Help, Mummy, I can’t cope with all this change! A new manager, a new chairman, new board members, new soup for sale in the concourse… agh! Can we have Carl Bradshaw and Stuart Barlow back, please? And a coffee-fuelled Matt McCann screaming over the top of a teletext feed of the game… but only in the second half, because that’s all the local radio station could afford. Aaaaah, the comforting bliss of nostalgia.
But there is no time for that, as spring AKA Wigan Season has arrived – and do you know what that means? Correct, I can use that silly WIGANTIME Countdown image in every post. Pah, I shouldn’t have sacked my image editor because I really wish I had a Scrabble tray with ‘DOGWINGNO’ on it… not that I agree with said cryptic clue, but it would be a welcome alternative to the mournful JWAW match reports polluting your RSS feed of late.
Peter Andre is a Wiganer
Please forgive the fact recent events have whipped me into an unprecedented romantic frenzy – it is merely post-Valentine’s Day aftershock, and the mood shall be lightened. Hey, with the seaside party spilling over to nippy Norfolk, one can only be jollied by the sight of 100 Wiganers in shades and Hawaiian shorts dancing like Peter Andre!
And the travelling faithful weren’t the only ones getting down on it. After running so hard just to remain on the treadmill at Blackpool, the Latics players were rapidly flung forward when a cheeky prankster flicked the off switch without prior warning. Viral sensation Kim Bo Kyung was first to regain his feet, volleying Leon Clarke’s header first time clean past John Ruddy’s extended palm… and ripping his net clean in two. Wait, Wigan Athletic ahead? This stuff just doesn’t happen to us this season – I am liking Chairman Sharpe already!
Wigan’s goal was characteristic of a busy start for the men in blue, which saw even Emmerson Boyce bombing through midfield on an occasion or two. Producer Pete Waterman was hastily summoned as an impromptu recording session for the follow-up to ‘90 Goals in 90 Minutes Live From Blackpool‘ was immediately initiated.
You won’t like me when I’m hungry
The furious Canaries simply would not stand for this, and their rage slowly built to beyond Incredible Hulk levels as attack upon attack melted to nothingness. Half time came at the right moment for referee Gavin Ward, who found himself the centre of much unwanted attention following a couple of misguided peeps of his whistle. In fact, I am sure he blew for half time a minute early to climb into a suit of armour for the restart – things were about to get rather physical indeed.
Promotion-hungry Norwich booked a Geoff Boycott bed and breakfast with the ball, clinging to it like a scrawny kid defending his lunch money from big bullies. One problem: Latics were more interested in preserving *their* prized possession – a single, precious goal. The result was a one-man squash match as the hosts continuously bashed the ball against a solid Wigan wall of shins and elbows.
Finally, Norwich spied a hole. While the visitors were reaching for the emergency Polyfilla they keep in the kitbag just for this occasion, Bradley Johnson stuck out a leg to guide the ball… into the side netting. As selfsame midfielder sent his subsequent free kick sailing over the bar, the barricade held firmer than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s well-toned behind. In the 80s, of course – these days he can barely find the time to work out 8 hours a day.
And the Canaries would continue to struggle in the face of eleven and a half defenders as that goalmouth loomed larger than the ominous, omnipresent Wigan Time. Cameron Jerome pitched a desperate effort from outside the area, and Norwich’s fight was ebbing away – only five minutes of stoppage time could save their unbeaten run now.
At the risk of sounding biased…
Happily, Norwich could not muster the energy to test Scott Carson – in fact, they had hardly breached the second last line of defence to do so in 95 minutes of football. Wigan’s spoiling tactics prevailed, and a heartening three points sent them flying up the Championship table. Well, after tasting the linoleum of 23rd place for so long, stepping up to the dizzying heights of the bathroom scales at 22nd is certainly progress. Small victories, my friend, small victories.