Roberto and the lads need all the help they can get right now. (©PAphotos)
by Andrew Kirby
, read by 236 people.
TV off, curtains closed, newspapers cancelled. Wigan fans could be forgiven for phoning in sick this week and avoiding all mention of football.
Another heavy defeat at the weekend, live on TV for the entire world to see, and the Latics are suddenly the butt of everyone's jokes. At times like these following a football team can seem like a brutal punishment for something you've never done. Or it can seem like a hangover.
It's hard to find a bright side. Suddenly Latics fans can't even look forward to the midweek Carling Cup game against Hartlepool for fear that there is a distinct possibility of a shock on the cards.
Even the news that Martinez has added an extra defender to the squad - club captain Gary Caldwell's brother, Steven - cannot rouse the hopes. Even Charles N'Zogbia's apparent u-turn over a possible move doesn't really cut it.
Caldwell joins a defence whose confidence is at an all time low, with 18 goals conceded in the past three Premier League games (14 of which were scored by champions Chelsea).
Wigan fans will hope he can bring all of his experience and gritty determination to stem the flood of goals.
Beating Chelsea 3-1, or coming back from two down to beat Arsenal 3-2 seem like distant memories. The Carling Cup final against Manchester United must have been a dream. The promotion season must have happened to somebody else. So what can Latics fans do to get over their gloom?
They can get behind the club when it really needs them. They can become the twelfth man. They can encourage, not boo. Sure this season has started off appallingly, worse than anyone could have guessed, but the team has only played two games. 36 games remain.
Martinez's men might well face a relegation dog-fight this season, but if so, they need all hands on deck to try to steady the ship. Because you can be sure most of the other sides that will be competing with Wigan for places in the Premier League when it comes to the final shake-up will be roared on by their fans. Now is the time to get behind the shirts, to play our part, to roar the lads on.
Supporting a football team is for life, not just for Christmas. We're all in this for better or worse, through thick and thin. So start singing,not booing. And results will improve... They have to.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.