A PROUD adopted Wiganer was so convinced that tycoon Dave Whelan would propel Latics to the very pinnacle of English football he put his money where his mouth is.
Ken Harkess still remembers the excitement when it was confirmed in 1995 that the tycoon announcing that he had purchased his home town football club then loitering perilously near the bottom of the lowest tier and based at the crumbling Springfield Park.
Within hours the retail manager had bought and slapped an equally ambitious number plate – WIGAN P – on his beloved wheels.
Although not particularly a football fan, retired retail manager Ken said that he is a huge admirer of former JJB and now DW Sports and Leisure boss Whelan.
And he thought he would show his confidence that the town would one day be part of the “P for Premiership” elite by buying and bolting on the number plate. Now, 18 years on and with a move planned to return to his native Edinburgh and Latics hoping to survive an eighth season in the Prem, the grandfather has put the plate up for sale.
He desperately hopes that it can remain in the borough and continue to be seen on the streets making its defiant statement of intent.
If you are interested in the plate – which is no longer registered for any vehicle so is ready to be re-assigned – contact him on 0778 828 5293.
Ken, who lives in Robin Hill Drive, Standish, had a franchise working for parcels firm DHL and was told about the plate by a client.
It has created quite a stir subsequently – and Ken once turned down an offer from a Wigan DJ who fancied it for his motor. The plate is now on retention and can be quickly transferred over to them.
Mr Harkess was an area manager for national newsagents Forbouys and Dillons for more than 30 years.
He said: “It is quite true that I brought this number plate the day after it was announced that Dave Whelan has brought the Wigan football club. I knew that a man of his drive and success would take them right the way up to the Premiership. I have always had great faith in this bloke because of what he had already done for the town and I wanted to show that with the number plates on my car.
“I haven’t ever met the man but as a retailer all my life I am a great fan of his because of what he has done for the town, starting off with JJB Sports and how he grew it to be a major British company from such modest beginnings, Pooles Pies and now DW Sports. Some people don’t like him, I know, but I wanted to show my admiration with this number plate.
“The P stands for all this is good in Wigan, the fact that we have a Premier League football club and also, with Wigan rugby in the Super League, a premier rugby team as well. The P in my mind also stands for Wigan Pier and Wigan pies, everything that the place is famous for.
“It has now proudly been on all my cars ever since and I will be a little sad to see it go.”