Will you all reckon I’m getting old if I make a comment about how quickly we’ve got around to Thursday again? What about if I start off with a moan about the rubbish weather? Perhaps I am getting old, but with Manchester City coming to town on Sunday, being old is the perfect excuse to roll out my deep seated ‘hand of goat’ bitterness and pretend that there really is a bit of needle between the clubs.
In reality, for most Latics fans at least, there’s no real bite to the game. Unless you count the fact that we’ve been an almost constant thorn in their side since they left us behind on that night at Maine Road. Given the increased disparities that have grown up over the last couple of seasons you may even hear the words ‘bogey team’ whispered around Robin Park come Sunday, in a perfect nasal drawl of course, most of the Wigan Sky Blues will be down the pub.
It’s got to be so much of a problem that City tried to resolve it by signing Benjani, who had previously been a bit of a pain for Latics, who are quite possibly the only Premier League club that he’s ever scored against (I’ve been asked, no matter how obvious, to point out that this statement is not true), but when that didn’t work they went the whole hog and paid £25m for the Argentine Neil Roberts, although who exactly they paid that to isn’t clear.
Ah, Carlos Tevez! If I haven’t forgiven Shaun Goater for sticking the ball into the net with his hand and then grinning during his post match interview then I’m certainly not ready to let go on the stress that Carlos Tevez caused me on the afternoon of 13th May 2007. Yes Latics had a particularly bad season, but I place the blame for that day on him, his agent and Harry Redknapp (I know ‘arry wasn’t West Ham manager back then, but I’m currently trying the tactic of blaming him for everything to see if it catches on).
Even if you ignore his time at West Ham, it’s still fairly impossible to like the little man, last year’s shenanigans in Manchester didn’t help, I suppose, or maybe it’s just me. Still, I really should try not to be so bitter about things that I can’t do anything about, are in the past and certainly won’t have any effect on Sunday’s game, my feelings on which pretty much fall into three camps.
1) “They’re so much better than us and we’re just going to get stuffed”. It’s obvious really, isn’t it. Their transfer fees could fund a space programme and their wage bill half the budget deficit within the life of this parliament, we’ve been selling players off to get our wage bill down and replacing them with anyone who’ll take the Kaiser’s shilling, what do you expect to happen?
2) “Yeah, but they’ve overpaid for players!” It doesn’t matter how much you’re paying if you’re paying over the odds. Lescott, Barry, Tevez, Adebayor, Toure, Milner, they’re all good players but are they really *that* good? Honestly, I can’t even convince myself with this one because whilst they might not all be world class City’s players come with a proven pedigree that outstrips Latics’. Apart from Shaun Wright Phillips of course who is just wrong on so many levels.
3) “Latics are starting to come good now and they can beat anyone on their day”. Sunday is a real clincher for this one because we can’t say this if Latics don’t manage a competitive shift. I’m not looking for us to beat them, but a performance like Spurs, the first half against Chelsea with a bit of last week thrown in and I will let myself think that we’re starting to look a bit like, almost regardless of the result. If we collapse like Freddie Flintoff’s knee then we’re back to square one, or thereabouts.
So I hope that helps, and if you haven’t worked it out, then I’ve not got a clue how things are going to go. Truth is that I don’t want to think about it too much because I’m scared that too much positive thinking will bring bad fortune. I almost want to believe that Latics are going to get stuffed so that I can be pleased with anything else and that’s wrong.
What I do want more than anything is to not have to listen to people whingeing because we’re not beating a team that by rights should be much further up the table than us and I’ve got a solution this week as well. I’m going corporate, so the chances are I’ll be sat in the middle of a load of City fans. I’ll save you a prawn butty.
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