Date: 9th November 2008 at 9:10am
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Welcome to Vital Latics feature ‘Far Away Fans` and today we are talking to Darius Lee, better known to Vital Wigan regulars as d_manga_fanatic

I know Darius isn`t from these shores, where you from?

I’m from Melbourne, Australia, where I`ve grown up since a very young age after migrating from Singapore

Fascinating, whats life like in Australia and is football a big sport there?

Life in Australia is pretty good, most of our sporting teams are relatively successful in world sport (except for the Aussie cricket team which is getting pummelled by India at the moment) so it’s always good to watch.

Being from Melbourne is good in terms of sport as many international sporting events are held here, such as the Formula 1 and Australian Open, there`s always something going on and the nightlife is good as well.

Football is growing quite quickly as a sport here but with many other codes around such as AFL and Rugby and such, it`s taken a while. Football has only really grown since Australia made the knockout stages of the 2006 World Cup and the performances that they put in to get there in the two legged match against Uruguay.

The A-League has been a big help in growing the sport as well.


If you were a Scout for Steve Bruce and could pick one Australian player to recommend who would it be and why?

From the A-League, I would have to say Mark Milligan who was a free agent before recently signing with Central Coast.

He’s a centre back but can also play in defensive midfield or at right back, is the Olympic and Under 21’s Captain and dangerous from set pieces.

He was recently on trial with several English Clubs during the summer when his contract with Sydney FC expired including at Arsenal.

He would be a good fit for Wigan, as he’s young but with loads of international experience and plays a position which we need to strengthen badly.

However, from anywhere in the world, I would have to say Timmy Cahill; he’s an absolute gun, awesome leap despite his small size, quite strong and scores important goals from midfield regularly.

Everton play much better when he’s in the side and for us, would give us a real goal scoring threat from midfield and set pieces where we have been lacking that cutting edge.

So d_manga_fanatic, I have to ask, why that particular user name?

I’m a huge fan of Japanese comics (manga) and animation (anime) and the President of the Anime Club at University, and its a username I`ve been using for lots of sites and forums since I was young.

Are you working, a student or a multi-millionaire?

I’m studying business majoring in accounting and marketing and in my 2nd year.

Next year will be my last year assuming I don`t fail anymore subjects but while studying, I also play indoor soccer in the University’s team competition with friends where I play as the goalkeeper.

I`m not rich but if I were, I would probably help try to bankroll the Latics but considering the billions needed, I don`t think being a multimillionaire is sufficient anymore >.<

How did you become a Latics fan?

Well, prior to the 2005/06 season, I didn’t really support a particular club and merely watched when I had the chance but after seeing a few Wigan games and finding out that the 05/06 season was their first ever season in the Premier League and everyone touted them to head straight down, they performed superbly as underdogs.

I generally like supporting the Underdogs and made a decision then and there that I would support the Latics from then on and have been a passionate fan ever since.

Do you get to see Latics games often?

Since pay television is far too expensive in Australia, I stream my matches of the internet every week, although if I’m overseas and can watch the game live on TV, I do. I watch Wigan games every week providing I can find a stream to watch the the time difference isn’t too bad but manageable

Would you travel to the UK to watch the Latics and if you could chose the opponents to be any team in the world who would you choose and why?

I would definitely travel to the UK to watch the Latics provided I was able to. At one stage I was pretty convinced that I would have to travel there just to get a Latics jersey before finding one while overseas on holiday.

If I were to choose the opponents, I would have to say either Barcelona or Real Madrid; those two are top quality teams which we would only be able to meet if we were in the champions league.

What is your proudest moment as a Latics fan?

Proudest moment would definitely have to be the last day survival at Sheffield Utd in the 06/07 season. Needing a win on the last day, away from home against a team in the same situation as us, it was pretty tense for me. I was not able to stream the game as I didn’t have the internet then so was unable to keep up to date with the scores and could only find them out once I arrived at University.

Checking the score with my friend who is a Man Utd supporter, I then proceeded to shake his head off with joy when I saw that we had won.

The Unsworth penalty added a bit of romance to the game since he moved from Sheffield to us on a free during the summer and to hold out for the last 15minutes when we were down to 10 men just added even more strength and character to the performance.

I`m trying to find a copy of that one specific match but am unable to, so if anyone is able to tell me where I can get a copy of just that match from, please Pm me, as that would be greatly appreciated

Who is your favourite all time Latics player?

Would have to be Lee McCulloch for sure. That guy is an absolute gun and I was so disappointed when he left. The fee that we got for him was a disgrace though for a player of such a calibre.

I also like Jimmy Bullard and Leighton Baines a lot as well despite them playing for Fulham and Everton now and I used to like Pascal Chimbonda although not as much since he left us the way he did.

Pick an all time Latics 11 and manager.

Chimbonda, De Zeeuw, Scharner, Baines
Valencia, Palacios, Bullard, McCulloch
Roberts, Zaki

Manager: Paul Jewell

Where do you see us going in the future and what are your realistic hopes for the club?

In the future I would like to see us avoid getting into relegation fights like we have in the past 3 seasons and confirm ourselves as a relatively strong mid-table club. (a couple of years of mid-table obscurity would be nice compared to a relegation fight) before hopefully challenging for a place in Europe as well.

Which player would you love to see sign for the Latics?

There would be two players I would like to see sign for us, Timmy Cahill due to his goal scoring threat, work rate and jumping ability which would make our midfield far more dangerous and Sunsuke Nakamura.

That guy’s free kicks are just beautiful to watch and deadly accurate (look at the ones he scored in the Champions league against Man Utd a couple of season ago to see the prime example) and would make us much more dangerous from set pieces, whether he’s taking a direct/indirect free kick or from corners coz frankly, we’re pretty poor from set pieces and set pieces can win you games (look at Villa last season)

d_manga_fanatic and friends prepare to watch an EPL game live in Australia

Thanks for the interview d_manga_fanatic I always enjoy reading your posts and maybe one day we could meet at the JJB or next time I visit my mum and my sisters I will pop in and surprise you?take care

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