“IT’S not the despair. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.”
An iconic quote from the great John Cleese in the 1986 film, ‘Clockwise’.
Which may as well replace ‘Progress With Unity’ as Wigan Athletic’s new motto.
Every time you think ‘that’s it, we’re doomed, next stop League One’, Latics go and pull a result out of nowhere to keep the flame burning.
Then, days later, it’s back down to earth with a bump.
Last weekend’s victory at Rotherham felt like one of those season-defining results, which would propel Latics into the home straight with a spring in their steps.
Until they ran into form team Watford on Tuesday and had their bubble burst.
It was the same story the week before, when Latics defied the odds to record a fantastic victory at the division’s previous form team, Norwich.
Before coming crashing back to reality with a home defeat to mid-table Leeds.
It’s one step forwards, one step back for Latics at the moment. And given the precarious nature of their league position, it’s a run that simply cannot continue between now and the end of the season.
Malky Mackay’s men are getting the job done on the road – four away wins in a row is impressive in anyone’s book.
But their wretched run of results at the DW Stadium is undoing all that hard work – and killing any attempt to escape the dreaded drop.
Latics have now gone 16 home games since they saw off Birmingham 4-0 on August 30.
P16 – W0 – D6 – L10.
James McArthur was in that side that beat Birmingham, that’s how long ago it was. Andy Delort and Adam Forshaw hadn’t even signed for the club, let alone moved on after flattering to deceive.
My sister-in-law is due to give birth in a few weeks.
She wasn’t even pregnant when Latics last won at the DW.
The only positive at the moment is that there are only four home games left.
But unless Latics can arrest that losing run on home soil, it won’t matter if they continue their amazing form on the road.
With away matches to come against promotion-chasing Middlesbrough and Brentford, as well as relegation rivals Fulham and Millwall, Latics will be hard-pushed to keep up their winning run.
Which means it’s imperative to break the home hoodoo and give themselves a fighting chance of survival.
They have the perfect opportunity to do that this weekend in the big derby against Bolton Wanderers.
The Trotters have already lowered Wigan’s colours twice this term at the Macron Stadium – a hat-trick doesn’t bear thinking about.
By hook or by crook, Latics HAVE to get the job done.
They have to be up for the fight right from the off.
And then, when the game settles down, they have to be good enough and clinical enough to force the win.
At the moment – even though it is killing us – we still have hope, however slight.
To ensure it’s still there on Saturday night, Latics have to make it 17th time lucky ... before it’s too late.