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Wigan...an analysis


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It's been mentioned many times by many people, myself included, on this forum, but game day experience is also something that can't be overlooked when looking at declining crowds and a lack of interest among younger potential fans.

Covid wont have helped either, as new habits would have been formed by some fans, which for a year or so didn't include going to games. Habits are easy to form and hard to break.

Not being a local I have no idea what a game day looks like for Wigan, but would be interested to find out from any fans on here who attend regularly. 

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19 minutes ago, Dave T said:

I think there is a slight over-analysis of the situation. 

Man Utd could make a load of bad choices now, win little for a decade, lose some fans, and still be one of the biggest clubs in the world of football. 

Of course they could, but comparing ourselves with football is not a luxury we can afford.

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Other than the dramatic drop in attendances in Wigan the biggest worry for me would be the clubs production line.

Historically Wigan have produced superb game breaking athletes, players that you just have to clap when they come up with match winning plays, more recently it seems they are producing clones of slightly too small over aggressive middles with high fitness levels and the skill coached out of them. Not quite props not quite back rows but a long line of grafters.

These players don’t strike fear into the opposition like they used too.

Edited by binosh
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9 minutes ago, CiderWire said:

And yet...................United, under Ferguson were going nowhere fast until a particularly talented group of youngsters came up via their youth development program around, oooooh 1992 if I recall correctly. The rest, as they say.........................................

Which provides a degree of irony bearing in mind the subject of debate being one of imported goods over home grown, slowly matured, carefully nurtured, stars in the making!

It's nice to look back with fond memories and think how lucky we were at times to see these lads (and lasses) when they took their first nervous steps onto the pitch.

Its interesting to note that at the start of this decade, when Man United were winning a couple of titles with pretty bang average squads, the Premier League was seen as the weakest it had been compared to its fellow big European leagues.

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12 minutes ago, CiderWire said:

And yet...................United, under Ferguson were going nowhere fast until a particularly talented group of youngsters came up via their youth development program around, oooooh 1992 if I recall correctly. The rest, as they say.........................................

Which provides a degree of irony bearing in mind the subject of debate being one of imported goods over home grown, slowly matured, carefully nurtured, stars in the making!

It's nice to look back with fond memories and think how lucky we were at times to see these lads (and lasses) when they took their first nervous steps onto the pitch.

As with most RL comparisons with Football this is pretty much meaningless and false.

All of these players stayed with the club and were the cornerstone of the club for a decade or more. Quite different than what Wigan have been doing. They were also supplemented by a shedload of stars during that time. Indeed Man Utds initial success came after Ferguson spent record amounts in the early days on the likes of Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce, Brian McClair, Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and co. The home grown players were not sold abroad to the likes of Barcelona, AC Milan or Real Madrid and Man Utd looked to compete with these clubs and be the best club in Europe. They certainly didn't see themselves as a feeder club for other teams or sports. There was also no salary cap which didn't mean that winning the league meant you were simply slightly better than some other bog standard side with all the cards stacked in your favour.

In that time they also developed the stadium and grew into a billion pound organisation because the incentive was there to do so to have more to spend to compete and stay ahead. Other clubs attempted to catch up, got their own investors and improved their own stadiums and grew revenue. The popularity of the Premier League took off around the world to overtake other all the other leagues and become the most popular in the world. The likes of Chelsea and Man City became more successful by outspending Man Utd, a situation that would never be allowed to happen in RL, see Koukash and co.

As examples go it is in some ways polar opposites to the issues at Wigan and the approach RL has taken.

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40 minutes ago, CiderWire said:

And yet...................United, under Ferguson were going nowhere fast until a particularly talented group of youngsters came up via their youth development program around, oooooh 1992 if I recall correctly. The rest, as they say.........................................

Which provides a degree of irony bearing in mind the subject of debate being one of imported goods over home grown, slowly matured, carefully nurtured, stars in the making!

It's nice to look back with fond memories and think how lucky we were at times to see these lads (and lasses) when they took their first nervous steps onto the pitch.

It can clearly be done in various ways, Saints, Leeds and Wigan have had plenty success with their youth systems, but if those systems are not delivering results, you need to get the cheque book out. I don't think Wigan have had the balance of big signings vs youth right for a spell. 

But, they have won plenty trophies, so who am I to say they have it wrong? 

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41 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Of course they could, but comparing ourselves with football is not a luxury we can afford.

