It’s been another gripping week in the life of Wigan Athletic as they go in search of what would be an unprecedented League One and FA Cup double.
Latics looked likely to be on the end of a surprise defeat at home to Scunthorpe United on Saturday but they rescued a vital point with a late Gary Roberts equaliser to keep them in the hunt for automatic promotion. The players showed their grit and determination to keep going even when they weren’t at their best.
Latics players then had to deal with a difficult away fixture at Bradford City. Their character and promotion credentials were once again tested on a terrible pitch and in blustery conditions.
Due to the adverse conditions they had to ditch their normal passing game and resort to some long ball tactics. The omens weren’t good but they still managed to be the dominant team and created plenty of chances.
As time ticked away the match looked to be heading towards a draw but the players once again demonstrated their never-say-die attitude.
In added time Will Grigg played a neat pass to Michael Jacobs just inside the area and the winger produced a superb finish to give Latics a huge boost in the race for automatic promotion. It was a great moment for the players and fans as they celebrated what could be a crucial three points.
It’s likely to be a rollercoaster of emotions before the end of the season but we should all embrace the experience rather than be fearful of it.
In recent times we’ve been very lucky to have eventful seasons. No dull mid-table finishes for Latics; it’s promotion races or relegation battles, incredible FA Cup wins or near misses.
But there are still some Latics fans that will never be satisfied. Unfortunately we seem to have a significant element that will always look for the negative, I call them the doom-mongers, and they always seem to expect the worst to happen.
The boos at the end of the game with Scunthorpe are symptomatic of some fans’ expectation that every single game is going to be won and that draws and defeats are not part of football.
This is the modern malaise. In our modern consumer society we demand instant gratification, we are being conditioned to expect instant sporting success and losing cannot be understood as part and parcel of the game.
That is why it is so much easier to follow the Big Six teams at the top of the Premier League. They have seemingly limitless amounts of money, they have the most expensive players from around the world and they play in super stadiums.
They win almost every week, and when they do lose, the fans find it very hard to cope and produce hysterical responses. ArsenalFanTV being a prime example of fans that have lost a sense of perspective.
Latics have the exciting prospect of an FA Cup quarter-final against Southampton on Sunday and we should all fully enjoy the moment.
Southampton this week sacked Mauricio Pellegrino and appointed Mark Hughes on Wednesday night. Latics will be hoping that the Saints don’t get the new manager ‘bounce’ following Hughes’ appointment.
Latics are certainly capable of causing another upset after already defeating three Premier League clubs including the Champions elect Manchester City, but whatever happens please support your team and enjoy the rollercoaster ride.
This article was first published in the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 16th March 2018.