Wigan Athletic delighted fans by making a spectacular and winning start to the new Championship season at the weekend.
But if anything it’s the club’s new mascot who is making more headlines.
Schoolchildren were asked to submit design entries for the Latics’ new fun representative and good luck charm and the winner was Crusty the Pie.
It was perhaps a controversial choice given some Wiganers’ attempts to shake off stereotypes perceived to burden the town, with pies right there along with flat caps, slag heaps and whippets
But more than half of the youngsters who entered the contest came up with pastry-related designs and we know from recent political experience that majority votes should be heeded.
Former Latics chairman David Sharpe, asked about Crusty, replied with an understated “the less said the better.”
However on the whole the reaction has been positive with Wigan folk delighting at his sunny outlook, a celebration of the town’s favourite foodstuff and a bit of gentle self-mockery.
And the impact has been far greater than the introduction of any previous Wigan Athletic mascots, including Stripey, JJ and B and the recently retired Phoenix and Blue.
There was a special feature on Crusty on CBBC’s Newsround (perhaps Wigan-born puppet presenter Hacker T Dog had a paw in that), but it also brought smiles to yesterday’s Breakfast News and has been featured extensively on Sky Sports News too.
News of him has travelled well beyond these shores too. American baseball blogger Keith Law who commands 475,000 followers on Twitter announced, with an accompanying picture of Crusty: “I am now a Wigan Athletic fan despite now knowing what sport they play.”
Several parody Twitter accounts for the mascot have already been set up.
AFC Fylde tweeted: “Legend of the game already and he’s been alive six hours.” And one Manchester City fan foretold of another exit at the hands of bogey team Wigan with Crusty dancing for joy.
The winning design was concocted by Cayden and Neve, eight and nine respectively. The pair walked out with their creation before Saturday’s match and he certainly brought Wigan the right result.
Wigan isn’t the first club to have a pastry dish mascot though. Baxter the Bridie beat them to that at Forfar Athletic. Aussie football side Central Coast Mariners also have a pie mascot.