Edge Hall Road

Started by: Owd Codger (953)

Anyone know what has happened or is happening about the future of the above former Academy Venue and Training Ground of Wigan Warriors.

The last I heard, it was sold for housing, but planning permission was refused by the Council.

Started: 3rd Jul 2022 at 09:09

Posted by: Tommy Two Stroke (10089)

They should give it back to Orrell RUFC

Replied: 3rd Jul 2022 at 17:26

Posted by: tonker (25469) 

Orrell RUFC never owned it!

Replied: 3rd Jul 2022 at 20:18

Posted by: Tommy Two Stroke (10089)

Well who owned it then ?

Replied: 3rd Jul 2022 at 22:39

Posted by: Owd Codger (953)

From what I have always understood, Dave Whelan owned it and then sold it to Ian Lanagan, but did he then sell it to a property development company.

If whoever owns it cannot get planning permission to build houses, surely the most sensible thing to do is sell or donate it back to Orrell RUFC.

Replied: 4th Jul 2022 at 07:44

Posted by: tonker (25469) 

Mr Thomas Standish owned it. It was, theoretically, bought by a syndicate of "names", Dave Whelan being the kingpin and the provider of the £8.8 million which bought the estate on Mr. Standish's death.


PS - if the government's current policy on housebuilding is anything to go by, they'll get permission on appeal.

Replied: 4th Jul 2022 at 09:43
Last edited by tonker: 4th Jul 2022 at 09:46:33

Posted by: GOLDEN BEAR (4923) 

A great suggestion that Owd Codger to donate back to O.R.U.F.C. but it sound's dodgy if Lanagan had i would imagine him selling it off for more profit. If they can't sort it make it a little park for the local's , or better still ask the local people there about's what they would like to happen to it .GB

Replied: 4th Jul 2022 at 15:52

Posted by: tonker (25469) 

Orrell RUFC couldn't afford to keep the ground 'then', never mind now! With a lot of 'underhanded goings-on' appertaining thereto as well!

Replied: 4th Jul 2022 at 17:46

Posted by: Owd Codger (953)


Underhanded dealings being the right description when you remember that the a person who has been mentioned was also involved in the way that he gained ownership of Wigan Rugby League club..

Replied: 5th Jul 2022 at 06:41

Posted by: tonker (25469) 

....... on Wigan Council's part?

Replied: 5th Jul 2022 at 09:02

Posted by: gaffer (7155) 

Extracts from Orrell club history.

During these first seasons Orrell played its home games on quite a few
different pitches including the afore mentioned Lamberhead School field, the Donkey Field off Moss Rd, and just off Orrell Rd at the Mount. Also used at various times were the fields behind the Abbey Lakes Hotel and at Alma Hill Up Holland, where the Old Dog Inn was used to change in. However in 1937 the club obtained the lease of a ground and hut in Winstanley Rd Orrell as tenants of Orrell YMCA at a rental of four pound per annum. Orrell played here until in 1949 land was purchased off the Glover family of Edgewood Hall Farm, and Orrells long association with Edge Hall Road began.

Professional rugby followed, but this resulted in the Club being put into
Administration and Edge Hall Road being sold to Developers, who leased only the First Team pitch and the Club House back to the Club, before Dave Whelan and his JJB empire purchased the lease and invested heavily in the team.
When he pulled out after three years, Orrell was always going to struggle to pay players. Three of the four pitches at Edge Hall Rd have now been built on and the clubhouse and 1st team pitch is the training base for Wigan Warriors RLFC.

Sadly in 2007 Orrell said goodbye to Edge Hall Rd, and is now playing at
John Rigby College as amateurs, while we search for some land in the Orrell area to lease or buy.

Read the full history here,


Replied: 10th Jul 2022 at 15:17

Posted by: fossil (7483)

owd codger,this might change your mind about Whelans role in the sale,
From the Wigan Rl fan site Cherry and White

The Sale of Central Park
The introduction and move to summer rugby in 1996 saw Wigan become emerged in financial difficulty. They had built up debts of ?3 million and the clubs board members decided the answer to the financial problems was to sell Central Park.

Local Businessman Dave Whelan, owner of Wigan Athletic Football Club, wanted to buy Central Park and have Latics share the ground with the Warriors. He offered ?4.5m for the ground and pledged to spend a further ?12.5m to turn it into a 20,000 all seater stadium for both clubs. Shareholders had voted for the idea but the Wigan board had another offer to consider from the Tesco Supermarket chain, which was rumoured to be closer to ?10 million. If the Tesco offer was accepted, Wigan would be homeless. The idea was that Wigan would share with Bolton Wanderers new Reebok Stadium, which at the time was being built.

