June 19, 2024

“Football is a simple game, complicated by idiots in newspaper articles.” – Bill Shankly (paraphrased)

It’s all over, ladies and gentlemen.

When Dave-o Sharpe dispatched Gary ‘Kop Conqueror’ Caldwell with his final Rigalettos doggy bag, the Martinez line of succession officially ended. With the remaining branches finally hacked from Roberto’s family tree, a thrilling era of exotic football came to its protracted end.

Indeed, it was the greatest of times. Wigan Athletic outplayed the country’s elite, humbling European powerhouses and tickling the establishment with a blue and white feather duster. All the while, they remained true to their sporting principles, never once resorting to anti-football tactics in the name of gold.

Yet it was also the worst of times. Crushing eight goal losses, inept interim potato peelers masquerading as managers, watery beer on the concourse (not that I would know about such things)…

And perhaps most significantly of all, the ‘Martinez fallacy’: long periods of intricate interplay may look pretty, but 1000+ passes per game are of little use if they do not lead to goals. Or, in 12th Man terms: I could spend 800 words on this article, but why bother when 400 will do the job?

It must be noted that just as some teams were passed into submission by Jordi Gomez and Gaz Caldwell himself, authors are liable to abuse their word count in the name of ‘entertainment’. Such ‘fallacies’ can occasionally be gloriously logical.

I flippin’ loved Bobberto and all those gleaming FA Cups he brought to the DW reception display case. I flippin’ loved those steadfast defensive performances in victories over Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United. And I just plain adored making Winston Churchill ‘victory’ signs at those narrow-minded fools that believe matchday attendance is a voucher for success.

But as Roberto’s Scottish disciple departs, so do the remnants of this oftentimes uneconomic and inflexible mentality. “That’s enough sugar for you, kid – now prepare for a lifetime of nutritious Joyce Brand boiled broccoli.”

…Or so it would seem.

The downhearted should know that, contrary to this article’s title, the Martinez fallacy is not completely dead. Firstly, we’ve yet to see how Jordi G fares as Latics manager. Secondly, Our Bobby will inevitably lead England’s national team to World Cup success. Card marked; photocopy that.

Rest in peace, dear fallacy – we’ll meet again soon enough.

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