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The Birth Of A Dream And It’s Sister Club
The birth of Wigan Cosmos was originally dreamt up by John Pendlebury with the idea first discussed in much warmer climes, a hotel room next to the Mediterranean Sea to be exact.
John, Gareth Foster, Alan Mockford and Adam Pendlebury are and were an integral part in the formation not only of the Cosmos but also the Accies (Wigan Academicals). With only Adam not available for a playing role in the new team but he will be involved in some capacity, his role depending on his involvement with the Accies but that’s another story.
John started his career in the youth league's at the hugely successful Mount F.C. Mount were ran by the husband and wife team of Chris and Pauline Sheekey. Mount were one of the leading youth teams of its time and was a great grounding for all of the lads, most of whom are now playing for New Springs in The South Lancs Counties League with Pendlebury captaining the Mount side for a number of years picking up a number of trophies along the way. Chris and Pauline’s efforts with Mount were what inspired him to launch the accies in the first place.
As disaster struck for John as he was struck down by a serious ankle ligament injury and ankle reconconstruction surgery was required. Although every cloud has a silver lining upon realising he would never perform at the level he previously had, John along with Gareth, Alan and Adam set about setting up a football team with a number of college and childhood friends recruited as players for the side, this team was later to be known as Wigan Academicals!
The aim was to set up a team to simply survive and get by in the fifth division of the South Lancs Counties League but with what the team has achieved is beyond anyone’s wildest expectations and the Accies were a Premier Division Team for many years surviving for over 10 years. So after Captaining the side for around 2 years John decided to leave the club he strove to set up with his colleagues citing his reasons as the amount of travelling and a lack of time due to studying as he was by then living away at University.
To start a club from scratch and see it develop and prosper makes everyone who has ever been connected to the club very very proud especially all the boys who started it, the club was left in very capable hands with Keith Hepworth, Adam Pendlebury and Michael Black deserving a special mention as if it wasn’t for their hard work behind the scenes the club would not have been as successful as it was. Along with a number of talented and dedicated players most of whom have been there since its conception. If at the cosmos we enjoy just a tenth of the success that was achieved at the accies everyone involved will be delighted.
Some of the boys had been away from their hometown for a number of years for various reasons. John had returned from University and Alan returned from the Grenadier Guards based in Windsor after doing a four-year stint in the army. Gareth had been occupied non-stop with work on Sunday’s. They realised that opportunities would be limited if they returned to the Accies so they discussed starting a new team and were extremely excited at the prospect of building and recruiting a new team with the aim to gain entry to South Counties leagues 4th division for the 2004/05 season.
With the Knowledge that a number of lads who have drifted away from the game over the past few years due to various reasons and are interested in playing football again it’s just a case of tempting them back into the game and convincing them that The Cosmos is the team for them and the prospect that they will be re-united with friends and former team - mates.
John considered a Player/Manager role for the club and taking more of a back seat on the playing side. He is now an FA level 2 qualified coach and has been part of the coaching staff at Hot Shot Soccer, David Campbell Soccer Schools, Soccer Academies and Wigan Athletic School Of Excellence. Exciting times are ahead for this new sporting venture.
Alan was mulling over the prospect of being the Player/Coach at his new club, as he completed his final months in the armed forces. As he brings a hell of a lot of life experiences and knowledge gained during his time serving for Queen and Country. Alan will bring a great amount of discipline, fitness ideals and commitment to the club and is itching to get started.
Adam also chose to move across from the Accies to The Cosmos in order to achieve his goals of first team football and proved to be a rock at the back, along with Cosmos fledgling stars Gareth Evans, Darren Almond, Lee Hallworh, Andrew Hampson, Craig Hamill to name a few along with other former Accies stars that moved across were Paul Finch, Paul Kilgannon, Jon Astin, Dean Forsyth, Martin Storey and Danny Lund. Adam & Danny later found there way back to the Accies as Paul chose to accept the managers job at The Accies. These boys saw the side rise from the 4th division to the 3rd. In this time the club had started to ply it's trade at Thomas Street, Hindley, based at The Spinners Arms, later moving onto William Fosters Playing Fields in Ince Wigan, moving from The Spinners Arms to The Wiganer.
The Cosmos moved into a new era rebuilding The Cosmos side with Simon Green another former Accies star joining from Premier League side Abram bringing with him Gary Stanley, Gary's brother Craig later joined as did Simon Aspinall, all playing an important role in helping The Cosmos rise from the 3rd division to the 2nd and then into the 1st division. In this time Andy Leatherbarrow, rejoined the club and was joined by Stuart Nicholls, Michael Gough, Mark Fort and David Eccles whose goals replaced those of leading scorer Lee Hallworth who moved away from the the club. The Club were again on the move after a couple of seasons at The Wiganer to the Hindley Arms as they also become the main club sponsors of the club and the team enjoyed a wonderful few years at the pub, even changing there before home games as the changing rooms at Fosters were burned down.
