or will we see another meltdown reminiscent of last year?!

5.5 run in games.JPG

In a massive fixture, Sheffield United did overcome Luton, which sees them go to the top! It means both the sides above us only have a 2 point lead but we have 2 games in hand!

5.6 sheff beat luton.JPG

We took advantage of the situation immediately with a demolition job over Ipswich. It was a shakey start as we went 2-0 down inside the opening quarter of an hour, but we soon got our act together and then The Tractor Boys simply couldn't handle us.

5.7 ipswich.JPG

Our second game in hand was against 10th placed Watford and thanks to an 86th minute strike from Cristian Shpendi from the bench, we win again!

5.8 watford.JPG

It moves us to the top of the division with a 4 point lead and just 3 games left. Potentially, 1 more win could see us promoted to the Premier League!

5.9 league.JPG

And that win came in our very next game against Reading.

5.10 reading.JPG

It leaves us just a point away from automatic promotion and just a win away from being confirmed as champions!

5.11 league.JPG

The pressure was on and it was clear to see in a nervey display against West Brom. However, a 95th minute equalizer as Cisse Sandra got up to head home at the near post from a corner saw us get the point we needed.

5.12 west brom.JPG

And with Luton failing to win, it was actually enough to seal the Championship title with a game spare! Next year, Wigan Athletic will be back in the Premier League!!!

5.13 champions.JPG

And with that will come a very hefty budget for me to play with!

5.14 budgets.JPG

Before we get spending some serious cash though, we round off our title winning season with our 28th victory of the season against Birmingham.

5.15 birmingham.JPG

So we win the league by 4 points in the end and it's Luton that will be coming up automatically with us! Portsmouth, who came up from League One with us two seasons ago, could also now join us in the Premier League if they win the playoffs.

5.16 league.JPG


Premier League = Manchester City

Championship = Wigan Athletic
League One = Preston North End
League Two = AFC Wimbledon
National League = Crewe Alexandra

FA Cup = Manchester United
Carabao Cup = Liverpool
EFL Trophy = Burton Albion
Community Shield = Manchester City
FA Trophy = South Shields

UEFA Champions League = Real Madrid
UEFA Europa League = Sporting Lisbon

UEFA Europa Conference League = Aston Villa

Well for the second time in three seasons, I lead the club to a league title and a promotion. Top flight football on it's way back to the DW Stadium and moving forward, it's going to be a whole new type of challenge!

6. league.JPG

Our statistics from our title winning season show we were very worthy winners as we led the way in a number of areas this year.

6. league stats.JPG

Decent performances again this year in the FA and Carabao Cups, without ever looking likely we would win either.

6. fa cup.JPG

6. carabao cup.JPG

Overall Squad Stats

6. squad stats.JPG

The New Arrivals

6. new arrivals.JPG

The Best 11

6. best 11.JPG

Club Awards

6. club awards.JPG

League Awards

6. league award 1.JPG

6. league award 2.JPG

6. league award 3.JPG


6. commercials.JPG


6. finances.JPG

With promotion to the Premier League comes a hike in ticket prices for the fans. However, I still think that £609 for a season ticket in the best league in the world is incredibly reasonable!

6. ticket prices.JPG

In terms of the club's overall best 11, three of my players made it past the 100 league game mark for me this season!

6. overall best 11.JPG
Great end to the season and great to get promoted, not jealous at all of your transfer budget 😂

Cheers mate. I need to stretch it as far as I can to improve as much of the squad as possible if we are going to survive in the Prem. I think one or two £15-20 million players would leave us too exposed in too many areas. It will be an interesting Summer for sure!

Chapter 30
Building For The Big Time
4th August 2026

My first signing of the Summer isn't one to assist us this year in the Premier League, but instead a player for the future. 19 year old centre back, Daniel Hoey, looks like a very promising prospect and he had a £550k minimum fee release clause with Lincoln which I was more than happy to meet. As part of the deal, I have sent him back to them on loan for the season to continue his development.

