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Old 30-12-2021, 14:47   #1
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2021/22 Prediction League; Game 26 v Wigan Athletic (away)

Wigan Athletic


Accrington Stanley

2021/22 Prediction League Game 26; v The Pie Munchers (away)

In case you missed it, and despite Wednesday's game against the Furry-Nosed Pointy Things being described in the match Report on the BBC website as a "dour goalless draw" as well a "League One game devoid of real quality", we're currently on our best run of results over the whole season so far; four wins, one draw and one loss in six ... there are now three teams who've conceded more that us (Morecambe 46, Fleetwoof 43 and Cheltenham 42) plus two - Donnie and Crewe - who've both shipped 39, like us: five have worse GDs, six have lost more than we have, seven have won more than us, and we're 14 points away from Possible Relegation ......... COYR!

Wigan currently lie third in the table, on 45 points and a GD of +20 (GF40 GA20), which is the best apart from Rotherham's +27 ..... the Piemen have also got two games in hand on the Millers (47 points) and Slumberland (46 points) .... form team is Pompey (13 points from their last 15 possible), followed by Wigan, The Owls and CinderellaLand (11/5) and Rotherham and us (10/5) ....... Out of form and sinking fast are Gillingham (5 defeats out of 5 - nul points), Lincoln and Morecambe (1 point from a possible last 15) and Cheltenham (2/15) ..... Wigan's last two (26th and 29th December) have been Covid-Postponed, and they haven't played since 18th December, when they beat Oxford 3-2 with an 86th-minute winner after throwing away an early 2-0 lead (sort them out, Leam)

Vegan Greenpeace (44/20), the Cobblers (40/21) and Tranmere (5 wins on the bounce, giving them 38/22) lead League Ducks: Oldham (17 points from 23) are last, with The Iron (19/22 and in 23rd and Carlisle (19 from 21) in the brown and niffy; TwistySpires United top the Bananarama from FC Halifax Town on GD: Blackburn (5 straight wins and third on GD behind the Cherries and Fulham) are the form team dans le Championnat, with the Blades and Middlesbrough on 13 points from their last five ...........

Wigan - if you didn't know - is a large town in Greater Manchester on the River Douglas, midway between Manchester, 16 miles to the south east, and Liverpool, 17 miles to the southwest; Bolton to the northeast, and Warrington to the south are 10 miles and 12 miles away respectively. Formerly within the boundaries of the Old County of Lancashire, Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan (no surprise there, then) and its administrative centre. The town has a population of 103,608 (give or take the odd pie ......)

In Days of Yore, Wigan was in the territory ruled by the Brigantes, an ancient Celtic tribe that controlled much of what is now northern England. Said Brigantes were subjugated (which is painful, if you're wondering) during the Roman conquest of Britain, and the Roman settlement of Coccium was established where Wigan now lies.

The Industrial Revolution saw a dramatic economic expansion and rapid rise in population. Wigan became a major mill town and coal mining district; at its peak, there were 1,000 pit shafts within 5 miles of the town centre (which - since the bit of the country on which Wigan (precariously) stands must look like a very thin honeycomb - might explain why anything heavier than a donkey cart is prohibited in the town centre) ..... Coal mining ceased in the later 20th century. I understand that the as yet unfilled mineshafts are lined up for imported toxic waste storage ...

Wigan has been well known for popular music since the days of George Formby Sr and George Formby Jr: it was the birthplace of The Eight Lancashire Lads, a dancing troupe who gave a young Charlie Chaplin his professional debut. One member of that troupe was a John Willie Jackson, the "John Willie" to whom George Formby would often refer in his songs ..... of the genre (although by Jack Pleasants, not Formby) is this well-known little Ditty from 1910

"I courted Mary Ellen for fourteen solid years,
But she made me blush when she one night boldly said to me,
"You've never kiss'd me once, John, tho' I'd like you to", she sighed;
"Why don't you call me pretty names?" I hung my head and cried,

"I'm shy Mary Ellen, I'm shy, it does seem so naughty, oh, my!
Kissing is nicey, I've often heard say, but still how to do it I don't know the way.
So you put your arms round my waist, I promise I won't scream or cry,
You do the kissing and cuddling instead, 'cos I'm shy, Mary Ellen, I'm shy".

