The 12th Man - Wigan Athletic
This week sees the final 12th Man feature of the season in the Wigan Evening Post, Vital Latics have two contributions, thanks to those who have supported the column with encouraging comments:
A Perfect Send Off
What a way to finish the season, a third win on the bounce and another accomplished display. To be honest the Latics never got out of first gear yet looked a class above Wolves. Maloney was once again running the show, the two James', McCarthy and McArthur were dominant in midfield, special mention though must go to Emmerson Boyce, fresh from receiving the 'Outstanding Contribution' award at the player of the season dinner Boycey made an outstanding contribution in this game with two cracking goals.
It was good to see Hugo Rodallega come on for a farewell cameo appearance at the end of the game, the script writers nearly got it right, the final action of the game saw the departing Rodallega smack an effort against the post, it would have been a fitting end to his Latics career if the clubs all-time leading Premier League scorer could have signed off with a goal. Not to be.
So the season ended in party mood and the new campaign can't come quickly enough, seven wins in the last nine games of the season suggests that Martinez has got his team playing exactly how he wants them, but the season that ended in so much promise certainly didn't start that way. Following the disjointed start it was obvious that there was something missing from the team, the disastrous run in the autumn highlighted the need for a creative spark and balance.
The turning point was possibly the last twenty minutes away at Spurs at the end of January. James McArthur was a 70th minute substitute and took his place alongside James McCarthy in the Latics midfield, Martinez said after the 3-1 defeat he'd seen something in the final third of that game that told him we'd be fine, how right he was.
McArthur and McCarthy have been together since and provided the rock that the end of season form has been built on, of course Beausejour came in and provided the balance that was missing on the left, little Shaun Maloney was also outstanding but he needed the security to play with the freedom to be creative that the two James' provided.
Since McCarthy and McArthur have been paired we have lost just three games from fifteen and taken 28 points, a tremendous run in anyone's books, this gives great hope for next season, bring it on
Let The Speculation Begin
One job was finished off on Sunday and another one starts. A hat trick for boycey would have topped the season off superbly, but you can`t have everything. We've just had the best part of the season, with some superb performances, and the right end result. Now comes the worst part, a long lay off and months of speculation. Although the Euro`s and Olympics will alleviate the boredom element.
Since the start of February, we've shown form that would have us qualify for the Champions league. Storming through to, beat the team that tried to take our manager, beat the player that left for a brighter future, and once again beat the critics, which is always going to leave a happy smile on the face of many Wiganers.
During the run in, I suggested that the way the fixtures lined up would help us as with each achievement, the difficulty of the following task prevented any complacency.
The same applies here, having survived in style, the number of potential suitors for our various members of staff will have increased massively. The next challenge is to keep hold of the various personnel that pulled together to make it happen, and then to boost them with some more where appropriate. I am certain that we're already working on the playing staff for next season. It would also be nice to retain some of the extra supporters that made Sunday such an occasion.
All that is left to say is a huge thank you to the Chairman, the manager, the playing staff, the backroom staff, the commercial staff, and all other club employees. It`s been a rollercoaster season, a pleasure to be a part of, and I look forward to sharing it all again in August.
Latics and Proud
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