Cast yourself back to the 11 May 2013, Manchester City versus Wigan Athletic, the modern day David vs Goliath. Everyone was expecting Manchester City to ease away with a win, especially due to Roberto Mancini jobs doing in jeopardy at the time, and many predicted it would be a battering, however Wigan were generous and only scored once ;).
Wigan Athletic had a superb performance, and throughly deserved to win the FA Cup, and they did it in some style, Ben Watson popping up with a header in the 91st minute to send Wigan fans into madness, in which was a day that saw grown men cry that little Wigan was winning a big time trophy. I was there present at the game, and it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it, I always will, no matter whatever happens in my life, rank that as the best ever day of my life. It was a dream day.
Although the 2012-13 Wigan side was relegated from the Premiership, the squad went down in history as heroes forever in the small town Wigan.
The club has been a yo-yo ever since, suffering relegation to League One, however bouncing back to the Championship on the first attempt, and is a club that is looking for stability.
One of the club’s most historic days, and in this article, I look back on where the Wigan 2013 FA Cup winning side is today.
Joel was a solid goalkeeper during his loan spell at Wigan Athletic from Atletico Madrid, in which he played an active role in the club’s FA Cup run, and he made a game changing save, in which Tevez slide in, but was denied by a brilliant save by the feet of Joel.
Joel’s spell at Wigan was only very brief, however he is a very respected figure at the club.
Joel is currently the second choice goalkeeper at Everton FC in which he was brought there by the FA Cup winning manager Roberto Martinez, who was given the Everton role in Summer 2013.
A very entertaining character, known for his strangely taste of clothing with his coats, great humour, and a very hard working personality.
Scharner played for the Latics during 2006 to 2010, in which he made 145 appearances scoring 14 goals including one in the great escape at Brammal Lane in 2007-08 which saw the Latics survive, and the Blades relegated. Scharner moved onto West Brom in 2010-2012, and signed for Hamburg in 2012.
Scharner fell out of favour for Hamburg, and rejoined the Latics on loan in 2013 to help their survival bid. Little did he know that in his return, he will become a FA Cup winner.
Scharner was superb at the back, and played a vital part in the FA Cup win. After this win, Scharner retired, in which he ended his career on a high at a club he called his football home.
The Paraguayan international joined Wigan in 2010 until 2013, which saw him play 69 games, scoring 3 goals.
The centre back was a very tough tackler, and a great player at the back, however he was very injury prone which was always a shame.
Alcaraz was arguably one of the standout players as he managed to keep one of the world’s best strikers Sergio Aguero at bay. Alcaraz had his best game in a Wigan shirt on that famous day in May, and he certainly picked a good occasion to do so.
Alcaraz left in 2013, to join former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, in which he had a two year stint with the Toffees, he then moved on to Spanish outfit Las Palmas for a year, and now he is currently at Libertad who are in the Paraguayan First Division.
Legend is a word that simply does not justify Emmerson Boyce, the man who wore his heart on his sleeve, and was a top man on and off the field.
Emmerson Boyce was the captain at the club, and stole the hearts of Wigan fans during his 9 year stay at the club in which from 2006-2015, he made 256 appearances scoring 13 goals.
Emmerson Boyce was forever active within the Latics community, helping a variety of great charitable causes. Emmerson carried out young Joseph Kendrick, who sadly suffers from NKH, in support of the Joseph’s Goal charity, in which he is an ambassador of.
Emmerson Boyce was a very hard working player, and a very consistent performer. Emmerson had a superb game in the back line, and played alongside in a back 5 with Paul Scharner and Antolin Alcaraz.
Emmerson lifted the trophy alongside Gary Caldwell, and was very emotional after the win.
Emmerson Boyce left Wigan in 2015, and had a one year spell at Blackpool FC. Emmerson Boyce is currently without a club and it is unknown whether he is retiring from the game.
Roger Roger Roger, Roger Espinoza! He was forever working hard for the team, and played a very underrated part in the FA Cup winning side.
Roger Espinoza who is a midfielder by trade, joined Wigan in January 2013 until he returned to his former club Sporting Kansas City in 2015, in which he played 36 times for Wigan, scoring 2 goals.
Espinoza on the FA Cup Final day played as a wing back, due to the injury’s to the Wigan full back options. Espinoza was forever running from the first to the 95th minute and did everything he could for the good of the team. Espinoza was a great player, and played a great role. Espinoza reverted back to the midfield in the rest of his spell at Wigan, however I wonder what could of happened if he stayed forever a wing back.
James McCarthy joined alongside James McArthur from Scottish side Hamilton Academical in which the pair were two promising young midfielders. The price was believed to be a combined £1.5 million.
James McCarthy was an energetic box to box midfielder, with an eye for goal. McCarthy was a vital part of the Wigan team for the qualities he brought in the midfield, helping both defensively and going forwards. McCarthy for his efforts at Wigan, became a regular for the Republic of Ireland national team.
McCarthy played in the midfield in the FA Cup final, and put in a sensational performance, having a tough battle with Yaya Toure.