7.1 hoey.JPG

My next one broke the club's transfer record as 24 year old Dutch midfielder, Mathijs Tielemans comes into the club for a fee of £9.5 million. He comes in from Vitesse where he has played a key role and made nearly 100 league appearances over the past 3 seasons, scoring 15 times and bagging 11 assists.

7.2 tielemans.JPG

Next in was a new striker in the form of 32 year old Stefano Moreo. I only paid £4.4 million to bring him here from Portsmouth, so it's a relatively low risk deal. The reason I brough him in was because he had an amazing season in the Championship last year, topping the goalscoring charts with 34! That's impressive and hopefully he can bring those shooting boots with him and score the goals to keep us in the Premier League this season!

7.3 moreo.JPG

Then came my biggest bargain of the Summer as Spanish midfielder, Fran Alvarez, signs for just £92k from Widzew Lodz. He'll likely only be a squad rotation player, but he comes here after some very strong performances in Poland where he has maintained average ratings of 7.21, 7.43 and 7.60 over the last 3 seasons.

7.4 alvarez.JPG

The reality of Premier League football kicks in as the fixtures for the new season are released and we have a tough away day down on the south coast to kick things off.

7.5 fixtures.JPG

Our first major departure of the Summer is Jamie Shackleton. He played 20 league games for me last season, but wanted a massive pay rise and status as a Star Player, which he is not. I therefore put him up for sale and Eibar were willing to part with £8.5 million to sign him. A right result as I only paid £825k for the player 2 years ago from Leeds.

7.6 shackleton.JPG

Then it was time to welcome three players that join the club on free transfers as their deals with their previous clubs expire. First is 23 year old midfielder, James McAtee who comes in from Manchester City. The 23 year old has not made an impact on their first team squad in 7 years, but he is certainly good enough to make one on ours!

7.7 mcatee.JPG

Next in is left back Dimitris Giannoulis, signing from Norwich, although he has spent the last two seasons on loan in his native Greece. He's better than both my current options at left back and improves us immediately in that position!

7.8 giannoulis.JPG

The final free transfer of the three and the one that could have the biggest impact this season is Tottenham's Jude Soonsup-Bell. A tidy little prospect and at 22 years old, he is just starting to come into his prime years and could well become an important player for us over the next few seasons.

7.9 bell.JPG

Back to spending some money again and £6.75 million was forked out for new goalkeeper, Marvin Keller from Young Boys. The 24 year old is likely to become the Swiss international number 1 and his stock will surely rise over the coming years, especially if he can establish himself as our number 1.

7.10 keller.JPG

The player that could prove to be my signing of the season is Argentinian midfielder, Federico Redondo, who comes in from Argentinos Juniors. I activated his £5.25 million minimum fee release clause to bring him to England and that looks like an absolute steal!

7.11 redondo.JPG

With so many new signings this Summer, I wanted to ensure we played enough friendlies to enable them to gel as best as possible before the competitive stuff kicks off. Pre season was unbeaten against a range of opponents.

7.12 pre season.JPG

Before the season starts, there was another departure from the club as Harry Toffolo leaves for Luton in a deal worth £4.7 million. Not a bad return on a player I only paid £80k for.

7.13 toffolo.JPG

And then there was one final addition as I bolster my options at centre back with the £5.25 million signing of Federico Gattoni from Shanghai Port. I couldn't believe he had such a low minimum fee release clause and I was more than happy to activate it!

7.14 gattoni.JPG

Despite all the positive additions over the Summer, we are still strongly expected to struggle this year and that is to be expected...I mean we were playing League One football 3 seasons ago!

7.15 preview.JPG

Chapter 31
A Decent Enough Start
3rd September 2026

Right at the start of last season, Andre Luis damaged his achilles tendon and missed 4 months of football. Before a competitive football has been kicked this season, he's done exactly the same thing!

