Well, viewers, it’s been a busy week here at the JWAW Transfer Window. Staring at this pane of frosted glass for seven long days, I have just about been able to distinguish the figure of a dog… or maybe it was a horse – I can’t be bothered getting up to move the voile obscuring my view.
[A very tinny rendition of Starship’s “We Built This City” emanates from a trouser pocket.]
Oh, hold on a second, viewers! I have just received a text message. Ah… apparently my bins, which went missing in last night’s high winds, have been found on Hart Common. Bolton Council are holding them for ransom along with over 200 others that were hijacked and taken there by a woman named Gertrude.
Darn! I thought that would be a message from the club saying we’d signed Geoff Hurst or something. Ah well, I should have known they don’t make announcements like that on matchdays.
Speaking of which, waitaminute… 2pm already? Time to get down to the DW Stadium!
[Smashes head first through window in slow motion. Scene is repeated five times from as many different angles.]
Back to the present.
I arrived at Robin Park with a mixture of frosted glass and literal frost about my person – the after effects of Gertie’s prevailing wind made for a deceptively cold afternoon.
But a great blast of hot air raised the temperature within ten minutes as a few thousand jollificated East Standers found something to brag about. When a Yanic Wildschut cross rolled into Jak Alnwick’s unsuspecting net, Willman Grigg was the first to bagsy the last touch… even if the stadium announcer unofficially awarded it to the Great Ostrich Jockey.
The visitors also made an enterprising start, however. Sam Foley almost immediately punted an equally brilliant (if not better) opportunity square at Jussi Jääskeläinen’s gullet, which let out a belch so loud that it disturbed passing custom on the shopping precinct.
…Which was a notable achievement worthy of a Wikipedia sentence, considering the strong breeze whistling loudly through rivet holes in the perspex sheet at the ends of each stand. Max Power twice attempted to deliver a corner, but playful old Gertie blew the ball a good way towards the half way line on each occasion. The Vale fans loved it just as much as they enjoyed Wigan’s goal, which did absolutely nothing to spoil their afternoon-long celebration.
Another Haris Vujkic shooting opportunity fades away…
But neither the crowd or the weather could halt Latics, who were about to cash in a handful of half chances for a game winning moment.
Picture the scene.
At the culmination of more typically smooth build-up play, Billybob Grigg finds himself through on Alnwick’s grimacing goalmouth. But just as Griggsy is choosing his spot, Ryan McGivern comes clattering into his back, leaving him with a face full of synthetic sand. Referee Darren Drysdale, who has awarded fifty yellow cards this season, sprints across to book the attacker for a div- oh, wait! He’s actually sent McGivern off!
Penalty. Willy G just about squeezes the ball in off the bar’s underside, and the half time gravy juice has that distinct taste of victory.
Never downhearted, the travelling contingent started to chant ‘off, off, off’ as a second wave of sleetstone changed the surface from sandy peach to snowy white with a thin dusting of sugar. Such humour reminds me of the dude who asked to sing ‘1,000,000 Green Bottles’ as a last request. Entertaining indeed.
Back on the pitch, Wigan’s extra man made controlling the game much easier. Sometimes it was Wildschut jiving past three men, other times it was debutant Ryan Colclough cutting zigzags into the well-trodden South Stand penalty area. But Billiam ‘Hat Trick’ Grigg was the man to break through Vale’s deep, deep defence, rolling a fast one past the keeper’s right foot and causing the cash register to cough once more. Cha-chinnng, another one for the goal difference tally.
When Grigg departed on 75, the Morsy-Colclough SMS star showcase began. Oh, how easy it is to look great when you’re three goals and one man in credit. Oh, how great it is to live without fear of a three goal comeback. Go on, just keep telling yourself that such events only happen once every few seasons…
And after that pointless diversion, it’s back to the window.
Tune in again tomorrow for continued 24-hour coverage of a window more exciting than the façade of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
…Okay, you’ll just have to trust me – it’s very exciting indeed. Or at least it will be when the glaziers (with a lower case g) have been to fix it.