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Wigan Athletic
August 10, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 08/10/2012

*contributed by Jakarta Jack, whose writing regularly graces Los Three Amigos of Wigan.

One of the lads in my class at school was called Brian. He claimed to be an Horwich RMI supporter. I thought I was remarkable enough at the time, being a Latics fan, in a town dominated by the cherry and white. There were few of us Latic fanatics at school and if we dared to utter words of blind optimism about our club, our classmates were quick to shoot us down. The message was – how can you support a measly little non-league football club? Don’t even dream of reaching the heights of our wonderful local rugby team or the football giants in neighbouring cities. However, I considered myself an optimist as far as Wigan Athletic were concerned. It was in my blood – and still is. I trust that those classmates are eating their words now.

To be honest, Brian was even more of an optimist than me. Horwich Railway Mechanics Institute was in fact a much older football club than Wigan Athletic, having been formed in 1896. Their only major success over those years was in winning the Lancashire Combination championship in 1957-58. Coming up on Saturday afternoon at Springfield Park was a Lancashire Junior Cup tie between our two teams. It was akin to David and Goliath. Brian saw it differently — an epic tussle between two of Lancashire’s outstanding non-league clubs. He reeled off the names of RMI’s starting eleven, declaring each player a “good-un”, although it was clear from the intonations of his voice that some were more good than others. He had faith – I thought foolishly so – that RMI would get a good result.

August 5, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 08/05/2012

Premier league summers have historically been a time of dread for the Wigan Athletic supporter. While Chelsea, United, Liverpool and Arsenal - recently joined by City and Spurs - are out spending their tens of millions, Latics face the two-headed beast of keeping their prized assets at the club and persuading new talent to join one of the league's least fashionable outfits.

It was Bullard and Chimbonda that first season, it was Charles N'Zogbia last time around, and there've been plenty in between. The fact is, Latics' recruitment strategy is based on the promise to young or unproven foreign players that they will be given the chance to develop their game at Wigan before eventually moving on to a bigger club. So the question is really not “will he leave?” but “when and how will he leave?” It is a calculation involving two key factors: how easy or hard he is to replace, and what is his potential value? (Which depends largely on how many years he has left on his Wigan contract)

May 11, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 05/11/2012

Dear Latics supporters and friends of the Amigos,

The support given us by ESPN Soccernet this season has generously extended our readership. One of the fantastic benefits has been connecting with Wigan supporters from all corners of the world. As many of you know, one of the writers of this website lives in Boston, the other in Indonesia.

While the internet and improved television coverage of the BPL has made it a lot easier to follow Wigan Athletic from abroad than it was 10 years ago, it takes special – to use a Roberto descriptor -- breed of supporter to do so. Most of our overseas fans are lucky to attend one or two matches at the DW each year, and spend hundreds of pounds in airfares and accommodation to do so. Back home, we arrive at work at the crack of dawn or stay on late in order to sneak out for the 10am or 3pm kickoffs. (Or 3am if you are Jakarta Jack!) Once at the pub, we have to fight the much larger crowds of United or Liverpool -- or Boston Red Sox -- supporters for a TV. The cable and internet packages that most of us pay for are comparable to the cost of a season ticket. If you can afford the new shirt in the first place, you then have to pay an extra 30 quid for shipping!

But we do it happily, because we love it.

Posted by Ned Brown on 05/11/2012

Wigan Athletic will be in the Premier League for an eighth straight year, crowning a truly unbelievable run of results with an away win at Ewood Park last Monday. A draw may well have been enough from the Latics perspective, but Antolin Alcaraz’s late headed winner was fair reward for another display of cultured, confident passing in difficult playing conditions, in a venue that had not been kind to the Latics in years past.

Anything but a win would have spelled the end for Blackburn, a club in free-fall, but they seemed to have accepted their fate from the outset. This is a club in crisis from top to bottom. Injured and demoralized players, furious fans, inept management and clueless owners — however dire our season may have looked two months ago when we were relegation certainties, it never approach that sort of madness.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJuGspbyQ5I

April 30, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 04/30/2012

Wigan Athletic once more played with confidence, style and determination, as they had against Manchester United a little over two weeks ago. This first half display with four spectacular goals completely blew away a 4th placed Newcastle team that had arrived full of confidence after 6 consecutive victories.

From the start the Jimmy Macs - McCarthy and McArthur - ruled the midfield, barely allowing the visitors a touch of the ball. This laid the foundation for the wing backs to play more like wingers and the forward players to slice holes in the Newcastle defence. The little genius, Maloney, was orchestrating it all from midfield and the end result was a fluid attacking style with more than a touch of class. Vintage football indeed!

April 25, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 04/25/2012

Fresh from earning what were probably the two best results in the club's history, Wigan Athletic this time succumbed to a late 2-1 defeat against bogey team Fulham. Though organized and well drilled, Roberto's men were visibly tired and lacked the verve of recent performances.

