Right there’s two ways to do this gang.
First the bouquets, take a bow East Standers, you gave great support throughout the Everton game and all Wigan Athletic fans gave the team fantastic support away at Blackpool and Villa, heck nearly all season, we’re 12th loudest by all accounts.
But can I just throw in a bit of a brickbat, and here’s the class and humility bit. Is there any chance we can spend the ninety minutes actually supporting our team and not goading Scousers or Cockneys? The last home game, the travelling Evertonians were barely noticeable in the first half, and from where I was sat only notable for being the quietest support all season and definitely the first away support to remain sat down. In summary, they weren’t arsed, happy to see out the season and have a few bevvies, as I believe they call them.
I mean it’s good fun when there’s nothing at stake but all that Scouse baiting/town full of smackheads/in your Liverpool slums nonsense does is waken a sleeping beast. And as for the ‘you’ve only got one song’ being bounced back with ‘you’ve only got one fan’ from the Everton lot, well mug made out of again I’m afraid. File alongside City fans and their ‘Feed the Goat’. As soon as the name calling started, the Everton fans were up, off their feet, roaring their team on with their one maybe two songs and even if Hugo hadn’t handballed it, I think the ref would have still given a penno given the noise and ferocity of the shout. At this point the East Stand fell silent.
Sorry I don’t mean to have a go like, just asking you to think a little differently this weekend. He might be a bug eyed lunatic but Ian Holloway was right, there is no way we should have been singing ‘We are staying up’ in the away end at Blackpool a few weeks ago. Personally I’ll sing it if and when it happens and not a moment before and if we don’t then I hope those who were singing it feel suitably foolish. Yes I know it’s just kids and big kids getting carried away but whereas we are still Little Wigan, we are not taking the ****, we are hanging on grimly a lot of the time and we need to support our team and conduct ourselves with just a little bit more dignity.
West Ham are coming to have a party, if you think we’re down, they know they’re down barring a miracle and regardless of what you think of their club, their fans are first class, old hands at relegation and will come up here and make a right old racket. Singing ‘going down’ to them really isn’t going to bother them in the slightest and neither is any other attempted jibe at them, their club, their fans or even heaven forbid Karen Brady. They’ve been suffering a lot longer than us and we may well be joining them so there really is no need. There but for the grace of God and all that, we could be in their position and they could well want to make ours a lot worse so ignore then and concentrate on supporting our team – we’ve got enough songs in our locker to do it believe it or not.
Knock the Depeche Mode on the head as well, it started in Scotland last year, appears to have been adopted by Liverpool a number of months ago and is now been copied the length and breadth of the country. It’s not as witty and original as you might think. Ditto the N’Zogbia songs were copied off Utd (Ronaldo/Giggs) and Oh Victor Moses was copied off Liverpool (Maxi Rodriguez). If you want to emulate these teams, copy their ethos not their lyrics and let’s make our own songs up. Hey there’s even a band that’s come along now to help us all do it. But sorry for that little rant, I’m not having a dig here at the terrific support we give, a bit more originality might be nice, that’s all.
But for Sunday, it’s dead simple, we need to support our team for ninety minutes be it YAMS, The Great Escape, that other daft Dario G nonsense with the drums or just a frantic, continued ‘Come on Wigan’ to urge the team on, OK then sing those songs about the players – we’ve got all summer to think up newer ones. Let’s get it going all the way around the ground: a wall of noise. We’ve seen what a couple of thousand can do at Blackpool, imagine what 15-18,000 plus can do at the DW. Make it a day to remember that’s what.
No winding up the away fans, no winding up the away players either – I’ve never seen a player yet respond to ‘you’re England’s worst ever keeper/striker’ by having a stinker, it’s more likely to be the other way around. Feel free to make their life hell in other ways though if Scott Parker’s trying to pull the same stunts he has in the past and the same goes for the man in the middle. Mike Dean ain’t the best and he ain’t the worst, but that combined body of people who are meant to uphold the laws of the game owe us lots of favourable decisions for the terrible ones they’ve been giving us all season, so scream your head off every time to try and influence that man, we need the place to be a cauldron.
I know what you’re saying, we don’t like West Ham and we want to tell them how we feel. Well don’t. They have a low opinion of us, we can either make that worse or show them what great fans we are by getting behind our team for 90 minutes plus extras. Show them sympathy but no mercy. They might just think a bit more of us at the end. It might sound a bit odd in this horrible Facebook/Twitter/Internet/Social Media namecalling generation that we live in but they are just football fans like us. Respect them by not singing ‘Going down’ – after all we may be going down ourselves and definitely will be if they beat us. Concentrate on giving our own team the best support we can.
I, like the rest of you, want to watch us beat them on Sunday but win, lose or draw we need to support our team, they’ll be the ones laughing if we both go down. Let’s earn their respect not make them want to ridicule us. Let’s emulate their attitude and if we go down, go down singing and celebrating the past six years and sticking two fingers up at the establishment.
Oh by the way the real irony here is that I’m a West Stander, and I don’t sing that much these days. Yes I sit in the stand full of those ‘old people who don’t sing’. But I’ve sung up and down the country for my team over three decades now, on the terraces at Roots Hall or the Priestfield on a Friday night, just half a dozen of us in an away support of less than 50 or at Wembley with 10,000, outnumbered by nearly 50,000 Millwall ‘fans’. I’ve served my time just as some of the really old boys in the West Stand will have done in the 60’s and 70’s, singing their hearts out at Buxton and Fleetwood, before getting their scarf nicked and chased around the ground. Probably.
We’ve had a great adventure and we’ve been part of a great club, but we need to work hard to keep it great as we are yet again at a crossroads. It’s not how you react in times of success that is important, it’s how you react in times of adversity. Let’s get behind that football club like never before this Sunday and show the world the passion that we know we all have. Whether we stay up or go down, have dignity and pride always and let’s show the world it’s our club and we are proud of it.
The time has come to make a difference: To support your team again. Whether you think Roberto Martinez is the best to happen to the club or whether you hold him solely to blame for putting us in our current predicament. If you care about this club, stand and fight, don’t walk away. We’ve been in this situation before, and we’ve got out of it. Why should this time be any different?
Does the town of Wigan deserve a Premier league club? We hear t
his so many times over and over again. We might not have the greatest number of supporters but we do have some great supporters. Can those supporters make a difference for our remaining games? Can the season ticket holders turn up and make some noise: cheer, encourage, sing and roar encouragement from the first minute to the last. Can those ‘missing thousands’ fork out thirty quid for two games which could be our last two ever in the Premier League and make a difference by turning up and filling one of those much maligned empty seats instead of sitting in the pub and watching it?
Wigan Athletic’s future is at stake. IF we go down, will it be with a bang or a whimper? Do we stick two fingers up at the establishment or do we let them laugh at our demise?
Raise those fingers regardless, it’s what we’re about and sing your hearts out for the lads and for Wigan Athletic.
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