Leam Richardson is looking forward to the return of the FA Cup this weekend – and a reminder of the night he felt like ‘sticking pins in my eyes for 90 minutes’!
The competition will always have a special place in the hearts of Wiganers for the events of May 11, 2013 – Ben Watson Day.
But Latics caused arguably an even bigger shock last season when they repeated their win over Manchester City, as a third-tier side, on a famous night at the DW.
And with this weekend seeing Latics travel to West Brom to kick-off their assault on this season’s competition, Richardson is happy to take a trip down Memory Lane and one of his finest achievements in the game.
“This is the FA Cup, and it holds great memories for this club,” Richardson said.
“And I know everyone connected with the club will need no excuse to talk about the run last year and obviously the Manchester City game.
“The run as a whole was fantastic, starting with Crawley and seeing us beat three Premier League teams.
“But that City game will obviously be the absolute highlight.
“Even watching them play against Liverpool on Thursday night, you’re almost in awe at the tempo of the game, and the quality of players on the pitch.
“To have not only come up against those lads last year, but competed well and actually beat them, speaks volumes for the achievement of the lads that night.
“I was at an awards night a couple of months ago, and Pep (Guardiola) was also there, on the top table.
“Somebody asked me how we’d done it – and my analogy was it was like sticking pins in my eyes for 90 minutes!
“Because they are that good – individually and collectively, from the players on the field to the management team on the sidelines.
“It was such a test for us to go up against, and I genuinely thought we deserved to go through on the night.
“Obviously we did ever so well in getting all the way to the quarter-finals.
“Hopefully we can do just as well this year and make some good progress.”
And that wasn’t the only fond memory Richardson has of the famous competition.
“I was lucky enough to score a good goal in the FA Cup, for Blackburn against Oldham – in fact, somebody sent it me the other night, funnily enough,” he smiled, before showing the clip round the press room on his phone!
“It was voted one of the goals of the tournament, which is very unlike me, because I didn’t get many!
“It was just out of black and white, which was nice, and I’ve been showing the lads the way to do it.
“I’m telling them that daily...although it might be my fault the way it’s going at the moment...”
Latics are hoping the FA Cup can provide a bit of respite from a slump in the league that’s seen them win only once in the last 13 matches – including a 2-0 reversal at West Brom on Boxing Day.
“It’s always a difficult period when results go against you, as they have for us of late,” Richardson recognised.
“But we knew the challenge from this division would come, with the teams you are facing, and the squad we have.
“Every week has provided a physical and tactical test, and the Christmas period has added a mental test to that process.
“But we’re strong as a group, and we’ve been supporting each other every step of the way.
“I think it’ll be a good game, certainly the two games we’ve played this season have been.
“Darren Moore’s teams are always open, expansive and good to watch, and we like to think we’re the same.”