Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Wednesday April 13 2011
What do Wigan Athletic and Blackpool have in common?
Well both towns have piers, though with three stretching out into the Irish Sea, Blackpool out number Wigan`s solitary 4` piece of timber over the Leeds/Liverpool canal by some margin, but that isn`t the answer that I am looking for.
Richard Kingson, Eamonn O`Keefe, Colin Methven have famously played for both football clubs, but it`s not that either.
At the start of the current league campaign both clubs were most neutrals and pundits overwhelming tip for relegation, of course immediately after Blackpool`s opening day thumping of the Latics at the DW Stadium there was a sense that they could be right, for one of the clubs at least.
So now we find ourselves in the week leading up to the reverse fixture, the next in line of six remaining games for both clubs before the season comes to an end, unfortunately both are struggling at the wrong end of the table and with games running out fast those pre-season tipsters are smirking with a self satisfying 'I told you so`.
Although defeat wouldn`t condemn either club to relegation, the psychological effect that losing to a rival at this stage would certainly create a mountain to climb in the final five games.
On current form Blackpool are struggling, they have lost 12 of their last 16 games, to say their early season bubble has burst is an understatement, whilst not exactly setting the Premier League on fire, the Latics in contrast have been steadily turning their form around, since the return to the side of key players, James McCarthy and Tom Cleverley in particular, Wigan have lost just 6 times in the last 17 Premier League games.
Latics problem though is scoring goals; with just 3 wins in those 17 games the subsequent 8 draws are costing the club a much healthier league position. Wigan have only scored more than one goal on eight occasions this season in the Premier League and only once have they managed more than two goals in a league game.
In total contrast to the Latics lack of fire power, Blackpool have banged them in all season, scoring in every home game they have amassed 44 league goals compared to Wigan`s 29.
We can forget all the form and what`s gone before stuff though, what matters is Saturday, a trip to the sea-side for 2,500 Latics supporters in expectation of a cracking game of football, and electrified atmosphere and hopefully the return down the M6 with three glorious points and out of the bottom three for the first time since 5th February.
During the 1950`s and 1960`s Blackpool was the most popular destination for Wiganers during what was known as The Wakes Weeks, a two week annual holiday at the beginning of July, thousands of Wigan folk would head off to the sea-side for fun and frivolity and many a happy memory was made.
Let`s hope that this weekend will be a wonderful memory and not end up as a funeral wake
Going to Blackpool for different reasons
On my last visit to Blackpool I went down to the prom in the afternoon, I was watching the guy on the beach with the donkeys, he had them working really hard carrying kids up and down the beach for 50p a time, the donkeys never losing stamina, I was really impressed, so I went over and said to the guy: 'Wow, your donkeys are really impressive, never wavering, they keep going carrying the kids up and down, it`s getting late in the day now but they`re still going strong, how do they do it, what do they get for dinner?
He replied..............`30 minutes like everyone else`...I`ll get my coat.
Latics and Proud
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Date:Wednesday April 13 2011
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