8.1 injury.JPG

Our first game of the season would pit us against the ultimate mid table side. Brighton have finished 9th, 11th and 9th in the last 3 years and will give us a good indication on whether we might be able to compete this season in the top tier.

8.2 brighton positions.JPG

And if the result is anything to go by on the opening day, it's fair to say we can compete at this level! However, it's only one game and we won't get ahead of ourselves just yet, especially as it could have very easily been a defeat if Evan Ferguson had tucked away that penalty for them.

8.3 brighton.JPG

But the stats do show that we were very good value for our point and weren't outplayed in the slightest.

8.4 stats.JPG

It was the day of the Tielemans as both ours and Villa's scored in a game which saw us lose for the first time this season. But again it was a performance which gives us some encouragement as again we were very much in the game throughout.

8.5 villa.JPG

I was really hoping we could get our first win of the season relatively early as I knew that the longer we went on without one, the more the pressure would mount. So I'm naturally delighted that in just our 3rd game, we have it with an away victory at Fulham!

8.6 fulham.JPG

The second round of the Carabao Cup pitted us against Nottingam Forest, who now find themselves back in the Championship. However, 4 wins from 4 games this season meant they would come into our match in full confidence and they certainly gave us a game (although I did rotate 7 players). In the end, we scrape through on a penalty shootout.

8.7 forest.JPG

Our third round draw couldn't have been any tougher though!!

8.8 cup draw.JPG

Before that, we had the matter of Sunderland in the Premier League though and on paper, this is a game we should be looking at as a must win, but coming into it, The Black Cats were on a 4 game unbeaten streak (dating back to last season) so form was on their side. Stefano Moreo was given the nod up front and he repaid my faith by scoring a first half brace which saw us take a lead into the break. When James McAtee the slotted home at the near post for our 3rd goal just 6 minutes into the second half, it put the game out of Sunderland's reach and we went on to grab a big 3 points!

8.9 sunderland.JPG

Seven points from our opening four matches is an extremely impressive start for us, but we haven't played any of the 'big 6' yet so there are some really tough games queuing up in the near future.

8.10 league.JPG

On transfer deadline day, there were three deals completed to finalise our squad (until January at least). First of all there was the departure of Cisse Sandra who has been edging for a move away from the club for some time now. He eventually gets his wish as he moves to Lorient for £3.9 million.

8.11 sandra.JPG

On to the two new signings and the first is a returning loanee. Arsenal's Amario Cozier-Duberry spent our first season in the Championship with us and now returns for a year in the Premier League. He's 21 now and starting to come into his own and made 2 Premier League appearances for The Gooners last season, so will be looking to show his parent club what he can do in the top tier.

8.12 duberry.JPG

I further bolstered our wide attacking options with a new permanent signing as well. 19 year old Cobel Sow had broken through the ranks at Basel into their first team and still being a teenager, he is expected to improve further still. Hopefully we can develop him into a very good player over the next few years and he'll repay the £11 million I forked out to bring him to the club.

8.13 sow.JPG

Now we turn our attention back to the Carabao Cup and that tie with Manchester City. I was hopeful that they might throw a few youngsters out there and play a weakened side against us. They did rest a couple (including Erling Haaland) but their team was still ridiculously strong and there was no sign of any unknown teenagers! But despite that, we still worked really, really hard to earn a 2-2 draw and take the game to a penalty shootout! An unbelievable effort from my lads!

8.14 man city.JPG

And we went on to complete the unthinkable and knock out the best team in the country, scoring all five of our penalties before Josko Gvardiol saw his saved by Sam Tickle to see us through to the next round! What an amazing result!

8.15 pens.JPG

It was a fantastic debut for new signing Cobel Sow who came off the bench to score our second goal and hammered home his penalty in the shootout as well!