Central Park was the historic home of Wigan Rugby League and the fans were outraged at the suggestion of Wigan moving four miles out of town to Bolton's Reebok Stadium.

In late February 1997 news emerged that Wigan were holding talks with Bolton about a ground share. Dave Whelan responded to the news by offering to virtually wipe out the club's debts within 48 hours. In early March Tesco increased their offer to buy Central Park to ?12.5 million and news broke that the ground sale was to "go-ahead". Fans held a protest outside Central Park ahead of a pre season friendly against Castleford whilst other fans chose to boycott the game. Some fans even travelled down to Tesco Headquarters and protested there! The Wigan fans simply did not want the club to move to Bolton, even if it was for a temporary period. They could not believe the board could sell the ground without a permanent new home being in place.

The Wigan board was made up of four people, Jack Robinson, Arthur Thomas, Tom Rathbone and John Martin. They had a vote over Whelan's offer and Martin, who ran the Riverside Club at Central Park, was the only member of the board who voted for it. The other three voted against as they were holding out for an increased offer from Tesco and thus seeing us move out of the town to Bolton. Following the vote Martin resigned has he had become frustrated by the board's apparent lack of urgency to agree the Whelan plan despite shareholders voting in favour of the move.

As the month wore on over 200 disgruntled shareholders met to discuss the controversial decision to sell Central Park to Tesco. They also backed a petition calling for the removal of chairman Jack Robinson and Mick Rathbone from the board immediately.

Into May 1997 and shareholders had decided they wanted to oust Jack Robinson as chairman. A shareholders action group claimed the board sold Central Park to Tesco without consultation after previously agreeing to accept a rescue package from millionaire Dave Whelan. Former player Phil Clarke was offered to the shareholders as the man to lead the ousting bid. The group's next move will be a circular to the club's 1500 shareholders seeking support for their attempt to remove Mr Robinson and his vice-chairman Tom Rathbone at an Emergency General Meeting on May 20.

A week before the shareholders EGM, Wigan unveil details of a proposed new super stadium. But critics of the board fear that if the team moves out of town to Bolton Wanderers' new stadium at Horwich they will never return to Wigan. Robinson had met the shareholders' action group that week but their spokesman Ernie Benbow said at the time that "he was unable to give any categorical assurances about a site in Wigan."

At the same time Dave Whelan unveiled plans to build a new 25,000 seater stadium for Wigan Athletic at Robin Park but he refused to open ground share negotiations with the Wigan board after the collapse of his Central Park rescue package earlier this year.

On 20th May Wigan shareholders held the EGM and Jack Robinson survived, for now. Robinson won a vote of confidence 484 to 400 while fellow board member, Rathbone held on by 489 to 407. So Robinson was still chairman but Wigan were still homeless. The wrangling was far from over.

June 1997 saw the Wigan team embark on month long trip down under for the World Club Challenge. The trip had quietened the ground move saga but as they returned Jack Robinson faced a new vote of confidence from the shareholders. A newspaper reported that an associate gathered proxy votes for the original EGM in May by fraudulent methods. The paper claimed someone was instructed to fill in forms for shareholders who were believed to have died so they could be used as votes in favour of the two Wigan directors. Robinson reacted by saying "(The claims) are totally untruthful. This is just part of a smear campaign which has been going on by a certain group of people who want me out of the club."

On August 19th 1997 Jack Robinson and Tom Rathbone resigned from the Wigan board. Then Wigan Coach Eric Hughes revealed that the pair had their homes damaged and their lives threatened. Following the resignations the Rugby Football League's financial department were called in by the club to investigate its cash flow position. Arthur Thomas was the only remaining board member left so it was he who became temporary chairman. With Robinson gone John Martin, who earlier had resigned from the board, offered to ease the club's financial problems with a 750,000 interest free loan. But the offer was conditional on the Warriors staying in Wigan and rejecting a temporary move to Bolton. He made the offer to bide the club time to negotiate a deal to move to proposed Robin Park stadium with Wigan Athletic on a permanent basis."

