Since being in the Premier League, I’ve missed the proper away days like we used to have in the championship. Trips to places like Barnsley and Burnley were always a personal favourite, and I figured my second trip to Wigan was the closest thing I was going to get to that this season.
Tickets were priced at just £20 for an adult for this fixture, a price that would be reasonable in the Championship, let alone in the Premier League. It makes you wonder why every club can’t charge these kinds of prices, especially those with more financial stability than the likes of Wigan. I guess they know they can get away with charging whatever they want and know that they will still get a near sell-out crowd every week.
Wigan’s just a short trip up the M6 for me, but as the weather was so horrendous over the weekend, driving was definitely not fun! The DW Stadium is easy to find by car once you get to Wigan though, and parking at the ground was reasonably cheap, with a designated away fans car park priced at £5. This car park is closer to the main road too, so it meant I could make my much needed escape after the football pretty quickly.
The DW Stadium is located on a big retail park, so it’s great for shopping, but there is not much in the way of food outlets and pubs in close proximity to the ground. However, within the ground there was something called ‘the Marquee’, which can only be described as a more up market version of the function room seen on Phoenix Nights, where away fans could go and drink, and watch the early kick off on a wonky projector screen. It was a very surreal atmosphere, with the room half-dressed from the wedding held there the night before, and the numerous posters dotted around the room for the upcoming shows at the venue, which included a JLS tribute (!) and a street dance group. Whatever floats your boat in Wigan I guess?
The stewards on the turnstiles were very friendly, asking us if we’d had a good trip up and telling us to enjoy the game, but not too much because they wanted a Wigan win. It’s always so much nicer to be treated like that as an away fan, rather than presuming that because we’ve travelled it means we want to cause trouble, like at some clubs. The friendliness continued inside the ground, with stewards making sure you knew where you were sitting and assisting you if necessary.
The ground itself is basic, but definitely adequate, with a spacey and clean concourse. It’s one of those grounds too where you can’t really have a bad seat wherever you sit in the away end. My only qualm is that, even though I was located about 12 rows back and had a very good view, I still got soaked when the heavens opened just towards the end of the first half, because of the lack of the overhang of the roof. However, even though the stewards had originally said that seating was reserved for the game, they had no problem with us moving and there were plenty of seats to do so.
Food inside the ground was very well priced and definitely the cheapest I have seen so far this season, even though the selection was not huge. A pie would cost you a mere £2.30, whilst a pie and a hot drink was £3.90. Even though I don’t drink, I think beer was reasonably cheap too at £3.20 a pint, and a good cup of tea was just £1.70! On the ticket, there was a fish and chip shop advertised behind the away fans stand. I was just expecting to see a little van, but this place was the whole works, and definitely better than the soggy, overpriced food you get served up at other grounds.
The whole atmosphere of the day was a really friendly one, even though it wasn’t the loudest ground I’ve been to (and I’m convinced their drum broke just after Morro’s goal). Everyone seemed very welcoming, which was no consolation for how poorly we played, but it definitely helped make the day as enjoyable as it could have been. There’s no denying we needed to win that game, especially after Southampton’s annoying defeat of Newcastle on Sunday afternoon. The tie at Villa Park on Tuesday was always down to be an important game, but the significance of it has become even greater just by one weekend of football. It’s still far too early to give up now, but something needs to happen on the pitch, and quickly, else I fear we’re going to be in serious trouble come Christmas.
Twitter - @Becka_Ellen