8.16 man city.JPG

Chapter 32
Seriously Lacking Commercial Income
28th October 2026

In terms of commercial income in the Premier League, the gulf between the top sides and those at the bottom is utterly ridiculous. It's no surprise to see us propping up this table, but to be making over £150 million less a year than the top 7 is madness and to be nearly £300 million behind the likes of Manchester United shows just how tough it is for the smaller sides to compete in England's top tier.

9.1 commercial 1.JPG

9.1 commercial 2.JPG

Our wage expenditure is in line with our commercial income and is far behind everyone else in the top division!

9.2 wages.JPG

9.2 wages 2.JPG

Leicester City have made a very strong start to their league campaign this year and with victory over us here, they haven't lost any of their opening 5 games and sit 2nd in the table just behind Chelsea.

9.3 leicester.JPG

Injuries (and especially big injuries) have become a common theme of life at Wigan for me and this season is no different as we lose last year's Player of the Season, Lewie Coyle, for the next couple of months.

9.5 coyle injury.JPG

It was Luton up next for us and again another side that have made a strong start, taking 10 points from their opening 5 matches. However, the fact they came up with us last year, we have to be targeting this as a must win game, especially with home advantage on our side.

9.4 luton position.JPG

And with an inspired performance from Federico Redondo leading the way, we took full advantage and record a comfortable and convincing win!

9.6 luton.JPG

Unfortunately, there was bad news to come out of the Luton game - yep, you guessed it...another injury! Scott Twine will be out for a couple of months now!

9.7 twine injury.JPG

We face off against Chelsea next who still have Mauricio Pochettino in charge and he has led the London side back to the heights of the Champions League over the last couple of seasons and is establishing them once again as genuine title challengers. This won't be easy!

9.8 chelsea history.JPG

But we actually pull off possibly the result of my career so far! To go to Stamford Bridge and score five goals is an amazing achievement and this is the most impressive 3 points we've ever earned under my management! Cristian Shpendi takes the match ball home with him after his hat trick but James Bree and Dimitris Giannoulis both deserve a mention for their 8.9 and 9.3 match performances in the full back positions.

9.9 chelsea.JPG

In a very weird International schedule, we will now have an extended break before playing our next game....Nearly a month will pass without a game now as the Nations League has four fixtures booked in the next 18 days.

9.10 schedule.JPG

When we returned, I started the same 11 that had beaten Chelsea so convincingly and again the lads stepped up and got the job done against Newcastle. Another fantastic result!

9.11 newcastle.JPG

And we followed that up with another victory over struggling Everton.

9.12 everton.JPG

I don't think anyone expected this after the opening 9 games of the season! Wigan Athletic are top of the Premier League!!

9.13 league.JPG

However, we are realists and the realism of the situation is that we could very well fall down the league table pretty quickly over our next few games...I mean talk about a tough run of fixtures!!!

9.14 fixtures.JPG

Chapter 33
Talk About A Tough Run Of Fixtures
12th December 2026

Our win over Manchester City in the 3rd round of the Carabao Cup wasn't rewarded with an easier tie as we'd hoped. In fact, it had pitted us against another of the best sides in the country. However, we have already beaten Chelse 5-2 in the Premier League this season and that would boost our confidence going into the game for sure. Despite having that win in our locker though, there was no expectations from the fans and board for us to progress any further in the competition.

1.1 chelsea preview.JPG

So they will both be delighted that we are in fact through after our 3rd successive penalty shootout victory in the competition. It was justified that we won the shootout as we had created the better chances during the 90 minutes without putting the ball in the back of the net anyway! But again, what an amazing result as we claim another major scalp in this year's competition.

1.2 chelsea.JPG

There is absolutely no let up in the competition for us as we now have to face Liverpool in the next round!

1.3 carabao draw.JPG

Our tough run of Premier League fixtures kicked off with a home game against Manchester United (now managed by Roberto De Zerbi) and we took an encouraging point from the game. However, we can maybe feel like we should have taken more after letting a 2-0 lead slip.

