Little festive cheer for Wanderers fans
7:00am Tuesday 10th December 2013 in Sport
A BIGGEST win of the season against Doncaster on Saturday has brought some early festive cheer to Wanderers fans, players and management alike.
December started poorly with the disappointment of a 1-0 home defeat to Huddersfield, but Dougie Freedman’s team bounced back against different Yorkshire opposition.
And he will be hoping they can take that form into Sunday’s derby at Wigan and into the busy Christmas programme of four matches in 12 days.
But recent history does not bode well. December has not often been a profitable month for those supporters hoping for a “Whites Christmas”.
You have to go back to the 2006/7 campaign for the last time Wanderers registered more than two wins in the final month of the calendar year and they have only achieved that twice in 15 seasons prior to this campaign.
The other occasion came in the 2000/01 season when they had an impressive month winning five out of six outings and losing the other.
In 2006, like the current campaign, Wanderers lost their first match in December – 1-0 at Reading – but then went on to win five on the trot.
They won the first three after that against West Ham (4-0), Aston Villa (1-0) and Manchester City (2-0) without conceding a goal before home victories against Newcastle and Portsmouth to end the year.
It was a profitable month for French front man Nicolas Anelka, who scored five goals in those five wins.
Six years earlier, it was the other way round when Sam Allardyce’s men won the first five in the month but ended the year with a 1-0 home defeat to West Brom.
Either side of that campaign, though, Wanderers failed to record a single league victory in December in both the 1999/2000 and 2001/02 seasons.
There was even less festive cheer in the 2004/5 Premier League campaign when Wanderers lost all five of their matches in December against Everton, Norwich, Manchester City, Manchester United and Blackburn.
It was a far different story from the 1998/99 season – the last time Wanderers enjoyed an unbeaten December with two wins and three draws.
The last time they won every league match they played in December was under Bruce Rioch in Division Two in 1992, though they only had three league outings with three cup matches as well, two of which they drew in the Autoglass Trophy.
The Whites have enjoyed a perfect winning December on two occasions in their history.
In 1939, three months after the start of World War Two, Wanderers won back-to-back home games against Blackpool and Southport in the North West Regional League.
In the 1904/5 Division Two promotion campaign, Wanderers were victorious in all seven matches in the last month of the year – part of an 11-match winning streak.
It has been a different story in recent years, however, and since the 2006/7 campaign there has not been much in the way of seasonal cheer for fans.
In three of the six seasons, Wanderers have registered just one December win, though in 2009/10 they only lost once as well, drawing three of their five outings.
Last season, Freedman’s team won twice – both on home turf against Charlton (2-0) and Birmingham (3-1). But they lost three out of six and returned just seven points from a possible 18 available.
With four games left this month against Wigan, Charlton, Barnsley and Leicester, the Whites boss will be looking to improve on that this season and add to the three points that were so well earned against Doncaster at the weekend.