Council urges ... keep believing

IT worked last year and once again, Wigan Council is urging locals to “Believe” as Wigan Athletic prepare for Wembley.

Latics take on Arsenal on April 12 in the FA Cup semi-final and the town has been decked in blue and white with the hope that history can repeat itself.

Dave Whelan and coun Dave Molyneux launch the Wigan Athletic Believe campaign around Wigan town centre

Dave Whelan and coun Dave Molyneux launch the Wigan Athletic Believe campaign around Wigan town centre

As Emmerson Boyce held the famous trophy aloft last year, not many Wiganers thought they would ever get the chance to witness that sight again.

But now, quite unbelievably, the cup holders are just 180 minutes away from repeating that extraordinary feat.

Wigan Council has re-launched its successful Believe campaign to coincide with the game, in a bid to keep the same preparation that proved to be a good luck charm last season.

This year though, it will also take on an extra meaning with it tying in with the club’s promotion campaign too.

Regardless of the result at Wembley next week, the town will remain adorned in blue and white with flags and posters to cheer the team on not just to an FA Cup win but also to a return to the Premier League.

After the campaign enjoyed success with Latics, it continued with Leigh Centurions’ Northern Rail cup victory and Wigan Warriors’ double-winning success.

Deputy leader of Wigan Council, lifelong Wigan Athletic fan Councillor David Molyneux, said: “I’m extremely pleased to see the Believe campaign return to the borough for a second year running.

“I hope that with the town behind them once again Latics can claim the FA Cup for a second year and make a return to the premiership.”

Coun Molyneux helped re-launch the campaign on a guided tour of the town centre with Dave Whelan.

The Latics chairman was extremely impressed with the flags, floor decorations and posters and spoke of the importance of the council’s support.

Mr Whelan said: “We’ve got back to Wembley in the semi-final now and the town is doing exactly the same as it did last year.

“It makes me and a lot more Wigan people very proud that we’ve managed to get there again.

“I think it’s good for everybody to look at because we do work closely with the local authority and I think that’s essential for every football club to do that.

“There are so many ways you can help them and there are so many ways that they can help you so in Wigan we have a very, very close relationship and we work together as much as we can and it’s for the benefit of the community.”

The Believe campaign attracted international attention last year and both the council and Mr Whelan hope it will persuade people to support their local clubs and have pride in their borough.

As well as the flags and posters dotted around Marketplace, Mr Whelan also took in the support being shown at Wigan Youth Zone and the Grand Arcade and Galleries shopping centres.

John Sanson, general manager of the Grand Arcade, said: “We are once again pleased to support the town and its sporting heritage, a feel good factor is prevalent in the town when success comes its way.”

The Galleries centre manager Victoria Nichol added: “We’re very excited to be a part of the Believe campaign and I’m looking forward to seeing the town ‘painted’ blue. I’m sure our customers will be equally as excited.”