Port Vale 3-2 Wigan: Welcome to the jungle

(c)Paul Kendrick/WEP

The actual inspiration for that Guns ‘n’ Roses hit… and Latics press conferences. (c)Paul Kendrick/WEP

Interpretation can be a simultaneously dangerous and wonderful thing. It is much like a front tooth in that most people have one, and no two gnashers are in the same state of decay. And that’s the sort of thing we love… the challenge of analysing a press conference banner, that is.

The actual ‘Laws of the Jungle’ laid out by wolves in the Jungle Book series were more numerous, and most are far too gory or politically charged for a daytime blog such as this. But can we assume the opening two laws are an accurate summation of Kipling’s cutting satire of societal struct- I mean, er, a League One football team?

Before we proceed, it must be stated that laws are themselves distinct from rules in that they boil down to personal interpretation. In the hands of an incompetent monster, they become more destructive than constructive… not to name any particular lower league referees. With that in mind, let’s now break down Port Vale FC vs. Wigan Athletic AFC in a context that might have Kipling catching the 10:34 to Wigan North Western with a spear labelled ‘for the heart of That Daft Talking Blogger Bloke’.

“All this talk of Kipling is making me hungry.”

Mr Kipling Franch fancies

Oooh, now you’ve gone and done it. Way to lower the tone.

When pack meets with pack in the jungle, and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken; it may be fair words shall prevail.

And so words prevailed… for half an hour, after which goals took immediate precedence. Catching stand-in negotiator Chris McCann off guard, Anthony Grant made a lunge for the kill – with sexy results. Richard O’Donnell slapped the turf as well he might, for 50% of the hosts’ free head-start had just been claimed. Darn those newfangled newspaper coupon thingies!

This prompted Captain Caldwell to bring forward his intended 60th minute double substitution to just before half time. “Wait, what are you doing? Don’t deviate from the strategy,” came a weary cry from the terrace… it was the ghost of Roberto Martinez mere seconds before his exorcism. At least we got to see his infamous ‘five men in defence’ palm-pointing performance one final time.

If ye kill before midnight be silent and wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop and thy brothers go empty away.

Well, maybe they weren’t so quiet about it, but Port Vale were eager to impound the Latics puppies before that clock struck twelve, when they would certainly transform into vicious werewolves. Hey, it could easily happen two weeks running!

One Louis Dodds silver bullet later and the pack was incensed. From such close range, it was far too simple a task to dispatch his wounded prey, and the Latics elders simply would not stand for it. Mostly because they were recovering from hip operations.

Ignore that last joke as it makes no sense.

Ignore that last heading as it’s there just to break up lots of text.

Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the law leaveth open the word of the head wolf is law.

Sensing fresh blood, veterans Craig Davies and Chris McCann suddenly broke rank to tear apart the Valiants’ second newspaper coupon for one free goal. The former did the shredding with a burst to the touchline, while the latter did the eating with an angry lash home from twelve whole metres. It tasted horrible, as newspaper tends to.

"If you want to leave this dogfight, you'll have to pass us first!" (c)Carsten Tolkmit

Wait, which analogy was I digging a hole for again? (c)Carsten Tolkmit

This was Latics territory, and Leon Barnett was keen to enforce the fact. Momentarily, the New Emile Heskey raised his head high to score an uncomplicated yet accomplished kill. At 2-2, the hosts’ prey lay in danger of being pilfered by a bunch of rampaging mutts that could do naught but laugh like crazy hyenas… but the pack leaders were soon to intervene.

The kill of the wolf is the meat of the wolf. He may do what he will,
But, till he is given permission, the pack may not eat of that kill.

The final fatality followed in the final minute, when Leon Barnett denied Enoch Andoh his goalscoring opportuni- I mean, er, rightful meat. Guilty of violating the laws for the wolves, Latics’ sometime saviour paid with his life. Iiiin this particular match, that is – he was, er, sent off.

Worse, the winners elect soon sealed their status with one of those Trojan horse goals that Wigan Athletic circa 5 September 2015 would wholeheartedly approve of. Uche Ikpeazu clamped down his jaw for the last time, and all was black. Iiiin the, er, footballing sense, that is.

Remember, kids – in the cut-throat world of the bloodthirsty wolves, nobody wins.

Match highlights courtesy @Laticsofficial

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