>> It might be the way forward - but not at the expense of the fans.
>Well if the fans won't travel 6 miles to watch their team in a brand new
>stadium, this can only mean that League's crippling parochialism is alive
>and well. The sport is once again defined by its stifling lack of
Its nowt t' do wit criplin watcha-mac-all-it thys on abait.
IMO, if Wigan had gone to Horwich then the gates would have gone down even
further than last season. Many fans walk to CP from places like Hindley
and Ince and belive it or not don't have the transport to get them to
For me, living in Chester, it does not make a great deal of difference but
thinking how a move to Horwich would have affected the fans and the town I
guess I favour the decision to stay put, despite the attraction of a new
stadia and more cash.
CP is part of the town. Wigan is RL mad. If Wigan RL were not playing in
Wigan, then it just wold not be Wigan RL. I know that sounds parochial
but if you are going to move the club to a different town (which Horwich
is) you may as well adopt the American football approach and change the
name when the franchise moves.
(BTW saw on Ceefax that two of the teams in the NFL play off semis were
Jacksonville and Carolina. Who did they used to be? Do their old
supporters still follow them?)
Emotions aside its obvious to me that 9 million for the ground as opposed
to 4 million is a better deal but if the fans stayed away from Horwich how
long would it remain a good deal?
IMO, the plus points about Whelans buy out are:
1. Wigan RL clears its debts.
2. Whelhan owns the ground and so has to maintain it.
Yes, Wigan RL have to give him a percentage of gate and advertising
revenue but once thats gone the income left is Wigans own.
3. We can say sod off (hopefully) to Wasps.
Point 2 is very important I think. All Wigan have to do to stay at CP is
pay a percentage of the receipts, not a fixed rent, which means they can
theoretically never run up a debt to the landlord no matter what level of
attendance there is.
Not only that but they have got rid of the maintenance problem (i.e. a big
cost) as well. (BTW, the soccer club are tenants as well also with 100
years lease so if anyone was feeling paraniod at playing at a ground owned
by Athletic you can calm down now).
The minus points are:
1. The redeveloped ground will only hold 20,000. There were 17,000 there
for the boxing day "clash of the A teams". 26,000 is not uncommon for
Wigan v Saints and as for the the world club championship games I reckon
you could go higher than that.
Perhaps they will switch then to old trafford or somewhere, but that
defeats the object of staying at CP, IMO.
However the plans (apparently) do allow for the capacity to be increased
for RL *if required*. I don't know if this means temporarily removing
seats or if it requires more development of the ground after it becomes
all seater, but if you ask me the increased capacity is required now.
Anyone know what the score is on this?
An interesting aside to all this is that for this decision to have been
made at least one board member had to cast his votes with the other share
holders. It is my understanding that the board as a whole hold a majority
of shares and so if they had all been behind the move to Horwich (or Robin
Park for that matter) then thats what would have happened.