Roberto Martinez announces Wigan chairman Dave Whelan will lead the team out in the FA Cup final.
Latics reached the final for the first time in the club’s history with a 2-0 win over Millwall, 53 years after Whelan broke his leg playing in the 1960 final.
“Yes, we will get the chairman leading the team out,” Martinez confirmed. “It will bring full circle his time with the FA Cup.”
“It means a lot as you can imagine. Not just the first time we’re playing in a semi-final but the opportunity to reach the final, it’s a big, big achievement for the players and they deserved it”.
“So do the fans. A lot of people judge us on the numbers but it’s about the quality of the numbers.”
Millwall made them work hard for it: “We did expect that. Huge credit to Millwall who competed until the last second and there were plenty of difficult situations as they can be quite powerful”.
“To handle being the favourites in a semi-final can be tough but I thought we did that magnificently, from the young players to the experienced players there was a real togetherness.”
Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman both scored to send Wigan through, and Martinez had praise for the latter, who will make the headlines for the right reasons after his nasty tackle on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara on his Premier League debut last month.
“It’s great to see that it’s now all about his talent,” Martinez said. “He’s an attacker, not a defender, and who can see that in how he takes the goal.
“The whole situation has been very, very unfair on him, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but today we saw the real Callum McManaman.”
The game was marred by ugly scenes as Millwall fans fought each other and police during the game. It was appauling behaviour as police were attacked and a young girl was spotted in the crowd looking terrified as grown men brauled around her. This kind of behaviour brought back painfull memories of a generation of thugs that the F.A have worked hard at trying to clean up in the English game for the past 20 years.
The Question remains what are the governing bodies and the police going to do about this, theres no coincidence that everywhere these alleged Millwall fans go there is trouble. yet no real statement is made, meaning these thugs keep on running wild causing havoc everywhere they go. Surely the FA and the police need to stop being afraid of dealing out harsher penalties. how many lifetime bans are they going to keep giving out, yet theres always new people being banned. Perhaps banning Millwall fans from away games would be the answer, and hopefully they will channel their efforts into something a little more constructive, like supporting their team. After all this is the reason why they buy season tickets. Time for the F.A to be strong.