It’s all about the cranium.
Blue, white, black & white, magenta, striped, shaved, parted, gelled, bleached, botched, blonde, buzzed, written in,Mozart, moaning, house cleaning, overhead kick, overrated, underrated.
Paul Scharner came to Wigan Athletic from SK Brann on December 22nd, 2005. Virtually unknown to us, he was drafted in by Paul Jewell and at the time was SK Brann’s record transfer fee received (£2.5m).
In his first game he scored a winning headed goal against Arsenal in the Carling Cup.
Paul Scharner isn’t one to avoid the limelight.
From bottom to top (especially the top) he’s a man of contradictions. A Premiership (at the time!) footballer with a serious interest in classical music. A highly paid professional athlete who has a life coach instead of an agent. A man who changes his playing position and hairstyle with equal frequency. He’s equally at home helping a local contest winner with her Mother’s Day chores, as he is meditating in a tree like a zen monk before each game. He missed the Euro’s hosted by his own country(!) because of a dispute about Austrian training methods with the national team coach. He spoke every week about leaving for the world’s biggest clubs, but held the Latics Premiership appearance record when he departed.
He’s maddening, infuriating, and one of my all-time favorite players.
“SCHARNER??” my Dad decried. “You hate him!”
“I love him!”
This is pretty typical.
Personally, I’ve seen Paul Scharner play every outfield position on the pitch for Wigan Athletic. Not just as a sub, he was STARTING. I saw Paul Scharner start as a right winger against Reading. As a striker against Liverpool. Wikipedia and Sky say he never played left back. I think that’s hogwash.
I THINK we bought him as cover for Graham Kavanagh or Stephan Henchoz. Who knows really, by the time we sold him we had pioneered the Defensive Attacking Midfielder position.
He’s a nightmare to customize on Pro Evo. In the end I settled on playing him behind the striker, but registered as a DMF. That about did the job. You can’t really program his hairstyles properly most of the time. Paul Scharner skirts the realms of virtual reality.
Maybe I just like Scharner because he was the only player who took time to have an extended conversation with me at the players dinner. I told him he should come to the NY Red Bulls after his contract expired, he went to West Brom. I customized my “Scharner 18” 06/07 away kit with tape to commemorate him being the first Latic to make 100 Premier League appearance. 14 goals in 145 appearances. That’s a lot more than most of the strikers we’ve had at the club to be honest.
He scored two of the most important goals in Wigan Athletic’s history. One, to set up the second leg away goal victory against Arsenal in 2006 that paved the way to the Carling Cup final. Two, the first goal against Sheffield United in the Battle of Bramall Lane II.
Scharner’s inscrutable cranium.
The first he used his head to nod home the goal, the second he kept his head to stroke it beyond Paddy Kenny.
I’ll let Paul’s haircut on his final Latic appearance have the last word.
-Avantsweater July 3rd, 2012
This article originally appeared on Vital Wigan Athletic.