When Wigan Athletic score a goal, cheers erupt in the stands, in lounges, in pubs...and in Hong Kong!
And it hasn’t got anything to do with the club’s new owners IEC.
When chief executive Melvin Yan Min Zhang revealed Latics already have a Hong Kong-based fan club, you might have been left surprised as to why this great club was chosen – aside from eight years in the Premier League, FA Cup triumph and a habit of beating Manchester City,
But lifelong Latics fan Gallen Leung’s love for the club pre-dates some of that impressive CV.
He formed the Wigan Athletic Hong Kong Fan Club in 2010, setting-up a Facebook page to help translate Wigan Athletic news and updates into Cantonese for his fellow Hong Kong citizens.
But it soon turned into a fan club given the amount of local interest generated.
The fan club held their first event last year which saw seven members coming together to watch a Wigan match on a live broadcast through iFollow Latics.
Football is the most popular sport in Hong Kong, closely followed by rugby union.
The most well-supported English clubs in Hong Kong are Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.
But Leung admitted that he fell in love with Wigan Athletic after watching them weekly on a highlights show when he was aged 10.
“I’ve supported Wigan for 13 years. When I was 10 years old, Hong Kong didn’t have live football games but there was highlight shows on Sundays,” he said.
“At the time, Wigan were still in the Championship, but the attacking football really attracted me.
“When we got promoted, everyone said Wigan will be relegated however we finished 10th that season and reached the Carling Cup final, which made me even prouder to support Latics.”
Leung said he loves the family feel the club has and that he’s always been welcomed by Wiganers with open arms when he visits each season.
“I feel we all stick together like a family to support the team which is just brilliant. The fans don’t stop singing and dancing all game,” he said.
“When I visit, they always make me feel so welcome and proud to support this team.
“I want to do whatever I can for the club, to contribute and be a part of it.
“People always ask me, ‘Why do you support Wigan?’ It’s because there won’t be any other club as friendly to you. I always feel like I’m back home.”
The Wigan Athletic Hong Kong Fans Club have more than 650 likes on Facebook, with around 450 of those from Hong Kong.
Leung added: “It’s remarkable for us to organise the Hong Kong Fan Club.
“Although there are not many football fans would have heard about Wigan Athletic, we still trying to do our bits to promote Wigan and show them Wigan is a massive club.
“All the experience with the fan club is great adventure and memory for me.
“From our insight, we had believed Wigan would be a great club since 2002-03 season, three years before the Premier League era, and Whelan didn’t let us down.”
And Leung said it was amazing for him and the fan club to be recognised by the new owners in their first media interview.
He said: “It’s our honour that the new owners has recognised us, we have waited for this moment for a long time.”