July 16, 2024
BBC Error 500

The BBC is invaded by pyromaniac clowns (c)BBC

BBC Error 500
Ceefax, where are you now?! (c)BBC

For three hours this afternoon, the entire country came to a total standstill. Nah, it wasn’t in honour of Wigan’s latest Most Important Game of the Season, but because the BBC website crashed under the weight of ‘heavy traffic’. This was surely the work of a crazed Jeremy Clarkson and, if the above image is to be believed, his army of pyromaniac clowns! I somehow sensed Top Gear was inherently evil…

For a frantic 180-minute period, Britain was plunged back into the dark (screen) ages of waiting for your team’s teletext score page to scroll round… 2009, to be precise. At least, I think that’s what MMIX stands for – I couldn’t get a mobile phone reception to call Ancient Rome and confirm this. Which is stupid, because I can see the Winter Hill phone mast from my window.

Thankfully, BBC Sport’s modern equivalent of the Ceefax videprinter was switched to Colin McIntyre’s backyard backup server just in time for the 3:00pm rush. Though Clarkie is still at large, possibly somewhere on his 3million acre Yorkshire council estate, a shred of normality resumed as CRTs were gratefully flung back into the darkest recesses of coal sheds and outdoor toilets. But let this be a warning, dear reader –  the techpocalypse will soon arrive, so save your teletext remotes for that fateful day.

Jeremy Clarkson sabotages BBC
Clarkson: “Hor hor hor! That will show those football supporters in their Vorr Ksall Astris.” (c)Phil Guest

McFortune 500

For a game of such relevance (if only to one of the two parties), the first 25 minutes were largely restrained. Assorted Rotherham pot shots did not concern a returning Ali Al Habsi, the cherished chicken chaser chalking up his 150th appearance in the luminous Latics goalkeeper shirt.

But the McFortune partnership, which isn’t quite a list of the top 500 most popular US fast food restaurants, was developing an appetite for goals. Most notably, the Jimmy Mac half of this particularly profitable team was keen on poking the odd eye to unsettle any unsuspecting defender within haymaker range. Having won a free kick just centimetres from the opposition area, he tore his way into James Linington’s little yellow book with a carefully selected expletive or two. We shall skim over the fact it earned him a two-match ban for ten bookings, as there were more pressing matters to attend to.

I’m talking, of course, about the desperate need for goals. Luckily (skilfully?) enough, they were about to arrive.

Since the departure of ‘Whoa’ Shaun MaloneyIntoWatson, Latics have been searching for an accomplished placekicker to convert free kicks to those vital points-paying goals. In just five minutes of football, Jermaine Pennant established himself as just the man for the job, crashing two such set pieces into either corner of Adam Collin’s net with considerable style. The first narrowly evaded both wall and outstretched palm, while, er… the second narrowly evaded both wall and outstretched palm in a somewhat perturbing spot of déjà vu. Well, I suppose it saves me having to offer two different sets of descriptions.

Let’s Hang On

Wigan Athletic strikerless matches
See, even strikerless matches have their use (c)Anagoria/Illarterate

Disappointingly, a perfect first half was blighted at the last moment when Matt Derbyshire comfortably foreheaded Ben Pringle’s unchallenged cross beyond an as-yet unworked Al Habsi. In fact, every shot on target in 45 minutes of football had defeated the goalkeeper – not a bad conversion rate by any statto’s stretch.

With Fortune beginning to struggle at the hands of the offside flag, Rotherham eyed their opportunity to squash the visitors flatter than a three-times ironed back four… or in this case, six. In a switch of tactics, Jordan Bowery replaced Conor Sammon (remember him?) to try and outrun, rather than outmuscle, the battling Latics as this game dragged into its final fifteen excruciating minutes.

Thus far, the hosts’ aim was as inaccurate as a drunken match report writer with his topic selection dartboard. Not that I would even consider drinking on a Saturday afternoon. But there was one more moment for Latics to survive… step forward Ali ‘Don’t Call Me Chicken’ Al Habsi. It wasn’t just another trademark double save, but a double save of potentially season-saving significance, as instrumental as any of those fancy Dan ‘goals’ those strikers and pundits keep harping on about. Dare I say, it was better than a goal? The irritated Bowes, so cruelly denied, may well agree.

One life, no continues

Gaming arcade
“Hurry up over there! I have a date with Pages From Ceefax.” (c)Goodrob13

And so Wigan Athletic’s season rolls on with the final credit flashing and a caretaker poking them with the pointy end of his broom as closing time arrives. Unwavered and unflustered, the underdog remains in the game, but there are many end-of-level bosses to face yet. Ask me for a reassessment on Thursday morning, but your contract is saved from the shredder pending the appraisals of Drs Fulham and Rotherham, Mr Athletic.

*Pretends to look busy by shuffling some papers around*

Second opinion

5 thoughts on “Rotherham 1-2 Wigan: Crash, Saviour of the Wiganverse

  1. Pity Fulham grabbed that equaliser, and please lord give us a win on the potato field against Watford. We might be letting parts of it out for allotments next season otherwise. So Winter Hill is still in use at the moment. I thought it was a monument to past technology. Not that I’m technical. If I owned a mobile, I’d have done a selfie with Dave.

  2. So,true to your word,you put the Ey-ups to the sword.See,its that easy!!Yes,pity the ex Leeds traitor poked one in from 6inches,for Fulham,their loss would have done you a world of good.We,ll whack em for you next Wednesday….yeah,,ex players seem to have a habit of scoring and Cul De Sac Mac will be busting a money belt to get one.Well the show goes on mid week!!

  3. @Boston: All told, it was a good day… but that we’ve won four games in about five weeks and only made up three points(?) just goes to show how difficult this is going to be. We’ll have to beat some of the stronger sides to stay up, but do you know what? If we win against Watford on Tuesday, we’re right back in this.

    @Philip: Well, you can’t always trust other teams to do you a favour… thanks, Fulham. 😛 Having said that, I do think you’ll beat them in midweek, then they’ll be getting nervous! It would be great if you could beat Rotherham on the last day of the season for us… (wishful thinking that we’d still be in it?!)

  4. Final day at Elland Road,30.000 plus.Evans sweating like a polecat in the dug out,palpitations.Watch this space.

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