FA Cup champs Wigan Athletic made history twice over at Wembley after becoming the first team ever to forget to pick up their winners’ medals!
After defeating Manchester City through Ben Watson’s injury-time header, Wigan’s players nearly left Wembley Stadium without their personal mementos after a bizarre mix-up during the post-match presentations.
According to the time-honoured tradition, the Latics made their way off the national stadium’s hallowed turf and scaled the stairs to the royal box to receive their medals and the cup from Football Association chairman David Bernstein.
But after presenting medals to the first four victorious players in the queue, the former Manchester City chairman appeared to be distracted from his task of giving out the spoils of victory.
As Bernstein turned to speak to someone else in the box and then reached for the trophy to give to captain Emmerson Boyce and defender Gary Caldwell, the rest of Wigan’s team filed past him eager to touch the silverware.
In the ensuing euphoria and explosion of ticker tape which greeted the cup being hoisted aloft in front of more than 20,000 delirious Latics fans, none of the players thought to trudge back the way they had come to pick up the little boxes they were supposed to have been handed.
It was not until much later that evening that some of Wigan’s entourage realised their victory was not quite as complete as they had thought.
Only Boyce, Shaun Maloney, James McArthur and Antolin Alcaraz had trousered their medals at the proper moment.
Speaking at his press conference yesterday, Roberto Martinez said: “I don’t really know what happened. I haven’t seen any players with a medal.
“I think it’s just a formality and they will send them across. I never got a medal, the manager didn’t get a medal.
“The protocol should be that you get 18 medals, plus the manager, on the day and then you get the rest to take home, but something happened there.”
While the lack of medals initially sparked lively rumours, such as the suggestion the FA had already engraved the medals with the name of Latics’ vanquished opponents and had to hurriedly dump them in a skip around the back of Wembley, it eventually transpired what had actually taken place.
The cup was handed over without the medals being presented as the cue for the handover of the trophy to the winning captain is when the manager enters the Royal Box.
The FA gave 19 medals to the club’s chief executive Jonathan Jackson, who will now have to hand them out to their rightful owners, before Latics left the capital.
The winners were not the only ones to be somewhat careless with their medals, with photographs posted online appearing to show a bin in the Manchester City dressing room containing several runners-up’ prizes.