WIGAN at Wembley. It’s got a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
There are certain flash-points from Latics’ last decade which will burn bright no matter how many years pass.
Promotion, promotion again. Their first Premier League game against Chelsea, their Carling Cup run that year.
Beating Sheffield United on the final day, a 3-2 win against Arsenal, a 1-0 win against Manchester United... they roll off the tongue so easily.
And this Saturday, on the grandest of stages, Wigan have a chance to write another chapter in their incredible sporting story.
They are the favourites to beat Millwall, though no-one will be fooled into thinking the result is a foregone conclusion. I just hope they do themselves justice, play as well as we know they can on their day, and secure a place in the FA Cup Final.
LET’S not kid ourselves.
There are many blinkered Wiganers who like one Wigan team, but not the other, and that applies to both football and rugby fans.
To them, I refer to the words of Shaun Wane, who said “I’m from Wigan and I’ll cheer for anyone representing Wigan.”
Amen to that.
How sad that everyone doesn’t share that view.
WIGAN’S move for Andy Powell will raise eyebrows in some quarters, given the drain of top-level league players to union in recent years.
But chairman Ian Lenagan spoke a while ago about his ambition to cast his recruitment net wide. The strength of the Australian dollar has made signing stars from the NRL increasingly difficult for any club taking a sensible approach to spending their salary cap allowance.
Wigan have cranked up their production line of talent, while half of their signings have had a ‘project’ element to them; Kiwi Anthony Gelling was working full-time on a construction site when Wane offered him a contract, and former union players Ben Flower and Gil Dudson were brought in from the rotting Crusaders corpse.
Powell’s age, 31, works against him.
But in his favour is good pedigree and a genuine desire to play league.
Having once driven a golf buggy down a motorway, the prospect of facing Peacock or Morley should be no problem!
ON Sunday, both Wigan sides had an opposing player sent off early on. Both struggled to take advantage of their, erm, ‘advantage’.
The Warriors cruised to a win without ever excelling, and didn’t make Wakefield work hard enough for their points. Latics, meanwhile, gave a disappointing game a grandstand finish, courtesy of Shaun Maloney’s injury-time winner. Few would have been satisfied with a point before kick-off, but in the grand scheme, it may prove to be vital.
TOOK a call from an irate reader last week, taking issue with a line in my Warriors report in which I compared their demolition of Hull KR with being ‘like New Zealand taking on New Springs’.
Amateurs New Springs, I was assured, would perform much better against the World Champions.
Apologies for the mistake.