Screw the Premier League – Wigan are going to Wembley!

Wembley Stadium evening

Look, I just had to break the sequence of match reports and podcasts to talk about Wigan’s greatest FA Cup weekend in my lifetime. I wouldn’t be a bona fide Latics blogger if I didn’t add to Saturday’s uncharacteristically staid post, which you can chalk up to sheer disbelief – I certainly didn’t expect anything like that.

You know how after a big win, there’s a renewed spring in your step for the whole weekend? Well this was magnified by ten. I honestly can’t remember anything of the past 40 hours or so, save cheering loudly (possibly to the disgust of numerous neighbours) when Edgar Davids produced ball #1 from the FA Cup draw bag.

Ugh, it’s all coming back to me now… not being able to concentrate on the Man United-Chelsea game as the excitement and tension built, the massive gulp when Mark Pougatch appeared in front of the FA Challenge Cup trophy… A one-in-three chance of drawing a Championship side for a place in the final – who wouldn’t want that?

Not that Millwall or Blackburn won’t be a mighty tough task, but I don’t believe it’s too disrespectful to say you’d rather play them than any of the remaining three. Heck, they’re probably just as pleased to draw us, the weaker Premier League side left in contention. With a real chance of cup final football at stake, the Rovers v Lions replay will now be even more emotionally charged than the tie proper. (As if that were possible!)

Viewing this from the other side of the Dougie, it is a genuine opportunity for yet another non-Premier League side to reach Wembley. Take that, establishment! I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been working through the night to manufacture the possibility of a re-draw, otherwise that dream of a United-City final is completely and utterly dashed. Noo!

Discontent

Ahh yes, I can just hear the rumbles of discontent from certain sections of the print media: “5,000 fans turn up at Wembley for Blackburn v Wigan? A blooming disgrace, that is. No wonder nobody cares about that Mickey Mouse cup any more.”

No, seriously. There are rumours that from next season the bigger team will be able to choose who they play to avoid such travesties as Swansea v Bradford or Millwall v Chelsea cup finals. Quick, documentary scriptwriters, get scribbling – there won’t be many more chances of real-life upsets past 2013!

In case you were wondering, I made that up. But to get back to reality, Latics are just 90 minutes away from a momentous first-ever FA Cup final. Yes, really. Looking back at the favourable draws we’ve had, fate seems to want us to do it, as if to make up for all the injury nonsense we’ve had to put up with this season.

Finally, we have something to really get excited about. Who was it that said the cups aren’t for sides like Wigan? Errr… (It was me, incidentally.)

To be continued in Wednesday’s Wigan Evening Post 12th Man column, all being well.

Wembley image courtesy Rob @ Flickr, CC2.0

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