What’s this, a 3pm Saturday kickoff? I haven’t seen one of those since the TV-less bad old days of shin-splitting leather balls and sellotape crossbars. Yes, such things did exist long before employers were shelling out £77million for someone to sit on a centrally heated glorified car seat to watch other, more expensive players lose to Rayo Vallecano. Makes one pine for the days when Elton John topped the charts with an original song on a weekly basis, and I wasn’t even born then.
Criticise the Championship all you like, but I am enjoying the relative anonymity. It means I can pick up a paper and make it to the front page (reading from the back, of course) without the sensationalism of “Maloney to Barcelona,” “McManaman to Liverpool” and “Dicko to Weston Super Mare”. Well, certainly not the last one. In fact, certainly not *any* of them because I only read the Wigan Evening Post. (The preceding sentence definitely was not a cheap plug.)
So Wigan Athletic could travel to Vicarage Road in peace without the pesky Paparazzi tailgating their team bus, agents riding side-saddle. Maybe. Look, it’s best we move on or I might receive some decidedly unpleasant phone calls from certain parties’ legal representatives. Again.
Latics reverted to their first(ish) XI for the resumption of Championship hostilities, though Callum McManaman, who began the game picking his teeth on the subs’ barstools, would beg to differ. The visitors seemed to be managing well enough without him, however, as their midfield triangle of Powell, Gomez and McArthur carved out a couple of openings in the first 20 minutes.
Sure enough, Wigan were soon to round off their latest foray into opposition territory through Nick Powell, who eluded Manuel Almunia (ooh, I remember him!) to give his side the advantage… for 0.3 of a femtosecond. Turns out James McClean was offside or something, and that nettlesome linesman had noticed! Darn him and such. *Shakes fist*
McManaman briefly glanced up from his pitchside pint and game of dominoes to witness Marc-Antoine Fortune hobbling around uncomfortably – seems his injury wasn’t as healed as Coyle would have liked. “Go on, Callum, you only have to last 65 minutes this afternoon.” “Aye, alreet boss.”
The illusion of control
The team in blue, now hampered only by the lack of a specialist striker, gradually assumed control, if not on the scoreboard. They saw through an expected Hornets resurgence as the second half got underway, and were to experience their best spell of the afternoon thus far when Almunia’s double save first denied Powell, then McClean. Like squeezing the remaining ketchup from a refrigerated bottle, this was becoming a test of patience.
Then, the breakthrough. The highly impressive Powell, through on goal, was brought down by Lloyd Doyley for a penalty. Except not, because the incident occurred in the precise microsecond referee Richard Madeley just so happened to be blinking. Darn him and such. *Shakes fist*
“You know what’s going to happen now, don’t you? Watford are going to sc… oh look, they have.” Oh, you just *had* to jinx it, didn’t you? You know how superstition works – sit in the corner and write a strongly worded letter to the Football Association.
[Game ends immediately after. It didn’t, but let’s assume it did because it’s funnier.]
006, my friend, you were right all along.
*Cough* Oh sorry, you’ll have to excuse me. *Takes drink from 2013 FA Cup Winners commemorative mug* Ahh, that’s better. Well, congratulations to Watford on a superb win this afternoon but after that healthy dose of luck (which, remember, I do not believe in) six days ago, Mr Karma would never have let us win this one, even with a free spectacles subscription for Andy Madley.
And anyway, those WISH FM commentators are always highly biased. For all I know, Wigan should actually have been thumped 3-0… BBC Sport tells me the home side won the stats battle, and numbers man Gareth was always my favourite dude off of the PWU Podcast. Maybe he’s right – statistics *don’t* lie after all.
*Offers hearty round of applause to Watford*
To commemorate this occasion, Watford are to demolish their East Stand. Wonder if I could pinch a seat or two for the kitchen? “Dear Watford FC, sorry for all the nonsense I wrote about you on my website, but I would greatly appreciate a row of plastic seats.”
…Nah, like a blocked vacuum cleaner, I don’t think I’ve sucked up enough.