Keeping it real

See, now we’re getting somewhere. For months, we have got together to discuss the worst players to sport the famous blue and white (or green in this case) of Wigan Athletic in a thinly veiled excuse to go to the pub and finally, we are at the SQUAD FORMATION stage.

As tradition dictates, we build from the back and during our alphabetical search, we picked up ten goalkeepers whom we thought worthy of throwing in the bin. Our usual process is to nominate a player each and argue his case, and go around the table until we run out of names. But as we were tired and a bit tipsy, we quickly decided that we would go down the process of elimination route and decide who didn’t deserve to be included, with a view to getting a decent shortlist together.

For example, in the initial rounds, Jimmy (I think) nominated David Redfearn for bouncing one in off his head at Luton in the late 1980’s but he otherwise barely played. David “Flapper” Felgate also only played for a short while, and was more memorable for his girth (pardon matron!) rather than for being a terrible goalkeeper.

Guiseppe Paladino was also excluded from further consideration but we’re not sure whether it was, again, because he barely played for us or because he was quite terrifying and when not trying to keep the ball out, he was working the doors in Ashton.

All of which leaves us with seven. Although we let the public decide, it is indeed our competition and the next two would perhaps garner quite a few votes, which in our opinion, would be both unfair and disproportionate.

Richard O’Donnell probably wasn’t very good but perhaps didn’t really have the chance to rectify one or two early shaky performances, culminating in that horror show at Bury in the FA Cup.

Perhaps the other big name we chose to exclude was none other than England youth international and former Europa League ‘keeper for us, Lee Nicholls. Again, he rarely got a chance and when he did, he made lots of high profile errors. But who knows whether the errors would have been ironed out had he started to play regularly? Ultimately we decided to forgive him for those fumbles against Barnsley and Zulte Waregem and home in on our final five.

Where we end up is with two clear “shoe ins” (or fumble ins if you prefer) and three in close pursuit, therefore giving us the opportunity to have a final qualifier between Derek Stillie, Eric Nixon and Stewart Kerr with two going through to the final.

Let’s start with Stillie and apparently someone on twitter took umbrage to his inclusion. Well all I’d say to that is four words “Wrexham away, dressing room” Those who know, will know. Plus he was Scottish and Scottish ‘keepers are always rubbish. Which brings us to Stewart Kerr, who might not have been rubbish but his glass back meant that we barely had chance to find out.

The final name in our qualifying trio was Eric Nixon, a ‘keeper who had rave reviews in his early days at Tranmere but whose cheeky grin failed to take him much further, culminating in him throwing three into the net for us at home to Stoke on one of the rare occasions that they beat us. Alan had other reasons, namely that he was a f****** cheat, but you’ll have to listen to back episodes of the podcast to find out why. I’m not saying that in order to get more listens, I genuinely can’t remember why either.

Anyway, Nixon and Stillie prevail through to the final and I’m guessing most people reading have guessed which two global custodians are lying in wait for them.

Yes, imagine if you will the sight of not one but TWO Wigan Athletic goalkeepers at either end of a World Cup game? Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, but that’s exactly what happened when Serbia faced Ghana in 2010.

It should have been a moment of great pride but it was in fact a reminder of the horrors that went before as Vladimir “star jump” Stojkovic came face to face with his understudy Richard Kingson. For once, there is no disconnect between our gnarly old panel and the bright young things who tend to vote for the players they remember from the Premier League era, as let’s face it, these two, considering their status, were really bad.

We are in wholehearted agreement that this fine team that we are building of utterly hapless players deserves to have the safest pair of hands at the back. And that pair of hands belongs to……. 

Step forward – Vladimir Stojkovic!

And don’t worry, because if Vlad drops a boll… erm ball, we can always put Richard Kingson between the sticks for the next game….

So with that one put to bed, we move on to full backs, and when we do our next podcast in a few days, we will be asking not who our best left back is, but who our worst one is, along with our worst ever right back for good measure.

Listen to our shaky reasoning on Episode 31 of The Pie at Night.  “A Bishop’s Cleave” is available in all the usual places, Our Soundcloud page, on iTunes  or by searching on your preferred podcast app.  You can also get it on our brand spanking new AudioBoom page, or if you like it here, by clicking play on the oozamawhossit below…


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