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Green soccer ball
The green 'soccer ball' has already been trialled in an international friendly between Germany and USA.

Oh, didn’t you hear? They’re trialling a new grass green coloured football in the Northern Premier League next season. Wigan wildlife activist Alf Hart has backed this move, claiming the current shade of white is ‘too startling’ for protected species of pigeons that have made their home in the West Stand camera gantry.

Yeah, I read that too… on Saturday, April 1st. Well, this is the age of fake news, so why shouldn’t I reheat that cold, lumpy leftover gravy of an April Fools’ joke for midweek consumption? And please don’t say “because it’s worse than the second teletext subpage that never arrives”. You can probably tell I’ve never forgiven Ceefax for that prank.

Speaking of pranks, Sharpy has this week condemned the jokesters that left five boxes of ‘Wigan Athletic Strikerless Matches’ next to the wood burning fire in his office. “It’s not true,” he growled. “Omar Bogle might be out for the season, but we still have Mikael Mandron!”

WAFC strikerless matches
You can still get them to work, though!

Thing is, Sharpy… mmm, how to put this delicately? Mike Mandron… well, he didn’t even make the bench tonight. (“Oh, this never would have happened under King Joyce!” — Ed.)

“S’alright anyway, Mickey Jacobs and, erm… Ryany Colclough can do it. It’ll be reet,” announced Graham Barrow through a mouthful of pre-match decaf with double cream.

Don your colander helmets (or a blindfold) for this.

In an opening 20 minutes characterised by quiet circumspection, shots on goal proved more difficult than the fabled voice activated photocopier. Haha, who would fall for such a thing? Perhaps the type of person who might stumble, allowing Myles Kenlock to intercept and slide in David McGoldrick for a gift wrapped triple choc Easter egg of a goal?

One might forgive a solitary error such as this, especially since culprit Craig Morgan has been relatively reliable of late. But there was one slight problem, my dear readers: this wasn’t the Wigan Athletic backline’s only mistake of the half.

In the face of… let’s say moderate pressure (in the most political of senses), Jake Buxton soon filed an application for The Goofy Club with his very own ‘ha… oops guys, dunno how that happened’ moment. Maybe he even let out an aggrieved ‘hyuk’ or ‘wahahoooie’ as Freddie Sears glided through via McGoldrick for 2-0.

Goofy
“Hey, don’t you dare drag me into this!”

Time for some minutiae, Sir?

Here’s a poser of Only Connect proportions for you discerning pub quizzers: in what situation would a substitution count towards neither team’s allocation?

Well, there are many possible answers to that question, but in this particular You Are The Ref situation, it was because referee Andy Davies was the one being substituted. Vital Wigan hastily scrabbled through its ‘Meet the Ref’ archives for info on the new whistleman, one Darren ‘The Walking’ Deadman.

…Yeah, he of Wigan 1 Bradford 0 non-fame! You remember him, don’tcha? Ipswich fans clearly did – ‘The Deadster’ was welcomed with the warmest greetings a referee might ever have received in the history of football.

Do the Bartman

As the second half commenced, Latics’ ‘walkers’ wandered gradually from their own turf to the ‘Swich goalmouth.

Jamie Hanson smashed two free kicks towards Morgan, now semi-camped in the opposition area with his anti-zombie device (a shovel). The first was headed firmly at ‘keeper Bartosz Białkowski (I swear I didn’t just paste this spelling from Wikipedia), while the second slid 1.2 miles (Wikipedian estimate) wide of the Bartman’s post.

Between Ipswich’s obligatory stampedes towards a determined Matty Gilks, Colclough also warmed Bartie Bassett’s fingers with a Heskey-esque (Hesque?) swivel shot. With skill like that, who needs genuine centre forwards?

(Correct answer: Wigan Athletic.)

Honk and wave
Ever had one of those days?

“Screw it, get Obertan on,” mumbled Graham Barrow through his fourth extra large cup of full caff. And so Gabby O waddled up alongside Gilbey, Colclough, Jacobs and basically everyone else in the final third.

“But what about the defence, Bazza?” came a weak voice from the Wigan bench. He had a point – Freddie Sears had just drifted through a largely vacant Latics defence to register his side’s third goal of the evening.

“Shurrup, nobody likes a smart bottom*,” replied Barrow. Both he and said smartarse** knew full well this was the detritus of another doomed experiment — the 2016/17 season, that is. And since you probably knew that too, I’ll slip quietly out of the back window.

*Word replaced with pre-watershed synonym for your Mary Whitehouse convenience.

**Word not replaced because I just remembered Mary Whitehouse isn’t a thing any more.

Second opinion

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