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1 hour ago, marklaspalmas said:

Padge, is this correct?

 

 

Which bit the exhibition or Wigan's start date,

Wigan rugby club was formed 21st November 1872 at  the Royal Hotel, Standishgate by mostly members of Wigan Cricket club who wanted a winter sport to play.

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3 hours ago, Padge said:

Which bit the exhibition or Wigan's start date,

Wigan rugby club was formed 21st November 1872 at  the Royal Hotel, Standishgate by mostly members of Wigan Cricket club who wanted a winter sport to play.

Is that the same Wigan club as the current one?

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19 hours ago, marklaspalmas said:

Is that the same Wigan club as the current one?

Yes, it was formed on that date it merged with Up Holland when they struggled for players in 1876 and changed the name to Wigan & district football club to identify with that merger. Towards the end of 1878/79 season they failed to finish their last few games due to the number of injuries. In September 1879 some of the players and officials decided to carry on with the new season and changed the name again to Wigan Wasps who bizarrely played in blue and white hoops.

Although the club got off to a bit of a staggered start, moving between grounds, Upper Dicconson Street, Prescot Street and Springfield Park before settling in at Central Park, it was the same club that is today the Wigan Warriors.

 

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21 hours ago, Padge said:

Yes, it was formed on that date it merged with Up Holland when they struggled for players in 1876 and changed the name to Wigan & district football club to identify with that merger. Towards the end of 1878/79 season they failed to finish their last few games due to the number of injuries. In September 1879 some of the players and officials decided to carry on with the new season and changed the name again to Wigan Wasps who bizarrely played in blue and white hoops.

Although the club got off to a bit of a staggered start, moving between grounds, Upper Dicconson Street, Prescot Street and Springfield Park before settling in at Central Park, it was the same club that is today the Wigan Warriors.

 

Hi Padge.  Your reply seems to suggest that you think the current Wigan Warriors are a continuation of the club formed in 1872.  I think it's pretty clear this isn't the case, and unless you have some different evidence to what I've seen, I don't think your summary of what happened towards the end of 1878/79 & the formation of Wasps is correct.

This website (www.earlywiganrugby.co.uk) is excellent, and comprehensively covers the topic.  Despite the odd slip up reference to being formed in 1872, it's clear that this club disbanded, and Wasps were a new club.  The current Wigan club was formed in 1879, and I think it's extremely disappointing that the club, seemingly aware of this, continues to push its formation as 1872, which to me seems a re-writing of history.

Edited by Neil_Ormston
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44 minutes ago, Neil_Ormston said:

Hi Padge.  Your reply seems to suggest that you think the current Wigan Warriors are a continuation of the club formed in 1872.  I think it's pretty clear this isn't the case, and unless you have some different evidence to what I've seen, I don't think your summary of what happened towards the end of 1878/79 & the formation of Wasps is correct.

This website (www.earlywiganrugby.co.uk) is excellent, and comprehensively covers the topic.  Despite the odd slip up reference to being formed in 1872, it's clear that this club disbanded, and Wasps were a new club.  The current Wigan club was formed in 1879, and I think it's extremely disappointing that the club, seemingly aware of this, continues to push its formation as 1872, which to me seems a re-writing of history.

The continuation of clubs was discussed on this site a few years ago and Professor Tony Collins prominent historian and a little bit of an expert on these matters took part in the discussion. His view is that if some part of the club moves on it is a continuation. Within Wigan there was only one club formed and continued in the early years though not without its problems.

You could have a scenario where every time a club changed hands you would reset the clock. In 1879 a new committee was elected (change of owners/directors if you like, many other people involved had been involved in the club in1878.

A club is made up of many components, the business, the owner(s) or shareholder(s), the employees (paid and volunteers), the players, the supporters, the playing field and associated buildings, it is not a single component which was why Tony Collins was of the view that these early clubs were more often than not a continuation as a part or many parts were moved on as clubs evolved.

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This just popped up on my YouTube homepage. French RL from 1990.

