Wigan Hockey Club's Warrington Wolves fan gets some stick!
Now, as Warrington aim to end a 63-year wait for a league title tomorrow night, the Wigan resident is hoping the Wolves can put an end to his own years of hurt.
While his Wigan Hockey Club team-mates cheer on the Warriors, the goalkeeper will be desperate for the Wolves to reverse a bet, which has seen him turn out in rival colours each game.
Originally from Warrington, Wolves fan Paul used to guard the goal proudly wearing his primrose and blue shirt over his pads.
But a bet before the 2016 Grand Final has seen him reluctantly sport cherry and white in goal ever since.
“I’m the only Warrington fan on the team, and there’s always a lot of friendly banter,” said Paul on the bet. “For the 2016 Grand Final we had a bet if Wire won I’d continue to wear my
Warrington top to games, but if Wigan won I’d switch to wearing Wigan’s colours for a season.”
But Paul has worn the Wigan shirt ever since, much to the annoyance of his mum.
“I’ve not lived it down,” said the 44-year-old, who works for United Utilities as a leakage manager.
“My dad even played hockey for Warrington, so my mum has disowned me!”
Paul moved to Wigan after marrying Wiganer Cathy, and the dad-of-two now lives in Hindley Green.
“I wasn’t playing hockey when I moved to Wigan, but I got a call-up from Wales masters, which is for over 40s, and started playing again,” he explained. “That’s when I started to play for Wigan.”
But now Paul has a fresh bet with team captain Matty Smith, and even has an idea to raise the stakes. “If Wigan win then I have to keep wearing a Wigan shirt in goal,” Paul said. “Matt has even already bought me a new Wigan shirt for next year.
“But I have years’ worth of Wire tops, so this is yet to get the thumbs up, but if Wire win this then I want to get the team training in them.”
l If you fancy returning to play or would like to try hockey for the first time please contact Matty Smith on 07914 749367. All players of any ability are welcome.
Training takes place from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesdays at Wigan Sports Club for Ladies and Men’s teams. The junior section meets before from 6pm to 7pm.
Follow Wigan Hockey Club on Twitter @WiganHC