Here we '˜Amigo' again!
Their arrival in England 22 years ago was one of the most significant moments in the history of Wigan Athletic Football Club.
And this Friday night, the ‘Three Amigos’ – Roberto Martinez, Isidro Diaz and Jesus Seba – will be back together in blue and white for the first time in two decades for the big Joseph’s Goal legends game at Ashton Town FC.
While Martinez graced the turf at Springfield Park and the JJB Stadium for almost a decade, and later returned as manager to guide Latics to their greatest achievement in 2013, Diaz and Seba’s time in Wigan was much more short-lived,
But the ‘other’ two Amigos have always retained a fondness for their adopted hometown – and the Wiganers who took them to their hearts.
“It’s always fantastic to be back to Wigan, and see the people that were our family in England,” acknowledged Seba. “Honestly, it meant much more than I expected.
“We came to Wigan as young kids without a plan, and the experience became something special that I will carry for the rest of my life.
“It was hard at first. It was not usual in 1995 to change country to play soccer in the lower leagues.
“But after only two days in Wigan, along with Roberto and Isidro, we felt it could be something special.”
“It was a difficult decision – England and Spain are very different, weather, food, life,” he explains.
“I had to leave my family, my wife and daughters, so it wasn’t an easy decision.
“My first impression of Wigan was it was very cold. However, the people were really warm and friendly.
“I really felt Wigan was my second home, and I’m so excited to be back! I’ve only been back once since I left, but I have so much feeling for the place.
“The ‘Three Amigos’ never died – 20 years have passed but the story is still alive. It’s fantastic!”
The pair remember their first day in Wigan as if it were yesterday – when the Spaniards were, for some reason, given sombreros as a welcome present.
“The sombreros were so funny!” laughed Diaz. “Especially because we are Spanish, we are not Mexican!”
Seba chimes in: “We took it as a funny thing. It made people happy, and we were happy to participate in it.”
While the sombreros made for a brilliant – if bizarre – photo opportunity, there was also the compulsory pie thrust into their faces on arrival.
“Yes of course, the Wigan pies are so tasty,” laughed Diaz.
“I not a big fan of this cuisine. But yes I like the pies,” chuckled Seba.
Seeing all three back on the field will evoke some special memories for fans of a certain vintage – and not least the players themselves.
“It will be a fantastic day,” added Diaz. “We haven’t played together since 1996, and we have been losing contact over the years. But when we play together again I will feel something special and exciting.”
Added Seba: *It is a dream I honestly did not think would happen again.
“Being able to play with former team-mates, and with Roberto and Isidro, for a great cause like Joseph’s Goal, it’s so very special. We’re sure to enjoy it a lot.”