 

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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3 hours ago, Padge said:

The continuation of clubs was discussed on this site a few years ago and Professor Tony Collins prominent historian and a little bit of an expert on these matters took part in the discussion. His view is that if some part of the club moves on it is a continuation. Within Wigan there was only one club formed and continued in the early years though not without its problems.

You could have a scenario where every time a club changed hands you would reset the clock. In 1879 a new committee was elected (change of owners/directors if you like, many other people involved had been involved in the club in1878.

A club is made up of many components, the business, the owner(s) or shareholder(s), the employees (paid and volunteers), the players, the supporters, the playing field and associated buildings, it is not a single component which was why Tony Collins was of the view that these early clubs were more often than not a continuation as a part or many parts were moved on as clubs evolved.

Yes, I'm aware of the fact that a club consists of many things, a fact I had to address when drawing up criteria to consider continuity questions at a number of clubs as part of the Record Keepers' Club work I lead.  Indeed, I discussed this criteria and its practical application to a number of cases with Tony as he was part of the sub-committee I formed to rule on these matters.  I could have discussed Wigan when I was with him for the Forty20 Live recording last night, but am actually on a call with him and IRL at 8 tomorrow, so if I get chance I'll ask him then.

All of that said, I still think there are factual inaccuracies in what you said earlier that "Towards the end of 1878/79 season they failed to finish their last few games due to the number of injuries. In September 1879 some of the players and officials decided to carry on with the new season".  Certainly this is a contradiction to the excellent work Marc Selby's done on the website I shared. 

Of course, by definition these matters are subjective, principally because of the numerous factors constituting a club.  That said, I actually think Wigan 1872 or 1879 is a pretty clear cut case, and on the 'spectrum of continuity' (something I've talked about at length elsewhere) isn't even in the ambiguous category.  What are the factors that you are judging as evidence of continuity here?  I'd be happy to list the factors indicating Wasps are a new entity if needed, but it would be great to hear what sits behind your earlier suggestion of continuity.

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2 minutes ago, Neil_Ormston said:

Yes, I'm aware of the fact that a club consists of many things, a fact I had to address when drawing up criteria to consider continuity questions at a number of clubs as part of the Record Keepers' Club work I lead.  Indeed, I discussed this criteria and its practical application to a number of cases with Tony as he was part of the sub-committee I formed to rule on these matters.  I could have discussed Wigan when I was with him for the Forty20 Live recording last night, but am actually on a call with him and IRL at 8 tomorrow, so if I get chance I'll ask him then.

All of that said, I still think there are factual inaccuracies in what you said earlier that "Towards the end of 1878/79 season they failed to finish their last few games due to the number of injuries. In September 1879 some of the players and officials decided to carry on with the new season".  Certainly this is a contradiction to the excellent work Marc Selby's done on the website I shared. 

Of course, by definition these matters are subjective, principally because of the numerous factors constituting a club.  That said, I actually think Wigan 1872 or 1879 is a pretty clear cut case, and on the 'spectrum of continuity' (something I've talked about at length elsewhere) isn't even in the ambiguous category.  What are the factors that you are judging as evidence of continuity here?  I'd be happy to list the factors indicating Wasps are a new entity if needed, but it would be great to hear what sits behind your earlier suggestion of continuity.

This is a rugby forum, I don't think people want to read a thesis on the history of the game on here. My post was a simplified look at events and wasn't meant to be a fully referenced submission for a doctorate ffs.

I'll get back when I have more time.

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12 minutes ago, Padge said:

This is a rugby forum, I don't think people want to read a thesis on the history of the game on here. My post was a simplified look at events and wasn't meant to be a fully referenced submission for a doctorate ffs.

I'll get back when I have more time.

Cheers Padge, look forward to it.  No need for anything OTT, I just thought from earlier comments you'd looked into this in order to arrive at your conclusion.

