John Shaw: Wigan’s true Ancient & Loyal fan

Wigan Warriors fan John Shaw has an incredible record, that does not look like ending at any time soon.

This man takes the club’s motto of ‘Ancient and Loyal’ to its literal meaning, and has now attended 1334 consecutive Wigan games, and counting.

As he explains, John was bitten by the Wigan rugby league bug at an early age, and he has never shifted his allegiance since.

“I was first introduced to Wigan by by Dad in 1968 just aged five,” he explained to Love Rugby League.

“From that point on I’ve been a fanatic ever since. My first match was the BBC Floodlit Trophy Final against St Helens which we won.”

John’s loyalty to Wigan also extends to collecting as much memorabilia from his trips as possible, including match programmes.

“I’ve collected every single Wigan match day programme from the past 36 years including friendlies,” he said.

“I also collect the Challenge Cup Final programmes. I have them all dated back to the very first one in 1929.

“I also collect Wigan shirts, scarves and pin badges. I even have several Wigan tattoos on my body include the Grand Final trophy covering my stomach area, the Challenge Cup representing the Grand Slam in 1995 on my arm, and the Wigan Crest on my calf.”

John has travelled far afield watching his team, following them on even their longest overseas trips, though his streak would be longer were it not for a trip to Wakefield.

“I have been all over the world watching Wigan,” he said.

“On Thursday September 1 against Widnes it will mark my 1335th consecutive match not missing a game for 33 years.

“It would have been longer but 33 years ago the coach traveling away to Wakefield broke down and I didn’t make the match!

“I’ve been Australia three times and New Zealand once. I eveb made it to Milwaukee, USA to watch them against Warrington, as well as every single time they have played in France.”

One might have expected such dedication to the cause to have created some disruption to John’s private life over the years, but he has been lucky so far.

“In April 1994 I could have missed the birth of my second son Gary,” he said.

“He was born April 29 1994, the day before Wigan played at Wembley. Luckily my wife gave birth just in time, as my Mum was going to take over at the hospital so I could have gone to Wembley.

“The morning after, the 30th, I registered Gary as Wigan’s youngster ever supporter at just one day old, beating my first son, Paul’s, previous record of just 3 days old.”

John has even made sure he caught a behind closed doors game once, and then went and watched the team again, later the same day.

“I also have watch Wigan play two games in just one day,” John explained.

“I was at Central Park behind closed doors against Whitehaven in a friendly which I managed to get in and see, followed by Leigh away later that day which was also a friendly.

“I truly stand by the words on the Wigan crest: Ancient and Loyal.”

Let’s hope John’s streak of consecutive games goes on for many, many years to come yet.

If you have a similar story of fan devotion, we’d like to hear it:

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