“First question… what is Wigan Athletic’s first eleven?”
Good morning and welcome to Supermarket Sweep, with me, Dale Winton! Yes, those crazy marketing execs have briefly revived this urban kleptomaniac’s dream of a game show for the purpose of a tired joke on a sub-Geocities backwater internet blogsite. Incidentally, don’t expect further episodes as we’re using cameramen’s packed lunches to stock the shelves, and they’re only paying me in bottles of supermarket brand Orange Dream Instant Tan. Only the finest Marks and Spencer goods will suffice from now on, I’m afraid!
(Director to nobody in particular: “Don’t worry, we’ll cut that bit out.”)
Today’s contestant missed a penalty in an FA Cup Semi Final, but he’s told me not to mention it. He is one half of the comedy double act Caldwell and Alcaraz, please welcome Wigan Athletic manager Gary Caldwell!
That’s fascinating, Gary! Now, I hope you’re ready to complete our first round, the Capital One dash. You have sixty seconds to grab eleven squad members to play in the next round – a League Cup tie with Bury.
Around the store today, we’ve got the pick and mix of Jordan Flores and David Perkins, the ‘certainly not a Red Bull ripoff’ energy drink Max Power, and a few plump turkeys in the form of-
Click of a remote, whirr of television powering down.
Hey, isn’t it strange how these TV shows always seem to be relevant to your chosen blog topics? Talk about a coincidence.
Dale does have a great point – at this time, team selection really must feel like a mid-morning trolley dash around Calds’ preferred local grocery store. Yes, he passes through the theft detector with a pre-determined notion of where he might linger, of what he might look to grab. But those plans are invariably buried (no pun intended) in the fervour of a chanting studio audience and maddening seaside fairground music.
Name the Wigan Athletic players in this picture for free pick ‘n’ mix sweeties.
It would be cruel to suggest that the Shakers’ first half performance was akin to a leisurely Sunday morning stroll around the stores. Shame on you for thinking such things, Dale! Can’t a side take 10 (well, 45) minutes to enjoy a hot coffee and cheesy Wotsit first? Well, yes – if they leave their goalie minding the trolley. Jordan Flores evaded numerous oblivious customers on his way to the basket pile, but was surprised to find Christian Walton and his extra large gloves ready to fingertip the ball around his post.
The second half was more like a Christmas rush for the final sought-after kids’ toy. A competitive affair, it actually contained some of them there things they call ‘goals’, and I doubt we’re in a position to complain about those, even if they’re against the nominal home side. Entertainment is entertainment, and a night at the football is better than a re-run of some daytime TV burglary simulation. Yes, Dale, I just said that!
At least, this half began fantastically. Michael Jacobs was drawing a penalty quicker than Vinnie Jones draws blood, and Will Grigg was all too happy to oblige with a tidy chip to the centre of goal. Walton took the bait and Grigg had his fish supper… but it would only prove a herring of a disturbingly reddish hue.
OK, no need to rub it in, Dale. Goit.
“This voucher good for: two free goals at the DW Stadium.”
A caffeine-rejuvenated Bury rose from the food court to find they were only one goal behind. “Easy,” Leon Clarke thought to himself as he bunted home an equaliser with his side’s first attack of the half. The beaten Leon Barnett raised an eyebrow. The East Stand raised a growl. The North Stand were going… wild in the aisles (check it out)!
“Beware ex-Latics,” Caldwell had warned. “They score more against you in one game than they do in their whole spell at your club.” While Clarke played fewer than a dozen games for Wigan last season, Calds was unfortunately correct to quote the stereotype as fact in this instance.
Craig Morgan, meanwhile, couldn’t be doing with all this extra time business – with a bus to catch, he wanted this contest over here and now. Tom Pope was soon rubbing his face in semi-artificial grass somewhere in the general vicinity of Richard O’Donnell’s goalmouth, with a nearby Morgan vehemently protesting cod innocence. But it was no good – by the time the defender looked up, Clarke had already converted the penalty. Their second round place assured, Bury had already embarked upon the short walk back to northern Greater Manchestria. It was 11pm, and everyone had vacated the stadium.
“Oh, I’d better go home then.”