I pride myself on being a fair minded, unbiased correspondent. Alternatively, if I am going to put forward a biased opinion, I tend to put a disclaimer in at the time.
I have in the past referred to a situation where each group of supporters watching the same game often has a different lens on the same game and it certainly felt like that on Boxing Day.
The internet supporters of Shrewsbury spewed forth venom towards us post-match in perhaps what has been a stock response to those seeking to pour cold water over their unlikely rise to the top.
I personally felt that the Shrews came with a game plan, and note the use of the word personally carefully added to denote an opinion not necessarily a fact!)
The gameplan involved kicking our better players, defending to the hilt, timewasting, surrounding the ref, play acting, cynical after the ball digs and generally spoiling any attempts the home side had in trying to get a football match started.
I believe the phrase I’m looking for to describe our visitors is a colloquial term more commonly used to describe a collection of outside toilets. This opinion was more or less backed up by esteemed local journalists, Kendrick and Farrimond. Hey, maybe they’re biased too!
There’s no harm in playing that way if you’re of limited means. I’d just like them to admit it, indeed their manager more or less admitted that they had come to stop us play.
Getting their fans to admit it was a totally different story and I had two days of phone bleeping accusing my lovely Wigan Athletic of being a team of divers and a dirty side, backed up by fair play league tables and all sorts of meaningless gubbins I simply couldn’t be bothered to read.
What they couldn’t seem to get their heads around was that my opinion was based on the game itself. Maybe they aren’t a dirty team generally, but they adopted certain tactics on this particularly day designed to disrupt and stifle us in order to collect the precious points that they so wildly celebrated at the end.
That’s my opinion based on what I saw and I’m not going to change it. Morsy getting continually kicked by their captain; Shrewsbury’s number 9 continually running 30 yards to kick and provoke Nick Powell; Their ‘keeper painfully time wasting from as early as the 12th minute. These things happened, we all saw them.
And it’s fine, but a bit of honesty from their side would be nice. Instead all we got was fair play tables which are, to be honest, quite compelling evidence – but for the season not from the game on Tuesday, in which a stronger ref would have been posting a lot more Christmas cards in the direction of Shropshire.
The other comment from Shrewsbury fans was continual gloating about how they were a better side and we were bitter because they have taken 4 points off us and we hadn’t scored against them.
Fair enough but unless the league rules have recently changed, I’d say it’s a bit more important to collectively take more points off the other 22 teams in the league than the one at the top of the table.
I’ve previously had lots of praise for Shrewsbury but the victim mentality of their fans has left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth, in much the same way as Peterborough earlier this year.
Yet maybe just maybe, when I apply a different lens, we’re just bad losers (or drawers!). Maybe that’s not a bad thing if we can bounce straight back with a home win against Charlton on Friday night. Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser and all that!
It would have been nice to put our closest contenders to the sword and put them in their place but they came and did a job on us and the fallout from it has done nothing but set us up for a spicy second half of the season.