Lottery Ticket

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At the risk of getting all serious for a minute, I’m really looking forward to Friday night as much for the cup tie, live on BBC spectacle as well as watching the Latics away from home and a pleasant afternoon of the away day staple of good food and fine ales. It barely feels necessary any more, but I might even tape the game to watch later. And at the end of the day (Clive), I hope football is the winner.

Which is cliché ridden nonsense to be fair, I clearly want Wigan Athletic to be the winner. It’s not life of death though and if for whatever reason we turn up and play OK but AFC Fylde play out of their skins then I hope we applaud them. That’s not my chosen outcome however, as the prize of a plum third round tie applies to both teams and I hope we can progress.

Oh yes and from our perspective, there is the prospect of getting humiliated live on the BBC in front of watching millions after getting knocked out of the cup by a non league team. Hey, let’s not worry about that right now!!

In true Wigan Athletic style, the club sensibly introduced a ballot scheme to meet demand which saw lots of fans screaming about how they were more deserving than others; some even threatening to rip up their season ticket if they missed out. Yet ultimately, it seems everyone who wanted one got one and now there appears to be lots of fans trying to sell their spare tickets. Truly farcical and a complete over-reaction as per usual.

Team selection will be the next bone of contention. Will it be our strongest possible side or will the Cook be tempted to meddle with the tasty recipe which saw off Rotherham and Doncaster? A return to fitness of Nick Powell is always a tempting ingredient to throw in but given his perennial injury problems maybe a timely half an hour burst off the bench might be the best bet if the game is in the balance.

Otherwise, I hope we put our full first team out and they use the TV cameras to put on a show, let’s ensure it’s someone else who ends up on the end of a giant killing this weekend.

That’s nothing against Fylde, who look to have a cracking set up. There’s been some quite churlish comments written about them online (harsh comments on the internet, surely not?). They are even known as AFC £ylde in certain non-league circles but they are following their dreams, and what is football without dreams? Surely, we as Latics fans know this as much as anyone?

Of course, they are having money pumped in but you can’t run a football club without pumping money in these days. Plus it’s much better to have a local lad like the Fylde owner, David Haythornthwaite (We’ll just call him Dave eh?) or our own Dave Whelan putting money in than a mysterious Far East syndicate.

Which reminds me, that’s all gone a bit quiet hasn’t it? In that respect, it may well be a crucial game; with the owner of an Asian betting company sat watching telly in the early hours of the morning deciding how many zeroes to put on his cheque for his latest hobby.

Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 1st December 2017


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