Writer: Gaz Johnson
Date:Thursday February 4 2010
Our thanks go to Baz from Vital Wigan who has had another arrival into his family recently. Congratulations on the birth of your grand-son mate.
1)Wigan fans seem to have a big dislike towards Sunderland and in particular Steve Bruce. Are you not happy with what Steve Bruce has done for your club and keep you in the top flight?
Steve Bruce did a grand job when he came to Wigan, we were in trouble, he sorted us out defensively and made us very hard to beat, he created a very good team with some great players such as Heskey, Zaki, Palacios, Valencia and Cattermole, he re-defined Titus Bramble and got Paul Scharner playing well as a centre back, then the wheels came off last January, we had a very poor run in to the end of the season, in fairness we lost Heskey and Palacios plus Zaki had a catastrophic loss of form but still one win in 18 wasn`t very good.
The Latics fans though stood by Brucie even though we had struggled towards the end of the season, then Sunderland came in for him and we knew he was going to leave, again it was with the best wishes of the fans for what he`d done for the club, unfortunately though he came out with the infamous statement of shopping at Tesco and we felt that he was belittling the club.
On top of that he hounded us for Lee Cattermole until we sold him to you with strong rumours of unsettling the player, it was well known that the original bid he made was faxed through to the Latics and this was left lying around his office at Sunderland for reporters to see.
There was also the chase for Maynor Figueroa which was conducted mainly in the press culminating with accusations in the latest transfer window of attempts to unsettle yet another of our players, so that`s why we don`t like Brucie.
As for Sunderland you pipped us as Champions when we were promoted to the Premier League in 2005, that`s it, just a bit of jealousy really, I wouldn`t say a dislike.
2) Your attendance has been raised a few times by the media and only 5,500 showed up for your defeat to the mighty Notts County. Why have the fans all disappeared or is this always the case with Wigan fans? How many are coming up to the North East?
There seems to be a great apathy with the cup competitions from the fans which really irritates me as I love the FA cup, but when you see how managers of clubs treat these competitions is it any wonder that the fans don`t turn up.
Turning out what can only be classed as second string teams hardly fills people with excitement and anticipation so in a way it`s no wonder that attendances are so low for the cup competitions.
As for our league gates you have got to remember where we have come from in the time frame that we have, the size of our town, population 90,000 and who we compete with for support.
Up in the North East you are the only Premier League club, in fact your nearest Premier League club would be Hull City and you don`t fill your ground, here in the North West within a 20 mile radius we have 8 Premier League clubs including Manchester United arguably the biggest and most high profile club in world football, add to that Liverpool who have a massive fan base both these giants being just 15 miles from Wigan East and West respectively and you can see that we really do have some competition for fans
3) Martinez has been questioned by a few Wigan fans on your message boards and in the papers. Why have you turned against this manager in his first season with the Latics?
Firstly we haven`t 'turned` against our manager, there is a small minority of Latics supporters that weren`t happy with the appointment of Martinez in the first place, they are quite vocal on the message boards but that`s as far as it goes, obviously we are part of the group of clubs, Sunderland included that are looking over their shoulders at the bottom three and some supporters become twitchy by this and analyse every result good or bad, I hear that you lot aren`t too happy with Bruce but I`d be very surprised if either of us finished the season by being relegated or getting shut of our bosses.
4) What area do you feel you need to strengthen if you are to do well this season?
We have just signed Victor Moses and Marcelo Moreno two strikers with bags of potential and this was one area that we definitely had no strength in depth though we haven`t had too much trouble finding the net so far this season we needed some quality additions in this area.
But defensively we have struggled and defending set pieces has let us down time and time again, so although we have been light on numbers in the forward department it`s the defence that really needs sorting.
5) Who do you fear the most from our squad and who would you like to sign from Sunderland?
Easy, Lee Cattermole, can we have him back please, the lad is simply awesome and should be pushing for inclusion in the full England squad. Hard as nails, full of passion, a natural leader, he can tackle for fun and he can play a bit too. £6 million, you stole him off us.
6) Sunderland have not won in the league since November. Do you feel this game is the biggest of the season to get your season back on track?
The biggest game of the season for us was when we played you at the DW Stadium the week after we had lost 9-1 to Spurs, it was so important to keep a clean sheet and put in a dogged performance that week and we did, that gave the lads some confidence and helped to keep the fans on side.
From now until the end of the season though every game is massive and we should be looking to get something out of them all. I`d say Saturday is a bigger game for you lads than us, if we beat you can you imagine the pressure that Brucie will be under?
7) Who is your best player and how can we stop him?
Charles N`Zogbia, you can`t.
Seriously N`Zogbia has been absolutely fantastic this season; he is by far our most creative player and opposing teams have started to double up on him but he is taking it all in his stride and continuing to play to a very high standard week in week out.
8) Predictions please?
I think we will be really up for this game, you will be catching us once again on the backlash following a very poor performance and I am going for a Latics away win 2-1
My interview on Vital Wigan
Date:Thursday February 4 2010
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