To continue our countdown to the new season, which starts in 2 days, RoversChat will be looking at the teams that Rovers will be facing in the 2017/18 season. The team we will look at today is Wigan Athletic…
Name: Wigan Athletic
Manager: Paul Cook
Ground name: The DW Stadium
Nickname: The Latics
Star player: Will Grigg
Players in: Gavin Massey, Chey Dunkley, Terell Thomas, Christian Walton, Andrew Taylor, Callum Elder
Players out: Stephen Warnock, Gabriel Obertan, Matt Gilks, Jack Hendry, Jack Buxton, Mikael Mandron, Billy McKay, Jussi Jaaskelainen
Founded in 1932, Wigan Athletic play their home games at the DW Stadium where they have been based since 1999 – prior to that, their home games were played at Springfield Park. Wigan Athletic is actually the town’s fifth attempt at forming a stable town football club following Wigan County, Wigan United, Wigan Town and Wigan Borough. Predominantly a Rugby League town. Wigan share the DW stadium with the Wigan Warriors.
From 1932-1978, The Latics played non league football. At the end of the 1977-1978 season, Wigan finished second behind Boston United in the Northern Premier League. As Boston’s ground and facilities did not meet the Football Leagues criteria for a League Club and Springfield Park did, Wigan were nominated for election to the Football League.
There was no automatic promotion to the Football League until 1987. Prior to thi.s a football club had to be voted out in order for a non-league club to gain promotion. As Southport had finished second to bottom of the old 4th Division, they faced Wigan for their place in the Football League. At the end of the first round of voting, there was a tie with both clubs receiving 26 votes. After a tense revote, Wigan were promoted to the football League by winning the vote 29-20.
In 1995, local millionaire, owner of JJB Sports and ex-Rovers player Dave Whelan purchased the club and set out a plan to take The Latics to the Premier League.
By the 2004-05 season, Whelan’s dream was achieved. Managed by Paul Jewell. with Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts leading the line. Wigan were promoted to the Premier League – finishing 2nd to Sunderland in the Football League Championship.
Wigan spent 8 years in England’s top flight before being relegated in 2013 following a 4-1 defeat to Arsenal. However, not before The Latics’ greatest achievement in their history. Four days before relegation, Wigan beat free-spending Manchester City in the FA Cup final. Ben Watson scored an injury time winner with a glancing header and the score finished 1-0 to Wigan.
Wigan have struggled for any consistency since being relegated from the Premier League, and are playing in England’s 3rd tier of English football for the 2nd time in 3 season. Wigan played in the 3rd tier in 2015-16 season and won promotion, but then in their first season back in the Championship, Wigan were relegated and will now face the challenge of going back up.
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