Wigan Athletic boss Dave Whelan invests share of £5 million to replicate Bolton Lads and Girls Club's success in his hometown

Dave Whelan invests share of £5 million to replicate Bolton Lads and Girls Club's success in Wigan

Dave Whelan believes in the boys’ club ethos

Dave Whelan tells Gordon Burns he hopes to match the Bolton club’s excellence

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , business editor

MILLIONAIRE Dave Whelan has hailed Bolton Lads and Girls Club for providing the perfect blueprint for a similar facility in his home town of Wigan.

The 77-year-old owner of the DW Fitness Gyms and Wigan Athletic was one of three businessmen who ploughed £5 million into a new club in the heart of Wigan in 2012.

But Mr Whelan — special guest at the University of Bolton’s Business School — told broadcaster Gordon Burns the new club in his native town would not be what it is now without the example set by the club in Spa Road.

In front of a lecture theatre packed with local business leaders, he said: “We came to look at what had been done at Bolton and it was fantastic.

“The only advantage the one we have in Wigan has is that it has more land for playing fields than Bolton. Our local authority gave us four acres to play with.

“The Wigan club is now starting to have football and boxing matches against their Bolton counterparts. It’s great for the youngsters in Bolton, and I am amazed at how well their club is run.

“All we can do is to try to match it.

“Bolton is one of our great partners. Whatever we can do together can only be a good thing.”

Mr Whelan said his interest in the boys’ club ethos stemmed from when he was nine years old. He was caught stealing vegetables from a farmer’s field at a time that food was still rationed following World War Two.

He added: “A policeman came round to talk to my dad and, when I admitted it, he marched me round to Wigan Boys Club.

“It was the best thing he could’ve done. I learned to play in the brass band on the big Eb bass and the euphonium.

“It was a fantastic environment for a young boy, but eventually the club closed down.

“I am delighted that three of us have managed to put money into a new club.

“But it is purely down to me going to look at that Bolton club.”

Comments (17)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:38am Wed 19 Mar 14

I, Ludicrous says...

Did any of you know that Whelan once broke his leg in an FA Cup Final? It's true. I've no idea why he keeps so quiet about it.
Did any of you know that Whelan once broke his leg in an FA Cup Final? It's true. I've no idea why he keeps so quiet about it. I, Ludicrous
  • Score: 3

11:04am Wed 19 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

I, Ludicrous wrote:
Did any of you know that Whelan once broke his leg in an FA Cup Final? It's true. I've no idea why he keeps so quiet about it.
Being a former Blackburn Rovers supporter, Yes, I do - it's common knowledge. My mum & dad were actually there, in 1960. What on earth is your point?
[quote][p][bold]I, Ludicrous[/bold] wrote: Did any of you know that Whelan once broke his leg in an FA Cup Final? It's true. I've no idea why he keeps so quiet about it.[/p][/quote]Being a former Blackburn Rovers supporter, Yes, I do - it's common knowledge. My mum & dad were actually there, in 1960. What on earth is your point? Darren1951
  • Score: -7

11:55am Wed 19 Mar 14

I, Ludicrous says...

Darren1951 wrote:
I, Ludicrous wrote:
Did any of you know that Whelan once broke his leg in an FA Cup Final? It's true. I've no idea why he keeps so quiet about it.
Being a former Blackburn Rovers supporter, Yes, I do - it's common knowledge. My mum & dad were actually there, in 1960. What on earth is your point?
My point, former Blackburn Rovers supporter, is that he rarely misses the opportunity to remind anyone and everyone about it.
[quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]I, Ludicrous[/bold] wrote: Did any of you know that Whelan once broke his leg in an FA Cup Final? It's true. I've no idea why he keeps so quiet about it.[/p][/quote]Being a former Blackburn Rovers supporter, Yes, I do - it's common knowledge. My mum & dad were actually there, in 1960. What on earth is your point?[/p][/quote]My point, former Blackburn Rovers supporter, is that he rarely misses the opportunity to remind anyone and everyone about it. I, Ludicrous
  • Score: 6

1:07pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

Whether that's true or not, it's hardly relevant to this article, is it?
Whether that's true or not, it's hardly relevant to this article, is it? Darren1951
  • Score: 1

1:23pm Wed 19 Mar 14

bigbob123 says...

did you know he once broke his leg in an F.A Cup Final?
did you know he once broke his leg in an F.A Cup Final? bigbob123
  • Score: -2

1:28pm Wed 19 Mar 14

bigbob123 says...

one leg Whelan
one leg Whelan bigbob123
  • Score: -2

1:29pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

There are now seven "thumbs downs" against my original question - anyone care to offer an explanation why, please?
There are now seven "thumbs downs" against my original question - anyone care to offer an explanation why, please? Darren1951
  • Score: -4

1:36pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

From the way that I'm being "thumbed down", I've a sneaky suspicion that a "friend" of mine, from another thread, has "escaped" on to this one,
From the way that I'm being "thumbed down", I've a sneaky suspicion that a "friend" of mine, from another thread, has "escaped" on to this one, Darren1951
  • Score: -4

1:54pm Wed 19 Mar 14

I, Ludicrous says...

Darren1951 wrote:
Whether that's true or not, it's hardly relevant to this article, is it?
It rarely relevant to any article but he still insists on crow-barring it in.
[quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: Whether that's true or not, it's hardly relevant to this article, is it?[/p][/quote]It rarely relevant to any article but he still insists on crow-barring it in. I, Ludicrous
  • Score: 2

5:28pm Wed 19 Mar 14

bigbob123 says...

