Welcome to earlyWIGANrugby.co.uk
Wigan Warriors Rugby League Football Club has a very long and rich history. Players such as James Sullivan, Billy Boston and Ellery Hanley have all donned the World Famous Cherry and White jersey and in doing so have written themselves into rugby folklore for eternity. We know all about them, and the success Wigan has had during the 1960s, 1980s, 1990s and more recently in the Super League era as it is engrained within our memories. But what about the Wigan Club before the time of Billy Boston, Martin Offiah and James Sullivan?
What the books don't tell you, it is earlyWIGANrugby's mission to! Long before records began in 1895, Wigan were a growing club with legendary players such as Jim Slevin, Charlie Samuels and Ned Bullough. Here you will find out about them. Even before the era of Jim Sullivan and Johnny Ring, Wigan were a huge success in the rugby world between 1895 and the World Wars, but not much is known. It is this sites aim to Champion, Research and tell the stories that have been forgotten or have been undocumented.
Here you will be able to learn about the Wigan clubs formation in 1872 and we will take you all the way through to the formation of the Northern Union in 1895 and carry on up until the Great War in 1914 and onto the start of World War II. This huge slice of history has been ignored, misrepresented and forgotten. Along the way you can learn about the great players that have donned the Cherry and White jersey and the stories that are to be told along the way!
Due to the success of @Hunslet08 on twitter and social media, we are following Wigan's fortunes during the 1908-09 campaign. Hunslet won all four major trophies available to them and we followed with intrigue the season as it happened. It was a great factual event so I asked whether we can do it for Wigan and had no objections.
So here we are. We have our very own correspondant under the pseudonym "Offside" (pic). He is a local gent and is well known in Wigan and district rugby circles. On a good day he be found in the Three Crowns pub on Standishgate, and on a bad, well... who knows.
He is a proud Wiganer with safe business in the town. His flat cap always rolled up in his back pocket, a pencil in his ear, his hands are large and weathered meaning his claps can be heard all around Central Park.
Offside shall, through the season, keep us Wiganers up to date about the dealings with the club from player transfers, committee news, match reports and everything else he hears in the public houses around town. (They even say he once lost a bet that Wigan would beat Hull in 1902, Wigan lost, and as punishment had to walk home - which he did... whether that is true or not, we have his word)
about the AUTHOR and AIMS
Nothing much to say to be honest. Just a Wigan Warriors fan like anyone else, Season Ticket holder and a keen interest in social history. Seeing a gap in the market combining the two as a hobby seemed a no-brainer! Having read books about Wigan's history alot starts with Jim Sullivan. Whatever preceded that you get a few paragraphs or a chapter if you're lucky. The thing that I thought was what happened at the start? Who played for us? What events happened? A photograph of the Wigan Committee from 1888-89 caught my imagination... what trophies were they? Where are they now?
The delve into source material of old newspapers and publications of the time began. More questions began and it snowballed to this ongoing project. A website sprang up in 2011-2013 (life got in the way, kids) but a few years ago I started again to document Wigan matches... as the spreadsheet grew, so did the stories and characters of the Wigan club. Finally, why not share what I find? I mean, who goes out of their way to find the resting place of a former player?
The main aim is to tell the story of the Wigan rugby club in the early days, and celebrate the men who built us up. There are many Legends forgotten, names unknown and games that if happened in living memory would be seen as a Manly or Bradford Bulls event. Lets celebrate them.
Anyway, hope you like this project. Any feedback or contributions are most welcome. 1872-1914 is a massive task.