Tomorrow night’s visit of Liverpool will highlight once again just how poorly supported Wigan Athletic are, much to the dismay of the Wigan fans who will be there.
Is there a problem with the Latics and if so, what is it?
Since the jokes of George Formby Senior and George Orwell’s much misunderstood rant, Wigan has occupied a special place in the UK’s comedy heart.
The town’s rugby league success means nothing outside of the North and certain suburbs of Sydney.
The deliberate media highlighting of empty seats at the DW just adds fuel to the fire.
According to the media pictures, not enough Wiganers are engaged by the perennial David and Goliath struggle of their team to even bother turning up to watch – look at the pictures- there are a lot of the DW's 25,000 seats empty for even the most prestigious games.
This is the big issue...does this rugby town even want a Premier League team?’ After all Dave Whelan has done, you would hope so.
This rugby town where on average 15,723 fans turn up to see the sport of their fathers, where Wigan are pre-eminent. I mean, compare that to the pathetic 17,884 that watch the Latics.
Now you may find these figures puzzling, but it’s true. More people watch the Latics than the Warriors. In this bastion of rugby league?
Now … could it be that the demographic of Wigan is such that only 15,000 or so fans will turn out for any sport, regardless of the level or shape of the ball? The Wiganers, that is who aren’t historically attached to an established Premiership team, that is.
I mean look at Blackpool. Media opinion : A well supported team, that while not really Premier League material, is at least valued by its town. Unlike the other bunch with the pier.
Bloomfield Road capacity on promotion: 11,000. After extension:16,000. Let’s imagine the DW with 16,000 seats: Season tickets would be at a premium. If you want an ad-hoc ticket - get one early.
Permanently packed, we could move the away fans so that rather than occupying their own stand – a home from home where they have a great view and a sense of togetherness that bolsters their support - they could perch somewhere else, half way up a stand, a bit lost, disenfranchised. A bit quieter.
The home fans united, together could make a concerted racket, hostility. Fortress DW.
A feeling that a ticket has some value, that you can’t turn up and get in, that the oft repeated mantra of ‘you could open the gates and let ‘em in for nowt and you still wouldn’t fill it’ was false not true.
Come on, Dave Whelan - build us a smaller ground!
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.