In terms of factors indicating Wasps were a new club, of the top of my head I'd note:

  • Two year break in play following cessation of operation by the original (1872) Wigan club*
  • New name
  • New colours
  • New governance structure (no connection with the cricket club seen previously)
  • Specific formation meeting(s) stemming from advertisements pertaining to a "new club"
  • New committee
  • Lack of continuity of players (I think only one played for the earlier club?)

*I've ignored discussion on whether the 1876-77 team could be considered a continuation of the original club, post-merger with Upholland, as whilst it's interesting in itself, it's a moot point to the main question of 1872 or 1879 given the apparent lack of ambiguity noted above.

Other than the use of Dicconson Arms as HQ & Folly Field for games, I'm not sure what points to any hint of continuity, but would appreciate your perspective.

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On 24/11/2021 at 21:59, Neil_Ormston said:

would appreciate your perspective.

 

Ok, here is my perspective, trying to keep who, when, where out of it as much as possible (though its difficult not to).

Had a chat with Tony about it oddly enough last night.

Let's start by defining Wigan in the 1870s

The Township and Borough of Wigan in the 1870s was quite a small and nothing like what is considered as Wigan and Wigan Borough now. The Northern extent stopped just South of Boars Head with the Townships of Standish and Hindley to the North West and North East.

To the East the Wigan boundary was at Whelley after that you entered Aspull, Aspull fell under the Hindley Township area.

The Western and South boundary was defined by the River Douglas, with the district outside of this boundary being the Pemberton Township.

The Eastern border was along Clarrington Brooke with Ince being the Township over the border.

Nearest 'Wigan' club would be St.James’ Poolstock ( a club that flicked between rugby and soccer) but this was officially in Pemberton, a very distinct and independent township at the time, not Wigan. Similarly, clubs at Hindley and Aspull were not considered Wigan clubs.

Having defined the Wigan area the Wigan Football Club at the time would be representing a quite small geographical region, the other townships covered larger areas but did not have the Royal Charter giving them Borough status. Though small Wigan was quite industrious and packed a lot of productivity in a small area making it a good source of wealth (not for the workers though).

The demise of the Wigan District Football Club in 1877 meant that Wigan had no football club representing the town. This was unusual as most major and many smaller places surrounding Wigan had a Cricket and Football Club (some had athletics and/or cycling attached). Hindley Cricket & Football Club, Abram Cricket & Football Club, Bolton same, Chorley same, the list goes on. Note that football could mean any variety.

When the players of Wigan Cricket Club formed a football club although it was born of the Cricket club it was never officially attached as in other towns, but it was undoubtably its offspring.

After the club couldn’t complete their 77/78 season there would be little point of rushing into forming a phoenix club, after all you would be recruiting from the same pool. Top and bottom of it is that though the club had effectively gone it was not dead. If you close the only bank in the village, it doesn’t mean that the people in the village are not interested in money.

Any group interested in reviving the football club in Wigan now had time to work out what had gone wrong and what they needed to do to put it right. The time would allow the leaders of the group to sound out local, and further afield, possible players and backers. It’s not known when the new group started to formulate their plan but they certainly didn’t just sit in the pub on the 1st September 1879 and decide to launch a club stick a notice in the Observer on the 17th and hope it would work.

By the time they announced their intentions on the 17th September they had obviously got enough players and backers interested to make them think it was worthwhile. Why do I think that, well they had seen fit to secure a rental agreement from the owners of Folly Field to allow the return of football to their land.

The problem previously with Folly Field was it was open land, this made it difficult to charge an admission fee to watch games, so you relied on collections from spectators, though Wiganers were quite keen on sport they were less keen on spending money to watch it if they could watch it for free. This meant the burden of running the club fell mainly on player subscriptions and benevolent backers.

The new group forming the club had worked out a solution to this, they would erect high posts around the ground and attach canvas to the posts to restrict viewing, this would allow an admission fee to be charged to watch the game. Conveniently Wigan had a tarpaulin manufacturer in the centre of town near the stations.

The previous incarnation of the club when it struggled for players and amalgamated with Up Holland changed its name to Wigan District Football Club, this covered the amalgamation and gave the idea of a further reach. This is an early form of a marketing idea of representing a region rather than a small distinct area.

