Happy New Year, all the best for 2010 and all that…
Let’s face it, on the Latics front; it would struggle to be worse than 2009 could it? After two half seasons that saw Latics scrape just over the magic 40 point per season mark, sell the core of the best team that we may ever have and watch one of their favourite sons struggle to rebuild from the wreckage, it’s going to be good draw lines under everything and move on. But before we leave it behind we really, really need to look back at the 5 moments that defined 2009 at the DW (nee JJB) Stadium.
It’ll get us some closure/make us look like a proper website/make a mildly interesting blog post, or something.
5. The Prodigal Son Returns, If there’s one thing that Latics fans like more than a lemming like (yes I watch QI but why spoil a good cliché?) lunge off the end of the pier, it’s something to fall out about. Now we’ve got one that’s not going to go away that easily. Whilst those of us who loved and lost back between 96 and 2001, Bobby will always be more than the sum of his parts.
If his fancy Spanish ways were strange to us back then, they’re even harder to handle for some of our new fans after a few years of Latics huffing and puffing their way to staying in this division and you can be defined as a Latics fan in 2009 by whether you’d given up before he’d started or prepared to give him as much time as is needed to build Wigan Athletic up in his image.
4. The January Sales,
The beginning of the end of… what exactly. Selling Heskey and Palacios back at the start of the year effectively brought an end to the momentum that had carried the best team Steve Bruce has ever managed to the verge of Europe and put them into a run of form that was not quite good enough to put them in a relegation battle. It’s not so much that the heart was ripped out of the side, but this was the first breach of the good ship Wigan Athletic’s hull that saw all the rats seeking land come the summer months. The worst thing about it being that it seemed totally avoidable. Barring injury, Palacios’ star was only going to rise and we probably lost the £2m we got for Ivanhoe in league places and what have you.
We’ll never know how different this summer would have been if these two hadn’t been flogged off when they were, but I think most people connected with the club would have preferred to have found out.
3. And it were handball!
Teams who concede nine goals in a Premier League game don’t usually stay up, but then again, teams that concede nine goals in a game don’t usually beat the league leaders either (Ipswich did beat Man U 3-2 that season, but lost twice to Blackburn). Either way there’ll be no hiding the significance of the Spurs game when it comes to wrapping up Latics’ season.
Hopefully it will go down as Roberto Martinez’s Canvey Island, the point from which he could only take the team upwards and let’s leave it at that. The other positive comparison is that Ipswich didn’t win a game again that season, in true inconsistent fashion Latics waited all of six days to grab three points.
2. All I wanted were one of them green bags so I looked good when I’m in Aldi.
Does anyone know if Harrods has an own brand, maybe that’s what Bruce meant?
It was one of the politest put downs going, a cultural reference that Steve Bruce hoped would strike home with both Sunderland and Wigan fans, without causing offence to either. Of course it did, some of us Wiganers are a bit precious about the whole “small club, living within its means” thing and once you’re no longer a Latic you’re fair game round these parts.
The most laughable thing is that, whilst Bruce might have picked up Darren Bent in the ‘Harrods” sale, a good amount of his transfer efforts seem to have focussed either on the Tesco’s signings he left us with or the same bargain bins that he was happily trawling with John Benson just months before.
1. ‘s Catt Man’s gone.
Which leads us to the pivotal moment of the year, the worst pun I’ve ever used and the thing that I’ve moaned most about since 12th August 2009.
I’d put a lot of faith in Lee Cattermole as the sort of honest, committed player that would provide a bed rock for any side and particularly Wigan Athletic. The similarities with a young Steven Gerrard helped, but either way I knew that the one thing that we wouldn’t lack whilst he was about was a driving force and a bit of fight when it was needed.
I was right on one point but not the other.
When it came down to it, Cattermole was just another ‘greedy’ footballer tempted by something as piddly as a threefold increase in wages (maybe that’s the difference between Central Park Way and Knightsbridge) he was no more committed to our cause than Alan McLoughlin. And so it happens that we’re down a midfielder that would have added the experience, drive and fight that Thomas and Diame have, so far, struggled to find.
I’m not saying that the first half of the season would have definitely been better if Cattermole had been in our side, but it would have, wouldn’t it.
Well, that’s my five for you to mull over and discuss if you’re that way out. Leave us a comment and let us know your own Latics moment of 2009.
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