Last year with Mary Ellen to Lowestoft I went,
Mary Ellen said to me, "I'm going bathing in the sea
So while I go and have a splash where all the ladies go,
You go and have a bathe amongst the men". I said, "No, no!"

"I'm shy Mary Ellen, I'm shy, it does seem so naughty, oh, my!
Men are so rough and I'm sure they will stare, they'll splash me, and duck me, if I go in there.
The girls ain't so rough as the men, and they wouldn't duck me, or try,
So I'd rather bathe here along with the girls, 'cos I'm shy, Mary Ellen, I'm shy".

From 1973 to 1981 Wigan Casino was the venue for Wigan's weekly Northern Soul all-nighters. (Hands up if you ever went?) The place began as a dance hall called the Empress Ballroom, and Wigan Casino rose to prominence in the 1970s, in 1978 being named "best disco in the world" by Billboard, an American music magazine. The building was gutted by fire in 1982 and demolished in '83.

"So (Mr Speaker) the Pies have it, the Pies have it ........."

A wise man once wrote;

"The town’s Penchant for Pastry is everywhere – from the pie posters slapped across the walls of the concourse to the pastry offer announcements crackling across the PA system. An advert for ‘Poole's Pies!’ (a company which produced pies in Wigan for 171 years) even danced its way across the scoreboard during the game in times past .... Poole’s has sadly folded since then, but (pre-Covid) there were still a minimum of 20 listed pie shops operating in the Wigan region (with dozens of local cafes and food stores serving up pies as part of their wider menus)."

Since 1992, Wigan has also been the host of the World Pie-Eating Championships, where contestants aim to wolf down as many of these crumbly concoctions as quickly as possible (historically held at Harry’s Bar on Wallgate). Residents (and those with a Cholesterol Death Wish) even put pies between two slices of bread for a snack, which as you're aware is known as a ‘Wigan Slappy’ - which I haven't heard of before - or ‘Wigan Kebab’ (a local delicacy said to feature three pies impaled on a stick).

One of the most recent examples of Wigan's Pie Fixation surfaced in 2019, when the Latics needed a new mascot. Club officials turned to local school children for inspiration – and over half of entries featured a pie in the design. The overall winner - no surprise here - was "Crusty The Pie".

The children who designed the contest-winner were Cayden, eight, and Neve, nine: they commented, "We designed Crusty like this because everyone in Wigan loves pies. It took us about 30 minutes or an hour to design - it took a long time to choose the exact colours."


It actually says much - but I'm not sure what - that so many of our footie clubs have mascots ranging from the odd to the truly bizarre, starting with the aforementioned Crusty ( who looks a bit like a bit like the Disney clock from "Beauty and the Beast") ........and then Southend have (or had) "Elvis the Eel" - a two-legged eel with an Elvis mullet (as opposed to an Elvet Mullet - gerrit?); Partick Thistle has/had "Kingsley" (designed by Turner-nominated artist David Shrigley) which is/was a rather scary-looking bright yellow star shape with a seven pointed head, nostrils but no nose, eyes without pupils and a unibrow - certainly enough to instill the heebie-jeebies into their under-9 supporters, and which demonstrates that, as I often say, they aren't all locked up yet; Fleetwoof has/had "Captain Cod" (who's bright blue), and - my favourite - the Baggies, who in 2018 were sponsored in part by a boiler company, and whose mascot was a pretend combi-boiler ("Boiler Man"), which was actually two large cardboard boxes, painted white and sellotaped together, with drawn-on control buttons and dials, and seemingly designed by a six-year old ...........goldfish

Wigan Athletic was formed in 1932, following the winding-up of Wigan Borough the year before. Wigan Athletic was the fifth attempt to create a stable football club in the town following the demise of Wigan County, Wigan United, Wigan Town and Wigan Borough. Springfield Park, the former home of Wigan Borough, was purchased by the club for £2,850. Despite their initial application being turned down, Wigan Athletic were elected into the Cheshire County League following the resignation of Manchester Central. The club had also made the first of many attempts to be admitted into the Football League, but failed to receive a single vote. On 27 August 1932, Wigan Athletic played their first-ever league game against Port Vale Reserves. The team played in red and white shirts with black shorts.