1.4 man utd.JPG

We headed off to London to face off against our previous senior affiliate, Arsenal, next. In all honesty, it was a case of men vs boys as we were totally outclassed at The Emirates.

1.5 arsenal.JPG

As we take a look at the 50 best players in world football, I start to wonder how long it might be before we now have a player named amongst this list.

1.6 best players.JPG

We might not have any of the best 50 players in the world in our team right now, but what we do have is a team that continues to pull together and overachieve and we've done that once again with a solid 1-0 result over Liverpool!

1.7 liverpool.JPG

When we knocked Manchester City out of the Carabao Cup, we didn't have Erling Haaland to deal with and in the league it took him just 4 minutes to have an impact. However, that was Man City's only impressive moment in the game and incredibly we go out and pull off another shock result against one of the big boys by winning at the Etihad!! We were outplayed for long periods and City had double the amount of shots we did, but they missed their chances and Stefano Moreo came off the bench to head home a winner in injury time to punish them.

1.8 man city.JPG

Having come off the back of two huge wins against arguably the best two sides in the country, we now face a Tottenham side in turmoil. Sitting 17th in the table and having just sacked Ange Postecoglu, Spurs could be sitting ducks for our the in form overachievers of the season so far!

1.9 spurs position.JPG

But they were resilient in their efforts and a game that showcased some excellent defending from both sides ends in a 0-0 draw. Despite Spurs poor league position, it's got to be seen as another good point from our perspective though!

1.10 spurs.JPG

Unfortunately, there were no points for us at the London Stadium as we fell to a narrow defeat to West Ham. We weren't at our best and didn't create much so can't have too many complaints.

1.11 west ham.JPG

We did pick up a point against Wolves and there's one player we can thank for that. After Fabio Gerli getting sent off inside half an hour and then Wolves going 2-0 up, Cristian Shpendi scored two individual goals of real quality to grab us a draw. The first was a beautifully struck effort into the bottom corner from outside the box, whilst the second saw him dribble past two Wolves players before side footing his shot into the roof of the net passed the onrushing keeper!

1.12 wolves.JPG

Only Erling Haaland has scored more Premier League goals than Shpendi this season and our Albanian striker is now valued at over £30 million!

1.13 goals.JPG

1.13 shpendi.JPG

My target at the start of the season was to hit 40 points, knowing that would pretty much guarantee we would stay up (over the past 3 seasons, 35/32/36 points has been enough to survive the drop). To think that we already have 28 points and we haven't even hit the half way stage of the season is brilliant and I'm excited to see where the rest of the season now takes us.

1.14 league.JPG

Chapter 34
6-0, 6-0, We Love A 6-0!
13th January 2027

No matter what happens from here on out in the Carabao Cup this year, it's fair to say we've had an excellent run in the competition! Three intense penalty shootouts have seen us knock out the Championship leaders and two of the best sides in the country! Now if we want to progress further, we will once again have to beat one of the favourites (if not the favourite) to win it in the form of Liverpool!

2.1 carabao cup.JPG

And it's not over yet as thanks to a 90th minute penalty, we have claimed another scalp!!

2.2 liverpool.JPG

With the way the draws have gone for us throughout the Carabao Cup, I was convinced we would get Arsenal in the semi final. However, we have finally avoided a massive team and it's now Southampton who stand in our way of a day at Wembley!

2.3 semi draw.JPG

And our next game was against The Saints in the league, which would be a warm up for that big semi over two legs coming up next month. And the result suggests Southampton have the upper hand, but Mathijs Tielemans seeing red and leaving us virtually the whole game to play with 10 men certainly made it a **** of a lot easier for our opponents.

2.4 southampton.JPG

And even that doesn't tell the whole story as we had two goals disallowed by VAR as well!

2.5 disallowed.JPG

Christmas in the Premier League is always busy with three games to play in the space of a week. That kicked off with a Boxing Day fuxture at home to Leeds and that resulted in victory!

