CHARLES GRAHAM - We’re out in force to support Latics!

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WIGAN has always punched above its weight.

For a borough of below-average means, hundreds of miles from the capital, it has a name which has resonances with most in this country.

Granted they are not always positive. Some folk in Chalfont St Giles probably think we all live in mud huts and drink whippet milk.

But we have an extremely proud industrial heritage of cotton and coal on which the borough was built.

It has produced a host of famous high achievers in many fields of science, industry, politics and entertainment and of course is rightly proud of its sporting prowess including the wonderful Warriors.

Yet on Saturday Wigan will be propelled into the spotlight as never before in its history.

An estimated global audience of 690 million people is expected to watch Wigan Athletic’s FA Cup Final showdown with the billionaires of Manchester City.

And there has to be a delicious irony that for a club which catches flak for being under-supported (rot, I know) is likely, as the underdog, to have the vast portion of those international viewers on its side on Saturday.

We got so excited about the Latics getting to the semi-final for the first time and have been keeping the momentum going in the local papers ever since the Millwall victory in the build-up for this, the biggest match of all.

The town - its people and its businesses - have done the club proud too. I would like to think those giant Believe signs up after the weekend, for motivating the team in their desperate Premier League survival race. And even if it doesn’t work out this time, keep them up as an incentive to bounce back into the top flight next season.

But that is for another day. In the meanwhile though we are in historic territory. After all the fuss and bother, I still find myself pinching myself. Wigan Athletic? In the FA Cup Final?

It’s just something that happens to other folk.

Well reality has got to strike soon.

The final countdown has begun and it is nice to know that hundreds of millions of people will be cheering our lads on.