Such a perfect day. I may well have drank Sangria, albeit not in the park. Talk about a season that slowly gained momentum until it turned into an absolutely deafening crescendo. A crescendo consisting mainly of deliriously happy Latics fans singing “Will Grigg’s on Fire” in the pubs of Blackpool and Wigan until the early hours.
For an hour or so we were nervy at Bloomfield Road and if we’re honest, they could have been 2 or even 3 goals up if their diminutive twin forwards took their chances. Yet the cloak of nervousness was cast aside and chucked straight into the sea in no uncertain terms the second that Chris McCann manoeuvred on the edge of the box to produce some deft skill and a sublime finish. Let the party and opening of floodgates commence!
A Blackpool team who had all seemingly been playing above themselves, no doubt playing for contracts elsewhere, were always likely to wilt when the first goal went in. A stark contrast to the Latics team who threw off any shackles of doubt and turned on the style, just like they had done against Swindon, Shrewsbury and Southend in recent weeks to blow the opposition away. The stand was bouncing, the noise was deafening and nobody wanted to leave as the squad, manager, owner(s) and fans enjoyed a wonderful and well-earned post-match celebration together.
I often consider that we are a little bit blessed because as Latics fans we have had more good times in the last twenty years than many clubs’ fans will encounter in a lifetime. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Premier League or Northern Premier League, when you invest your support in a team and there’s a terrific bond between fans and players, then there is no better feeling in the world and Saturday was as good as it gets.
Winning the League One Championship after the despondency of last year in such terrific style at Blackpool will live long in the memory and once again, we have a football team in Wigan for everyone to be immensely proud of. Whether everyone in Wigan chooses to or not is another matter – however, not only is it looking like quite a lean season for those who follow the big clubs, no matter how closely you follow them, there will never be the same connection as this group of players has with Wigan Athletic fans, as anyone who has the misfortune to follow Max Power on Twitter will confirm.
As for Sunday, well Barnsley are certainly up for it and are bringing thousands of fans on free coaches as a win will secure them a play-off place, whereas most of our squad appear to have been on the lash for most of the week. So I suppose we can forgive them if they don’t steam roller Barnsley like they have done to so many other teams recently, however 90 points has a lovely ring to it!
First published in the Wigan Evening Post 12th Man column Friday 6th May 2016