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Wigan Athletic exemplary in FA cup semi-final success
Everyone connected with Wigan Athletic should be immensely proud following the weekend's success where once again the Latics made history and the press for all the right reasons following the 2-0 win over Millwall.
Firstly there needs to be praise for our club's much maligned ticketing policy where by tickets can only be obtained if you are on the database as having attended games in the past. The statements from Millwall that the club has done all it can to fight hooliganism are falling on deaf ears as the Lions allowed their tickets to go on open sale over the internet to the entire world population.
The cumulative effect of this ticketing policy and the early evening kick off was thousands of non-Millwall supporting hooligans with plenty of beer inside them intent on causing trouble.
At the same time the 20,000 or so Latics fans, all their because of the love of the club, were exemplary in their behaviour and deserve an equal amount of good press for the standard of behaviour as the bad press given for the numbers attending.
Back to matters on the pitch and a twenty minute second half wobble aside the result was never really in doubt. Millwall were very poor and the large Wembley pitch allowed the slick passing game of the Latics to take effect.
First it was Arouna Kone who ripped open the Lions defence with his withdrawn run and delightful lob over to Shaun Maloney who did the rest. Secondly it was Jordi Gomez's perfectly weighted through ball for McManaman to dart onto before slotting home with composure beyond his years.
The football on display was comfortable as Roberto Martinez outsmarted his former manager at Swansea, Kenny Jackett. Not only was there a noticeable dearth in quality on the pitch but the Latics were well setup to deal with Millwall's hopeful style of attacking before returning to the status quo of probing possession football that left the Lions hunting shadows for large periods in the game.
The big misfortune is that it is Millwall's 'supporters' who will be given the column inches following the game when it should be the Latics players and manager who are in the limelight while there should also be a focus on the excellent support that followed the side.
What we may have lacked in numbers we more than made up in heart and behaviour. The Latics do not have a long illustrious history of success but were are a proud football club and our team and supporters once again did the club proud in our first FA Cup Semi Final.
The statistic doing the rounds that based on the size of the town, for the 20,000 we took to the game at the weekend the equivalent would be 125,000 Liverpool supporters or 145,000 Manchester United supporters.
Regardless of the tripe that is published in the London centric national press by journalists with little or no experience of following sport at Third Division level (makes you appreciate the local paper doesn't it?) we know we have a brilliant football club in our home town and the FA Cup Final is a real chance to put our name on the football map.
As with each an every season we survive in the league the Latics continue to make history and the FA Cup Final is another step in that success story. Back in what was the third division when I first began going to Latics games it would have been unthinkable to place the club in the top flight and the cup final. Regardless of the result against Manchester City we should be proud of the achievements of our club and proud to be a Wigan Athletic supporter.
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