Last year was an odd year in many ways. Arguably a year that many people would say they were glad to be ‘out with the old and in with the new’.

That said, locally at least, and for one group in particular, last year was a time to remember with great pride and fondness.

Despite countless injuries and with a heavy reliance on young players lacking the experience of their older team-mates, the Wigan Warriors made the Super 8 stage of the Super League season. They then fought their way on to the Grand Final after some immense performances in the play-offs before completing their campaign by lifting the Grand Final Trophy with a display of togetherness, determination and skill that will be remembered by the Wigan faithful for many years to come.

For one within the ranks the success was bitter sweet as his season had been cruelly cut short right at the very start. In the World Club Series game in February, Michael McIlorum’s willingness to leave every ounce of effort on the pitch, resulted in an horrific injury in which the skilful hooker suffered a broken and dislocated ankle. The injury was so severe that it required surgery to insert plates and screws to mend the break along with many months of rehabilitation.

Micky was also looking ahead to 2017 for another reason.

Unsurprisingly though, Micky was back on his feet and working hard as soon as he was allowed to, and, with the help of a team of specialists, he is re-built and raring to go for the start of the new season.

Whilst injured, aside from being a frustrated (but proud) spectator watching on from the sidelines, and training hard to be back to full fitness in time for the next campaign, Micky was also looking ahead to 2017 for another reason.

Having  spent ten successful years with the Warriors, the club decided to honour Micky with a Testimonial. He used the time off the pitch wisely to start to plan how the year ahead might be celebrated.

As a Wigan business, members of the Warriors Business Club and avid fans of the sport of Rugby League, we have, over the years, worked in support of the Club on numerous projects. We delivered the branding collateral for the tenth anniversary of the stadium, created  visual devices to help Shaun Wane with his performance coaching, and more recently have supported the club’s chairman Ian Leneghan with a visual presentation to the RFL. At one particular business club event in April last year, Micky was interviewed by Sam Tomkins and Shaun Wane and the news of his Testimonial was announced. We naturally wanted to help as we had done previously for another Wigan legend’s testimonial year, Sean O’Loughlin.

Micky got in touch with bd2 in July of 2016 and I was proud to be invited onto the Testimonial Committee alongside Terry O’Connor, Sean O’Loughlin, Nicola Tomkins, Kate Coyle, Deborah Box, Neil Henderson and Mike Hickman.

In the last six months we have supported Micky by designing the Testimonial year brand monogram, the launch event collateral, the Testimonial shirt, the websiteand social media channels, email campaign messages, various event communications and the Testimonial year brochure. We will continue to support from a marketing and communications point of view throughout the year and through our attendance at his events. Micky is one of the club’s greatest assets and, as much as he is the fierce and respected winner on the pitch, we have come to know him as a well-respected gentleman off it. We hope that we can show this side of the man through our on-going work during the year and we hope that you’ll join us in celebrating his career so far.

Micky got in touch with bd2 in July of 2016 and I was proud to be invited onto the Testimonial Committee

This coming Sunday sees Micky’s return to the pitch in a repeat of last year’s friendly fixture against local rivals Leigh Centurions in what has been dubbed ‘The Battle of the Borough.’ Corporate Hospitality at the game is close to a complete sell-out and, with three-course meal, player interviews, fabulous auction prizes and a donation of a percentage of the proceeds by Micky to local charities JoiningJack and Ben’s Wish, it promises to be a rip-roaring start to the year’s events.