Formed in 1872 as Wigan Football Club, they are a founding member of the Northern Rugby Football Union following the schism from the Rugby Football Union in 1895. Wigan have won 21 League Championships (including 4 Super League Grand Finals), 19 Challenge Cups and 4 World Club Challenge trophies. The club is the all-time most successful club in English rugby league. Wigan had a period of sustained success from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, winning the Challenge Cup eight seasons in succession and the League Championship seven seasons in succession.
On 21 November 1872, Wigan Football Club was founded by members of Wigan Cricket Club following a meeting at the Royal Hotel, Standishgate. Wigan F.C. played on Folly Field, near Upper Dicconson Street.
The first match took place on 30 November when members played against each other in a practice match at Folly Field. After a series of trial and practice matches, they travelled to Warrington to play their first competitive match on 18 January 1873. The game ended in a draw.