In 1968, Wigan Athletic were founder members of the Northern Premier League. After 34 failed election attempts, including one controversial but headline-making application in 1972 to join the Scottish League Second Division, Wigan Athletic was elected to the Football League in 1978.

The Latics had actually finished in second place in the Northern Premier League in the 1977–78 season, behind winners Boston United, but as Boston's ground and facilities did not meet the Football League criteria for a League club, whereas Springfield Park did, Wigan were put forward for election to the league. At the end of the 1977–78 season, Southport finished next to the bottom of the old Fourth Division, and faced Wigan for their place in the league. The first round of voting was tied, with both clubs receiving 26 votes. After a tense re-vote which Wigan won 29–20, Southport lost their place in the Fourth Division and Wigan Athletic became an English League club on 2 June 1978.

In the club's first season of league football they finished in sixth place, just six points off promotion and playing in front of an average crowd of 6,701. In 2004/05 they remained unbeaten for the first 17 games of the season, and along with Sunderland and Ipswich, the Latics stayed in the promotion hunt all season. By the last day of the season Wigan needed a draw against Reading – who themselves needed to win to finish in sixth place – to beat Ipswich to the last automatic promotion spot. A 3–1 victory in front of their home fans at the JJB Stadium earned Wigan Athletic promotion to the top division of English football for the first time in their 73-year history. The club's first ever Premier League game was a sell-out at the JJB Stadium against holders Chelsea, a 1–0 defeat after an injury-time winner by Hernán Crespo. A successful run followed, and by November, Wigan were second in the league.

They stayed among the PrawnSandwiches for eight years, mainly due to good ownership, but were GreasyPoled in 2013 ............ Relegation that year created a "first" in Top Tier history; Starter for Ten, then ..... what was Wigan's "First" at the end of the 2012/13 season?

They finished last season in 20th place, winning 48 points and losing 24 games, staying up by one point from the Doodles. They came a-calling Chez Wham on 18th September and slaughtered us 4-1; their squad remains as it was then, but we'll see what business they do or don't do in the Transfer Widow shortly ... They've only lost four times in the League (Sunderland away 2-1 in the season opener, and then at home to The Owls, the Donuts and the Imps, all by 2-1 ... they haven't lost since 26th October ........ at home, their record is W6 D2 L3 GF15 GA10: away, it's W8 D1 L1 GF25 GA10, for an overall P21 W14 D3 L4 GF40 GA20 ..... and as well as a thumping in the League, they also demised us from the EFL Troffy 2nd Round on penalties, giving them a trip to Oldham next Tuesday; in the FA Cup they took a reply and extra time to knock out Solihull NoMoors, and next play Backburn at the DW, and in the EFL Cup they beat Hull 8-7 on pens and Bolton 5-4 on pens (without scoring proper in either match) before losing 2-0 to the Wearsiders ..... Leading scorers are Callum Lang (11), Will Keane (10) and James McLean (from the toothpaste family?) with 6

Deadline for entries is, as always, scheduled kick-off time, which (so far) is 3.00pm on Saturday 1st October ......... I suggest that we should treat this game as Rotherham Revisited, and give them a Seasonal Stuffing (which no-on has so far) ......... we're not likely to be the bookies' favourites, but we weren't on Boxing Day ........ Our three consecutive clean sheets for their four defeats; I'll see you, and raise you ten ........... And speaking of "Ten" .... you might remember that in 2013, as well as getting GreasyPoled, Wigan also won the FA Cup ............. and it's the only time that a team has won the Cup and been relegated from the Top Tier in the same season

Happy New Year to one and all .......... farewell to Mr Charles, who absolutely has the right to choose his career but not, perhaps, to treat the club, the management, the players and the fans with such contempt - be interesting to see what future International prospects he may or may not have after the last six months; feet of clay, I fear, and he won't be the last ...... and a healthy and less-troubled future all round; may 2022 be to you what 2020 and 2021 weren't ...... and a HNY from Me, and a HNY from Him ............ Happy New Year!


Good luck to everyone! ............. Keep on Keeping the Faith! ............ And thanks for playing!

And - thank you - I've just seen the post about the game being postponed ...... but I'd written this by then, so you're 'aving it!

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