Despite the discontent that never seems too far away from the minds of some Latics fans, and you’re lying if you say you can’t tell that some people are just waiting for the first slip up to pounce on Jewell or the players, now is a good time to be a blue. I’m still not used to the idea of being in the First Division, sorry Championship, yet – let alone that we nearly made the play offs last year and look like doing as well if not better this season. At the time of writing we’re top of the table, had a 17 game unbeaten start to the season and are finally getting some good press (although it’s not quite spread to the WEP as yet) and have the best first team we’ve ever had. I’m just sitting back with a smile on my face and enjoying the view. Here are some of the things I’ve seen along the way.
Not strictly this season, but the 5-0, no 6-0, erm 5-0 win at the little oranges was a cracking day. Yes we lost count, I blame it on the sunstroke I got from sitting in that open stand. The game itself was so unremarkable that I didn’t bother employing the bragging rights that it earned me at work. It did go some way to show how far we’ve come, and was a great way to end pre season, and how can you argue with an afternoon by the seaside? Per Frandsen We haven’t seen anything spectacular from the big Dane, and we probably won’t see any more from him either, but he was a clear step up in class. He had his critics, but I never saw that and am sure that he would have won them round before the end of the season. For me the only ex Noblot player I’ve been happy to see pull on our shirt.
For the first time in recent history (whisper this) other clubs actually seem to want our fringe players. Viera at Carlisle, Flynn at Blackpool and Mitch at Swindon were all wanted for long-term loans (or permanently); two clubs actually fell out over the signing of Neil Roberts. We’ve also got kids out at Morecambe and Bradford Park Avenue. The loan signings that we’re attempting to make are also of a higher calibre (Darren Fletcher or Drew Broughton anybody?). Surely a sign of the times.
Who’d have thought it? Are we that much better than latst season? Are that that much worse? Or is it simply that our players now know they can hold their own against the big boys? 3-1 away has got to be a good result in anyone’s book, but after last season this was sheer joy. Leeds Like the West Ham game I wasn’t actually there, but what a moment it was when the second goal went in, confirming what we’d been telling Leeds fans all week – this was their cup final not ours.
Yet another benchmark. The 1-1 at our place last season was one of my highlights. Their midfield looked superb. This year it was a walk in the park for our boys, can things really be this good?
A strange one to feature in a highlights package, but the defeat had to come sooner or later, and sooner is usually better. We were taught a lesson about taking our foot off the gas (even if it was because the lads were knackered and bruised) and we can now get on with the real business of seeking promotion, without the albatross of an unbeaten run on our back. It should also see the back of that “we are unbeatable” chant – joke or not it was a bit silly.
Another thing to whisper, but have you read the papers recently? People are sitting up and realising that we’re on to a good thing here. Lazy journalism now means talking about the chairman’s quest for Europe, how far we’ve come in a short space of time and our away following; rather than pies, our crowds and eggs. This all seemed to start around the Leeds game and the broadsheets in particular are picking up on the bandwagon. There’s now a real chance of Rodders relenting under pressure from the rest of the Soccer Saturday crew (then again maybe not). Long may it last, and you never know we might get a decent piece in the Rugby Post soon.
One thing or another (lazyness, a young child, money and work for starters) mean that I haven’t been away yet this season, but unless WISH have started mic-ing up the away end, it sounds like every other fecker has. Loud and proud – keep up the good work boys and girls! So there you have it, by now means everything worth talking about this season, but some of the highlights as I see it. You’ll have your own and feel free to let us know what they are.
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