Friday, October 29, 2010

Club Focus on Wigan Athletic

Wigan were formed in 1932 and kicked around in the Lancashire League and the Cheshire League. Their first application for the league came in 1950 when 4 clubs were added to the league; 2 to Division 3 North and 2 to Division 3 South. However, they lost out to Scunthorpe and Shrewsbury.

In 1954 the Latics took Newcastle to a 3rd round replay in the FA Cup and they felt like they would be elected to the league, but they weren't. After several other aborted attempts at getting into the league they became founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1968. In 1971 after narrowly losing to a strong Manchester City in the FA Cup they again thought that they had a good chance of getting in the league, but again it wasn't to be. As a protest the following season they applied to join the Scottish League, but they didn't get a single vote and in England the place that they coveted went to Hereford United.

In 1975 they won the NPL for rhe second time, but they weren't in any state to join the league with financial problems and average gates of less than 650 in what has always been a rugby league town. Nevertheless, the following season they joined the league at their 35th attempt. They had only finished as runners-up in the Northern Premier League, but Boston United's ground wasn't up to scratch, so Wigan finally got their place in the League.

After 2 seasons in the League Wigan introduced the 'tree and crown' badge. The crown representing the plantagent dynasty, which is also a feature of the town's coat of arms and a rowan tree. The rowan tree is known locally as a 'wiggin' tree or Wigan tree. It is also interesting to notice that the prominent colours are red and white rather than the blue and white that the club wear. However, they did wear red and white up until the outbreak of the 2nd World War.

In 1989 the club then changed the badge to the local coat of arms:

During most of their period in the League Wigan kicked around in the lower divisions and seemed to go from financial crisis to financial crisis. That all changed in 1993 when David Whelan started bank rolling the club that saw them go from the basement when he took control to the Premier League in 2005, where they have been since. In 2008 they also reintroduced the tree and crown motif, which was a popular move with the fans.

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