Time to celebrate

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It doesn’t feel a minute since that day in August when Wigan Athletic took to the pitch again. It had been preceded by a summer where supporters were unsure if the club would ever take to a pitch again.

Let alone take to a pitch against promotion favourites Derby County and not only beat them, but comprehensively beat them.

Although in some ways it feels a long time, this season has been a slog – no doubt about it.

The early autumn felt particularly pressured when Latics had a run of defeats that threatened to maroon the club in the relegation zone and although results have been inconsistent at times what hasn’t been inconsistent is Shaun Maloney’s un-wavering belief in his players.

Yeah it’s been difficult to watch at times, but hey this is football when you’re not challenging for promotion. The title winning seasons weren’t full of swashbuckling football either y’know.

The highlights for this season begin with just having a club to watch, yeah it’s a cliché but I’ll tell you what you wouldn’t be saying that if we were in the situation of Bury with our afternoon’s up-ended.

Could you imagine finding another football club to support? I couldn’t.

On the pitch highlights are numerous, despite what the naysayers may have you believe.

Big big wins at the leading sides, a double over Bolton and turning over the minus eight in the space of a fortnight is a wonderful achievement.

As is reaching the FA Cup third round against Manchester United, despite the eventual loss.

The biggest achievement by far though is Shaun Maloney and Gregor Rioch’s, doing this against a pattern of a transfer embargo and blooding nearly 50% of youngsters.

The academy has come to Wigan Athletic’s rescue on several occasions in recent years. This year it’s been a source of pride, and with more to come next season the future is definitely bright.

So as we take to the DW pitch for the final time on Saturday let’s celebrate, celebrate a year where Wigan Athletic came back from the brink and started acting like a real football club again.

Sean Livesey

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