Perfect trip for an Aussie Latic

Latics fan Graham Thompson from Australia, originally from Higher Ince, at Wembley as Wigan Athletic win the FA Cup
Latics fan Graham Thompson from Australia, originally from Higher Ince, at Wembley as Wigan Athletic win the FA Cup

BEN Watson’s match winning header at last week’s FA Cup final will have given thousands of Wigan Athletic supporters a journey back up north to remember.

But lifelong fan Graham Thompson will have considerably longer than most to replay the historic moment in his mind’s eye on his way home.

Graham grew up in Ince but moved to Australia with his family as a 10-year-old and has lived there ever since.

But a return ticket to the UK was swiftly booked once Latics booked their place at Wembley for the final.

The 54-year-old said: “As soon as we won the Everton game in the quarter-final I booked in some leave at work on the hope that we would make it to the final.

“I didn’t expect us to beat City, not at all. I just wanted to be there to see us walk out at Wembley.

“To see them win was just unbelievable, simply out of this world. And with a last minute winner, I had tears in my eyes.”

Graham, who works for the Australian tax office, lives in Parramatta, an area of Sydney known for its rugby league.

And although he still follows the results of Wigan Warriors, he is a self professed fan of the round ball game.

He said: “Luckily for me a new team has been set up near to where I live called the Western Sydney Wanderers who play in the A-League.

“But I’ve always been a Latics fan, ever since I was a young boy. I remember going to watch them at Springfield Park when they were playing non-league football.

“I did return to Wigan in the 1980s for almost a year and by then they were playing league football and I went to almost every game.

“Although, I went to the West Brom match the week before Wembley and that was the first time I had seen them win away.

“I still have a lot of friends in Wigan from when I was at school in Ince and I keep in touch with them and often see them on TV when I watch Latics back home in Australia.”

Graham was in the stands for yesterday’s game with Aston Villa although his trip will not extend to today’s victory parade.

He said: “I’m really disappointed that I won’t still be around to see the cup paraded through the town. I love coming back to Wigan and seeing the places I remember from being a youngster.

“I was walking through Mesnes Park last week and was stopped by reporters from Swedish TV asking about the FA Cup. I think they were confused by my accent!

“Everyone is always so friendly when I’m back here and I particularly enjoyed a walk through the Plantations at Haigh Hall. I’ve had a good trip.”