Paul Cook orchestrated a sensational rally from relegation threatened Wigan Athletic in the second half of the 2019/20 Championship season. Seeing the Latics trend as a promotion pushing side and climb comfortably away from the drop conversation before administration struck.
A 12 point deduction crippled their survival hopes, with only a handful of matches to escape they fell just two points short, despite reaching 59 points, without the sanction, which would have seen them finish 13th.
Ten wins, six draws and two losses in their last 18 games would ordinarily encourage fans and pundits alike to predict a promotion push the following season, however the harrowing course of events saw a League One relegation battle ensue in reality.
Now the dust has settled, Leam Richardson worked wonders to achieve third tier status for the upcoming campaign and new ownership has seen them throw their weight around in the transfer market, assembling a squad to take them back to where they belong. In this article we will take a look at the 11 that started their final match of the 2019/20 season, earning a respectable but ultimately unsuccessful home 1-1 draw against soon to be promoted Fulham.
The experienced glovesman joined Derby County for an undisclosed fee, going on to play for the Rams 33 times in 2020/21 as they narrowly avoided relegation. His finest hour came in his penalty shootout heroics as Scotland stunned Serbia to seal qualification for Euro 2020 last November, their first major tournament for 25 years.
The versatile right sider also went to Derby, a crucial player under Phillip Cocu and then Wayne Rooney’s stewardship clocking up 42 appearances. Both are set to be key players in 2021/22 with the Rams’ financial difficulties leading to a threadbare squad looking increasingly likely.
Highly rated Frenchman signed for West Bromwich Albion for £900,000 on a four year deal that quickly went sour. The Baggies struggled to acclimatise to the Premier League, Kipre failed to make a single league appearance as they were relegated and spent the second half of the season on loan at Belgian topflight side Charleroi.
Having only made his move to Wigan permanent a month prior the Nigeria international was acquired by Steven Gerrard’s Rangers on a free transfer. The 33-year-old went on to make 28 appearances including eight in their run to the last 16 of the Europa League.
The prized asset was on the market, along with many others, at an enormously cut price due to the administration. With a £10m+ move to AC Milan rumoured earlier in the season Robinson was picked up by Fulham for just under £2million. The precocious left back made 32 appearances as the Cottagers were relegated straight back down to the second tier. The USA international will be a key player in Marco Silva’s promotion push this term.
The Latics skipper left with a heavy heart to Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough on a three year deal. He played 32 times as Boro flirted with the playoffs before falling away in the final stretch. The Egyptian made 164 appearances in his time at the DW Stadium, one of the more crushing blows for the supporters.
The 24-year-old moved to Bristol City on a four year deal that is still yet to get going. An injury ravaged campaign saw Williams only represent his new side twice. Newly appointed Nigel Pearson will pass judgement on him this pre-season.
Lowe commanded £800,000 from Swansea City, he went on to score 14 goals utilised as a central striker as the Swans made a run to the Championship playoff final. Sadly a 2-0 loss to Brentford scuppered Lowe’s meteoric rise to the topflight having been playing non-league football as recently as 2017.
The Everton loanee kicked on once more in 2020/21, purchased from the Toffees by Norwich City for £2million. The former England youth international scored six times in 26 appearances as the Canaries ran away with the second tier to secured an immediate return to the Premier League.
A truly unique talent, Naismith admirably stayed put until the January transfer window where he joined Luton Town on a free transfer. The incredibly versatile ace played at centre back, left back, left wing, attacking midfield, right wing and as a centre forward at Wigan. In 23 appearances in the second half of 2020/21 from the Hatters he was deployed in the former three of those roles by Nathan Jones.
Another success story, Moore bagged 20 for Cardiff City who he joined for £2million in the summer of 2020. Topping off a tremendous season by scoring for Wales at Euro 2020 developing his modern target man skill set further. He will spearhead Mick McCarthy’s Bluebirds’ promotion push this season.
Finally it would seem Wigan are back in good hands making eight summer additions already. Marquee signings Gwion Edwards, Tom Naylor and Charlie Wyke suggest the Latics will be fighting at the right end of the League One table this time around. Watch this space.
All transfer fees correct as per transfermarkt.com.