Richard Ashcroft reveals his excitement to play first Wigan show in more than 25 years

  • Richard Ashcroft sat down with ITV Granada's Caroline Whitmore

Former frontman of The Verve, Richard Ashcroft says he has been trying for years to play a gig in his hometown of Wigan but there wasn't the right venue.

Richard is playing two concerts at Robin Park Arena in July.

It will be the first time he's played in his hometown since The Verve's historic gig at Haigh Hall, which saw a crowd of 33,000 fans.

Richard told ITV news: "I didn't really want to do Haigh Hall again, on my own, because I'm a bit old school, and we did it, I'm not sure I want to re-live something, I want to do something fresh.

"The guys at Wigan Warriors, were the first to give a positive response, saying 'yeah, we'll put this on, and we can do it'."

When tickets went on sale, for one gig initially, on Saturday 20 July, they sold out in less than 24 hours, so another gig was added for the following night.

Richard has a strong north west presence in his support bands across the two nights, including Scouse bands Cast, The Zutons and Red Rum Club, and local Wigan band The Stanleys.

He also told ITV Granada the things he misses about his hometown, in particular the interaction in the shops: "It's the little things that I miss more than anything, just the way people call you 'luv', for example when you're buying a bag of chips.

Smiling, Richard said: "Me and my wife have this debate, because wherever I am in the world, if someone says 'where are you from?' I always say 'a town called Wigan not far from Manchester and Liverpool'

My wife thinks they mean where I'm living now, but I always think where you're from is where you were born."

Richard Ashcroft has won two Ivor Novello awards, one for Songwriter of the Year in 1998 and the other for Outstanding Contribution to British Music in 2019.

At the Live 8 concert in London in 2005, Coldplay's Chris Martin called him "the best singer in the world".

Richard Ashcroft was lead vocalist with The Verve, alongside guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury.

Ashcroft, Jones and Salisbury knew each other at school, but met Nick McCabe at Winstanley College, and the band was formed in 1990.

The Verve album Urban Hymns was released in September 1997 Credit: Hut Records

The Verve released one of the biggest albums of the era in the shape of ‘Urban Hymns’ - the UK’s 18th biggest selling album of all-time.

In 1998, the band won two Brit Awards, winning Best British Group, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in March, and in February 1999, "Bitter Sweet Symphony" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.

Two months after that they split up, due to "internal conflicts."

The venue for Richard's homecoming gigs, Robin Park Arena, Wigan Warriors’ new multi-million pound facility, built in association with Wigan council.

It's next to The DW Stadium, and is 20 minutes walk from the town centre.

Also playing in the days leading up to his homecoming gig are Noel Gallagher and Wigan band The Lathums.