Breaking Bad – 12th Man

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We beat Man City, we beat Man City with a Watson goal! In the drunken haze of the away end in Bruges, I recall a handful of lads stubbornly singing this on their own urging others to join in. Of course our little gang did out of pure amusement, indeed we were still singing it all the way through passport control 24 hours later.

It took until last week in Cardiff that the old Starship stalwart of middle of the road radio stations worldwide finally went mainstream with the whole away end camping it up in true Wigan Athletic away day style for the man of the moment who’d just pinged home a thirty yarder. Ben Watson and the FA Cup. File alongside Ronnie Radford, Lawrie Sanchez, Keith Houchen and Stanley Matthews. Names that will be synonymous forever with the FA Cup’s 143 year history.

There was a terrible subdued hush around the DW Stadium throughout the second half on Tuesday night, as we knew. We all knew. Some claimed to hear it, others were frantically looking at their phones. There wasn’t even the old school murmur of the crowd like there used to be as social media now transmits both good and bad news at great pace like a silent assassin.

Poor Ben Watson. Roberto Martinez once claimed he could play for England, and whereas it may have been a bit of a stretch if we’re being honest, I get what he was saying. A technical, deep lying, studious midfielder similar to Gareth Barry or Michael Carrick but with the capacity to score crucial goals. I can think of one in particular, even going back beyond last Saturday.

Perhaps he meant “Ben Watson will go down in football history”. We’ll miss him that’s for sure and let’s hope we see him in a Wigan Athletic shirt next season. Get well soon Ben.

First published in the Wigan Evening Post 12th Man Column Friday 21st February 2014

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