Hello fellow Wiganers, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer free of the hardships and distress that being a Wigan Athletic supporter brings. I’m sure you’re all delighted to hear, I am back and ready for the new season at Cockney Latic. I can imagine vividly the sigh of disapproval from Griff with every word I type…
With the new Premier League season less than twenty four hours from kick off, it’s about time I looked into my crystal ball and made some predictions. So here goes, month by month.
August: After thrashing both Norwich and Swansea 5-0, Wigan storm to the top of the Premier League with fans determined that this season will be theirs’. After a shaky start and a 3-0 defeat to West Brom, Alex Ferguson is worried and orders his scouts to find a like for like replacement for Paul Scholes. When he heard his scouts had came back with a ginger central midfielder with an eye for a simple pass, Fergie was delighted. He was a little more concerned when it turned out to be Ben Watson. In a similar scouting exercise, Martinez replaced Watson with midfield maestro Darren Orme. Wigan promptly lose 4-1 to QPR and fans are fearing a relegation battle once more.
September: With United struggling for form and Wayne Rooney banned for six months due to allegations about a long term affair with Will Young, Fergie looks to Gary Neville to provide the firepower. It turns out to be a shrewd decision, with United beating Chelsea 4-0 thanks to a Neville hat trick and a strike from loanee Mauro Boselli. Following that defeat, Chelsea sack Andres Villas-Boas despite being four points clear at the top of the league. The goalless Fernando Torres is sent out on loan to Cheltenham to find some form but returns after just one game because ‘there’s nowhere to buy alice bands in Cheltenham.’
October: With Blackburn dead last in the Premier League, Steve Kean is sacked and Big Sam is reinstated as manager at Ewood Park. His first move is to bring Kevin Nolan back with him from West Ham despite the transfer market being shut, as a result he has to wait until January to sign the entire Bolton Wanderers squad from 2007. Meanwhile, Delia Smith introduces a new idea to increase the amount of players per team from eleven to twelve, proclaiming: ‘We need a twelve man, where are you? Let’s be ‘avin you.’ Needless to say the idea is rejected by the FA.
November: By November, Wigan are slipping down the table without a win in six, injuries hit the squad hard and with Darren Orme the only remaining fit midfielder; Roberto Martinez decides to bring himself out of retirement and partner himself in midfield with new arrival Joey Barton. When interviewed about his latest signing, Dave Whelan claimed ‘He’s my kind of player, he didn’t cost us a penny.’ With Martinez’s man of the match performance against Wolves earning Wigan a 2-1 away win, there’s speculation about an international call up. This speculation is quickly extinguished when Jordi Gomez takes the final spot in Spain’s midfield ahead of Martinez.
December: Not even the Christmas spirit could lighten the mood on Tyneside as Newcastle mourn the loss of yet another sacked manager. Despite being surprise Champions League contenders in fourth place, Mike Ashley decides that ‘twelve months in charge is far too long for a manager and it’s time for a change.’ Joe Kinnear is reinstated as Newcastle boss and starts his reign with a 4-1 defeat to Norwich. Yet the Canaries are deducted three points for going against Premier League rules and playing twelve players for the fixture, Delia Smith just won’t give up with her insane new idea. Everton are bottom at Christmas, yet David Moyes insists there’s nothing to worry about as the Toffees are just ‘biding their time for a late surge into Europe.’
January: The transfer gossip is rife again and this means the old can of worms regarding Carlos Tevez is opened once more. Owen Coyle persuades the striker to move to the Reebok after stating that ‘Bolton is very close to Argentina and he’ll be very close to his family… in Manchester.’ Bolton don’t pay a transfer fee but promise to pay all of Mario Balotelli’s parking tickets in return. This is a crippling financial blow as by March, Garside has no choice but to sell the Reebok Stadium to the council who demolish it immediately; Wanderers are forced to ground share with Burscough Athletic as a result. Liverpool continue their tradition of paying triple the required amount to land English players by taking Ben Watson off United’s hands for £3 million, they follow this up with the signing of Teddy Sheringham to ‘provide experience up front.’ Finally, Martinez sends Mauro Boselli out on loan to Macclesfield insisting that ‘after one more loan spell he’ll be ready for top flight football.’
February: Everton finally sack David Moyes after 13 games without a win and reappoint Joe Royle who decides to hire relative Jim Royle as his assistant; being an avid Liverpool fan this causes uproar amongst the Everton faithful and sparks more riots on Merseyside. All Everton’s games are called off in February as a result, when asked about his thoughts on the matter, Joe stated: ‘I think it’s great, this month has been our longest unbeaten run of the season’ whilst Jim states ‘Riots? Relegation? My arse!’ Elsewhere, with his new look team of Bolton oldies, Big Sam’s Blackburn win all of their games this month, firing themselves up to the dizzy eights of 17th.
March: Alex Ferguson sues the Daily Mail as he claims to be the victim of phone hacking, the headline in the Mail the next day reads ‘FERGUSON IN HOWARD WEBB BRIBERY SHOCKER.’ The Sun responds by announcing ‘BARROW AFC FAIL WITH BID TO SIGN MESSI.’ Both headlines turn out to be correct, so you can’t knock either paper for reliability I suppose. Following Tevez’s departure, Man City struggle for form and Roberto Mancini is sacked following a 3-0 defeat to Bolton, in which Gretar Steinsson scores a hat trick. City carry on this season’s theme of appointing former managers as Kevin Keegan returns to the helm.
April: Newcastle sack Joe Kinnear and start their pursuit of Kevin Keegan, despite joining City just days earlier, Keegan accepts Mike Ashley’s offer of ‘we’ll keep you for as long as you rant at Fergie.’ After failing to land Joe Royle, City appoint Liam Gallagher as Keegan’s replacement. Gallagher sparks uproar as he releases Sergio Aguero with the reasoning of ‘his hair is too girly.’ City end the month with a 3-0 win over Man Utd in the derby to heat up the title race, with Gallagher stating he’ll ‘Love it if we beat them, love it!’ in a heated rant directed at Alex Ferguson and Man Utd.
May: Come what May, Man Utd are crowned champions again with a win over Sunderland on the final day. United claim a 4-0 victory with former players Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Kieron Richardson and Phil Bardsley all scoring mysterious own goals. Gary Neville thought he’d bagged the Golden Boot with an impressive 45 goals, but a hat trick on the final day meant that he missed out to 47 goal Emile Heskey. At the bottom, a last minute winner from Darren Orme earned Wigan a 1-0 win over Wolves and Premier League survival once again. The watching Fabio Capello was clearly impressed and rewarded Orme with a place in his Euro 2012 squad. Even the Royles’ best efforts couldn’t save Everton from an unlikely relegation, they were joined in the bottom three by Blackburn and Fulham. Yet Fulham are saved by the FA’s decision to relegate Swansea by default because ‘It’d be wrong to have a Welsh team in the Premier League. ‘
End of Season Awards 2011/12
Golden Boot: Emile Heskey, 47 goals
PFA Players’ Player of the Season: Gary Neville, Man Utd
Surprise Package: Aston Villa, fuelled by Heskey’s goals, manage a fifth place finish
Disappointment of the season: Everton’s surprise relegation and neighbours Liverpool, despite spending £100 million, fail to make the top 10.
That’s all from me folks, I’ll be back on Monday for the season’s first weekend review. Yet with a season preview as extensive as this, you know what’s going to happen already, don’t you?