'˜Beating Manchester City was my highlight of the year,' says Wigan Athletic's Will Grigg
Will Grigg opens up about giant-killings, promotion and their current Championship campaign as he reflects on Wigan Athletic's 2018...
“It’s obviously been another amazing 12 months, with so many highs to look back on.
“Winning the League One title was fantastic, but of course the highlight would have to be the FA Cup victory over Manchester City here at the DW Stadium.
“I look back at that night and I still can’t believe how it turned out.
“I don’t think I’d touched the ball for 65-70 minutes prior to the ball arriving at my feet thanks to a little lapse in concentration from Kyle Walker.
“I’ve managed to get myself into a good position, and then it’s a foot-race with someone I wouldn’t exactly want to be up against!
“I’ve taken a a great touch and managed to find the back of my net.
“Obviously I’ve watched it back a thousand times, so I can recount it in every glorious detail.
“But at the time it was all a blur, to be honest...and the seconds straight after the goal, I genuinely can’t remember.
“I just found myself standing there, it was a moment of madness really.
“The noise from the fans was amazing, and then it hit home what was going on.
“The last 20 minutes of the game was probably the most nerve-racking of my career.
“Everyone’s seen the scenes after, and it was obviously a great night for everyone connected to the club. It was a great cup run on the whole, even going back to the first round against Fylde, when we could easily have been knocked out.
“To then beat three Premier League teams along the way was fantastic, and it was just a shame it ended the way it did against Southampton.
“We really thought we should have won that game, we certainly had the chances to have done.
“But it wasn’t to be, and I think it helped to spur us on and make sure we went on to get promoted.
“And that was always the number one aim, the top priority, throughout the season.
“For most of the season we were where we wanted to be, there or thereabouts.
“But at one point, after a few postponements because of the cup and the weather, we found ourselves in third.
“We were looking at it thinking: How’s this happened’?
“But we showed great character and quality, and the way we bounced back to go on a real run was credit to everyone involved.
“I think there was a point around six or seven games from the end when we knew we had it in our hands, and we wouldn’t let it go.
“One game that stands out was the visit of Oxford towards the end of the season, which was typical of how it was going around that time.
“They came here and totally sat in, playing for a 0-0, and they would have been delighted with that.
“But the turning point came right at the end when Sammy played a great ball in to Coley, who unselfishly squared it to me, right in front of goal.
“Obviously it’s a great finish, an unbelievable finish, from me to win the game...haha it was a tap-in, but they all count!
“But you could see at the end with the way we celebrated we knew how much it meant.
“Then there was Doncaster on the last day of the season, again I was fortunate to score the winning goal, which was nice again.
“I’d have to say that is one of my most-watched goals of my career.
It’s a great ball from Powelly, and I knew from the moment I touched it I was going to score.
“I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated a goal like that and I don’t think I ever will again.
“The top came off, and I have absolutely no idea why!
“But everything came together in one moment, you couldn’t have written it any better.
“To score the goal that won the championship, in front of a packed away end...Max Power running around with a flare...
“Obviously you want to get promoted as early as possible.
“But if you could have written it, to do it on the final day in front of 4,000 away fans, that’s what it’s all about.
“That gave us another shot at the Championship, and we took a lot of momentum into the early games.
“I thought we played really, really well, picked up a lot of points, and it could have been even more to be fair.
“After seven or eight games I genuinely thought we could have been top of the league, the way we were playing.
“Unfortunately we picked up a few injuries, and we’ve had a little dip since then which has seen us drop down the table.
“It was unfortunate because a lot of the injuries came at the top end of the pitch, and there’s not much you can do about that.
“But it’s not like we’ve been battered every week - so many times we’ve come off having played some good stuff and been unfortunate to lose.
“This league is just so brutal, so unforgiving, you can easily find yourself on the wrong end of results.
“I still feel we’re in a false position and, when more players come back from injury, we’ll start to climb.
“The first season following promotion is always about consolidating, and making sure you stay in the division.
“But I believe we’re far better than a side that is looking to keep its head above water.
“We all believe we should be higher than where we are in the league, and it’s just injuries, individual errors, a lack of quality in certain situations that’s cost us.
“We’ve obviously had the takeover going on for most of the year, but I can honestly say it hasn’t affected what’s been going on out there on the field.
“We’re footballers, we can’t control events off the field, you leave that to others.
“All you can do is focus on what you’re doing in your job, and thankfully we’ve managed to have a good year on the field.
“Looking into 2019 and beyond, all we’re looking to do is rediscover the momentum we had for most of 2018.
“It’s a great squad we’ve got here, with a few players still to come back from injury, and I know we’ll be fine.
“Fingers crossed 2019 will be just as eventful as 2018, that’s certainly the aim.
“And on behalf of the players I’d like to thank the fans for all their continued support... and wish you all a Happy New Year.”