All through the Eighties, nineties and even some delusional ones in this decade banged the drum about how Wigan RLFC was more widely known across the world than anything else in Wigan. Well, totally by accident I think we have put it bed.
Not only is Wigan Athletic more widely known, in this instance, Wigan RLFC (Warriors) have never been heard of.
Wigan Athletic embarked on their European adventure last week, and what a great turn out and atmosphere there was in Brugge for our opening Group ‘D’ game.
The Thursday was spent milling around a beautiful City, sampling a few refreshments from the local hostelries before moving on to the FC Brugge’s Jan Breydel Stadium, home for the night for Zulte-Waregem.
The match ended up as 0-0 draw, with most of the game played in torrential rain, but the spirits of the Latics fans were not dampened as we headed back to the City to take in some of the night life.
The next morning saw us checking out of our Hotel and looking for a place to have some brunch before heading to the train station to start the journey home.
We found a great little place serving ‘Egg and Bacon’ so we sat down and ordered off our waiter Patrick. On arriving with our drinks he commented on my FA Cup Final t-shirt, saying that he watched the game and was really happy that we beat Manchester City 1-0.
He described some of the moments from that now Famous Final and had some banter with us about Wigan and his team FC Brugge, before going back to the kitchens to get our Eggs and Bacon.
Whilst he was away I received a text from a friend who supports both Latics and Warriors and it was suggested we ask Patrick if he watched the Challenge Cup Final…… herby starting our accidental poll.
Our brunch arrives and we ask said question to our host, he looked very blank and confused, so we pointed out that Wigan also had a very good Rugby Team, had he not heard of them – again a totally blank expression and a retort of “No, I don’t know about any Rugby team” and needless to say he hadn’t seen the Challenge Cup Final nor ever heard of that competition.
After a little bit of sniggering, it got us thinking whether this was a one off or whether the brainwashing “We are the most famous team in the world” quips we have had all of our lives were in fact a bit off the mark.
We finished up and headed to the station for our train to Brussels, we met a suited man near our seats who again asked if we were from Wigan and again commented on the FA Cup Final which he watched us win.
After him translating the match report from the Belgian paper (this again made me wonder if there had ever been a write up for any rugby game ever in there, but I think I already knew the answer to that), we asked him if he had watched the Challenge Cup Final.
“What is this” he asked, we explained, he looked at us as if we each had two heads. So we carried on talking about the Belgian National team, their players in the Premier League and of course Wigan Athletic.
Well this was two people, from opposite ends of the demographic, now for a third as the ticket inspector asked about our game the previous night. After a bit of a chinwag about his football team he introduced the bombshell that he spent a couple of years in Sheffield many moons ago and remembered the Blades playing Latics in the lower echelons of the Football League.
This got us smiling as we had found someone that knew us from before our Premier League promotion and FA Cup success. We also though, spending time in a City just off the M62 means he must have heard of the Warriors.
Alas we got the same blank expression and he went on his way. Taxi drivers, people in Bars, we asked many people after this, some from the Capital City of Brussels, some were smaller Cities like Brugge and some from further afield.
None were asked at the football game, as we mentioned it was accidentally walked into the day after the game, but one thing all the Belgians we spoke to had in common was that had all heard of Wigan and Wigan Athletic, but never heard of Wigan Warriors or even Rugby League.
I feel we may try this poll in Russia and Slovenia, to get a more balanced view, but for now good night.
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