Like many grounds across the country, the DW Stadium suffers from some very questionable match-day catering. Alan Moore from the Pie At Night, tells us what Wigan fans are doing about it...
Have you heard? Respected Mudhutter fanzine editor and author Martin ‘Jimmy’ Tarbuck has started a petition on change.org asking for the powers that be at Wigan Athletic and the DW Stadium to stock pies from local company Galloways rather than some old generic, petrol station fayre.
Unsurprisingly, we’re fully behind him here at Latics fans site and podcast The Pie at Night.
"Wiganers you say? Doing an internet petition about the pies on sale in their stadium? Shouldn’t they be worried about bigger things, like all those empty seats they have on a Saturday? GUFFAW"
Ok, on first look, the idea of campaigning for one brand of pies over another to be sold at a football stadium might seem like a joke, a bit trite or even, given our reputation as ‘pie-eaters’, something that reflects poorly on stereotypical images of Wigan and Wiganers.
But when it comes down to it, this is none of those, there's a serious point (or several) here…
Firstly, Wigan Athletic won the FSF's Premier League Away Day of the Year in 2015, partially at least, on the strength of the pies we served at the time (the now defunct Pooles). THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER in how people view their visits to other football clubs and no one deserves rubbish pies. The last couple of years of Hollands have been dire. Imagine having to eat something like Pukka or Ginsters?
That sort of thing should definitely be left to truck drivers, travelling salesmen and rubbish indie bands touring the country in the vain hope of being the next Oasis.
Secondly, I'm fairly fed up of hearing how great the catering is at places like Reading or Brighton. Sorry, that’s not fair, I’m not fed up, I’m jealous of clubs where they go a bit further than the minimum and try to inject a bit of local flavour or variation into what they offer fans. Is it important?
Well, fans didn’t invent the phrase "match-day experience" or put going to the game in competition with going to the pictures or a gig, but in that context it does matter, a lot, being a bit different and having some character is going to get people through the turnstiles, surely? As for the fans, as I’ve already said, THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER.
Finally and more than anything is something that isn’t a little thing at all. We can talk all we like about the commercialisation of the game or about fans being treated as consumers but regardless of how far down that line your club has gone (and we’re fairly lucky on that front at Wigan) it doesn’t mask the truth that a football club is more than a just a business or a sports team.
Whether they like it or not, they are a key part of the community, a focal point for local people and one of the few remaining opportunities those people have to gather together to try and show some civic pride.
That brings with it responsibilities (which again, Latics are pretty good with as their regular nominations, and awards, as ‘Northwest Community Club of the Year’ show) but also opportunities. Opportunities to support more than just the community, opportunities to promote other local businesses, support local jobs and strengthen the local economy.
So, yes, have a laugh at our pie obsession, chuck in a few ‘Wigan Kebab’ (three pies on a stick) or ‘Wigan wedding cake’ (three pies on top of each other) jokes, or even a few empty seat jibes, but then have a proper think about this. Then sign the petition, even if you feel you're not *that* bothered about it.
Because whether you support Latics, support Wigan or not, whether you're from Wigan or not, you know it makes sense and you sort of wish your club would do something similar.
Thanks to Richard Pope for the image used in this article. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.