What about Stoke in May, who could forget that?
Two great away days where we turned up in numbers, we sang our hearts out, we waved flags and banners, we gave the team unwavering support, we had a party and we could have sold our allocation two or three times over. And we got the result we needed when the chips are down.
But why do we always have to wait until the chips are down before we get excited and go mad for what suddenly seems a tiny allocation of tickets?
One of the ideas in my muddled little head is that we somehow need to do something this season to recreate the atmosphere at the key games last year.
We turned up that day in May at Stoke not knowing for sure whether it was going to be our last day in the Premier League or not but we turned up and had a party.
We do not know whether this season will be our last in the Premier League or not yet even if the urgency seems to be missing on the pitch, maybe it’s time we impressed a bit of urgency OFF the pitch?
The bizarre thing is that on the rare occasions when we do actually turn up in numbers away from home, the team generally performs. It might just be coincidence but then it might not be. Footballers are pretty simple people who respond to encouragement.
It’s all very well saying ‘they’re a shower on the pitch, why should I spend my hard earned paying to watch them?’ and you know what you’ve probably got a point.
The club took a lot off stick (including some off me) in May for ‘only’ taking 1,500 tickets for Stoke but their argument of ‘we only usually need 700’ was borne out at the next away game at Swansea and at Villa, Everton & City. As soon as the drama has subsided, so has the support.
I’m not knocking the 700 who were there or the ones who can’t afford to go but I think a few of us have got to be brutally honest with ourselves and occasionally admit that we don’t go because we can’t be a*sed. Maybe even because it’s cheaper or even a better atmosphere to stay at home or watch it in the pub. Or maybe because it’s not do or die. It’s just die. Only kidding.
We all had a great day out at Blackpool and Stoke and by all accounts the atmosphere the Latics fans created at Blackpool in particular blew the players away and we got the performance we wanted and needed.
We’re all moaning about the lack of great days whilst waiting for them to come to us. Maybe it’s time that we met them half way?
So here’s an idea:
I’m not so naïve to suggest that if we sold out our allocation everywhere then we’d suddenly start winning away games and nor am I suggesting that our fans should start running up big debts and travelling the length and breadth of the country week in, week out like we did in such large numbers that first year we were in the Premier League.
But perhaps we do need to choose a handful of games and promote it via the websites and the club to get as many there as possible and create a party atmosphere, singing and waving flags and banners and celebrating our football club and making sure we all have a good day out.
There’s something wrong when there’s a better atmosphere in the pub than there is at the game but it’s happened over time as prices have gone up and the novelty of travelling to (and often getting beaten at) Premier league grounds wears off
Why do we have to wait until the chips are down before responding in this way? Why don’t the fans of Wigan Athletic unite and try and create that atmosphere at Blackpool or Stoke for a few away games a season and let’s see if we can make a difference?
It doesn’t mean that we’re going to win the game but then we’re not going to win every game. We somehow need to get enough of us there to make other people want to be there and build momentum.
Instead of idiots ringing Talksport or going on Facebook or Twitter slagging off our support, let’s turn up, make a racket and blow them away. Enough to keep them quiet for a few months and then let’s do it again!
The fact it’s now October and I’ve only just got around to writing about it, I can only apologise for.
Whether we can through the websites focus on a handful of away games and get as many fans as possible there, maybe involve the club organising or subsidising travel en masse.
Arrange a meet up at accommodating pubs nearby an hour or two before and build that atmosphere: 10-15 coaches of Latics fans all building that spirit and taking it into the ground with us, or even meet in the ground an hour before and go up 15 minutes before kick off like we did at Blackpool
At this point I’m not even at the planning stage either nor have I got games in mind. October ones are too soon so for some reason Sunderland appeals. 1,500 or 2,000 of us packed into a corner of that huge ground could still blow them away just like 1,500 did at Stoke. But then the same applies anywhere, even United: we know we’ll get beat but it could be the last time we ever play there so let’s go and sell out and sing our hearts out. Yes I know it’s £40 a ticket but it’s what £2 on the train?
Next year I’ve not even looked at and all those fixtures are still at the behest of Sky and a movement to Monday night yet but I’m not saying anything about Sunderland or United or any other game, I’m saying let’s choose one and get there in numbers and enjoy being fans of Wigan Athletic for the day and celebrate everything we’ve achieved.
Which game it is doesn’t matter, it’s the sentiment that matters.
There it is, that’s me, just one fan coming up with a suggestion
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