Author Archives: Dan Rodenby

Sit down Bolton Wanderers fans, there is good news!

Sit down Bolton Wanderer’s fans, there’s eventually some positive news. Even though it’s taken forever, a deal has been agreed that will see Football Ventures consortium, headed by Sharon Brittain take full control of the club.

Five final offers were sent to administrators before Wednesday’s deadline, and it was announced on Thursday that they had identified a preferred new owner for the League One club.

They passed the main criteria: Proof of funds for the next two years. Passed the EFL approval, and the group also agreed to inject £1 million into re-building the playing squad ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

The Trotters, who will start next season on -12 points. They have also released a list of the 14 players that will remain contracted to the club next season, which includes goalkeeper Ben Alnwick and Irish international Josh Magennis.

From a Wigan fan, I was genuinely happy when I read this news. It would’ve been devastating if we’d never play again. It’s a guaranteed six points a season if you ever get back to the dizzy heights of the Championship.

In all seriousness, Bolton is a club that deserves better. The fans have stuck with the club through doom and gloom, and I hope you can get a side together that you are proud of watching again. Times like these really separate real supporters from the part-timers. If you are still following Bolton next season, I tip my hat to you, and wish you all the success.

What are Gillingham getting after signing ex-Man Utd player Matty Willock

Former Manchester United player Matty Willock has signed for Gillingham on a two-year deal. Gills manager Steve Evans fought off a host of other clubs to land the highly-rated midfielder, who arrives with glowing reports.

After signing, Willock said:

“I’m delighted, I can’t wait to get going and I’m excited to meet my new team-mates and begin playing.

“I’ve been on loan for the last two years so I wanted to carry on with my development, play men’s Football and I thought this was the perfect opportunity.”

Fair play to the youngster. Leaving Man United and joining Gillingham shows he wants to play first-team football, and he’s prepared to start in League One. It’s a very interesting signing, it could be a masterstroke from The Gills, especially on a free.

What could they potentially be getting from signing Willock…

The League One Paul Pogba

The 20-year-old has a similar physique to Paul Pogba and judging from a four-minute Youtube video, a similar playing style too. Willock, albeit in youth games, looks to just saunter around the pitch and dictate the match. I imagine he’ll be playing without fear and in fact, relishing the opportunity to express himself.

Just from reading on Twitter, Gills fans are very excited by the signing, and they have every right to be.

A matchwinner

Willock looks like he possesses the ability to produce ‘a bit of a magic’ whether that’s scoring a screamer, or dribbling through five players. Most League One matches are tight contests, and having a player that can ‘win the match on his own’ is massively important. Maybe The Gills have found their gem.

Tom Eaves has been offered a new contract to stay at the club, manager Evans will be hoping he gets the chance to partner the two and pushes for a playoff position.

2 Wigan Athletic players that need to leave this summer

Wigan are set for a summer clearout. Dan Lavercombe, Jonas Olsson, Shaun Macdonald, Callum Mcmanaman and James Vaughan were all released following the expiration of their contracts; while Nick Powell is expected to join Stoke City in the coming weeks.  

As expected, Reece James, Antonee Robinson and Christian Walton have all returned to their full-time clubs, which leaves Wigan’s squad looking threadbare.

After consolidating in the Championship last season, finishing 18th. Paul Cook will be looking to build a squad that can challenge for mid-table next season. With limited transfer funds, the Latics manager may look to offload a couple of fringe players, to raise money for a number of recruits.

Let’s have a look at two players who may be leaving the club this summer…

Jamie Walker

The Scottish winger has failed to make a positive impact since signing in January 2018. Walker has made just eight appearances for the club and is yet to score. Cook sent him on loan to Peterborough, however, he quickly fell out favour, playing just 12 times in the 2018/19 campaign.

It’s very unlikely that he is part of Cook’s plans. With rumours of him returning to Hearts, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they came to fruition.

Devante Cole

Cole was signed in the same window as Walker, in hope, he would provide that extra firepower to get us promoted from League One. Unfortunately, despite a couple of bright performances, his move has never worked out.

