Wigan Athletic fans make council change ‘discriminatory’ signs celebrating rugby success

Civil war in the north west town


There has long been an uneasy relationship between football and rugby fans in Wigan (or at least that’s how it appears to us sat in our ivory towers Dahn Saaf, anyway.)

That animosity has now escalated into small-scale political warfare, after supporters of Wigan Athletic recently harangued the local council into taking down signs celebrating Wigan Warriors‘ first Super League rugby championship win in 12 years, claiming they were ‘discriminatory’.

Wigan council had originally tacked notices to three ‘Welcome to Wigan’ road signs reading: ‘Wigan Warriors Super League champions 2010′.

However, on seeing the congratulations, incensed Wigan Athletic fans threw such a shitfit local officials were forced to add ‘home of Premiership football and Super League rugby’ underneath.

Paul Farrington, webmaster (do people still say ‘webmaster’?) of a Wigan fan site said:

I’m happy the council have now decided to see sense. Driving through the town as you leave the motorway, you wouldn’t have even known Premier League football exists here.

While supporter Mark Cowley told the Wigan Evening Post:

It’s an absolute disgrace. The person who made the decision simply can’t be from Wigan. Any sporting success in the town should be celebrated but not at the cost of any other clubs.

Brilliant. It’s a road sign for crying out loud.

Can’t we all be friends?

[via the Guardian]

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11 responses so far
  • dan-wafc // October 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Just thought I’d clear a few things up here for you, from someone who actually lives in the area –

    The reason such a storm has brewed over this action is mainly thanks to the new signs (congratulating the Warriors on their success) replaced the previous signs (reading “Home of Premier League football and Super League rugby”) on roads leading into the town.

    This has been so upsetting to the Athletic fans because, for much of the 1980s (when Warriors were the best RL team in the country by some margin and Athletic were struggling to stay in business, never mind win things) Wigan Borough Council appeared to side with the RL team and almost eradicate the football side from the town. Indeed, former Warriors board member Maurice Lindsay (currently heading up the board at North End over in Preston) said of Athletic: “They’re a lovely little club, just in the wrong location – the backyard of Rugby League”.

    Despite Athletic actually owning the stadium, having a higher average attendance and bringing in more money to the town (thanks to Sky’s wads of cash) there seems to be a resistance to accepting the football club in the town.

    That’s why people have got all het up about something that seems trivial to outsiders.

  • Richard Gilzene // October 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Cheers for adding a bit of context, Dan. We always welcome fans having their right of reply

  • Graham Fairhurst // October 13, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Wigan Athletic fans were upset not with the signs acknowledging the rugby teams success but the removal of the existing signs that included Wigan Athletic as a Premier League Football Club and replacing them with Rugby only signs

  • Boco_T // October 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    how come they didn’t mention the Wigan Snake Pit?

  • Wiganman // October 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    The most important thing here is the fact that since Latics arrived in the Premier League their average attendance has been at least 3000 more than the Warriors!
    Rugby average last year 11k Latics 17k and thats on a great year for Warriors and a poor one for Latics.
    Wigan turned blue years ago. I work in the North East regularly…… What’s Rugby League? they say. Can you watch Warriors in every country in the world on regular weekly TV programmes? NO
    In fact where is the credibility in a sport where you win the League but it only counts for anything if you win the play offs?
    Need I say any more?

  • Dave NYC // October 14, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Wiganman you have just described every sports leauge in the usa with your last two sentences.

  • Dave C // October 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    But come May the sign saying ‘Home of the Super League champions and Home to Championship football’ will look daft.

    The idea that the football team is now more popular is incredibly debatable, looking at the crowd sizes without the away fan contribution would be interesting considering some super league teams bring a couple of hundred away fans (if that) whilst a lot of Premiership teams come close to or actually sell out the away end.

  • Mark T // October 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Where is Wigan?

  • Alex // October 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    It’s cool, surely all Wigan Athletic have to do is win something and the coun….


  • Wiganman // October 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    “Autowindshields….we won it two times” Oh and £5 million per annum into the towns economy.(Council figures not mine)

  • Graham Fairhurst // October 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    To Dave C and Alex.
    I am a Latics fan and congratulate the Warriors on their sucess. My original post did not object to the Warriors sign but the removal of all references to Wigan Athletic. How would you feel if the roles were reversed

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