WIGAN Athletic’s obituaries were written many months ago.
After a dismal first two thirds to the season, there were few who were prepared to defy with any confidence the doom-mongers and those who would like to see the club relegated because it doesn’t have as many fans as other teams (as if that automatically invalidates a place in the top flight).
I watched the Swansea game, having invited some relatives over from Yorkshire and, frankly, found it all a bit embarrassing.
While explaining to our guests that Wigan weren’t usually this bad and that things could only get better, I didn’t really convince myself let alone them, although I did mellow my views a tad after hearing the trouble Snr Martinez was having with several of his top players’ having competed in internationals overseas a few days earlier.
But the team’s prospects still looked grim. As it turned out though, that Swansea match was pretty much the nadir.
Thereafter a resurgent Latics have only lost twice: once to a last minuter from Fulham and the other to FA Cup winners and Champions League finalists Chelsea (and the less said about the Blues’ goals the better).
And you don’t need reminding which illustrious scalps have been claimed during that rampage, nor the sudden upsurge in admiration Wigan have earned because of it.
This change in fortunes, honing of talent, boosting of confidence and building of momentum have been nothing short of tremendous and came just at the right time.
Having said that I, like I’m sure many of you, still cynically feared a banana skin ending to the season. Right up until Antolin Alcaraz calmed thousands of Wiganers’ hearts with that late winner at Blackburn in the rain.
Job done for now, but let us hope that this is the start of even bigger things for Wigan. Keep that form and momentum (which would have had Latics in the Premier League’s top two based on the final third of the season alone) over the summer and into the new competition.
Not least because it would be nice not to put us fans through the emotional mangle every season!