“An away draw is worth 30,000 Championship points. And free pie and peas at half time.”
…So goes the Ancient Wiganese proverb, the revered Law of the Beamback. Though this may at first seem erroneous, Statman’s trusty exercise book seems to indicate that ‘beamed back’ Latics matches are three and a half times as tough to win.
One might attribute this to home sickness or coach lag – places like Norwich and Millwall are far enough away to be in separate countries, after all.
And it doesn’t help that these games are held exclusively on weeknights. Very few players would enjoy a 9AM three-and-in session on Wednesday morning, certainly not after bussing back to Wigan Wallgate on the rail replacement service just 75 minutes prior.
Latics Player A: “Hey Gaffer, can we stop off at that petrol station? I want to buy some matchsticks to keep my eyes open.”
Caldwell: “Zzzz snore… wha- offside, lino!”
But the most likely reason is karmic penance. The Big Man in the Sky (sometimes known as Andy Liddell) hates televised games, and is of the opinion that video cameras are eating away at the modern game like a worm burrowing through a rotten apple. So he awards Beamback matches to the home side in hopes the fixture will be shifted back to a Saturday afternoon next season.
Ahah, wait a second, folks! My researchers are handing me a definitive answer to this question right now. Apparently, Wigan are just pants away from home.
Take that, Big Man in the Sky.
And the Grant Holt Memorial Trophy for Screw Up of the Match goes to…
Back at Carrow Road, the Bog Man on the ground was busy earning himself a Sainthood from the home faithful. Variously described by irate Beambackers as ‘ruddy stupid’, ‘the worst goalkeeping I have ever seen’ and ‘just plain comical’, his little game of chicken with the Norwich front line simply could not go unpunished.
What actually happened? To put it in a sentence: the Bogster tripped over a quick goal kick one-two with a defender on the edge of his area, allowing Jacob Murphy a FREE GIFT of one Championship goal. Forgetting the fact livelihoods and drunken accumulator coupons were at stake here… it was actually quite funny.
When Murphy bundled home at the back post for a second FREE GIFT of one goal, 100+ accusing Beamback fingers were immediately waved at a cowering Bogdan. His initial palm clear was not strong enough to push Wes Hoolahan’s strike clear of danger, and Latics were being smashed.
Extirpated, Muller Cornered. Annihilated, skunked. Owen Coyled, Uwe Roslered.
Dude Looks Like Robbie Brady… won’t be needed today.
Though the visitors never did quite recover from these fatal misdemeanours, they gave it a darn good try. And the Big Man in the Sky loves… er, Barry Cryer. Wait, what did I just say?
Anyway, Latics began by seizing the possession stat from a quite frankly compliant Norwich side – two goal leads can have an oddly tranquillising effect on your squad.
“Mmmmmwhaaaa?” — Norwich defender hoofing clear another probing high ball in psychedelic slow motion.
Will Grigg fought a solo battle in the first half, flinging his entire body weight behind a goshdarn concerted effort to win a 35th minute penalty. But of course, ref Keith Stroud isn’t stupid enough to fall for something like that.
…Nope, of course he isn’t!
But the visitors only exhibited their actual potential once speedy wingmen Yanic Wildschut and Nathan Byrne arrived to play. In combination with a suddenly magnificent Jordi Gomez, they set about erasing that flabby self-inflicted deficit with some accomplished triangle passing.
As a result, the Spaniard’s 72nd minute goal certainly wasn’t unjustified. Nathan Byrne rolled an inviting ball into the D for the daring J-Go to caress past Michael McGovern’s despairing left hand, and the domineering Wigan were competitive once more. Scaramouche!
However, the aforementioned Canaries keeper would have his revenge.
First, he hurled himself backwards to lever Billy Grigg’s header from his very goal line with a leap of impeccable timing and acrobatic dexterity. Ballerinas worldwide will be scrutinising their VHS recordings of this save for decades to come… or at least until the tape wears out.
And in the final minute, he reacted quickest to stop a Wildschut carpet-roller from sneaking through every pair of legs into the corner of his agonisingly open left hand post.
…All to maintain the Beamback curse, of course. It’s all for the greater good of the game, you understand! Down with televised matches etc.!
Now, when’s the Preston-Latics game being screened? Think I might invest in one of those Big Man in the Sky Television subscriptions…