So, as the school teacher and beleaguered parents explain to their youngsters on sports day: there are no winners! No, you are all winners!! Although really there are only two winners so far this season, soon to be joined by a third. Not that I would wish the play offs on anyone. Wembley trip or not, it has provided nothing but abject heartbreak for us over the years.
Incidentally, apart from daft Dack, who went all Kevin Keegan on us, the rest of the noise coming from the Blackburn camp, is that they are just happy to be promoted, and aren’t that bothered about the title. But then, they would say that, as they are in second place, and their hope of finishing top rests ultimately in our hands not theirs.
From our perspective, we’ve got pretty good at winning titles over the years but I certainly didn’t feel disappointed the last time we finished 2nd in the table, so neither should we this time if that’s what transpires. Albeit it, THAT second place was a pretty significant second place and saw grown men and women weep openly in joy and disbelief as the Duke nodded home the third.
I would revert back to my comments from a few weeks ago, namely that I hope we win the title because this set of players and manager fully deserve it. Yet the cruel nature of football is that if they lose to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, then arguably they don’t. So they know what’s at stake and it is up to them to go and deliver it. All we fans can do is go and support them, and we’ll certainly be doing that in abundance this weekend!!
If they can’t take at least the point that we need to secure the title, well we’ve still had a pretty good season, so no hard feelings! Though it would grate me a bit given some of the gibberish that Mowbray, Dack et al have aimed in our direction.
Though having said that, had we been awarded a deserved penalty against Wimbledon last week when James Vaughan was given the WWE treatment, we could have already secured top place. So maybe you don’t get what you deserve. Even Paul Cook has said however, that the luck balances out over the season.
Yet, as someone far more statistically astute than me pointed out, we have had only 3 penalties awarded all season, the next to lowest of all League One clubs, and none at all since September. For the strongest attacking team this feels odd. Meanwhile, Rochdale and Plymouth have had 8. Must be all the millions of fans they have that is influencing the ref in Plymouth’s case.
Anyway, I digress. Some seasons drag on forever, whereas others seem to be over in a heartbeat, and it comes as no surprise that this one falls under the latter category. Being up near the top of the league has something to do with it. Well, go on then, it has everything to do with it!
So whatever the score on Saturday, enjoy the day and celebrate regardless, as these times don’t come around so often (well, maybe they do for us!). Same again on Sunday at the Party in the Park and again next week if you are attending the fantastic Joseph’s Goal events. Then have a nice, long break for summer. It’s not as if it’s a World Cup year is it?
Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 4th May 2018