Now and then

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Indifferent form, picking up wins where we can, upsetting the odds occasionally whilst getting beat by teams that we should be doing better against.  Keeping one eye on the top six but being more concerned about avoiding relegation.  Worrying about losing our best players and the clubs inability in the transfer market.  Watching good players leave and new players struggle to settle in.  Relying on dodgy loan signings to shore up the squad whilst all the time crowds are dwindling.

You might think that I’m talking about Wigan Athletic in the Premier League, well at least since last Christmas, but the above phrases apply as much if not more so to Latics B.K.D. (before Kaiser Dave).  For those of us too young to enjoy the non-league years, this was the situation we came into.  A club who had the odd year of success surrounded by many more indifferent ones.  We took our joys when they came and made do and mended when times were rough.

Essentially what we are seeing now is just how things used to be, the real test is how the fans react to it.  Are things in the stands and on the message boards that different to how they were on the terraces and in the pubs back ‘in the day’?  

Coincidentally Not a Patch on has been invited to a preview showing of a fly on the wall documentary looking at ten Latics fans both as they are now and were 15 years ago.  “Then and now: A life in pies” will show on the Imaginary Doumentary Channel (Sky Ch 208) over three nights starting on 12th January 2006.

The filmmakers Geroutofit Productions have kindly allowed us to release details of each episode.

Episode 1- Meet the gang cause the boys are here…

To start with the filmmakers introduce us to our intrepid band of happy pie eaters.  
Dave has been a season ticket holder since 1973.  He remembers the heady days of the NPL and thinks that Graham Barrow was a poor imitation of Johnny King.  
Peter has been watching Latics since the early days in the League.  His favourite Latics moment is beating Chelsea in the League cup and he is still curses Elton Welsby’s name every time the Waterloo is shown on Sky.
Carl’s first game was against Norwich in the FA cup he caught the bug converting from being a Watford fan.  He is still bitter about his egg chasing school mates’ reaction to his decision.
Danny has been dragged to the game since he was 8; his abiding memory of the 1988-89 season is everyone shouting at that fat man in the programme whilst he played kick the can with some lads that had sneaked in over the Astroturf.
Patrick started on the Latics bandwagon in 1992, his favourite all time player is Gary Powell and he still doesn’t understand why Dave Philpotts’ career as a manager was so short.
Johnny jumped on the bandwagon in 1995.  Enticed by the form of John Pender he quickly became a keen student of the “way of the ‘tic” he enjoyed the away trip to Fulham the following season more than any other game as it was just “the perfect day out”.
Stanley, ambiguously, claims to have been watching Latics since Ray Matthias was manager.  He can’t remember his favourite Latics moment as he ‘likes to lap up the craic’ he thinks it a real shame that “yon Spaniard off Sky” isn’t at the club any more.  Is on the ‘large side’.
Mike was at the Reading game, he realised then “that he was onto a good thing” and has been a season ticket holder ever since. 
was enrolled into JJ’s club in 2003, he likes to dance when Tom Hark comes on after a goal and chant ‘Easy, Easy’ at every given opportunity.  He cried when Nathan Ellington left the club.
Darren is Ronan’s dad, he’s been taking his son to the game since 2003 so that he can get away from Louise and get pissed with his mates.  Cried when Ellington left the club – he’d just bought the new shirt with his name on it for Ronan.

Episode 2 – Bosoms and Backsides

In the second episode the year is 1991 and through the eyes of friends, colleagues and Crimewatch reconstructions we get an insight into the pasts of our boys.

