Wigan Athletic - Good Times Ahead
Vital member Paul Thorp, aka Thorpyness, shares a few reflections on last season and hopes for the new campaign
Over to you Paul:
With pre season truly upon us thoughts turn once again to assessing and trying to second guess how Latics season will go. As one would expect it's almost impossible to escape the Olympic Games at the moment, hence the odd comparison. I hope you don't mind.
Holly Bleasedale, Vital Latics favourite athlete goes into the Olympics knowing she will probably have to jump higher than she has ever jumped before to win gold. It sounds like a tough task to achieve what you've never done before, some might give up. It just takes the hard work, and then some belief you can do it. Let's face it jumping higher and higher is exactly what she's been doing since she first picked up a bendy stick. Looking at it that way and it's not so hard after all.
Asking Latics to finish in the top half sounds like a tough ask, and also asking for as much if not more than we've ever done before. Taking the second half of the season (games played this calendar year) we would be 9th, which would better the first top flight season, and that's not just massaging stats, as that period starts with 4 losses in January. If I was massaging stats, I'd have said games played February onwards, the last four months of the season, which saw us in 4th position. What's bett this year than normal? We have the same starting 11. We know we can do it, it wasn't the odd freak result it was a demonstration of capability, as we moved up the table over the last part of the season. Why I again see the pessimists 'telling it like it is', not being 'blinded by Bobby', and predicting relegation I have no idea. I can understand the concerns raised, but just feel the positives outweigh them far more than they ever have. Even if Victor Moses goes to Chelsea, we are not losing a star player as we have in the past. We would lose somebody that is simply a replaceable part of a great team. I think we will see the conveyor belt of youth start to provide some output this season
In fact I think it will be a great season. We go into this season with two critical things, a squad that hasn't had the heart ripped out of it and a squad that will trust in itself, giving it the freedom to play such good football as we did at the end of the season. We don't ever need to play sides hoping they are on a bad day anymore, if we're on a good day then we know we can force a result in our favour. That knowledge deep down, at the back of your mind helps you deliver results.
The belief in ourselves to win against anybody is something I think will prove to be the biggest benefit from last season. We are a better side for that reason alone. All it took was a little never say die positive attitude from some fans, that transferred to the players, then back to the massed ranks of supporters as results improved. The atmosphere at Blackburn was amazing.
I recently listened to an interview with the 4x100m relay gold team from Athens. One of the athletes said he could see the Olympic hopes and dreams in the eyes of one of his opponents, but he 'just knew' it was his day and not theirs. That's exactly how Blackburn turned out, we all knew we'd do the job (retrospectively of course)
We spent a large part of early last season nervous, expecting somebody would make a mistake. That feeling was replaced, and this season that expectation is that we can beat anybody. I always feel that newly promoted sides do well because they come up with the same trust and belief in each other's ability to get a result. Then they lose a few and it ebbs away, as they wonder if they are good enough for 'this league' or they lose that squad cohesion when they swap a few players out. We have that trust and belief, and we know already that we're good enough to beat anyone in the Premier League, hence I think this will be one of our best seasons ever, but then pre season is when you're supposed to be optimistic.
Latics and Proud
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