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Latics and Warriors honoured at DW Stadium

Football and rugby fans were celebrating today after DW Stadium chiefs unveiled their choice of names for its two main spectator areas.

As suspected, rugby league legend Billy Boston will be immortalised by one of the stands but it was also announced that the one opposite is to be called after Springfield Park.

The suggestion that tribute be paid to Wigan Athletic's former home had come from the supporters themselves and chairman Dave Whelan today said that eventually he hoped to have names – rather than compass points – for all four ends of the ground.

The west stand, in which the directors sit, is from now on named after Latics' old home, and the east stand will be named after the record try-scorer.

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Mr Boston, who already has a Wigan health centre named after him, said: "I think it's brilliant and a big honour when you think how many great Wigan rugby players there have been.

"I will be there for the Leeds game on Friday as I always am, although I will be sitting in the Springfield stand. I'll get a good view of the other one though!"

John Heeley, co-editor of the Cockney-Latics fan website, was equally delighted. He said: "When Dave Whelan made the statement that he was going to hand ownership of the stadium to Wigan Athletic and then said that one of the stands would be named after a rugby legend it rattled some football fans.

"It was recognised that Latics didn't have someone from its past of world stature after whom a stand could be named, but in the interests of equality it was felt there should be some tribute so someone came up with Springfield Park.

"It is good that the idea has now been taken up and I think a lot of people will be pretty pleased. I am a football fan but I have absolutely no objection to tribute being paid to someone as great as Billy Boston."

Signs identifying the stands will eventually be erected but there is to be no big unveiling ceremony. The moment was quietly celebrated by Dave Whelan, who was joined by both Mr Boston and Latics president Mike Turner for the announcement.

Mr Whelan said: "Springfield Park was Wigan Athletic's home for a long, long time and many staunch supporters will remember it very well.

"As for the east stand, Billy Boston is probably one of the greatest rugby league players. In the end the decision was not that tough. There have been a lot of fabulous players but he was something extra-special."

He added: "Ideally we would want names for all four stands. Perhaps the rugby league people will want a Central Park stand – who knows? – but we would probably name them both at once."

 
 
 

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