What a weird week to be a Wigan fan. One of the greatest days in the club’s history, swiftly followed by one of the worst. MOMS spoke to Alan Moore of Wigan Supporter website ‘This Northern Soul’ to find out the mood of Wigan supporters before the now anti-climatic last day clash between Wigan and Villa.
A few weeks back, looking at Wigan’s run-in with the last five games in the space of a fortnight (including the FA Cup final), I didn’t think you’d survive this time. Although, I was surprised you didn’t win the Swansea home game; with defeat really being the nail-in-the-coffin. Did you always ‘believe’, or with the cup run and injuries, did you think it was a bridge too far?
If our recent history has taught us nothing else it’s that where there’s a chance, there’s a way. But I’ll be honest, whilst believing we could stay up, I thought that we were relegated the moment that Antolin Alcaraz left the field injured at QPR. We’d had so little defensive stability this year that it became unbelievable, and whilst I’m not going to blame injuries for relegation I reckon we’d be at least 15 points better off if we’d had Alcaraz, Figueroa and Ramis to call on all season.
Whether the cup affected our season as a whole is a really interesting question. To be honest, I think we should have been a hell of a lot nearer safety by January, you can easily point at missed wins and draws before that which would have seen is safe right now. That said When wins are at a premium, do you really wanting be wasting them on Cup games. I’ve got a hypothesis, which I wouldn’t mind testing given the research time, that players have a limited amount of success that they can call on across a season. They may over achieve some years and under achieve others, but if you’re a twenty goal man, you’ll average twenty goals, whether or not they come in the cup or league.
I’m currently wondering whether the same applies to teams as a whole. Let’s say this Latics side had 17 wins in it this year, we blew 7 of them (and two draws) in cup games. I expect it’s bollocks, but I think that the point is that the cup’s influence may have come more in terms laws of probability than it did in player fatigue and what have you.
They say being a football supporter is a range of emotions, but you’ve had the whole spectrum within a week. Bitter-sweet…or ‘sweet-bitter’, to get the order right. Personally, if I was a fan of Wigan, I’d have taken the FA Cup win, if there was the choice. That’s a potentially once in a life-time experience. How did Wigan fans feel on the whole?
Honestly, I’m totally miserable at the moment. I’m not sure why, but hope it’s more to do with being thrust into a period of uncertainty than it is losing out on another year of premier league football. Despite that, I know that I wouldn’t swap last Saturday for another year in the top flight. If we never go back again, we’ll still have our name as one of only 43 on the oldest and most respected club trophy going.
I knew that would be the case ages ago, but I’d say that the general feeling before the final had me in the minority of fans by about 60/40. I’ve not met any real live person who hasn’t changed their mind following the “I saw her face” moment when Ben Watson flicked the ball home. Those that I’ve seen on TV who haven’t changed their minds appear to be amongst our younger contingent.
The FA Cup was a massive success for Wigan (and hats off to you for it!). What did it mean to you personally and how was the banter with the Citeh fans on the day? Any good examples?
I’ve not written anything about the cup final, basically because I can’t summon up the emotional strength. You’d be excused for expecting some feelings of vindication, some use of bragging rights or massive collective “I told you so”. I’m not feeling, or particularly seeing any of that, almost if the achievement was a totally personal experience for each one of our fans.
Maybe that’s right, but maybe things have been muted because of the travails that were still to come. I guess we’ll find out on Sunday, I expect a totally mental celebration, but you can never second guess how our fans will behave.
City Fans? I didn’t see many on the day, and I’ve largely kept my council with those I’ve seen since. It wasn’t really about us beating them, it was about us winning the FA Cup.
Do you think Martinez will see the FA Cup win pretty much as his goodbye present to the club?
I hope not, and I’m too wary to say that I don’t think he will go in public. But I do keep coming back to something Paul Jewell said back in 2007 when he walked away. I’ve not got the quote but basically he said that, if we’d gone down then he’d have felt that owed us something, or had unfinished business with the club. There are those that will tell you that Bobby has taken us as far as he can, but he’s never got us promoted and he’s never managed us in Europe.
He’s got a chance to gamble the adoration he has from half our fans against total club legend status but as much as I’d love him to stay, I think it’s more important that he makes his mind up sooner rather than later. As Jim Bowen might say, He’s got the time it takes the board to turn round to make his mind up.
Which of your players do you think the Premiership club vultures will now pick off in the transfer window? Callum McManaman’s three-month lay-off might work in your favour.
I don’t think Callum is a genuine target for anyone. He’s a lot to prove at the top-level yet and is only likely to be a bit part player elsewhere. On the other hand, he can stay and build some much needed stamina by playing most games for us. I think sense will prevail.
I honestly look round the squad and only see Paul Scharner and Gary Caldwell that would struggle to stay in the Premier League if they wanted too. Scharner is only on loan and Caldwell brings a great spirit around the place so no problems on either count.
What happens in July and August will be a real test for Latics, we need stability in times like these, but the financial risks of a newly relegated over reaching are possibly too much for a club like ours.
Only time will tell, but personally I’d be locking James McCarthy, James McArthur, Ivan Ramis, Shaun Maloney and Arouna Kone in a nuclear bunker for the summer, just in case.
If the day wasn’t weird enough, having a FA Cup winning parade while the away fans mock your relegation, are you looking forward to seeing 3000 Petrovs at the DW Stadium?!
As much as some part of me says that it’s a bit corny, I really do think that a show of respect like that, if it comes off, will really be something to be proud of for you. In terms of mocking us, I won’t be paying the away end much attention on Sunday and I hope the same applies to most of the home end who be too busy celebrating the last eight years and taking the first real opportunity to thank the players for last week.
So mock away, we’ve got better things to be doing 😉
My Old Man Said (MOMS) is an award-winning football blog & podcast. MOMS is a member of the Football Supporters Association (FSA) Premier League Network Group and has been to Parliament, the Premier League offices and beyond in addressing supporter issues. UTV