Similarly to Walker, he was loaned out to Burton Albion in League One last season, to find some form and confidence. He didn’t have a positive impact at The Brewers, unfortunately. I expect a number of clubs in the EFL will be looking to sign Cole, and he will be sold. He’s simply not good for this level.

2 reasons why Man City’s Aro Muric would be a great signing for Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest are interested are looking to sign Manchester City goalkeeper Aro Muric on loan. Guardiola is clearly a fan of the goalkeeper, as the Nottingham Post report that he called Muric ‘incredible’ as he helped earn City a place in the EFL Cup semi-finals with penalty shoot-out heroics against Leicester.

Ederson was arguably the best ‘keeper in the Premier League last season, therefore Muric’s playing chances are very limited. Therefore, Pep will be looking for the youngster to gain some vital EFL experience. He looks pretty special judging from his cup performances for City, however, a full season in the Championship will really test how good he is.

Why will Forest desperately be trying to get the loan signing over the line…

City a future feeder club for Forest

You may laugh. Wigan has done it with Chelsea, after the incredible work we have done with Recce James, we’ve been promised a couple of loan players for the next campaign.

If Forest were to sign Muric, play him for a majority of the season, allow him to express his footballing qualities and develop, City will appreciate that. Forest presumably have considerable transfer funds, in comparison to Wigan, so becoming a feeder club may not be in their thoughts. However, I bet if Sergio Aguero became available for loan – Forest would be at the front of the queue.

Excellent distribution

Muric is a very good footballer, confident when playing out from the back.  Maybe Martin O’Neill is looking to implement a new attractive style at the City Ground next season. There are not many better places to start than with a goalkeeper that Guardiola has trained. Let’s not forget though, Muric is a top ‘keeper, people forget how good he and Ederson are because they focus on their footballing side. Both do the ‘text-book goalkeeping’ extremely well.

Banide has three key areas he needs to strengthen for Oldham Athletic to win a surprise promotion in his first season

Laurent Banide was appointed Oldham Athletic manager on Tuesday. The Frenchman has spent the majority of his managerial career in Qatar and never managed in England, so to say it’s a shock, is an understatement of the century.  

The appointment has certainly split opinion with The Latics fan. It’s either going to be a masterstroke or nightmare, with most fans expecting the latter. The Oldham faithful expected their new manager to have EFL experience, who could battle through the club’s current ‘off-field’ problems, and sign loans/frees who he had connections with.

Anyway, good luck Oldham. Maybe you’ve found the League Two Pep Guardiola, it’s a gamble that will probably make or break their season.

I look at three things that Banide must do ahead of the 2019/20 campaign if they want to mount a promotion push…

Start the season well

If a managerial appointment has split opinion, you need to get the doubters on your side early. Otherwise, things can quickly go pear-shaped. Banide needs to win a couple of home games early, show the players are up for the fight and behind the manager.

Aim to make the fans proud to be Oldham Athletic fans, and excited to be at Boundary Park. A few comfortable wins, positive football and connect with the fans – as easy as that Banide, over to you.

Get the fans on side

There was a largely negative reaction to the announcement of his appointment. Banide needs to have a clear plan for the club. Show his ambition and convince the fans he is the man to take Oldham forward.

Loyal fans will stick with their club regardless of division, managers or players because they are supporters. However, the Frenchman needs to have the fans backing ahead of the season to succeed. Any broken relationships with players or fans will surface, and negatively affect performances on the pitch.

Sign a goalscorer

In League Two, if you have a regular goal scorer who can bag 20+ goals, you’ll generally be challenging at the right end of the table come May. A man of Banide’s experience will know scoring goals is key, particularly in leagues that are competitive and provide tight contests.

Callum Lang scored 16 goals for The Latics last season, I wonder if they’ll explore the possibility of him returning on loan, should Wigan be looking for him to gain more experience in the EFL.

