Nowadays all the fuss in the depths of the Premiership basement is over crazy Ollie and his Tangerine army. To the neutral onlooker, they’re the underdogs, defying all expectations after initially given all but the death sentence upon their promotion to the English top flight. However, with their buccaneering style of play they’ve quickly become everyone’s favorite charity case, adopting Mr. Alex Ferguson (sorry, until Shankly gets a knighting, you’re still Alex to me) us against the big bad world philosophy.
Crazy Ollie has even gone as far as to say that the Premiership is conspiring against them and secretly want them to go down (which is about as believable as the rapture happening tomorrow). I find this extremely funny, seeing as every single person I’ve talked to (through my extensive contact list of players and experts), and pundit I’ve read is praying that they remain in the league.
Amidst all this Tangerine fog, one team has been forgotten, even by it’s own people at times. They are the complete polar opposite of the media darlings that are Blackpool United. Wigan Atheltic is a club that is also fighting for it’s life on survival Sunday. Currently perched on 39 points, they are far from safety. Throughout the season, Wigan has been terribly inconsistent, putting some sterling performances in right next to some utter tripe.
But that being said, the club represents, at least to me, the perfect cause of the underdog that you want to survive. Wigan is one of the most poorly funded teams in the Premiership, with Roberto Martinez stuck looking for bargains and loan stars to fill his ranks (although he did splash the cash on Mauro Boselli, but I’m sure Wigan supporters don’t need to be reminded), but still has managed to somehow survive the drop season after season. If not for a Charles Insomnia late winner the club may already be down.
So on Sunday, I implore you to move your attention towards the battle at the Britannia, because while Wigan may be unassuming the Premiership is much stronger for having a team that, like Blackpool is always willing to give it a go, but while drawing much less media attention to themselves. To me, they are the blue collar version of Blackpool, lacking the Hollywood flavor, but full of ingenuity and for that, I applaud them.
Written by: Geoff Stellfox