When you play for a club like Wigan Athletic they make you feel like you’re part of the club forever. That’s why I always keep track of how they’re doing.
I’ll never forget the day I signed. I arrived at the JJB stadium and was speaking to Chris Hutchings, who was the Wigan trainer at the time. Not five minutes later I was introduced to the chairman Mr Whelan. He was very energetic, and immediately exclaimed: “sign for my club and I’ll make sure you won’t regret it!”
Now I look back and feel honoured to have captained the side on a number of occasions thanks to Mr Whelan. People often forget how special that is for any foreign player coming into the Premier League.
Mr Whelan single handedly built the club. He publicly spoke of how successful he would be in creating his team, and not long after that the road to success started.
Recently times have been a little tougher. Relegation is one of the hardest things to overcome for any player, fan, and everyone else involved with the club.
Now his grandson David Sharpe is at the helm and I know there is one clear reason Mr Whelan made that happen. His grandson is as hungry for success as he is.
When Gary Caldwell took over from Malky Mackay I watched the situation unfold and thought that it could be to early. But he’s since changed everyone’s perspective, including mine. His side often plays football that makes you question how they can be in league 1.
One of the main factors that contributes to that is Gary’s understanding of the game. When I played with Gary he wasn’t blessed with a lot of pace, so he had to be smart. He read the game well and had to learn how to see things before any other player.
Now that’s one of the key forces behind his team. He plans everything meticulously so that when the players are on the field they know exactly what they need to do.
Keep the ball in the team, let the other team work. When the other team get tired they’ll loss focus, then you have to finish your chances.
Wigan are now on a great run and it took them 21 minutes to tie up their game against Bury at the weekend. Goals from Ryan Colclough and a brace from the man-in-form Will Grigg were more than enough to secure another three points. That’s eight goals in eight for Grigg now.
On the other side of the field between the sticks they’ve got Jussi Jaaskelainen. At the age of 40 he’s still a great goalkeeper, now with four clean sheets in a row.
Caldwell and his men are now closer to the Championship and fans are showing amazing support. Tickets for away games at the likes of Millwall are already sold out.
It’s an exciting time at Wigan, and I’m looking forward to even greater moments to come in the near future.