Wigan defender Tom Pearce trades the field for plants to help a lifelong fan and season ticket holder in her garden as part of the club’s Tackling Loneliness Together program on EFL’s Day of Action
- Wigan Athletic has given back to the community during the pandemic
- The club program ‘Tackling loneliness together’ is intended for fans who are in danger of becoming isolated
- After admitting his love for landscaping, Tom Pearce helped a fan in her garden
- Wigan has made more than 1,700 phone calls and 400 garden gate visits in the past 12 months
Wigan Athletic was winning in Plymouth when three injured players watched live, along with fans asked what they could be if not footballers.
‘Gardener,’ left back Tom Pearce said without hesitation, sparking a chain reaction that ended with him venturing to weed and prune a spot for lifelong Wigan fan and season ticket holder Bernie Green in the West village of Upholland. Lancashire.
“My grandfather has always been an avid gardener and I grew up gardening,” said Pearce.
Wigan’s Tom Pearce helped a fan in her garden as part of the club’s work in the community
He helped Wigan fan and season ticket holder Bernie Green do the weeding and pruning
The defender recently admitted that he would be a gardener if he were not a professional footballer
‘I’ve kept going since I got my own house, I love getting the lines in the grass like Wembley, and if I wasn’t a footballer I would be a gardener.
“When I said that at the game in Plymouth, they were joking and Bernie said I could come and do some work in her yard, so I came along to help her.”
Bernie, 75, has been a member of Wigan’s Extra Time Hub since her husband Dennis passed away and the club launched a program called Tackling Loneliness Together for fans in danger of isolation.
They’ve made more than 1,700 phone calls, delivered 660 goody bags, and made more than 400 garden gate visits in the past 12 months.
Never has a football club’s place at the heart of the community been more evident than during the pandemic, and nowhere has this connection been more appreciated than in Wigan, where they spent nearly nine miserable months on the board contemplating extinction.
From the safety in the center of the table in the championship, they were deducted 12 points, relegated, lost manager Paul Cook, and sold all the players they could. All just seven years after winning the FA Cup, their finest hour.
Wigan was bailed out of administration last month when the EFL approved a takeover
John Sheridan, appointed on the eve of the season, moved on after two months, putting janitorial managers Leam Richardson and Gregor Rioch against relegation with a dedicated but exhausted squad.
It’s a little wonder they stand a chance of surviving the fall to League Two at this stage, and supporters have done their part in return raising over £ 850,000 in funds.
“It’s been a roller coaster year,” said 23-year-old Pearce. Everyone was in shock when we found out we were going into administration and we came back for the new season thinking there was going to be a takeover, but there was nothing. It took months.
The pandemic meant communicating face-to-face with fans and giving us insight into how they thought, how much they care, how much they want you to do it right. This is their hometown and their club. ‘
As part of Wigan’s Tackling Loneliness Together campaign, the club has made more than 1,700 phone calls, delivered 660 goody bags and completed more than 400 garden gate visits in the past 12 months.
Wednesday is the fifth day of action of the EFL where 72 clubs come together to demonstrate the positive impact of football
Wigan was bailed out of administration last month when the EFL approved a takeover by a Bahraini consortium. “It’s a tremendous weight off our shoulders,” said Pearce, announcing the green shoots of recovery.
Wednesday marks the EFL’s fifth day of action, when 72 clubs come together to demonstrate the positive impact that football can have on people’s lives through community projects and has been a source of vital support at a time of national crisis.
The EFL clubs have together delivered more than a million food packages, nearly 180,000 items of personal protective equipment and 22,000 prescriptions, and have donated stadiums for use by the NHS and as vaccination centers.