It could be used in any sport. Leicester Tigers are not doing brilliantly (based on my limited knowledge of that sport), but are still by far one of the stronger clubs. 

It's not a massively astute point to claim that one of the giants of the game can lose some fans and still be one of the strongest. 

Edited by Dave T
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32 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Its interesting to note that at the start of this decade, when Man United were winning a couple of titles with pretty bang average squads, the Premier League was seen as the weakest it had been compared to its fellow big European leagues.

TBF I think no English club made the Champions League final in five years 2013-2017 after English clubs made 6 of the previous 7 finals. 

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2 minutes ago, Dave T said:

It could be used in any sport. Leicester Tigers are not doing brilliantly (based on my limited knowledge of that sport), but are still by far one of the stronger clubs. 

It's not a massively astute point to claim that one of the giants of the game can lose some fans and still be one of the strongest. 

Their biggest mistake was extending their stadium to accommodate 24k+ and filling it on a number of occasions. They were much more dominant when every attendance was 16,815.

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2 minutes ago, Scubby said:

Their biggest mistake was extending their stadium to accommodate 24k+ and filling it on a number of occasions. They were much more dominant when every attendance was 16,815.

Nobody adds this kind of context in Rugby League. 

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11 minutes ago, GUBRATS said:

Oh dear , Wigan fans sulking because they aren't winning everything like they used to , or diddums , what a shame 😉

😃😃 You are wasted on here. Why not audition for the Moral Maze on BBC Radio Four?

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Four legs good - two legs bad

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3 hours ago, binosh said:

Historically Wigan have produced superb game breaking athletes, players that you just have to clap when they come up with match winning plays, more recently it seems they are producing clones of slightly too small over aggressive middles with high fitness levels and the skill coached out of them. Not quite props not quite back rows but a long line of grafters.

These players don’t strike fear into the opposition like they used too.

I think there's some truth to this but perhaps it's exaggerated a little. The young forwards we have aren't all the same and don't all play the game in the same way. Liam Byrne doesn't fit in the category. He's more than big enough for a prop. Havard is big enough for a prop too he's just the more athletic build rather than big and bulky. Havard is also a decent ball player but hasn't been able to show much of that. Havard isn't over-aggressive. Byrne more so. These two aren't that similar, it's just their role in the squad should be the same. They'd be 3rd or 4th choice at most clubs and likely competing against each other to get into the 17.

Smithies and Partington are the ones who fit the definition you gave. Both are 'middles' but too small really to be considered props. They made a name for themselves through defensive work-rate and aggression. Not the most skilled players but hard-working grafters.

Shorrocks is different to all of them. He's an out and out ball player - gets the ball at first receiver a bit like O'Loughlin used to, sometimes he's in involved in nearly every phase with taking a carry.

I think the problem is when you compare them to the rest of our pack. With the exception of Pearce-Paul all our back row options are of a similar size. They may play a different style but they all have that same characteristic. 

When it comes to our front row they all have something in common because they are all below the level of ability you'd expect for first choice props in a top Super League side.

As for having skills coached out of them - yes I think sometimes they are coached to be more conservative, and the club seems to look for the same characteristics in young players which places more focus on aggression and work rate.

Not sure the game breaking athletes bit applies though. Not many young forwards are game breaking athletes that come up with match winning plays. Even our best forwards from years gone by weren't like that at a comparable age. You'd have to go back to Hock and Andy Farrell probably.

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30 minutes ago, EagleEyePie said:

Smithies and Partington are the ones who fit the definition you gave. Both are 'middles' but too small really to be considered props. They made a name for themselves through defensive work-rate and aggression. Not the most skilled players but hard-working grafters.

Interesting about Smithies as when I saw him for the Academy team against the Aussies I thought he looked the most skillful of the forwards. 

I thought at the time he could be developed into a good ball handling 13 who was also physically strong, aggressive and a good defender.  A Victor Radley type if you will.  If he doesn't develop in this way, I don't think he has the size to just be an up and down middle forward despite the work ethic.

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37 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Interesting about Smithies as when I saw him for the Academy team against the Aussies I thought he looked the most skillful of the forwards. 

I thought at the time he could be developed into a good ball handling 13 who was also physically strong, aggressive and a good defender.  A Victor Radley type if you will.  If he doesn't develop in this way, I don't think he has the size to just be an up and down middle forward despite the work ethic.

