DEATH and taxes are supposed to be the only two certainties in life.
But there are still three guarantees when Newcastle United travel to Wigan Athletic.
First of all those 50 miles per hour speed restrictions will still be in place on the M62 around Leeds.
Secondly fish and chips on the way back at the Wetherby Whaler will be the highlight of the trip.
And that’s because thirdly Newcastle will suffer their usual defeat.
I can just about stomach the handball in the build-up to Wigan’s late winner.
Newcastle have benefited from dodgy decisions at both Everton and Reading this term and luck normally evens itself out over the course of a season.
Yet the Callum McManaman incident was far more sickening for a number of reasons.
While referee Mark Halsey may have seen unsighted, why did his assistant or whatever they are called these days not flag for a foul?
Nor do I buy this Wigan nonsense that McManaman doesn’t possess a “bad bone in his body” – wrong choice of words given that he might have broken a few of Massadio Haidara’s – and was just a young lad making his debut Premier League start.
Here then is a quiz question for you.
Name another Premier League debutant, and you have 21 years to go at, to have launched themselves into a horrific challenge like that?
A response might take longer to arrive than Newcastle’s wait for a trophy.
As for the game itself, Newcastle could have had more grounds to whinge about McManaman’s brutality, sorry enthusiasm, if they were not already one goal down through another Davide Santon error.
Surely an international footballer, particularly one who mainly plays on the left, can use his facing foot to clear a routine cross instead of chancing his luck with his stronger right?
Santon did at least play his part in Newcastle’s belated fightback by levelling with his first competitive goal.
But a draw was all Alan Pardew’s side deserved on an afternoon when you felt they smelt an international break – or even the Wetherby Whaler – looming large.
Haddock and chips aside, another highlight of the road to Wigan or any away trip for that matter is killing time by arguing over Newcastle United’s worst ever XI.
Plenty of contenders there, you would think, to make a journey to Plymouth fly by.
With no game to discuss because of those accursed internationals – you can bet that one of our regulars is going to get crocked – then I’ll turn my attentions to my line-up in the next thrilling instalment of this drivel.
– GAVIN LEDWITH