Those who follow Wigan Athletic can remember when the refrain, 'We was robbed' referred to the chants of Manchester City fans when Ben Watson scored their winning goal in injury time in the 2013 FA Cup final at Wembley. Lately it has been sung by their own fans at the end of matches played in the Championship, a mid-table team supported by those who remember glory days in the Premiership, which ended as recently as the same year as their historic cup win.
Well, now that same song will almost certainly be sung by their creditors as it was announced today (1 July) that the club has gone into Administration, becoming the first English professional club to do so since the Coronavirus pandemic began. Paul Stanley, Gerald Krasner and Dean Watson of Begbies Traynor have been appointed as joint Administrators, Stanley saying today, "We understand that everybody connected with the club and the wider football world is seeking clarity on the future of Wigan Athletic.
"That's exactly what we are seeking to provide as we move through this process and we seek out interested parties to rescue this famous old club here in the region. It is a fast-moving situation and we will provide updates on key developments." Fast moving, eh? If only the same could be said of the club's forward line over the past couple of seasons the situation today could have been very different.
Wigan was owned by local hero Dave Whelan who was also the chairman for 20 years before passing the position to his grandson, David Sharpe, in 2015. Whelan became disaffected by ownership of the club and managed to cite Brexit as the reason for selling to the International Entertainment Corporation in 2018. Many of Wigan's fans lived in peril of their club being sued for misrepresentation, with the owners having the word 'Entertainment' in their name, but now their fear is the mandatory deduction of 12 points for being placed into Administration. The sanction will be applied at the end of this season if the Latics, 14th in the Championship after their 3-0 victory against Stoke City last evening (jeez, how bad must Stoke be?!), finish outside the bottom three after 46 games.
But how many clubs may follow Wigan down the pan? Huddersfield Town's owner, Phil Hodgkinson, has predicted that as many as 50 or 60 clubs could go bust, reliant as they are on match-day income. Manchester United are said to be losing £5 million for every home game they play without fans. Huddersfield are losing a more modest £28.41. But gate receipts are essential to the game and it seems we are still a long way off from hearing the clicking of turnstiles and smelling the steam from pies.