Football fans devastated following club ticket decision

  • Wigan Athletic have allocated their east stand to Manchester United supporters for their F.A. Cup third round tie
  • Fans have reacted angrily as they are being removed from their regular seats for the match
  • The club have responded giving their reasons for the change

Fans of Wigan Athletic football club are up in arms following the club’s decision to house away fans in the East Stand.

Latics announced they would be giving their East Stand to Manchester United fans in their FA Cup third round tie today (January 8th).

The East Stand at the DW Stadium that will be occupied by Manchester United fans – Image: PA Media

The club have made the decision to maximise the amount of tickets sold for the third round clash, allocating the 6,410 seater stand to the visitors. This in exchange for the north stand with a capacity of 4,800 on match days.

The east stand known, noted as the Family Stand for Wigan Athletic home fixtures, usually houses Wigan’s most vocal fans in the ES2 section.

The club said the decision was taken to make the tie more financially lucrative and for the sustainability of the club for the years to come. However, this has come at the cost of angering many fans who have taken to social media to vent their frustration.

Wigan Athletic players during their match against Wrexham in August – Image: PA Media

What the fans have had to say

Mark James Prescott took to Facebook saying: “Wigan Athletic have sold their soul. No home fans allowed in the East Stand. All given away to Manchester United. Keep it, I’ll watch it on TV.”

Forever WAFC said on Twitter: “It’s completely fine for the club to want to make money off this, but the way they’re doing it is so poor. The club didn’t budget for this game either, so any profit they made should be a bonus. Hope the fans groups speak out.”

Forever WAFC had their say on X regarding the situation.

Barry Worthington of the Progress With Unity podcast said: “The decision by the club was not made with the fans in mind. At a sporting event to offer the largest stand to the away supporters means we are creating an atmosphere that benefits Manchester United.

“The club have said they based their decision on games like Manchester City in 2018 where the stands weren’t full. I was at that match, and it was the crowd that carried us through, we were being battered all game and the crowd helped lift and turn it into a great day for the club.

“It’s also about safety, the east stand backs onto car park three, where I’ve parked for home games, and the bridge back into town. What’s the solution, to keep Manchester United fans in the ground for 20 or 30 minutes after the game when the kick-off is at 8:15pm, so they’ll leave the ground at around 11pm, it just doesn’t make sense.”

What the club says

Wigan Athletic chairman Ben Goodburn said: “I understand that Latics’ fans like to sit in their own seats where possible. However, this is a unique one-off cup game and, having reviewed previous big home fixtures such as the 2018 Manchester City fixture, we want to ensure we maximise its potential whilst also ensuring we get as many Latics fans in the stadium as we think is possible.”

Empty seats left among Wigan Athletic supporters in the East Stand on matchday – Image: Matthew Barber

The financial security of the club has been of paramount importance over the last 12 months. In the summer of 2023 Latics were in administration and were just days away from ceasing to exist. A company backed by Mike Danson purchased the club in June 2023 and continues to make losses despite the efforts being made to secure the clubs future.

Goodburn added: “The reality is that our club has made, and continues to make, significant financial losses that will continue in the long term unless we make some tough decisions which some fans may not agree with.

“Although the decision to move the away fans into the east stand for this specific fixture was not an easy decision, we feel it is the right one in terms of maximising attendance, improving our stadium’s atmosphere and taking positive steps to improve the financial health of the Club.”