While Wigan Athletic haven't had an Italian on their books since back-up goalkeeper Raffaele Nuzzo in 2001, there has nevertheless been a constant Italian presence at the DW Stadium ever since. Despite specialising in authentic cooking rather than sporting excellence, however, Rigalettos Italian Restaurant is all about delights off the pitch rather than on it.
Located inside the 25,133-capacity stadium and seating 120 people, the recently-refurbished restaurant brings a taste of Naples to the North West, not only serving hungry restaurateurs, but also hosting a wide range of events and functions for both Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors throughout the year.
"I've been here from day one and now I look after the place," says Rigalettos' Turkish restaurant manager, Mehmet Sahin (51), who has been with the company since 2000 having previously worked on cruise ships. "We have a good team here under the umbrella of DW and I enjoy working in the trade and with the company big time - that's why I've been here all these years!"
Head chef Danny Dolan (30), from Preston, has worked at the restaurant for just over a year, and added: "We have a big open kitchen so people can see us cooking, which is good. I've been working in the industry for 15 years now, I really enjoy it."
With around 12 members of staff in total, the restaurant is open of a night for post-game events at which various players from both the football and rugby league teams are present, and according to Assistant restaurant manager Lucy Forshaw, the variation of the job keeps everything fresh.
"The job's really good," said assistant manager Lucy (30) who is from Wigan and who has worked at Rigalettos for around a month. "It's a mixture of everything from being at front of house meeting and greeting customers and dealing with the telephone enquiries to waiting on people and taking orders.
"No two days are the same, which keeps the job interesting," she added.