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Wigan Athletic Teletext Champs

Football journalists are seldom right. Not that your ‘reporter’ is anything close to a football journalist, but that didn’t stop him getting his (admittedly tongue in cheek, nay, flippant) predictions wildly incorrect.

Hack From The Future Part I

Since a good writer should learn from their mistakes, let’s take a closer look at why your small time internet weblogger would make a terrible horoscope writer. Johnny, boot up those teletext archives and let’s check the numbers…

Wigan v Coventry, Saturday 8 April 2016

Coventry, visiting the DW Stadium off the back of four winless outings, never once threatened to reverse this trend [Latics’ unbeaten run]. From the moment a returning Michael Jacobs opened the scoring on 32 minutes, the hosts’ afternoon was as comfortably warm as the springtime sun tanning shirtless revellers in ES2. One Will Grigg brace later, Wigan’s obscene goal difference tally had stretched beyond snapping point.

Almost right – Grigg ought to have had a brace, but missed a penalty for his second of the afternoon. However, Latics’ 1-0 victory was still relatively comfortable as they controlled the whole second half much as Jon Stoodley controls arcade video games. (Rather well, I should say.)

‘Crackers’ did make an appearance from the subs’ bench, almost setting up a goal with his first run of the game… but he did not score. Wrong again, Sherlock!

And the weather? Well, it was far from sunny, but you could still earn yourself a ‘pie gravy mixed with salty rain water’ tan* in the Benidorm (East) Stand.

*Thanks to Lennon and McCartney for that one. G’joob.

Actual score: Latics 1 Coventry 0

Doncaster v Wigan, Saturday 16 April 2016

Relegation threatened Doncaster served up an altogether different challenge, namely that normally offered by underground boxing syndicates. But Latics endured all this hostility – and an early goal against – to preserve their precious unbeaten run this calendar year. Yanic Wildschut hit twice on the break, and Grigg added some late polish to take him top of the league goal scoring charts.

Nope – wrong and wrong, silly! The league table was a big fat lie, because relegation-threatened Doncaster had actually improved since August, and there wasn’t a cheeky elbow or knee to the groin in sight.

If anything, Latics were the assailants, with the scrambling Perks collecting a seldom-spotted red card in the dying stages. He was even sprinting from the field before the ref produced his card… which is no surprise given how much that man just loves to run!

Three set pieces, three Donny goals. Finally, a weakness appears?

Actual score: Doncaster 3 Latics 1

Wigan v Burton Albion, Tuesday 19 April 2016

Next came the highly anticipated title bout with Burton Albion in front of a sold out Pirelli Stadium. Latics’ lead atop the table had grown to such an extent that victory here would confirm automatic promotion.

The out of form Brewers just about kept the pace for 50 minutes, but the latest in a long line of Max Power superstrikes shattered what remained of their ailing resolve. When substitute Haris Vuckic doubled Latics’ lead in stoppage time, the month-long party was officially started.

In actuality, the sold out Pirelli witnessed a very tense, grinding encounter with only three shots on target. But to borrow a series of poker terms, Caldwell was not prepared to gamble with his pair of twos. He much preferred to wait for a stronger hand, since at this stage, he had time and the chip lead in his favour.

To sum it up, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jussi J take so long over a single clearance… at 1-1 in the game’s 60th minute!

Actual score: Burton 1 Latics 1

Wigan v Southend, Saturday 23 April 2016

Hangover resulted in a semi-interesting 0-0 draw with Southend back at Stade DeeDub…

There was not a sore head to be found among the Latics ranks as Southend became the latest to suffer at the swift hands (and feet) of Grigg, Wildschut, Jacobs, McCann and… well, everybody.

The hosts’ afternoon was as comfortably warm as the springtime sun tanning shirtless revellers in ES2. One Will Grigg brace later, Wigan’s obscene goal difference tally had stretched beyond snapping p- wait, didn’t I say this once already?

I think a few of those topless supporters might have been hungover the following morning, however – this was the weekend Latics secured virtual automatic promotion due to their aforementioned insane goal difference. Nearly there now.

Actual score: Latics 4 Southend 1

Blackpool v Wigan, Saturday 30 April 2016

…But the real entertainment was to come the following week at Bloomfield Road. Over 3,000 travelling Latics fans witnessed a club record 8-1 victory over Blackpool, the scoresheet a veritable who’s who of Wigan Athletic in their ‘smashing’ 2015/16 season. Perkins, Morgan, Grigg, Jacobs – you name ‘em, they were all on there.

 Hey, what better way to celebrate confirming the League One title?

Alright, it was a comedy prediction. But if Chris McCann had remembered to wear his magical boots for the first half, this certainly would have been the biggest record breaker of them all.

Despite the disappointment of scoring only(!) four goals, this game was license for squad members to have entire bottles of (expensive) beer poured over their heads in nightclubs. Remember what I said about being hungover? Well…

Actual score: Blackpool 0 Latics 4

Wigan v Barnsley, Sunday 8 May 2016

Which brings us to this afternoon’s thumping 4-1 victory over Barnsley. I never would have thought Wigan could break the 20,000 spectators barrier at the DW Stadium this season, nor would I have believed Jussi Jaaskelainen was capable of scoring a hat-trick. And when Dave Whelan took the stadium mic and burst into a drunken rendition of Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, well…

There was no Whelan serenade, nor were there any goals for Jussi (he didn’t even start the game), but the total attendance was a mere 1,270 short of that mythical 20,000 mark. Of the 14,000 Latics fans present, 5,000 newcomers must have thought so-called League One ‘Champions’ Wigan Athletic were a bit rubbish on the evidence of that afternoon’s performance.

Will Griggson-Fire secured his Golden Boot with one more short range tap-in to edge out Swindon’s Ajose… but there were still no goals for David Perkins. Hence, I would deem the final six games of the season a dismal failure! Do it all again, and maybe this time I’ll stand a chance of getting my predictions correct.

Actual score: Latics 1 Barnsley 4

Results

Your reporter’s predictions: P6 W5 D1 L0

Latics’ actual performance:  P6 W3 D1 L2

Hey, at least I got the ‘played 6’ statistic right.

–Dan Farrimond, 8 May, 2016 Sports Almanac (Revised Edition)

AGL: Marty McWiseguy will be back from the future in the 2016/17 season, so remember to punch his past self in the face if you see it strolling down Library Street.

 

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