Sunday, 12 May 2013

On Wigan's FA Cup Final Victory

I've only seen highlights of yesterday's FA cup final, but it strikes me that Wigan Athletic's win over Manchester City is in some ways comparable to Sunderland's 1973 FA cup triumph over Leeds United, and must be recorded as one of the more notworthy football upsets of modern times.

Both the 1973 final and the 2013 final ended in 1-0 wins for the underdog team; where Sunderland were a second division side then playing against a Leeds side who had finished in third place in the first division the previous season, Wigan are currently third from bottom of the top division flirting with relegation and Manchester City are the previous season's champions. Unlike Sunderland, however, Wigan are a relatively small club in terms of supporter base and the financial difference between Wigan and Manchester City is far greater than what it was between Sunderland and Leeds forty years ago.

Arguably, Wigan's victory is more impressive than Sunderland's for one particularly amazing fact of which I wasn't aware until I watched a post-match interview with Wigan's manager: their goal scorer, Ben Watson - who scored a header from a corner in the 90th minute - had apparently suffered a broken leg only four months previous to the final! The fact that Watson was able to recover from a broken leg in such a short period of time to come back to full fitness and score the winning goal in an FA cup final is simply stunning.

Wigan flirt with relegation every year it seems, and they still have two very difficult games to play before this season ends and the last of the three relegated teams is decided. Obviously I hope it isn't Sunderland who are relegated this season, but I hope it isn't Wigan either. What a brilliant little club!

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