In other areas surrounding Wigan a different approach had been taken with the use of tag names, Swinton Hornets, Liverpool Wanderers and the more well known amongst RL fans Rochdale Hornets. Nothing is new, these clubs were aiming to be known as Hornets, Wanderers etc. as it makes ‘outsiders’ possibly more inclined to attach themselves to the club. The Bulls and the Rhinos have probably been the two most successful at this approach in modern times.

Once again even before the club was being openly discussed there had been an obvious decision to go with Wigan Wasps. Announcing their colours was also an indication that they had been thinking about how they would have an identity and had probably already done a ‘shirt deal’. All this indicates there was some serious thinking going on and had been going on for a long time.

These guys weren’t just sucking a club out of their thumb, they knew how the club had failed and they wanted to ensure they did everything they could to ensure that this wouldn’t be happening again, including getting the marketing right. Whether this happened or not would be seen.

No doubt around town there were rumours that the club was going to be reformed in some way, the problem here is people may here the rumours of the club restarting/reforming but be cynical, “here we go again”. This cynicism had to be overcome.

To combat the cynicism the best thing is to announce is that this is a NEW Club, this is a bit like Tony Blair announcing New Labour, it is a clear attempt to separate from the past even if you haven’t.

Wigan (as defined at the very start) had no football club, then it had one, then it didn’t, then it did. The football club was Wigan’s (as defined at the very start) football club, it didn’t have another club, so whichever time the club was around it was Wigan’s (as defined at the very start) football club.

When the series of events happened at the end of September 1879, very quickly considering all that was in place, there was a telling line in the Wigan Observer report of Friday 26th September.

Wigan Wasps Football Club

Now that cricket season is coming to an end means are being taken to provide other outdoor recreation during the Winter months.

That opening line points to this was an initiative by a group of cricketers wanting to revive winter team sport in Wigan.

Despite the gap this is Wigan Football Club the definition of a club is not an entity that can conform to a set of rules, it isn’t a tangible thing that has clearly defined parameters.

If you take the approach that a club can only exist within a predefined set of parameters and if it steps outside of those parameters then it ceases to exist then I would like you to lay down here every single one of those parameters and their boundaries.

Sorry if this has been long winded but it is too complex an issue to be settled by using the approach you would if you were discussing if a building exists or not, a rugby club is not a building, except when it is.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Padge
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On 27/11/2021 at 20:44, Padge said:

 

Ok, here is my perspective, trying to keep who, when, where out of it as much as possible

Thanks Padge.  I read your perspective with interest, and I must say, some puzzlement.  I think it's a rather novel and possibly convenient approach to judge whether one entity constitutes the continuation of another by essentially trying to ignore the facts of the situation, and gloss over the available evidence.  Other than allowing for broad generalisations, and therefore a conclusion that fits with a pre-determined narrative, I'm not sure of the merits of such an approach.

That said, I'll comment on a few points in particular that I think undermine your conclusion...

On 27/11/2021 at 20:44, Padge said:

Top and bottom of it is that though the club had effectively gone it was not dead.

What makes you say that?  Is there any suggestion of anything that might constitute a 'club' remained from the original entity?  Whilst I agree to a point with your comment that a club "isn’t a tangible thing that has clearly defined parameters", there are obviously tangible aspects of any club, and I'm struggling to see what of these remained from the first WFC.  Certainly there is no suggestion that any assets the club may have had were passed to Wasps, neither does there seem much, if any, continuity of members (the playing members constituting the majority at the time it would seem) or committeemen.  It would be rather odd if an entity which saw itself as the continuation of an earlier club didn't even adopt the most obvious tangible aspects, such as name and colours, from the outset.

The gap of nearly two years between games has to be taken into account.  At the demise of the initial club there would still have been ample time to arrange things for the following season, yet nothing was put in place for 1878/79.  It seems it took the enthusiasm of a new group of players / organisers to make the necessary arrangements to start a new club; there certainly didn't seem that appetite from those involved in the original outfit, who were conspicuous by their absence when Wasps were formed, which is understandable given the struggles of the earlier team - this isn't a slight, as the here today-gone tomorrow nature of clubs at this time is something anyone looking at this period will recognise.

