1. ITV Report

Wigan in bid for Sports Personality of the Year award

Cllr David Molyneux and Wigan's trophies Photo: Wigan Council

The leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux, has written to the producers of the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Award, asking for the town's sporting success to be recognised with a special award.

Cllr Molynuex's full letter reads:

Dear Mr Doran,

I am writing to you from what I firmly believe is the sporting capital of the country – Wigan Borough. You will doubtless be aware of the stunning year of sporting success we’ve enjoyed in this area but, just in case you’re not totally up-to-date (and we’ve won so much it is hard to keep up), I’m more than happy to run through the highlights of the last 12 months:

• Wigan Athletic won the FA Cup and played in a European competition for the first time• Wigan Warriors won the Challenge Cup and the Super League Grand Final • Leigh Centurions won the Northern Rail Cup• David Lynn won golf’s Portugal Masters• Hayley Jones won bronze at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow • Jenny Meadows captained the Great Britain team at the European Indoor Athletics Championships• Owen Farrell played in the British Lions tour of Australia. His dad Andy was the team’s assistant coach

Wigan Warrios lift the Super League grand Final trophy Credit: PA Images

If all that wasn’t enough, we’re about to host two matches during the Rugby League World Cup, the biggest global team competition to take place in Britain this year. And, in September, two thousand people took part in the first ever Wigan 10k. Sir Bradley Wiggins fired the starting pistol. The Olympic champion and Knight of the British Empire lives just over the border in Chorley and is married to a proud Wiganer (his wife Catherine is an impressive cyclist herself).

Sir Bradley was, of course, named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2012 and that brings me to the reason I’m writing to you. I’m a great fan of your programme and really looking forward to this year’s show. I can’t wait to see how you’re going to reflect the spectacular sporting success we’ve enjoyed here in Wigan.

Wigan Athletic players win the FA Cup Credit: PA Images

I know I’m biased, and with respect to Andy Murray and the English cricket team, I think what’s happened here in the last 12 months is THE sporting story of 2013. I believe it is only right you recognise Wigan’s outstanding achievements and if you’re handing out prizes we ought to be getting one.

I know there isn’t currently a category for town or borough of the year but perhaps it’s time you created one to mark Wigan’s winning record? Or maybe you could give Wigan Borough the Team of the Year title – after all, the whole borough has been caught up in the excitement of the last year. Young and old have been swept along by our sporting triumphs. I’ve been watching sport my whole life and never known anything like it. As an avid Wigan Athletic fan and rugby supporter, I’ve been to Wembley four times in 12 months.

Tour of Britain winner Bradley Wiggins calls the borough home Credit: PA Images

There’s nowhere else in the country that can boast our success and I think it’s only right it’s acknowledged on national television during your prestigious programme. It be would an opportunity to celebrate our achievements and show just how important sport is to our communities.

We all know these are tough times for families up and down the country. Here in Wigan we haven’t escaped hardship. But there’s a buzz about the place and a confidence in what we can achieve that I believe is inspired by our sporting success.

I’m told Sports Personality of the Year is being broadcast from Leeds this time, a place that hasn’t quite matched Wigan’s sporting achievements in 2013. There’s always 2014, of course, and maybe then you’ll want to broadcast from the country’s sporting capital. You’d be made very welcome in Wigan.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr David Molyneux

Deputy Leader of the Council