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Thirty years ago almost to the day I walked down Wembley Way in ill-fitting jeans and a hideous shirt with a hairstyle to match (pictured above with the old school BYE lol) … just to have my heart broken – regular Beesotted contributor and Journalist Jim Levack writes his personal thoughts on a club that has clearly bothered him for the past three decades!

It was, as it turned out, to be a regular appointment with disappointment that usually ended at one or other of the national stadiums.

I remember vividly Robbie Cooke’s swivel and volley into the roof of the net that gave us brief hope, followed three minutes later by the inevitable disappointment of the killer goal.

Crewe, Port Vale and Swansea would follow the Latics into the history books as winners against a Brentford side that seemed destined to live out its life – and more importantly mine – in the lower reaches of the league.

How things have changed.

There’s a kind of beautiful symmetry in the fact that Wigan, who we meet on Saturday, are arguably back where they and their slightly unsavoury owner belong.

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I have never quite forgiven them for that day in June 1985 when my teens to twenties heroes Hurlock, Kamara, Booker (pictured above at Wembley) and Salman wilted in the summer sun beneath the Twin Towers.

With the benefit of hindsight I’d say the experience helped shape me and other fans as people and went some way to moulding the identity of the very different looking club we know today.

Wigan, as recent events have shown. were an outfit built on an ego trip, a club that despite coming from non-league never truly captured the hearts of supporters who still love a good rags to riches romance.

Once they won the FA Cup – a day when they flirted briefly with the affections of the football public – it was as if Dave Whelan had reached the summit and could finally lay the ghost of his injury-savaged former career.

Football managers tend to steer clear of words like revenge, but never has the word been more apposite for me than when the Brentford of 2015 walk out onto the immaculate turf on Saturday.

I would love Ipswich to come unstuck in Lancashire and for Derby to slip up against a Reading side that seem to be on the beach already, and for us to put in the kind of performance that we have been throughout this unforgettable season.

But unlike with other promotion campaigns of recent years I’m honestly not nervous in the slightest, partly because the day will also be tinged with an array of other emotions. And because none of us expected this on the final day in our wildest dreams.

There will be sadness at the departure of Mark Warburton, one of the best managers of our time whose exit seems, strangely, to have been grudgingly accepted by supporters usually hell-bent on swamping the Braemar Road forecourt to protest when something irks them.

Perhaps we have no choice but to put our faith in Matthew Benham, who may know and in time reveal more of the picture than we currently do.

Come 5pm on Saturday I’d love us to herald in the next chapter in our remarkable history – shaped by days like that in 1985 – with an emphatic win over a Wigan side.

Personally it would lay once and for all the Wembley ghost and who knows, might even mean a place in the play offs. Either way, I’ll be delighted.

Jim Levack
@J1mblee