A damp squib this. Forgive me, but I promise it will get better. Of course, as we know, the Wigan Football Club was founded in 1872 by members of the Wigan Cricket Club. A handful of games were played before the cricket season started up again. The Wigan Club's first Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held just before the end of the summer cricket season, in september. There was not much fanfare to go with proceedings, just a simple advert in the Wigan Observer to inform gentlemen of the meeting, to be held in the club headquarters at the Dicconson Arms hotel. I have reached the end of padding the 1873 AGM out so the following is a simple few notes, reported from the Wigan Football Clubs first AGM:
WIGAN FOOTBALL CLUB - The annual meeting of the above club was held at the Dicconson Arms, on Wednesday evening last; Mr. T.A. Walker in the chair. Mr. N. Eckersley was re-elected as president, and Mr. E.H. Woodcock elected captain. Votes of thanks were passed to the retiring officers, and hopes were expressed that matches would be arranged with Manchester, Preston, Liverpool, and other clubs. The accounts, which showed a balance of £2 0s. 7½d. in favour of the club, were passed, and the meeting closed with a vote of thanks to the chairman. There was a very fair attendance.
~ 1874 ~
Wigan's second season saw them again play a handful of games, with their AGM pencilled in for Wednesday 29th April. The meeting, however, failed to attract an adequate audience as on the same night the Mechanics' Institution was also being held. Thankfully, the meeting was adjourned for the following Wednesday, 6th May. Sadly, no record of it exists... not a good start I know, but bear with us...
~ 1875 ~
erm, shall we try 1876?
~ 1876 ~
Nothing more in 1876 to be honest... At the end of November however, saw the annual dinner of the Wigan Cricket Club held at the Royal Hotel, Wigan. The only sniff of information regarding the footballers was that permission had been granted to the Wigan District Football Club to practice and play matches on the cricket ground as a source of revenue to cricketers. The football club was to pay no rent but all revenues would go to the Cricket Club. The Cricketers had just moved into their new home at Prescott Street and were a bit short of cash. Wigan rugby had been playing sporadically during the previous seasons and were nothing short of an absolute amateur outfit. There are several reasons why Wigan rugby AGM were not published in the local press: the cricket club ran things so needn't be too focused upon the workings of a seperate rugby facility; simply not enough interest to eat up column inches in the local paper; you could count the number of games Wigan played during a 'season' on on or two hands (if you're lucky) so the need for an in-depth breakdown of a meeting wasn't really needed. Of course, I may be wrong. And of course, there is no record of a 'Wigan Rugby Football Club' AGM for 1876.
~ 1877 ~
Given the need for money to fill the coffers of the cricketers being of a high priority, it seemed that rugby football in Wigan was on the decline. Agaian, there was no meeting (recorded) after the end of the 1876-7 season. The 10th of September saw an adjourned meeting of the football club take place at the Royal Hotel (which, if you are wondering, is where WH Smith is in the town centre). Thing were looking bleak:
...Mr. Alfred Peck resigned the secretaryship, and Mr. Jos. Monks was appointed to the post, Mr. Torrance agai undertaking the treasureship. Arrangements were made with the committee of the Wigan Cricket Club, whereby the Football Cub have the use of the cricket ground for practice and playing matches. Several good matches are being arranged, amongst which are Bolton, St. Helens, Leigh, Lowton, and Dingle. The club, financially, is in a good position. The committee are very anxious that persons who are desirous of playing should be on the ground on the opening day. It is to be hoped that the club will be carried on with vigour, and that there will be no lack of members to represent our town in this most popular of all winter games.
Famous last words... come mid-November, the club had folded into obscurity. Nothing is known as to what where when and why until two years later... where hopefully this section of the website can start to be justified!
Image in the header used with thanks via @NRDCollectables - twitter