‘Do well find a club with a worse preseason schedule than ours’ Wigan Athletic fans unhappy with pre-season plans

Wigan announced a pre-season friendly against Premiership outfit Everton, to be played on Wednesday 24th July. The Latics will also play host to Lancashire rivals Burnley on Saturday 27th July.

Both fixtures will give solid tests’ to Paul Cooks side ahead of their 2019/20 Championship campaign. Before the two home games, they will travel to Chester, AFC Fylde and Bradford as part of their preparations.

The fans were hoping for a sunny trip to Portugal or Spain. However, they will have to settle for a trip to Blackpool tower after visiting AFC Fylde… at least you can buy some Blackpool rock, silver linings and all that.

Let’s see how Wigan fans reacted to their full pre-season announcement…

Cook has three key areas he needs to strengthen for Wigan Athletic to try and hit the playoffs

Well, after a positive season in the Championship (for a change), it feels like our squad has been ripped apart and we have to start again this summer. I suppose it was expected considering three of our best players were on loan, and Powell was always unlikely to sign a new contract.

We still have the foundation of a decent squad, however, we still need a squad overhaul to ensure we have competition for places. I expect us to loan a few of Chelsea’s youth players, after the outstanding work we have done with Reece James. If this link with Benfica comes to fruition, they could provide us with a few top players also.

It’s a big summer for Wigan. How much ambition do the new owners have? Do they trust Cook to sign a number of young, talented players for decent money, or are we looking at signing frees and loans? A mix of both, I’d imagine.

Either way, we need to get our signings right. Powell and James were our two best players, we’ve already lost one and will likely lose the other. Furthermore, we’ve got squad players to buy after Darron Gibson and Callum McManaman were both released.

I look at three areas we need to strengthen ahead of next season…

Strength in midfield

It’s impossible for us to replace James. He’s worth more than our club, genuinely. But what did he offer us – pace, power, ability on the ball, so we need to look at replacing his attributes and signing a similar type of player. A powerhouse. Morsy is more of a ‘ball-winning’ midfielder, so offers that protection for a partner to have the freedom and break forward.

Lee Evans ended the season very well but is more suited as an attacking midfielder, opposed to a defensive one. Mohamed Diame has recently been released from Newcastle, it’s a shame his wages will be a stumbling block, he’s exactly what we need to replace James.

Speed merchants

Cook likes to play with one up front, and that striker is predominantly a ‘target man’. I don’t have a problem with that as it allows our creative players to flourish, and enjoy plenty of the ball in the right areas. However, we need a plan B to improve our away form. We led by one goal in a number of games away from home last season, but couldn’t find that killer second goal because we didn’t have the pace to counter-attack.

Conor Washington is available for free. He’s a striker that can run in-behind and exploit a high defensive line. Fraizer Campbell another. Come on Cookie, I’m doing your job for you.

A new number one

We’ve had Christian Walton on loan from Brighton for the past two seasons, and he’s been brilliant. However, there are no suggestions that he’ll be joining us for a third spell. Jamie Jones didn’t take advantage of a run in the side, therefore Cook will be looking for a new commanding ‘keeper. Jamal Blackman is currently unused at Chelsea, he’s got a wealth of EFL experience and would be a good addition for us.

Two Immediate Things Banide Must Do For Oldham Athletic Ahead Of Next Season

Laurent Banide was appointed Oldham Athletic manager on Tuesday. Who saw that one coming? Certainly not me. The Frenchman has spent the majority of his managerial career in Qatar, then turns up at Boundary Park – probably one of the strangest appointments in recent years.  

The appointment has certainly split opinion with The Latics fan, it has the feeling of a three-month tenure going terribly wrong, and him walking away. Oldham fans wanted and expected their new manager to have EFL experience, who could battle through the club’s current ‘off-field’ problems, and sign loans/frees who he had connections with.

Anyway, good luck Oldham. Maybe you’ve found the next Jose Mourinho, it’s a gamble that will probably make or break their season.

