The joy of supporting your local professional football club and despising your second closest team has been around for as long as anyone can remember.
Recently we have built up a rivalry with ‘the new enemy’, Bolton Wanderers, following that simple logic. It makes football increasingly interesting for neutrals – and for individuals, following your team that bit more exciting.
I always looked for our matches against United, Liverpool and Everton first in the early Premier League days… and then Bolton and Blackburn, both of whom I didn’t really give a sh*t about at the time in all honesty.
I suppose the more we became disinterested with top flight football and all its glamour, the more we found our rivalry with those from Horwich intensify.
Bolton’s quest for a rivalry with United finally ended when City became a side Caleb Folan would never be able to score against again – nor could Premier League opponents rely on Richard Dunne to score 10 own goals a season anymore.
Since then the tension between ourselves and Noblot has grown substantially, bringing along spite and a selfish short term outlook in recent months from our side of the fence.
Bolton’s financial difficulties had HMRC backing them into a corner, almost sending the Trotters into administration.
The response to this by a section of Latics fans was quite frankly ridiculous.
Baying for the blood of Bolton Wanderers – bringing about hundreds of job losses and the dismantling of a football team that community thrives upon – is not what supporting Wigan Athletic is about.
To wish for such ills on any team, especially one locally, shows how what was until 10-15 years ago a non-rivalry has transformed into a daily battle between both sides.
And the reason such Latics fans give for genuinely wanting to see an AFC Bolton Wanderers appear at Daisy Hill and Ashton Town is “they laughed when we went down and said they hope we go bust”.
It’s never explained who ‘they’ are, although I assume it isn’t the employees of Bolton Wanderers, nor community groups that depend on the town’s football team or even the majority of Wanderers supporters.
Imagine if Wigan Athletic were liquidated, a distinct possibility before the turn of the millennium had Dave Whelan not bought the club in 1995. I don’t think I need to explain the heartbreak that would have caused back then to many around the Wigan area.
At least we would never have been forced into watching Marcelo Moreno play for Latics. What a f**king hipster of a striker he was. Also, we probably wouldn’t have ended up complaining about having to go to Wembley again and again.
I haven’t missed playing Bolton this season, especially with all the Lancashire and Yorkshire teams in League One – dull moments have been few and far between. Though I must confess I was at Bolton’s match at home to Fulham earlier in the season. It’s mad what that away end looks like when you’re sober, I’m telling you!
But I couldn’t go through another couple of years without a trip to the Macron and I’m sure most reading this would agree. We need each-other because we thrive off each-other.
Latics v Bolton is a huge fixture for both sides, and that alone (forgetting about the negative impact it would have on the town of Bolton) is enough for us to hope that the poor buggers stay afloat.