July 15, 2024
Watford Vicarage Road
Gnome goalkeeper
Oh, for a return to the days when corner flags were 1 inch from the oversized gnome keeper’s goalpost.

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 Β£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.

Watford Vicarage Road

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.

Second opinion

6 thoughts on “Watford 1-0 Wigan: …And the other half? Fate.

  1. I’m sorry, but you lot have lost the plot. I’m a watford fan, and you clearly haven’t spent enough time in the division to realise that it’s more fun than the prem. IF you respect it. Which clearly you don’t. The disallowed goal, which I’ve got to admit, i couldn’t understand in real time, was probably unlucky. But what beyond that made you think iteasyiis to run away with? As a club. Get your attitude right and you’ll be there amongst 8 or so teams come the end if the season. Otherwise all the handwork to date will mean nothing. Expectation will erode all fun, hope and will. At this moment you are rightly placed. Get a grip

  2. to be fair it was a crap game 2 teams cancelling each other out ,we should have had a pen in the 3rd minute and you should have had a pen before we scored , struggling to see how your goal was offside ,it should have stood ! we were raped on tuesday by dodgy ref and should have slaughtered blackpool yet lost! all I can offer you is these things tend to level out over the season ! Good luck in europe!

  3. @Smudger jnr: Was this comment aimed at me personally or Wigan Athletic as a club? Because I have to admit I am enjoying this division way more than the Premier League, and in my own convoluted way, that’s more or less what I was hinting at with the hackneyed ‘affectionate sarcasm’ bullpoo in the opening paragraphs there.

    I also (sort of) admit in the article that I didn’t see the game, and all I had to go on was a biased local commentary stream. According to them, we shoulda slaughtered you. Not sure if I believe them any more though, but then I am a realistic type in general.

    Thirdly, I know naff all about football, and that’s the damn point. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here… πŸ˜› Cheers for the comment. πŸ™‚

  4. @Norwayhornet: Hah, apparently Tony Cottee on Sky Sports News hated it too! “It’s OK if you like midfield passing.”

    Listen, my views can’t be taken as an accurate account as I didn’t see the game with my own eyes. The first penalty incident you mention was obviously glossed over on the local radio commentary — but then I *did* switch on a few minutes late.

    This division is full of dodgy refs and it’s a occupational hazard. You have to learn to live with it, and we haven’t yet. Plus I *knew* starting the season with only two strikers would come back to bite us in the bottom…

    And to restate this for certain parties: I am loving the Championship! I wasn’t being sarcastic with the ’round of applause’ line, either. You desrve all the credit you get, even if Mr Rimmer and the other dude from WISH FM didn’t dish out any whatsoever. πŸ™‚

  5. Great report Dan. Also a Watford fan and thought a draw probably about right yesterday. Yes we were probably on the right side of the rub of the green today, but that , I am afraid, is what the Championship is like. Madeley scuppered us good and proper last season, although I don’t think he did such a comprehensive job on Wigan yesterday πŸ™‚

    Think your “goal” should have stood and possibly a case for offside on ours. Don’t think it was a pen, your lad went down very easily when if he’d stayed up would have had a clear shot at goal.

    But, yes, enjoy and embrace the Championship for all its faults and useless officials – it’s more real than the Prem…yet we all want to be there. Hey-ho.

  6. @Del: Thanks for the praise, Del! *Still* haven’t seen replays, but I’m not sure if I want to… they’ll probably make me irate. πŸ˜›

    On the subject of fortune –since I brought it up– unlucky or no, this game did feel as though it was balancing out last week’s highway robbery. Quite how that game with Ipswich ended 2-0, I dunno.

    A great point regarding the Championship being ‘more real’ than the Prem – I don’t miss all that stuff, yet at the same time crave it. I like to touch on the paradoxical pointlessness in these articles almost as much as I mention the FA Cup…

    The Premier League is a bit like Twitter – sensationalist and overhyped, yet we all love it for some reason.

    Because it’s worth reiterating: well done on the result which, after all, is all that matters at any level of football. (That may or may not have been a sly dig at certain people.) πŸ˜€

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