The Premier League is back baby!
That’s right with the Premier League back and in full swing, it only seems right that we celebrate the opening day on Premier League Years. And by celebrate, I, of course, mean loosely take the p**s out of an old Premier League game.
This week, we travel back in time to 2010 when Spain were freshly crowned world champions and Pep Guardiola wasn’t an overrated full back hoarding maniac that lived in Manchester. Blackpool were freshly promoted after sneaking into the playoffs and beating Cardiff at Wembley. Lead by Bristol’s twelfth most famous export Ian Holloway and starring a not universally derided Charlie Adam, they were the new boys on the block and the great unknown with all of their signings seeming to arrive on the number 35 bus five minutes before kick-off.
Their opening day opponents were Wigan who were in the midst of changing their squad from a low-cost, horrendously average English side to a collection of players from countries most people from Wigan had never heard of. “Honduras, is that a new takeaway?” is a question likely to have been asked around that time. They were lead by Roberto Martinez, a man who has made a career out of securing bigger jobs through disappointing elsewhere.
Wigan Athletic 0-4 Blackpool (14 August 2010)
Wigan boss Martinez named a squad that is as hilarious as it is surprising. Premier League winner Victor Moses started on the wing with Everton man James McCarthy in the middle. They were lining up alongside such quality as goal machine Mauro Boselli and prime example of why you should never trust World Cup performances, Antolin Alcaraz.
Quick side story I remember about Alcaraz – having impressed for Paraguay in the summer, he found out Inter Milan were looking to sign him. The hitch? He’d already agreed to join Wigan pre-tournament. I bet after this game he regretted that call.
Blackpool fielded some of their new boys because they’d paid their £2 dues pre-game. Marlon Harewood (fresh off recovering from that cramp in the 2006 FA Cup Final), Craig Cathcart and a French bloke named Elliot all started. Oh hey, Jason Euell was on the bench. What a time to be alive.
Blackpool started the game like the proverbial house on fire. A corner after a minute or so was worked back into the area where Brett Ormerod saw the first attempt go through his legs before he completely missed the second. Chris Kirkland’s baseball cap was delighted with that. Unsurprisingly, I don’t think he scored all season.
Wigan had a couple of half chances through Rodallega and Moses which, also unsurprisingly, they both missed. If you wanted goals, those two were hardly reliable. However, neither was the Wigan defence.
Charlie Adam got space in midfield and played the ball right to Harewood who was so wide open, he considered building a new house on the right wing. He played a low ball right across the box to Gary Taylor-Fletcher who scuffed it into the far corner. Not even Chris Kirkland’s baseball cap could stop it although it didn’t try very hard. Then again, neither did this Wigan side and they got very lucky a few minutes later.
Blackpool carved them open in such a way that Pep Guardiola was straight on the phone to Ian Holloway to ask if he could sign Crainey and Taylor-Fletcher immediately. The through ball came to Taylor-Fletcher who slotted it home but he was flagged for offside. Except he wasn’t, Brett Ormerod was but f**k you Blackpool. Now, if this was today, we’d have to wait three weeks for the VAR to overturn the very obvious wrong call but it was 2010 so… f**k you Blackpool.
Wigan then got lucky again. More defending that could be filed under ‘questionable’ saw Marlon Harewood clean through. A last ditch tackle stole the ball but it hit Ormerod. Fortunately, Harewood’s giant arse got in the way and put it behind for a goal kick.
Then Wigan’s luck deservedly ran out. A high ball was won by Harewood who held off Alcaraz like he was an average defender that had over-performed in an international tournament. The Paraguayan went “ah f**k it, it’s only Marlon, he won’t score from here” and let Marlon run who promptly shot from 25 odd yards and scored in no small part to the fact Chris Kirkland’s baseball cap doesn’t make Chris Kirkland much good.
Then Wigan got worse. Another simple passing move carved them open, the French Elliot had a shot saved by Kirkland and his cap before Harewood pounced and put it in from an angle thanks to Kirkland and his cap. Half time rung up and Blackpool were 3-0 ahead and it should have been four as Blackpool had a 4 on 1 but couldn’t convert.
God, Wigan were s**t.
The second half began with Wigan getting a goal ruled out for offside. The late Steve Gohouri head in despite being onside but he was flagged. Then, Boselli hit the bar with a header from a corner as he wasted his one and only chance in English football.
Then, Chris Kirkland and his cap had another nightmare. Alex Baptiste got the ball on the right wing and his cross was a bit crap. That didn’t stop ole Chris and his cap managing to let it go in the back of the net at the near post. I wish I was kidding when I write that sentence but he legitimately managed to concede a goal from a cross at the near post. How did he get a game for Liverpool again?
Frankly, Blackpool then took the p**s themselves when they let Jason Euell on and he almost scored. Cue mass exodus of Wigan fans including one bloke wearing a Boselli shirt. Wonder if he’s still got it? That’s an obscure shirt if there ever was one.
That wrapped up a comfortable Blackpool win with just the four conceded for Wigan. Blackpool would end up going down on the final day at Old Trafford while Wigan managed to stay up on that same day.
Quite how Wigan remained in the Premier League for so long is still a mystery to the world.