Former Latics striker Emile Heskey is looking forward to this weekend’s FA Cup Final, and passed on his advice to the current Latics squad as a man who has been there, done it and got the winner’s medal.
Heskey was triumphant with Liverpool against Arsenal back in 2001 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and remembered the day he lifted the famous cup vividly:
“The whole day is an amazing occasion, from leaving the hotel in the morning, to arriving at the stadium with fans applauding you through, it all builds to the game itself – it’s fantastic.
“Everyone talks about it going quickly and they’re absolutely right, before you know it the day is gone so you have to take everything in and savour the moment.
“You never know if it’s going to be your last cup final; 2001 was the only time I played in an FA Cup Final but I still remember that day vividly.
“I remember walking out to a full stadium in Cardiff on a hot day and to win it was an incredible feeling I was lucky to experience.
“I won five medals that year, but the history that surrounds the FA Cup, its prestige, and the manner in which we won it also, made it the biggest achievement for me.
“Knowing what we had to play for at that time of the season, the FA Cup was the one honour everyone wanted ahead of anything else.”
Looking at Latics’ run to the final this year, Heskey praised the efforts of the team to reach the final and believes they’ve got another surprise in them still:
“It’s going to be a great day for the club and I’m looking forward to the game. Right now you can’t look any further past this match – it’s the FA Cup Final, but obviously the team have priorities in the Premier League to take care of afterwards as well.
“For a team like Wigan Athletic to be in the final is great, it doesn’t happen often and is a great story. We reached the Carling Cup Final shortly before I arrived at the club, and although that day didn’t go according to plan, in a cup final anything can happen on the day.
“They’ve done so well to go this far in the competition and they’ve proved that the cup finals aren’t just for the big teams.
“They’re there on merit and on the day itself you never know what’s going to happen. Just because Manchester City are the favourites doesn’t mean they’ve automatically won it.
“Over the years Wigan Athletic have done so well in gaining promotion to the Premier League and staying there.
“Now they’ve got a chance to go on to another level and bring home some silverware in a major cup final.”