Each time the players push through the green swing doors to their dressing room, they see the giant mural of their 2013 FA Cup triumph on the wall.
But there is a pattern of decline where the clubs within the old Lancashire county boundaries are concerned.
Wigan’s FA Cup triumph of 2013 seems a distant dream after the Latics entered administration
Dave Whelan parades the FA Cup after their 2013 triumph during happier times for Wigan
Reminders of the club’s glory years can be found everywhere at Wigan’s DW Stadium
Success delivered by a local owner with a passion for the place – for Whelan and Wigan, read Jack Walker at Blackburn and Eddie Davies for Bolton – is hard to sustain when those individuals decide enough is enough.
The uncomfortable truth is that the former mill towns simply don’t attract credible takeover candidates in the way that those in the Greater London conurbation do.
Blackburn wound up with Venky’s, who saw fit to sack Sam Allardyce, dispense with the wise counsel of chief executive John Williams and… well, take your pick of the public embarrassments which followed. Paying out £7.5m on players who never kicked a ball probably topped the lot.
Bolton wound up with the reviled Ken Anderson. So your heart sank when, after Whelan was worn down having spent around £100m fighting Wigan’s battles, the phrase ‘unnamed Hong Kong group’ started circulating.
Former Premier League champions Blackburn ended up in the hands of an Indian poultry firm
Disgruntled fans even released a live chicken onto the pitch at Ewood Park back in 2012
Attendances were not even breaking 8,000 at the time. A mere 4,709 saw a giant-killing over Bournemouth in the Cup.
Worse has befallen others within the old Red Rose county boundaries. Blackpool’s civil war. Basket case Oldham. Bury, now bust.
Burnley have sailed serenely on – sticking resolutely to Sean Dyche when relegated in 2015 and spending so abstemiously that a marginal profit in each transfer market has become an article of faith.
But they, too, now stand at a crossroads. Dyche, not unreasonably, feels that his eight years of accomplishment at the club entitles him to significant squad investment from the board this summer and views the act of standing still as heading backwards amid the relentlessly shifting dynamics of the Premier League.
After a thoroughly miserable 2019-20 season, Bolton have been relegated to League Two
Ken Anderson took over Bolton amid financial strife but their decline only worsened
Anderson became a hate figure among Bolton fans as they dropped down the divisions
Burnley, whose entire spend this season has been £17.4m, play Sheffield United, whose comparable outlay has been £62m, this weekend.
Make no mistake about the private…