25 November 2008

'What a Brilliant Game' said a complete idiot. Latics 1 Everton 0

‘What a brilliant game’ said a young woman as I crossed the bridge over the canal after the game.

Me: ‘I’m sorry, I disagree. It was an abysmal game with dreadful performances’.

Her: ‘We won didn’t we?’

Me: ‘Just because we won doesn’t mean it was enjoyable, neither team could string two passes together’.

Her: ‘You fucking knobhead’.

Briefly I imagined us on a date together.

Her: ‘What a brilliant pizza’

Me: ‘But someone’s had a shit right in the middle of it’

Her: ‘It’s pizza isn’t it?’

Me: ‘Just because it’s pizza doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable, especially if the ingredients and topping aren’t up to scratch’

Her: ‘You fucking knobhead’

I gave a self-indulgent chuckle as I looked into her vacant eyes, but my feelings of superiority over this dribbling mutant quickly turned to horror as I realised vacuous morons like this are allowed to vote. Provided they can work a pencil.

Her: ‘I can’t believe the Nazi Party got into power, especially after me and my friends voted for them, it’s a fix!’

Me: ‘This isn’t Big Brother you cretin. You’re not voting them off, you’re voting them in!!!’

Maybe James Whale was right, we should sterilise people at birth and only reverse the process if you can provide some semblance of common sense. It’s only a matter of time before this young lady finds someone desperately insane enough to impregnate her, and in twenty years I’ll be watching Latics, surrounded by a baying horde of clueless scruffs.

It will be like watching Manchester City.

OK, maybe this doomsday scenario is an overreaction.

Bizarrely, I actually enjoyed the match, not in a purist sense, quite the opposite. Every misplaced pass, every cross into the back of the south stand, every time Browny kicked Arteta in the back of the legs, I was howling with laughter (at least Browny actually meant to kick Arteta).

When Henri Camara prodded home 5 minutes into the second half, I knew Everton weren’t going to get back in it. We’d dragged them down to our level, and they were finding it difficult to find their arse with both hands. The game petered out, with a few more Laurel and Hardy slapstick moments to illuminate the icy evening, and we all went home, the laughter warm in our bellies.

24 October 2008

Aston Villa - a potted history

Welcome to this weekend's visitors; Aston Villa....


Aston Villa were formed in March 1874 by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel Cricket Club. Folklore has it that the founder members gathered under a gaslight on Heathfield Road to discuss an alternative sport to keep them occupied during the Winter, and probably during the Summer too, as according to founder member “Jimmy” Jim McJim; “Cricket is dead boring”.

Originally named Aston and District Elephant Polo Warlords, their first match against Birmingham Behemoths ended in tragedy, when Captain Cornelius Pachyderm was unseated in a goalmouth melee, and trampled to death in the six-yard box. After his funeral the founder members decided that football was a more sedate and appropriate game to while away the winter months, and the club was re-named Aston Villa.

Villa went on to become one of the most successful clubs in England with seven league championships and seven FA cups, and are one of only four English teams to have lifted the European Cup (defeating Bayern Munich 1-0 in the 1982 final).

Famous Matches

The 1919/20 FA cup saw Aston Villa pitted against Stoke City in the third round and produced one of the most controversial incidents in the competition’s history. With the score tied at 1-1, a thunderous shot by Stoke Inside Forward Nobby Prestatyn saw the pigs bladder burst upon his new winkle-picker boots (a style that was enjoying great popularity at the time).

With no replacement ball available and both clubs facing a fixture backlog due to the previous freezing December match cancellations, it was decided that the match should be resolved with a tractor race. The captains of each club took to the wheel and raced each other the length of the pitch and back again, resulting in a dead heat. Fortunately another match ball was found before the referee decided the match on the toss of a coin and the game resumed.

The resultant quagmire from the churning of the tractor wheels worked in Aston Villa’s favour (whose players had recently returned from charging The Hun at The Somme). With just two minutes remaining, Stoke fullback Ron Ronson sank to his waist in the mud on his six-yard line as Stoke’s back line stepped forward at a Villa free-kick. Ronson was unable to move and played Villa forward Tommy Treacle onside to head home the winning goal. By the time the celebrations had ceased, Ronson had sunk beneath the surface. His remains were never recovered.

Aston Villa went on to win the trophy, beating Huddersfield Town 1-0 (aet) in the final at Stamford Bridge.

Villa in the Community

Season 2009/10 sees Aston Villa embark upon a Barcelona-style shirt sponsorship deal, bucking the usual trend and advertising a local charity (for zero club revenue) in order to raise national awareness and show commitment to social responsibility. The charity in question is Acorn’s Children’s Hospice, which provides end-of-life care for children in the Midlands area.

Villa in Popular Culture.

In the BBC TV sitcom Porridge, the character Lennie Godber is an Aston Villa fan. As a result of some poor life choices, Lennie is forced to spend his Saturday afternoons surrounded by the same drab surroundings, staring at a bucket of excrement. Ultimately however, he is saved from this awful situation when the authorities chuck him in prison.

10 September 2008

Warriors fans blubbing to the press Shock, Horror!