  Ball playing no 13's are all but extinct and the game is poorer for it.

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4 minutes ago, sentoffagain2 said:

  Ball playing no 13's are all but extinct and the game is poorer for it.

I would agree that the inventive and off the cuff ball handling loose is a thing of the past but the best teams have middle forwards who are good passers of the ball... it allows the halves to play one pass out and attack the edge more effectively. 

The likes of Radley and Yeo do it very well in the NRL as does Knowles for Saints for example.

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Any local Wigan fans now have a chance to voice their opinions.

Just lifted this from a post on the Wigan Insta account.

"FANS’ FORUM | Chairman Ian Lenagan and executive director Kris Radlinski will host a Fans’ Forum at Robin Park Arena next Tuesday.
.
It is a chance for supporters to have an open and honest conversation about the Club’s direction and aspiration.
.
120 Wigan fans are invited to attend with free tickets available to collect from 10am tomorrow morning at the Club’s store at Robin Park Arena."

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Newham Dockers - Champions 2013. Rugby League For East London. 100% Cockney Rugby League!

Twitter: @NewhamDockersRL - Get following!

www.newhamdockers.co.uk

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On 23/08/2021 at 18:15, GUBRATS said:

Oh dear , Wigan fans sulking because they aren't winning everything like they used to , or diddums , what a shame 😉

It’s nothing to do with Wigan not winning every game or every trophy, more about a top club which traditionally has some of the best attendances being in decline. 

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On 22/08/2021 at 09:02, JohnM said:

As a neutral, my view is that this type of journalism is as cheap and disrespectful as you can get. 

A total lack of understanding of where we are in the present climate and a sheer disregard for the club with the best youth structure in the UK. 

I find it astounding that cheap journalism like this even gets a platform 

Cheap, uneducated, paranoid and totally unacceptable 

That pack that played the other day had some of the best young talent in super league and an outstandingly young average age apart from Liam Farrell. 

In Oliver Partington, Liam Byrne, Ethan Havard, Morgan smithies, jake shorrocks and Kai Pearce Paul, what would other teams do to have this abundance of talent. 

And for sure they need a few old heads in the pack to guide them to glory, but never in my time of watching our game have I witnessed such an abundance of cheap, abhorrant journalism. 

Young Morgan smithies has been castigated beyond belief, yet this is exactly the type of warrior that every team needs, very similar to James Bentley and indeed Morgan Knowles. 

I feel Wigan will be in the mix even this season, and this journalist can hang his head in Shame

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At the DW now, just an example of poor marketing/matchday experience, it’s meant to be 90s revival night, bar a poor Oasis cover band what have we got? Absolutely nothing, the 90s was a magnificent time for Wigan, where’s the clips on the big screen, ex players on the pitch?

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17 minutes ago, Jinking Jimmy said:

It’s nothing to do with Wigan not winning every game or every trophy, more about a top club which traditionally has some of the best attendances being in decline. 

Wigan have no God given right to win games or trophy's , if they aren't winning , somebody else is , sport has winners and losers in equal measure , a ' fan ' is a fan win or lose , play good or bad , be lucky or unlucky , I'm lucky I support Leigh , a team that's won probably more games than any other pro RL team in the world in the last 20 years , be a Hunslet Keighley or NW or SWS fan 

Grow some balls and support the lads wearing the shirt 

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32 minutes ago, The storm said:

As a neutral, my view is that this type of journalism is as cheap and disrespectful as you can get. 

A total lack of understanding of where we are in the present climate and a sheer disregard for the club with the best youth structure in the UK. 

I find it astounding that cheap journalism like this even gets a platform 

Cheap, uneducated, paranoid and totally unacceptable 

That pack that played the other day had some of the best young talent in super league and an outstandingly young average age apart from Liam Farrell. 

In Oliver Partington, Liam Byrne, Ethan Havard, Morgan smithies, jake shorrocks and Kai Pearce Paul, what would other teams do to have this abundance of talent. 

And for sure they need a few old heads in the pack to guide them to glory, but never in my time of watching our game have I witnessed such an abundance of cheap, abhorrant journalism. 

Young Morgan smithies has been castigated beyond belief, yet this is exactly the type of warrior that every team needs, very similar to James Bentley and indeed Morgan Knowles. 

I feel Wigan will be in the mix even this season, and this journalist can hang his head in Shame

Good post 

Still hope they lose 😉

Edited by GUBRATS
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