clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fan Focus: Chowing Down With Pie Eaters Footie

Time for another installment of Fan Focus, and for this week's feature we've taken time to speak to a fellow SB Nation site in the form of the excellent Wigan Athletic site, Pie Eaters Footie.

Christopher Lee - Getty Images

It hasn't been a blistering start to the season for you, but we start Saturday's game on the same points... How do you think that you are doing so far?

Pie Eaters Footie: Okay we would have liked about seven points from the first five games, we are only one win off in reality. But what we are off in performances is not acceptable at all. They have been poor to say the least, especially the last two league games, where we have just wondered what is going on. It has got very much the same feeling as it did this time last season, we are missing players who are injured (Antolin Alcaraz and Franco Di Santo), and the rest of the team hasn't really settles yet.

One thing that we can all take strength from, is that we have flashes of the brilliance from last season, you can still see that the players have it in them. Possibly once we finally click and start playing the way we did and we can, then the results and points will come hand in hand.

You managed to keep Roberto Martinez away from the hands of Liverpool and Aston Villa in the summer. Do you still think that he's the man for the job?

PEF: Yes 110% I have always thought he was, just at times he has looked so suborn in his want to play the way he does, that he has no plan b. That has always been our biggest moan about Roberto yet I don't think anyone would change him, he has done too much for the club overall for him to deserve the sack.

For one thing he has massively reduced the wage bill at Wigan, believed to be about 30% less than when he took over. In terms of Premier League pay that is quite allot. While he has spent that money elsewhere, new training facilities for the first team, along with a new youth centre which is in the process of being built. All of that, while teaching the youth teams coaches how to take up his philosophy. It could be the start of a new dynasty if it goes the way Bobby has it planned.

Your chairman always seems to have an opinion, no matter what the context... How is he viewed from inside the club?

PEF: Depends who you talk to. He can be referred to as a shrewd business man, who refuses to do deals unless he gains something in it (case in fact the Victor Moses saga). While other people will say that he is a football man, kind to those who work hard and can earn his respect.

Overall we love him for saving our club from going into administration, and even half the thing he says in the media tend to be what a lot of football fans do think, and want to here the people say. He isn't a quite man in life or in business, so why should he be as a chairman?

Rodellega and Moses left the club in the summer, with the former scoring against you at the weekend. How do your rate your summer transfer dealing, and what do you make of claims that Wigan are a 'selling' club?

We are a selling club, no two ways about it. We have to make the money to go out and buy the next big thing. We manage to do it year after year, and especially with Roberto now, he knows what he is looking for. Many people said that the departure of Diame and Rodallega would really hurt us, for me neither have done that much. We have other players who stepped up to the fray long before they left the club, players for me who could go on to do better than they have done.

As for Victor Moses, he went to early for me, and we do miss him. None can put a price on the true talent that the lad as. I hope I am proved wrong and that he goes on to have many successful years at Stamford Bridge, but with the other players they already have, I don't somehow see it happening.

How do you rate Sunderland's transfer activity?

PEF: You did well in terms of the quality you brought in Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher are the stand out two and really add something to your team. Both of them I would have love to see pull on the blue and white of Wigan, yet alas they fancied a journey to Sunderland. One thing I do feel you have done, is over spend on Steven Fletcher, is he really worth nearly £12 million? Yes he will score you goals but enough to warrant such a fee?

Of course I could be wrong and he could end up being the Premier League's top goalscorer, it just seems madness to me to spend so much on a player when you could have got Dimitar Berbatov or Adebayor for £5 million. No disrespect to Fletcher but he isn't in that league of strikers, not that Wigan have any of them either.

You always seem to struggle throughout the season, then come good in March and escape relegation. Why can't you start better, and can you keep this 'great escape' mentality?

PEF: Who knows, if we knew what we did differently, I think then we would have changed it by now. Personally I believe it is the fan affect by March more people start to turn up to games, and with our backs to the walls, the Wigan public really get behind their sports teams. It may not be that, but the atmosphere towards the end of last season was practically bouncing.

It could also be down to the players feeling a sense of injustice, and we have a very small squad, they often do band together really well and pull each other up. One thing that has always remained at Wigan, and is built into the players the moment they walk through to the training ground, is that this is a family club, and we do everything together and help each other out.

We had Jekyll and Hyde performances against you last season, losing at home to put the final nail of the coffin into the Steve Bruce era, then thumping you in hurricane conditions at the DW. How do you see this game going, can you replicate last year's effort?

PEF: It will be tight first half I would imagine. Both teams testing each other out, and not wanting to concede the first goal. I have a feeling you will have more of the possession and will look to exploit the lack of width that our back three can have. That will be you best chance to get goals, to then whip the ball in and expose the back three's inability to head clear.

We on the other hand will look to get the ball down and play the ball through your centre of the midfield. That will become very congested, and you that will cause Sessegnon to drop back. That is when we will change tactics and look to go wide, once your midfield has become committed.

So it will be a mix of the two games, I think we just about cancel each other out in terms of what we can do on the football pitch.

Do any memorable Wigan Athletic v Sunderland games stick in your head... For either good or bad reasons?

PEF: 2009 and Roberto Martinez has taken over as manager following Steve Bruce's 'Harrods' exit. We played you in November of the year, and a packed Wigan ground was expecting a win for the new man, over the now hated former boss. A 1-0 win, a goal courtesy of Hugo Rodallega, sealed the happiness of the Wigan fans.

Looking at the game itself, who should we be worried about facing in your squad?

PEF: Arouna Kone has been a great hit since he joined the team, he has bagged two goals and one assist in the four games he has played. He is the replacement for Victor Moses and has done well to do so, he looks sharp and quick on the ball and is willing to put in the work rate, he also has that ability to score in the box.

How will he trouble you? By being everywhere in the final third. He is always looking for that ball in behind or over the top, which can be provided by Shaun Maloney who himself has also been in excellent form. The two work really well together, and then you throw in Franco Di Santo who can hold the ball up and take away your centre backs attention.

It is a good mixture to cause some problems.

And can you see a weak link among our team that you would like to target?

PEF: In the midfield you could be light weight, that is now if you have lost Lee Cattermole to suspension, then it could work in our favour. Yet I don't really see you having a weaken area. Nor is that the way Martinez will approach it. He will look to play our game to the best of our ability, and win the game by forcing you to play poorly.

We don't look to exploit weak spots, we make them appear instead.

And, on the other side of the question, is there anyone in the Sunderland team that you don't fancy coming up against?

PEF: Adam Johnson for me. He is such a brilliant player, a truly two footed player who can do anything that he sets his mind too. With that technical ability to combined with his pace and strength on the ball, is it any wonder that he can do such amazing this on a football pitch? He will unsettle our defense that is for sure, if he is allowed to run at us and swing the crosses that he can into the box. It maybe something that we have worked on dealing with this week.

And any weak spots that we could exploit?

PEF: Defensively we have looked weak and fragile at the back several time this season, and I wouldn't expect any change in that between next weekends game. Hopefully that the poor form of our defense can be put behind them, and we can get it right again like we did last season. Yet we miss Antolin Alcaraz in our back three, who cleans up more or less all the mistakes that happen in and around the defense. While he is the guy that goes out and challenges for every header, not something that the other two.

And finally, can we get a prediction from you?

I am going for the same result as last year, a 2-1 away win. I feel that we can just nick it on the day.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report