Wigan Athletic supporter Jimmy France sadly passed away recently, aged 93.
Born 9 years before the Latics formed, Jimmy saw it all in his life time, from the fledgling club competing in the Lancashire Combination and Cheshire League, election to the Football League in 1978, promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and to crown the remarkable journey FA cup winners in 2013.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy and sharing his company many years ago, we stood together at Springfield Park during the 1980’s and 90’s, I didn’t know him before we met at the Latics, but, as you do, we became friends through watching the games in very close proximity of each other and sharing comments and opinions on the players and the club, he was always a gentleman and very much a real supporter of his club.
When we moved to the new ground I lost contact at the games with him, but I did occasionally bump into Jimmy and his missus around town on ‘shopping trips’, after pleasantries the conversation would immediately turn to the Latics, they were definitely in his heart.
Jimmy was still attending games, home and some away, as recently as last season aged 92!
His granddaughter, Laura Powell, says – ‘He went to away games when he was fit enough
‘Towards later life he had a walking stick and was in a lot of pain, but instead of sitting at home listening to the game he made the effort to come and watch and support his team in person, not an easy effort at 92, with chronic lung problems and being in pain on his feet however he did it.
‘Why? Because he wanted to support his team, a team that gave him joy and happiness and he wanted to be there in the moment, clapping.’
To celebrate Jimmy’s life his grandson Tom Powell has asked if Latics supporters who are attending the Bury game at the DW on Saturday would give a minutes applause on 27 minutes. 27 being the date of Jimmy’s birthday, this would be a lovely gesture at the passing of one of our own.
A football club isn’t the players, the manager or the owners, a football club is the supporters, they are there for life and give the club it’s heart and soul, supporters like Jimmy, there through thick and thin, make the club what it is, a family club, a club of the community, a club we can all be proud of, let’s make Jimmy proud in the 27th minute on Saturday for he will be looking down watching his beloved Latics and cursing the referee.
Jimmy with the FA cup
By permission of Bernard Platt/Wigan Athletic
Jimmy also served in the RAF during World War 2, he was extremely proud of this.
Check out the latest PWU Podcast – The Heartbeat Is Strong
Latics spring into second spot in the table and all is well.
A great away day at Walsall last Saturday, a bit of a PWU road trip, with Balti Pies and a full on ‘of the terrace’ report from Rob, Barry, Gareth and Paul.
We have a chat about the fantastic gesture of free coach travel to Swindon and question Adam as to why he’s declined and decided to go on a £30 return trip instead!
Bury at home on Saturday, can we finally rid ourselves of the bogey team status that they appear to have over us?
Millwall away on Tuesday, we have a quick look forward to the game, but get side tracked as usual!
The podcast can be listened to by clicking the embedded player below or downloaded to listen at you leisure by visiting www.buzzsprout.com