2.5 leeds.JPG

Just three days later we went away to Bournemouth and picked up another well earned point.

2.6 bournemouth.JPG

Our New Year's Day fixture would be significantly tougher as we went away to Aston Villa, who sat 4th (just above us) in the division at the half way stage of the season. They came out on top in a closely contested game, but Scott Twine really should have earned us a point as he missed two one on ones in the final few minutes of the game!

2.7 villa.JPG

Twine was a big part of our title winning season in the Championship last year, but the Premier League has proven very tough for him this year and his performances have left a lot to be desired.

2.8 twine.JPG

The Carabao Cup has not been kind to us this year with the draws throughout, so I was pleased to see that the FA Cup draw went a little easier on us, handing League One opposition for the 3rd round. And we cruised past them with no hiccups as Jude Soonsup-Bell banged in a hat trick.

2.9 shrews.JPG

Back in the league, a win would be fully expected against bottom of the table Brighton who have been well off the pace so far this year.

2.10 brighton bottom.JPG

Fuckinghell I expected the win, but I didn't expect to absolutely batter them this badly! What a performance! I think it's fair to say Brighton are bang in trouble this season!

2.11 brighton.JPG

If you'd have said to me that after 21 games of the season, we would be sitting in the European qualification spots I'd have laughed you straight in the face. However, that's where we are! Now I don't expect to be there come the end of the season, but it's not beyond the realms of possibility that we could finish in the top half this year which would be an excellent achievement in itself! The league is incredibly tight though and despite us being 6th, Leeds United in 18th are still only 14 points behind us and other than the bottom 2, it's anyone's guess as to who will be relegated this season!

2.12 league.JPG

For a brief moment we turn our attentions away from the Premier League now as we faced Southampton in the first leg of the Carabao Cup Semi Final. But we did pick up where we left off against Brighton and make it back to back 6-0 victories! Surely we are going to Wembley for our first cup final under my management?!

2.13 southampton.JPG

Chapter 35
Still Hanging On In The European Qualification Spots
6th February 2027

Sunderland are right in amongst the bottom clubs battling relegation this season and we were coming into this one off the back of two 6-0 victories. So of course, the result went against the form book and we play out a bore draw.

3.1 sunderland.JPG

It was then a quick return back to the Carabao Cup and the 2nd leg of our semi final and with a 6-0 lead, I rotated the squad with all 11 positions rotated from the Sunderland game. That definitely threw us off our stride a bit, but we always knew we could afford to lose the game and its Wembley here we come! It will be Arsenal or Bournemouth in the final, but we won't know who for nearly a month as they haven't even played their first leg yet!

3.2 southampton.JPG

Being able to rest my whole first team against Southampton, meant we could be at absolute full strength against Fulham in the FA Cup and it paid off as we won the game comfortably.

3.3 fulham.JPG

Our next game against Leicester in the Premier League will be my 200th in charge of the club and I was really hoping we could mark the occasion with a win.

3.4 200 games.JPG

Unfortunately, the Foxes had other plans!

3.5 leicester.JPG

Despite the loss to Leicester, things are still going pretty well at the moment, so I thought there was no better time than to ask for some facility upgrades and the board duly oblige.

3.6 facilities 1.JPG

3.6 facilities 2.JPG

I was pleased we got right back to winning ways against Luton, although we should have won by a much bigger margin after dominating from start to finish.

3.7 luton.JPG

On transfer deadline day, one of the key players that has come up the leagues with me has now left the club, albeit on a temporary basis on loan. Stephen Humphrys has moved to Scotland to join Kilmarnock for the rest of the season. They'll cover majority of his wages and have an option to buy him for £4.5 million if they want to make the deal permanent at the end of the year.

