Date: 11th November 2009 at 12:40pm
Written by:

A new series of articles inspired by the fact the Latics achieved their 2000th league point in the recent draw against Fulham, these articles are by Vital members looking back on their favourite league game, it could be from the mists of time or something more recent, it matters not.

I thought I`d get the ball rolling

For me there have been some fantastic games down the years, beating Reading 3-1 and achieving Premier League football, losing 3-0 at half-time against Port Vale only to fight back for a 5-3 win, the recent win against Chelsea and any of the annual beatings handed out to Aston Villa, but I find trouble choosing just one from three in particular:

Latics 7-1 win over Scarborough on 11th March 1997 was a fantastic display of flowing football and some superb goals to boot, one in particular from a certain Roberto Martinez, those 7 goals helped us pip Fulham to the Division 3 title that year on goals scored, then there was the beating of Northampton Town 2-0 away on a Friday night in April 2003, this game held great significance, the points won that night guaranteed promotion to the 2nd tier of English football for the first time in our history, but for me if I am pushed, and I am, the most stand out league game was against Bristol Rovers one cold and damp December evening in 1997, no real significance on the outcome of the season, but just a great memory.

Following the promotion from the bottom division at the start of the Dave Whelan era expectations were high and with manager John Deehan at the helm the club was flying, right? Well not exactly.

Tuesday 2nd December 1997, cold, damp and drizzly.

The score this night was Wigan Athletic 3-0 Bristol Rovers but the evening held a much bigger story than what the score-line suggested.

From setting out for the game to arriving home was one big adventure and one that remains etched on my mind.

The ex-wife always tried to be awkward (still does), picking up my lad from her place was never an easy task and when we had the dead-line of a kick-off to meet she took great delight in stalling as long as possible, anyway finally got to Springfield Park right on the last minute only to see my mate Brian waiting outside.

Brian Eyre was a great character, he was Latics through and through, I knew him, because I had stood next to him on the terraces for twenty years, sharing coffee, whisky and stories, we became very good friends.

Brian was standing outside the ground as I said, waiting for me and my lad to arrive, when he saw us he said excitedly ‘I’ve got us in the stand tonight lads’. Brian had a mate who worked the door to the stand, Brian had lots of ‘mates’, and he managed to get us in for free, bonus, what with the CSA and all.

We sat in the Phoenix Stand that night, in the posh seats, there was a guy from Southampton sat with us, he was working in Southport that week and just fancied taking in a game, strange.

Any way it was an explosive game that saw Graeme Jones from the Latics and FOUR Bristol Rovers players sent off, Kevin Lynch was the ref, mad as a hatter, once the Latics had got into a two goal lead the Bristol Rovers players started to really fly into challenges trying to get themselves sent off and the game abandoned, Jonesy had got his marching orders for head butting someone.

Ian Kilford and two David Lowe goals gave us the three points, we were two up by the time the second sending off happened, we then struggled to score against the seven men believe it or not, Lowe banging in the 3rd near to the end of the game.

At full time I said I’d give Brian a lift home, he didn`t drive and lived at the back of Billinge hospital, two buses and a good walk away, it was a bitterly cold night and he’d got us in for free, it was the least I could do, couldn`t have my mate going home on the bus, I bet he`d wished he had done though.

Got to the car and I had a flat tyre…lifted the boot to get the spare, that was flat as well, decided to drive to a service station and blow up what I knew to be a slow puncture, without a lie every service station between Springfield and Orrell didn`t have a working air supply, ended up with a ripped tyre, had to change the wheel at the Stag service station at Orrell and get some puncture fix which cost a tenner, so the money I`d saved on the free admission, £7:50 was lost on the car repair, gutted.

What a night, got home at 11:15!! The ex-wife was on the phone to the current wife demanding to know what the idiot (me) had done with her son, Brian said ‘you wont forget tonight in a hurry Baz’ he was right.

Sadly Brian died in July 2006, his brother Keith said at least he saw the Latics in the Premier League…following the move from Springfield Park I sat with Brian and Keith in the South stand until we got in the Prem, with me living in Gidlow and the Eyre brothers from the other side of town we ended up in the East and West respectfully, the last time I saw Brian was at the Carling Cup final in Cardiff February 2006, I knew he was ill but not how seriously.

Mention of memorable games and I automatically think of the Latics Bristol Rovers match and my mate Brian, brings a tear to my eye but fantastic memories

The attendance that night was 2,738, scorers Kilford, Lowe (2)

The Latics Hit 2000 Points Milestone

Wigan Athletic achieved their 2000th point as a league club in the 1-1 draw with Fulham

You must have some fantastic memories of games that we have achieved points in over the years, and you must have a favourite that sticks out, either from the mists of time like that first win against Rochdale or something more recent like breaking our hoodoo against Chelsea, why not jot them down and send them in and Vital Latics will publish them under the heading 2000 Memories.

Send your favourite match memories to 2000 Memories@vital

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