Mike Pollitt column: Roberts is a legend

Jason Roberts scores against Reading in the game where Latics were promoted to the Premier League
Jason Roberts scores against Reading in the game where Latics were promoted to the Premier League

IT’S been another busy week at the club, what with narrowly losing at QPR on Tuesday and looking ahead to the big derby against Bolton on Saturday.

But I’d like to use this week’s column to pay a bit of a tribute to my old pal Jason Roberts, who has retired from the game at the ripe of age of 36.

We still keep in touch and I saw him not so long ago. He said he was struggling and this was on the cards, so I wasn’t too surprised to hear his announcement.

But he’ll certainly never be forgotten in these parts for what he did with this football club. He had a great partnership with Nathan Ellington, and they played a massive role in getting Wigan into the Premier League.

Jason carried on banging in the goals in the top flight – as well as that famous one at Arsenal that took us through to the Carling Cup final.

I remember the first goal he scored for Wigan – on his debut at Preston.

About 30 seconds gone, a back heel and bang. I was still at Rotherham, but I remember thinking: That’s not a bad way to start.

He began his career in non-League, came through the system and made it all the way to the top.

And I think that the way he started in football helped him stay grounded throughout.

You tend to get that a lot with those who have played near the bottom of the football pyramid. They’re almost always great lads who appreciate what they’ve got.

In our first season in the Premier League, everyone expected us to be down by Christmas. But we started really well, and you could see everyone outside the club thinking: This isn’t supposed to be happening.

We had a great spirit that year – lads like Jimmy Bullard, Lee McCulloch, Graham Kavanagh, Leighton Baines, and, of course, Jason.

And that’s what helped us to do as well as we did.

Jason was always a great fella – what you see is what you get with him.

And I’m pleased to see his media career is taking off.

I also see he’s putting on a posh voice to try and sound more intelligent...but we all wish him well for the future.