It was finally announced on October 29th 1997 that Wigan would not be moving to the Reebok Stadium. Mike Nolan, who owned finance and car leasing businesses in Wigan, took over as chairman of the club from Arthur Thomas. He was joined on the board by John Martin who returned after his row with the old regime. Tesco agreed to let the Warriors stay on at Central Park until the end of 1999, when they would then join up with Wigan Athletic at there new stadium which was about to be built Robin Park.

Replied: 10th Jul 2022 at 19:16

Posted by: Owd Codger (953)


A lot of what you have said is correct, but the fact remains that Whelan bought of the the majority of the shareholders to gain control of the club, many of whom had inherited the shares and in many cases did not live in the Wigan area but all over the country with no interest in the future ownership of Wigan Rugby League Football Club.

The shareholding consisted of 16,000 x £1 shares in batches of eight shares and Whelan offered £125 for every one £1 share, so If you owned a batch of eight shares, you stood to gain £1,000 for share which were only worth £8.

The result being that most shareholders including actual supporters snatched his hand off and the rest is history.

And from what I understand Robinson and the board had no intention of going to Bolton as they were only saying it to get Wigan Council to help them find a site in Wigan for a new Stadium of the own. A tactic used by other sports club to get Council help.

The Council instead backed Whelan in his idea of a joint Stadium for both clubs. A mistake they did not make with the building of the Leigh Sports Village Stadium which they own which should have been the case at Wigan.

As a result of what took place in the late nighties, Wigan now has a Stadium owned by a foreigner and not by the Council like the one in Leigh

Replied: 12th Jul 2022 at 07:46

Posted by: tonker (25469) 

Springfield Park land was held on lease from Wigan council (government asset). The government wanted housing development.

Central Park land was held on lease from Wigan council. (government asset) Tesco wanted it.

Wigan council had Robin Park land. (government asset) and were under orders to do something with it.

The government had dangled an £11million carrot, under the title "City Challenge Fund".

Now, it doesn't take a genius to put two and two together, does it?

Wigan council are still the landlords of Robin Park. Whelan's holding company is the landlord of the car parks Wigan side of the River Douglas.

Replied: 12th Jul 2022 at 20:32

Posted by: Owd Codger (953)

But still no explanation in regard to the future of Edge Hall Road!

Replied: 13th Jul 2022 at 07:26

Posted by: whups (8747) 

still no explanation on the players you so-called coached either .

Replied: 13th Jul 2022 at 17:43

Posted by: Owd Codger (953)


At least people like myself did something more useful that just throw darts in a pub.

Replied: 14th Jul 2022 at 06:23

Posted by: whups (8747) 

i ran the football team until my dad died & we was successful . unlike you . still no names then .

Replied: 14th Jul 2022 at 11:21

Posted by: fossil (7483)

Owd codger,my brother still has his 8 shares and goes occasionally to the shareholders meetings.
He tells me that Lenegan was asked about the future of Edge Hall road but he was very non committal.
Dave Whelan was a businessman and went about the purchase of shares in a businesslike manner.
My brother was approached several times by DW's representatives to sell but preferred to keep them rather than take the£1000, even though he considers that at the present time they are probably worthless.
I am not sure what happened at EHR,but I remember being told that the members received a payment from DW to purchase the club and settle the debts!

Replied: 14th Jul 2022 at 11:30

Posted by: Owd Codger (953)


Thanks to Whelan's "businesslike dealing's" and backed by a Council in the belief that Wigan would become a big football town, we have ended up a Stadium with a too large a capacity for both club's and no atmosphere, no longer any special Rugby League games and owned by the town's small football club while the more famous Rugby League Club have to pay a rent to play there.

And Whelan showed his true colours by selling the Stadium for a profit and moving to the Caribbean, rather than gifting it to the people of Wigan.

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 06:38
Last edited by Owd Codger: 15th Jul 2022 at 08:40:09

Posted by: fossil (7483)

Owd Codger we are a big football town and have been for a long time,unfortunately you don’t seem to be able to cope with that fact.

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 09:01

Posted by: roylew (3608)

Fossil we are not a BIG football town…we are a town with a decent football team in reality…we are in the best league for our team…let’s not get carried away…I have to admit the ground is a soulful place even when typically half full…mistakes have been made that’s for sure

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 11:25

Posted by: fossil (7483)

Roylew,naturally I disagree as we are a big town with a team in the second tier of English football and well known for having been in the top flight for 8 years and appearing in major semi finals and winning a final.
I don’t disagree that we are in the right division.
As regard the rugby team they play in a very parochial sport in this country and I have followed both teams over my lifetime,and feel that they have shrunk in popularity probably because of Centrsl Park,and most fans prefer the pubs to watch rather than the stadium.
Nothing wrong with the DW,just that the Rugby supporters don’t like the lodging aspect.

