Whelan: Wigan won't be relegated12/04/2012 - 15:42:55
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has insisted the Latics will not scar the memory of their momentous win over Manchester United by dropping out of the Barclays Premier League.
Amid the euphoria of last night’s 1-0 victory at the DW Stadium, manager Roberto Martinez cautioned his players about believing their main job had been done.
Wigan might have clambered out of the relegation zone for the first time since October, but they will be back in it again if neighbours Bolton win their match in hand at Aston Villa.
In addition, the remaining games of their run-in look hazardous, with a trip to Arsenal looming on Monday and a home encounter with Newcastle also to be faced before the final two games against fellow relegation scrappers Blackburn and Wolves.
However, as has been the case so often for Wigan down the years, Whelan is certain it will turn out just fine.
“We will not get relegated and we will not be going back in the bottom three,” he said.
“The spirit in our camp is unbelievably high.
“Prior to this, we had beaten everyone in the Premier League except Manchester United. What a night to do it on.”
Even for Whelan there was an air of resignation about the build-up to last night’s game.
After all, in 14 previous attempts, the club had not managed so much as a draw against their north-west neighbours, who were top of the league and on an eight-match winning streak themselves.
Although he kept a brave face, even Whelan accepted he feared the worst.
“If I am being very honest, I thought no, we can’t beat them,” he said.
“But the whole country is now rejoicing because if you are not a Manchester United supporter, you want them to get beaten.
“For Wigan to beat Manchester United is something very rare and very special.”
There was additional poignancy for Whelan because he never came out on top against the Red Devils during his playing career, which included four years at Blackburn.
“I had never beaten Manchester United,” he said.
“I played against them half a dozen times and, clearly, it is not easy to win against them.
“Sometimes we have played well and still come away with nothing.
“This time we were exceptional, especially in the first half.
“We totally and utterly dominated the play and we dominated Manchester United.”
Shaun Maloney’s second-half goal will go down as one of the most significant in Wigan’s history, finally squaring the box of ’big-four’ teams, who have now all been beaten at some stage on Wigan’s remarkable top-flight journey.
However, their future direction has been thrown into doubt even if they survive the latest escapade following rumours that Whelan and manager Roberto Martinez have mutually agreed to part company at the end of the season.
Martinez has already cast doubt on the validity of the story by insisting he has a two-year contract, rather than a rolling one it had been said would not be renewed.
And while Whelan does expect the popular Spaniard to leave for grander surroundings at some stage, he is not ready for a parting of the ways just yet.
“I have always said Roberto will leave Wigan Athletic sometime in the future,” he said.
“He will take a top club in Europe or the Premier League.
“When that time comes he will discuss it with me and I will support him fully.
“At present, Roberto is staying glued, like I am, to Wigan Athletic.”
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