Wigan Warriors

Introduction

Wigan Warriors were founded in 1872 after a meeting of members of the Wigan Cricket Club at the Royal Hotel. The club is based in Wigan, Greater Manchester, and also currently play their home games at the JJB Stadium. The team play in red and white hooped shirts, with red shorts. Although many Super League clubs are also based in the north, Wigan’s main rivals are Warrington Wolves, St Helens and Leeds Rhinos.

History

Early Years

In 1876, Wigan merged with Upholland FC, and became known as Wigan & District FC. However, after less than two years, the club was forced to fold due to financial difficulties. Then in 1879, Wigan Wasps was formed, and later went on to join the Northern Union, playing Rugby League. After a brief spell playing at Springfield Park, the team moved to Central Park in 1902. It was shortly afterwards when Wigan won their first ever Lancashire Cup in 1906. The team then enjoyed a phenomenal treble winning season in 1908/09 where they won the Championship, the Lancashire League and the Lancashire Cup.

After further successes in the Lancashire League and Lancashire Cup, it was not until 1922 before Wigan were again crowned English Champions. The 1923/24 season saw Wigan lift the Challenge Cup for the first time, and also once again won the Lancashire League. Jim Sullivan inspired the team to many of their successes during this time, before settling into a player/coach role in 1932.

Wigan won the Championship again in the 1933/34 season in a rare season where they neither won the Lancashire League, nor the Lancashire Cup. The team eventually won the Lancashire Cup in the 1938/39 season, before war halted the progression of rugby league.

Post war

Rugby League became vastly more popular after World War Two, with many spectators now flocking to league games. In 1951, over 33,000 fans saw Wigan beat Leigh in the Lancashire Cup Final. Wigan’s success continued, as they won their sixth consecutive Lancashire Cup the following season. Wigan’s home game with St Helens in 1959 also attracted over 47,000 fans. As well as being a club record attendance, this is also a record attendance for any rugby league game in England. Club legend Eric Ashton took charge of the team in 1963. The team then went on to lift the Challenge Cup in the 1964/65 season, and beat Oldham 16-13 in the 1966 Lancashire Cup Final.

After Ashton left as head coach in 1973, Ted Toohey briefly took over, before being sacked in 1975. Joe Coan and Vince Karalius both lasted a matter of months at Central Park before being sacked. Kel Coslett oversaw Wigan’s relegation in 1980, which led to his eventual sacking. Despite George Fairburn getting the team promoted the following season, he left the club in 1981. Shortly afterwards, Wigan chose to become a full-time professional club. In 1987, Wigan then set a record for winning 29 league games in a row, during a period where the club’s fortunes dramatically improved.

The team proved to be dominant in the Challenge Cup, as they won the trophy eight years in a row until 1995. Wigan were equally as successful in the Championship, as they completed the league and cup double between 1990 and 1995. Amongst all the domestic success, Wigan also became World Club Champions after beating Penrith Panthers in 1992. Although Wigan’s crown was taken away the following season, they beat the Brisbane Broncos in a rematch to reclaim their title as World Champions in 1994.

Introduction of the Super League

Wigan then changed their name to Wigan Warriors in 1996 on the introduction of the Super League. Wigan were without a trophy at the end of the 1998/99 season, and this led to the sacking of coach Andy Goodway. The team then left Central Park to move to the brand new 25,000 all-seater JJB Stadium in 1999. Stuart Raper took charge in 2001, and guided the club to Challenge Cup success in 2002. Raper eventually left in 2003, and was has since been replaced by Mike Gregory, Denis Betts and Mike Millward.

All three coaches had a degree of success at Wigan, but were unable to win the Challenge Cup or the Super League. Millward was the last to be sacked in 2006, and was replaced by current coach Brian Noble. Due to the Warriors’ poor start to the season, many felt that the club were certain for relegation. However, the team recovered, and miraculously saved their Super League status. The end of the 2007 Super League season saw the Warriors finish strongly. Wigan qualified for the play-offs, and won 31-30 against Bradford Bulls in an enthralling match, before being knocked out by Leeds Rhinos.

