“How sh*t must you be? We’re winning away!” was the chant from the North Stand as the jubilant Fulham faithful celebrated in the face of Wiganers during another rendition of the infamous ‘Wigan Walk’. The answer to your question Fulham fans is undeniably: very.
The match was hardly set out to be a classic, two Premier League team notorious for their poor support and both had endured reasonably poor starts to the season, I arrived at the DW expecting very little. The pessimist is never disappointed I suppose?
That turns out to be incorrect as despite not expecting a great spectacle or even a Latics win, I, like any other Wigan fan, am pretty gutted about the current situation we find ourselves in.
It happens every season though doesn’t it? The same routine of struggling to win at the start; going on a mad losing run and then managing a late escape from nowhere has been the consistent script for the last six years or so. So if history is anything to go by, we can expect Premier League football at the DW again next season, can’t we?
Again, not entirely true of course, but the principal is enough to at least give us a bit of hope.
As Moussa Dembele slotted home a timid match-killing goal on 86 minutes to put the game beyond Wigan at 2-0, the depression and cynicism displayed by the boos, groans and mass exodus had a sad air of inevitability about it.
Deep down, I think in the back of out minds all of us had entertained a distinct possibility that the afternoon might end in such a disappointing fashion and the stadium would be emptier than a Spandau Ballet gig before full time.
Some though, especially the self proclaimed ‘darksiders’, will have gone to the game expecting that exact outcome and some may have even hoped for that conclusion, just so they can vent their anger at Martinez and moan for the sake of moaning. It’s as if they get some sort of pleasure from seeing their team losing for the aforementioned reasons.
I can understand why people want Martinez to get the boot, I really can. In England it’s the immediate reaction, isn’t it? As soon as the team starts losing a few, the natural instinctive ideology is that sacking the manager will restore all prosperity and form will improve immediately. This isn’t an exclusive behaviour of just Wigan fans, but English football supporters in general, look at Newcastle United’s for example.
This opinion though isn’t always a correct way of treating the situation. No matter how good a potential new manager might be, the bottom line is he can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. In the end, the players will still be the same poor players they were under the previous manager, technically anyway.
The relevance of this is I don’t think that any other manager available to Latics could do a better job with these players than Martinez, this may seem like a generic and predictable response but I believe it to be accurate. Ask yourself who could do a better job and the same old names will be mentioned: Hughes, O’Neill, Curbishley. Then ask yourself if those guys would come to Wigan. The answer is a big no I’m afraid.
Admittedly, the average squad I speak of is largely players signed by Martinez and you could point out it’s his fault he’s left with these players. Again, I’d say this is true but Martinez hardly has the budget of Roberto Mancini does he? In fact the only things he has in common with Mancini are his first name and initials, oh, and the fact he’s actually not a bad football manager.
Yes, believe it or not, Roberto Martinez is actually a good manager. Hence how he guided Swansea to their first Championship campaign in 24 years; how he managed to keep Wigan in the Premier League twice whilst encouraging ‘good football’ (no mean fete as we all know) and finally how he was targeted by Aston Villa for their managerial post.
I accept he isn’t perfect, he makes mistakes, but if he didn’t he definitely wouldn’t be the manager of little Wigan Athletic. He may not help himself with his often unjustified optimism in interviews and might never have even comprehended the concept of 4-4-2, yet Roberto Martinez is a talented manager who cares about our football club like a diehard fan. You won’t find another manager for us like that anywhere.
As the title of this article suggests, Martinez may be perceived to be fighting a losing battle as the distinct possibility lingers that we could easily get relegated from the Premier League. This is a possibility no matter who is the manager and we will go down eventually, there is no doubt about that.
The title of this article also represents how I feel trying to convince others that Martinez is worthy of his job. I couldn’t care less if I succeed in this aim or not; but I’d at least appreciate it if despite your negative opinions, you’d at least try and get behind the manager and think twice about slagging him off at every available opportunity. You’d think that we’d actually already been relegated or something.
We’re not like the Derby team of 2008 nor the Sunderland sides of 2003 and 2006; Wigan Athletic has got itself out of much darker situations in the past and can do it again.
I believe Martinez is capable of turning this club’s fortunes around better than anyone else out there. Why? Because he’s a talented manager who plays the right way and knows this squad better than anybody else. If a new manager were to come in, change the footballing philosophy and work with an unfamiliar squad, the results could be even worse.
Now I’ve got that off my chest, can I moan about something worth moaning about? The pies at the DW this season.
With this being my first home game of the season I thought I’d try out the pies as usual, now I know Poole’s don’t have a great reputation nowadays but I thought they were just about tolerable for the last few seasons and presumed this would be the case again.
After getting over the scandalous increased price of £2.20 which is a 50p increase if memory serves, I tucked into what was possibly the most bland pie ever tasted in my life. That pie is what I imagine Gary Megson’s sex life is like.
If anyone needs to be sacked, it’s whoever makes those bloody pies I reckon!
Goal of the Weekend: First of all, what a game at the Bridge! Mata, Van Persie and Walcott all scored unbelievable goals with ferocious strikes as Arsenal ended up winning 5-3. Take your pick I say.
Geoff Horsfield of the Weekend: I’ll give it to the ever reliable Emmerson Boyce who despite a poor team performance and ultimately result, was as dependable as ever and gave 100% whilst running up and down the right wing from full back. It’s just a shame not everyone has the determination and desire he does, he was unfairly substituted but he didn’t throw a tantrum, he’s no Carlos Tevez that lad.
Jeff Peron of the Weekend: It has to be John Terry doesn’t it? He followed up his racism row with a shocking mistake which gifted Van Persie a decisive goal late in the game at Stamford Bridge. It looks like his goal in between those events will be merely disregarded as a red herring and nothing more.
Quote of the Weekend: “We are sh*t!” The incredibly supportive chant heard ringing around ES2 after Fulham banged in their second goal, what do we make of its accuracy though?
Boselli Watch: After citing Titus Bramble as a role model, Mauro looked like he would get himself into a bit of trouble. Fortunately, his English isn’t too good and he confused ‘rape and coke’ for ‘cape and Stoke’. As a result, he has reportedly been spotted wearing a red and white striped Superman style cape in tribute to Rory Delap. Crackers that lad.