Rugby league legend Martin Offiah names Wigan as the greatest team in the history of the sport

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Wigan legend Martin Offiah believes his former club is the greatest rugby league side of all-time.

The retired Great Britain winger returns to the town on March 30 for an event at the Old Courts, where he will be discussing his career and answering questions from the audience.

Offiah enjoyed many highlights during his time in cherry and white, and is looking forward to reminiscing about the past.

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He said: “I’m really excited to be coming back to Wigan, because the place will always have a special place in my heart. I was only there for four-and-a-half years, but it seems so much longer because of all the success we had.

Martin Offiah believes Wigan is the greatest-ever rugby clubMartin Offiah believes Wigan is the greatest-ever rugby club
Martin Offiah believes Wigan is the greatest-ever rugby club

“With it being Wigan’s 150th anniversary this year I thought it would be a great time to come back to do an event like this. It’s great to be back interacting with people, moments are created when you feel connected.

“The guys who took over the club in the 1980s, led by Maurice Lindsay, really transformed the path they were on and created that golden era. I think this year Wigan can lay claim to being the greatest rugby league team the world has ever seen.”

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Offiah says he always enjoys visiting Wigan and takes the opportunity to show those closest to him how successful he was in rugby league.

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“I’m always back up, I always pop in to see Phil Clarke, or Gary Connolly, sometimes staying in his back room when I come to see games. Every season I try to come back, it’s always a pleasure to watch Wigan,” he added.

“I brought my sons up when I got inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s always nice to share things with your children, who weren’t alive when I was playing. I’ve left my mark wherever I’ve been, with my picture in the boardroom and a statue at Wembley.

“It’s good to show them what daddy used to do before he told them to make their bed every day.

“Anyone who is a parent will know this, but to them I’m just dad, I haven’t got a clue what I am talking about and know very little about rugby.

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“It’s only when other people come up to me and ask questions, they look a bit in ore, thinking ‘you might’ve actually been half decent.’”

“I remember when I tried telling them I had scored 10 tries in a game, they wouldn’t believe me, and still wouldn’t if it wasn’t for YouTube.”

Offiah says it is an honour to be included in the rugby league statue at Wembley, which also includes Eric Ashton, Billy Boston, Alex Murphy and Gus Risman.

“It’s not a normal occurrence, every time I go to Wembley, I still need to pinch myself because I feel like it’s a dream and it’s not real.

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“Rugby league has been played at that venue since 1929 and I think the statue was originally meant to be just one person, but because of the Yorkshire Lancashire divide it was very hard for them to agree, so they needed five of us.

“The sport is very tribal and that’s what I like about it. I loved the passion of it, I thrived off the people who loved me, and I thrived off the people who hated me. I think I played in the best era for me.”

Despite his success in the sport, before switching codes and moving up North to play for Widnes in 1987, Offiah admits having little knowledge of rugby league.

“I had very little education and didn’t know a lot about it. I remember watching the Challenge Cup final when Wigan beat Halifax, so the possibility of moving to the sport was in the back of my mind and it was on my radar.

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“I signed for Widnes before I’d even been there, but initially I had said no because I was waiting for an England cap in union.

“When you think of what I’ve achieved in rugby league, there’s no guarantee I could’ve done half of that in union, so I’m thankful for what happened. MBE, statues, three hall of fames, and being the top try scoring Englishman of all time, I can’t say it didn’t work out.”

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