was stood on the popular side and was angry about pretty much everything.  The club couldn’t do a thing right, the manager was a no mark and the Chairman was the scum of the earth.  He thought that the team were shit and that Phil Daley wasn’t fit to clean Peter Houghton’s boots.  Likes to wind people up by claiming loudly that he’s never coming again and ruin their celebrations by being stood in the same place for the next game.
Peter had resigned himself to his fate supporting a struggling team. He felt happy being in the bosom of a club, that if may not have returned his love kept themselves close.  Could be found in the supporters’ club enjoying a post match pint with one of the players.
Carl was away at Uni, the lads from Widnes in his hall expect him to understand them as it’s a rugby thing.  At least they dislike our chubby cousins as well.  Despite plans to watch the squad get dismantled from afar spends his rent money on travelling backwards and forwards to Springfield Park.  Could be found wondering the streets of Hull carrying a traffic cone whilst singing the Hovis theme tune.
Danny didn’t really know what was going on, loved that his dad bought him a shandy in the club before the game, generally spent 10 minutes watching the game, spending the rest of the time running up and down the terracing or having a kick about at the back of the Town End.
could be found basking in the glory of Springfield Park and wondering how it could ever get better than this.  Doesn’t think it can be long before Bryan Hamilton is snatched away to manage a top flight side.
was off his head in the hacienda.  Football didn’t really feature on his agenda.
No records can be traced connecting Stanley to Wigan Athletic prior to August 2005, rumours persist that he got lost on a trip to Wembley in 1988 and was only freed when they brought down the twin towers.  Living on scraps from the fast food outlets had provided a more healthy diet than his previous pork for breakfast, steak for dinner and meat and tater for tea.
Mike was worried about the ‘English disease’, football wasn’t like it was in his dad’s day and there was no way he was associating himself with that scum.
Ronan wasn’t even a stain on the back seat of his dad’s Nova.
Darren was a regular at Central Park, “bloody Latics, I wouldn’t open my curtains if they were playing ont front, they’ll never win owt”

Episode 3 – Ell and Al Jazera

In the third and final programme we tour the streets of Wigan, finding our subjects in their own habitat and sharing their match day experiences.
Dave is still angry about pretty much everything.  He finds fault in anything that the club do and the chairman and manager say.  He thinks that the current team are shit and that Phil Daley is better than Emile Heskey because “at least the one with the ‘tache looked like he cared”.  Likes to wind up younger fans by claiming he’d like to turn the clock back and can’t wait until the chairman buggers off and we’

re back in the third division.
Peter is despondent about how the club doesn’t appreciate his support.  Is realistic about our chances on the pitch and hopes for the best.  Can be found at the match whenever if can afford it.
Carl is having such a hard job accepting that Lindsay is on our board and the chap who sits two seats in front of him wears a rugby shirt to games that he hasn’t really noticed what’s been happening on the pitch.  He wishes that he hadn’t spent so much of his one year at Hull Uni travelling back to Wigan, as he might have a better job and actually be able to afford his season ticket.
Danny thinks the Premier League is great; he gets to mix it with the big boys using his Stone Island keyboard and Aquascutum Monitor.  He can’t wait for Soccer AM to show his bodybuilding video.  Can be found as far away from the real away fans as he can possibly get.
Patrick, well, come
if you were there you’d know that he was a figment of my imagination
Johnny got the best of both worlds, a successful side at their natural home.  Just as he was getting used to the JJB half of it was snatched away from him.  Generally miffed about the whole thing he’s trying to put it behind him and hopes that we can get it right and compete at this level.
Stanley attended all the big games last season, can now be found in his local slagging that donkey Heskey off and criticising the crowd as he watches the game on ART1.  Complains when the landlord doesn’t put free pies on at half time.
Mike has been to Wigan Athletic game since they were established in May 2005.  Has a both corporate and away season tickets, managed to get 16 tickets for Old Trafford last season and the mini bus from his golf club really enjoyed their first visit watching the team they have supported for such a long time.  They didn’t even bother that much about sitting in the away end.
Ronan doesn’t get to the game anymore.  
Darren watches the game in the pub with his mates.  He lets his lad play on the bowling green and can get 15 pints in before Louise notices he’s gone out.  Where else can you see your team play, whilst trying to drop the jackpot on the bandit?  Tells Ronan he can’t afford to take him now that they’ve put the prices up as he asks for another 20 one pound coins from behind the bar.

Happy viewing boys and girls.

Not a patch on would like to assure viewers that no South Standers were harmed during the making of this production.
Any resemblance to individual Latics fans, living or West Stand season ticket holders, is purely co-incidental.

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