Perhaps it was the noise generated by the sold-out end and the equally boisterous response from the home fans.
Maybe it was Wigan and Bolton fighting each other, no quarters were given or asked for.
Anyway, Tuesday night I really felt like football was back. With a huge bang.
In the years to come, the 0-0 standoff is unlikely to be remembered as an all-time classic. But those inside the stadium will have felt everything that makes football what it is.
The full-time scenes were just as euphoric as those following the FA Cup win over Manchester City four years ago.
A place in the third round of the Carabao Cup is obviously insignificant to end Pep Guardiola’s male hopes of an unprecedented quadruple.
But in many ways, the stake was even more important: local pride.
Two teams battered by adversity – and administration – in recent years, are getting back on their feet, and surfing waves of positivity and optimism.
Yes, the Trotters claim they don’t care about their closest rivals, but their most away player count in years has shown it to be utter madness.
Whether they like it or not, the Latics are their closest rivals – on and off the pitch – right now.
And what a statement of intent for Latics to put one on the old nemesis so early in the season.
It certainly bodes well for the two league games between the two teams, which may well be tough for promotion at the end of the season.
Which, after so much pessimism, is fantastic.
Leam Richardson has said all summer he is nowhere near the size and team strength required for a long and arduous campaign.
And while the gaffer is right – a few injuries and reinforcements in the Under-23s – it was great to see how little disruption the seven changes he made midweek caused.
A special shout out to Scott Smith for covering every blade of grass, twice, on his home debut. Born and raised in Wigan, the 19-year-old appears to be the latest Academy product to bear fruit.
Every two years we are reminded how difficult it is to score penalties on penalties and we are told – no matter how much practice you do – “nothing can duplicate the pressure of a shot on goal.” in a big game ”.
Well, anyone inside the DW Tuesday will vouch that it was a big game.
The atmosphere – although not quite Wembley for the Euro final – was searing, with local pride as well as a place for the next round of the Carabao Cup on the line.
And Jamie Jones looked like he was in his backyard as he set the ball in place and nearly poked a hole in the roof of the net.
Over the years, we have all marveled at skillfully taken penalties, stuttered moose, Panenkas, etc.
But there is still nothing more satisfying – and effective – than someone who puts their foot into it. ” With that !
So what is going on in the world of football?
Well, the Real Madrid president, who recently claimed that the collapse of the European Super League threatened the very existence of football, suddenly found £ 160million on the back of the couch for Kylian Mbappe.
An absolutely fantastic player, certainly, but who has less than 12 months of contract with PSG.
Any suggestion that the recent pandemic might help restore some sanity to top spending levels has already turned out to be wishful thinking.
Closer to home, Manchester City broke the UK transfer record to sign Jack Grealish – with £ 230,000 a week.
Only 10 weeks of ‘work’ and that will cover what Phoenix 2021 Limited paid for Wigan Athletic FC, including stadium and training ground.
Now no one should blame a player for making as much money as possible in such a short career.
But compared to life in the EFL – with most clubs having to rob Peter to pay Paul, while hundreds of talented players battle for reduced contracts – that doesn’t leave a half a bitter taste in your mouth.
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