The unbelievable did and nearly happened in the 2009/10 season as the unthinkable happened as sister club Wigan Academicals after a unsuccessful recruitment drive folded due to lack of numbers and commitment to the club as had with Abram a season earlier with Cal Jones and Andrew Bristow joining the club a number of former Accies stars joining the club with Adam Pendlebury and Danny Lund returning to the club, Paul Vandenberg, Chris Curran, Chris Needham and switching sides to join The Cosmos. On the pitch the club just fell short in the in achieving Premiership status as The Cosmos who were 3rd in March fell off badly in the last few months of the season. At the end of the season a number of players including Gary, Craig and Simon Aspinall chose to move onto pastures new with Craig setting up his team in the 5th division of The South Lancs Counties League.
And now we find ourselves bang upto date in the 2010/11 season as the Cosmos once again moving onto a grander new stage and era firstly with a fantastic new ground move into a stadium for the first time in our history in the shape of Edge Green Street, Ashton Town, later to be renamed as The AM Property Stadium (as even ground sponsorship happens at non league level these days). This is a fantastic move for The Cosmos and is something beyond our wildest dreams wayback in the Med in 2003, the ground move gives us a fantastic platform to take the club forward and to play our football that we like to play and it also allows us to rebuild our playing side with the fantastic new additions to the squad of former Accies star Michael Black along with other stars joining the club such as Eddie Green, Tom Doherty, Adam Tempest, Danny Chadwick, Phil Masterson, Matthew Fishwick and Kieran OLeary with returning players Michael Gough, Gareth Thompson, Daniel Ibbetson, Liam Dainty and Andrew Hampson. The boys have made a fantastic start to the season equaling a club record of 7 games unbeaten with a little blip of two defeats in two games since that run but this group of players are made of sterner stuff and have an abundance of star quality, true grit and determination and with a little bit of a sprinkle with fairy dust this team will hopefully go on to evolve into the best team and squad that The Cosmos has ever seen, with promotion and success just around the corner, playing in a top ground with the promise of a new ground in the next few years as Ashton Town themselves are close to securing a new ground move themselves into a brand new purpose built football stadium close to Ashton Heath and with the help from an old school friend and new Ashton Town Chairman and former Commercial Manager Mark Hayes who was at the forefront of inviting The Cosmos to play at Edge Green Street, Wigan Cosmos Football Club will also hopefully be joining Ashton Town at their new stadium.
The future is very bright for The Cosmos and this where you come in, you can be a part of it and help create History and help make History happen today, so what you waiting for, time to join the adventure, lets create our own destiny as our future is waiting to be written.........................
Whats in a name?
The name Cosmos is a very famous name in footballing circles around the world with the worlds greatest ever star being their most famous ever player.
The Cosmos was a team that attracted the biggest stars of the age into the stands and onto the pitch, The New York Cosmos were an icon of 1970s cool, bringing soccer to the forefront of American minds through the sheer force of their personality they attracted some of the biggest names in world football from Cruyeff, Chinaglia, Alberto, Beckenbauer to name a few but their star player was unquestionably being Edson Arantes Do Nascimento.......................................otherwise more commonly known simply as Pele.
A galaxy of stars joined Pele at New York Cosmos and they remain America’s most successful soccer club ever, they are currently campaigning to be the 20th club elected to MLS with Pele returning as Honourary President. The Cosmos name alone demands respect and it’s a travesty that this great club has not been relaunched and be performing each season in the MLS already.
The Cosmos name was discussed as a possibility for our first team the accies but was ditched in favour of Academicals as the majority of the squad were in Higher Education and the meetings for the club were each Friday in The Wigan & Leigh College Library, and the name therefore suited it’s players and was a natural choice.
The name Cosmos stuck in the back of John's mind however and is closely associted with John as The Cosmos were massively popular and part of mainstream culture, strongly associated with flair, glitz and glamour in the 70's winning their 2nd NASL league title in 77 when John was born therefore it was an obvious choice for the name of the club and that of one that plans to blast off into the unknown and head for the stars.......
Wigan Cosmos Website
2004 - 2009
Past Present & Future Links
Wigan Academicals Website
New York Cosmos Website
Ashton Town Website
The New York Cosmos A Brief History