Norwich City new boy Yanic Wildschut tells Wigan fans why he had to leave - and explains his ‘empty stadium’ interview
PUBLISHED: 12:09 03 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:28 03 February 2017
Canaries new boy Yanic Wildschut has written an open letter to Wigan Athletic – and apologised for comments made in an interview with his new employer’s website.
Wigan fans who were disappointed at the manner of the Dutchman’s transfer deadline day move to Carrow Road on Monday were less than happy to hear his comments about the “empty stadium” at the DW Stadium.
But in his parting message to the Lancashire club’s fans Wildschut was quick to explain what had happened.
The full message, from Wigan Today, reads...
“I want you to know it was a very big decision for me to leave Wigan Athletic.
It really was, especially with it being halfway through the season. They did everything in their power to keep me, but in the end I made the decision to leave.
“But I just thought I couldn’t let this opportunity go by. I thought if I didn’t take the opportunity now, I might never get the chance again.
“There was a time in Holland when I was playing really well, and the move was there for me – but it didn’t come through. The season after I played really badly, and all of a sudden all of the clubs that had wanted me were gone. That played a big part in my decision.
“There’s always two sides to every story. Maybe it would have gone even better for me, and even bigger clubs might have wanted to sign me. But on the other hand, it could have gone bad for me and nothing might have come from it.
“I just saw this as an opportunity I needed to take.
“Putting in the transfer request was a very hard thing to do, and I had to think about it a lot. I really wanted the move... but I also really enjoyed my time with Wigan. Everybody there made me feel welcome, the supporters were great... even though I know a lot of them are now angry, and calling me a snake.
“They always supported me while I was there. This time last year, they wanted me to stay, and I won’t forget that. But I just couldn’t let this chance go by. It’s a big step forward with my career, and I had to take it. I do honestly regret how it came about, though, and if I could do it differently I would do it differently.
“The chairman and the manager spoke to me a lot, and told me they didn’t want to sell me, so it was hard. They were within their rights, they only wanted what was best for the club. I told them that if nothing came along in the window I would happily stay at Wigan, and do my best.
“But if the chance did come along, and it worked out well for everyone – the club got a nice fee, I got a nice move – then I wanted to look at it. They understood that, so they knew what I was thinking. They did everything in their power to keep me, but in the end I made the decision to leave.
“Norwich City is a really big club, I’ve only been here a couple of days but I’m really enjoying it. It’s very similar to Wigan actually – a real family club, everyone is really close to each other, the players and the staff. That’s made the transition easier for me and, even though it was a difficult decision, I feel I’ve made the right choice. Obviously I’ve seen the reaction on social media to me leaving. Some people understand, some people think I’ve let the club down.
“Somewhere deep inside me, I do feel I have let the club down, by leaving halfway through the season, with the club struggling in the league. If we’d been 10 places higher it might not have been such a big deal. But I’ll always be thankful to the club – and I told the chairman that before I left.
“I’ll also always be grateful to Graham Barrow, because he was the one who saw me for the first time playing for Middlesbrough at Oldham. He played a big part in me joining, and I always had a great connection with ‘G’. I’ll remember Wigan as a time when people had faith in me again, and I could show what I can do. I feel I did really well there, but I feel it was time to take the next step, and I went for it.
“My time with Wigan is definitely the most successful time in my career and my life. We became champions last season, I was named in the team of the year, we made some great memories – and of course I became a dad.
“When I first arrived, the chairman said the club was showing a great deal of faith in me. It was a lot of money for the league we were in, but I think it’s paid off. The club has ended up with a really good amount of money for me, and I hope they can reinvest it and get stronger. And I will miss everybody up there. I never had any problems with anybody while I was there. I still speak to everyone at the club, and they all wished me luck. They know this is a part of football, but I still find it hard and sad that it’s come to an end like this, with all the supporters being p****d off.
“Nothing will change that now, but I just hope in time they can accept my apologies, and they eventually understand why I left Wigan. I would also like to explain the interview I did for the Norwich website after I signed, which included a comment about me not enjoying playing in empty stadiums – which I know has upset a lot of Wigan fans.
“I want everyone to know I was very upset about that comment as well. In fact, I went into the club the following day and I told them, ‘I’ve already left on bad terms, this has just made it worse’.
“To explain, in the interview, they asked me if I had a word for the Wigan supporters, and the club... and of course I thanked everyone. Then they were talking about something completely different, their own stadium and its size, but in the version that went on the website they cut the questions out.
“It looks like I said I didn’t enjoy playing at Wigan, because the stadium was empty – but that’s not what I meant at all. I would never say that, never. That’s just not me. Having already said how much I enjoyed my time at Wigan, it would be strange if all of a sudden I just started killing the club. That’s not how I work, and I hope everyone back at Wigan realises that’s not what it was. Of course I can understand how it looked – and I myself would have taken it to mean that. But it’s just not the case.
“In the end, I suppose I’ll always be the guy who handed in the transfer request to get the move. But I just hope the fans remember the good times we had last season, and also for some of this season. I hope all those happy times will outweigh what happened at the end.”