About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Yes Wi Gan...

... would have been the response if you had asked any of the 180 Wigan supporters at the Arsenal game on Monday night if they though the Latics would stay up. The size of their following belied their non league roots but what was displayed on the pitch was as slick as anything you could hope to see in any of the top divisions of European football.
All this was a long way from the team I saw play at Springfield Park in the early 90s. When living in Preston I once popped down to Wigan one Friday night to see them play Reading before what turned out to be their lowest league crowd at the time, lower than that which turned up to York Road last Saturday. A late equaliser from the Royals' Allan Cockram meant the points were shared that night on an evening devoid of even one iota of the class on display at Arsenal.
Now playing before a crowd of 60,000 Wigan were more than worthy of this exalted stage, proving they are to date the most durable of the clubs promoted to the Football League in the 1970s. In a breathless first half two quick goals from Wigan gave them what proved to be an unassailable lead although it was only thanks to goalkeeper Al-Habsi that Arsenal were unable to provide a more predictable half time scoreline.
The keeper produced two outstanding saves from Benayoun headers either side of the Wigan goals to confine Arsenal to just the one score from Thomas Vermaelen, In between the impressive Victor Moses parted a Red defence all at sea to set up goals for Di Santo and Gomez. 
After the break any assumption that Arsenal would complete the comeback were soon dispelled as Wigan displayed the full efficacy of their 3-4-3 with the ball, 4-5-1 without formation. This meant Wigan not only out thought but out fought Arsenal, the Gunners too often looking like they thought they could produce an equaliser by sheer force of attacking numbers. Instead it was Wigan who looked the most likely to score in the second half, this time Moses going on to shoot after a mazy, producing a good save from Szczesny. 
Thus its Wigan who go into the weekend being able to relax a little whilst Arsenal will need to be back to their best against Chelsea to secure their hold on third spot.

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