Wigan Athletic’s New Boss – Roberto Martinez – Will he be another Ince?

Football - Swansea City v Fulham FA Cup Fifth Round

As I get bashed often for supporting Manchester United, I figured I would do most of my articles on the other sides of the EPL this season. In doing so I wanted to look at not only the clubs, but the management as well. As one of the sides I see in the most danger is Wigan Athletic, who have lost their coach and most talented player, this looked like as good a spot to start as any. Steve Bruce left Wigan this offseason to pursue his career as the new manager at Sunderland, after the debacle with Roy Keane last season and the new Black Cats boss looks to improve on the squad he has inherited.
Wigan moved forward and hired former player and former Swansea City boss Roberto Martinez, after Martinez had been linked with jobs at both Wigan and Celtic going into the summer. Martinez is coming in as a 36 year old manager who only has 2 previous years experience in management, both at the lower tiers of English football. Martinez has won many manager of the month awards while boss at Swansea City, and managed to be awarded manager of the year in his first season at the helm, as he led Swansea to the title and promotion to the Championship.
The Coca-Cola Championship season was not as friendly to Martinez or Swansea, as the second tier of English football held more talented sides for Swansea to face. They would see plenty of success in the season though as they managed to push for a playoff spot at the end of the season, narrowly missing and finishing in 8th place. They would find wins against some of the best in the division, including new EPL side Wolves, during a stretch that saw them lose only 4 matches out of 30. The most successful moment of the season though would come through the FA Cup, when Swansea managed to knock the previous season’s winners Portsmouth out of the tournament. As luck would have it, their form gave them an advantage in the next round, getting their EPL side opponent Fulham at home for the 5th round tie. Swansea managed to draw Fulham 1-1 in the first match to force a second leg at Craven Cottage that would determine the opponent for Manchester United in the next round. They would fail to do so however and Fulham would find their way through, past the lower division side.
All of this tells me that Martinez knows how to coach, and Wigan owner Dave Whelan has assured Martinez that his contract is good even if the club suffers relegation. So if we can trust the owner, Martinez will not be another Paul Ince. He will be given a shot and time to adapt the side into a club that can compete. Wigan have lost a lot of players though in this offseason, and while many players are still there, I wonder what Martinez can make out of the deck he has been dealt. Should be interesting, and the confidence from the owner in the Spaniard should make the job easier as he makes his appearance in the top flight of English football in only his 3rd year of management.


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