Warriors fans are already making excuses for the forthcoming piss-poor turn-out for Friday's home game at The Viking Valhalla Velodrome, by claiming there will be a boycott of the match.

In scenes of outrage that will warm the hearts of all long-standing Latics fans, supporters queued up in their ones and twos to complain bitterly about being kicked out of Latics ground and having to play their 'vitally important rugby game' at a neutral stadium.

Mike Thorley said: "I'm disgusted. We were shifted out of the way in the summer so that they could re-lay the pitch outside of the football season and now we're playing second fiddle to Latics again.

"This is a very important game for us. Are we equal tenants at the stadium or not?" he blubbed.

Michelle Middlehurst said: "I can't believe this is happening. We certainly know now where we stand in the list of priorities."


Guy Benest sobbed: "We're becoming the laughing stock of rugby league."

He could have omitted 'rugby league'.

All this moaning and more will be in your Wigan Evening Post tonight, as the Warriors superiority complex comes crashing down around their ears. A just reward for years of condescending bigotry and hatred.

8 September 2008

Rugby prevented from playing on JJB.

Wigan egg-chasers are not being allowed to use Latic's ground on Friday for their play-off match against Bradford.

The Rugby Football League state the date can't be changed due to 'competition integrity issues' which means they will have to find an alternative venue to play their 'home' fixture.

Perhaps they should get their own ground instead of playing on ours.

The play-off dates and football fixtures have been known for some time, which underlines the fact that the town's soccer club takes precedent over local minority sports.

Click here for the BBC report.

28 August 2008

Latics to Re-name Stadium?

According to The Mirror and The Mail (which makes this a cast-iron certainty), Latics are looking at two South Korean footballers with a view to clinching a lucrative Asian sponsorship deal.

After years of receiving peanuts from JJB, the eggs have blown them out in favour of looking for shirt sponsorship elsewhere, and with Latic's chairman Dave Whelan stepping down from the JJB helm, it looks as though the Blues may do the same.

Talk of re-naming the stadium 'Chicken Fried Rice' seem to be a little premature.

Brenda Spencer and John Benson have been at the Olympics to speak to various interested parties about a potential commercial tie-up, which is amazing really when you consider these two couldn't find their own arses if you turned out the light.

Feel free to vote on the completely official (as far as I'm concerned) stadium re-naming poll (right).

27 August 2008

Brenda Spencer is John Shaft.

The Black and White Minstrel Show came to be viewed as offensive due to its performers portrayal of blacked up characters behaving in a stereotypical manner. Popular in the 1960's it is now a source of embarrassment.
Here is a picture of Brenda Spencer handing an award to two blacked up Latics fans (presumably behaving in a stereotypical manner) for their 'outstanding' fancy dress effort a few boxing days ago.

Click Here for Brenda reading out the club statement on racism.

Click Here for Brenda singing 'Mammy'.

20 August 2008

Capello thinks Heskey is Interesting. Like Steve Davis.

I'm trying to live a stress-free life. There's a bloke who sits behind me at Latics whom I never want to become. He's very pleasant and jovial, and when something irks him, he's prime heart attack material. West-standers may know him; he has a shock of white hair, a furious blood-red face and the tendons in his neck are taut with rage. And this is before we've even kicked off.

His voice booms around the stands and the ground echoes with his wise intonations as he declares at ear-splitting volume that the latest referee is unfit for duty, or that Fergie is a tit. In fact, Christiano Ronaldo's antics during Manchester United's last visit caused his eyeballs to burst and trickle down his cheeks.

I don't want that to happen to me.

Which is why I'm philosophical about Emile Heskey's inclusion in the England squad. I've never supported England. Back in the day, Division one (as was) and England were so high above Latics' station that it meant nothing at all, I couldn't relate to it. If one day a Latics player is picked for England - I thought - I may change my mind.

Nothing. I couldn't give a monkeys. Latics are my team, and nothing else comes close. Even the most ardent England followers can't understand friendlies in August. I refuse to get angry, even if he gets decapitated with a wild John Robertson (we're not worthy!) style tackle.

We can but hope that Emile comes out of it unscathed.

Gary Glitter in Further Shame And Disgrace

Not only is he a kiddie-fidder, he also supports Bolton Wanderers.
The shame!

13 August 2008

West Ham United Preview

The trip to West Ham is the first chance to see our new signings in true competitive action. Steve Bruce’s solid but un-flash signings haven’t initiated any ripples in the collective psyche of our Premier League rivals supporters. Many of them think we will struggle again, pointing at Amr Zaki as the only signing of note.

Yet Bruce has added to a solid core of players to form a team that can, provided we can remain relatively free from injury, force its way into the top half of the table and kick on from there. Opinions are, as usual, far from unanimous as to the best starting 11.

I suggest:



De Ridder




Heskey you will see is the notable absence from my Latics Dream Team (!)

West Ham’s supporters are concerned with the lack of cover within their squad should the going get tough on the injury front. Indeed, at the moment, they are without a recognised left back and are looking at signing Ben Thatcher (ex Manchester City nutter who smashed Pedro Mendes in the face, hospitalising him in the process, and who was consequently banned for 8 matches in 2006) as emergency cover. Thatcher was booed by the Hammers faithful during a pre-season game against Villareal. With this absence of strength in depth, perhaps first game is not the best time to be travelling to The Boleyn Ground, but a lack of quality signings over the summer has left Alan Curbishley as bookies favourite to be the first managerial casualty of the season.

