June 16, 2024
Duck season

(c)Warner Bros

Duck season
Well, ’tis the season… for broken brollies. (c)Warner Bros

Have you ever felt as though you’re being followed? A strange feeling that, even though you’re rambling through some obscure untrodden part of the countryside, you’re still going to bump into that guy – the same bloke you seem to meet in a totally different place every six months or so.

It’s not as if you’re out looking for each other, just that you have a similar taste for adventure that brings you back to each other. Fate juggles you all over the place like a trainee court jester; you’re a pair of wandering minstrels rejected by various societies, seeking a place to settle for the next decade. A place to call home, for now at least.

The only problem is that the protagonists of this Littlest Hobo tribute, namely Wigan and Blackpool, seem to be sworn rivals. They’re the two underground boxers still delivering low blows long after the crowd has left, or the two drunks squabbling in the street that everyone pretends to ignore. They’re Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, clouting each other with anvils and sledgehammers as they fall through the sky to their comical deaths.

But don’t worry, because like Looney Tunes, football clubs never really die. But let’s ignore the framing or consequence of such a statement and enjoy the sport… and its minutiae, of course.

And by 'minutiae', I mean Christmas sweaters! (c)WAFC
And by ‘minutiae’, I mean Christmas sweaters! (c)WAFC

Cartoon physics

Sometimes, a sprinkling of good humour can make an otherwise miserable game memorable. For example, the match announcer could have loaded his phone with comedy sound effects to pipe through the tannoy every time someone was upended in a mud pie of bitter chocolate. Totally worth the subsequent written warning from Mr Whelan!

Since our MC values his job, however, Latics fans would be left to create their own entertainment during a decidedly damp first half. Many took this opportunity to practice their Rocky impersonations, hastily scaling the DW steps as if they were Sly Stallone in a training montage – except here, they were seeking refuge from God’s salty sweat. Blasted cold, hard reality.

Blackpool had much more to be cheerful about. When Tom Aldred’s forehead met corner as sweetly as the centre of a thrice caramelised Uncle Joe’s Mint Ball, all the juice was squeezed from a tumbling Jääskeläinen in a micro-instant. He stared in sheer disbelief at the ball, which had somehow rolled over his goal line. The look on his face suggested 20+ years of goals conceded just can’t dull the pain when such things happen.

Christmas hackers

Though the home side’s response was immediate, only after half time would the medicine begin to take effect. Once that troublesome driving rain had all but cleared, Donervon Daniels arrived to swell the uncertain ranks of the toiling Latics – if only he could have produced a large mallet from hammerspace to bring down Blackpool’s walls of Jerry Co! (You know, like Tom and Jerry Co? They’re ACME’s main rivals, you know.)

Hammerspace explained
Just in case you weren’t sure what hammerspace was. (c)Greg Williams

Cap’n Cald’s alterations and modifications did work to an extent – four shots on target was some reward for a more focused attacking effort in the second period. But as for the net result of said effort, here’s a Christmas cracker clue: how do you guide the ball through 11+ pairs of legs blocking your path to goal? Unfortunately, the little piece of paper containing an answer was carried away with the wind, so we’ll have to buy more crackers from Poundsava to find out.

The Boyce is Back in Town

Just when you needed him, an old friend kindly assumed the role of ‘surrogate goal’ just so the home fans could feel good about something. When Emmerson Boyce graced the DW turf for his fifteen minutes, he received a far greater reception than any Latics goal ever could… well, apart from a winning goal in an FA Cup Final, but that sort of thing only happens to the Big Four, don’t you know.

Boycey was just another Tangerine brick for Yanic and Co. to smash their studs against in extreme annoyance. Said Dutchman had always been thwarted at the precise moment of shot, either by heavy touch, heavy pitch or heavy Blackpool boot into the stands. And it wasn’t just him – Will Grigg and Craig Davies could probably claim the very same.

So the visitors won the bar room brawl this time.

I’m sure the paths of Latics and the Tangerines will continue to cross and that they will follow each other back to the Premier League one sunny day on the promenade. I don’t think they’ll ever be ‘friends’ in the true sense, but the closest two teams can feasibly be while beating each other’s face with ACME brand hammers.

Second opinion


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