Do you remember that Neill Rimmers Perm, you know, him that wrote for This Northern Soul? He occasionally did a regular thing summarising the things that he thought you should be talking about at the game. Well he’s pulled his finger out of his backside and here he is again turning his attention to tomorrow’s visit of Blackpool to the DW Stadium.
1. “‘ere It’s Him, That Thingywassit, I’ve Not Seen Him For Ages”
In the word of that Richard off that Pointless, “Hiya”. It’s been a proper while hasn’t it? Competitions and interviews aside, the last time we spoke was in January and things have changed loads since then. The team has moved forwards in leaps and bounds and well, we’re now poised to make the play-offs.
To be fair, I can probably find forum posts that show that I always thought we’d make the play-offs, even with MC Owen Coyle in charge, but at least we’ve done it with swagger and style, rather than doughnuts and fizzy pop. Even more so, at least we now feel better about the club and the team and, whatever division we find ourselves in next season, have something to look forward to.
Which is more than you can say for today’s visitors.
2. North West Counties Championship
I miss playing teams like Preston, Bury, Rochdale and even Tranmere and think it would be great if all those teams we’ve had rivalries with over the years could be in the same division as us, or at least within a division of us. I might not lose too much sleep over it, but I’ll be sad if Blackpool get relegated this year.
Yes, I’d want to see pain and misery heaped on their (and all our rivals) shoulders, but in a way that still means you get to play (and hopefully beat) them on a regular basis. It would be great to get promoted again, but if we don’t then the prospect of playing in a division that has Bolton, Blackpool AND Preston in it has all sorts of attractions to it, and not just nostalgic ones.
So whilst I’ll be overjoyed if we get the three points on Saturday and I definitely won’t be turning tangerine, I might not be too disappointed if we don’t, I’ll definitely be wanting Blackpool to beat Charlton next weekend and (as much as it makes me feel dirty to say it) I’ll be rooting for Nob End in the play-offs.
What is that saying? Keep your friends close but your enemies closer still? That.
3. Buy Oyston, By Oyston, Bought By Oyston
The prospects aren’t great though. The last time we faced a club in so much turmoil, there were chickens on the pitch and an Antolin Alcaraz header condemned Blackburn to relegation. It now seems like tennis balls are the symbol of protest de jour (any pointers as to why would be greatly appreciated) but either way it’s good to see that fans can still come together to prove a point.
In fact, Saturday will be, at least, the third time this season that the Seasiders have done this. Firstly with their facemask protests in our away game, secondly with the aforementioned tennis ball stunt and thirdly by proving that principles nearly always go out of the window when there’s a freebee on offer.
I know it’s difficult, I can’t say what I’d do in the same position. But as much as there’s a practical “as much support as possible” element to giving away tickets for tomorrow’s game, it’s hard to imagine that Blackpool wouldn’t have brought a healthy following regardless. As far as I can see, this is a stunt by the Oystons to buy people’s loyalty for the princely sum of a ticket at the DW, and it looks like it’s worked.
4. What are they doing on that bit of grass?
I suppose it’s about time to mention some football and the burning question of which Wigan Athletic will turn out tomorrow. Our form has been sketchy of late (insert obligatory references to tiredness and squad rotation here) but Uwe seem to have hit the formula for success in the last home game against Reading. His team selection struck the right balance of energy, creativeness and resilience and the tactics used hit the spot for fans and players alike.
Burnley was a complete contrast by all accounts, seeing descriptions like “leaden”, “uninspired”, “ugly” and “down right crap” not only being applied to the home crowd. Now I’m sure Rosler will have had his reasons for the volte-face and he may well be thinking that the play-off games (which seem all but assured now) are more important than the run in. But one of the Football League’s greatest truisms is that the side the wins the play-offs is usually one that carries a bit of momentum into them and Latics are in real danger of limping over the line.
It’s just my view, but I’d love to see us really go for these last three games, the obvious prize might only be the order of the ties against QPR, but surely three good wins would put us in a great position for the sprint finish that (hopefully) will end this marathon season.
5. Limbo Dancing (or not in my case)
Tomorrow is supposed to be the last home game of the season, generally that signals a big session for me and my match-going mates. This year there’s been barely a mention of going out. Yes, it’s the last league game at the DW but what about the play-offs and what about (possibly) going to Wembley again?
It’s hard to have fun when there’s uncertainty about and that’s left us with the real possibility of our “end of season do” starting at 10 O’clock on a Monday night after we’ve just been knocked out of the play-offs. On the plus side, Mrs Perm has booked a night out tomorrow so I wouldn’t have made it anyway and at least I’ll be fresh for my cricket game on Sunday.
Hopefully you’ll all be out enjoying securing a play-off spot and celebrating the achievements of this season regardless. Enjoy yourselves and have one or two (go on, make it several) for me.
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