Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan opens up on health woes as he strives for glorious ending to 16-year reign

Ben Olawumi
Ian Lenagan Wigan Warriors SWpix

Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan lifting the Challenge Cup in 2022

Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan has opened up on the health scare he experienced during the COVID-19 Pandemic ahead of what will be the eighth and final Grand Final that the club are involved in during his reign  tomorrow evening.

It was announced back in July that Lenagan would be stepping down from his role at the end of the year after 16 years at the helm of the Cherry and Whites, his hometown club.

The Scholes-born businessman will be proceeded by another local in Mike Danson, the man who purchased Wigan Athletic and who already has a minority stake in the Warriors.

Lenagan leaves behind a legacy which has seen Wigan achieve a great deal since he assumed control in 2006. When they raised the League Leaders’ Shield following a win against Leigh Leopards last month, the chairman was handed the silverware to lift in front of their travelling supporters, receiving rapturous applause having done so.

The respect the stalwart has gained over the years is high, though may increase even more given the problems he kept in-house for the last few years.

Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan reveals health woes as he prepares to bow out

Speaking to Granada Reports earlier this week, the Warriors chief revealed that during the Pandemic, he suffered a stroke. Not wanting it to impact upon anything day-to-day at the club, very few people were informed, and until now it’s not become public knowledge.

Lenagan said: “Life was difficult enough during Covid, my own particular problems were nowhere near what some families suffered.

“It would have been quite incongruous to speak about it or seek sympathy. It was quite a bad stroke, I still lose words and forget things, but considering what it could have been, it was a great warning.

“You have to be careful then, and I’m delighted to be over it.”

Warriors chief ‘can’t demand’ Grand Final win, but hopes to bow out in style at Old Trafford

Success hasn’t always been easy to come by for Lenagan and Wigan, who have endured plenty of heartbreak, including the last Grand Final they were involved in back in 2020 at the height of the Pandemic.

More recently though, they’ve lifted the Challenge Cup last year, and topped the table this term, with the opportunity to crown it all off tomorrow night with a first Grand Final triumph since 2018 as they take on Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford.

No matter what happens, Lenagan looks back on his time with great pride, as he detailed in the package with the local news outlet.

He continued: “Having had the magnificent period in the 80s and 90s, it was very difficult for Wigan to get back to that era. I remember Pat Richards saying to me that he’d actually been in five semi-finals and lost every one of them, so it was time for a win.

“Then you’ve got to build the community and do all the things that are right. Three Challenge Cups, four League Leaders’ Shields, a World Club Challenge and five Super League titles.

“(They are) statistics that when you’re at the end of an era, you begin to look at and the fact that we’ve won 12 trophies in 16 years and been in 16 finals with one more yet to come, it’s a rather nice number.

“We’ve won lots of trophies over a period of time, I can’t demand having another one.”

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