Due to all manner of travel complications I ended up as the designated driver last Saturday. This did concern me a little bit as alcohol is normally a necessary pre-requisite for watching Wigan Athletic. Yet with a clear mind and heightened senses I was able to watch the magic unfold on the South Coast.
And it was magical. In Southampton, we faced a team who had done nothing else but steam roller teams for two years solid and risen through three divisions scoring goals for fun backed by a passionate home crowd baying for blood. To get “the likes of Wigan” for their Premier League homecoming was a present gift wrapped surely?
The first half was nervy as Saints threw everything at us but lacked the quality to find a way in. The second half was as strong a footballing display as I’ve seen in years from a Wigan Athletic side. Well, since the first half of Newcastle at home last season anyway. It was the kind of accomplished passing display that even Roberto Martinez couldn’t have dreamed of witnessing when he took over a depleted Wigan Athletic in the Summer of 2009. What was even better was that everyone played their part, everyone knew their role and delivered what was expected and completely snuffed out the home side.
Oh how I laughed listening to Radio Solent as irate Saints fans were texting in to tell the world that Adkins was out of his depth (after TWO games) and ‘we should be beating the likes of Wigan”. That’ll be the likes of Wigan whom pundits like Collymore, Le Tissier and half of Talksport love to tip for 20th place every single year.
On to Tuesday and the annual graveyard that is the second round of the Carling Cup for Latics. Thinking back to Palace or Blackpool in previous years when we rolled over, Nottingham (never Notts) Forest at their place, another buoyant team, unbeaten all season once again silenced with four goals of the highest quality. Thankfully the post-match analysis this time featured some very complimentary words from Forest fans and their new manager Sean O’Driscoll as Wigan Athletic’s reputation as a footballing force continues to blossom.
Nevertheless, we need to stick to the mantra of not getting carried away when we win and not getting distraught when we lose so my feet are firmly on the ground. I just need to tell that little voice in my head to shut up each time it pipes up to tell me that we could be in the Top four come 5pm on Saturday if we can somehow overcome the brute force of Stoke….
First published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column Thursday30th August 2012
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