George Orwell’s road to the pier. Rugby League. Soul music. All that, yes. But football (real football) is not something we readily associate with Wigan. Paul Farrington*, the editor of wiganer.net, puts us right on that – and predicts heartache for SAFC fans when we clash at the SoL on Saturday
What did you think of our respective clubs’ prospects before season started?
I have to be honest, I thought we would be okay and you would be struggling. Unfortunately for the both of us, we are both struggling. I think the signing of Jones has been massive for you as strikers seem had to come by at the top level.
When did you last see a SAFC v Wigan game home or away, and what happened?
I didn’t travel for the FA Cup game because it was obvious that we would play a reserve team and the game wouldn’t be up to much. I was at the home game for us earlier in the season when we won 3-0. You were very poor that day. Ironically, that win in August was our last before December as we went on a nine game losing streak.
Have you been to to SoL (obviously the last question many answer that). If so what did you make of it? Of Sunderland itself? Or if not, had you ever been to Roker Park?
I was too young to ever visit Roker Park, but made the trip to Sunderland in 2004 during our promotion season. The game wasn’t up to much (a 1-1 draw) but I remember being impressed by the stadium.
What about the signings each club has made in the transfer window?
I think Andy Reid was a little expensive at £4 million but if he adds the quality needed and helps to keep you up then he is worth it. I was glad we made Valencia’s addition permanent and Wilson Palacios is a cracking addition in the middle of the park. Marlon King is also an interesting one. He certainly gives us options up front with Bent, Heskey and Sibierski.
Your predictions for both clubs for rest of season?
I hope that we both survive and get Bolton, Derby and Fulham relegated. I will let my heart rule my head and use that as the prediction!
Any memories of other previous encounters, notably when we both went up and we won near the the end of the season at your place?
I can remember the promotion season very well and you scored a jammy offside goal at our place courtesy of Marcus Stewart! Fortunately we both managed to gain promotion that year, although only one of us managed to stay up…
Do you regard any club much as we regard Newcastle? Or are you more grown up about such things?
We haven’t really too many strong close rivals although both Bolton and Preston are the main subject of our hatred. There is also a strong dislike for anything egg shaped amongst many of our supporters, but some do follow both sports. You must be loving the Newcastle United show at the moment though!
Are there memories of any players or management people linked to both clubs?
I have to be honest and say there are none that spring to mind!
Club vs country. Who wins for you?
Club. The England national team has become a shambles recently and I have lost interest.
Who will win on Saturday? Score?
Wigan of course. We both need the win and I think it will be a tight game. At a push I’d go for a 1-0 win with Sibierski scoring at the end.
Steve Bruce is a bit of a hate figure for SAFC fans because of his Newcastle connections. That always fires him up in any case so doesn’t help us remotely, but what do your supporters make of him so far?
He has certainly turned our club around in a short space of time. It was during our time in division two when Bruce was last in charge for about eight games before he walked out and left for Palace. This time round he has a contract and is doing a much better job so far!
Until relatively recent years, people outside Wigan probably thought of rugby, northern soul and Orwell in relation to the town. Where in your view does the football fit it?
Football has its place in the town as do most other things. The difference seems to be that while the other things mentioned are in decline (a bit harsh on Orwell – editor), football and Wigan Athletic are on the up. It was only 1978 that we entered the league.
* Paul Farrington on Paul Farrington: I have been a season ticket holder with Wigan Athletic for 10 years this season. I have followed the club home and away for most of that time and now at the age of 23 am enjoying the game as much as ever. I have been the editor of Wiganer.net for almost six years and the site is doing particularly well at the moment! The picture shows me at the last ever game at Highbury.