This just in: The Happy Mondays have reformed for the 34th time for tonight’s Monday Night Footballllll! (c)A l’origine
Welcome, sports fans, to Mooonday Niiight Footbaaaalll! For 90 minutes, you can forget the drudgery of the week’s most dreary day with a ball game of extreme radicalness. Prepare yourself for the biggest hits and most awesome touchdowns this side of Mrs Sippy! Yeah, she’s pretty big, but not as big as Mooonday Niight Footballl!
Alright, there shall be no more genuine all-American artificial sweetener in this post because this is Wigan. This is a town where ‘run fer it yer daft get’ is common crowd vernacular even for positive performances – the genuine type, not the Alex Ferguson ‘it was the ref’s fault’ post-match interview type. Although there may be a fair bit of ref-baiting before the barren wasteland that is JWAW’s comments section looms larger than a Sammon.
At the risk of putting you off this article, this most unhappy of Mondays reminds me of the time Melody Maker savaged Shaun Ryder & Co’s 1992 masterpiece ‘Yes Please’ with a two word review: “No thanks”. While Wigan weren’t quite that bad last night, I was sorely tempted to deliver a similar report. You know, to trim an unnecessary 748 words of fat for a level of succinctness teletext could only dream of achieving.
If you’re still reading, have yourself a Hobnob on me.
For ten glorious minutes, the hosts ruled the waves. The McCombo of Callum and Shaun had Mr ‘Run Fer It’ screaming ‘they’re rubbish these men,’ and for once he was actually justified. During this time, McManaman could only be stopped by the odd cynical trip that, had it come 20 minutes later, would probably have been a booking. Or, taking into account ref Lee Nient’s unseasonably sunny disposition, possibly not.
But by the time Luke Hyam sidefooted past Scott Carson with great comfort, the game’s momentum had shifted considerably. Ipswich were spoiling the Wigan public with a variety of shockingly taboo shots on target, causing many West Stand parents to cover the eyes of their little ones. “Don’t look, kids, you’ll go blind!”
Running the full gamut of emotions in the East Stand. (c)Saransn
Worse, they were about to witness the start of the end of McCallum’s all too brief afternoon. His journey over Christophe Berra’s leg was a pole vault too far, and within fifteen minutes, his threat was exterminated altogether as he was back in the home dressing room to nurse an unspecified leg injury. They’re the worst kind, I find.
Half time proved a welcome break from an increasingly stale contest. The visitors’ ‘come at me bro’ attitude went largely unchallenged as an underworked Dean Gerken enjoyed a celebratory pickle perched on the edge of his penalty area. Ho hum.
Football and its associated frustration resumed all too quickly. Nothing had changed in the fifteen intervening minutes, except maybe the fact the East Stand’s pie supply had been exhausted. Ipswich continued their highly effective stifling ‘sometimes football, sometimes pretend the football is not there’ game with great relish, while Latics resolved to invent imaginary ball bobbles. The ghost of Jordi Gomez saw more time on the ball than the Wigan forward line combined.
Jeeves, it is time to dig out the fish pun dictionary again! (c)OSU Special Collections
This, coupled with a distinct lack of enterprise on the hosts’ behalf, meant Conor Sammon’s 62nd minute goal was almost guaranteed to be the killer. Half an hour is usually plenty of time for a comeback, but it was more like 5 minutes in Latics years.
When the chances finally came, they were… actually quite good. Suddenly, every ball was finding its target, and a renewed vigour permeated the pressurising Latics as if a hidden stash of pies had been found in a physio room fridge. I won’t speculate who was keeping them there, but they’re rumoured to contain the finest dog food.
Certainly not a one man outfit
Now very perky indeed, James McClean embarked upon a McManaman-esque one-man crusade to salvage a sliver of comfort from a rubber that seemed deader than said Scouse Slinky’s decomposing leg. His strike’s heavy deflection split the South Stand net, causing the referee to disallow the goal.
Only joking, I think a few heads may have exploded if that were the case. The goal stood, and Wigan had ten minutes to snatch a highly improbable point. Amazingly, they were to be denied by the width of a particularly resilient post – certainly, Oriol Riera’s effort could only have been stopped by the goal frame. Any foolish limbs blocking its path would surely have been detached from their sockets like a flimsy piece of K’nex construction kit.
However, as 90-odd minutes had already passed, it was time for the ‘fun’ to end. I think this small time internet blogger has already made his feelings clear, so there is no need for redundant summation. Screw Mondays, and screw Mondaay Niight Footballll, dudes! Though I did quite enjoy a few of the ‘songs’ on ‘Yes Please’ – that one about Netto was a larf.
Submit your own for teletext’s 40th anniversary! See the BBC’s Ceefax match reports ‘competition’.