Review the season they said. Well the truth is, I’d rather not. It did however finish on a high for me, albeit one tinged with sadness at the fantastic Emmerson Boyce night which was brilliantly organised by that chap across the page Barry Worthington (er I mean internet on this version).
You see Boycey symbolises the last link with our greatest hour and that moment came up time and time again as former players and colleagues paid tribute to this bona fide legend who has encapsulated the Wigan Athletic spirit on behalf of everyone who has worn the shirt.
We’re Wigan Athletic you see and we were never going to win the Premier League. Boycey is a fine footballer but a Big Four club never came in for him. Sadly, football today is loaded against the many whilst a few clubs and players gobble up the trophies. And Wigan Athletic and Emmerson Boyce represented the many, who could only dare to dream and to lift the FA Cup was truly a miraculous achievement.
The problem is after that, things were only ever likely to go one way. We are not a football club that can sustain ongoing success. Very few are. Of course the superpowers of football that do win trophies regularly are expected to win trophies and have their own issues to deal with the minute that they don’t.
All the smaller clubs can aspire towards is great moments and watching the story unfold once again made me realise how special that day was. Everything was perfect, it had to be, masterminded by Martinez and executed by a bunch of players who were at the top of their game and of course rode their luck at times to beat the billionaires of Manchester City.
How do we define success in the future though? I suspect it will be under lesser terms. In theory, we have already had a lifetime of over achievement under Whelan and Jewell and latterly Bruce (briefly) and Martinez and we will be financially hamstrung in repeating that feat again.
We need to break it down to its simplest level and get back to enjoying our football again. A lower level team with energy and grit but playing an exciting brand of football. Yet that alone seems a big ask from where we are now.
We all need to demonstrate a lot of patience while the squad is rebuilt (just like last summer) and not expect miracles. The club calling it a “New Era” is a ridiculously positive spin on the fact we have been relegated but the new team and Caldwell and Sharpe will have the backing of all right minded supporters. Let’s face it, why would we do anything else?
The main thing that I hope remains long into the future is a legacy of support. A whole generation of Wiganers have fallen in love with their local team who might never have done so were it not for the journey they have been on. The next chapter may not be as euphoric and contain many bumps and potholes but the memories will last forever and drive us through any future spells of turbulence.
First published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column Friday 8th May 2015
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