3.8 humphrys.JPG

And with our last bit of transfer budget left, I move to bring in a replacement in the form of 19 year old Italian prospect, Mattia Mosconi. He arrives from Inter Milan for a fee of £3.9 million. Mosconi can play both as an inside forward and as a striker and will hopefully continue to improve over the next few seasons!

3.9 mosconi.JPG

We were again on top for large periods against Fulham, but our defending left plenty to be desired and you're never going to win games when you concede 5 goals! Poor!

3.10 fulham.JPG

After getting a thrashing, the last thing you want to do it play the side at the top of the league, but that's where we are at. We welcome Chelsea to the DW Stadium who are 5 points clear at the head of the Premier League, but then we haven't lost to them in two previous meetings this season, so we're not consigned to defeat.

3.11 chelsea previous.JPG

Despite another good effort from my lads and a tight contest, unfortunately this time the result didn't go our way.

3.12 chelsea.JPG

Our form has definitely seen some mixed results over the last few games and the difficulty of the Premier League is definitely starting to set in now. However, we do just about still cling on to a European qualification spot, although we will do ****** well to remain there over the next 12 games.

3.13 league.JPG

Chapter 36
Our First Cup Final
26th February 2027

We've known that we are in the Carabao Cup Final for about a month now, but our opponents have only just been decided (11 days before our Wembley date). It's Arsenal we will be facing in my first domestic cup final as Wigan manager.

4.1 arsenal win semi.JPG

Before that, we had a game to play against Newcastle in the league. It wasn't exactly the ideal preparation I was looking for.

4.2 newcastle.JPG

So next up it was the big one. Well, big in terms of the fact it's my first domestic cup final as manager of Wigan. But we are fully aware that we are totally up against it with Arsenal having thrashed us in the Premier League this season already, in a game we were simply never in!

4.3 arsenal previous.JPG

But nobody, and I mean nobody, can deny that we would be fully deserving of the trophy this year after already knocking out Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool on our way to the final this season!

4.4 run to final.JPG

Meanwhile, Arsenal's run to the final has been one of the easiest cup runs I've ever seen!

4.5 arsenal run.JPG


4.6 lineups.JPG

12 minutes into the final, Arsenal had had 76% of the possession, but against the run of play, we broke down their end of the pitch and Stefano Moreo hit a powerful effort past the Arsenal keeper from James McAtee's low cross.

4.7 1st goal.jpg

And just 2 minutes later, Moreo had his second of the game and it was a dream start for us!!

4.8 2nd goal.jpg

Gabriel Jesus hit a half volley which took a deflection on it's way into the back of the net just a few minutes before half time to ensure the second half would be a nervey affair for us! Massive 45 minutes coming up!

4.9 half time.JPG

The second 45 minutes didn't see either side create a clear cut chance which suited us down to the ground! No more goals means we lift the Carabao Cup and it's thoroughly deserved too!

4.10 arsenal.JPG


4.11 cup winners.JPG

And that means that no matter what happens in the Premier League this year, we will be playing football in European competition next year! An incredible feat!

4.12 european football.JPG

We were immediately back in cup action just 3 days after the final, but with the lads probably still suffering from their celebrations, we weren't at our best and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton. I'll be honest though - right now I really don't care as this week has been all about the trophy we did win!!

4.13 everton.JPG
Great win here in the Cup and to know you have European football secured next season now as well regardless of what happened
Great win here in the Cup and to know you have European football secured next season now as well regardless of what happened

Mate I was so chuffed as I totally didn't expect to win that final, but we were quality!! But fully deserved after who we knocked out on route to Wembley! As you said, pressure is now relieved for the rest of the season and it doesn't really matter what happens from here on out.

Chapter 37
Another Poor Youth Intake
17th April 2027

Winning the Carabao Cup has given us European football next season, no matter where we end up in the league. Despite that, I'd still like us to finish strong and hopefully as high up the table as we can, so it was disappointing to get hammered at Old Trafford without putting up much of a fight.

