How The Lathums are striving to keep Wigan Athletic’s community spirit alive
(Credit: Sam Crowston)

How The Lathums are striving to keep Wigan Athletic's community spirit alive

Wigan natives The Lathums have had a manic twelve months, a rise which has seen the group make the jump from performing at local pubs and clubs every weekend in their hometown to selling out a huge UK tour in a matter of minutes. To compound their arrival on the scene, the band secured a major deal with Island Records and even a global pandemic hasn’t stopped them from making 2020 their breakout year.

Despite a hugely successful 2020 on a personal level, it has been a very different story for their hometown, one which is situated within the industrial North West of England. Wigan, traditionally, is a Rugby League town but the football team remains a key pillar of the community. While the club has enjoyed unprecedented Premier League highs, this summer it looked a genuine possibility that Wigan Athletic Football Club would disappear for good, another longstanding institution failed by The FAs ‘fit-and-proper-person test’ which allowed another rogue ownership. Even though The Lathums don’t profess to be avid football lovers by any stretch of the imagination, they understood this wasn’t about football — this is about community, pride and people.

Wigan Athletic is more than a football team to the people of their town and, much like many towns and cities across Britain, it’s a route of escapism out of the mundanity of day to day life. The intensity of sport, the camaraderie that comes with meeting friends and family for a pint and a pie on the terraces is an undeniable triumph of a local community, the very same emotions that are easily translated into that of live music. The Lathums know the importance that Athletic has on the town of Wigan, accepting the impossibility to avoid the strife and bitter conflict that the club has been embroiled within in recent months and, in true determined style, they weren’t prepared to let it die as they sat idly by.

With no opportunity to put on a live concert in order to raise money for the football club, the rising four-piece band needed to get creative in their efforts to raise some much-needed funds for Wigan and their humble but fiercely committed supporters. The one thing that is most intrinsically linked to the culture of Wigan is Northern Soul, another undeniable cultural touchstone within the community. In an attempt to pay tribute to the history of the town whilst hoping to build a brighter future at the same time, The Lathums got busy.

One of the most loved tracks from the era of Northern Soul is Al Wilson song ‘The Snake’, a number which saw Britain welcome the ballrooms of Wigan as a mecca to which they took pilgrimages to visit during the 1970s. The Lathums were born and raised on this brand of music—as did everyone else from Wigan. Relying on the past to help propel Wigan Athletic into a brighter future, the band decided to produce a cover ‘The Snake’ but with a twist; they would only release one exclusive copy of the vinyl.

The raffle ended on November 6th and has seen a countless number of fans pay the £5.95 fee, all of which is all heading to the Wigan Athletic’s Community Trust in a bid to help cover essential costs that the club have built up since entering administration.

The fortunate position that the band find themselves in, coupled with the opportunity to help their community, isn’t something that is lost on frontman Alex Moore. “It’s crazy that our entity of The Lathums is on par with the football club and we can do something to help them. It’s quite surreal,” the singer told Players Playlist.

“They’ve been great help to us as well,” guitarist Scott Conception added while praising the football club. “They always play our tunes at half-time and have been doing so since like ‘I Know That Much’,” the guitarist continued.

That open-armed ‘one of our own’ love that the football club showed to the band during their formative years has spearheaded their determination to repay the faith. While the band may be riding the success of major label deal with Island Records, the importance of supporting the local community that has propped them up isn’t underestimated. This is a tale of how a football club can be a centre of a local community, one which bolsters countless lives, uniting creativity in all forms.