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 15:29

Posted by: tonker (25469) 

Wigan Athletic couldn't evict Wigan Rugby Club as it's part of the arrangement of the lease for the stadium being built there in the first place. The new stadium was a two-club project.

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 18:24

Posted by: roylew (3608)

They only built a 250000 stadium cos of the rugby in hindsight 18000 would have been more than adequate

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 18:46

Posted by: tonker (25469) 

And, yes, Wigan is only a small town.

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 18:58

Posted by: fossil (7483)

Tonker you are correct ,the rugby club have a lease granted by Whelan,but they pay a rent to the football club currently being reviewed!
Also Wigan town centre is small ,but the borough is quite large.

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 19:08

Posted by: tonker (25469) 

If it was Whelan, which I doubt, he had no choice, as it was a term of the deal. I thought the arrangement was both the football club and the rugby club would pay rent to Wigan Football Company. There was several different companies running the show.

The borough is the area covered by Wigan MBC..
It's not a town and it's not Wigan.

Replied: 15th Jul 2022 at 21:33

Posted by: Owd Codger (953)


If Wigan was indeed a big football town like Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley and Preston, the Latic's should have been getting bigger crowds than what it was getting this past season in Division One. Bolton Wanderers were getting crowds of 15,000 for some Division One games in spite of not doing as well as the Latic's and when they were last in the Premier League, they had regular full capacities of 28,000 plus compared to only the odd full capacity of 25,000 by the Latic's for games against Liverpool and United. From what I was told by a long time Latic's supporter, the crowds for Latic's games in the Premier League were boosted by many United supporters living around the Wigan area and also boosted by football supporters from Skelmersdale who could not get or afford tickets for Everton and Liverpool games. Not to mention the foreign newcomers who only know Football where team sport is concerned.

And as for saying that there is nothing wrong with the DW Stadium, many will beg to differ as for a start, the seats need replacing in what is a cheaply built Stadium compared to many of the other newly built Stadiums. For example, the nearby magnificent University of Bolton Stadium only cost £10 million more than than Whelan's and Wigan Council's vision of grandeur!

p.s. And Rugby League may be a parochial sport but it is a darn sight more enjoyable to go to watch and many football supporters these days go to pubs to watch games or stop at home with a few cans!

p.p.s You say you have also watched Rugby League games at Wigan, but I have got the impression that may have been during another bandwagon jumping time of the gang of four era!

Replied: 16th Jul 2022 at 07:57
Last edited by Owd Codger: 16th Jul 2022 at 08:36:45

Posted by: fossil (7483)

Owd codger,
I played on Central Park in the 1950's as a schoolboy and supported Wigan for many years and my first rugby league final was in 1958 and many more after.
I was also in attendance at Castleford in 1980 on the day they were sadly relegated.
My son and grandson both played for Wigan schools and represented the town as well, so please do not question my rugby league heritage.
All the rest of your post was your usual stilted opinions of football and the towns assets, of which this site suffers regularly since you became a member, which you are entitled to express!
I do believe that the seats you complain about are being replaced with blue ones by the owner, hope that satisfies your complaint.

Replied: 16th Jul 2022 at 09:09

Posted by: whups (8747) 

as he does with everyone fossil .

Replied: 16th Jul 2022 at 12:14

Posted by: Owd Codger (953)


My apologies to you as you have give me a very good reply in regard to your playing and watching of the great game of Rugby League.

However, as far as as Wigan Athletic are concerned, the reality is that like many other Lancashire and other smaller clubs which now sadly includes Burnley, the fact is that outside the big cities of Liverpool and Manchester, the Championship is now the best level on the attendances the Latic's and many other small clubs now get as being in the Premier League only leads to financial problems and in many cases a downward descent into administration like it has at both the Latic's and nearby Bolton in recent times.

p.s. It will take more than the nastiness of the present ownership of the cheaply built DW Stadium in replacing the seats with all blue ones, to make it a better and more attractive venue for supporters of both clubs!

Replied: 17th Jul 2022 at 08:39

Posted by: fossil (7483)

Owd Codger ,I accept your apology but no need for the rest of your lesson as I stated in a post on the 15th that we are in the right division!

Replied: 17th Jul 2022 at 21:16


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