Last on MOTD: Fabio goes to Wigan

I’VE never quite managed to get my head around Wigan town centre’s one-way system. I first encountered it after going to see The Fall in concert there.

After an evening watching Mark E Smith alternate between mumbling incoherently into his microphone and attempting to push his bass player off the stage, I then spent ages driving round the same five streets, unable to find my way home.

I would imagine that Fabio Capello has a driver to worry about these things for him. (Navigating one-way systems, that is; not attending Fall gigs.) Nonetheless, if you see a man with dark curly hair and glasses in a car near Wigan Wallgate railway station looking bemused, do the guy a favour and give him some directions.

Tonight’s final match: Wigan 0 Middlesbrough 1
Commentator: Martin Fisher

Capello was at the JJB Stadium this afternoon, perhaps after a pleasant morning spent at the Marketgate shopping centre, to have a look at Emile Heskey ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan next Saturday (which is on terrestrial TV this time, I’m sure you’ll be glad to know).

Heskey didn’t score, largely thanks to Middlesbrough’s outstanding defending. Wilson Palacios didn’t score either – largely because he never does. The Honduran midfielder has plenty of talents, but goalscoring is patently not one of them, given his wayward shooting this afternoon. No goals in 25 games for Wigan is a statistic which tells its own story.

Then again, this was an afternoon of wayward shooting in the Premier League. At 4.15pm, not a single goal had been scored anywhere in the top flight. We were on course for the most boring Match Of The Day since the seminally-tedious edition of November 14, 1981, when the BBC had to fill an hour-long show with two 0-0 draws and the thoughts of Jimmy Hill.

Eventually, the goalscorers got their acts together around the country – even at the JJB. Sadly for Fabio, the winner was scored by a Frenchman, Jeremie Aliadiere.

All those years at Arsenal have clearly done something to Aliadiere’s accent, as his voice is an intriguing cross between Parisian and North London geezer. Give him a couple more years at the Riverside, and perhaps he’ll start to sound like Bob Mortimer.

Fabio would no doubt have been impressed by the way Boro ground out their first away win of 2008. But assuming he has managed to find his way out of Wigan by now, there’s one question he may well be asking himself: “Why have I been last on Match of the Day more often than Tony Gubba this season?”

Well, you will insist on going to watch Wigan, Fabio.


1. Wigan: 3 (Capello difference: +2)
2. Capello: 2
3. Middlesbrough: 2 (Capello difference: +1)
4=. Blackburn: 2
4=. West Brom: 2
6=. West Ham: 1 (Capello difference: +1)
7=. Bolton: 1
7=. Fulham: 1
7=. Hull: 1
7=. Sunderland: 1
11=. Gubba: 0
11=. Arsenal: 0
11=. Aston Villa: 0
11=. Chelsea: 0
11=. Everton: 0
11=. Liverpool: 0
11=. Manchester City: 0
11=. Manchester United: 0
11=. Newcastle: 0
11=. Portsmouth: 0
11=. Stoke: 0
11=. Tottenham: 0

(NB: Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference: the number of times a team is last on Match of the Day with Tony Gubba commentating. If they are still level, they will be separated by Capello difference: the number of times a team is last on MOTD with Fabio Capello present.)


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