Wigan’s 150th year film

Wigan Warriors are delighted to launch its 150th year film – a 7-minute video celebrating this year’s anniversary.

The video is based on a poem written by English poet, performer and writer, Tony Walsh, who delivered his poem “This Is The Place” to the crowds that gathered in Albert Square, Manchester in May 2017 for the public vigil following the bomb attack at Manchester Arena. 

The poem has been written specially for the 150th year anniversary and is narrated by Wigan Warriors Hall of Famer, Martin Offiah.  

Watch the full film below.

Warriors Executive Director, Kris Radlinski, said: “It’s obviously a celebration of 150 years and we had to do that but it comes from a great place of humility from us all. This is not a self indulgent piece, it’s almost a gift to the town and a tip of the hat to our history, we’re incredibly humbled and honoured to be part of this project.”

Poet Tony Walsh started working with the Club in August last year. A group of 20 Wigan fans were invited to what he calls a ‘panning for gold’ session where he gauged ideas and words of what Wigan Warriors was all about.

He then went away and within three weeks wrote the poem. Walsh then delivered it to Wigan Chairman, Ian Lenagan, before revealing it to the same group of fans.

On the poem, Walsh said: “From watching the sport in the 80s and 90s I was very well aware of the legacy of the Club but when I looked into it more deeply, I did my research, spent some time with Kris, the Chairman and a couple of hours with a group of fans and came away with thirty or forty pages of flipchart paper covered in words of what the Club meant to people.

“When I brought it back and shared it with those fans, it’s fair to say there was more than a few tears and there was a standing ovation in the room. It’s a massive responsibility and it’s not just about the past, it’s about the present and the future as well, I’m very proud to have played a part in the Club’s story at this important time.”

Once the poem had been written, work got underway in creating the film. Phil Pickard, Producer at media company Short Stories, worked with the Club to pull together an extensive reel of archive footage and fan video clips to create the film. Filming then took place with Wigan Hall of Famer, Martin Offiah, who is the Narrator of Walsh’s poem.

Offiah said: “I haven’t got a Wigan accent, but having spent time with the likes of Shaun Edwards over the years and being around Wigan, I really wanted to do justice to the terminology and to make people feel – that’s what I tried to do as a player, to make people feel emotions and that’s what I was trying to do when I performed the piece.

“I thought to myself – this is something that is going to inform, inspire, connect future generations even when I’m gone. I like to think that the things that I did on the field will stand the test of time, so I knew that this was very important. It’s a concise bit of history in a poem, with the visuals that some children in five, ten or even fifty-years time will look at and connect with it. It was a very important role and I didn’t take it lightly.”

Producer Phil Pickard added: “We tried to remember the whole 150 years when showing this poem, always remembering that link between the town and the Club which have been through thick and thin together. The driving theme between putting the pictures to the poem was the people, the history, the Community, the Club and hopefully that has all come through.”

Below are some screenshots from the film.