July 16, 2024

Do you ever read the Beano? Of course you do, it’s the UK’s most reliable print publication alongside Nice Jugs Monthly. And as a subscriber, I can confirm the latter does indeed feature many attractive vases.

But in Dennis the Menace comics, the further in the distance a character may be standing, the more of an unrecognisable caricature they become.

Real life is exactly the same – newsreaders summarise far away conflicts in two handy sentences that hardly begin to describe the enormity of a situation. In contrast, I sit here typing 800 words about something as insignificant as a friendly pig bladder rolling contest, and all because it happened just down the road from the sty I call my house.

Of course, this doesn’t mean AGL will transform into a political forum at the start of next season. Mostly because I can’t be bothered investing in a telly license just to crib jokes from Have I Got News For You?

Besides, the politics of League One revolve around who can punch faster and harder, and failing that, toe poking the ball so hard it bursts upon impact. In which case, I would suggest it’s time to invest in more bandages and pig bladders.

Agh, must we do this?

The first half wasn’t such a drudge, since both sides still held lofty ambitions of semi-decent football. Elegantly flicking the fringe from his eyes, Alex Gilbey cushioned an excellent blind header to Omar Bogle… who stumbled over this strange-looking ‘ball’ thing that inadvertently crossed his path.

And soon after, David ‘George Best’ Cotterill whipped a tantalising cross towards the head of Matty Taylor. Granted, that head could not guide the ball anywhere but the M6, but at least attacking intent was alive and wheezing.

Initially lifeless, Latics perked up for the second portion of the first 45. This contest was mere inches from abandonment when Davey Perkins smashed Frank Fielding’s crossbar – had his strike been any lower, a year-long party would have instantly commenced as fans of all clubs and sports celebrated St Perkins Day on the DW beach.

"Crikey, did you hear that? Perkins just scored! Well, wash my giblets and call me a bounder..."
“Crikey, did you hear that? Perkins just scored! Well, wash my giblets and call me a bounder…”

It took about five minutes for those in ES2 to snap out of their Perkins party daydream, which coincidentally ended the moment tricky Mickey Jacobs slipped Bogle through once again. But as last time, such a ball was far too much of a shock and the Bogmaster’s first touch took him towards the relative safety of Fielding’s right hand post. Effort saved, opportunity suffocated.

But despite the hosts’ metaphorical hogging of pig bladder, it was Bristol that fashioned the next couple of chances. Tammy Abraham narrowly failed to slide under Matty Gilks from haddock-slapping close range, while Bailey Wright guided a header just wide of the North Stand’s left hand post.

Moving forward…

Half time had already been exhausted, and soon enough, the breathless Gabby Obertan and Alex Gilbey were also spent. As they departed, so did every remaining semblance of Latics quality, to be replaced by two hopeful rookies – Jimmy Weir and Mikael Mandron.

…’Hopeful’ being the operative word.

Save for a third miscontrolled Bogle bunt, the remainder of the game was utterly devoid of Wigan chances. A proportional increase in Bristol breakaways would ordinarily indicate the addition of bodies to Latics’ attacking cause… but this was merely an illusion conjured by the dizzying haze of imminent doom.

Frozen in sheer terror, the hosts were powerless to prevent the Robins’ inevitable winner. By the 88th minute, the only man left functioning was an imperious Dan Burn, who bashed clear for a late Bristol corner. I can’t be sure exactly what happened next, but sources tell me Aden Flint scrambled past Gilks to end the abject misery.

The static Latics sat and watched in mild annoyance as their season faded to little more than a caricature poorly drawn in a box measuring 0.5cm by 0.5cm. Their best hope was a 0-0 home draw to relegation rivals, and even that proved far beyond their collective skills. Malky Mackay would have been so proud.

Flying Spaghetti Monster
Here, this drawing will cheer you up.

But as I say, a little game of football is insignificant in the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s grand master plan for mankind. I mean hey, it’s not as if anyone’s livelihood was on the line here.

It’s senseless to worry about things you can’t control… but even more senseless to stand by and totally ignore the things you can control. Which is why I shall now depart for a 10-hour game of Premier Manager on the Mega Drive.

See you in League On- I mean, see you anon! Yeah, that’s what I meant…

Second opinion

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