Back To The Future Week has been groundbreaking in so many ways. In just seven days, we’ve witnessed the advent of the hoverboard, self-lacing trainers, smart glasses, flatscreen televisions and flying cars… but there is still no magical XBOX joypad that controls real life footballers. Or maybe there is, and the owners are just terrible at International Superstar Soccer?
Whaddaya mean, that franchise has been dead for over a decade? Nooo! Fetch me my DeLorean, Jeevus (yeah, my butler’s name is Jeevus) – I want to live in the past!
Actually, don’t engage the flux capacitor just yet because I have proof it *wasn’t* better for Latics in Marty McFly’s heyday. On 27 December 1983, they were gifted six lightning strikes on the botty to match the six goals they conceded to Bradford at Valley Parade in the old Canon Division Three. Great Scott, I had forgotten Cannon and Ball sponsored the lower leagues for a period in the 80s!
Anyway, Latics had yet to win the Freight Rover Trophy at that point, so that’s a world in which I do not want to live. Set the time machine for 3.00pm this afternoon, because it’s time to relive the (slightly more palatable) recent past!
Where we’re going, we don’t need goals
Had the DeLorean malfunctioned? The way Yanic Wildschut was hurtling towards Ben Williams’ goal, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d gone back in time to Tuesday night. The butch Dutchman (Butchman?) careered through countless towns and villages as if he were piloting a DMC-12, only coming to a halt as his effort clipped the outside half of the post.
But no – as the hosts quickly proceeded to assume control of the situation, we were assured this was merely a timely case of deja vu. Bradford’s scrum of hookers and prop forwards forced a comfortable turnover each time Yanic received possession… Ah sorry, I’ve been watching too much of the Rugby World Cup – one shall give oneself a Chinese burn for that misdemeanour.
The match was temporarily halted while Bradford commenced their Guinness world record attempt for ‘most corners in the period of five League One minutes’. Cheryl Baker and Linford Christie were bussed into Valley Parade to present the award just in case of a success… but the Bantams became nervous upon catching wind of their attendance. Hey, with such celebrity endorsement, who wouldn’t?
The upshot: no record, no keepers tested, no goals… at least for now.
As the Latics team were far too young to remember Record Breakers, they remained largely unaffected. Will Grigg even managed to squeeze a stealthy slipper-ender over Ben Williams’ goal line, but fell foul of the lesser-known and archaic offside rule. The linesman raised his flag; Linford raised an eyebrow as he cheerily munched an early half time pasty.
Don’t need no credit card to ride this train… it’s cash only.
As the game resumed, so did Bradford’s attempt at cornering their way into the 2016 Book of Guinness World Records. However, this would be curtailed when surprise sub Donald Love (pronounced Lurrrve) fed through Michael Jacobs for a sneaky snap-shot to Williams’ left. Look, a goal!
Bradford’s most recent record attempt may have failed, but they would be presented with second prize – a (relatively) speedy equaliser. Finally, from their 12th (or was it the 13th?) corner kick, the ball rebounded sweetly from James Hanson’s forehead through Jussi Jääskeläinen’s overpopulated 6-yard area to the inside netting. Look, another goal!
To those returning from a ‘quick’ pee, it would have appeared that Wildschut and Grigg had aged significantly – after all, the extreme pressures of DeLorean time travel do tend to take their toll on a man. But no, this wasn’t an 80s action flick – those whippersnappers had been replaced by the ‘experienced’ Holt and Davies. Wait, you can have three subs in 2015? Must write that in the JWAW Sports Almanac…
For all these attack-minded changes, defenders Donald Love and Reece James would have Latics’ best opportunities to regain the lead in the final ten minutes. But since neither could post through the big white letterbox (shoutout to Kevin Friend), ref Richard Clark felt compelled to end proceedings after just five minutes of stoppage time. On recent form, one expected it to be six (six? Six? Six!).
Forget this caper, Doc.
Set the time machine for the last Wigan-Bradford meeting in October 2012 – it’ll be worth sitting through the agony of a Carling Cup penalty shootout loss because I have the Sports Almanac, and I’m gonna put ten Deutsch Marks on Wigan Athletic winning the FA Cup! Wait, whaddaya mean, there’s no chance of that ever happening?