Today’s post is dedicated to the programme and fanzine sellers that populate the bridge over the River Pie.
With the return of Cockney Latic earlier this year, there are now three independent Wigan Athletic fanzines in regular circulation, and it is possible to pick up a fresh new glossy mag each month. In this age of the (small time) internet weblog, it seems the state of the Latics ‘zine has never been healthier.
Are we seeking a rational alternative to the short form meltdown madness of hashtag wafc? Or does the process of thumbing through page after sweet-smelling page of sardonic Wigan witticisms (Wigancisms?) remind us of our misinformed youth?
Well, this topic could have its own 1,000-word article. But on the subject of zines, I have only this to say today: buy ’em and support independent opinion, because you’ll miss ’em when the JWAW match report juggernaut inevitably consumes them all!
Aye, when Owen Coyle wins the Champions League.
You do the math(s)
Just to be contrarian, I would like to suggest that fanzines remain popular because Latics’ core supporter base (CSB) is actually growing. Alright, the raw figures might have ‘been better in the Premier League‘, but then most things were. Whether or not you regard a League One attendance of 8,636 as substantial, it just feels there are many more crammed into the DeeDub’s upper recesses of a rainy Tuesday evening against Rotherham.
Or in this case, a misty Saturday afternoon against Walsall.
The 750-strong travelling faithful certainly relished their role, acting out the part of a raucous pantomime crowd each time their favourite Latics player received the ball. Maybe they were connoisseurs of the finely trimmed beard, because Griggsy’s goatee definitely is enough to attract any man’s attention. But as an ‘impartial’ ‘reporter’, I really oughtn’t speak for myself on these matters.
In Richard O’Donnell’s absence, Jussi ‘Heavy Metal Umlaut’ Jääskeläinen was drafted in from Iceland to monitor the sticks. No, really – he was monitoring the bread sticks last weekend as part of an employee exchange scheme with Iceland Foods Ltd. Today, he stuck out an uncertain ciabatta to fend off a couple of reeally early attempts at his freezer cabinet… but his loaf was strong enough.
Wildschut goose chase
I’m not exactly sure what the opposite of a ‘making of’ documentary might be called, but I am tempted to brand this half ‘The Dismantling of Jordy Hiwula’. He found timing his shots and runs just as difficult as the Saddlers found staying upright on a juicy (Jussi?) DW surface coated with freshly squeezed pie grease.
But help was at hand.
Yanic Wildschut, in the wild north west of England for barely 48 hours, dismounted his ostrich and moseyed on over to pitchside for the second half. Filming of that Hiwula biopic was temporarily halted as the two crossed by the touchline, and the new dude in town chalked up Latics debut #2 of this afternoon. I hope yer keepin’ count o’ these, pardner, cuz there’s more ta come. Yeehaaw.
Much as Francisco Junior altered the complexion of the Millwall game, Rootin’ Tootin’ Wildschut quickly shifted momentum in Latics’ favour. His first attempt was expertly baulked by a rapidly advancing Neil Etheridge, his second rustled from beneath his cowboy boots by one (or maybe two) of five cattle herders in the opposition box. Gawsh darnit!
However, Walsall fave Will Grigg is currently Sheriff Caldwell’s most wanted for squandering a real doozy. Donervon Daniels, a veritable Panzer on the right wing, rolled a ball across the six yard box for Grigg… to launch into outer space. As it transpired, an expensive expedition, mostly because DW staff had to hire a NASA rocket to retrieve the ball.
By the Haines manual
So persistent were Walsall in their constant cries of “is it our turn yet?” that the referee eventually conceded defeat.
Momentarily, Anthony Forde was bursting through on goal. Craig Morgan came hurtling in just two steps too late, earning himself an instant yellow card… which ref Andy Haines immediately upgraded to a straight red. The reason? Well, he mustn’t be a fan of his country music.
Understandably, the hosts abandoned their attacking formation in favour of five men… scratch that, eight men at the back. Actually, wait a sec – debutant #3 Donald Love replaced ‘Everybody Loves’ Will Grigg to make a total of nine security guards helping Jussi surveil the back bacon. By which I mean a League One point.
However, Latics’ draw was not sealed by Daniels or Jacobs or Perkins, rather debutant #4: a ball boy in the north west corner of the stadium. With less than ten minutes to play and Walsall keen to resume with a quick goal kick, our hero collected the ball and waited for Romaine Sawyers to run 40 yards towards him… before gently tossing it to the goalkeeper instead. Earning a solid minute of cheers from Latics fans and a chorus of ‘you fat barstool’ from the Saddlers fans, his was surely the stand out performance of a surprisingly eventful goalless draw. Truly the stuff of ‘zine lore!