It’s almost here, folks, and you can already smell the tabloid bull poop. In less than ten days’ time, Wigan Athletic will once again take to the pitch in that most dramatic and intense of leagues, the English Premier Division. Take a deep breath, for it’s time live the dream all over again.
This coming Sunday, we shall witness Wigan’s final pre-season game. Unlike years past, however, it will not take place at the DW but in the sunny climes of Galicia in North-West Spain. Not that North-West England would necessarily be inclement at this time of year (one would hope), but the lure of Vigo is somehow slightly stronger than the pies and non-existent piers of Wigan. Oh dear, it took me two whole paragraphs to cart out the stereotypes – I must be losing touch with traditional conventions of the general blogosphere.
Indeed, not much changes from season to season. This time last year, we faced the prospect of another daunting campaign without one of the leading lights of the previous season, namely Sir Charles N’Zogbia. If you believe all you read in the mainstream media, the same may soon be said of Victor Moses, who’s been chased by European Champions Chelsea for some months now.
Whether Wigan’s Anglo-Nigerian wingman stays or goes, fans will certainly retain high hopes of a decent season. Despite the loss of big names such as Leighton Baines, Antonio Valencia and, erm, Emile Heskey in the past seven years or so, the club has remained firmly in English football’s toppermost division. The fact we’ve been mostly fighting against relegation is largely irrelevant, for Little Wigan continue to land those right hooks on opponents of far larger stature, and grow stronger by the day as a result.
As we sit on the verge of the 2012–13 Premier League season, Roberto is still at the helm. This is no surprise; though the red-tops give the impression it’s been a tough slog to keep Martinez, it was always more likely he would stay with Wigan for at least one more year. Bob’s dream of managing a top-four club edges ever closer, however, and his ambitions will no doubt be of benefit – is this the season Roberto propels Wigan into the top ten and proves himself worthy of a top-quality management post? One would hope so.
As is their wont, however, the critics remain nothing but critical. Matt Law of the Mirror reckons this will be the season Wigan finally go down, while Soccer Portal claims our quality is ‘fading fast’. One is keen to let them think that, because the more Latics are written off, the harder they fight. And anyway, anyone who thinks Hugo Rodallega and Mo Diame played a massive part in Wigan’s survival push needs a spell in detention to redo their homework.
Enough talk. It’s almost time for the football to speak for itself, and after just one more weekend, it no doubt will.