On 27/11/2021 at 20:44, Padge said:

In other areas surrounding Wigan a different approach had been taken with the use of tag names, Swinton Hornets, Liverpool Wanderers and the more well known amongst RL fans Rochdale Hornets. Nothing is new, these clubs were aiming to be known as Hornets, Wanderers etc. as it makes ‘outsiders’ possibly more inclined to attach themselves to the club.

I think this is a simple mis-reading of history.  In the vast majority of instances the first clubs formed in a particular town / city took the name of their locale.  Swinton Hornets & Liverpool Wanderers adopted their monikers simply because Swinton FC & Liverpool FC already existed; Hornets were formed from a merger of three clubs, including the original Rochdale FC who were again the first football club in the town.  This makes the adoption of Wasps all the more interesting, as Wigan FC was an available name; indeed, it only took 12 months before they dropped the Wasps.  The parallels to Warrington here are strong, where Warrington Zingari , faced with almost identical circumstances to Wasps, saw fit to adopt an alternative name to draw a distinction from the original Warrington FC, only to drop Zingari after a season and secure the vacant town team name.  All this suggests that the guys involved with Wasps didn't see themselves as a continuation of the earlier club.

On 27/11/2021 at 20:44, Padge said:

If you take the approach that a club can only exist within a predefined set of parameters and if it steps outside of those parameters then it ceases to exist then I would like you to lay down here every single one of those parameters and their boundaries.

This isn't the approach the Record Keepers' Club has taken in judging continuity in the post-1895 era; rather we have considered the varied tangible and intangible factors of what constitutes a club, including, but not limited to name, location (ground/town), members / players / fans, committee / management / ownership, colours / branding, league membership, etc.  Each case is unique and must be judged on its merits.

It seems that the main premise of your argument is that in the absence of a club, any club being formed in the Wigan area (as you define) would be a continuation of the earlier incarnation.  This seems a rather odd interpretation of continuity: one might say "The King is dead; long live the King". 

By any objective judgement of the evidence available it would seem that Wigan Wasps, founded 1879, were a new club from which the current Warriors came.  Maybe most importantly, this seems to be a point on which all notable historians of Wigan RLFC agree.

Edited by Neil_Ormston
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23 hours ago, Neil_Ormston said:

Other than allowing for broad generalisations, and therefore a conclusion that fits with a pre-determined narrative, I'm not sure of the merits of such an approach.

At that point I decided this is a waste of time taking further with you.

Thanks for the input.

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2 hours ago, Padge said:

At that point I decided this is a waste of time taking further with you.

Thanks for the input.

A shame Padge, but as you wish.  I rather expected such a reply.

Rather than simply swallowing the club's 'official' line on this, the evidence is there for people to make their own judgement, and I hope that people do.  For anyone interested in further reading, I'd advise a good look around the Early Wigan Rugby site I mentioned above (https://www.earlywiganrugby.co.uk/) which makes it all very accessible.  I'd be surprised if anyone having reviewed this / done their own research concluded other than 1879 being Wigan's formation date, but I'd be interested in others' views, especially if there was new information available.  It's important these things are discussed and debated.

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1 minute ago, Neil_Ormston said:

A shame Padge, but as you wish.  I rather expected such a reply.

Rather than simply swallowing the club's 'official' line on this, the evidence is there for people to make their own judgement, and I hope that people do.  For anyone interested in further reading, I'd advise a good look around the Early Wigan Rugby site I mentioned above (https://www.earlywiganrugby.co.uk/) which makes it all very accessible.  I'd be surprised if anyone having reviewed this / done their own research concluded other than 1879 being Wigan's formation date, but I'd be interested in others' views, especially if there was new information available.  It's important these things are discussed and debated.

