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Steve Bruce Deserves Praise For Wigan Athletic Turnaround


The cold hard truth is that no one cares about Wigan Athletic. I’ve written about them in the past but even their own supporters aren’t bothered to participate in the discussion.

Out of the 20 teams in the Premier League, Wigan is the most underreported side. Unless, that is, there’s controversy or a outspoken comment needed, both of which usually come from Wigan chairman Dave Whelan.

The Lancashire club continues to fly under the radar, but Steve Bruce deserves more praise after turning the club around last season, escaping relegation and turning the team into a serious threat this season.

Bruce made one of the transfer coups in the summer by signing Amr Zaki on loan from Zamalek. The Egyptian striker has already proven himself by scoring five goals this season and there are plenty more to come from him.

Along with Zaki, Bruce signed three other players this summer featuring Lee Cattermole from Middlesbrough and Olivier Kapo and Daniel de Ridder from Birmingham City.

One of the biggest differences about Wigan this season is their ability to score goals. Fifteen so far this season. As well as Zaki, Emile Heskey has been on stellar form this season and the combination of those two up front can be, on the night, one of the best striking partnerships in the league.

Bruce has a squad of hard-working players that play together well as a team. Players such as Kevin Kilbane, Antonio Valencia, Titus Bramble, Jason Koumas, Paul Scharner, Wilson Palacios, Emmerson Boyce and Erik Edman.

With all of the hard work that Wigan has achieved this season thus far, the hope is that more football fans will attend matches at Wigan’s JJB Stadium.

This Sunday, Wigan Athletic plays Manchester City at home at 11am ET/4pm BST. Catch the match live and online in the EPL Talk Chat with host Johnathan Starling.

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  1. lsmetana

    September 25, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Wigan have some very creative midfielders (some dismissed in the article as merely “hard-working”) like Antonio Valencia, Wilson Palacios, Jason Koumas(when he's on) and Olivier Kapo. Palacios is widely considered as the best Honduran player of the current generation alongside David Suazo.

    Calling it Sam Allardyce football is just drinking the mainstream media's kool-aid. When Man United or Chelsea do the same thing, it's called changing their tactics or playing long passes. No one ever calls them on it when they play the long ball style. When Allardyce was at Bolton they played a 4-3-3 using players like Diouf and Giannkapolous as wide men playing off Anelka or Davies as the centre forward. Did they play great one-touch football? No. Perhaps once in a while. Were they totally devoid of any passing ability and simply kick it around like schoolchildren? No. Did they try and make the most of set pieces and throw-ins? Certainly….as all teams should. But I suppose it's easier to regurgitate cliches then really think and observe what's going on.

  2. DanM

    September 25, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Wigan has been this new soccer fan's favorite team since the some of the final games with Paul Jewell at the helm. Go Wigan!

  3. lsmetana

    September 25, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    I posted here last season that I thought Steve Bruce was not getting enough credit for turning Wigan around. I think without him last season, they would have gone down.

  4. patrick

    September 25, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Don't give me that…. Dave Whelan is worth over 250 million pounds. and almost all of that is fluid cash from the 200 million he got from the sale of JJB. Man U are deep in debt as are their owners, and well Man City who knows, they could have billions at their disposal.

    and for Bruce, he is more likely to have a heart then win anything. and he plays like they just want to stay up and that's it. if that makes you happy – well.

    A lot of teams play attacking football and aren't in the top four or even the top end of the table. Yet there is this bizzare notion that you have to play Sam Alderyce type football to remain up, and its frankly just not true. and defeatism at its best. It kept Fullham up last year, West Ham the year before that, and Pompey the year before that.

    It inspires the supporters, it fills the stands. and something Wigan might want to consider.


  5. kkfla737

    September 25, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Patrick, you say they are dirty, but when they have a good English owner and not all the foreign money of their local rivals, United and City what are they supposed to do? Play pretty football and get beat 3-0 every match? Bruce has done a masterful job, IMHO.

  6. kkfla737

    September 25, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I'd be shocked if Wigan didn't bag three points this weekend against City. Man City has 0 wins, 5 losses and 1 draw since Wigan was promoted to the Premier League three years ago. Some games, like the 4-0 one at the JJB in2006/ 2007 were particularly ugly. Wigan in fact stayed up in 2007 thanks to getting six points and a + 5 GD on City. Recall Wigan ended the season tied on 38 points with the Blades.

  7. Patrick

    September 25, 2008 at 6:05 am

    Steve Bruce needs to stop eating pies.

    and start playing positive football. Wigan have become the new Bolton, negative, thuggish, and dirty.

    but yeah lets praise him for keeping them up, for that prick owner. cause Wigan is an egg chasing town, and the football supporters in Wigan support either City or United. The fans that do show up, flood out with ten minutes left…

    maybe that is why no one takes notice….

  8. The Gaffer

    September 25, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Robin and Gaz,

    Well, at least two people care enough about Wigan to respond to the article. Thanks for your comments, but I can pretty much guarantee that very few other fans will respond. Not sure where Wigan fans hide, but they don't seem very visible on the Internet.

    Jason Koumas's performances, I agree, have been too inconsistent. The same thing happens when he plays for Wales, but there's no doubt he's a skilled footballer. Heskey? If he can do better than what he's done so far this season, which we know he can, then it's going to be an even better year for the Latics.

    The Gaffer

  9. robin

    September 25, 2008 at 4:00 am

    No one cares about Wigan Athletic? I think that's very harsh. We're always being mocked by others and look how far we've come. Wigan are an EPL team and I'll say it until I'm blue in the face. We're a good side that deserves as much recognition as any other team in the league. The comments above are rewarding in some respect but to say the cold hard truth is nobody cares about Wigan is utter bull.

  10. Gaz

    September 25, 2008 at 3:10 am

    I have a problem with this article. Firstly, you say Heskey has been in stellar form this season yet if you ask a Wigan fan they will tell you that other than against Hull he has been a shadow of his former self (still playing ok, but nothing compared to form we have seen). Secondly you list Jason Koumas among our hard working players when he is anything but. Koumas has bags of talent and potential but he is completely bone idle.

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