The Premier League’s youngest club was formed back in 1932, following the closure of Wigan Borough, a year earlier. They were the fifth new club to attempt to thrive in the town, and begun life in the Cheshire County League. They purchased the
ground from Wigan Borough, for the
sum of £2,500. On Springfield Park the
27th of August 1932, Port Vale Reserves
provided the opposition, in the club’s first ever game.
The Latics won its first honours in the 1933–34 season, finishing as champions of the Cheshire League. In the following season, the club won a second league championship and also entered the FA Cup for the first time, defeating Carlisle United 6–1 in the first round. In the 1935–36 season, the club won its third consecutive Cheshire League title and the Lancashire Junior Cup.
The club struggled to assemble a competitive side, and finished bottom of the league in 1946–47 season. Despite their pre-war success, the club failed to gain re-election and were replaced by Winsford United. The club joined the Lancashire Combination, winning the league in their first season. In 1950,
Wigan came close to election to the Football League, narrowly losing
out to Scunthorpe United F.C.
In 1968, Wigan Athletic were founder members of the Northern Premier League, known since 1994 as the UniBond League, winning the league title in 1970–71. After 34 failed election attempts, including one controversial but headline-making application in 1972 to join the Scottish League Second Division, Wigan Athletic were elected to the Football League in 1978.
After finished in second place in the 1977–78 season, behind winners Boston United. But as
's ground and
facilities did not meet the
Football League criteria for a
League club, whereas Boston did. In the club's first season of League football, the club finished in
sixth place, just six points off promotion. Springfield Park
They gained their first Football League promotion under the management of Larry Lloyd in 1981–82, when a points tally of 91 saw them join the former Division Three for the first time, beginning a 10 year spell in English football's third tier. The club struggled in their first season in Division Three, which led to Lloyd's controversial sacking in early 1983, being replaced by Harry McNally.
Under McNally's management, the club stabilised in Division Three and secured a pair of mid-table finishes, but a dreadful 1984–85 season cost him his job, with Bryan Hamilton stepping into the breach. Under
management, the club's performances went to the next level and they won their
first silverware as a League club that season with the Freight Rover Trophy. They were beaten
in the Northern Final of the same competition the following season by Bolton
Wanderers. More importantly, Hamilton achieved Division Three survival,
which had looked an impossible task earlier that season. Hamilton
The fourth place finishes of the 1985–86 and 1986–87 seasons proved to be the high points of their first stint in Division 3. For the next five years, they finished mid-table, flirting with relegation in 1988–89 and 1989–90, until they were relegated for the first and only time in the club's League history in 1992–93.
They finished in 23rd place, amid tumbling attendances a year later, with the club back in the fourth tier of the English League, the Latics finished 19th – fourth from bottom – to complete their worst-ever league season.
Rise Up The Football League
In February 1995, local millionaire and owner of JJB Sports Dave Whelan purchased the club, which was then playing in the Third Division (fourth tier), and set out his ambition to reach the Premier League. His ambition came true, because just ten years later Wigan Athletic were playing Premier League football.
In the summer of 2001, highly regarded young manager and former Latics forward Paul Jewell took over as manager following an unsuccessful spell at
Sheffield Wednesday. His first
season in charge saw mixed results and an embarrassing defeat to non-league Canvey Island in the FA Cup first round, although the club
eventually finished in mid-table. Jewell's second season in charge was far more
Wigan Athletic went on a run to the quarter finals of the League Cup, beating Premier League opponents
West Brom, and Fulham en route. Wigan Athletic won the
Division Two championship in 2002–03 with a points total of 100, powered by
the goals of then-record £1.2 million signing Nathan Ellington, with a run of 10
consecutive wins along the way. The club lost only four times all season, and
Wigan Athletic secured promotion to the second tier of the English Football League for the first time in their history. Manchester City
After losing their first ever game in Division One, Wigan Athletic confounded expectations to go unbeaten for the next 17 games and sit atop the division by November 2003. A weak finish saw Wigan Athletic win only three of their last 10 games to finish seventh in Division One – a last minute goal by West Ham's Brian Deane in the final game of the season saw the Latics drop out of the play-off places in favour of eventual play-off winners
. Crystal Palace
Hoping to build on the previous season's disappointing finish, the Latics went one better than 2003–04 by remaining unbeaten for the first 17 games of the 2004–05 season. Along with
Sunderland and Ipswich, the Latics remained in
the promotion hunt all season. By the last day of the season, Sunderland had already won the
title and Wigan needed at least a draw against – who themselves needed to win to finish in sixth place – to beat Reading Ipswich to the last automatic
promotion spot. A 3–1 victory in front of their home fans at the JJB Stadium earned Wigan promotion to the top
division of the English football for the first time in their 73-year
The club's first ever Premier League game was a home match against champions
, a game they lost only
to a 94th minute winner. A successful run followed, and by November Chelsea Wigan were second in the
league. Good league form was coupled with an equally strong performance in the Football League Cup, with the Latics
reaching their first ever major cup final after defeating Arsenal on away
goals in the semi-final. In the final, Wigan were defeated 4–0 by
near neighbours Manchester United.
Wigan eventually finished the
season in 10th place, which remains the club's highest ever league placing.
After a mid-table start to the 2006–07 season,
Wigan's fortunes dipped
dramatically with eight consecutive losses from mid-December, but after
arresting the slump Wigan stood 15th in the Premier League in early March
and finally seemed to be moving away from the relegation mire. But a series of
defeats and the resurgence of rival strugglers meant Wigan faced the serious threat
of relegation. On the final day of the season, Wigan battled to a 2–1 away
win against Sheffield United,
guaranteeing their Premier League status for another year. The following
day, Paul Jewell unexpectedly resigned as manager; his
assistant Chris Hutchings was appointed as his replacement.
The 2007–08 season began well for
Wigan, topping the Premier League after three games for the first time
in their history. The club's league position subsequently worsened, and on the
back of a run of six consecutive defeats Wigan plummeted into the
relegation zone. Chairman Dave Whelan took the decision to sack manager Chris Hutchings on 5
November 2007, after only 12 games in charge.
Former Manchester United defender Steve Bruce replaced Hutchings. Bruce had just resigned as
manager, and signed a £2m-a-year deal to try to keep Birmingham City Wigan in the Premier League. Bruce
eventually oversaw a comparatively comfortable end to the season for Wigan, who finished 14th in
the final table with 40 points – three places and two points higher than their
finish the previous season.
Highly-rated Egyptian striker Amr Zaki sign on an initial one-year loan. Zaki had scored 10 Premier League goals by February 2009, as Wigan reached seventh place in the table with 34 points from 25 games and looked certain to remain in the Premier League for a fifth successive season.
Roberto Martínez 2009–present
A late surge that included a 1–0 win over
Liverpool and a 3–2 win over
Arsenal – the latter of which saw Wigan recover from two goals
down with ten minutes remaining to win in injury time – saw the team once more
At the beginning of the 2010–11 season,
Wigan lost 4–0 to Blackpool at the DW stadium. However,
despite remaining in the bottom three for the majority of the season, Wigan
managed to retain their Premier League status on the last day of the season,
defeating Stoke City thanks to a
goal from Hugo Rodallega.
On the 7th of May
Wigan secured their Premier League
status and relegated Blackburn Rovers with a 1-0 victory at . Ewood Park