Tag Archives: Wigan Athletic

Great Goals: Denny Landzaat – Arsenal vs. WIGAN ATHLETIC (February 2007)

Arsenal’s first year at the Emirates Stadium saw the club concede the first goal of matches to many of their opponents. Few were better though than the strike Denny Landzaat produced in February 2007.

It looked like Arsenal had cleared the danger when the Wigan attackers lost possession in a promising position. The ball fell to Landzaat and no-one expected him to produce a shot on goal, let alone one that would hit the back of the net.

The defensive midfielder took a touch and smashed a shot that flew past Jens Lehmann and into the back of the net. Arsenal did their usual late show that season and won 2-1, so ultimately, this goal counted for nothing. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful moment for Landzaat and one of the best goals seen in the early days at the Emirates.

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Premier League Rewind: 19th-20th November 2005

Results: Wigan Athletic 2-3 Arsenal, Charlton Athletic 1-3 Manchester United, Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle United, Liverpool FC 3-0 Portsmouth, Manchester City 0-0 Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland 1-3 Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion 4-0 Everton, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Ham United, Middlesbrough 3-2 Fulham, Birmingham City P-P Bolton Wanderers

After an international break, the Premier League resumed on the 19th-20th November 2005 with Chelsea threatening to run away with the title. However, Jose Mourinho’s side had been beaten for the first time in 40 top-flight matches last time out by Manchester United, so that gave some flickering hopes to the challengers.

If there was going to be any let-up from the reigning champions, they didn’t show it at home to Newcastle United. Second half goals from Joe Cole, Hernan Crespo and Damien Duff set the Blues’ up for an easy 3-0 victory over the Magpies.

Going into the weekend, newly-promoted Wigan Athletic were Chelsea’s nearest challengers. Paul Jewell’s side had strung together a stunning nine-game unbeaten sequence which included eight victories. However, they were about to face some of the Premier League’s big-hitters. First up was Arsenal who were struggling to sparkle away from Highbury. However, they prevailed in an entertaining Saturday lunchtime kick-off. Thierry Henry scored twice as the Gunners won this match 3-2 and Wigan would go onto lose their next four matches.

That result pushed Arsenal into the top four and they were joined there by Manchester United, who won 3-1 at Charlton Athletic. Ruud van Nistelrooy continued his excellent season so far, scoring twice. The win at The Valley came 24 hours after United had confirmed they had parted company with skipper Roy Keane, releasing him from his contract by mutual consent. Keane would sign for Celtic a month later.

Bolton Wanderers started the weekend in the top three but would drop down to fifth spot through no fault of their own. Their Monday Night Football trip to Birmingham City was postponed by referee Phil Dowd just an hour before kick-off. Although the pitch was playable at St Andrews, heavy fog had set in and visibility was considered to be too dangerous for the game to be played.

After a slow start to the season, Liverpool FC were beginning to find their form. They recorded a third successive victory with a 3-0 win at home to struggling Portsmouth. Peter Crouch’s goalscoring drought continued as he had a penalty saved but Bolo Zenden scored the rebound effort in his final Premier League match of the campaign before a knee injury curtailed his debut season at Anfield. It was also the final match in charge for Alain Perrin. He was sacked a few days later and became the first managerial casualty of the 2005-2006 season.

If things were going better for Liverpool, they didn’t improve for David Moyes at Everton. After last season’s fine fourth-place finish, they were finding the going much more difficult this time around. Everton lost 4-0 in the Saturday teatime kick-off to West Bromwich Albion which kept them in the bottom three on goal difference, along with Birmingham and Sunderland who lost again – 3-1 at home to Aston Villa.

What else happened in November 2005?

  • The footballing world mourns the death of one of Britain’s finest players as George Best passes away in hospital, aged 59 after a long battle with illness.
  • Angela Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany.
  • Former British World Rally champion Richard Burns dies at the age of 34 from a brain tumour. Burns had won the championship with Subaru just four years earlier.
  • Digital channel ITV4 is launched.
  • The Safeway supermarket brand disappears after 43 years on the high street as Morrisons completes its conversion programme. The two companies had merged in March 2004.
  • New licensing laws come into effect which allows pubs and clubs in England and Wales to open 24 hours for the first time.

The Managers: Paul Jewell

Premier League Clubs Managed: Bradford City (1999-2000), Wigan Athletic (2005-2007), Derby County (2007-2008)

Paul Jewell’s management career has been a mixed bag, as was his time as a Premier League manager. He experienced a range of emotions – from keeping Bradford City in the top-flight against the odds in 2000 to experiencing the pain of relegation eight years later with a hopeless Derby County side.

Jewell grew up on Merseyside and in his playing days, was an apprentice at Liverpool FC. However, he never broke into the first-team ranks and moved to Wigan Athletic in December 1984. He made 137 appearances for the Latics and would later return to the club in a management capacity. He went to Bradford City in June 1988 which is where he spent the bulk of his remaining playing days.