I look at a couple of things that Banide must do ahead of the 2019/20 campaign…

Get the fans on side

There was a largely negative reaction to the announcement of his appointment. Banide needs to have a clear plan for the club, show his ambition and convince the fans he is the man to take Oldham forward. Loyal fans will stick with their club regardless of division, managers or players because they are supporters. However, the Frenchman needs to have the fans backing ahead of the season – show your working hard, start building a squad and connect with the fans.

Sign a goalscorer

In League Two, if you have a regular goal scorer who can bag 20+ goals, you’ll generally be challenging at the right end of the table come May. A man of Banide’s experience will know scoring goals is key, particularly in leagues that are competitive and provide tight contests. Callum Lang scored 16 goals for The Latics last season, I wonder if they’ll explore the possibility of him returning on loan, should Wigan be looking for him to gain more experience in the EFL.

Should Wigan Athletic Be Going All Out for Oldham Athletic’s Edmundson or Focus Elsewhere

George Edmundson is presumably on route to Peterborough or Rangers. Both clubs are battling for his signature, although it seems The Posh have moved ahead in the race, after reportedly having an offer accepted for the young defender.

Edmundson was named in the 2018/19 EFL League Two team of the season and, is attracting interest from a number of sides. Oldham will be hoping for an auction, to raise as much money as possible for their departing defender.

Wigan manager Paul Cook is on the hunt for a ‘ball-playing’ defender, but I think Matt Miazga will sign on loan from Chelsea, which will fill that void. The Latics signed Danny Fox in the January transfer window, who has performed brilliantly since joining from Nottingham Forest. He’s a real leader and comfortable playing out from the back. Chey Dunkley and Cedric Kipre are both young, strong defenders, but aren’t great footballers in terms of distributing the ball from the defence. Miazga would give us that physicality and ability to start attacks from the defence, that Cook is looking for.

I expect the majority of our transfer budget to be spent on a new number nine, to score us 15-20 goals, and the rest on a new midfielder to replace Reece James. Most of our signings will be frees and loans unless we sell one of our assets like Sam Morsy for a sizeable fee. A centre back isn’t an immediate priority, so I’d say it’s unlikely we’ll be joining the chase for Edmundson. Especially considering an auction will likely see the fee rise to around £1 million, Wigan could put that money towards a new striker.

Don’t get me wrong, I really rate Edmundson, and I believe he’ll be worth a lot more than £1 million in a couple of years time, so he’s a very good long-term investment. However, Wigan needs to buy players, for NOW, players that are going to impress from the off and push us up the table next season.

Two Chelsea Youngsters Wigan Athletic Should Go In For This Summer

Reece James arrived to Wigan a boy, and left a man.

On the final day of the season, Paul Cook gave him the opportunity to captain the side, and substituted him in the last five minutes, to allow the fans an opportunity to thank him for his efforts throughout the season. In my time watching football, I’ve never seen a loan player have such a positive effect on a club, fans had tears in their eyes when he walked off the pitch vs Millwall. A truly special talent. Now, who’s the next one, give us some options Chelsea…

Chelsea are known for loaning out a lot of players every season, I think we’ve built a good connection after the work we have done with James, so will definitely be getting a couple of players to develop. There are certainly worse feeder clubs than Chelsea.

I look at two players I’d like to see us take on loan from Sarri’s side…

Matt Miazga

Paul Cook is reportedly on the lookout for a ‘ball-playing’ centre back, and Miazga absolutely fits the ball. The American had a very good five months at Reading, making 18 appearances and helping The Royals avoid relegation. I imagine Chelsea will want him to gain more experience in the Championship, Wigan seems the perfect fit. They can trust us to develop him as a player, he’ll play regularly and be joining a side that likes to play attractive football starting from the defence. It makes sense for all parties.

Jamal Blackman

Christian Walton has been our number one for the past two years, the young ‘keeper has returned to Brighton and there’s been little talk of him returning for a third loan spell. With Wigan needing a lot of signings this summer, I think Cook will be looking to utilise the loan market and sign players that will be guaranteed starters. Blackman is a highly-rated goalkeeper, has experience in the EFL and is at an age where he’ll be wanting to play regularly. He could come to Wigan and be handed the number one shirt immediately.

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