WIGAN can now push on with their plans to take a home game to London following the release of the Football League fixtures.
Championship clubs Fulham and QPR are shaping as leading contenders to host the Warriors – possibly in September.
It’s not about one of our 30 Super League games, it’s about the greater good, and what is the best for Wigan and rugby league.Ian Lenagan
Millwall and Leyton Orient are also in the frame.
Chairman Ian Lenagan last week revealed he is committed to taking one home match to London each year as part of an ambitious plan to boost the club’s presence in the capital.
And he confirmed that plan will start immediately – with one of this season’s ‘Super 8s’ matches.
He says the release of yesterday’s football fixtures was “significant” as it will allow them to look for free weekends and start cementing plans.
While some fans may be critical of the bold move, Lenagan is confident it will pay off on three fronts:
By strengthening the profile of Wigan, and rugby league, in the capital;
By increasing the club’s commercial income;
And as part of a policy to tap into London’s junior system.
He said: “It’s not about one of our 30 Super League games, it’s about the greater good, and what is the best for Wigan and rugby league.
“We don’t want to be static. I want the Wigan brand to be as strong an as broad as we can get it, and we do that through greater exposure.
“As an example, we got 92 acceptances for the launch event of the London Business Club because they are interested, in some way, of being involved in Wigan rugby league.
“The response has been astonishing.”
Lenagan believes all Wigan fans should be keen to see the club be financially self-sufficient – and not rely on his income, or that of another millionaire owner.
And longer-term, he predicts a stronger presence in the south east will strengthen the club’s playing ranks.
“If we can tap into the athletes and the talent that is clearly there, then the club will benefit going forward,” said Lenagan, the former London Broncos owner.
Wigan already have Tony Clubb and Dan Sarginson in their squad – two players who developed through the Broncos’ academy system.
Season-tickets will be valid for the game in the capital. Warriors revealed a year ago their intention to take a home game ‘on the road’ if they finished in the top-four, and as such got a ‘bonus’ home match in the Super 8s.
Season ticket holders will not lose out financially from the switch, as the teams in the top-four get four home matches in the Super-8s, while sides finishing 5th to 8th get three.
Warriors will run their London operations from a new office on Buckingham Palace Road.
l SHAUN Wane has revealed he does his “homework” on Super League referees and Wigan tweak their performances to match the officials. Wane was disappointed with their discipline at St Helens last Friday night.
He said: “We had double-figures with Richard (Silverwood), and we needed to be smarter.
“We do homework on referees, some are keener on some things than others, and patterns form. That’s not a criticism – it’s human-nature.
“I try and give my players every advantage I can get.
“I spent some time with England Rugby Union and they do a full review on referees, and I’m hoping it’s an extra advantage.”