It’s called love..and it belongs to us

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We could do with a hum wun, hyem wyn err. Let me start again, I mean we could do with a home win today….it’s been so long I forgot how to say it; that much is evident.

But instead of deliberating over our dreadful home record or analysing the reasons why, let’s take this thing forward.

It took a Wigan Red – United version – of all people – @NorthernCasual – on a sabbatical from Old Trafford for it to strike home

“What is it with your lot? Do they know anything about football?”

“What do you mean?”

 

“They just can’t wait to get on their team’s back – it’s like they’re waiting for them to make a mistake so that they can vent their spleen. They don’t seem interested in supporting the team”

Oh. OK. Pass me that electric tin opener and horse meat infused can of worms over here then…

Old Roberto took a bit of stick after the last home game for his comments about the fans’ anxiety “Ooh he’s blaming us now” was the sage comment from the internet big hitters. 

It wasn’t the wisest move but let’s face it: when did football get so serious?

The week after that some fans were OUTRAGED that he might be disrespecting the cup after Huddersfield and then they were OUTRAGED again because the squad appeared to be having a jolly in foreign climes

Why does everything get blown out of all proportion? Why is watching Wigan Athletic all about winning? Every loss is a crisis (and let’s face it we have enough of them to dwell over) Clearly by supporting Wigan Athletic and not one of the bigger clubs nearby there must be something other than success which drives people to support the football club, I always thought it was the spirit of the underdog and the irreverence of our support but maybe the world has moved on.

 

I don’t know which way to go with it myself. I don’t like home games, I don’t like our ground but it’s not terminal. I can’t help thinking if we had 20,000 baying home fans in the home stands roaring the team on they’d be forced to play well, either out of fear or inspired by a vociferous home crowd.

But it doesn’t seem to do Leeds any good if you’re looking to easily outwit me there….it’s also completely unrealistic – never going to happen. We are what we are as a football club basically.

And we’re stuck with the fans we have – a decent number for the size of Wigan and we’re stuck with the time honoured chicken and egg: is it the job of the players (and manager) to rouse the fans or should the fans be rousing the players? A bit of both perhaps. It’s no coincidence that we’ve won nine games on the road and only two at home though.

We all seem to have that bloke behind us who infuriates us no matter which block you sit in, unless you sit in front of me in which case…oh…we annoy each other football fans don’t we?

Several thousand away fans heartily crooning away at one end of the ground versus three slightly more sparsely populated stands of home fans mixed with singers, moaners and been there and done it types. Me, I’m a West Stander – I’ve done my stint over four decades now and yeah I don’t sing much at home games but I have still no objection in creating an atmosphere and playing my part before you start. We all need to play our part.

Why do we persist with all this darkside/lightside nonsense?

Why do normally rationale people turn into angry, snidey beasts when sat behind a keyboard and their football views are challenged?

Why does the managerial approach of Senor Martinez seem to kick off such diametrically opposed arguments which invariably end up with arguments, slanging matches and insults from both parties?

What purpose does it serve?

Football evokes passion I guess but aren’t we all just trying to support the football team we love. I don’t know if I love it more than you or not, probably not these days before you start but we all turn up for some reason or other and it can’t just be to moan or sit in silence and surely it can’t be success. There’s plenty other nearby options if that’s your bag which many in the town subscribe to. We’re different us Latics fans.

I don’t know what people expect but me I’m just going to support the team in future and I’m not saying that in a superfan type of way (as somebody will no doubt say because I’ve dared to articulate some thoughts) but because it’s what we do. Why don’t we all do it? What harm can it do? Absolutely none.

Now I’m not going to go down the route of saying moaning all day and night about matters on the internet and social media doesn’t do any good either (although it doesn’t…OK I’ll shut up now) but it doesn’t derive any benefit other than making the moaner feel better for getting it off their chest. Now it’s taken me nearly 40 years but I’ve realised being an only child that doing things for your own benefit is selfish and selfish people don’t generally get anywhere in life so I’ve stopped moaning and I’ve stopped worrying. Worrying about our fate. Moaning about what is going wrong.

