A COLLEAGUE of mine went to watch Wigan play Stoke at the JJB Stadium yesterday. Before he went, we had a conversation about why the match kicked off at 12.45pm when it wasn’t on TV.
The answer, with hindsight, was obvious – it was to get the game over with.
Last night’s final match: Wigan 0 Stoke 0
Commentator: John Roder
Wigan now top the Gubbometer standings, thanks to their fourth appearance of the season at the midnight end of Match of the Day.
But even their manager Steve Bruce had no complaints about this one.
“In terms of a spectacle, I think it will be the last game on Match of the Day tonight, and rightly so,” Bruce said to John Roder in his post-match interview. (I’m guessing he didn’t say the same to Sky Sports.)
“I hope people don’t wait up to watch it, that’s for sure, because it wasn’t a classic by any means.”
No, indeed not. It was clearly a struggle for the poor soul editing this match to find enough incident even to fill the two minutes and 50 seconds allotted to it.
To prove it, the first 40 seconds consisted of a shot dragged harmlessly wide by Wilson Palacios – a player who has still not scored in English football after 38 matches – and a header from Mamady Sidibe which wouldn’t have counted had it gone in, which it didn’t anyway.
Viewers, though, were at least treated to the sight of Titus Bramble almost scoring. Yes, at the right end. (Bramble, despite what some people would have you believe, has only scored two own goals in his career. To put that into context, Richard Dunne has scored six, and he has been Manchester City’s player of the year for the last four seasons.)
Bramble had a shot from the edge of the area parried by Thomas Sorensen during the second half, and so was denied what would have been the 14th goal of his career. That’s right. Titus Bramble has already scored 13 goals for his various clubs. Never realised he was so free-scoring, did you?
Over on the other side, meanwhile, Huddersfield and Port Vale had the honour of being up last on ITV’s new FA Cup highlights show – despite the fact that their game had seven goals and former Vale midfielder Robbie Earle was the studio pundit.
I can hear the moans from the Galpharm Stadium and Vale Park now: “Why are we always last on ITV’s FA Cup highlights shows?”
Maybe someone should keep a tally of these things…
1. Wigan: 4 (Capello difference: +2)
2. Blackburn: 4
3. Middlesbrough: 3 (Capello difference: +1)
4. West Brom: 3
5. Capello: 2
6=. Bolton: 2
6=. Fulham: 2
8. West Ham: 1 (Capello difference: +1)
9=. Everton: 1
9=. Hull: 1
9=. Stoke: 1
9=. Sunderland: 1
9=. Newcastle: 1
14=. Gubba: 0
14=. Arsenal: 0
14=. Aston Villa: 0
14=. Chelsea: 0
14=. Liverpool: 0
14=. Manchester City: 0
14=. Manchester United: 0
14=. Portsmouth: 0
14=. 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.)