While we had normal working week. The players of Wigan Athletic jetted off to sunny shores of Oman for a weeks winter training, and no doubt the chance of building some commercial front. With that in mind are we really a small club?
Over the years Wigan have always been, the underdog, the ones destined to fall and never been seen again. Yet we are here, now residing in the Premier League 80 years after the clubs birth. So how can we still be small, okay we don't have the history of the likes of Blackpool or Norwich. Yet surely we are on a par with them.
Many say we have no fans.
If you look at it on face value, then yes the numbers don't look good for Wigan.
|2000–01||6,861||10,048 (vs. Bristol City F.C.)|
|2001–02||5,771||7,783 (vs. Tranmere Rovers F.C.)|
|2002–03||7,288||12,783 (vs. Oldham Athletic F.C.)|
|2003–04||9,526||20,669 (vs. West Ham United F.C.)|
|2004–05||11,155||20,745 (vs. Sunderland F.C.)|
|2005–06||20,610||25,023 (vs. Liverpool F.C.)|
|2006–07||18,159||24,726 (vs. West Ham United F.C.)|
|2007–08||19,046||25,133 (vs. Manchester United F.C.)|
|2008–09||18,413||22,954 (vs. Arsenal F.C.)|
22,113 (vs. Arsenal F.C.)
The table above shows that we have progressed and since 2000, when the DW Stadium (the JJB Stadium) was opened to the club. It also shows the big leap in numbers since we arrived in the Premier League.Mainly due to a cheap ticket to watch other Premier League teams, and some on those numbers we have kept hold of. About 7,000 new fans.
Now if that isn't amazing progress I don't know what is.
Another factor you have to look at about our fan numbers. Is that we are in a football rich area. Within about 20 miles of Wigan, you could easily watch Bolton, Blackburn, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Manchester City, Blackpool, Burnely, Crewe, Tranmere, Bury, Morcambe. The list goes on.
So we aren't in an easy place to attract fans too the club. Yet compared to the population of the Wigan area, which is about 81,203. In 2010 we attracted about 22% of the towns population. If you then look at other local clubs, like I mentioned above, plus some sport called rugby.
We manage to have built up a rather large fan base from an area which could go into Manchester's population 6 times over.
Now if you look at that the average attendance for Manchester united in the 2009/10 season, they had 73,249, which is only four times more than the average Wigan home attendance, and 14% of the population of Manchester. So Manchester United is a small club too. So glad we have cleared that up.
Well that has been a very number orientated post. So to sum it up.
Wigan are NOT a small club attracting more fans to their match against the towns population than Manchester United.
Wigan are a GROWING club and we have managed to increase our fan base by 12,000 over a period of ten years.
So what has this got to do with going to Oman?
Well quite simple. Wigan are a growing club and as such we haven't got a large fan base out side of England. There is one, but nothing compared to Liverpool and United. So any chance to improve our international commercial appeal is worth doing.
Well what about at home? What do the club do?
For games the clubs knows will be a low turn out. Any youth orientated organization can claim free tickets for children while adults get cheaper tickets. Hoping that the young boys and girls that go will catch the blue bug of Wigan and become life long fans.