The Chimp Paradox

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The Chimp Paradox is a 2012 book by acclaimed sports psychiatrist, Professor Steve Peters.

Peters theorises that we all have an inner Chimp that can be a bit of a pain in the arse – it’s the bit of the brain which runs on emotions and gut instinct, makes snap judgements and thinks in black and white. The Chimp contrasts with the more rational part of the brain which thinks a little deeper and considers the evidence a bit more. The paradox is that we need the chimp for survival instinct etc., but if we don’t learn to control it, it will cause all manner of problems due to poor decision making.

What has all this got to do with Latics?

Well, it could be argued that The Chimp wasn’t controlled properly back in late October; Caldwell was sacked as a result of a snap judgement rather than some evidenced deeper rational thought. (If you’re willing to believe the rumours, Dave Whelan was The Chimp on this occasion, flinging sh*t in his enclosure back in Barbados.)

Have Wigan Athletic controlled The Chimp a little better this time around?

You’d be hard pressed to find many Latics supporters who think that the sacking of Joyce is a snap judgement. The evidence to support the decision has certainly been stacking up for quite a while, it’s probably just that recent results against relegation rivals have been the final straw. For all the talk of Joyce being chosen as a man for the future, with a remit to develop youth players, I don’t believe for one minute that the sole target he was given when appointed back in November wasn’t just to keep the club in this division.

As you look at the current league table, he’s failed. We’re four points from safety, with just nine games left, and the two teams above us are those we lost to most recently; Blackburn and Bristol City. If we had won those two games we’d be on 40 points and five clear of the bottom three.

The Future

The club statement released yesterday announcing that Joyce had gone along with the recently appointed Andy Welsh, also informed us that Graham Barrow had taken the reins till the summer. We can then see where we are, and look to appoint a permanent replacement. If as expected, we have been relegated, it will be interesting to see who we can attract. Recent managerial appointments have seldom followed a philosophy, unless of course that philosophy has been to find “the complete polar opposite of the last fella”.

Despite winning the League One title last year, certain sections of our support were quick to denigrate the achievements of Caldwell, Barrow et al by stating as a matter of fact that “a chimpanzee could have won that league…”.

Here at The Pie At Night, we like to think a little differently. Rather than wait till the summer to begin the search, we thought we’d help the club by collating a shortlist of suitable candidates for the job…

In order to widen the field and also because we would probably be breaking some rules around discrimination, we decided not to limit the shortlist to just chimps, but also to include other apes and primates.

It’ll be interesting to see if a) they can pass the clubs’ obviously very stringent interview process (“Good evening Mr Chairman” *shudders*) and b) whether then they really can win the league like all the experts said they could…

Here are our top five candidates:


Clyde the orang-utan, star of Every Which Way But Loose alongside little known actor Clinton Eastwood Jr. is the perfect candidate for the job. It is alleged that he was beaten to death by his trainer after filming on set finished, however as it’s never been proven he could still be alive. Imagine him prowling the technical area, as assistant manager Graham Barrow shouts “Right Turn Clyde” from his spot on the bench just as their winger is flying down the touchline. A quick swing of his right arm and the lad goes sprawling as a result of what can only be described as a technical foul to stop the opposition breaking. Then he’d flash the ref a big stupid toothy grin and get away with it. I for one, would love to see that; every club needs a sh*thouse and why couldn’t ours be Clyde?

Ham, (the first Chimp in space)

It’d have to be ‘The Ghost Of’ as unfortunately Ham died in 1983. His credentials however are as follows; he came through a rigorous selection process and beat 39 other candidates to become the Tim Peake of the Astrochimp world, therefore the relatively easy interview for the Wigan Athletic manager’s job should be a piece of p*ss for Ham. “Football is a simple game, complicated by idiots” is how someone once described it, but a chimp that has piloted a rocket could never be described as an idiot. The fact that his one task on said rocket was to pull a lever every now and then is neither here nor there. There’s been a few times this season when you could say Latics have been devoid of inspiration – I reckon the players couldn’t help but be inspired by Ham’s anecdotes from his time in the space programme.

Bubbles (Michael Jackson’s pet monkey)

Bubbles, one time pet of mega pop star Michael Jackson, has the main advantage of definitely still being alive. Currently residing at the Centre for Great Apes in Florida, he was apparently sent there after he got too big and too violent to cope with sometime back in 2003. He could be just what this team of sh*tehawks need – a proper kick up the a*se and a bit of fear of failure. There’s also the added bonus of the obvious media attention this would bring to the club, we lose the parachute payments at the end of this season – maybe we can get Bubbles to pen his memoirs – (on a typewriter obviously, Shakespeare fans) – as he must know most of Jackson’s darkest secrets.  We could use the money raised to top up the warchest for the inevitable summer squad overhaul. (One thing to watch out for – Bubbles apparently attempted suicide once, and also set fire to Jacko’s Neverland ranch. Wigan Athletic could be the one thing that finally pushes him over the edge.)

Mr. Shifter (PG Tips advert)

Mr. Shifter is one of the PG Tips chimps from the famous 1970s TV advert. In the advert, him and his mate are trying to move a piano down a flight of stairs. Despite it constantly being said that Latics are “a lot more solid” at the back, we still seem to keep losing a lot of games. There’s also a lot of players in the squad who allegedly aren’t up to full fitness. This is where Mr. Shifter comes in. Those players that sometimes look like they are running with a piano on their backs will have a chance to do just that in training, a week of doing so means that come Saturday afternoon carrying no piano they’ll all turn into Usain Bolt and give the team that injection of pace it is sadly lacking. Nevermind parking the bus, let’s get Mr. Shifter to wheel the piano onto our goal line and use it to block half the goal. Maybe then we might stop leaking goals and keep losing 1-0.

Peter Reid

He’s got a monkey’s head (see graphic above). He’s also got a wealth of management experience although recently, the level at which he has been working has involved the Thailand National Team (insert <eyes emoji> here), Mumbai City FC in India, and presiding over the recent relegation of that team up the road in Horwich (as their assistant manager). Despite having way more footballing experience than all the other monkeys featured on our shortlist put together, none of the others are ex-Bolton b*stards. Surely we’ve managed to control our inner Chimp by now and realise that it’s too many ex-Bolton b*stards which is the root cause of all of Latics’ recent problems, or is that too obvious?


So there you have it… Sharpey and Jonathan Jackson, over to you.


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We promise you that it’s easier to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t have to rely on us to remind you when a new episode comes out.

Apple sorts can find it on iTunes here –

If you prefer a different podcast app then just search for “The Pie at Night Podcast”.

You can also find us on Stitcher, here –

If you’re that way out, you can find and subscribe to our RSS feed here –

And if you just want to take pot luck then you can find all our episodes on our Soundcloud page

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