Wigan supermarket urged to clean rugby monument

The statue commemorates how the site of the Tesco store was once used and the people whose ashes were left there
The statue commemorates how the site of the Tesco store was once used and the people whose ashes were left there

A lifelong rugby fan has blasted a supermarket for the poor condition of a statue marking the location of Wigan Warriors’ former stadium.

Chris McVeigh, 73, believes the way Tesco has treated the monument outside its Central Park Way store is “disrespectful”, particularly as it also commemorates people whose ashes were scattered at the old ground.

Rugby league legends Billy Boston and Joe Egan with  Jim Sullivans son, Kevan, and Tommy Bradshaws son, Lindsay, join sculptor Joanne Risley at the unveiling of the Home of Rugby League sculpture

Rugby league legends Billy Boston and Joe Egan with Jim Sullivans son, Kevan, and Tommy Bradshaws son, Lindsay, join sculptor Joanne Risley at the unveiling of the Home of Rugby League sculpture

He has made repeated requests for it to be cleaned in recent months, both to supermarket staff and through the head office, but says nothing has been done.

Grandfather-of-three Mr McVeigh, who lives in Aspull, said: “When I was in my teens I was on Wigan’s books. I have been a rugby league fan all my life and it pains me every time I go on the Tesco car park and see it. They are not interested. I think it’s really disrespectful.”

The rugby ball-shaped bronze sculpture, named The Home of Rugby League, was designed by sculptor Joanne Risley and commissioned by Tesco.

It is placed on the site which was once visited by thousands of Warriors fans watching matches at Central Park.

A plaque on the monument

A plaque on the monument

The stadium meant so much to some fans that their ashes were left there when they died.

With the sculpture also commemorating them, Mr McVeigh is especially disappointed with the current state of it.

He said: “That rugby ball was put there to remind people what was on the site before Tesco built the store.

“There were people’s ashes scatted on that site.

“I think it’s disrespectful to the people of Wigan that they leave it.”

He said he received a lot of support when he wrote about the issue on social media and decided to contact the Observer to highlight his concerns.

He hopes Tesco will take action and clean up the monument at last.

“For the last three months I have been asking them if they can clean it. It’s never been cleaned for 20 years and is nearly black,” he added.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are working to get the statue at our Wigan Extra store cleaned as soon as possible. Due to the specialist cleaning needed for the statue, our maintenance team are in the process of finding a third party contractor to carry out the works.