Wigan Athletic F.C.’s highest and lowest years

by | Dec 6, 2022 | News

Wigan Athletic history

The history of Wigan Athletic is one of the most interesting in English League football. The club has an expansive history from its original creation in 1932 and has been involved in an array of events that dramatically altered the club’s fortunes.

Moreover, Latics are one of the few teams that have played in every English League Football competition – from non-league years to the Championship and Premier League. Not only that, but Wigan also enjoyed a brief UEFA stint and famously lifted the FA Cup in 2013.

In this article, we delve into the history of our beloved club and look at the darkest and greatest years, and what the future holds. Hopefully, you can gain some insight and if you are a Wigan fan, place some free bets online for their upcoming matches, with a renewed interest in the club’s history and past achievements.

Non-League football from 1932-1978

Did you know that Wigan Athletic was actually the sixth attempt to form a stable football club? Before its founding in 1932, there were five other failed attempts – Wigan United, Wigan County, Wigan Town, Wigan A.F.C. and Wigan Borough.

The team was relatively successful in its early years. For example, it finished the top of the Cheshire League in the 1933-34 season (even though they are based in Lancashire!). This was followed up with league success again and their first foray into the FA Cup, where they progressed to the second round by thrashing Carlisle 6-1! This stands as the biggest win by a non-league club against a league club.

Up until 1978, the club had pretty good non-league success, except during WW2 years when their ability to field a competitive team diminished. Their best non-league season was perhaps during 1966-67, when they won a ridiculous four cups – the Lancashire Floodlit Cup, Liverpool Non-League Senior Cup, Northern Floodlit League Cup and the Northern Floodlit League – helped by Wigan’s legendary striker and goal scoring machine Harry Lyon.

Traction and league football success – 1995-2005

From their initial formation up until 1978, Wigan was denied league football entry – it took 34 applications for them to be accepted! From this period until 1995, the club was essentially a mid-tier team with no amazing accomplishments.

Perhaps the takeover of the club by local millionaire Dave Whelan was the turning point. He invested in the club and had excellent overseas business connections. This allowed him to attract European players and eventually, during this period, the club progressed from Division Three, then to Two and eventually to Division One (which is now the Championship).

On entry to the second-flight league in English football, Wigan initially suffered a defeat but after this they had an inexplicable 17 game wiining run, which saw them top the table. However, this form faded and ultimately in their first Division One season, they finished seventh. The next year would be the pinnacle and they ultimately got promoted to the EPL for the first time ever, after a season-ending home win against Reading.

The best years – FA Cup triumph and an EPL stint – 2005-2013

Now started the best years the club has experienced, and a long, eight-year stint in the English Premier League – the top-flight competition and something that all clubs strive for. This first season remains their best finish, with a 10th-place spot that greatly exceeded expectations.

Adding to that, the club reached their first League Cup final but unfortunately got hammered by Man U, 4-0. Nonetheless, it was a brilliant start to their top-flight engagement. The subsequent seasons saw less success as the team was greatly revamped, adding such stars as Emile Heskey and Chris Kirkland.

They remained in the EPL but were regularly in the bottom half of the table. Nonetheless, these were enjoyable years, and some marvelous football was played. Their biggest achievement to date was a bittersweet one. In 2013, Wigan won the F.A. Cup but were also relegated to the Championship.

The dark years – administration and relegation to League One

The most recent years currently stand as the darkest for the club. Most ardent supporters know what happened and felt the pain and fallout. After exiting the EPL, Wigan went into a swift decline and within two years were relegated back to League One.

However, they bounced back between the Championship and League One for the next few years. It was in 2020 that the real disaster would come and the club is still rebuilding from this now. The Covid pandemic hit and eventually Wigan went into administration. This caused us to have 12 points deducted, which would ultimately cause our relegation from the Championship once again.

Currently, the new chairman, Talal Al Hammad, is investing in the club and they managed to win League One in the 2021-22 season, to be promoted back to the Championship again! This stretch from 2013 to the current date has been some of the darkest for the club and their future is still uncertain.

Hopefully, now that the club has a stable financial situation and a proper, dedicated owner, the future is bright once more. Although not currently in great form, Wigan sits at 22nd in the Championship at the time of writing.


We hope that they get out of the relegation zone and can enjoy a long stint in the league and avoid dropping back down to League One. Perhaps things would have been completely different and had the pandemic not hit, Wigan could have had better future prospects – sadly, we will never know!

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