Warning to partying Latics fans

Max Power and Will Grigg
Max Power and Will Grigg

Wigan Athletic fans are itching for a party. But if their team achieves promotion or are crowned champions today, they shouldn’t let their celebrations get out of hand.

That was the warning today from both police and club chiefs as the Latics headed for a showdown with Blackpool.

And they say that any supporters who haven’t already got tickets for the match should not try to get into the ground.

There are still several permutations for the end of the League One season as far as title-chasing Wigan are concerned.

Victory against the Seasiders coupled with losses or draws by their nearest rivals would see them crowned champions.

If Wigan avoids defeat today then they are promoted but, depending on other outcomes, the chance of their winning the league could then go down to the following week’s home tie against Barnsley on the last day of the season.

So there is potential for partying after today’s match which is the league’s early kick-off game.

But last night both Wigan Athletic and Greater Manchester Police issued a joint reminder to supporters ahead of the Sky Bet One fixture at Bloomfield Road.

With Latics having sold out their allocation of 3,000 tickets, no away supporters will be able to pay on the day and those without tickets are being urged not to attempt to enter the stadium.

Ashley Keyte, Greater Manchester Police’s football liaison officer, said: “We have been working closely with Lancashire Police for this match to ensure the safety of all supporters.

“The game is all-ticket and there will be no away sales on the day, so the message is clear, if you haven’t got a ticket, please don’t try and enter the stadium.”

Supporters are being reminded about the use of pyrotechnics including flares and smoke grenades, as well as pitch encroachment.

Wigan Athletic chairman David Sharpe said: “The feel-good factor around our games has been exceptional and we have travelled in numbers all season, the majority of fans have been impeccably behaved.

“There has been a lot of talk around this game, and the demand for tickets was unprecedented.

“We want all our supporters to get behind the players and give them the sort of backing they have all season.

“But we must stay within the law.

“The use of flares and smoke devices and entering the field of play are illegal and could result both in the club being punished and the individuals appearing in court and getting football banning orders.

“This could be a massive day for the club, so let’s all be loud and support the team sensibly. Enjoy Blackpool. Up the Tics.”

Promotion, which was all but secured with a 4-1 win over Southend at the DW Stadium last weekend is a huge boost for the DW Stadium side who were relegated from the Premier League just days after winning the FA Cup in 2013 and then dropping out of the Championship and into League Division One two seasons later.

The party started this morning as a group of Wigan Athletic fans - including Lucy Cachia-Boyce, wife of former skipper Emmerson Boyce - began a 42-mile cycle ride to Bloomfield Road. It has become quite a regular pilgrimage and raises money for the Joseph’s Goal charity.