A group of close-friends have set-up an amateur football club which is designed to help people improve their mental health.
Paul Roche, who previously managed Wigan Cosmos’ Reserves last term, had the idea to create a new football team with a philosophy that differs from the rest.
Rather than focusing on the results, Roche is hoping to create an environment where players can simply enjoy playing football with their friends without the worry of winning nor losing.
After informing his former side of his plans, multiple of his old pals were eager to get involved and help get the new club up and running.
The football club has been cleverly named Wigan Wolves because similarly to how Wolves hunt as a unit in the wilderness, the team will work together as a pack to help tackle mental health and put a smile on everyone’s faces.
Despite the admirable work of many charities and heath organisations, men talking about mental health remains a stigma and the importance of groups like this are immeasurable.
Recently, staggering figures showed that Wigan men are taking their own lives at a rate of one every 10 days - which is far above the national average.
Therefore, Wigan Wolves has the potential to become a life-changer for individuals who are struggling to cope with their mental health.
After Roche delivered an impassioned pitch to the Lancashire FA, Wigan Wolves were accepted into the South Lancs Counties third-division for the upcoming season.
At the league’s AGM meeting on Wednesday, the other teams praised Roche and Wigan Wolves’ for their focus on benefiting the community and happily voted them into the amateur spectrum.
But while Wigan Wolves’ made a massive breakthrough by being entered in the division, there is still a lot to be done before the season begins in August.
The newly-created club are in desperate need for sponsors and must raise over £1,000 to help fund their equipment and kit-wear.
Chairman Roche expressed the importance of Wigan Wolves’ securing sponsorship ahead of next term.
“I messaged my old club Wigan Cosmos and I was ready to finish managing in Sunday football but after being inspired by the #ARoyalTeamTalk television show and the story of Michelle Partington, I thought of the idea behind Wigan Wolves," he said.
“I have decided to use my fresh approach on what I want to gain from Sunday football. I want to set up a new team, one which has no stress of being results driven and instead being more of a social gathering with the added fitness of playing football within a friendly environment.
“I believe there is a place in Sunday league football for a club such as this, with the main goals being off the pitch by being a friendly sociable environment that supports and encourages each other to not only help with mental health but ,rehabilitation from injury, weight-loss and gaining friendships.
“Seeing media coverage of the rise in suicide rates especially among men and people suffering with depression and anxiety has made me more determined to help.
“Wigan Wolves are a new club with no pressures. There’s no focus on results, just on togetherness and support.
“There are however many expenses connected with running the club and we rely solely on our own fundraising events and the support of local businesses. We are still looking for a home, we still need to buy the required equipment to put on activity sessions and a kit to wear on match days. If we was to get sponsored, it would really mean the world to us, and help us massively with our goal to benefit the community in Wigan.
“Once we are fully set up, we would love to help other groups like RUOKMATE and The Brick.
“I want to thank the South Lancs Counties and the FA for their support as they’ve been excellent with us. We’re so excited to get our club up and running.”
If you’d like to sponsor Wigan Wolves, email WiganWolves@hotmail.com.