It’s time to #FREEWHEATZ.
 
For those unaware of the dispute, our captain from the 2019/20 season has been banished to the youth team to train and has been excluded (along with goalkeeper Gary Woods – now on loan at Aberdeen) from the first team squad for the foreseeable future. The club confirmed that they were “no longer part of the first team squad” in a statement dated 21 September 2020.
 
David Wheater accepted furlough but was then encouraged to take a significant pay-cut by the football club.  This has since reportedly resulted in unpaid wages and an ongoing legal dispute.  Until we are told otherwise, we don’t believe this legal issue is preventing David Wheater from partaking in first team football.  That is purely down to the discretion of the club.

David has expressed a desire to be involved and while we respect the club can take these decisions regarding employees, we believe now is the time to put such issues to one side for the good of the clubs football league status. What we ask is simple, allow our most experienced defender back in the first team! In the league, despite a win on Tuesday night, we currently sit 20th with no clean sheets and have conceded 18 in 9 games.

The starting XI against Port Vale & Southend had played under 400 league games in the top 4 divisions in England while David Wheater has played in excess of this on his own. Our former captain has played over 100 games in the Premier League and this experience cannot ignored at such a crucial time in our history. For whatever lies ahead this season, this experience would be invaluable for a young squad. There is obviously no guarantee this would change our fortunes on the pitch, but we firmly believe this is the right course of action, especially given the transfer window is now shut.
 
To help us build momentum with this campaign, we would ask the following from you:
 
1. Adopt #FREEWHEATZ and use this on any relevant tweets.
2. Feel free to copy our campaign poster and use this as your social media profile and/or to promote the message
3. Send us a short video message of your thoughts as well as (or simply) stating #FREEWHEATZ
 
PTB will be sending an open letter to the club with our reasoning behind this campaign and also why this is advantageous to everyone, the main reasons being:
 
1. It would show that the club are willing to listen to fans
2. It strengthens our playing squad in a time when we desperately need it
3. It gives a new manager, the best possible chance to succeed by having his best players available to him
4. We would be treating a seasoned and decorated professional with the level of respect that his career deserves

We are highlighting and challenging this, not only to try and benefit the squad at the current time, but also to send a message that the constant freezing out of players year after year and treatment of staff shouldn’t and won’t be tolerated by the fanbase.
 
Our fixture list will be intense, we have already experienced injuries and there will be suspensions to come. With regards to the playing squad and the remainder of this season, it is unquestionably the correct decision is to reinstate David Wheater.

To read our letter to the club, please click here 
 
It’s time to #FREEWHEATZ
 
Reclaim The Faith
 
PTB