TRIUMPH is synonymous with Wigan’s sporting heritage.
The FA Cup resides in our town courtesy of Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors are once again challenging for silverware. Wiganers also regularly appear on the world stage in rugby union.
Maurice Lindsay has been involved in all three sports, beginning with reviving Wigan rugby league’s fortunes in the 1980s.
Lindsay was chairman at Central Park as the cherry and whites became the sport’s most famous, successful, loved and hated institution.
“It was in 1979 and the then chairman came to see me,” recalls Lindsay.
“I had a plant hire business in Wigan and he came to my office one morning and asked me if I would join the board.
“I didn’t know at the time that it was because they were going bankrupt – they didn’t tell me that bit, so I went to this board meeting and they asked me to take on the role of finance director on the very first day which I felt was a bit strange.”
The stricken club were soon relegated. On April 20 1980 Wigan played their final Division One game at Central Park in front on just 4,017 spectators, losing 20-12 to Leeds. The Championship winning year of 1960 was a long lost memory.
Lindsay said: “There was a lot wrong with the club, not just from a finance perspective. There was no confidence in the club from the public.”
“The members of the public had deserted Wigan. The crowds had gone and Central Park was like a graveyard.”
As finance director, Lindsay was faced with sleepless nights from the very first day.
He said: “I went to see the bank manager and he said, ‘There are cheques here on the desk which are not going to go through – what are you going to do about it Mr Lindsay?’ So that was a nice introduction.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THIS WEEK’S WIGAN OBSERVER ...