Is Wigan the football town that time forgot?

By Lee Ryder on Mar 18, 13 10:45 AM

It said on the ticket that Wigan v Newcastle United was meant to be a Premier League football match.

But when you think about the Premier League you think of the best players in the world trying to showcase their skill and entertain a crowd who pay hundreds to see their heroes week in, week out.

You'd like to think for your money - and let's be honest it's far from cheap for punters these days away from home - you will see a game officiated professionally and fairly to the best of the ability of the referee and his team of officials.

Sadly from the moment that Callum McManaman launched into a horror lunge what unfolded was anything but a game of football.

Unsurprisingly the world's take via the wider media today has recorded the events as Alan Pardew "raging" and John Carver's approach to ask McManaman just what on earth he was playing at has been condemned.

The reality of the situation is though is this...

After the game Pardew merely expressed his disappointment with the tackle which most right thinking members of society will understand.

He said: "I think the cameras saw all the incidents - it speaks for itself really."

Carver's part in the mini-brawl was as follows.

The United assistant coach waited for McManaman to leave the field at half-time and ask him what the tackle was all about.

What then unfolded was Wigan assistant coach Graham Barrow running over to Carver and shoving the Newcastle coach.

Carver then simply stood his ground before a flurry of workie-ticket stewards waded over in what can only be described as over zealous manner.

One of the stewards raised his hands to Carver too which simply added to the sour scenario.

Of course, Newcastle have been punished for incidents in the past.

But few have been with such vicious intent as McManaman.

And Newcastle have been put in the dock by the FA - on this occasion will the same rules be applied.

If Mark Halsey missed both decisions then he needs to help via TV evidence.

How hard can it be?

Wigan will argue that it has helped them in their bid to stay up but if they were relegated by a similar decision the Latics would be crying all the way to Huddersfield.

Roberto Martinez accepted partial responsibility after the game but for me there was too much of a "these things happen" vibe in his press conference.

An apology to Haidara was promised but that will be of little consolation to anybody at Newcastle.

The fact that Newcastle have been condemned for the incident could not be more absurd.

After all it is Newcastle United who have been wronged, not once but twice.

If anything Newcastle's players deserve credit for keeping their discipline after hearing their team-mate screaming with agony.

Even putting the McManaman tackle to one side, the Maynor Figueroa handball merely added to the farce at the ground famed for rugby league!

And what about some of the Wigan fans?

A standing ovation for McManaman when he was subbed added salt into open wounds.

Throw in the idiots that were hurling abuse at John Carver when he was sent to the stands and couldn't wait to goad him after the controversial second goal and it left me wondering if civilisation existed in the town famed for pies and the Northern Soul of yesteryear.

Newcastle officials kept it dignified on their way out of the DW Stadium and few Geordies grumbled at leaving the football outpost that you could argue time forgot.

Certainly, with fans cheering a player that had just inflicted a season ending injury before hurling abuse at his coach that's what it felt like.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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