Tuesday 2 March 2021

Tonight we head for Wigan Pier

During the Duchatelet regime at The Valley I made the mistake of booking a pre-match curry for a home game with Wigan as I had had work appointments in London earlier in the day.   I was greeted as 'Wayne' and asked if I had travelled down from Wigan that day.  No doubt my northern accent was the give away.

My indirect connection with Wigan continues.   One of George Orwell's best known non-fiction books is The Road to Wigan Pier, the pier actually being a jetty on a local canal.  The other week I received a request for a zoom conversation with 'Eric Blair' (Orwell's real name) who turned out to be a young woman.  

The upshot is that the Orwell Foundation have asked me to write up some football materials for them, a slight paradox as Orwell was not keen on organised games.

I only went to Wigan with Charlton once when we were in the Premier League and the core support seemed to be lippy 12 year olds.

Wigan are currently second from bottom in League One, but two palaces ahead of Charlton in the form table. At home they have won two games, drawn four and lost nine.  Away from home Charlton have won eight, drawn four and lost four.

Over time our record with the Lactics has been even: won five, drawn three, lost five.

Wigan lost 2-1 to Peterborough on the ploughed field last Saturday and caretaker chief Leam Richardson felt aggrieved by a penalty awarded against them.  He said that 'we were a threat from set pieces all day.'

He continued, 'We know where we are as a football club and a group of people.  We came together late as a squad and are finding our feet as we go.  Our energy levels can drop after 75 minutes in a game due to not many of the lads having a pre-season.' 

Wigan still don't have an owner - they were one of the clubs Thomas Sandgaard looked at.  The events that happened at the club last year are rather murky, but I have better say no more as I have already been warned that I may have made defamatory remarks about a previous owner.

I hope that Lee Bowyer will start Aneke as I think we need to score the first goal and he is a real threat to opposition defences.  However, I don't see the players in training, nor do I have access to the medical reports which now carry great weight.

We would probably have lost without the officials' decisions on Saturday, but nevertheless their mistakes certainly contributed to the scale of the defeat.   Tonight Sam Allison is the referee and Lisa Rashid is running the line.

Allison is a fire fighter from Wiltshire and played semi-professional football.  He was promoted to the EFL list last summer.   Interview with him here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/54083909   Lisa Rashid officiated in the women's World Cup: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7317101/How-referee-Lisa-Rashid-rose-Birminghams-Sunday-Leagues-Womens-World-Cup.html

At the start of the year I predicted a 2-1 win at Wigan and that now looks unlikely.   However, we might be able to get a useful away point.

Please note that the match starts at 6 pm so Scotty, Curbs and Steve Brown will be online from 5.15.

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