Date:Friday November 6 2009
In the build up to Sunday`s game Vital Latics met up with Vital Fulham for a cyber chat, worbo from the Latics and Andrew Joyce from Fulham do the talking, lets see how it went:
worbo - Welcome Andrew, I hope all is well
Fulham and the Latics for me are very much connected, we started our journey out for the Premier League together back in 1997 when we just piped yourselves for the League title of the bottom division, I still remember that season like it was yesterday, Mike Conroy and Graeme Jones battling it out to be leading goal scorer, and we did you on goals scored at the end of the season, fantastic stuff. Then you got Kevin Keegan in as boss and the rest as they say is history.
Andrew - Indeed It was. It was almost as if a decision had been made to make a huge effort to get back into top flight football. We`d been ambling along, a sleeping giant down by the river, a club that had lost its way.
Thankfully those days seem a long way off now, even if we did flirt with relegation when Lawrie Sanchez decided that buying Championship players was the quickest way to get relegation. Uncle Roy sailed to the rescue and we`ve not looked back since. It`s strange how, in just over a decade things have changed so much.
worbo - I see you have made a half decent start to the season sitting in mid-table one place above us with a good results against Liverpool last week, has it gone as expected?
Andrew - Last season was a dream, finishing seventh was above all our expectations. This season, we always knew it would be harder and with the added games involving the Europa League our resources were always going to be stretched. Whilst we`ve done reasonably well we have also put in some poor performances, Chelsea (h) and Aston Villa (a) being two horrendously lethargic displays. But beating Liverpool last week was a dream.
worbo - How do you feel about being in the Europa League?
Last season the Latics were in contention up until Easter time, in fact round February we looked nailed on to finish 7th at least before our dramatic slump, now this created a lot of debate as to whether it would be beneficial or detrimental to the club to go on a European adventure.
Andrew - It does stretch your squad and the fact that you always play on a Thursday plays havoc with your traditional Saturday afternoon kick-offs. So far though the experience is proving to be a good one, we were seconds away from defeating Roma and several thousand hardy souls are travelled to Rome to see the reciprocating fixture.
Back in 1997 that`s what would have been called a dream but now its reality!
worbo - I was of the opinion it would be good for us, show a bit of ambition, possibly attract a better calibre of player and be exciting facing sides that we usually only come across on FIFA 10 or Pro Evo on the PS or XBOX.
Now that Fulham are well and truly in it, perhaps you could give us your thoughts on how being in the Europa League has effected you, good or bad?
Andrew - I think the experience will stand us in good stead, hopefully it`ll create a hunger to do it again in the future, create a desire to push the club more on the European stage but as for attracting a better class of player, I think a little thing called the Champions League dictates that.
worbo - You are probably aware that we have got ourselves a new manager and some new players. This has led to us being a bit hit and miss at times, battering Chelsea, Villa and Burnley away, losing at home to Wolves and at Pompey last week, we are definitely going through a settling in period but in Hendry Thomas and Momo Diame we have two fantastic new recruits to the Latics midfield and you will know how Roberto Martinez likes his team to play following the FA cup games last season when you faced Swansea.
Roy Hodgson as always impressed me as a manager and he transformed your club once you had the foresight to get rid of Lawrie Sanchez, are you pleased with the progress under big Roy?
Andrew - I most certainly am.
I don`t fear relegation any more, it`ll just not happen, Roy is too cagey a manager to leave us in that situation.
Sanchez bought badly after Chris Coleman was forced to sell decent players without being able to buy back in suitable replacements. We were taking things for granted and I think the arrival of a decent manager in Roy shook the boardroom up; my only concern is that he may move on, possibly to the international stage.
worbo - Which of your summer recruits have you taken most too and who in the Fulham team has impressed you this season?
Andrew - Although we were active in the transfer market during the summer, most of those we signed were to bolster the squad. However, we did pick up Damien Duff late on and he`s shown that he is a class operator, if only he could shake off the constant injuries that bug him though. As for impressing, a lot of people, outside of FFC berate Bobby Zamora, but on his day he can deliver, as you might find out on Sunday!
worbo - Getting round to the game on Sunday I feel that you will be tired following the exploits in Rome on Thursday and this will see us coming on strong in the second half.
I am going to plump for a 2-1 win for the Latics in what I hope will be an entertaining game especially with both sides liking to play football, also following a good initiative by the club there will be a bumper crowd so hopefully this will create a good atmosphere, what are your thoughts and predictions Andrew?
Andrew - You may be right about the Rome trip. We`ve had a few injuries and the squad has been stretched a little but we have a good team spirit. I`ll match your 2-1 but it`ll be the team from London that`s celebrating!
worbo - Well its been really good talking to you Andrew, good luck for the rest of the season, after Sunday of course and I really do hope you enjoy your European adventure.
PS those sending off's last night were ludicrous decisions, I hope you still qualify for the next phase.
Fans Forum Ticket Competition
Vital Latics have two tickets on offer for the up and coming Wigan Athletic fans forum to be held at the DW Stadium in the DW Fitness Lounge located in the South Stand on Tuesday 17th November 7pm kick-off.
The fans forum will give supporters the opportunity to meet and question manager Roberto Martinez; also there is a hotpot supper included, now that does make the mouth water.
Full details of the event are on the official site and can be viewed by clicking here
The event has always proved very popular in the past so if you want to be the lucky winner of two tickets, supplied by Wigan Athletic, then answer the following question and enter via link provided, closing date 10th November 5 pm.
Who is Roberto`s assistant manager:
a) Graeme Jones
b) Steve Bruce
c) Arsene Wenger
To enter click here
You can listen to the Latics Speyk podcasts now by clicking on the player here:
Date:Friday November 6 2009
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