We’re in exactly the same position as we have been last year, and nearly every year and have a fighting chance. I’m not sure what people want. Yes, Martinez has made mistakes, and defensively God knows what he’s coaching them but he’s our manager and for that reason alone we should get behind him. He’s not the Messiah but he is the current custodian of our club and there’s no point in moaning or questioning because it serves no purpose because nothing is going to change between now and the end of the season.

There  seems to be this “how dare you question him” approach from some of our supporters but it’s not the view of those who don’t question him, it’s the view of those who spend all day on the internet micro-analysing his every move and sarcastically passing comment on any of his public press.

I think we all know he’s not perfect but just as I wouldn’t walk into the operating theatre at Salford Hope hospital and tell a neurosurgeon how to make an incision into the anterior cranial fosse, I wouldn’t particularly go on the internet to tell Roberto Martinez exactly what he’s doing wrong at a football club but maybe that’s just me being simple.

One year it’s going to go wrong whether it’s this year under Bob or in the future under someone else but here at Wigan Athletic it would be lovely to do things differently – celebrate what we’ve achieved – constantly against the odds – rather than the finger pointing, slanging matches and ultimate implosion.

We’re not a successful club I’m afraid, we’re a small, insignificant club who has been elevated to a position we never dreamed of through some rich bloke’s pocket money.

Yet beyond that there is a beating heart that we need to maintain and keep oiled – that’s us: the fans – keeping that wheel nice and oiled because these times aren’t tough, there are far tougher times ahead long after Martinez and Whelan have gone and us Wigan Athletic fans remain whatever your persuasion.

Where the future lies, who knows but here’s a quick recap nevertheless:

1932 formed

1932 – 1978 successful non-league club – big fish in small pond

1978 – 1991 get in football league, get promoted, enjoy short bursts o

f moderate success, hamstrung financially

1991 – 1995 no more family silver to sell off, potentially terminal decline and return to non league/extinction on cards

1996 – 2005 The exalted motormouth Lord Whelan arrives and promises Premier League football in ten years and everyone laughs at the daft old buffoon

2005 – 2006 Wigan Athletic, the breath of fresh air in the Premier League

2006 – 2009 Jewell, Hutchings and Bruce especially do OK, financial drawbridge pulled up

2009 – 2013 Wigan Athletic exist in the now hugley financial disparate Premier League albeit it in a “one of those Italian team you used to see perennially in the bottom half of the Serie A table on Channel 4 football” type of way

And that is our lot, and where will this pattern go next – who knows? We’re in a strange no mans’ land. It could get better, hey even Udinese seem to have dragged themselves out of the bottom half of the Italian League – or it could get worse.

As ever, we are narrowly close to complete implosion or a moment of glory borne out of absolute despair, so why get worked up about it?

The best thing you can do is enjoy the simple, little things. The fact that you have a football team to support, that you are still watching that little club you fell in love with play in the Premier League, and yes we lose more than we win – but winning is only part of the game and part of Wigan Athletic. Days out at the football. They keep you sane yet drive you mad.

The Meet and Greets are back and I intend to be there from 3pm. It’s a chance to be different and make a difference – yes they’re overpaid pampered footballers but they’re humans and I never forget the story I heard about Diame’s reaction at Blackpool away in response to the Wigan support that day. He still bloody left mind you.

I know not everyone will be there but I do not believe in mocking those who are trying to make a difference.  Just a group of people doing that little bit extra in the hope it spurs the team on.

We all support the football club in our own way and that is why we are here.

No agenda here. Whether you agree with these ramblings or not I just have one polite request. With a 5.30 kick off and a belly full of ale can we all try and support them just a little bit more today?

We can play our part in turning our home form (and season) around

Eleven games plus at least one in the cup. It’s not a big ask is it?

Keep the faith

It’s called love….

 

 

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