At present, Wigan Athletic Football Club is a clickbaiter’s dreamland. Ever been irritated by those seemingly fabricated headlines staining the sidebar of prominent Latics news sources? In recent times, they have become pants-splittingly real.
“What Roberto Martinez is doing now will shock you.”
“Man United ace on his way to the DW?”
“Former Blues manager buys out orange soft drink company.”
Follow any of those foul-smelling Clubcall-style links and you’ll be led to… facts. Well, except maybe for the last one, which took me to a corporate spamfest for some small time YouTube ‘personality’ known as Iron Drew.
Such revelations can mean only one thing – Uncle Dave (Sharpe) is embracing the technological revolution, and Project Pagerank has been successfully initiated. Every logistical decision, from managerial changes to colour and sharpness of sporks in the DeeDub canteen, will be guided by its potential to generate luscious internet linkbait.
Flowery toilet roll in the men’s toilets? That’s Project Pagerank. Stealth banana peels on the floor of the opposition changing room? Pagerank. Jager bomb machine in the manager’s office? Project Pagerank too.
Scoreless draw with Barnsley? All part of the plan, dear reader.
The Hangover II
The first half was successful insomuch as Barnsley never managed to score because a Latics leg was always ready to nick the ball away from those stampeding Tykes. Good to see the defence had returned from its autumn break in Kerguelen.
But the opening 45 was less successful in other areas. Disappointingly, Nick ‘Niggle Prone’ Powell collapsed under the weight of his hefty new beard after exactly half an hour.
“It said 60 minutes on the label.” — Powell
Like Our Nick’s burgeoning stubble, this period would be best described as ‘experimental’ – when David Perkins is executing a moderately competent shot within the opening five minutes, it is an indication that a new, more liberal era is beginning.
And when Yanic Wildschut is your sole centre forward, you just know an ‘impartial’ content generator in Kuala Lumpur is hurriedly cobbling together his latest creamy clickbait creation. It is true, however, that Yanic covered an area the size of Barnsley in the first half… with limited success.
The contest appeared to be crawling painfully into half time, with more representatives of both teams tasting juicy surf ‘n’ turf (minus the surf). What’s that thing where you pretend to be dead for the camera? Corpsing, is it called?
But when Sam Winnall deflected Conor Hourihane’s shot past Bog Man’s panicking claws, Jordan Hugill style, a very unwelcome postcard from deepest Deepdale fell squarely onto the doormat that had suddenly appeared in Wigan’s goalmouth.
Thankfully, this particular linesman was quick to rip it to 1,001 pieces as Winnall was, in his opinion, standing in a naughty (offside) position as he guided the ball home.
…Which he was, and thank fudge for that.
Floodlight’s on fire, has anyone got a light?
The start of the second half was delayed by 10 minutes when a particularly pesky spectator would not put out his cigarette. Security would ordinarily have escorted him from the premises, but that can be nigh on impossible when the perpetrator is about 40 feet tall and made of reinforced steel.
No, it wasn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoying a half time cigar on his holiday in Yorkshire. But this game continued despite the presence of a hurriedly-alerted fire crew and loss of some floodlights.
Adam Bogdan, on the other hand, could not carry on – he tweaked a hamstring when clearing his line. In case you were wondering, we can assume this was probably not a beard related injury.
Meanwhile, Bog’s surviving team mates were piercing through the endless barrage of home pressure with the strength of 11 Bear Grylls beards. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
To start, the surprisingly beardless Craig Morgan accurately foreheaded Luke Garbutt’s corner into some flimsy advertising hoardings. And moments later, Wildschut biffed a first time ‘controlled scuff’ into keeper Adam Davies’ welcoming fingers. Strikers, so they say, are exclusively overrated.
Celebrity centre forward
But the hosts’ assault resumed as the game entered its final 10 minutes. More shots emanated from all parts of the Latics penalty area… but thankfully each and every one of them had to be retrieved from the depths of a particularly deep terrace.
Well, I lie – Hourihane did bash one into Jussi J’s grateful stomach in the third minute of five added on. And this is highly notable as it was, in actuality, their first and only shot on target of the entire game. Latics’ ‘princely’ total of 2 shots on target appeared competent in comparison.
But before you get too excited, know that Dan Burn is being lined up as Wigan’s next celebrity guest centre forward. Tune in next week as each and every ES3 season ticket holder rages simultaneously, initiating a world record chorus of ‘four four twoooooo’.
…And just wait until he scores, dear reader…