An armchair fan writes…..

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I was always planning to go to Norwich but recent form meant that sitting on the couch smearing some of their famous Colman’s mustard on my arms and proceeding to eat them became a preferred option. Seriously, I couldn’t make Sunday. But you know what, we did alright.


I can’t get my head around people who watch games on the telly or via the internet, it’s not the “Wigan way” in my eyes. I still find it surreal that we have fans all over the world watching every game live online these days. Even less so, the armies of Wigan Athletic supporters who watch nearly every game sat in their local pub. In Wigan.


Whereas much bigger clubs than ourselves probably find their actual matchgoing fans outnumbered by 10 to 1 or even 100 to 1 by those watching via a screen of some kind, it was never what Wigan Athletic were about. Indeed up until a few years ago, it was practically impossible to watch the team via any other means than a click through a turnstile.


However, after a strop at Sky moving the game, I sat and watched at home and logged on to various social media sites to watch the circus unfold. An hour before kick off as the team was announced numerous Wigan Athletic fans on Facebook/Twitter were slating the manager for his selection. First half and it’s why, why, why? What formation is this? He’s clueless and playing the wrong players in the wrong position. It even seems to be Roberto Martinez’s fault that the likes of Rodallega and Diame can’t convert clear sitters!


Of course, the army of dissenting voices to strangely fall silent as we put in an accomplished second half performance. Until Shaun Maloney puts a killer ball through and it’s ‘why hasn’t he been playing every week instead of the useless Go….oh….you-know-who’ despite the fact the same fans were calling him rotten the last time he played at Swindon – or more precisely, slating the manager for signing him in the first place. Football fans eh? Everyone wants to be the manager, everyone knows better don’t they?


Meanwhile a quick look at the comments of neutral football fans I interact with, many of them journalists and football writers and the praise for Wigan Athletic is almost unanimous. They want us to stay up, they praise the way we play and dominate games and they can see exactly what the manager is trying to do hindered by some rotten luck. David Pleat on Monday wrote a glowing tactical appraisal of our performance in the Guardian, admittedly he’s no Pep Guardiola but I’d rather take on board his views than a load of shouty voices in Wigan continually jumping down the manager’s throat at every turn.


Nothing can be clearer than the outcome of the last two games: Go 1-0 down at home; crowd gets on team’s back, lose 2-0. Go 1-0 down away from home, team continues to play natural game, draw 1-1. Any chance we can stop the shouting and finger pointing and get behind the team this week? Preferably whilst at the game!

First published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Wednesday 15th March 2012

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