June 16, 2024

The author apologises in advance for making you hungry.

That’s how they getcha, those treacherous swines. They lure you in by branding you a coward, a recreant, a flapping great chicken. And once you’re tempted past the safety barrier, the coop door comes crashing down, sealing you inside a cage marked ‘relegation’ until the evening of 7th May.

When football managership becomes a cluckin’ grind, allow your own sensibilities to act as your primary guide. Let not the regurgitated chick feed of a small time Internet weblogger sway thy footballing morals, for that guy is inevitably some idiot sat at his computer wearing fleecy socks and no pants.

As Christina Aguilera probably (never) said: do your own thing, honey.

On a related note: get well soon, Wazza! I probably should have said that before the cryptic introduction, but what more did you expect of a pantsless loon such as myself?

Why do I want Dave’s Fried Chicken now?

Fresh from his eye operation, a trouser-wearing Joyce began the game on the terraces, relaying instructions to the touchline via telegram.

But when Shaun MacDonald stumbled, the big red one-wheeled monstrosity of a stretcher was summoned. This attracted Woz, today sporting a Patrick Moore protective monocle, to his bench for this substitutional transaction.

Blackburn Rovers stretcher
Now available from Meccano

Back on grass, Blackburn were dictating early play with healthy possession. But through a combination of Dan Burn’s thick shins and good fortune, the visitors soaked up this danger just as wholemeal bread mops up chicken soup.

And by the half hour mark, Latics’ counterattack bandwagon was fully loaded with greasy Chicken Balti Pies. Aided by a speedy Mickey Jacobs, Omar Bogle smashed one across Jason Steele’s goalmouth towards the ghost of Will Grigg. Sadly, since the actual Will Grigg was attached firmly to a particularly uncomfortable seat in the dugout, no goal was forthcoming.

The Bogmaster would actually register Latics’ first shot on target for a couple of weeks, ramming Sam Morsy’s layoff into Steele’s stomach of reinforced steel. And shortly before half time, the two conspired once more to carve out a deflected attempt for the Sweatband Hero.

But in an even half, both sides were equally misfiring. This was best encapsulated by a 36th minute Blackburn corner, which lobbed harmlessly to nothingness when Charlie Mulgrew kicked the corner flag instead of the ball.

Best move on to the second half, I reckon.

Following half time drumsticks, Rovers settled into the Latics box for four successive corners, some of which were guided to safety with a semblance of comfort.

And continuing the afternoon’s enthralling counterattack action, the hosts defeated Matty Gilks within 20 seconds of a Callum Connolly snap shot. Marvin Emnes’ own effort from distance was somewhat more successful, possibly as it caught the ‘keeper unsighted. Ya rolls the chambers, ya plays the Russian lottery.

This posed a particular problem for Latics, who seemed very unsure about what to do next. Fifteen minutes were lost to indecision as the visitors struggled to make Steele, who lay tanning himself on his portable sun lounger, lift a single finger.

Deck chair dog
Steele takes it easy.

The ‘solution’, my dear reader? In the absence of speed or quality, sheer manpower. Obertan and Grigg on, populate that penalty box.

But two problems existed: the game was now trundling along at a treacle trickle, and certain parties were too pooped to participate any further. At least, one would hope that was the case – at such a pivotal juncture in one’s season, you’d suspect sheer apathy is a poor second option.

Picture the scene here:

Latics Player A: “We have to score!”

Latics Player B: “But how?”

Latics Coach C: “Damned if I know.”

Such is the tale of a team destined for the drop.

And a final word to cheer you up: Sam Morsy was awarded a yellow card for merely existing as a Blackburn player tripped over the tape on his own socks. Simply hilarious… enough to make you cry. Not with laughter, but salty tears of anguish.

I have one final word advice for you budding coaches.

If all else fails, reserve the right to run away. There are certain things no manager — nay, no man — must ever be forced to face. In other words, embrace that inner chicken… preferably with barbecue sauce.

And now, fly away I must, for supper is almost ready. Go on, I’ll give you one guess – which poultry product is on the menu?

Bring it on, pheasants.

Second opinion

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