Lisa Nandy MP: We will not let this club fail
Last Thursday I was proud to help the Wigan Athletic Supporters Club launch a new crowd-funding campaign to secure the future of the Latics.
The goal was to try to raise half a million pounds by the end of the Bank Holiday weekend.
We knew it was a big ask; we know that money is tight, and the economic outlook is grim for many. But the response has blown us away.
Not only has the initial goal been reached, but by Monday night an extra £100,000 had been raised on top of it. Everyone who has contributed is a hero. From the former players who
fondly remember their time at the club to the children donating their pocket money, the generosity, solidarity and teamwork has been incredible.
We have made it clear that we will not allow this club to fail. It has made the ambition of fans to have a say in the how the club is run and ensure that the nightmare that has played out at
the DW over the last few months is never allowed to happen again a real possibility.
It’s difficult to describe how frustrating the process of the Latics administration has been.
The club shouldn’t have been put into administration in the first place, but when the administrators came in they made some big claims about how much interest there was in the club and how likely they thought it was that a deal would be done by their deadline of Bank Holiday Monday.
That deadline has now been scrapped, and we’re just days away from the start of the season with no new backer having been found.
But we always knew that this was a possibility. That’s why the Supporters Club started planning for this a few weeks ago.
Their initial response to the crisis was vital – setting up a crowd-funder to secure the short-term future of the club and ensure that last season could be completed.
Your generosity made that possible. But, crucially, the Supporters Club also recognised that if no potential backer was successful that the fans would need to be in a position to act to secure the long-term future of the club.
They’ve enlisted the help of the Wigan Athletic Community Trust, Wigan Council, FA Cup winning captain Emmerson Boyce and former Latics CEO Jonathan Jackson to help bring that about.
This is about us stepping up and saying that we’re not going to let this club fail. There has to be an alternative plan and the incredible amount raised in just the first five days sends an incredibly strong message to the administrators, potential backers and the EFL that the fans need to be taken seriously when it comes to the future of this club.
If a buyer is found and the opportunity for the Supporters Club to buy a stake in the club isn’t available, all donations will be refunded, but the campaign is serious about putting fans back at the heart of the club and gaining board representation with genuine influence over how the future unfolds.
You can donate to the fund at: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-wigan-athletic.
There are various levels of support that come with some great rewards, but every penny counts.
I know it’s a big ask, and we’ve been asking for a lot since this crisis began, but I also know that with the support of this town we will ensure the future of this club.
Wigan Athletic is almost 90 years old – let’s help ensure it will be around for another 90.