WEST Ham United vice chairman Karren Brady has sparked controversy in both the football and rugby worlds in Wigan with her comments on groundsharing.
West Ham, who were relegated by the Latics in May, are currently in the process of leaving Upton Park and are hoping to make the Olympic Stadium their new home.
Other applicants for the ground include a number of rugby union clubs and Brady says the prospect of groundsharing is out of the question.
She said: “While all of us at West Ham would be happy to share with athletics at the Olympic stadium, there is no way we would go into a ground-sharing agreement with a rugby club.
“It is a complete non-starter for us. Impossible, actually, as soon it will be a breach of Premier League rules to share your ground with rugby.”
Brady’s last comment about it being in breach of Premier League rules is one that is lost on anyone in Wigan.
And with the town being the only one to have both a Premier League football side and Super League rugby side, you would perhaps expect somebody to be aware of such an impending regulation.
Her comments have, however, sparked opinion from both the Blue and Cherry and White sides of town.
A club spokesperson at Wigan Athletic said: “The stadium was built for two clubs and they work together.
“Mr Whelan is more than happy that the Stadium is home to two successful sides.”
Latics fan Mick Wimsey added: “There is still a bit of bitterness between the two sets of fans.
“For that reason I’m not happy sharing with them even if logistically there aren’t problems.
“When we needed to play at Central Park for a few games, Bill Kenyon asked Maurice Lindsay who flatly refused.
“It’s because of that I don’t like sharing with the rugby.”
It’s a much different view held by Warriors season ticket holder Wayne Marsden who is more than happy sharing.
He said: “I always thought it was a friendly banter type rivalry between the two sides but having witnessed some scenes and read letters and comments in your paper I am appalled at the bitterness between them.
“Wigan is a town and all those who are proud to live here should cheer on any team carrying the name – wherever they play.”