12 August 2008

Latics Yobbos Escape Jail

Certain types could argue that anyone celebrating a goal whilst sitting in the opponent’s area of the ground, incurring their wrath, deserves a punch in the chops. Perhaps they do, but these punches should be served in a sterile environment to prevent infection, and be administered by licensed FA Premier League Punchers wearing rubber gloves. What we do not want, is slavering, bellowing sub-humans climbing over seats, women and children, wildly swinging pie-clutching fists in the name of retribution.

Aside from this ripping away of innocence from horrified onlooking children, this behaviour is symptomatic of a developing culture so brain damaged through repeated viewings of Big Brother, that violence is the only option in the face of provocation.

It was disappointing to see three numb-nuts escaping jail after their involvement in the East Stand fracas initiated by Yossi Benayoun’s winner for Liverpool at the JJB last season because they pleaded guilty and were in employment.

Setanta are always on the look-out to nick a few viewers from SKY, we should chain these hooligan bastards up in the centre-circle and flay the skin from their bones with barbed wire (making the children look-away first of course) for Setanta to broadcast before live games, and for Alan Hansen to ruminate over on MOTD whilst Lawro cracks a funny joke that nobody really understands.

And the morons at Wigan Athletic should re-vamp their ticketing system to prevent away fans getting into the home end in such significant numbers. It can’t be that hard, can it?

Click here for the Liverpool Daily Post report.

11 August 2008

Pre-season Review with Michael Jackson

Celebrity Latics fan and showbiz's wacky Mr.Bonkers shares his thoughts on our performances thus far.....

Paralatic: So Michael, how have you rated Latics' pre-season?

Jackson: Wigan Athletic’s pre-season performance was Walter Raleigh good, with impressive victories at Barnsley, F.C. Utrecht and Sir Trevor MacDonald. Amr Zaki was fishcakes, scoring winning goals at Hibs and Sheffield Winklepicker. Providing Steve Bruce can keep the first team fit, Latics have a fantastic chance of laddering the limpet and qualifying for European liquid trump-cloud.

7 August 2008

Amr Zaki - 5 Amazing Facts

1. He was born Amr Hassan Zaky on April Fool’s day, 1983 in Mansoura, Egypt.

2. He’s scored on his debut for every club he’s played for save Lokomotiv Moscow, for whom he didn’t play a single game.

3. His favourite food is cheese, particularly goats cheese from the southern city of Luxor, but he’s quite partial to a dairylea triangle.

4. He lives in Norley Hall with Brenda, his pet sloth, and his pet chimp, Spencer.

5. He also has a slug called Maurice

6 August 2008

The best Wigan Athletic site in the UNIVERSE!!!

Do you want a site that goes dead for 6 months and then re-appears with pictures of Maurice Lindsay smearing custard all over his hairy moobs?

If you answered 'Yes!' then PARALATIC is for you!

Enjoy the site.

Marlon King speaks out about his money demands

5 August 2008

Latics Beauties Narrowly Avoid Relegation Zone

Latics trailed in a dismal 17th in a premier league beauty table commissioned by SKY.
Using their High Definition cameras, and obviously too much spare time on their hands (they could fire these wasters and drop the subscription prices), SKY have trawled through footage of supporters and come up with the following results:

Premier League Beauty Table

1. Liverpool
2. Fulham
3. Tottenham Hotspur
4. Sunderland
5. Chelsea
6. Newcastle United
7. Arsenal
8. Bolton Wanderers
9. West Ham United
10. Manchester United
11. Derby County
12. Middlesborough
13. Manchester City
14. Birmingham City
15. Aston Villa
16. Everton
17. Wigan Athletic
18. Blackburn Rovers
19. Reading
20. Portsmouth

So come on you Latics fans, stop picking your noses when there’s cameras about, put down that pie, and for God’s sake, put a bag on your head you bloody ugly bastards.

30 March 2008

Johnny Moronic

Watching Keanu Reeves' horrifically wooden monotone acting in Johnny Mnemonic wasn't the best way to get over Latics' result at Portsmouth. Every time we get beat I am confronted with some Hollywood drivel on Saturday night, with a pretty boy moaning and gurning in the most pitifully gruesome attempt at acting.

One couldn't help hoping that as 320 gigabytes of information were downloading into his neural network, his brain would explode, saving me from this patently amateurish attempt to transfer William Gibson's short story to celluloid. Unfortunately, the next 2 hours were spent with the 'baddies' attempting to remove his head to retrieve said data. Once they've removed it, perhaps they can give it to Ryan Taylor to boot over the Portsmouth bar. Why is he taking penalties anyway? He's only in the team as emergency cover.

An absurd end to an absurd day.

23 March 2008

Paul Jewell in Porn Video "Shame"

Paul Jewell didn't quit Latics due to the strains and stresses of managing in the Premier League according to The News Of The World, but because of the stresses and strains of bedding a 28 year old blonde. Getting intimate with David Beckhams ex girlfriend Lisa Hames in a bondage video he (alledgedly):

STRAPS his champagne-swigging lover to a bed using silk ties.

