Today’s entry in our TNS Hall of Fame is another member of the current squad and the first of five goalkeepers to make the Top 50 list. Mike Pollitt is an interesting selection given that he has only made just over a handful of league appearances in the six years since our first season in the Premier League due to the curse of being the back up keeper.
Indeed, when the big lad from Bolton was signed a few eyebrows were raised. Our first season in the Premier League, our first signing in the Premier League and it’s a goalkeeper from Rotherham for £150k?
The above comments give the factual account of history which is almost dismissive but the emotional story around Mike Pollitt is so much more compelling.
Now 40 years of age, Mike has just signed another one year deal for a club that he has been part of the Premier League journey since day one.
While an endless supply of players have come and gone from all four corners of the globe, Mike has remained the one constant in the dressing room and whereas I’m sure he, like any other footballer would have loved a lot more game time, take a look around the dressing room and on the pitch after the game when celebrations are taking place and there is no prouder man than Mike Pollitt. Leading the party and keeping spirits up, I’m sure it’s the same when morale is low as Mike is also rumoured to be the dressing room joker, the type of player every club needs.
Even so, that alone wouldn’t necessarily merit an inclusion and Mike has undoubtedly been selected for performing heroics between the sticks during our first season in the Premier League after quickly disposing of John Filan for the number one jersey.
Nowhere was that more epitomized than that night at Highbury in the Carling Cup Semi Final when he single handedly kept Arsenal at bay, Henry, Bergkamp, Reyes and Van Persie et al. Of course, Jason Roberts will receive the plaudits that night for his winning goal and indeed every single player was a hero but if you’re looking for a man at the absolute pinnacle of his career giving Wigan Athletic fans a memory to carry with them for the rest of their lives, then Mike Pollitt is that man.
Here’s his career record in blue and white courtesy of Bernard:
Mike became Latics’ first signing as a Premiership club when they acquired his services for a fee of £150,000 on 30th June 2005. He played his first game for the club in a ‘behind closed doors’ friendly encounter against Elite 3000 during a Danish training camp on 20th July 2005. Latics won the game 5-0. He made his Latics League debut on 14th August 2005 against Chelsea at the JJB Stadium, a game that Latics lost 1-0. He went on to make 23+1 Premiership appearances and he was a member of the team that contested Latics’ first ever major Cup Final. In fact, he was instrumental in the Blues reaching the Carling Cup Final when he saved a penalty in the Semi Final, second leg game against Arsenal at Highbury.
However, the arrival of Chris Kirkland prior to the start of the following season saw Mike sitting on the bench and manager Paul Jewell decided to loan him out to Ipswich Town on 15th November 2006. However, after making just one appearance for the Tractor Boys, a 3-1 home win against Norwich City, he was recalled to the JJB Stadium on 23rd November 2006 when John Filan picked up a groin injury during a training session the previous day.
On 11th January 2007 he was loaned to Championship neighbours Burnley, making four Championship appearances for the Clarets before playing the last two games of the Premiership season. He signed on at the JJB Stadium for a further year on 20th June 2007, however, he was to add just one more appearance during season 2007/08 before signing another one-year deal for season 2008/09 and then another one for seasons 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13!
As at the end of season 2011/12 he had played 31+5 Premier League games for the club.
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