“One of the most incredible things I’ve experienced” – Michael Maguire opens up on touching memory as Wigan Warriors boss

It’s easy to forget given they are Britain’s most successful club and one the most successful sides in Super League history, but during the start of the Super League era Wigan were somewhat in the wilderness.

After winning the inaugural Grand Final in 1998, they wouldn’t win at Old Trafford for another 12 years and following Grand Final defeats to St Helens (2000) and Bradford (2001 and 2003) they wouldn’t make it to a decider for seven years.

The height of their struggles came in 2005 and 2006 when relegation became a real possibility but even in 2007-09 they finished sixth, fourth and sixth again.

But in 2010 that all changed with the arrival of Michael Maguire sparking a rival. The Warriors finished top as he moulded Sam Tomkins into a superstar. They won the Grand Final against St Helens before backing that up with Challenge Cup Final success in 2011 against Leeds.

However, his time at the club ended in disappointment with semi-final defeat to St Helens in Super League.

That said, Maguire recently revealed that night produced one of his fondest ever memories.

Back in the UK with his New Zealand team for the World Cup, Maguire went back to Wigan for a fantastic event where he and the retiring Thomas Leuluai spoke about the impact Wigan as a club have had on them.

Maguire went on to speak about “one of the most incredible things” he’d ever experienced as a coach.

He said: “I’d like to say it out loud again, I said it 10 years ago thank you for giving me the opportunity to come to this great club.

“It’s one of the greatest memories of my life, and I always tell this story which is about the Wigan fans, the last game unfortunately we lost the semi-final and I was saying goodbye to the players and the security guard was knocking on the door and he was saying ‘Madge you need to come outside’ and I was trying to tell him, ‘no I want to say goodbye’ and he says ‘you need to come outside.

“I go outside and one of the ends of the field was basically full of Wigan fans and they wouldn’t leave until I walked out onto the field and as I walked out the noise and the singing was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

A touching moment and one that demonstrates the power of rugby league fans in the UK.

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