Wigan End Of Term Report: I Like To Think We Cost Manchester United The League

At one stage we were destined for the drop, then the next thing you know we're playing Arsenal and Man United off the park. That blind official at Stamford Bridge nearly spoilt our party mind...
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At one stage we were destined for the drop, then the next thing you know we're playing Arsenal and Man United off the park. That blind official at Stamford Bridge nearly spoilt our party mind...

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The ‘I f***ing love this game’ highlight of the season?

Beating Man United at home for so many reasons. The fact we’ve never taken even a point off them before. The fact that many of those defeats were 4 or 5 nil reversals. The fact we constantly get men sent off against them for next to nothing. The fact that their players have got away with murder against us for many years because of who they are whether that be a Rooney elbow or a Scholes two footed tackle. The fact that our win probably cost them the league. The fact that thousands of Wiganers choose to support Man United instead of their local team for no other reason than they are a big successful club who win lots of trophies. The fact that many decent Reds I know text me to congratulate us on the performance whilst those Wigan armchair masses are gnashing their teeth. But most importantly for the fact that we deserved to beat them and did it not by luck but by putting in a dominant performance and playing them off the park. I'm not a particularly vocal ABU but they are a team we have no right to beat and I never thought we would. A real victory for the little guy even though beating Arsenal at the Emirates could be considered a bigger achievement.

The season ticket shredding moment?

After a decent February incorporating a win at Bolton and decent draws versus Everton and Villa, the 2-0 defeat at home to Swansea was the lowest point of the season and the fans made it known with one or two attempting to confront Martinez in the West Stand. It was a strange team selection and a desperately poor performance just when we appeared to have found a fighting chance of staying up playing against a team safely in mid-table. I lost the plot a bit that day with my team and with the manager. I don’t know anyone who didn’t. But we went on to only lose two more games all season and one of those against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge should have never ended that way were it not for a blind, incompetent tit of a linesmen.

Moment that just about summed it all up?

The club had planned a minute’s applause on 8 minutes to celebrate what will soon be our 8th season in the Premier League during the last home game of the season versus Wolves. It was advertised in advance and promoted on websites and on the scoreboard when the time came. It went well, three sides of the ground clapping and cheering in unison. Then Wolves scored – Matt Jarvis curled in a beauty. Typical! Fortunately, within the next five minutes we just went up the other end and scored two in reply.

Got the right manager?

Assuming he’s not been made favourite for another job in the hour it takes this to go to press? Absolutely. He has perhaps lost a bit of support with the Latics faithful after being spotted openly courting the Anfield top brass but if he knuckles down and gives it another year carrying on from the second half of last season then good times are ahead.

PS Just read Martinez linked with Spurs *bangs head on wall*

It's hard enough to beat the top teams as it is, without the bottling incompetents tasked with upholding the rules jibbing on the smaller clubs week after week.

Player of the season?

If you can hear that chomping noise, it is the sound of me forcing the letters G A R Y C A L D W E L L firmly down my throat. In our erstwhile fanzine, The Mudhutter, we have published numerous articles lampooning old Calamity Caldwell but it’s no coincidence that our upturn in form and reduction in the goals against column has happened in a period when Gary Caldwell has transformed into a true leader and defensive rock.

The move to three at the back has undoubtedly helped as he has been able to concentrate on leading the team instead of crudely wrestling £30m centre forwards to the floor and who can forget his little shimmy around Andy Carroll at Anfield to secure a famous win?

What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?

Nothing at all. Just continue where we left off last season. We’ve lost Diame and Rodellega but they had barely played since Christmas anyway and we did alright.

If we carry on last season’s form we will be comfortably top half but then we said that at the end of the previous season and spent most of the year in the bottom three.

It will be an interesting year for Martinez and there is an interesting sub plot given Brendan Rodgers got the Liverpool gig. How much of Rodgers achievements at Swansea are down to the foundations laid by Martinez? We will find out soon enough, I think both are articulate, passionate football men, a new generation if you will. And interesting to see Graeme Jones, Bobby’s trusted number two linked with Swansea. If he went we would find out just how much influence Jones provides within the Martinez set up. Again, I hope he's staying as well - continuity and stability are the key to Wigan Athletic's future.

