The TNS Top 50 All time Latics players: #39 – Joe Hinnigan

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Time for another entry into our hall of fame, the last one for today and we stretch back to a player who served Wigan Athletic in both the Northern Premier League and our early league campaigns.

Fondly remembered by older fans, scorer of Wigan Athletic’s first ever league goal and one of the early pioneers of the long production line of Wigan Athletic players sold on to bigger clubs for a pittance. Well actually, we got good money for him back then a record fee.


From a personal perspective, although I saw Joe Hinnigan play it was in a Gillingham shirt and latterly wearing the colours of Chester City at a time when half their team were ex-Wigan Athletic players. That reminds me – no votes for Gary Bennett? Just goes to show that being an utter tosser after you’ve played for a club can really cloud your memories of that player.

Anyway, I digress, over to Bernard for a brief outline of Joe Hinnigan’s Wigan Athletic career. He looked like a hard bugger I know that much……

Joe arrived at Springfield Park in August 1975 for a fee of £1,200 from South Liverpool. He had difficulty settling at Springfield Park and was put on the transfer list during his second season at the club. Things were so bad that at one stage he was banned from the ground. However, after a ‘clear the air chat’ with manager Ian McNeill he was recalled from the reserve team and scored the winning goal in the Lancashire Junior Cup Final against Chorley at the end of season 1976/77 and he never looked back.

He played 119+1 Northern Premier League games for the Blues and he scored 8 Northern Premier League goals before Latics were elected into the Football League.

He made his Latics League debut on 19th August 1978 against Hereford United at Edgar Street in the Blues’ first ever Football League game which resulted in a 0-0 draw.

Joe is in the Latics history books as scoring Latics’ first ever Football League goal and he did this on 2nd September 1978 against Newport County at Springfield Park. It wasn’t too long before the ‘big boys’ were alerted about Joe and it came as no surprise when he left the club to join Sunderland for a then club record incoming transfer fee of £130,000 in February 1980. He made a total of 66 League appearances for the Blues during which he scored 10 League goals.

He finished his football career at Chester City before becoming the clubs physio, and later assistant manager. He returned to Springfield Park as assistant to Graham Barrow in September 1994, before following him to Rochdale and Bury. He is currently the physio for Accrington Stanley following a spell at Shrewsbury Town in a similar capacity.

THE TNS TOP 50 RUNDOWN  – 38 left to go!!

39. Joe Hinnigan

40. Ian Kilford

41. Hugo Rodallega

42. James McCarthy

43. Mickey Worswick

44. Noel Ward

45. Simon Haworth

46. Gary Caldwell

47. Mike Pollitt

48. Bert Llewellyn

49. Bryan Griffiths

50. = Graham Barrow

50. = Maynor Figueroa

50. = Paul Jewell

50. = Graham Kavanagh

50. = Henri Camara

50. = Lee Cattermole


The TNS Top 50 was compiled last year and collected over 2,000 votes from Latics fans across a variety of platforms. There have been initial discussions with the club and other fan sites to turn this into a bigger survey and produce a book of the Top 100 Latics players next year with pen pictures written by fans

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