BRINGS on a SEX TOY as a substitute when he runs out of steam.

SLAPS her bottom and face and pulls her hair as the blonde, wearing only black suspenders, stockings and studded black boots, writhes in passion.

KEEPS his T-shirt on to hide his overweight midfield as he goes for goal in a variety of formations.

And he "Leaps on her rattling in goal after goal for a full ten minutes".

Read their hilarious article HERE.

No wonder he's got himself a nice little flat in Derby as shown on Football Focus rather than commute as he's done with previous clubs, the dirty scouse git!

16 March 2008

Latics V Bolton Preview

Since the early 1980’s, this fixture is the one most keenly awaited by Wigan Athletic fans. The close proximity of the two clubs forged an enmity in the furnace of the lower leagues that remains undiminished amongst the glitz and glamour of the Premier League.

The precarious predicaments of these two Lancashire rivals adds an extra spice to what is always a wonderfully heated derby, which should see the noise levels raised a decibel or two, as normally sane supporters lose their cool in the heat of the moment.

Bolton’s resting of their first team for the UEFA cup tie against Sporting is seen by some as a sad indictment of the Premier League’s clubs attitude toward their loyal support, but it means Wanderers have a full and rested squad to bring to the JJB.

Not as this will faze the Latics players, who have expressed their keenness to avenge the 4 – 1 defeat at the Reebok in December, in addition to pushing today’s opponents closer towards the trap-door.

Currently lacking fire-power, Latics fans are hoping Marlon King can break his duck and repay Steve Bruce’s faith in signing him from Watford. Emile Heskey has looked stiff recently, but with Marcus Bent suffering a knock and Antoine Sibierski not fully match fit, Bruce is relying on Heskey and Bent to prevent his team from drawing a third successive blank in the goals scored column.

Latics (from): Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Boyce, Edman, Valencia, Brown, Palacios, Koumas, Heskey, King, Bramble, Kilbane, Sibierski, Taylor, Pollitt, Aghahowa, Bent, Olembe, Skoko.

Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Nolan, Davies, Taylor, Diouf, Gardner, Campo, A O'Brien, McCann, Steinsson, Hunt, Samuel, Meite, Cahill, Giannakopoulos, Helguson, Teymourian, Vaz Te, J O'Brien, Al Habsi.

Referee: Steve Tanner

2 March 2008

The Stephen Ireland Appeal

Have pity on poor Stephen Ireland. Manchester City don't pay him much and he can't afford a proper haircut. He gets his poor blind mum to cut round a basin.

Please give generously so we can send him to the barbers.

29 February 2008

What is there to like about Manchester City?

I used to go out with a Manchester City supporter. From certain angles on an overcast day with a prevailing wind she looked a bit like Denise Van Outen. People still accost me in the pub and go “Are you still with that City fan?”. I have to tell them that no, fortunately I am not. “But she was fit” is the standard response. Yeah, but she was also as mad as a bag of squirrels.

She subscribed to the “We are Manchester’s team” ethos. She would wax lyrical, long and loud, about how a sizeable majority of Manchester United’s supporters were not even from Manchester. It was at this point that I would point out that she herself was actually from Warrington. The irony of her monologue was lost on her however. She might look like Denise Van Outen, but she was as thick as a yard of lard.

This point was illustrated quite finely one Saturday afternoon. City had just won and she was harping on about their magnificent performance – even though she hadn’t been to the game, she just listened to the last 15 minutes on GMR. When she had run out of breath she turned to me and asked: “How many points do we get for a win?” She didn’t last long after that.

In fact, stupidity seems to pervade the entire support of Manchester City. I had the unfortunate experience of sitting with the enlightened people of the Kippax stand at Maine Road during the 1998/99 season, when they were in the (then) second division. They would slag off Shaun Goater for the full ninety minutes. True, he wouldn’t exactly do much, but what he did do was score a couple of goals - every time I went. In my book, this is what he, as a forward, is paid to do. Not enough for the City fans.

And what can be in the minds of supporters who openly welcome as chairman, a man with an appalling human rights record as Prime Minister of Thailand? Is success worth letting such a man into your club? It seems to be for City fans.

The lovely supporters of Manchester City appear to be, all in all, not at the game to show their love for City, but more in a defiant gesture to show to the world that they were not Manchester United. My current girlfriend is under strict instructions to kill me if my sole reason for watching Latics is to demonstrate I am not Wigan Rugby/Bolton Wanderers/Whoever. They seem to be missing the point somewhat.

Anyone (un)fortunate enough to travel to the City of Manchester stadium for our recent visits will have been stunned by the level of drivel spouted from the supporters nearest to the away end. The skegs in the tracksuits at whom the Latics fans chant “smackhead” must practise being morons for hours at a time in order to attain the high level of skill in this discipline.

These “fans” still adhere to the line that Manchester United are arrogant and City are the people’s club. These are the same fans who chanted “1-0 in your cup final” when they took the lead in the 2nd division against the smaller teams – no arrogance there then!