Whatever he changes, if he stays at Wigan Athletic and gets them to continue playing like they were in April and May next year, he definitely would be hot property in 12 months’ time and justifiably so.

Which player would you like to sign?

Matt Phillips of Blackpool. Good, young English talent who would be an ideal Martinez type player as he’s pacey and would suit our attacking set up. I would have signed him two years ago to be honest. He’s Emmerson Boyce’s cousin so why he can’t have a word I don’t know but I would expect Blackpool to demand top dollar for him now. I also think Sigurdsson would have been a good signing when he was at Reading, the ideal Martinez attacking midfielder to play behind a front man but again, he’s got a bit too big for us now.

Best goal?

It’s nice to have a few contenders for a change but I’ve got to give it to Franco Di Santo for his stunning top corner chip versus Newcastle. Lovely strike from a player who has finally found his goal scoring touch.

Biggest tosser?

A joint award: Alan Pardew for his derogatory comments about Wigan Athletic in the run up to the Newcastle game, and it's always nice to see them backfire in spectacular fashion. And Dave Bryan, the linesman in the Chelsea game. To get one blatant offside decision wrong was criminal but to get two was absolutely pathetic. It's hard enough to beat the top teams as it is, without the bottling incompetents tasked with upholding the rules jibbing on the smaller clubs week after week.

Best away pub?

Ship & Mitre in Liverpool. With a stunning range of real ales and continental lagers it gets me in regular trouble that place.

Best pie?

Is this a football question or a general question? As a Wiganer I take these matters seriously and have spilled a lot of blood (and pie gravy) debating it. There’s a place around the corner from City’s ground called The Crusty Cob just on the edge of the “Shameless estate” which does amazing pies. Otherwise it’d be the Pooles I had whilst walking to Bolton away for charity along with 400 others. Mainly because it was free.

Best chant?

We finally got ourselves a new anthem which summed up our situation very aptly. I'm not even sure who or how it got started but the majority of the Fulham game was set to a continual backdrop of The Monkees "I'm a Believer". A lovely reaction for a bunch of fans, small in number and facing constant criticism; but those of us who go - we get behind our team as well as any other club.

After appearing to be dead and buried for long parts of the season much of the last month of the season was spent belting this one out with gusto with the additional comedy value of listening to fat middle aged men trying to hit the high notes.

Player’s tweet of the season?

We are fortunate enough to have several players on our books who use Twitter in the right way, i.e. to engage with fans and promote football within their communities such as Ali Al Habsi, Emmerson Boyce and more recently James McArthur, a million miles away from the Nandos and X Box brigade. The one that tickled me most was probably Ali Al Habsi retweeting a youtube link of Wigan fans singing “Ali Habsi is a blue, he hates Bolton” which was promptly followed up with a slightly sheepish tweet of “My dear fans of all clubs, let me clarify, I DO NOT hate Bolton, it is a great club and I have many friends there”

Best laugh you had all season?

Whereas the situation up the road at Blackburn is clearly no laughing matter, the group of fans in fancy dress at the front of our last away game of the season in the home end launching a chicken onto the pitch clad in Rovers attire takes some beating. Yakubu didn’t know whether to catch it or eat it and it finally fell to the safe hands of Ali Al Habsi to pluck the chicken out of the goalmouth

How do you plan to get through the summer without football?

It never really goes away does it? I’m at odds with this modern world where the press/Internet seem to constantly mischief make by linking our manager and players with other clubs. I’d rather just forget about it, same goes for players coming in. When they’re on the website or in the paper wearing the shirt I’ll take interest then. But people have column inches to fill, website hits to generate and agents have commission to earn so we have to endure day after day of speculation. Can’t we just go back to the gossip column on Teletext being refreshed once a day?

Other stories you should read

Wigan Half Term Report: We’re Still Here Aren’t We?

Is Roberto Martinez Really To Blame For Wigan’s Winter Of Discontent?

Wigan Athletic: Why There Is No Room For Fickle Fans At The DW Stadium

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