McCarthy was the shining light in the team that got relegated to the Championship, and was sold on the final day of the summer transfer window in 2013 for around £13 million.
As previously mentioned, the midfielder joined from Hamilton Academical as a youngster.
James McArthur was a solid player, who was very underrated at his time at Wigan during the Premier League. It was only in the Championship 2013-14 season in which Wigan fans realised how McArthur made the team tick.
McArthur is predominantly a centre midfielder, however like Roger Espinoza, he was played at wing back during the FA Cup Final, teaming along the wings with Callum McManaman. McArthur was brilliant, especially considering he was out of his natural position, and put in a superb hard working shift.
McArthur stayed at the club for another year, before leaving for Crystal Palace in August 2014 for around £7 million.
The Spainish magician, was signed by Roberto Martinez after the ex Barca man impressed during his loan at Swansea, in which Martinez was in charge of.
Jordi Gomez was very under appreciated at Wigan, and it was only until he was gone, people respected how good he was. Gomez was a classy playmaker who smartly executes a range of passes, with a superb eye for goal.
Gomez played a vital role on the way to Wembley, scoring against Bournemouth(H), Macclesfield(A) and Everton(A), while getting an assist in the FA Cup semi final against Millwall. Gomez although was relatively quiet in the final, played a great role and was vital in the FA Cup winning campaign.
Jordi Gomez stayed during 2013-14, before leaving for Sunderland in 2014 after a five year spell at the club. Gomez is currently back at Wigan, after wanting to return to his football home, interestingly being brought back by former captain Gary Caldwell who was manager of Wigan at the time.
The Scottish international joined Wigan in 2011, from Celtic in which he joined a 4 year spell at the club before leaving for Chicago Fire
Maloney was a superb signing under Roberto Martinez, and a player that the fans grew to love. Maloney scored 14 goals in his 79 appearances for Wigan, and got numerous assists.
Maloney was a key figure in the Wigan side which won the FA Cup. Maloney starred and scored in the FA Cup Semi Final against Millwall, and also provided the assist to Ben Watson’s header to win the trophy.
Maloney left in 2015 to join America’s Chicago Fire, however his stay was short as he joined and is currently at Hull City.
A player that was developed through the youth system, Macca as the fans know him, was a breakout star in the 2013-14 season.
Martinez brought McManaman into the first team after impressive performances in the FA Cup. McManaman scored one goal and was named man of the match in a 4-1 win against Huddersfield Town, which helped Wigan reach the FA Cup quarter finals for the first time in 26 years. In that very quarter final, he scored against his boyhood club Everton in a 3-0 win that sent Wigan on the way to Wembley. McManaman was on the scoresheet in their 2-0 victory over Millwall to send the Latics into their first ever FA Cup Final.
In the FA Cup final, it is arguable that Manchester City’s Gael Clichy still has nightmares. McManaman was a constant menace down the wing, and he was named the man of the match in the FA Cup final.
Due to his performances, McManaman was called up for the first time for the England Under 21’s for the 2013 European Under 21 Championships in Israel however he was sadly ruled out due to an ankle injury sustained in the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal on the same day.
McManaman joined West Brom on the 28th January 2015 on a three and a half year contract for £4.75 million, and was he first Baggies signing under Tony Pulis. McManaman is sadly out of favour at the Hawthorns, and Wigan fans are one day, awaiting their FA Cup hero to return.
Arouna Kone joined the Latics from Levante at the end of the summer transfer window in 2012.
Arouna Kone led the line, with a real show of pace and power. Kone finished the season as the club’s top scorer, with 11 goals.
Kone was involved in the FA Cup Wembley run, scoring a brace in the 4-1 defeat of Huddersfield Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Kone set up Jordi Gomez’s stunner in the quarter final against Everton and Maloney’s opener in the FA Cup semi final against Millwall.
Kone featured for the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 upset against Manchester City.
Kone signed for Everton, following the footsteps of Joel and Alcaraz, and still remains at the club.
Last but not least, Watson is known as royalty in the Wigan area for his contribution in the FA Cup
Ben Watson joined Wigan Athletic in 2009 from Crystal Palace, and was a regular in the first team from 2011 after his loans at QPR and West Brom.
In November 2012, Ben Watson’s season looked to be over after he suffered a broken right leg in a challenge with Raheem Sterling in the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Watson however still had a mark to make in the season, coming on as a late substitute for Jordi Gomez in the FA Cup Final. Watson leaped highest to Shaun Maloney’s corner, and in the 91st minute, won the FA Cup for the club. Watson is now addressed as Sir Ben Watson in Wigan, and the 11th May of every year is dedicated to him.
Watson put his name forever in Wigan Athletic’s history as the FA Cup win was the club’s first major trophy since their formation in 1932.
Watson is currently at Watford after leaving Wigan for the Hornets after a successful loan spell.
Wigan fans will never ever forget the FA Cup Final win, and the day will always be remembered due to the recent erection of the Dave Whelan statue at the DW Stadium in which he has his hands on the FA Cup.
Wigan fans are often asked the question, would they give up their FA Cup win for Premier League survival in 2012-13?
The answer is always the same.
Written by Jay Whittle