There is a mantra often spouted by the underachieving team in a town/city to lesson the pain they feel at being left far behind. Everton are another team guilty of using it. (It is in fact emblazoned across their stadium). The mantra in question is spouted fervently by any of the sad deluded people who, whilst supporting the under-achieving town team, quite firmly believe that their club is bigger, better, (it’s a MASSIVE club!!). The mantra in question is “We are The People’s Club”. No doubt Wigan Warriors will be using it next.

24 February 2008

Paul Jewell: The Tom Cruise of Football

Remember those days when you had to turn up WISH F.M. to full blast in order to try and make out Paul Jewell's jolly scouse patois? Well tonight I was taken back to those heady days as I forewent the pleasures of Adrian Chiles and wittering pundits to watch Tom Cruise mumble his way through "Collateral".

This was such a festering pus-filled vomit-sack of a movie, that had it a football equivalent, it would be Derby County. The neighbours were banging on the walls as I had the TV turned up full blast in order to make out Cruise's pathetic attempts to enunciate his lines. If this is the best the teachings of L Ron Hubbard can do for him, then I'll stick to the rambling maniacs at Today's Community Church.


In frustration, I had to give up and turn to the solace of "The Crack In Space" by Philip K Dick. At least Derby County have the comedy of Darren Moore's mongoloid defending to provide brief respite for their supporters.

Listening to Jewell's incessant "building for next season" mutterings, it makes me wonder how much drivel we Latics fans forgave him, as we listened to his language-mangling post-match cack through our blue-tinted headphones.

3 February 2008

Video Highlights: Latics 1-0 West Ham

Wigan Athletic 1-0 West Ham United

2nd half highlights

Kilbane's goal (complete with crap Micron Video style music).

30 January 2008

Video Highlights: Boro 1-0 Latics

Middlesbrough 1-0 Wigan Athletic
Extensive highlights

28 January 2008

The JJB pitch - A Simple Solution

Much has been made of the state of the Wigan Athletic pitch on various websites, forums and media sources, and how it does not allow the full expression of The Beautiful Game.

The JJB playing surface does not enjoy respite from the rigours of sport, and as such, cannot recover, especially as it is being worn down in the summer, when the grass should be left to grow and the pitch recuperate.

A simple solution presents itself, that of allowing just one code to ply it's trade at the ground,leaving chairman Dave Whelan with a decision to make.

Should he allow football to be played on the surface? A sport that offers global recognition, with the kudos and distinction that results from playing a sport that transcends all barriers?

Or does he allow Rugby League? Which doesn't.

25 January 2008

King of The JJB

After failing to get his man in the summer, Wigan Athletic manager Steve Bruce has finally landed striker Marlon King from Watford in a deal believed to be worth around £4.5million.

King signed a three and a half year contract and said: “"I just spoke to Steve Bruce and he made me feel very welcome,

"You look at the Wigan team and they have got a good chance of survival, and there is not much more to say than that."

Steve Bruce was ebullient after capturing his long-time target. "I've been looking to bolster our attacking line up and Marlon certainly fits the bill. He's a proven finisher who provides us with a different kind of goal-scoring threat” he said.

"I believe he is the kind of player who could make a real difference to us. He's aggressive, with great pace and a natural ability to finish, something every manager looks for.

"This is tremendous news for us, especially as there were other clubs in for him. It speaks volumes about the potential there is at this club."

View From The North Stand: Chelsea F.C.

Dan Davies from the innovative Chelsea F.C fansite: CFC.net answers a few pertinent questions prior to our 4th round FA cup tie against his team at the JJB tomorrow.......

*How do Chelsea fans view the FA cup? Does this differ from the view Chelsea FC has of the competition? How high is it on your list of silverware priorities?

It's number three on the list behind the "Big Cup" and the Premier League but the fact that we are the current holders makes us all the more keen to keep hold of it.

*Will your tactics/line-up change in anyway from that of a league match?

Probably not initially, though should we find ourselves behind or level going into the last half an hour you could perhaps see us a little more "gung ho" than we would be in a league match, as sometimes the management have felt that it's better to lose as a result of going for the win, than to subject the players to a replay and another match in a busy schedule.

*What do Chelsea fans really think of Wigan? Be honest! Plucky underdogs who’ve fought their way from lower-league obscurity against the odds with a small but passionate and loyal fanbase? Or dirty Northern peasants who have ridden their luck for long enough with a terrible fanbase who can’t even fill their stadium?

Credit has to go to everyone who's turned the team around in the last 30 years - and at least you're one of the few clubs not to chant the pathetic "You've got no history" at us! We probably learned to respect you a little more after we needed to rely on Hernan Crespo's last minute wonder goal in your first Premier League game. Keep letting us take 6 points a season from you and we're happy to have you in the top flight for as long as you like!

*Which Latics players would make a useful addition to the Chelsea squad?

The gulf in class in the Premiership means that sadly, I can't suggest anyone. It's nice to see Mario Melchiot back in English football however.

*Do you think you can do enough to overhaul both Manchester United and Arsenal at the top of the table?

It's what football managers of a certain generation call "a big ask", and realistically to do so we'll need to beat both sides when we play them at Stamford Bridge in the second half of the season. Honestly, I don't think we've been quite up to the standard of Man U this year, and so would be happy to see us bag second place when Arsenal self destruct!

