Staff ready for unique DW double header

The DW Stadium
The DW Stadium

Monday will be a big day in the history of the DW Stadium with the ground hosting both of its clubs.

For the first time in its 16-and-a-half year existence, the ground will see football AND rugby played there on the same day.

Within the space of eight-and-a-half hours, Latics will have hosted Rochdale, and the Warriors will have entertained Hull KR.

For the DW Stadium staff, such a turnaround will be a completely new concept.

The clash has come after the RFL ignored Wigan Warriors’ request to not play at home on Easter Monday and after discussions between stadium management, Latics chairman David Sharpe and Wigan Warriors owner and chairman Ian Lenagan, the decision was made to go ahead and play both.

While it may seem a daunting prospect, stadium manager Andy Birch says he and his staff are relishing the challenge.

“It’s definitely going to be but it’s something all the staff are up for,” he said.

“When we found out about it I discussed it with both chairmen and I put forward that I really wanted to do both and that the staff felt they were more than capable of pulling it off.

“We’ve been putting plans in place ever since.”

The stadium will obviously be heavily staffed throughout the day with a special rota put in place.

They’ll all be looked after though and with 150 stewards on hand, Andy is confident of a smooth changeover.

“We’ve got some real stalwart staff who will be in from the beginning but what we’ve had to do is make sure we’ve got adequate welfare facilities for those staff,” he said.

“So we’re going to be feeding them in between and we’ve also got some staggered shifts going on.

“We’re fetching people in throughout the day and sending others home so we can make it right through until the end of the day.

“The stewards will be playing a big part in it all. They’ll be going around making sure everything is secure and taken care of and doing their inspections.

“They’ll also be heavily involved in the clean up operation as well.”

All aspects of the stadium’s use will be put to the test. From a quick changeover in hospitality to dressing room and stadium decoration changes, it will be all hands on deck.

Andy said: “We’re quite well covered, especially on the hospitality side of things of turning things around from a matchday to having an event in the evening so that can take care of itself.

“It was more to do with the logistics of the cleaning of the stadium and making sure the stewarding is correct and obviously the groundsmen with the turnaround of the pitch.

“We have the backing of good staff so I’m sure we can do it.

“It’s a duel purpose stadium so branding is pretty much 50-50 but on a matchday it goes top-heavy to which particular team is playing at one time.

“The respective press and commercial teams will have to help one another to set the branding up.

“Wigan Athletic will de-brand and Wigan rugby will help them with that then vice versa, the football staff will help the rugby staff put their stuff back up.”

One of the tightest turnarounds will come in the corporate boxes.

Latics’ 1.15pm kick off will mean that their guests will leave just a few hours before the Warriors’ 8pm kick off.

“We’ll have Wigan Athletic corporate guests in who will be here until around 5pm and the first set of Wigan Warriors corporate guests will be coming at around 5.30pm-6pm,” said Andy.

“We’ll be fine though, we’re confident it will go