Is Martinez a good choice for Wigan?

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Martinez looks set to take over at the JJB Stadium

Martinez looks set to take over at the JJB Stadium (Wikipedia)

With Steve Bruce departing for Sunderland on Wednesday, it is now essential that Wigan Athletic make the correct appointment to secure the club’s progression in the Premiership.

And after Bruce opted to move to a so called ‘big club’, Wigan owner Dave Whelan has a crucial choice to make.

Since their arrival in the Premier League in 2005, Wigan have seen three different managers at the helm of the club. Paul Jewell secured their status in the top flight for two consecutive seasons.

Jewell decided to leave at the end of the 2006-07 season, with the chairman deciding to place his faith in assistant manager, Chris Hutchings. Despite winning their first four games of the season, Wigan had plummeted down the league and were in the relegation zone by November.

Subsequently Hutchings was soon axed, and Steve Bruce brought in. The ex-Manchester United player managed to steady the sinking ship. Under Bruce, Wigan were transformed from relegation candidates into a mid-table side with astute signings like Amr Zhaki and Wilson Palacios.

Yet despite the promise shown by the squad, Bruce decided to move onto a new challenge, leaving Wigan for the second time in his managerial career. This time on much better terms.

Dave Whelan will be eager to make a better choice after the failure of Chris Hutchings before Bruce arrived. It seems he has targeted Swansea City boss, Roberto Martinez as an ideal replacement, and expects the paperwork to be finalised this morning.

Martinez assumed managerial duties at Swansea in February 2007. The following season he gained promotion to the Championship after being crowned League One champions. It was the first time The Swans had competed in England’s second tier for 24 years.

Indeed Martinez’s men produced a more then credible performance in their first season in the Coca-Cola Championship. Spending a lot of the season flirting the play-off positions, but unfortunately missing out and ultimately finishing eighth.

But it proved to be a successful transition into the next tier, with Martinez receiving the plaudits. One of the highlights of the 2008-09 campaign knocking out reigning FA Cup holders, Portsmouth, with a comprehensive 2-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium.

The Spaniard firmly stamped his mark on the side. Swansea like to play exciting, attacking football which has become the trademark of Martinez’s team. Indeed it seems Whelan will have pulled off a bit of a coup with Reading and Celtic both interested in acquiring the Spaniard’s services.

Whelan said on Thursday: “I am delighted and I know the whole of Wigan will be excited we are getting one of the Three Amigos back.”

“His players play football from back to front, I like what I see and I am really excited Roberto is coming back to Wigan.”


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