This Scottish football fan has walked 100 miles to support Wigan Athletic

The fight to keep Wigan Athletic afloat has received a huge boost from an unlikely source - a Rangers fan!

Friday, 17th July 2020, 1:48 pm
Updated Friday, 17th July 2020, 2:29 pm

Tommy Newall has covered around 100 miles of his Scottish hometown in the space of a week, while wearing a variety of Latics home shirts, to raise money for the club which holds a special place in his heart.

The funds he has raised have been sent to the Wigan Athletic Supporters Club’s “Let’s Hang On” appeal, which was set up to keep the club going during the search for a new buyer. The fund-raiser has received more than £166,000 in donations so far.

Tommy, a Rangers supporter living in the small town of Ardrossan on the North Ayrshire coast, understood the pain of every Latics supporter when the news broke about the club’s administration. His beloved Glaswegian side nearly collapsed in 2012 due to financial troubles, and the team was banished to the Scottish fourth tier as a result.

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Tommy Newall in his Latics strip

The 57-year-old football fanatic has two grandchildren living in Wigan, who are both season ticket holders at the DW Stadium. When he heard about the club’s plight, he was determined to do something to help.

“My connection with the club is through my family, so I’ve been supporting Wigan for the last 15 years,” he said.

“I’m from Scotland so I don’t get down to see Wigan often, but because the kids are passionate about the club, I am passionate about them too.”

Describing his shock at seeing the club enter administration, Tommy said: “I’m a Rangers fan so I’ve been through it myself. I know how hurting it is for a fan, to possibly lose your club. It’s part of your life. Wigan has got a great history, so you’ve got to do a bit to try keep that going. Hopefully Wigan will be here for many, many years to come.

One of Tommy's walking routes

“I just thought I would do something. It’s hard for the working class to make a difference, but if you do something that can get the attention of people, it only takes one or two people with a few chunks of money to make a big difference. The most generous people are the working class.”

He went on: “I’ve done the walking over seven days, walking just over 20km every day. Just around my hometown. Whilst I’ve been walking I’ve been wearing my Wigan tops. It stands out a lot, if you’re doing the same route day in, day out, then people start noticing you. I’ve had a lot of great messages from the locals who have shown a lot of support. There’s been a lot of people donating, so it’s been very worthwhile.

“I’ve had generous family members and lots of friends who have put donations in. Every wee bit counts!”

To donate to the Let’s Hang On appeal, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/official-wigan-athletic-football-club-fundraiser