Wigan Athletic won their first major trophy in the clubs history at the rainy Wembley stadium against the countries richest club Manchester City.
The match was a real David vs Goliath with Wigan adopting a ‘Nothing to lose’ mentality as all the pressure was on Mancini’s men to take home the silverware. The decisive moments finally proved to be the sky blues being reduced to ten men and former Crystal Palace man Ben Watson nodding in a corner with three minutes to play.
It was a fantastic display from a team staring down the barrel of relegation.
But the back story was the Wigan Athletic owner and former player Dave Whelan who was denied and FA cup 50 years ago due to a broken leg. Former latic player Whelan was asked by manager Roberto Martinez to lead his team out onto the pitch at Wembley so he could finally get his moment.
Whelan’s story is something that the FA cup was made for. He used the compensation money from his injury to set up a stall in the markets of Wigan and earned his first million pounds in his thirties. His empire continued to grow into the once leading sports equipment shop. Whelan very nearly bought Manchester United but was turned against the idea by his wife who suggested he may lose sales in Liverpool due to their great rivalry!
So he went back to his home town to revitalise a club in tatters and from 1995 never looked back as the club rose through the leagues eventually making his ambitious dream of reaching the premier league a reality.
There was still something missing in Whelan’s life though, the trip to Wembley that never happened.
That was until Martinez’s men defied the odds to make it to Wembley facing last years league champions and multi-billionaire team Manchester City. The Wigan boss insisted that Whelan got his chance to lead his team out at Wembley in a touching tribute to the chairman.
Wigan went on the put on an incredible display scoring with a dramatic late winner and the chairman finally got to lift the historic trophy and collect a medal with “winner” written on it.
This is what the FA cup is all about the underdogs overcoming the odds, making history and writing heart warming stories such as this.