On Saturday 15th September 1979, York City travelled over to Springfield Park for a Division 4 clash with Wigan Athletic. The game ended in a 5-2 away win for City and amongst the scorers was the gentleman pictured above, Peter Lorimer, the former Leeds United star, famed for his “one hundred miles an hour” shooting.
On the following Monday morning, I put up a “5-2” banner in the window of the room I shared with several other fifth formers at school – “shared” might be a bit of an exaggeration, they weren’t exactly what I classed as friends – and promptly got a bollocking from the housemaster for my art work...
A few months short of thirty-four years later and City have just managed to escape the Blue Square trapdoor, having dropped out of the league and clawed their way back in the intervening years. For Wigan, the story has been nothing short of remarkable as the “Latics” won promotion (as champions) from the country’s bottom division in 1997, repeated the feat in Division 2 in 2003 before securing a place in the Premier League just two years later.
As I write, their top flight survival hangs in the balance, but yesterday their fans were rewarded with a brilliant FA Cup final success over Manchester City which highlighted two things to me: firstly, you should never write off an underdog in a two horse race and secondly, just how wildly fortunes can fluctuate in sport.
Well over a quarter of a century ago, I celebrated a long-since forgotten York City victory against a club who, in thirty or more years time, will still be talking about the day when Ben Watson’s header brought the FA Cup back to Lancashire...
I offer my congratulations to the good folk of Wigan and wish you luck for the final two games of the season. The table never lies and you will finish where you deserve... but I sincerely hope you stay up.
All my own work... almost.