Wigan FanZoner Lewis Tanner believes Owen Coyle's dismissal was right for the club, and suggests Ian Holloway could be the man to come in.
After rumours had circulated on Sunday evening, we awoke on Monday to learn that Owen Coyle's tenure at Wigan Athletic had indeed come to an abrupt end.
Sitting in 14th in the Championship was not where I had envisaged the Latics to be at this stage in the season. There was always going to be a settling in phase, but Coyle simply took too long to settle in, and now that our abysmal away record has started creeping into our previously impressive home record, it's cost him his job.
Dave Whelan is a man that I and every true Latics fan gives the utmost respect to, as of course, it was he that invested heavily in the club to build the Wigan Athletic we know and love today.
Having said that, I think that some of the blame for this season's poor start has to lie at his door. It is well-known that Steve McClaren (who ironically beat us comfortably with Derby on Sunday to hammer the final nail into Coyle's coffin) also applied for the role of Latics manager in the summer. At the time, I thought it was a no-brainer to choose him, and even the very notion of Owen Coyle in charge at Wigan Athletic had me worrying.
The facts don't lie. McClaren has an assistant manager's job at Manchester United; a League Cup and Europa League final (or UEFA Cup as it was then known) with Middlesbrough; an England manager's position and an Eredivisie title with FC Twente on his CV. Coyle on the other hand, has a Scottish First Division title with Falkirk, a Championship play-off winners medal with Burnley and an utterly miserable spell at rivals Bolton Wanderers to boast about. Also, Coyle has a history of disloyalty, having left St. Johnstone just a week before the Scottish Challenge Cup Final for Burnley, and then leaving Burnley midway through their campaign for Bolton.
Although Coyle's time at the club wasn't an absolute failure, there were so many things blatantly wrong with how he went about the job. His tactics were the stuff of nightmares at times. If we needed a goal to equalise or win the game, he would always replace the striker and the two wingers. Everything was rigid, all substitutions made were like-for-like. At times when we were struggling to get a foot on the ball and it was obvious to everyone at the DW that we needed a composed central midfielder like James McArthur on, he'd take one striker off and bring another one on, and as I've said before, his constant refusal to ever play fans' favourite Roger Espinoza was as baffling as it was frustrating.
Enough about Coyle though, Whelan has to now choose a manager for the second time in six months, and it's critical that he gets this decision right so that this season isn't completely wasted. He's got it right on just about every other occasion, so I still have faith in him.
Holloway is the favourite for the job, and to be quite honest, I'd take him. His charisma alone would bring a huge lift to the club, from the players in training to the atmosphere amongst the supporters. However, I worry that after an initial resurgence under Holloway, we could fizzle out for the remainder of the season, and if he does manage that optimistic ambition of a Premier League return (which looks less likely week upon week), then he is most certainly not the man to re-establish the club in the top flight, having been relegated with Blackpool and sacked by Crystal Palace just eight games into their Premier League campaign this term. Mike Phelan is the other name doing the rounds, and although he has no previous experience at being head manager, perhaps he deserves the opportunity.
My message to the fans would be to have faith in Whelan to get it right this time. He's come up trumps countless times before, so who knows what he's got up his sleeve this time. But please, Mr. Whelan, get someone in that actually knows what they're doing tactically, and let's get our season back on track.