5.1 man utd.JPG

That's now four straight defeats in the league and things don't look like letting up any time soon with our upcoming fixtures being some of the most difficult games of the year!

5.2 fixtures.JPG

We were actually doing alright against Arsenal until the 72nd minute when we went down to 10 men. After that, we crumbled and fall to defeat as The Gunners get some revenge for our cup final win over them last month.

5.3 arsenal.JPG

Unfortunately, we were never really in the game against Liverpool at Anfield.

5.4 liverpool.JPG

My main striker, Cristian Shpendi, was in fine form in the first half of the season, but he has massively gone off the boil and now hasn't scored in 12 games. Naturally he was dropped and has now complained about his lack of starts for the club. I didn't pander to him, talks didn't go well and now our £30 million+ striker has handed in a transfer request to leave the club.

5.5 shpendi.JPG

There is interest from Norwich, but I'm not sure the Championship club will be able to get anywhere near my asking price for him!

5.6 interest.JPG

Although scoring a 96th minute equalizer against Everton might catch the eye of a few potential suitors!

5.7 everton.JPG

Possibly the most disappointing aspect of my Wigan career to date has been the poor quality of the youth intakes and this year's is no different!

5.8 youth.JPG

It's testament to how well we played against Manchester City that we can feel disappointed to only take a point from our match with them!

5.9 man city.JPG

We were the much better side throughout and the stats say as much!

5.10 stats.JPG

Bad news though as in training the following week, Mathijs Tielemans has broken his leg which is going to see him out for the rest of this season and probably the start of next as well.

5.11 injury.JPG

Back to the action and we were **** at Spurs and lose again! That's now 9 league games without a win!

5.12 spurs.JPG

We are gradually slipping down the table and now find ourselves in the bottom half. Despite reaching 41 points at this stage, we're actually not mathematically safe from relegation at this stage in one of the closest Premier League campaigns I've ever seen in the bottom half! We should be OK though.

5.13 league.JPG

On the plus side, we are at least near the top of one of the tables this year as one of the most profitable clubs in the country!

5.14 profit.JPG

Chapter 38
Finishing Up Our First Season In The Prem
17th May 2027

BOOOOOOOM! Finally, after a run of 9 games without a win, we finally get a victory as we better West Ham at home. A good result against a side chasing down the top 7 and a European qualification spot.

6.1 west ham.JPG

We couldn't back that up against 19th placed Wolves though and have done them a massive favour in their fight for survival.

6.2 wolves.JPG

Our future Premier League survival will certainly require more contribution from the youth players coming through the club and hopefully these improvements will see better youth intakes in future years compared to what we have been getting.

6.3 youth recruit.JPG

Now, I do have a potential opportunity to jump ship to one of the 'big boys' as Liverpool come in and offer me an interview. However, I'm enjoying my time at Wigan and the progress we are making both on and off the pitch.

6.4 liverpool interview.JPG

The lads reward my loyalty with a winning performance over Southampton. We were all over them for the whole game, so Shpendi's late goal that gave us the 3 points was fully deserved.

6.5 southampton.JPG

But we can't string any sort of run of results together as the season comes towards it's end and a poor showing at Elland Road sees us defeated by Leeds.

6.6 leeds.JPG

The last game of the season is a bit of a dead fixture for us, but there is still plenty for Bournemouth to play for. They need a win to guarantee their Premier League safety.

6.7 league.JPG

But it's us that are victorious on the final day of the season!

6.8 bournemouth.JPG

With that victory, we climb to an 11th placed finish in the division, whilst Bournemouth were in fact leapfrogged by Wolves and go down. They can certainly feel sorry for themselves though as not many teams win 10 games in a Premier League season and are relegated! It's Arsenal that are crowned champions for the first time but the performances of both Aston Villa and Fulham both catch the eye!

6.9 league.JPG

Our mid table finish brings us nearly £20 million in prize money and with that, the board announce solid budgets again for next season!

6.10 budgets.JPG