Martin Offiah – A Wigan and Widnes Legend

Early in the week, we were hoping to speak to Martin Offiah on Wigan Fan TV but technology prevented us from getting a good connection. However, Martin was kind enough to spare us some of his time and answer some questions that we had lined up for him from viewers of Wigan Fan TV.

Rugby League Royalty

Martin Offiah is someone that perhaps no introduction to most sports fans, never mind Rugby League fans, he is arguably the last great Rugby League celebrity to emerge from the game. Even 16 years after retiring from his spell at London Wasps, Offiah is still a go to celebrity for many TV shows. Martin has featured on Strictly Come Dancing and has won celebrity versions of the Weakest Link and Pointless!

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Offiah is a member of Wigan’s Hall of Fame, an accolade that has only been bestowed on 14 players, such as Billy Boston, Colin Clarke and Shaun Edwards. Offiah is also a permanent feature at Wembley Stadium, with his infamous celebration after *that* try against Leeds in the 1994 Challenge Cup Final is cast in bronze as part as the Rugby League Monument outside the famous stadium.

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Martin Offiah was the first player that I got on the back of my shirt as, I guess, a 5/6 year old. At that age, you cant appreciate players for how good they actually are, my memory of him is probably as technical as, he was fast and scored a lot of tries! (Some would argue that’s similar to my analysis of Rugby League at the age of 28 also!). However, its not until you look at Martin Offiah’s career statistics that you realise just how incredible a player he was.

Stats Incredible!

In 424 Rugby League club appearances, Offiah scored 444 tries! Averaging more than a try a game is simply incredible. You can perhaps see that happening over a short period of time, for example Josh Charnley and Sam Tomkins had stages in their early career were they were averaging more tries than appearances but that ratio is simply, well near impossible, to maintain.

During his Wigan career, Offiah scored 186 tries in 159 games and during his Widnes career, 181 ties in 145 games; a true legend of both clubs after transferring for a world record fee of £440,000 from Widnes to Wigan in January 1992.

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Q and A with Martin Offiah

Martin Offiah earlier this week answered some fan questions that we had for him;

Martin, this week see’s two of your former clubs face of at the DW Stadium, with Wigan Warriors taking on Widnes Vikings. How do you see that one going?

After Widnes beating a weakened Leeds outfit last weekend and Wigan looking low on energy and enthusiasm for the first 60 minutes at Warrington after their Australian adventure, this game has heightened interest.

Widnes haven’t really stamped their presence in the  Super League era after dominating large portions of the 1980’s. Dennis Betts seems calm in most interviews but must be feeling the pressure from his patient fan base.  I like the look of the Widnes half back pairing this season; if Craven and Mellor attack the line at pace with support inside and out ala the Melbourne Storm they will cause Wigan problems. Wigan need to keep it simple and get the ball to Liam Marshall in space. This kid could be special.

Do you have a score prediction for Friday night’s game?

I’m useless at score predictions and with this being a match between  two teams I played for and enjoyed phenomenal success with, I’m gonna pass. You’re not paying me enough to upset fans it’s a lose-lose situation, even if I predict the score correctly!!

Who is your favourite player to watch at the moment?

My favourite player to watch at the moment has to be Liam Marshall. I get excited to see him score tries. My tip to Oliver Gildart, his centre, would be: it’s better for you to score 10 tries and your winger scores 40, than you both score 20 tries each. Nobody remembers how many tries Gene Miles scored just that he was great. He has the chance to help create something special. ‪#Feedthegoat

Can you pick a favourite memory from your time at Widnes and your time at Wigan?

Wow, so many to choose! During my time at Widnes it would have to be my hat trick try for Widnes in the championship decider v Wigan in 89 at Naughton Park.

And for Wigan, I would love to say scoring 10 tries in a single game against Leeds but I can’t look past my 1994 Wembley try as my Wigan personal highlight. I know it’s a bit boring now because everybody’s seen it but it’s what ill be remembered for.

A massive thank you to Martin Offiah for taking the time answer some fan questions this week. A true legend of the game!

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