*Do you think that Grant has adequately filled the shoes of The Special One? Would you have Mourinho back?

He's doing a better job than we expected when we digested the news of his appointment. How much is down to him and how much Steve Clarke and Henk Ten Cate have to do with it is open for debate. Mourinho was absolutely fantastic for Chelsea, and we certainly needed someone with his "win at all costs" mentality to turn us from perennial underachievers to Champions twice on the spin. The nature of the man meant that he was never likely to stay as long as Ferguson or Wenger, and he perhaps wasn't the man to fashion us into an exciting, fluid, open & attacking force. Is Avram Grant is that man? I'm not sure.

*What do you think of The African Cup of Nations? How much will you miss Drogba with the arrival of Anelka? Do you think they will play as a partnership when Drogba returns?

Whilst I understand why it has to be played in January, I'm frustrated by the fact it takes place every two years and not every four (like the European Championship). Anelka stands to be the perfect buy and he's certainly intelligent enough to form a potent force next to Drogba - perhaps not for every game, but certainly at home or against weaker opposition.

*What do you make of Steve Bruce? Do you think he can keep us up?

Whilst it was nice to see our old boy Chris Hutchins get a chance at the top level, he never looked likely to form you into a cohesive winning outfit. Steve Bruce would win few awards for loyalty but is certainly an improvement. You're definitely better than Fulham and Derby, so I guess it's down to you, Sunderland and Bolton to battle to avoid that last relegation spot.

*Who will win the league?

Manchester United unfortunately!

*And the FA cup?

John Terry will be lifting the trophy again come May :-)

*Finally, a score prediction please.

2-0 to the visitors, just like last time.

Many thanks to Dan for taking the time to answer these questions.

Lanzaat Sold

Wigan Athletic midfielder Denny Landzaat has moved to Rotterdam club Feyenoord today for an undisclosed fee (rumoured to be up to £1million).

Feyenoord general manager Peter Bosz said: "We are delighted to have been able to add another player of this calibre to our squad. In our view, Denny is the kind of player this team needs right now."

Steve Bruce was philosophical about the departure, stating: "I said I didn't particularly want to lose any other players this January

“He has done well for me. But sometimes in football, you have to make difficult decisions and when the offer came in, it was one we decided to accept. He leaves with all our good wishes."

Landzaat flew to Holland late yesterday to thrash out personal terms after the offer from Feyenoord was accepted by Latics.

Landzaat was full of praise for the Latics faithful: "I'd just like to thank the Wigan fans because they have always been good to me. I'm confident the team will do well and survive this season” he said.

24 January 2008

Latics Rumour Round-Up: Jan 24th 2008

Borussia Monchengladbach’s Ivory Coast international defender, Steve Gohouri, has been linked with Wigan Athletic.

Gohouri is away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations and he featured in the win against Nigeria.

Monchengladbach are likely to be unable to resist a big offer for the player.

After Fulham’s failure to seal the deal with Watford for striker Marlon King, Hornets manager Adrian Boothroyd has stated two more Premier League clubs are interested in signing his player. One of these is rumoured to be Latics. Sunderland, Bolton and Middlesbrough have also been linked with the player.

Steve Bruce has told the Evening Post he wants cover for Emile Heskey.
"The attack is the area I would be looking at if I was looking to do something, someone to give us that bit extra,” said Bruce.

"I'm always worried about losing Emile - you could see how light we were when we were without him earlier in the season."

23 January 2008

Latics Rumour Round-Up: Jan 23rd 2008

Steve Bruce is believed to have offered £2million to Birmingham City for former Juventus winger Olivier Kapo.

Independiente president Julio Comparada says his club have received three offers – one allegedly from Latics - for their 25-year-old striker, German Denis. After finishing top scorer in the Argentinean Apertura tournament with 18 goals in 19 games, he is highly coveted, with West Ham also supposedly interested.

The player's agent, Leo Rodriguez said he has permission from Independiente to negotiate on behalf of his client.

"Denis is going to have his EU passport in June so it will be easier then to transfer him to a European team” he said.

John Brown, agent of Motherwell’s Ross McCormack, reckons Latics and Heart of Midlothian are interested in his client.

"He is free to talk to interested clubs and I have had a chat with Hearts about him as they have been tracking him for some time” he blathered.

Jason Koumas is going nowhere according to Steve Bruce. “I keep reading these stories about Jason. There seems to be something in the papers every day,” said Bruce.

“But I haven’t heard anything from any other club, and I don’t envisage anyone going out.”

21 January 2008

Koumas Shenanigans

Glasgow Celtic boss Gordon Strachan is rumoured to be lining up a £3.5million bid for Jason Koumas.

He is also allegedly a target for Blackburn Rovers, with whisperings of a deal involving Rover's midfielder Steven Reid being struck.

20 January 2008

Video Highlights: Latics 1 - 2 Everton

Cause for Concern, Reasons to Hope

Some people are saying it’s becoming unsafe to be a supporter of Wigan Athletic, especially at derby games, due to visiting supporters being in the home end. When Everton went 2-0 up today, some supporters became rather pugilistic, and the lady in front of me left, obviously deeming it too dangerous for her and her son to remain inside the ground.

