The 19th August has a special place in the history of Wigan Athletic, back in 1978 the Latics ran out for their first ever game as a Football League club, led by stalwart Ian Gillibrand, at Edgar Street, Hereford, fast forward 34 years to 19th August 2012 and the Latics are set to kick-off their eighth consecutive season as a top flight club against the European Champions at the DW Stadium, what a long way we have come in such a relatively short space of time
The years between the two dates have certainly created many memories for Latics fans, both highs and lows. Now I don’t profess to be vainglorious on all things Latics, I’ll leave that to others, but what I am, is very passionate about a football club that has been a massive part of my life as far back as I can remember, passionate about a football club that has given me hero’s that I wanted to emulate, passionate about a club that has been involved in games that have been so thrilling that they could have only been dreamt about, passionate about a club that has let me escape the realities of a harsh world for at least 90 minutes when times have been tough, and as we prepare for the new season the passion is as strong now as it was back in 1978
Whatever this season brings you can guarantee that there will be drama, exhilaration, disappointment and no doubt a bit of laughter, there will be special moments to savour and a few moments to forget, wherever we finish in the table there will be a sense of ‘if only’, unless we win it of course!
We have a few new faces, Iván Ramis looks solid, Fraser Fyvie is one for the future, Arsenal have entrusted the next phase of the development of prodigy Ryo Miyaichi with the Latics under Roberto Martinez’s guidance and we have a new centre forward to get excited about in Arouna Koné
The fall of the fixtures have been kind to us this time round, if they ever can be in the Premier League, we don’t have clumps of games against the top sides as in previous campaigns, but recalling the magnificent run back in March/April maybe as a club we thrive on adversity, still better spread out.
The pundits and experts have once again tipped us for relegation, they just don’t get us, we don’t splash out big fees, we don’t have a massive squad, but we do it the right way, within our means, with good management and with a tremendous support that backs the team and manager even when its backs against the wall.
My prediction for the new season is that it will be a pleasure to be part of the phenomenon that is Wigan Athletic, come 1:30pm tomorrow when the referee, Mike Jones blows his whistle to signal the start of the new season for the Latics, the passion will once again be at boiling point, we are a Premier League club, we are proud, we are the Latics, when that whistle blows, just cast a thought back to 19th August 1978, back to where it all began and smile
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