Caricatures & Sketches

Back in the days before social media and instant replays on your mobile devices, people like you and I had to imagine what the game looked like if you weren't there watching at the ground. Now, anyone can find an image of any sporting athlete within an instant with a quick google search or looking at their MyFace - Twit - Insta - Tikity Toks.

So, back in 'day when photographs still took time to develop before being inserted into newspapers, the Press turned to artist impressions of football matches and sketches of new signings or footballing stars to insert into the days match reports. Here we will look at the many examples of how match reports turned visual and some drawing of local football celebrities.

In Wigan's case, the Wigan Examiner turned to a local artist in the 1920s and 1930s called James M. Gannon, who signed his works simply as 'Gannon'. He caricatured players and officials and drew cartoon-styled depictions of Wigan matches. Often, the Athletic News would lead their weekly publication with cartoons of leading sporting events from the previous weekend to add a visual and sometimes humorous flair to their reporting.

Percy Coldrick

Ted Spillane


Roy Kinnear

Bert Jenkins

George Hesketh

Tom Brown


Frank Walford



Charlie Seeling


Fred Roffey

Tom Coles

Danny Hurcombe

Bucky Green

Like a bird he "goes on the wing,"

Though he's never been known to sing,

While on the track,

He is a crack,

But he can't do the Highland fling.

Jim Sullivan

Here's Tom Thomas, now a sitting in the scales,

He's the latest "capture" we have got from Wales;

And we would not have him sold,

For it's true what we are told,

That our "Tommy's" more than worth his weight in gold.

Johnny Ring

George v. Rooyen

Billy Halliwell

James Halliwell

Jack Anderton

Dicky Seddon

Ned Bullough

James Telford

J. W. Clegg

Jim Slevin


Charlie Samuels

Tom Brayshay

Just some of the pen pictures and cartoons of players there. Of course, this was in the days before photographs could be instantly inserted into media. As for the game themselves many people would use their imagination if they hadn't seen it live. Others, if they were lucky enough, would have the joy of seeing a cartoon in the next issue of the newspapers of the events surrounding the match.

Wigan had a good run in the Lancashire Cup, defeating Warrington on December 5th in the semi-final... before defeating Oldham in the Final - just.

The 1908-9 season was an arm-wrestle between two great clubs: Wigan and Oldham. On January 30th, 1909, Wigan hosted their rivals and defeated them by 23-10 thanks to two tries from Lance Todd and scores by Leytham, Jenkins and Nat Silcock. The victory ensured that Wigan were clear leaders in the League, pulling slightly ahead of the Oldhamites.

Sadly for Wigan, their dream of winning all 5 trophies for the season ended in the Challenge Cup semi final against Wakefield Trinity - a game in which Wigan were clear favourites. Wakefield duly went on to win the Cup that season. Wigan went on to win the League Championship with a victory over Oldham on May 1st - giving them four cups for the season.

But, not to be outdone, Oldham had revenge at the start of the 1909-10 season. Oldham in fact went on to win the League, defeating Jimmy Leythams Wigan in the Championship Final in 1910.

In November 1909, Wigan had defeated rivals Leigh in a Lancashire Cup final at Broughton with Joe Miller scoring twice in a wet match - as you can see. It was an easy 22-05 victory over the Leythers.