TALKING SPORT - Another remarkable chapter in Latics’ history

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HOW, I wondered a year ago, will they ever top that?

Keeping Latics up on the final day of the season – just a week after Charles N’Zogbia’s dramatic winner against West Ham had thrown them a lifeline – was, I thought, as frantic and fantastic as it was possible to get.

But remarkably, incredibly, Roberto Martinez has master-minded an even more unlikely escape from the jaws of relegation.

With a week to go, Wigan are safe. Fans can go to the final game against Wolves on Sunday just to enjoy it.

Just to party. Just to congratulate the players, and bask in the knowledge that they can look forward to an EIGHTH season in the Premier League.

And this, remember, from a team which lost eight in a row earlier this season.

A team which was bottom at the end of January.

A team which went nearly seven calendar months without winning at home.

But Dave Whelan stuck with his man, the fans kept the faith – well, most of them did – and Martinez’s optimism burned as bright as ever.

And when it came to the final run-in, when they needed to collect points from the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle and – yes – title-chasing Manchester United, they delivered.

Last night, they held their nerve, delivering the 1-0 win which ensures their survival in the Premier League.

It’s been a remarkable season. And one you’d be hard-pressed to make up.

THE build-up to Saturday’s game between Wigan and St Helens, just like the Good Friday meeting, has far more spice and spite than derbies in recent years.

Maybe it’s because there are two local coaches in charge of the respective clubs.

“They’re our arch enemy, who we absolutely detest,” said Michael Maguire.

Only kidding.

Madge (good bloke, great coach) would never say that. No, those were the words of Shaun Wane, as he looked to the Challenge Cup quarter-final tie against Saints, a club he has hated since he was weaned on solids.

It almost makes me wonder what would be the best feeling – progressing to the semi-finals or knocking Saints out of the Cup?

Hopefully we’ll find out this Saturday at the DW Stadium.

And now the dust has settled on the venue saga which followed the Cup draw a week ago, I hope officials at the RFL are seriously looking into how embarrassing fixture clashes can be avoided in the future.

“DAVID Haye will fight Dereck Chisora in the grudge match of the century”, said the story on the back page of The Sun today.

Would it be cynical to think their press conference ‘brawl’ was a ploy to generate interest in a fight between the two, after each suffering defeats at the hands of the Klitschko brothers?

One thing’s for sure. The next time a boxer announces his retirement, I’ll take it with a handful of salt.