With Wigan making numerous signings in the close season, fans will be hoping that the Warriors can go one better, and achieve Super League glory this season.

Club Honours

  • World Club Challenge – Winners (1987/88, 1991/92, 1993/94)
  • Championship (incl. Super League) – Winners (1908/09, 1921/22, 1925/26, 1933/34, 1945/46, 1949/50, 1951/52, 1959/60, 1986/87, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1998)
  • Challenge Cup – Winners (1923/24, 1928/29, 1947/48, 1950/51, 1957/58, 1958/59, 1964/65, 1984/85, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 2002)
  • Regal Trophy – Winners (1982/83, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1992/93, 1994/95, 1995/96)
  • Charity Shield – Winners (1985/86, 1987/1988, 1991/92, 1995/96)
  • Lancashire League – Winners (1901/02, 1908/09, 1910/11, 1911/12, 1912/13, 1913/14, 1914/15, 1920/21, 1922/23, 1923/24, 1925/26, 1945/46, 1946/47, 1949/50, 1951/52, 1958/59, 1961/62, 1969/70)
  • Lancashire Cup – Winners (1905/06, 1908/09, 1909/10, 1912/13, 1922/23, 1928/29, 1938/39, 1946/47, 1947/48, 1948/49, 1949/50, 1950/51, 1951/52, 1966/67, 1971/72, 1973/74, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1992/93)

Club Records

  • Biggest Victory – 116-0 (v Flimby and Fothergill, 14 February 1925)
  • Biggest Defeat – 0-75 (v St Helens, Powergen Challenge Cup Qtr final, 26 June 2005)
  • Most Tries in One Match – 10 (Martin Offiah v Leeds, 10 May 1992; Shawn Edwards v Swinton, 29 September 1992)
  • Most Points in One Match – 44 (Jim Sullivan v Flimby and Fothergill, 14 February 1925)
  • Most Points in One Season – 423 (Franco Botica, 1994/95)

Contact and Ticket Information

For general enquiries and ticket information contact:

Wigan Warriors
JJB Stadium
Loire Drive
Wigan
WN5 OUH
Tel: 01942 774000
Fax: 01942 214880
Ticket Office (tel): 0871 66 33 552

Travel Information

By road

From the North – Exit the M6 at Junction 27, and turn left at the end of the slip road. Then turn right at the T-Junction sign-posted Shevington. After 1 mile, turn left into Old Lane (sign-posted B5375 Standish Lower-Ground). After approximately two miles, turn right at the traffic lights into Scot Lane. Take the first left, turn into Stadium Way for the entrance to Stadium Car Parks, or the second left for the main entrance.

From the South and West – Exit the M6 at Junction 25. At the end of the slip road, turn left (signposted Wigan A49). Follow the signs for Wigan A49 for 1.8 miles to saddle roundabout. Take the second exit (signposted Standish A49) into Robin Park Road. Follow signs for the JJB Stadium.

From East – Exit M61 at Junction 6 (sign-posted Chorley, Horwich A6027) and take the first exit at the roundabout. Do not exit at Junction 5, which is sign-posted Wigan. At the next roundabout, take the first left (sign-posted Westhoughton A6, Wigan B5238) into Chorley Road. After 0.3 miles, turn right (sign-posted Wigan B5238). After 1.8 miles, turn left at Aspull roundabout (sign-posted Wigan B5238). Then, after 2.2 miles, just after the Earl of Balcarres pub, turn right at the traffic lights. Proceed down the hill, turning left at the next lights with the Quality Hotel on the corner.

Follow the ring road, and get into the second lane as the road bears right into Caroline Street, sign-posted Orrell. Continue on the ring road, following as it bears left, passing the ‘Go Outdoors’ shop on the left hand side, again sign-posted for Orrell. Then pass Wigan Pier on the right. Once you go under the railway bridge, get into the right hand lane to turn right into Robin Park Road, sign-posted Robin Park. Follow signs for the JJB Stadium.