Leaving 2009 and moving into a new year brings about a lot of reminiscing, of course we are not just leaving a year behind but also a decade and with all the comings and goings at the Latics during the past ten years there are a lot of good memories.
With all the talk of teams of the decade I thought I would throw in my twopenny worth with a distinct Latics feel to it, well actually a Wigan Athletic team of the decade.
There have been lots of great players pass through the doors at what was the JJB and is now the DW Stadium these past ten years and of course we have climbed three divisions in this time, I base my team around what I believe, with all things considering, the best eleven players in a 4-4-2 formation that we have had at the club.
In goal I have no hesitation in picking John Filan, absolute class, shot stopper extraordinaire and commanded his penalty area, season 2002/03 typified him when he kept 11 clean sheets in a row and 29 in total throughout the season in all competitions.
My back four consists of Pascal Chimbonda, left us in acrimonious circumstances but what a season he had in our first in the Premier League, came from nowhere for £500,000 and was a joy to watch every week. Arjan De Zeeuw, captain fantastic, two spells at the club during the decade and both times totally outstanding. Matt Jackson, quite simply Mr Wigan Athletic, a solid defender, no nonsense and a great leader both on and off the pitch. Leighton Baines, came through the ranks and was the best youngster we produced by a country mile during the last decade.
That back four actually played together in the Premier League during the 2005/06 campaign.
Midfield was quite difficult but I have gone for Antonio Valencia out wide right, real quality, pace, aggression and very creative for others though he can score a goal or two himself. Jimmy Bullard is a must and the first name I thought of when deciding to do this, his drive and enthusiasm is infectious and boy can he play a bit too, our rise through the leagues owed a lot to the bubbly Londoner. Alongside Jimmy I would play Wilson Palacios, what a player Wilson is, similar to Jimmy in his drive and enthusiasm and a fantastic quality on the ball. One of the most talented players we have ever had at the club. Making up my midfield I have put Lee McCulloch out on the left, super Lee adds a bit of steel and aggression to the team and also his ability in the air is second to none, another player who went through the leagues with the Latics.
The up front pair for me pick themselves, Jason Roberts and Nathan Ellington both fast, strong, skilful, scored all types of goals, scruffy to spectacular but they also had a fantastic partnership and played together like they were brothers.
My team of the decade:
Chimbonda, De Zeeuw, Jackson, Baines
Valencia, Bullard, Palacios, McCulloch
Subs: Kirkland, Figueroa, Bramble, N`Zogbia, Heskey
Please let me know if you agree or disagree
As a footnote if I had to pick my manager of the decade then it would have to be without hesitation Paul Jewell, the man is a legend for what he achieved at the club.
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