I Heart Wigan Athletic??

wigan athletic

At the risk of sounding like that idiot, Sepp Blatt, I probably would watch more football if the men wore hotpants (as sported by Aussie Rules Footie players).  (Blatt infamously said the womens’ game would be better if the women wore shorter shorts, presumably with no knickers and then end the match with a massive foam party pillow fight, god he is such a knobhead!)

Anyway, even my attention was drawn to Saturday’s FA Cup final. And I have Radio 4 to thank for it, who interviewed David Whelan, Chairman of Wigan Athletic, before the match.  Oh my god, he was such a cute grandad that I resolved to watch the match.
David had played professional football as a young man.  In 1960 his team managed to get to the FA cup final and the poor boy, his leg was badly broken in the first half!  As he was about to go under anaesthetic, a doctor told him that his team had lost 3-0 and he had burst into tears.  His leg never recovered, for which he received £100 compensation.

He bought a market stall, then a grocery shop and then a sports shop which became JJB Sports which he sold for millions and bought Wigan Athletic FC.  On Saturday his dream of returning to Wembley had come true as Wigan were in the final against Man City, one of the richest teams in the world.

The captain and the Wigan players wanted him to walk on to the pitch first, “I have unfinished business at Wembley” he said in a delightfully romantic 1960s way.

The interviewer noted the lack of bitterness in David’s voice “how can I be bitter? If god has touched you to become one of the few boys in the world to play professional football, well you are one of the luckiest boys in the world”.

And what a match it was!  Everyone in my local was supporting Wigan for the same reasons as I was and the match was incredible. Wigan played an immense match against some of the best international players in the world and SCORED in the last minute of the game with 3 mins extra time to go!  It was one of those impossibly rare romantic moments in sport that the corporate image of football had almost destroyed! You should have seen David’s face! What a joy to watch, Well Done Wigan, how fabulous you are! You beat a bunch of overpaid flapping and diving divas and you played an excellent match and thoroughly deserved to win.

Bunty

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