Wake up, JWAW, you’re dreaming again. It’s not 2013, and it’s not 2010. You’re not sat in London cheering a Ben Watson header, you’re not watching Maloney put Man U through the shredder. You’re stuck in Wigan on a bitter December afternoon contemplating a loss to flippin’ Sheffield Wednesday.
You can tell I’m a Wigan Athletic fan and not a writer by the way that trailed off at the end, but it was supposed to be a tribute to the old Dastardly and Muttley cartoon intro. It may be the last thing you would expect to pass through your brain ten minutes from kickoff, but constructing that (horrible) little verse is as effective a coping mechanism as an isolation chamber or avoiding Ceefax page 326 when the top scorer for the only team below you in the table is the tea lady.
On the subject of top scorers, it may surprise you to learn that Wigan’s is still Callum McManaman. You see, he hasn’t so much as smelled the old onion sack since Emile Heskey was last troubling defences this side of the Gold Coast. Not even an open call on the social networks could help locate Macca’s mojo somewhere behind Stephen Fry’s hashtags and regurgitated spittle relating to Mr Whelan’s barber… (am I the only one who suddenly feels sorry for Alex Ferguson?)
But I was reminded of how McManaman *can* do it while listening to Bumblin’ Phil Neville’s match ‘commentary’ of the Hartlepool Utd vs Blyth Spartans FA (Wigan) Cup 2nd Round tie last night. I don’t believe we have yet to formally thank the lesser Neville for that most memorable of goals, so consider this an official expression of our gratitude! Please accept this XXXL Christmas card signed by every member of the JWAW staff.
Happy St Nicholas… er, St Jonny’s Day!
Those craving Macca-style goals were in for a St Nicholas Day treat from the satisfyingly named Jonny Howson, who tore through the Wigan defence as if it were flimsy wrapping paper for a typically simple goal. Like a cheap panto organised by your local computer club, it was highly appealing in a masochistic way… but I shed a tear for the passing of light entertainment when it was over.
The half’s remaining 40 minutes were as predictable as A Miracle on 34th Street appearing in the Channel 5 schedules on 30 November. It’s getting to the point where I could construct an automated article-writing program that grabs segments from previous match reports to save myself work over the Christmas period, so here’s another sentence for the generic paragraph generator: Norwich kicked back and enjoyed a spot of seasonal literature while the labouring Latics meticulously ensured the turkey was thoroughly cooked. Twice.
Thank you. And speaking of seasonal silliness, more outdated Morecambe and Wise antics were to follow on the pitch. Apologies to those that thought this blog had made an early New Year’s resolution to curb the unnecessarily irreverent irrelevance, but can you blame me for making my own entertainment during a game such as this?
Wait, was that a free kick or just half time entertainment?
Half time came and went with a snore, but the second 45 saw a marginal improvement for the hosts. Perhaps their most likely opportunity came via James Perch, whose head grazed the ball on its way from James McClean’s boot to John Ruddy’s gloves. Or maybe their best effort was when Fortune broke into the area with such force that said goalkeeper was almost intimidated into spilling the ball just metres from his own goal line? The situation is much like that of Curly Wurly vs. Mini Bounty: whichever you choose, it is clear that neither is worthy of the selection box, no matter how many discounts the 94 store applied.
Latics were happy to coast (hey, isn’t that another chocolate bar?) along in possession, while Norwich gladly took credit for defending effort after awful effort on their CV. And you would too, especially since the match tapes to prove otherwise have already been destroyed round the back of what used to be Sharpy’s. I don’t know what it is now, possibly a garden centre.
Don’t go yet, something happens. Maybe.
The crowd needed cheering up, and thankfully a couple of mildly amusing occurrences were to follow. The first saw an unfortunate East Stand linesman almost totally cleaned out by a tackle fit for early December pitches. I should point out he was OK, otherwise it certainly wouldn’t have been funny. (Well, maybe a bit.)
The second incident involved an equally unfortunate Kyle Lafferty, who felt obliged to live up to his somewhat comedic name by taking a free-kick with his backside, sand ironing the ball towards the corner flag in a nod to the late, great Seve Ballesteros. One for the Christmas tape, it really was magnificent to behold.
Well, it wasn’t magnificent in the same sense as a shinned Wayne Rooney goal, but in the absence of any sort of quality from any Wigan Athletic player, the best you can do is default to laughing at other people. I think Norwich will forgive me for it, since a juicy three away points is something to smile about until 9am on Monday morning, while the former… well, I’ve already forgotten what I was laughing at. When’s Pointless Celebrities on?