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1932-78

The Non-League Years

The fifth club to play football at Springfield Park following the building of the ground in 1897, Wigan Athletic were formed in 1932 following the demise of Wigan Borough. The old club were forced to resign from the Third Division North of the Football League on the 26th October 1931, when the directors expressed their inability to meet their present and future commitments to the club. 

Even with the voluntary liquidation of Wigan Borough the town's die-hard football enthusiasts were planning the rebirth of a town team. 

A public meeting was held at the Queen's Hall presided over by the then Mayor of Wigan, Councillor W A Hipwood, who called on the town to keep up the reputation of producing the finest sportsmen by keeping intact an Association Football team as well as the Rugby League team. 

A committee was elected and a new club was formed to be called Wigan Athletic. Springfield Park was purchased for the sum of £2,850 from the owners of the Woodhouse Lane dog track, with the club gaining election to the Cheshire League. 

The 1934-35 season besides collecting their second Cheshire League championship saw the first of what became many incredible F.A. Cup runs. Carlisle United were beaten 6-1 in the first round at Brunton Park, a record victory that still stands for a non-league side over football League opposition. 

With the end of the war in 1945, Wigan Athletic were elected into the Lancashire Combination, with the Latics proving themselves to be formidable opponents, this consistency almost rewarded in 1950 with Football League status, losing out on a third poll vote to Scunthorpe United. 

Despite this bitter disappointment, Latics continued to knock on the League's door, backing their demands by holding almost a monopolistic grip on the Lancashire Combination Championship title. 


The 1953-54 season will be remembered as one of the most remarkable in the club's sixty five year history, retaining the championship,(their third in four years), winning the Lancashire Junior Cup and competing a unique treble by lifting the Lancashire Combination Cup. Not content with cleaning up every non-league title open to them, Wigan claimed national fame, again with a strong F.A. Cup run. A second round victory over Hereford United was watched by a crowd of 27,526 spectators, a record to this day, as the largest attendance ever recorded between two non-league clubs excluding Wembley Finals. The reward was an away tie against the mighty Newcastle United, then at the height of its footballing prowess, with a side containing several legendary names. A crowd of 52,222 saw Latics return with a 3-3 draw, only to narrowly lose out in the reply 2-3. Sadly the success of this memorable season could not open the door to league status. 

The 1960's saw Latics rejoin the Cheshire League to provide stronger competition with the 1964-65 season providing another record as the club's answer to the "Roy of the Rovers" Harry Lyon amassed an amazing total of sixty six goals in a season - over half the teams total, scoring six in one match for another club record. 

Joining the new Northern Premier League Latics continued to tower above other non-league sides, claiming the scalps of league clubs in the F.A. Cup.