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I ve holding my tongue recently, specifically upon seeing comments online in recent games stating that Wigan Athletic have been lucky. Lucky? Us? LUCKY? You are joking, aren’t you?! May I remind you we were 13th in the Championship, when our owner tried to liquidate us. We were then relegated on the last day of the season due to a 12-point deduction. £30million of talent sold at a derisory fraction of the price.
Then they came for our academy stars – and Premier League clubs, turning over hundreds of millions of pounds, at that – picked them off for peanuts, and now ignorantly proclaiming said players are ‘one of their own’.
All while the club that fortuitously got out of jail at our expense, who celebrated their ‘Great Escape’ in a gloating manner, are now sitting in the play-offs of a division they shouldn’t even be in. While we languish near the bottom of League One, through something that was never our fault
. And you call us lucky? Tell that to the 75 decent staff who lost their jobs! And everyone else across a whole community, who suffered during nine months of administration, as a perfectly decent football club got ripped apart. Us? Wigan Athletic? Lucky?
Someone associated with the club must have run over a lorry full of black cats in June 2020, given the events that followed and the damage subsequently done. Even now, while nature is healing and, thanks to a fantastic job by the remaining backroom team, we have miraculously turned our season around, we still don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green. W
have spent all season marooned in the bottom four, with the only consolation being that the other teams around us appear to be equally as hapless, thus meaning we don’t end up hopelessly adrift from safety. Then, oh look! What happens when we start winning a few games?
What happens is that nearly all our relegation rivals suddenly metamorphosise into variants of the Brazil 1970 World Cup-winning team, walloping teams who are chasing promotion, and thus making our own attempts to pull clear of the mire a million times harder.
Whereas a month ago, 45 points would have had anyone home and dry, it now looks like 50 points may not even be enough, as those around us suddenly can’t stop winning football matches. A complete reversal of the previous 40 games. It’s never easy, is it? So, we still have work to do and it still might go to the final day.
It would be a miracle if this team does stay up, given everything it has faced. Yet it would also be a travesty if we went down, given the superb way everyone has responded. It is in our hands, but it is far from straightforward.
I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting I spent most of the second half against Shrewsbury watching the game, while peering nervously through my fingers. Real heart attack stuff, compounded by the score flashes from elsewhere. As ever, it is the hope that kills you. We dealt with the despair and accepted it months ago. But now we’ve got renewed hope, it is all the more terrifying.