// CENTRAL PARK
To compile a section to do justice to the history of Central would warrant a website of it's own. For supporters who haven't already bought a copy, 'Central Park Years' is a must have for any Wigan fan and is the source of the information you find here.
Supporters said farewell to Central Park on Sunday 5th September 1999 after a match where the Wigan side that day beat local rivals St. Helens by 28 points to 20. 96 years and 364 days after the first game against Batley was played, the most famous Rugby League ground in the world closed it's doors for the final time.
In what was dubbed 'Farewell Sunday', 18,179 supporters crammed in to pay their tributes to the famous venue (and of course watch the incidental Wigan v Saints game), many donning the perimeter with banners containing hand painted slogans. There were tears and laughter but the realisation was that following the game that kicked off at 4pm that summers afternoon, none would set foot on the terraces, as they knew them, again.
The visit of St. Helens on 27th March 1959 produced Central Park's all time record attendance of 47,747 which is still a record for any league game in this country. Prices for stand seats that day varied from four shillings (20 pence) to 5 shillings (25 pence) with the ground admission costing 3s-6d (17 and a 1/2 pence) all of which bought gate receipts of £4,804. Wigan went on to win the game 19-14 after holding off a Saints comback despite having lead 14-0.
Let There be Light
The Wigan Directors had first considered floodlights as far back as 1951 only to be told that they would need special permission from the Rugby League to play matches using them. The topic was raised several time before 1967 when, due to the ineligabilty to play in the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy, the finally decided to act and commissioned plans for a suitable installation. The 120 feet high pylons were construced in the summer of 1967 and the installation was completed by September. The lighting scheme which incorporated the turnstiles, toilets, stands an exits costed almost £17,500 but were said to be the best in Rugby League. To celebrate the switch of the new lights, Wigan met Bradford Northern in a special challenge match.
Stars of the Show
The Central park turf has been graced by many what we now called 'Legends'. From Ernie Ashcroft and Billy Blan to Shaun Edwards and Andrew Farrell, all of which are covered in our Legends section of this website.