Dave Whelan's Broken Leg
Dave Whelan's Broken Leg bigbob123
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Phil from Smithills says...

It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.
It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan. Phil from Smithills
  • Score: 2

11:32pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

Phil from Smithills wrote:
It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.
True enough, but he did spend most of his childhood and "formative years" in Wigan, did he not?
[quote][p][bold]Phil from Smithills[/bold] wrote: It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.[/p][/quote]True enough, but he did spend most of his childhood and "formative years" in Wigan, did he not? Darren1951
  • Score: 0

9:45am Thu 20 Mar 14

Phil from Smithills says...

Darren1951 wrote:
Phil from Smithills wrote:
It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.
True enough, but he did spend most of his childhood and "formative years" in Wigan, did he not?
Its his adopted town, no problem with that. There was no criticism intended just pointing out a fact.

And good on him embarking on this venture, which will benefit the younger generation of the Wigan area.
[quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil from Smithills[/bold] wrote: It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.[/p][/quote]True enough, but he did spend most of his childhood and "formative years" in Wigan, did he not?[/p][/quote]Its his adopted town, no problem with that. There was no criticism intended just pointing out a fact. And good on him embarking on this venture, which will benefit the younger generation of the Wigan area. Phil from Smithills
  • Score: 0

10:08am Thu 20 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

Phil from Smithills wrote:
Darren1951 wrote:
Phil from Smithills wrote:
It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.
True enough, but he did spend most of his childhood and "formative years" in Wigan, did he not?
Its his adopted town, no problem with that. There was no criticism intended just pointing out a fact.

And good on him embarking on this venture, which will benefit the younger generation of the Wigan area.
"no criticism intended" - Same here. I'm actually quite glad, because I was prompted to find out myself about hs long-time connection with Wigan. Started off with supermarkets, didn't he, which were then sold to become part of the Morrison's chain?
[quote][p][bold]Phil from Smithills[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil from Smithills[/bold] wrote: It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.[/p][/quote]True enough, but he did spend most of his childhood and "formative years" in Wigan, did he not?[/p][/quote]Its his adopted town, no problem with that. There was no criticism intended just pointing out a fact. And good on him embarking on this venture, which will benefit the younger generation of the Wigan area.[/p][/quote]"no criticism intended" - Same here. I'm actually quite glad, because I was prompted to find out myself about hs long-time connection with Wigan. Started off with supermarkets, didn't he, which were then sold to become part of the Morrison's chain? Darren1951
  • Score: 0

10:46am Thu 20 Mar 14

bigbob123 says...

Dave whelan once broke his leg, did I tell you?
Dave whelan once broke his leg, did I tell you? bigbob123
  • Score: 1

10:55am Thu 20 Mar 14

bigbob123 says...

Darren1951 wrote:
Phil from Smithills wrote:
Darren1951 wrote:
Phil from Smithills wrote:
It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.
True enough, but he did spend most of his childhood and "formative years" in Wigan, did he not?
Its his adopted town, no problem with that. There was no criticism intended just pointing out a fact.

And good on him embarking on this venture, which will benefit the younger generation of the Wigan area.
"no criticism intended" - Same here. I'm actually quite glad, because I was prompted to find out myself about hs long-time connection with Wigan. Started off with supermarkets, didn't he, which were then sold to become part of the Morrison's chain?
I'm not taking the wee wee now, When he broke his leg he was given compensation and with that he set up a little stall in wigan market selling loo rolls and so on, he then managed to buy the site of Wigan Morrisons which was tiny compared to what it is now, Morrisons decided that the area was perfect for their store and as a result surrounding shops were bought out for a silly little fee, Dave held on and was the only shop left when building work started, He held on for so long that he was holding up the rest of the build so Morrisons had no choice but to pay him a small fortune to remove him from what was essentially the middle of their supermarket.
He was so skint before this that he had to borrow jumpers off my granddad for his honeymoon and the bugger never gave them back! haha
[quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil from Smithills[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Darren1951[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil from Smithills[/bold] wrote: It may be worth knowing that the article in the BN says.... "in his home town of Wigan"....... Dave Whelan is a Yorkshire man born in Bradford, not a Lancastrian from Wigan.[/p][/quote]True enough, but he did spend most of his childhood and "formative years" in Wigan, did he not?[/p][/quote]Its his adopted town, no problem with that. There was no criticism intended just pointing out a fact. And good on him embarking on this venture, which will benefit the younger generation of the Wigan area.[/p][/quote]"no criticism intended" - Same here. I'm actually quite glad, because I was prompted to find out myself about hs long-time connection with Wigan. Started off with supermarkets, didn't he, which were then sold to become part of the Morrison's chain?[/p][/quote]I'm not taking the wee wee now, When he broke his leg he was given compensation and with that he set up a little stall in wigan market selling loo rolls and so on, he then managed to buy the site of Wigan Morrisons which was tiny compared to what it is now, Morrisons decided that the area was perfect for their store and as a result surrounding shops were bought out for a silly little fee, Dave held on and was the only shop left when building work started, He held on for so long that he was holding up the rest of the build so Morrisons had no choice but to pay him a small fortune to remove him from what was essentially the middle of their supermarket. He was so skint before this that he had to borrow jumpers off my granddad for his honeymoon and the bugger never gave them back! haha bigbob123
  • Score: 1

10:57am Thu 20 Mar 14

bigbob123 says...

He also has a son that he never talks about, who has disabilities and pays £400 a month too.
He wants nothing to do with him
He also has a son that he never talks about, who has disabilities and pays £400 a month too. He wants nothing to do with him bigbob123
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree