|All roads lead to Wigan as town calls for Wembley Way to be renamed in honour of its sporting success
The famous walkway to Wembley stadium should be renamed “Wigan Way” in recognition of the town’s “special relationship” with the national stadium.
That’s according to Wigan Council and the town’s top sporting clubs who are backing the “Believe in Wigan 221; campaign, launched to capitalise on Wigan Athletic’s appearance in the FA Cup final.
Wigan rugby and football fans are a familiar sight along Olympic Way – which is known around the world as Wembley Way. Between them, Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic have appeared at the stadium 28 times.
The Latics will make it 29 on Saturday when they play in their first FA Cup Final – arguably the biggest ever game at Wembley involving a Wigan club. To mark this momentous occasion, and the long and illustrious connection between Wigan and Wembley, the council and the clubs are calling for Wembley Way to be renamed in honour of the town in time for the big match.
The walkway is owned by property company Wembley City and comes under the jurisdiction of Brent Council. Cllr Chris Ready, Wigan Council cabinet member for communications, will be writing to both proposing the change.
Cllr Chris Ready says: “When it comes to appearances at Wembley, Wigan tops the table. I don’t know of any other town in the country that can match our record. B arely a year goes by without one of our teams getting to Wembley. Some of our residents have been to north London more often than they’ve been to Manchester.
“I think there should be some recognition of our special relationship with Wembley and what better way than having the road leading to the stadium named after the town? I imagine Latics would love to celebrate on Wigan Way after watching their team lift the cup.”
Rugby league side Wigan Warriors have played at Wembley a remarkable 23 times. Their first appearance at the national stadium was for the Challenge Cup final in 1929. Wembley became a second home for the club and its fans during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Warriors played at Wembley in the Challenge Cup final every year between 1988 and 1995. Their last match there was in 2011.
Wigan Athletic first played at Wembley in 1973 in the FA Trophy final against Scarborough. Forty years later, the Latics played in their FA Cup Semi-Final at the stadium.
Cllr Ready says: “As a town, we punch well above our weight when it comes to sport. In fact, we’r e one of the sportiest places in the country. More than a quarter of our residents take part in regular physical activity making us the most active borough in Greater Manchester. And we have an enviable record of getting young people into sport. That means we’ll be heading to Wembley for many years to come.”
Wigan Council and Wigan Athletic have already teamed up to dress the town centre in honour of the Latics’ latest Wembley appearance. Blue and white flags, bunting, banners and billboards have been put up across Wigan – featuring the slogan “Believe in Wigan”.