John McGinlay Interview by Chris Sweet
One former Glover with a foot in both camps today will have more than a keen interest in the result today as his homework is put to the test.
As a free-scoring striker, John McGinlay earned himself a permanent place in the hearts of Yeovil Town fans by smashing 56 goals across four seasons in the 1980s.
He later made his name in the Football League at Bolton Wanderers, earning international acclaim with Scotland.
Having hung up his boots, McGinlay initially moved into coaching – most notably in the United States – before returning home to scout first for his country and now with Wigan Athletic.
Reunited with fellow Scot and ex-Trotter Owen Coyle at the Latics, the 49-year-old will have been responsible for gaining the inside track on today’s hosts.
It also meant a trip down memory lane to reminisce about a period of his life he remembers fondly.
“I look back more fondly than some may imagine,” he said. “I met my wife whilst I was at Yeovil Town and 28 years later we’re still together.
“Two of my kids were born there and I’ve still got a lot of good friends that I keep in touch with there so I’ve got more of an affinity with the town than people may imagine.
“Speaking to people in Yeovil, they keep me updated with everything that’s going on. Social media is a wonderful thing and you can keep up with things quite well now. It’s still one of the results I look out for and if they’re playing I want them to do well.
“It was a good time. Gerry Gow took me there and it was the old Gola League then. It was a fantastic club, a family club and a tight-knit community at Huish with all of its history.
“For me, it was something new because we used to get 2,000-plus at the games and where I was coming from I was used to a lot less. It was a proper football club in my eyes and it was great to be so proud.”
Choosing to work with Coyle was an easy decision for McGinlay as they attempt to secure a swift return to the Premier League.
McGinlay said: “I’ve known Owen Coyle for 20-odd years and we’ve always kept in touch. I did some work in America for him previous to this and when I came back I was working for the SFA and I was close to the Scotland team when I came back so it was a transition into this job when it came up.
“We’ve got a strong squad at Wigan and it’s one of the stronger squads in the league. I think Bolton fell into the trap last year when they were relegated from the Premier League and all of a sudden were like the deer in the headlights because the Championship is such a difference to the Premier League where it’s so physical.
“There’s a little bit of a mutual respect thing going on in the Premier League where people stand off you and allow you to play in certain areas, but they don’t do that in the Championship.
“As soon as you receive the ball there are three or four players challenging you and they are in your face before you can blink. The Championship is a league you really have to earn to get out of it.”