Mr Hand, this is Mr Pen. Both, this is Mr Paper.

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And so it begins.  Or maybe not, it’s been a while since I wrote anything and longer still since I wrote about Latics, but the time has come for me to get back on the wagon, bite the bullet and… well… just grab a bit of my time back.  As I type, I still don’t know what I’ll be writing about but this is about me getting the juices flowing, so if I end up a bit Holden Caulfield then you’ll just have to put up with it.

The thing is, this would have been a damn sight easier had Latics done the decent thing and lost on Saturday.  I’ve got a shoot the lame horse piece in me no problem, but by winning Latics have managed just salvage just enough hope to keep the embers of those home fires flickering, ooh, at least until March time.  Just enough hope, but not enough expectation to get me started on the survival songs, just yet.

So Saturday was great, eh?  There was something for everyone in there with all that application, a sprinkling of counter attack and what looked suspiciously like two central forwards for the bigger part of the game, but it still wasn’t 4-4-2, it was still very much plan B-obby and possession and control still very much ruled over percentages and emotion.

It was far from perfect, and I doubt if it will be held up as this season’s Blackpool, but if it can knock a bit of confidence into the players and start them on a bit of a run, then who knows?

There’s a danger here though, December’s performances (and points) lifted the gloom of eight straight defeats but when the context was changed by a particularly drab January then it didn’t take long for that corner we’d turned to lead us right back where we’d started from.   This was just one game, not a month’s worth but when it comes to the final reckoning it could profe equally as important.

Not least because, if we’re going to stay up, we need a good run, not at some point before the end of the season, but right now.  The next four games, against Villa, Swansea, Norwich and West Brom provide a handy break before five which feature Liverpool, Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal.  Then we’re in the home straight and, for someone, will be time for the fat lady to sing, for the bell to toll and for the train to run out of gravy.

Either way, my gut tells me that the story of this season has yet to be written for Latics.  Results aside, there has been enough in the first two thirds of the season to provide an undercoat to whatever finish we get.

A glorious struggle to balance the books and play football?  You can have it if you want it, no matter where we fetch upi n the league.
A morality tale against excessive stubbornness and conceit?  You can have that if we go down with a whimper.
A siren’s call to ideology, faith and belief?  Well only if you end up sitting on the right side of the fence.

I would imagine that many of you will have made your mind up on the season already, but keep an open mind and a glimmer of hope and who knows what twists might open up.  There are 38 games in a season and that Rohnan Keating bloke had it (in a room of monkeys writing the works of Shakespeare sense) right when he said that “love is a rollercoaster”.  Sometimes it’s better just to ride it and see what happens, the next bit could be one of those big inclines followed by… more inclines, they all have one of those, right?

I suppose you might be wondering where I think we’ll end up?  Honestly, it’s not looking good, but even more honestly, I don’t know.  In a triple whammy of confessionals, I don’t particularly want to know where we end up, I’d rather be left with my ounce of hope and my attempts to enjoy ninety minutes of football unhindered by people who seem happy to spend £20 quid a fortnight, just so that they can let go of their anti-Spanish tendencies and tell Jordi Gomez just how much they hate him.

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