Paul featured in the squad setup at Valley Parade for the best part of a decade, appearing 269 times in the first-team and scoring 56 times. By this stage, coaching was already interesting him and it would be the Bantams’ where he would experience his first taste of management.

Succeeding Kammy

Bradford won promotion from Division Two in 1996 under the guidance of Chris Kamara. Jewell was already on the coaching team as Kamara’s no.2. When he was sacked, owner Geoffrey Richmond turned to Jewell, initially on an interim basis. He was given the job full-time after impressing in 21 games as a caretaker and their ambition was clear. That was to get Bradford into the Premier League.

A serious promotion challenge was launched ahead of the 1998-1999 season. He broke the club’s transfer record twice that summer and also brought Stuart McCall back to the club following his successful spell in Scotland with Rangers. It took a while for things to gel and Bradford won just one of their first seven matches that season. However, they went on an excellent run of form as autumn turned to winter and established themselves as the leading candidate to be promoted along with runaway leaders Sunderland.

Ipswich Town and Birmingham City were their closest challengers but a 3-2 victory on the final day at Molineux over Wolverhampton Wanderers saw Bradford return to the top-flight after a 77-year absence.

Beating Liverpool to survive

The 1999-2000 campaign was always going to be a battle against survival. That was despite adding further Premier League experience with the likes of Peter Atherton, Ian Nolan and Dean Saunders joining the ranks. Bradford did win on the opening day 1-0 at Middlesbrough and pulled off a shock home victory over Arsenal too but they were at the wrong end of the table for much of the season.

The Bantams’ were battling to avoid relegation along with Wimbledon, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday. Going into the final day of the season, Derby were safe and Sheffield Wednesday relegated. It was down to a straight shootout between Wimbledon and Bradford. Wimbledon began one point ahead and it looked like Bradford had the harder fixture too. With a weaker goal difference, only victory against Liverpool FC would be enough to have a realistic chance of survival. David Wetherall’s header was enough to beat the Reds. Wimbledon lost 2-0 at Southampton, so they went down and Bradford survived against the odds.

However, all was not well between owner and manager. In the media, Richmond called Bradford’s 17th-place finish “a disappointment.” Jewell was furious and tendered his resignation. This was rejected but eventually, he was placed on gardening leave. Richmond believed that even though he was still contracted to the club, Paul has instigated a move to become Sheffield Wednesday manager. Whether it was true or not in terms of this approach is unclear. However, a compensation package was eventually agreed and Jewell left for a new challenge at Hillsborough.

Further ambition with Wigan

The Sheffield Wednesday experience was not good. Jewell was sacked just eight months after arriving with the debt-ridden club struggling near the bottom of Division One. In June 2001, he dropped down to the third-tier with Wigan Athletic. The aim was like with Bradford – to guide a fairly modest club into the upper echelon of English football.

In 2003, the first part of this jigsaw was achieved with promotion to Division One and the Latics’ nearly made the playoffs in their first campaign at this level. In the end, Jewell’s team were pipped to sixth spot on the final day by Crystal Palace – who would ultimately end up being promoted to the Premier League. A year later, Wigan were stronger for that near-miss. On the final day of the season, they held off their rivals to take the second automatic promotion spot and bring top-flight football to Lancashire for the first time.

Wigan’s first game at Premier League level was against champions Chelsea. They played exceptionally well but were denied a point by a late winner from Hernan Crespo. Two games later, they achieved their first victory over Sunderland and it started an incredible run of form which included a six-game winning run. Wigan were in the dizzy heights of second position by mid-November and although form levelled out in the second half of the campaign, they still finished a fabulous 10th in the final standings. There was also a run to the League Cup final but that ended in a harrowing 4-0 loss at the Millennium Stadium to Manchester United.

Stressful second season syndrome

The 2006-2007 season was not as straightforward for Jewell.  His side struggled all season for consistency and flirted with relegation for much of the campaign. On the final day, Wigan travelled to Bramall Lane in the bottom three. For Jewell, it was a similar story to the 2000 escape act with Bradford. Wigan had to win or they would be relegated.

It was a turbulent afternoon against relegation rivals Sheffield United. Paul Scharner gave Wigan an early lead, before Jon Stead pegged the home side level with a brave header. On the stroke of half-time, David Unsworth struck a penalty to put Wigan back infront. They managed to hold on in the second half, despite being reduced to 10 men. Ultimately, it was the Blades’ who were relegated. The relief on Jewell’s face on the final whistle was palpable as he was embraced by Wigan’s coaching staff. The stress of being under pressure had evidently shown. A day later, he resigned as manager.

He told the club’s website: “I have made this decision with a heavy heart but I feel it is time for me to have a break from football.”

The impossible job at Derby

Jewell stuck to his word and took six months out of the game, despite being linked to various roles, including jobs with Leicester City and the Republic of Ireland international position.

