Wigan are on top of their game. Their uninterrupted Premier League spell since promotion in 2005 has been their only experience of the English top flight. In a town traditionally dominated by rugby league success (they share the DW Stadium with the Wigan Warriors), simply preserving first-tier status is considered a triumph here.
The Latics are also the youngest club in the division – formed in 1932, they only made it into the Football League in 1978. If this lack of pedigree does feel evident at the DW, that’s not to say that a trip to Wigan can’t be fun: with good transport links, a modern (if somewhat soulless) stadium and some of the best pies in the country, it’s definitely worth watching some Premier League football here.
How long that will be the case remains to be seen. Current managerial incumbent Roberto Martinez is struggling to get his team firing on all cylinders, but they play an attractive brand of football abd with decent players like Hugo Rodallega and Charles N’Zogbia, there’s always hope.
Wigan itself, meanwhile, has enough to interest the day-tripper, especially around the Wigan Pier area, which includes a museum and exhibition centre featuring details of George Orwell’s famous writings about the town. And before you leave, be sure to grab the local delicacies – a pie and some Uncle Joe’s mintballs.
A typical out-of-town development alongside a cinema-and-restaurant complex, the DW Stadium – named after rent-a-quote chairman Dave Whelan, who bankrolled the club's ascent through the divisions – is low on character, but high on parking spaces and somewhere to eat afterwards. Holding 24,826 fans (theoretically), it’s the sort of place they play irritating rave music after a goal, but when local rivals like Bolton, Blackburn, Man United or Liverpool pay a visit, a genuine atmosphere is more forthcoming.
Wigan Rail station is a 1.5-mile walk to the stadium. If you’re driving, exit the M6 at junction 25 and follow signs for Wigan on the A49. Follow signs to the stadium, were there are 2,000 pay-and-display car parking spaces available.
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