With all the talk in the media of our poor crowds and whether Wigan Athletic deserve to be a Premier League Club, I ask the question – Has the Club done all it can?
Yes we look as though we have poor support; the lazy journos just see a 25,000 seater stadium with only 15,000 fans in it, 3,000 of those away fans. They can’t be bothered to look back and see that 15 years ago we were averaging 1,500.
They can’t be bothered to look at the town’s make-up, they don’t see that 40% of the electorate are Scoucers that emigrated here in the early 70’s and tend to support Liverpool or Everton.
They don’t see that when Latics were a non-league outfit (sometimes I wonder if they even know we have only been in the football league for just over 30 years), the locals would support the big guns at the time in the form of Liverpool and Manchester United.
There are also those little pockets of Bolton and Manchester City fans still dwelling here, but this issue isn’t going to change overnight, it will take two possibly three generations.
The meteoric rise we had coming through the divisions as fast as we did inherently brought new fans on board, but as they were used to seeing us win, it is little wonder that some of these drifted away once we weren’t winning in the Premiership and the novelty wore off.
Hell I’m amazed so many have stayed on, let’s face it, we never seem to get the rub of the green and we are not going to be troubling the top six in a hurry are we?
And so now we are at an impasse where the support has evened out, we now have the base to start again from and the Club has done some amazing things to get Wigan people coming to see live football.
After the catastrophic (maybe a bit harsh in terminology) decision to hike up the prices in the second season which done away with a lot of supporters, the Club have bounced back to make amends and to try and tempt those folk back.
Unfortunately the offers and the advertising, the public appearances and even the odd free ticket don’t seem to have affected attendances all that much. Can the Club do more?
We had a meeting with the heads of departments last week and these issues were raised (amongst others) as we tried to brainstorm ways to get a few more bodies into the ground. The amazing thing was, that nearly everything that was suggested seemed to be in place, had been tried or was about to be tried.
It showed to those present that the Club really does care, the players really wanted to make a difference and the management was behind all the projects that are undertaken.
What I can gather, is that when these deals are offered, the right people don’t seem to be finding out about them. All sorts of advertising is done the back of buses, bus shelters, phone boxes, papers, bill boards and radio.
The one thing that doesn’t seem to be happening is the best selling tool on the planet, the 12,000 fans that go week in week out. We really are the silent majority that needs to find our voice.
We all know of people that used to go to the games, but now got o the pub instead to watch a game that can be seen just half a mile away at the ground.
We need to help the Club out and tell everyone we can about any offers that are on, let them know that the match day experience is so much better than the pub day one. Let them know that their voices and their attendance are key to Latics’ future.
I had a chat with Paul Jewel a while ago and when the subject of crowds came about, I had my two penneth worth saying that professional footballers should be able to play in front of 10 or 100,000 and still perform.
He agreed, but he said unless you have played in front of big crowds, you never really know what a lift a full home stadium gives the team. Their tempo rises, the hearts beat faster, their desire grows and generally so does their performance.
So when I said that you never got any points for having the bigger crowd, he looked at me and said “yes you do”.
So the original question I asked, “Has the Club done all it can do?” I think apart from publishing and publicising special events where players were in attendance or have attended, I don’t think there is much more they can do.
They will still roll out the offers, but I think it is high time we stopped looking at the Club to do everything, we all want the same thing and we should help out by making sure word is put around, we need to find OUR voices.
Advertising is everywhere at the ground, in the post and your inbox. We see it and deleted it, throw it in the bin or forget about it and then whinge when those very same journos write the very same boring diatribe.
We need to make sure there are no excuses, I wonder what the hell they will write about if we start to get attendances up, I am sure they will find something else to put us down, but we’ll deal with that when it happens.
Easy to say I know, but if all season ticket holders bought a ticket for, and brought one person to the game, it would fill the ground. We can then start moaning about how long it took to get a pie/pint or to have a pee.
Cockney Latic is an independent Wigan Athletic fans site and as such, if you feel you have an article, story or feature you would like to see on the site, please let us know.
We are always looking for fans which wish to put new articles on the site, whether they are one offs, or if they become a regular feature. If you’re interested, send your details or articles to us and we will publish them or get in touch. The email as usual is email@example.com.
The upkeep of the site is funded solely from the advertising on site, from our own pockets and donations from users, if you would like donate it would be greatly appreciated, click here for donation page.