Ok, I can't resist a comeback on your latest accusation.

I do not follow the club line, I have argued similar for other clubs who have this stupid continuity argument thrown at them.

I do not have an agenda, I look at what I can find and then try to relate it to how people would behave respond at the time and not try and compare it to how things would happen today.

Any historian worth his salt would take into account a lot more than a few facts and figures but look at a lot more interactions.

As much as I respect your vision, I have mine, no agenda, no official line, it doesn't agree with yours and that's lifeand neither can claim to be ultimately the truth.

The minute you accused me of an agenda I lost all respect.

 

 

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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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10 hours ago, Padge said:

Ok, I can't resist a comeback on your latest accusation.

I do not follow the club line, I have argued similar for other clubs who have this stupid continuity argument thrown at them.

I do not have an agenda, I look at what I can find and then try to relate it to how people would behave respond at the time and not try and compare it to how things would happen today.

Any historian worth his salt would take into account a lot more than a few facts and figures but look at a lot more interactions.

As much as I respect your vision, I have mine, no agenda, no official line, it doesn't agree with yours and that's lifeand neither can claim to be ultimately the truth.

The minute you accused me of an agenda I lost all respect.

 

 

I agree completely that when it comes to these matters, they are indeed subjective.  I just found it incredibly hard to read your earlier response without it feeling like an exercise in reverse engineering.  There are valid points in what you say, such that if certain circumstances were different, continuity would be suggested - but they're not.

Your 'facts and figures' line made me chuckle.  The irony as I see it, is that I'm putting forward a case based on the evidence available, incomplete as it is, whereas by your own admission you were "trying to keep [the] who, when, where out of it as much as possible" - surely not something any historian worth his salt would do?  This is compounded by the decision to ignore the specific points / questions raised and walk away from the discussion (and worth noting that these points tend to focus on the behaviours of these involved, rather than 'facts and figures'!)

Again, just my opinion of course, but it look like considering the information available (some of it relatively new) threatens the fixed position you've taken.  I'm not saying you're obliged to change your view of course (!), but I do think it's a shame, whether you respect me or not, that for the benefit of others you won't address some of the key points that seem to undermine your argument.  It could even persuade others in the '1879 camp' to reconsider their view; certainly I'd be prepared to do so if faced with a compelling argument or new information.  The floor is yours if you want it...

Edited by Neil_Ormston
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Apologies Neil, you commented on this on another thread the other day and I was dismissive of your comment as I would expect those at the club to know exactly when it was formed…and yet on their own official website you can find the following quote 

“The town’s first rugby club was Wigan FC, founded in 1872 by a group of members of the town’s Cricket Club. Wigan FC played on Folly Field, near Upper Dicconson Street. Financial problems and an inability to recruit quality players led to a merger with Up Holland FC and the creation of a new club, Wigan and District FC. The new club played its home games at Prescott Street, which was the home of Wigan Cricket Club at the time. Eighteen months later, however, this initial foray into the world of rugby was over and the club disbanded.

In 1879, a new club called Wigan Wasps was formed following a meeting in the Dicconson Arms. This new rugby club evolved into the current Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club we now know today.”

So even on the club’s website there is acknowledgement of the facts with the clear terminology “disbanded” and in reference to 1879 “This new Rugby club evolved”

 

 

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9 hours ago, Neil_Ormston said:

The floor is yours if you want it...

You can't help yourself can you, once again you accuse me of something that I am not doing. 

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Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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4 hours ago, Chronicler of Chiswick said:

For anyone on here that's having trouble sorting out Wigan's history - try London!

They've certainly had their ups and downs but it's clear that this is still the same club that started out at Craven Cottage in the summer of 1980.

Few clubs if any have been on such a journey......

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Apologies to anyone if my attempt at a humurous response using words meant to reflect a rochdale accent caused offence. They certainly didnt pass the censor. The blocked out words were accented derivations on the word ‘come’. As anyone who has ever visited the grand old town knows…people in Rochdale dont say ‘come’.

 

Come on Hornets old chaps!

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