Martin Offiah believes stars could be aligned for Wigan in Challenge Cup final

·3 min read

Martin Offiah believes the stars could be aligned for Wigan going into Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup final against Huddersfield at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The former Great Britain winger, who played in the last four of Wigan’s record eight successive Wembley victories from 1992-95, says a 20th final triumph would be a fitting way to mark the club’s 150th anniversary, especially in the wake of the death of former chairman Maurice Lindsay.

Offiah, now 56, has narrated a seven-minute film based on a poem by poet and writer Tony Walsh to celebrate Wigan’s landmark anniversary.

Martin Offiah
Martin Offiah won four Challenge Cup titles with Wigan (David Giles/PA)

“It just feels it’s like a moment in time,” he said. “Maurice was a great man and for him to pass at this time and for Wigan to come through a semi-final against St Helens.

“Just because it’s fitting, though, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. You have to earn it. It’s another opportunity to make history.”

Offiah, born and raised in Hackney, fondly remembers his time at Wigan and was proud to be asked to narrate the film.

“Not being from Wigan, even though walking around London a lot of people think I am, I tried to do the project justice and make people feel emotions,” he said. “That was what I tried to do as a player.

Tony Walsh
Offiah narrated a film based on a poem by Tony Walsh (Jon Super/PA)

“I thought to myself ‘this is something that is going to inform, inspire and connect future generations’.”

Walsh is best known for “This Is The Place”, the poem he delivered to the crowds that gathered in Albert Square, Manchester five years ago for the public vigil that followed the bomb attack at Manchester Arena.

“The poem (that the film is based on) was a joy to write,” he said. “I moved myself a few times with the imagery and I’m looking forward to the reaction.

“It was a massive responsibility. It’s not just about the past, it’s about the present and the future. I’m very proud to have played a part in the club’s story.”

The film has also resonated with Warriors head coach Matt Peet, a keen student of history and life-long Wigan fan who says Saturday’s final presents an opportunity to write a new chapter in the club’s history.

“What I like personally about the film is that it celebrates the highs but also acknowledges the lows,” he said.

Matt Peet
Matt Peet is relishing an opportunity to write a new chapter in the club’s history (PA)

“As northern towns go, I feel we’ve got a lot of the characteristics of being gritty and proud but also being humble in what we’re about. I think the video encapsulates that.

“It’s probably a large part of our talk on a daily basis not just because there’s a big game coming up.

“We’re very aware at this club, from the owner right through our community team, of our responsibilities. It’s a privilege to be in the roles we are at the moment.

“Saturday is an opportunity to do something special. There’s not been many of those trophy pictures for a few years. I’m not on any of those photos and a lot of our team are not on any of those photos.

“But Huddersfield have got their reasons as well. They’re a very proud club and they will have plenty of motivation.”