Depending on how long you’ve been following Latics it’s possible that you’ve attended bigger games than Sunday’s. You won’t, however, have attended one with quite as much financial significance. There may be three teams still chasing that last relegation spot but Latics are clearly in the box seat. For us more than anyone, the maths are clear, a win and we stay up, a defeat and we test the commitment of those around us to any legal battle over the West Ham situation.
Sheffield United are allowed the luxury of defeat, depending on what happens at Old Trafford, but a draw is enough to keep their top flight status. West Ham? Well they probably have a submission to the Premier League drafted to highlight just how unfair relegation would be on their fans that have worked so hard against it, but then again they know that already.
In any case they’ve little to worry about; a point is enough for them, anything less only matters if Latics pull out a surprise at Bramhall Lane.
Last day turnarounds are nothing new, there was a period where Everton seemed to do it every year, and Latics have had their share of must win games, they’ve even won some of them. The thing is that to pull something like this off takes a bucket full of spirit and a shed load of luck, two things that have been missing all too often this season.
The fact that other teams have so much of an upper hand leaves me at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, but it’s the right one so you’ll have to bear with me. The Boro game was a step in the right direction, but it was not enough, for Latics to stand any chance on Sunday they need to show more passion, hold their heads higher and play a damn sight better.
If there were ever a game where they needed to show some urgency, this is it. If there were ever a game where they needed to stay awake for 90 minutes, this is it. If there was ever a game where they needed to play as a team, this is it. If there was ever a game where they should stand up and be counted, this is it.
Every member of the squad needs to take stock. They need to work out where, and why, they have let us down this year, both individually and as a team. They need to promise themselves that they will not make those mistakes again, and do something about it.
Then, and only then, will we stand a chance of survival.
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