In November 2007, he answered the call of Derby County; two days after Billy Davies departed the Rams. However, the task he acquired was virtually impossible. This Derby squad is still the worst-ever team to have played in the Premier League. They went down with just 11 points and Jewell failed to win a single match between his appointment and relegation being confirmed in March 2008. His sole win was on penalties in an FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday.

He stayed on despite the relegation but left right at the end of 2008 after a stuttering start to the Championship season which left Derby in 18th position in the table. His last managerial role came at Ipswich Town between January 2011 and October 2012. Although there was a League Cup semi-final appearance, not much else went right in Suffolk. He celebrated his 550th game as manager during his Ipswich reign but left by mutual consent after a couple of heavy away defeats shortly afterwards.

Paul Jewell’s most successful period in his management career was at Wigan Athletic but it will probably be his final day escape act with Bradford City that will be his best achievement when it comes to looking back at his managerial legacy.

Memorable Matches: Wigan Athletic 2-3 Swansea City (May 2013)

Goalscorers: Roger Espinoza 45, Angel Rangel 49, James McCarthy 52, Itay Shechter 58, Dwight Tiendalli 75

Teams:

Wigan Athletic: Joel Robles, Emmerson Boyce (Ronnie Stam 86), Paul Scharner, Gary Caldwell, Roger Espinoza, James McArthur, James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman (Franco di Santo 64), Arouna Kone

Swansea City: Michel Vorm (Gerhard Tremmel 85), Angel Rangel, Ben Davies, Ashley Williams, Garry Monk, Dwight Tiendalli, Wayne Routledge, Leon Britton, Pablo Hernandez (Kemy Agustein 77), Jonathan de Guzman, Itay Shechter (Nathan Dyer 69)

Referee: Kevin Friend, Attendance: 18,850

They might have been gearing up for an upcoming FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium against Manchester City but Premier League survival was at stake for Wigan Athletic when they entertained Swansea City in a midweek match towards the end of the 2012-2013 season.

Wigan made three changes to the team that had won a five-goal thriller against West Bromwich Albion a few days earlier with skipper Gary Caldwell returning to the side.

Swansea were having a great season. The League Cup was already in their trophy cabinet and Michael Laudrup’s side were looking good for a top 10 finish. They started well with Wayne Routledge pouncing on a misplaced pass by stand-in left-back Roger Espinoza. Only the reflexes of Joel Robles spared Espinoza’s blushes. The visitors’ were missing their top goalscorer Michu, who was being rested with a trip to Old Trafford on the horizon at the weekend.

As the first half wore on, Wigan grew into the game and Roberto Martinez’s side grabbed a priceless lead right on the stroke of half-time. Ben Watson’s cross into the box wasn’t dealt with cleanly by Michel Vorm. The Dutchman’s punch only fell to Espinoza, who drove the ball home to open the scoring. What a great time it was for Espinoza to score his first goal for the club.

Swansea increased the pressure after the restart and quickly levelled the match. Routledge’s wonderfully measured cross found Angel Rangel and the full-back finished like a forward, with his crisp shot going into the net off the post. Wigan needed to respond quickly to this setback and they did. Just three minutes later, they were back infront. Caldwell’s pass found James McCarthy who broke from midfield. He just beat Ashley Williams to the decisive final contact and his shot was placed nicely out of Vorm’s reach. Wigan were back ahead.

Defensive errors though had cost Martinez’s side all season and they didn’t stop here. A sloppy pass from Caldwell in the 58th minute allowed Pablo Hernandez to pick out Itay Shechter. His shot took a deflection off the unfortunate Emmerson Boyce to beat Robles and make it 2-2. There always looked like a winner would emerge and it would be a devastating blow for the home side. With 15 minutes remaining, Shaun Maloney and James McArthur got in each other’s way at the back post. With neither taking decisive action, Dwight Tiendalli was in the right position to punish Wigan. His goal sealed the three points for Michael Laudrup’s team.

Wigan did enjoy an unbelievable day at Wembley to stun Manchester City and win the FA Cup final but were relegated the following Tuesday at Arsenal. This defeat was the crucial blow in their fight to survive.

Great Goals: Loic Remy – QUEENS PARK RANGERS vs. Wigan Athletic – (April 2013)

Both of these teams were in a real relegation scrap at this stage of the season. It was a game Wigan Athletic couldn’t afford to lose. It was a match QPR simply had to win. The home side were up against it for 70 minutes when Bobby Zamora’s high challenge on Jordi Gomez resulted in a red card.

QPR stayed in the game at 0-0 and when a Wigan set-piece broke down, they sprung on their opposition with a brilliant breakaway. Stephane Mbia ran and ran, before playing in Loic Remy. The Frenchman still had plenty to do but he unleashed a corker of a strike on the edge of the area past a helpless Joel Robles.

Wigan recovered to snatch a point in stoppage time but it would be tears for both when the season concluded. The pair were both relegated. However, Remy’s goal was a standout moment in a forgettable campaign at Loftus Road.