Like all stories this has a beginning, not a very glamorous one, and not one that will be immortalized for ever in the stars. Yet one lovely crisp winters day Wigan Athletic hosted Bournemouth in the third round of the FA Cup at the DW Stadium, little did we know that this would be the start of our story.
I have to say that game was very poor. Roberto Martinez had rested a lot of our key players has he looked to try and fight hard over the January period to keep us in the Premier League, so there was a few key players missing. It also meant that Mauro Boselli was up front, his part in the story comes soon.
As it was Bournemouth took the lead, and it looked like for all the world that we were going to mess it up and not get past the League one side. Then came a weird moment in the box, as the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty kick, Jordi Gomez with the weight of the world stepped up and at the second time of asking converted the penalty.
That booked an away day replay, and remember Boselli? Well I would argue that this one goal the guy scored was worth every single penny of his £6 million price tag. That smashing volley which flew into the Bournemouth goal and meant we went through to the next round.
That next round saw us play Macclesfield, the local club looking to make it big in the cup with some extra revenue. The game itself was tight and not exactly pretty. Jordi Gomez had yet another penalty and this time converted it with ease as Wigan 1-0 and booked a place away at Huddersfield, as we closed in on our best ever FA Cup run.
That game at Huddersfield went to plan and more, a mixture of first teamers were added into the mix and the result was a 4-1 win. The game saw the rise of Callum McManaman who shone in the game with his pace and trickery too much to handle for the Huddersfield defence. The winger getting his first goal of the FA Cup campaign, he would go on to score two more before it was over. Wigan making it to the quarter final of the FA Cup with a tough tie against Everton to follow.
Now the story of this game is one we all know, and is more than likely the reason Roberto Martinez got the Everton job. The first half was the best demonstration of out attacking abilities we saw that season, as the boys swept a well drilled Everton defence out of the way. The second half saw us hold firm and make it through to out first ever semi-final and book a palace at Wembley.
The dream tie for Dave Whelan never happened as Millwall beat Blackburn Rovers and where our opponents. Confidence was high as a bunch of Wiganers tore it up in London. A 2-0 score line was our reward and our first ever FA Cup final! The party lasted well into the night after a Callum McManaman inspired Wigan ran all over Millwall.
So the journey led us all the way to the final of the FA Cup. While we struggled in the league we had excelled in the cup and we didn't care. It all came down to this one match to win our first major trophy, strangely I felt rather confident that we could win. Even though we were playing the big bad Manchester City, if our lads put in a shift then this could be our day.
If only we had been given warning what was to come.
That game is still the most surreal thing in the world. My brain can't quite take it all in just what happened to our Wigan Athletic. We fought tooth and nail for every ball, then when we had it we kept hold of it and drew City out. A couple of saves fro Joel Robles added to the excitement of the game, neutrals all over the world cheering on the little town team from the north of England.
Then came that moment. Callum McManaman skipping down the wing, he cuts inside Gael Clichy and the City defender stretches out just enough to get a toe on the ball, we all screamed penalty the officials signaled corner. Over went Shaun Maloney setting the ball confidently within the corner triangle eyeing up the ball into the bow. An out swinging flat one, just the right height for a lad called Ben Watson with ginger hair to leap into the air and head the ball into the corner of the net.
GOAL!!!! GOAL??? OMG! F**KING GET IN!!!!
Just a few of the expressions I heard around me as we lost the plot completely. Those scenes will live with me forever, the look on my Dad's face is the one for me. Having taken me to my first game all those years ago, never in his wildest dreams did he think we would see this and the sheer joy to be witnessing us winning the FA Cup at Wembley was a dream come true.
That of course was just over a year ago now, and new champions will dawn tonight. Arsenal are on the hunt for their first trophy in nine years in what could be Arsene Wenger's last game in charge of the gunners, while Hull City under the management of Steve Bruce look for another underdog win.
So while we still can, lets sing it once more.
FA CUP CHAMPIONS WE KNOW WHO WE ARE!