I suspect this advice is going to go above everyone’s head but I’ll say it anyway: KEEP CALM! No need for any big blue poster or catchy soundbite afterwards just a requirement to sit on the unprecedented giddiness witnessed before Wigan Athletic play a game where the stakes are massive and expectations are high.
I bought the Everton fanzine When Skies Are Grey outside Goodison before the quarter final and although it’s one of the best around there was a prevailing view that Wigan at home was a winnable game for them. I’m sure their players and staff thought it too. Given our recent record against Everton so did I! It’s not exactly been a happy hunting ground for us, so I don’t blame their anticipation. Now it’s us with the winnable game but we need to approach with extreme caution and zero complacency.
We have previous with Millwall as many longer standing fans will be aware. Indeed, we have previous with Millwall in Wembley finals. It’s fair to say they owe us one and they aren’t the sort of club that generally are in the business of rolling over and having their cute little South London bellies tickled. We have no divine right to win any games, otherwise we’re falling into the same trap of some Everton fans who thought the previous round was a formality.
The knives were out again at the weekend when we failed to beat ten man QPR and yes it was disappointing and a lacklustre performance but these things happen. We all moan when the display is below par and somehow expect the sublime performances to be the benchmark. It costs a lot of money to be perfect all the time; it’s no accident that the best teams show remarkable consistency – they generally have the cash to pay for it. I’m afraid we are a bit more random than that, quite rightly the source of much frustration but it goes with the territory. We all want more but demanding it is a very dangerous thing.
So, please let’s go into Saturday with no pre-conceptions and an open mind. We go into the game having won nothing yet already having achieved an awful lot. We have already eclipsed our previous best finish: there will be an update to the line which gives the greatest FA Cup performance in the club’s history section no matter what happens on Saturday. Let us show no frustration and become a part of a momentous occasion. If we get the result we want then that’s a wonderful bonus not a minimal expectation.
First published in the Wigan Evening Post 12th Man column Wednesday 10th April 2013
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