You know those fat ladies, they just love to sing. The one that had been hanging around the Latics camp since they beat Burnley, may have started to warble after the Arsenal game, but it was only a warm up. She’d finally get to open her lungs after the West Ham game but that didn’t mean we’d get to shake her off as she came back for an encore as Hull’s fate was decided and for a duet on Brenda’s swansong as Latics’ chief executive and Latics involvement (yet again) in a title battle that had gone down to the wire.
But before we get to West London, there’s a trip to the East End and a day in the sun, celebrating another top flight season for, perhaps, the most ignored team in the country.
West Ham was a cinch really, after such an emotional and significant victory the week before the chance was that we’d always see inconsistent Latics show their faces again. The story of what happened after those victories against Villa, Chelsea and Liverpool has already been over documented, so I’ll not bother, but there’s a difference here in that Latics actually turned up for this one and on another day could have taken the points.
That other day would have had to be one where West Ham didn’t need the points to stay up. The difference between the teams turned out to be the Hammers’ fight, or more specifically Scott (spit) Parker’s desire to keep his side in the division, even if he had to do it single handedly. which he pretty much had to do and in a way that belied his previous ‘selfish little get’ public (or at least in my head) persona. His show of solidarity with his manager something that wouldn’t have gone amiss in Marsh Green this season.
Then to Hull, well at least we’d been saved that pleasure by the post-chelsea beating, but it was Hull’s turn at the DW and the fat lady was out for them as well. Some fairly scary maths meant that their fate would not be completely sealed if they could beat Latics. They should have fell well short of that but (all together now) Latics failed to make the most of what they had and paid the price with a couple of soft goals before grabbing a, just about, deserved equaliser.
I’d been looking forward to a fairly cathartic, end of season blow out. Not Bank Holiday Sunday mad, but a few glasses raised amongst like minded souls, but, as it happened, Wigan let down its reputation as a 24/7/365 party town by being as empty as Latics attacking threat had been earlier. Still I’m not one to let a poor atmosphere get in the way of my enjoyment although this one got filed under good chinwag rather than good craic and to be honest (and no disrespect to the company, which was great) ended up as a rather lackluster end to a rather lackluster season.
Well an end for me, but the fat lady was out again for Latics final run out of the season where, not for the first time, Latics had an opportunity to influence the destination of the Premier League trophy. I’d their heads weren’t already on a plane to South Africa, Barbados, or where ever. Unfortunately, it was the latter, although Chelsea’s early nerves did give Latics some hope and a whole host of possession that (altogether now) Latics failed to make the most of falling behind to a couple of soft goals.
Well, not so soft this time, but, for good measure, both carried a fair share of refereeing controversy. A touch of offside for the first followed by an over egged fall and a harsh sending off with the second. as sure as Lampard’s penalty meant the title would be going to the Bridge, it meant that Latics were in for a troublesome closing period with only ten men and facing a good team in the mood for celebration.
Overall, it felt bad, but not as bad as the Spurs game. It would be nice to justify that with some mitigating circumstances, you know like the sending off or Chelsea having beaten all comers by similar margins recently but in the end I think it’s down to the shear relief of getting to the end of the season, my own mind taking a football holiday ahead of the World Cup and the thought that it can’t be like this again the next time around. Can it?
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