The club itself actively encourages this through it’s associations with Get Me In (see official announcement here) and makes the Latics faithful question the club’s loyalty to it’s supporters when it comes to making a few extra quid through the turnstile. Surely the club must employ someone who cares about the club in the administrative team, not just bumbling moron hangers-on such as Brenda Spencer or Matt McCann. Someone who knows the feelings of the fans.

The players themselves however showed nothing but total commitment to the shirt, and were massively unlucky not to come away with all three points in front of an energized Latics crowd. Playing with such vigour every week will surely see them climb out of danger, and may even see them progress in the FA Cup.

Quote of the day: After the game, a man in Everton colours with the broadest Wigan accent you can imagine was heard to say:

“Liverpool aren’t Liverpool’s real team, their fans are all Cockney’s.”

Erm, ok, ever heard of irony?

18 January 2008

Latics secure double signing

Latics have secured the long-term services of Erik Edman and Luis Antonio Valencia.

Edman, signed from French club Stade Rennes and capped 53 times for Sweden, is unlikely to get his international clearance through in time to make his debut against Everton this weekend.

"It's not often such experienced left backs become available and I'm not surprised so many other clubs were interested in him” said Bruce.

Latics have not disclosed the transfer fee.

Valencia, who was on loan from Spanish club Villareal, has put pen to paper on a permanent three and a half year contract for an undisclosed fee (believed to be in the region of £3.5million).

"I am really happy this has been sorted,” said Valencia.

"I have always wanted to play in England, and now that Wigan have given me the chance, I am happy to repay them by staying here."

16 January 2008

Latics Rumour Round-Up: Jan 16th 2008

Latics are close to wrapping up a deal to sign Honduras international Maynor Figueroa on a short-term contract.

The defender has been on trial with Latics in recent weeks and has impressed Steve Bruce sufficiently to be offered a deal.

"We have got Maynor until the end of the season," said Bruce

"It's difficult for a player from Honduras to make an impact in a short trial, but he has done very well and has been desperate to earn a contract."

This will give Latics the luxury of having two left-backs if the signing of Erik Edman is completed.

23 year-old Hibernian left-back David Murphy is apparently a Latics target, with Bolton and Birmingham also competing for his services. It is highly unlikely this report has any substance with the imminent arrivals mentioned above.

Another defender we are linked with is Aston Villa’s Gary Cahill, who has also been has been linked with Bolton, Fulham, Derby and Sunderland.

Porto defender Marek Cech is apparently being watched by Latics and Newcastle United.
Cech himself told Maisfutebol: “I want to be with Porto until the end of the season because we are 11 points clear, we are well placed to be champions and I want to be in the team at the top of the table”.

"We have had an offer from Fulham and we have turned it down," Steve Bruce apparently told the Daily Star about Paul Scharner. It must be true then, if it’s in the Star.

Edman meets Bruce in Rigaletto's

Steve Bruce met with Erik Edman this afternoon in Rigaletto’s, the restaurant adjoining The JJB. The Swedish international was discussing a move from French club Rennes, and is expected to sign a two-and-a-half year contract, with the transfer fee thought to be around the £500,000 mark.

This is Latics' second attempt to sign him – we tried in the summer only to find Rennes reluctant sellers, but with the 29-year-old out of contract in the summer, they have decided to cash in now.

Edman has 36 caps for Sweden and has Premier League experience having played for Tottenham Hotspurs in the 2003/04 campaign.

15 January 2008

Latics Rumour Round-Up: Jan 15th 2008

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has reportedly spoken to Steve Bruce regarding the availability of Latics’ utility man, Paul Scharner. Fulham may offer an initial £3million, but Bruce won’t be keen to let such a versatile player leave.

Rennes are to allow Erik Edman to leave once they have signed a replacement left-back. This has fuelled the speculation linking him with Latics. According to Rennes general manager Pierre Dreossi, the ex-Spurs defender has been contacted by 'two or three' English clubs. Reports in France claim Latics have agreed a deal that will see the 29-year-old move to The JJB Stadium on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

Reports also suggest Latics may be about to sign Olimpia left-back Maynor Figueroa on a permanent deal. The Honduras international would command a £500,000 fee.

24 year-old Ipswich Town striker Jon Walters has apparently snubbed Latics in favour of staying at Portman Road.

Paul Jewell is keen to take Emmerson Boyce to Pride Park to bolster The Rams ailing defence. Jewell originally signed Boyce for Latics from Crystal Palace for £1million in 2006.

14 January 2008

Latics Rumour Round-Up: Jan 14th 2008

Steve Bruce is apparently going to stump up 5 million quid for Reading's want-away striker Leroy Lita. That's if you can believe anything the News Of The World says...

Along with Reading and Birmingham City, Latics are supposedly chasing Rennes Swedish international, Erik Edman. As Edman will be a free agent in the summer, Rennes will be keen to cash in during the transfer window.

Glasgow Rangers' Daniel Cousin is on the market for £3million. FansFC have reported this tenuous link.

