Along with Wigan Pier, they have helped make the town famous around the world.
Now premium sweet brand Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls and Wigan Warriors are celebrating what is believed to be the longest team sponsorship link in the UK and one of the longest in world sport after reaching the 60-year milestone.
Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are made by Wigan-based William Santus and Co Ltd, a privately-owned traditional sweet company that was established in 1898.
The partnership has enabled the company to get a unique insight into the sweet eating behaviour of sports fans and reveal that fans of a winning team eat more sweets.
John and Ant Winnard, joint managing directors of Uncle Joe’s, revealed how their father, company boss John Winnard Snr, and long-serving staff member Tommy Bennett used to stay behind after matches to assess how many sweets they had sold to the fans.
John said: “They used to look down at the terraces and see how many empty sweet wrappers had been discarded by supporters.
“If it had been a close game people used to get through more sweets to cope with the tension but the feel-good factor after a narrow victory used to make them finish off the bag to celebrate!”
Ant added: “Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls, Wigan Warriors and Wigan Pier are the three things that have made Wigan famous around the world and we are very proud of our strong connections with the club.
“People have been eating Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls at the game since 1898 and from virtually the day that they were first made.
“We are delighted to be continuing our long association with Wigan Warriors, who share the same strong business ethics as us and work tirelessly to promote everything that is great about Wigan.
“Obviously we are in a unique set of circumstances at the moment with the coronavirus outbreak but our support for the club remains undiminished and when rugby gets back to normal we will still be backing the club as strongly as ever.”
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