Wigan Athletic pay respects as ‘one of oldest Latics fans’ who met wife travelling to game dies aged 80

A Wigan Athletic supporter who devoted his life to following the club – even meeting his wife of fifty years on a coach when travelling to a game – has died at the age of 80.

Alan Winstanley was one of the Latics’ longest serving supporters who watched as the club rose from the Lancashire Combination to the Premier League.

And, having followed them from the lonely reaches of non-league, his proudest moment came in 2013 when he saw the club clinch the FA Cup – after being given the tickets by then manager Roberto Martinez.

Alan and his wife Rita, who met while travelling to a game in the 60s, were celebrating their Golden wedding anniversary at the DW Stadium the same day Wigan beat Millwall in the FA Cup semi-final.

And when the club found out, Martinez agreed to hand over the first pair of tickets issued for the final in person to them at their Ashton-in-Makerfield home.



Something which according to the former miner’s son Neil, had left him speechless.

“Believe me that didn’t happen very often,” he said.

“We will always be grateful for the pleasure dad got from this.”

The club posted a statement on their website and social media and wished to ‘send its sincere condolences to Rita and family’.

A number of supporters responded to the statement and posted messages of support to the former car mechanic apprentice.

“R.I.P Alan, sad to see the passing of a true blue, ‘you are our sunshine’,” said John Sharples.

Jessica-Marie Mundey said: “R.I.P Alan true blue and let’s win the league for Alan x.”

Steven Lunt was delighted that Alan saw the Lactics lift the FA Cup and said: “What a fan and story. So glad he got to see Latics win the FA cup in his lifetime.”

Fans from other teams also lent their support such as Lauren Bethany, a Leeds United fan, who posted: “RIP from a massive LUFC fan. True football fans are what makes this country so great and he sounds like one of the best going, massive respect.”

Alan’s wife Rita responded to the kind words and posted on Facebook: “Thank you all for your overwhelming comments and lovely words, thank you also to the club for all they did for me and Allan before last year’s FA Cup final x.”

His funeral is being held at the Holy Trinity church in Rectory Road, Downall Green on August 4 at 2pm, followed by cremation at the St. Helens Crematorium.

Picture courtesy of Rita Winstanley via Facebook, with thanks.

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