Ex-Latic Jason Roberts is another player linked with The Blues. Apparently frustrated with his lack of first team action at Ewood Park, he's eyeing up Antoine Sibierski's spot as Heskey's strike partner.

Speaking of Antoine Sibierski, he's turned down an offer from his first ever club, Lille. "Lille contacted me three weeks ago to ask me if I wanted to get back to France," said Sibierski.

"I told them 'no' straight away, I don't want to go back to France. My family are happy living in Manchester and I'm very happy at Wigan."

Having fallen out of favour with Alex McLeish at Birmingham, Steve Bruce is reportedly interested in signing Olivier Kapo for the same fee he paid Juventus whilst in charge of Birmingham: £3million.

MOTD Highlights: Derby 0 - 1 Latics

13 January 2008

Demolition Derby

Steve Bruce is under no illusions about Latics’ plight after his team ground out a 1-0 victory at Pride Park. It’s hard to come to any other conclusion that we are still firmly entrenched within the relegation warzone.

In a high-stakes fixture, the play was often laborious and was ultimately tedious to watch, despite the hope three points would bring to such teams that are struggling at the foot of football’s elite pile.

Paul Jewell fielded five new players in his starting eleven – handing the captain’s armband to debutant Robbie Savage, but Derby still looked nervous from the off, and Latics dominated.

'One goal was going to decide the game,' said Jewell. 'It's always difficult when you put so many new faces in the squad. You have to hope they get by on adrenaline.'

And so Jewell’s prediction proved accurate. Antonio Valencia’s early effort was blocked by Andy Todd after he picked up a loose ball and Marcus Bent spurned a chance from ten yards out after Emile Heskey and Valencia had linked well during a brisk counter-attack to set him up.

After 33 minutes the linesman ruled Heskey to be in an offside position after Micheal Brown’s blocked shot fell to him. He squared the ball to Bent, who fired home, but the raised flag meant Bent wouldn’t add to his seven goal tally this afternoon.

Antonio Valencia smashed a gilt-edged opportunity wide just before half time. The ball ricocheted around the area before falling to him seven yards out and he amazingly thrashed his effort wide.

Derby had their work cut-out in the second half when Claude Davis was sent off in the 57th minute. Having been booked in the first half, he led with his arm in an aerial battle with Bent and struck him on the back of the head. Referee Mark Clattenburg had no option but to reach for a second yellow, and Davis, after a moments remonstration, trudged from the field for an early bath.

Click to Enlarge

Latics struggled to make their numerical advantage count and the game looked like it would peter out until Steve Bruce brought on Antoine Sibierski to enhance Latic’s attacking options. With his first touch he drove Bent’s header beyond the despairing dive of Lewis Price into the bottom left-hand corner of the net, to send the Latics travelling support into ecstatic waves of relief.

Steve Bruce: 'We should have been out of sight in the first half. It's one of those games when you're thinking: "Are they going to break away and score?" Thankfully, we didn't get punished and the better team won.'

Derby: Price, Mears, Davis, Todd, Mills, Fagan, Savage, Ghaly (Macken 85), Robert (Edworthy 59), Villa (Teale 71), Barnes.
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Lewis.

Sent Off: Davis (58).

Booked: Davis.

Latics: Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Palacios (Koumas 64), Landzaat (Sibierski 81), Heskey, Bent (Olembe 90).
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Aghahowa.

Booked: Brown, Boyce.

Goal: Sibierski 82.

Att: 31,658

Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

7 January 2008

The Magic of the Cup returns

“I can honestly say the FA Cup made my career, I know what it meant to me and it’s pretty sad that people look at it differently now. But if somebody like Dave Kitson was fortunate enough to play in a final he would understand that it does mean something. When you reach the stage when you put on your slippers, you will look back and FA Cup memories make your career what it is. If you are lucky enough to win it, then that is up there as the finest achievement and greatest occasion of your career. The final and the build-up with the world watching is all wonderful. Not that long ago, it was probably more important than winning the League.” – Steve Bruce

“We are not going to win the FA Cup and I do not give two shits about it, to be honest. I care about staying in the Premier League, as does everybody at this club. Our Premier League status is not protected by winning the FA Cup and it is a simple as that. It is a fantastic competition and perhaps one day we will be in a position where we can compete for it but not now.” - Reading striker Dave Kitson.

The last time I got myself so excited about the FA Cup was immediately prior to a second round game at Springfield Park against Scarborough many moons ago (a game we won 1-0). Today I spent quarter of an hour huddled up against a radio at work, waiting to see the fate those numbered balls had in store for us in the fourth round.

Football’s continued (yet understandable) obsession with the lucrative Premier League, combined with football television overkill (our fourth round tie against Chelsea is on the BBC on January 26th, KO 5.15), have contrived to strip some of the gloss from the World’s most prestigious club knock-out competition.

Steve Bruce however has stated his love for The Cup, and although fielding a slightly weakened side for the win at Sunderland, with one eye on Premier League survival, must feel that Latics have a chance of winning their way to the final. With a strong squad, and other teams ambivalence towards the competition, it is a realistic vision, and one that as a Wigan Athletic supporter, I am happy to share. All we need to do now, is beat Chelsea.