Saturday 21st April 2018 was the marker we had for Latics’ promotion party. If things carry on as now then that may well be done and dusted earlier. The Fleetwood game is still going to be a big one though as Joseph’s Goal and Emmerson Boyce are challenging you to Walk For Joseph. Led by Boyce, a proud ambassador for the charity, and joined by a number of Latics celebrities along the way, the walk will leave the Wigan Athletic Training Centre at Euxton on Friday, April 20, and include an overnight stay on route – as well as numerous food and ‘refreshment’ stops – before arriving at Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood in good time for the big game.
All funds raised will go towards vital research into NKH, the rare genetic disorder that little Joseph Kendrick – Wigan Athletic’s lucky mascot at the 2013 FA Cup final – suffers from.
As part of the build-up to this event, Joseph’s Goal set up a date between Jimmy and Emmerson to talk about… well, read it yourself, for the latest issue of the Mudhutter fanzine. Limited numbers of copies are available from this link or from the usual stockists around town.
“I’ll go down in Manchester United history anyway! It’s nice to be remembered for something…”
Do you think you’ll still be spoken about in 100 years’ time?
“You never know! Unless Wigan win the FA Cup again, I’m sure we’ll be remembered in the town for many years to come. Hopefully, Wigan will win it again in the next 100 years, but it will still be a remarkable achievement to have been the first team to do it. On a personal note, what happened that day was definitely the highlight of my career.”
Did you fully appreciate the European campaign at the time, and being captain?
“To be quite honest I don’t think I probably fully appreciate that even now. People ask me about it all the time, and it still feels like a blur looking back. Winning the FA Cup and then playing in Europe within a few months, it was a whirlwind. Obviously, as a player, you want to play in Europe, and test yourself against the best in the world. For a club like Wigan to do that, playing against some clubs that are now in the Champions League, is something we’ll never forget.”
Any plans to go into management one day?
“My mind is slowly but surely changing on that. I’m coaching in the Wigan Academy at the moment and enjoying it a lot. I’m being shown the ropes by a lot of great staff, and I’m learning so much. It was something I thought about as a player, but I was never sure. You can never say never, but it’s something I’m moving more and more towards. Whether that would be with a club or with the Barbados national team, we’ll see. But at one stage I think I’ll take the plunge and see if it’s for me or not.”
You’re obviously still involved with Barbados…have you spotted any future stars Wigan should be keeping their eye on?
“We’ve got so many players over there that are potentially very good. Obviously, a big problem is the work permit situation, and getting them over here in the first place. But hopefully one day we’ll see a pathway of players coming over, and give them a stage on which to perform.”
Are you the biggest star to come out of Aylesbury? And if not, who is?
“Ha, that’s debatable! In terms of winning stuff, probably! There have been a few players who’ve played for Watford…Cliff Hercules is the biggest legend at Aylesbury United.”
What’s Aylesbury like as a town?
“It’s a nice, little market town, outside of Watford and Luton. It’s not dissimilar to Wigan.”
What’s the worst foul you ever committed?
“It’s probably the foul on Wayne Rooney at our place that led to the penalty that helped Manchester United clinch the Premier League title (in 2008). My son keeps pointing it out to me whenever it’s on TV…I’ll go down in Manchester United history anyway! It’s nice to be remembered for something…”
Any regrets in your career?
“No, not at all. I’m one of those people who will always appreciate what I had, and I can’t complain. I managed to play until I was 36, and that’s a lot longer than most people get. I won the FA Cup, played in the Premier League, against some great teams, some great players, in some great stadiums. I represented and captained my country – stuff I never even dreamed of. The only slight regret I have is during my last season at Blackpool, I maybe didn’t give enough back to the younger players, in terms of the influence I had. I still think now I could have done more to help them, especially the first-year pros. Obviously, things didn’t go according to plan for me there.”
Did you ever come close to leaving Wigan for a bigger club?
“You never know how much truth there is in transfer speculation, but my agent told me a few times there were clubs interested. You never know though until a concrete bid comes in. From my point of view, I was at a club I was very happy at, in the Premier League, and my kids were happy around here. Obviously, the way it ended was a bit disappointing, but looking back on the whole time I was there I couldn’t really fault it. I had a fantastic career.”
Who was/is your best friend in football?
“From my Luton days…Michael Leary and Adrian Forbes, from my Wigan days…Maynor Figueroa and Emile Heskey, who I still speak to. At Wigan, we had a lot of foreign players who went about their own business but having those in the dressing room helped me to learn about different cultures. That was a real eye-opener for me.”
Favourite manager and why?
“There’s a few – Lennie Lawrence gave me my chance at Luton, Iain Dowie gave me my big chance in the Premier League and he always believed in me, Paul Jewell brought me to Wigan, I enjoyed working under Steve Bruce, and Roberto Martinez for how we played football. I feel like I’ve taken something from every manager I played under – good and bad.”
Are your kids any good at football?
“My eldest, Jayden, is very good, very quick, so he has a chance. Kylan is also getting into it, but he also likes golf, and he wants to be an architect! I just want to let them do whatever they enjoy. If football comes about, then great. But my little girl, Amaya, is probably better than them both so maybe she’s the next superstar!”
Are they still Wigan fans?
“Yes they’re still big fans, they still have their shirts and their posters. All they knew was Wigan for so many years. When I did leave, they couldn’t quite understand why I was wearing a different badge in a different colour!”
What’s your order from the chippy?
“I’d have to say a Wigan pie, with some chips! I’m not too sure about mushy peas…maybe some extra chips on there.”
Who’s your inspiration in life?
“My family – my parents and my grandparents – have always inspired me…Lucy…my kids… Outside the family, you’ve got Barack Obama…Nelson Mandela…Malcolm X – people I’ve read about and their struggles. In sport, there’s Michael Jordan…Ian Wright was my footballing hero when I was a kid. In general, just people who have tried to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Describe Emmerson Boyce in three words…
“Living the dream.”
Thanks to Emmerson, Joseph’s Goal and The Mudhutter for the use of their words. Now do your bit and join in on the Walk For Joseph. If you would like more information, or to register your interest, email firstname.lastname@example.org