The loss would not have been quite so damaging had QPR, Blackburn and Bolton not all picked up points (3, 3 and 4 respectively) in their fixtures. The good news is that Aston Villa are now well and truly involved, sitting only two points above the Latics with three games to play.

April 19, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 04/19/2012

There are no two ways about it — Fulham are a pain in the neck. The last time we beat them was in 2006. They signed Clint Dempsey the following year, and he has feasted on us since. It’s not a case of outplaying or outclassing us, it’s just that no matter the manager from Hodgson to Hughes to Jol, their keeper always has a man-of-the-match performance, and their striker — usually the Texan — can’t miss.

Present circumstances promise for this to be quite an interesting iteration. Wigan are in dreamland, having produced their best every Premier League displays to earn wins over Liverpool, Stoke, Manchester United and Arsenal in their last five games. Fulham meanwhile, are about where you would expect them to be, playing well at home, dropping points on the road, but doing it with a pleasant continental style Martin Jol has brought to Craven Cottage. While classy Costa Rican striker Bryan Ruiz is out with a broken metatarsal and both Andrew Johnson and Pavel Pogrebnyak are doubtful with injuries, Clint Dempsey is enjoying his best ever season with 21 goals to his name and will likely start up front. Which could be trouble.

April 17, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 04/17/2012

Any concerns about the bubble being burst were laid to rest in emphatic fashion on Monday night as Latics emerged from a traditionally nightmarish fixture with three points of gold and another famous scalp.

• Arsenal blog: We can learn a lot from Wigan

The scoreboard beggared belief after eight minutes of football, during which Franco Di Santo capped off a flowing breakaway and Jordi Gomez stabbed home a Victor Moses cross at the second attempt. Given the club’s dreadful record at the Emirates - no goals scored there since 2007, plenty conceded - this was a sight for sore eyes.

There is much to appreciate about Arsene Wenger, his teams, and his team’s form of late, but there was a dangerous air of arrogance evident in those opening passages of play. When asked about Wigan’s attacking threat a day earlier, the Frenchman err-ed and ahh-ed before mentioning Victor Moses, Emmerson Boyce and Maynor Figueroa. While inadvertently picking out three of Wigan’s top performers on the night, his response implied that he had not watched much of Wigan lately. Figueroa, of course, has been playing as a left-sided centre-back, while Boyce, an excellent defender, has not been a key contributor in attack. And Victor Moses - well, they clearly hadn’t watched enough of his recent play, because he ran rings around them all night.

April 16, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 04/16/2012

Wigan Athletic travel to Arsenal on Monday on a euphoric high after two performances that have confounded their critics. There have been many among the Wigan Athletic faithful who have doubted the capability within Roberto Martinez's squad. There was talk of several players not being up to Premier League standard. The last two games have proved that this is not the case. The display against Chelsea was excellent, being robbed of a deserved win by two offside goals. Latics were the better team on the day - hard to believe they could reach such a level after the frustrating season we have been through.

* this post was contributed by Jakarta Jack, a regular contributor on Los Three Amigos Wigan.

Wigan Athletic were also the better team at the DW Stadium on Wednesday and their performance was such that Manchester United rarely looked like scoring. The quality of Latics' football in that game was way beyond anything we have seen from them before in the Premier League. The stats reveal Latics having 13 attempts on goal, Manchester United 9. Wigan Athletic had 55% of possession with 7 corners, compared with 3 from the visitors. Latics commited 8 fouls, United 14. One yellow card for Wigan two for United. As has become the Premier League norm when a little club plays a top four team, Latics had to deal with adverse refereeing decisions, which would have broken the backs of many teams. A rare headed goal from Victor Moses was disallowed by a linesman who focused on the protesting De Gea. Caldwell, stood in front of the Spaniard, did nothing against the rules but the goal was annulled. In the 60th minute Jonny Evans made a tackle that would have been a yellow card 99% of the time, but the referee decided it wasn't. Maybe his decision was influenced by the yellow card he had given the same player earlier? It is not the first time Evans has escaped like this against Latics.

April 12, 2012
Posted by Ned Brown on 04/12/2012

An inspirational Wigan Athletic performance characterized by confidence, style and determination earned the club its first ever win against Manchester United last night. Roberto’s men were thoroughly dominant until taking the lead, and resolute in their defense of it. United were limited to one shot on target and three corners, something I doubt any other club has managed this season.

It is hard to recall a prouder moment. This sort of form has been building for some time now. We deserved points at Stamford Bridge last weekend, and have now suffered from three unfairly disallowed goals in two matches. But there is real belief in this squad, from back to front. Indeed, before the famous wins of late we had outplayed Norwich, West Brom, Aston Villa and Everton without burying them. It is amazing what a bit of confidence does for you — goals are suddenly popping up from all sorts of places, from the center of defense, to super-subs, to the excellent and invigorated Shaun Maloney.