By now you will have seen the reports on social media from people who attended the meeting between fan groups and the board and manager of Wigan Athletic. We are preparing a more full account of the meeting that we will share with subscribers once our new newsletter system is back up and running. However we felt that it would be useful to share some headline thoughts.
Firstly, we should thank the board of Wigan Athletic and Shaun Maloney for agreeing to meet with representatives of fan groups and listening to the frustrations that you’ve expressed to us. We should also thank Caroline and the Wigan Athletic Supporters club for facilitating the meeting.
It’s clear now that the four criteria that we have asked to be met though our No Plan/No Ticket campaign have been met.
- Wages have been paid, the manager was in the room when this was confirmed. The players have also been vocal on the point of payment, and we believe that they would have spoken out if last week’s statements were untrue
- An approach to the 125% wage contingency has been agree with the EFL. The club have been in discussion with the league this week on this point and others
- The board were very clear to us that money the money raised from the sale of the non-club asset is sufficient to get us to the end of the season and beyond. This sale has raised £33m and whilst tight spending controls will need to be in place, spending plans have been submitted to the EFL
- The strongest message that came out of the evening was around the future plan. A plan is in place based around Shaun Maloney’s vision of how a club should be run. Shaun articulated his vision to us during the meeting and Mr Al Hammad gave assurances that investment would be made to support it in a responsible manner
Last evening’s discussions were held in an open, honest and refreshing manner. The chairman spoke with what I believe to be genuine passion about his commitment to the club and stated regret for the circumstances that have led us to the situation we are in now.
He hopes that supporters will give him a second chance, recognising the fact that Phoenix 2021 saved the club from administration, but he and the board recognise that these statements are only the start of winning back your trust and real, tangible actions are what are required to do that. Starting with the payment of staff & player salaries next week.
We believe that Mr Al Hammad and the board believe what they are saying to fans and they are genuinely committed to the club. It’s clear that there will need to be changes put in place to turn their plans into reality and we will remain vigilant as those plans are enacted. However we are happy that last night represents the start of dialogue between the club and ourselves and demonstrated a real willingness to listen to the concerns of supporters and to work with an independent supporters group going forward.
We have been told that season tickets will be going back on sale in the next couple of weeks and whilst we appreciate that some of you will have your own concerns and caution about this, we will be standing down the No Plan/No Ticket campaign.
A more detailed account of last night’s meeting will be provided in our next newsletter. You can subscribe now using the form on the left-hand side (or at the bottom on some mobile devices) of this article.
Keep on keeping on…