Crewe 1-1 Wigan: Moneyball

Money ball

Look but don’t touch, children.

Being a football supporter is ruddy awful. You work 40 hours a week to pay £300+ for the train, ticket, hotel, bus, coach, pie and toilet turnstile just so you can watch 22 blokes with haircuts more expensive than your car fall over delicately, screeching in apparent ‘pain’. And as for goals, you’ll be lucky to see any of those – Cable TV Ltd. has introduced quotas for the number you’re allowed to score in the FA Premier League.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Imagine football free of Bloopert Burdock’s tyrannical influence. Imagine appropriate pricing and tense finishes. Imagine League One… imagine the Jeff Stelling Memorial Trophy, Crewe Alexandra vs Wigan Athletic.

Here’s one for the analogists. Remember when yoyos were all the rage for the 30th time? You could expect to pay upwards of £10 for the very same model available in Poundsava for 99p today. Nothing changed, but for a brief period, some dude with a £1000 pair of socks decided you must pay for his kids’ Playstation games.

That guy doesn’t care about yo-yos *or* football. He doesn’t even know what football is, so screw ‘im. (Or should that be, s-Crewe him?)

Do The Power

For a game from a so-called ‘inferior’ league, Crewe-Wigan contained an inordinate number of incidents for 2,200+ juiced up travelling fans to get overexcited about.

First on the bill, Reece Wabara’s parlour trick – a surprisingly well-rehearsed impersonation of one of his team-mates. Receiving the ball from an improvising Max Power on the right, the newbie had plenty of space for a full swing of his oversized bat. As he creamed a half volley just beyond keeper Ben Garratt’s reach, he pointed at his assistant as if to say “I can do The Power too”. All that was missing was some goal music courtesy of 90s techno-funk outfit Snap.

Max Got The Power

Max Power celebrates with a well-earned morning stretch.

Suddenly, the clank and rattle of exhausted glasses on wooden tables. Bradden Inman bolted from his seat towards the dancefloor, such was his eagerness to learn this funky new jive. A panicking Jääskeläinen looked around for his absent team-mates, who were all visiting the bar or the toilet. By the time the Finn reset his head position, Inman had already out-Powered Wabara with an even better Page 3 Goal of the Week ‘stunnah’.

The sanctuary of half time offered an opportunity for Jussi to re-attach his jaw, which he dislocated when screaming at his defence after Ryan Colclough struck the bar. Incidentally, that’s his crossbar as opposed to the place you buy flaming sambucas.

Will (Grigg) I Am (Not)

The hosts carried their momentum right through to the hour mark, when Wigan sought to neutralise the contest with some trademark keep-ball practice. But apart from that time Wildschut smashed the inside of the post, it had been a Sky Sports News-style period of waiting for stuff to happen.

And when Will Grigg arrived on 74 minutes, it could have happened. Haris Vuckic, who had earlier been introduced for the injured Michael Jacobs, was the unfortunate individual to make way. And wouldn’t you know, someone had stolen his seat on the bench by the time he got back to it!

Dog sitting in armchair

“I was just keeping your seat warm for you, Harry!”

It was a necessary sacrifice to try and force a winner, and a goal now would surely *be* that winner. The last fifteen is a time for winners, a time for Wilson Griggs and Jordy Hiwulas. A time for heroes. A time for downright dirty scrappy goals that just creep over the line.

But one never came.

You see, both sides had developed wondergoal syndrome, and simply would not settle for 30cm tap-ins. Yanic Wildschut contrived to head over from less than two feet, while David Perkins instinctively crossed when he ought to have shot. Apparently, some prankster had gone to the options screen and switched the X and B button functions on that control pad he borrowed from Vuckic.

The Premier League vs. yoyos

Not even the man himself, Mr Max Power, could muster an accurate last-minute Powerstrike to defy Ben Garratt. On a day of late goals at the top of the table, Gresty Road would sadly remain bereft of such late excitement.

But today’s collection of results just goes to show that in our division, league position counts for very little on a slightly chilly Saturday afternoon in January. And that’s the way it ought to be in all tiers of the English football leagues, billion pound motor vehicle or no.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to master my Around The Worlds, Loop the Loops and Scottish Flags with my 99p Poundsava yoyo. Whee!

Mfff? Mayffe I ffould stffck to the fffootball.

Mfff? Mayffe I ffould stffck to ffideo gamefff.

Second opinion

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