Thursday, October 11, 2012
Wigan Athletic Football Club
Wigan Athletic Football Club is an English professional football club based in Wigan, Greater Manchester. The club competes in the Premier League, the highest tier of English football. Their current spell in the Premier League is the only top flight run in the club's history. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery
They have played at the DW Stadium since 1999, sharing the stadium with rugby league club Wigan Warriors.They previously played at Springfield Park for 67 years. The club's nickname is Latics, derived from a contraction of the word "Athletic".
As of the 2011–12 season, Wigan Athletic are the youngest club in the Premier League, having only been formed in 1932. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
Wigan Athletic was formed in 1932, following the winding up of Wigan Borough the previous year. Wigan Athletic was the fifth attempt to create a stable football club in the town following the demise of Wigan County, Wigan United, Wigan Town and Wigan Borough. Springfield Park, the former home of Wigan Borough, was purchased by the club for £2,850. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery
Despite their initial application being turned down, Wigan were elected into the Cheshire County League following the resignation of Manchester Central. The club had also made the first of many attempts to be admitted into the Football League, but failed to receive a single vote. On 27 August 1932, Wigan played their first ever league game against Port Vale Reserves. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery
The team played in red and white shirts with black shorts.
Wigan Athletic won its first honours in the 1933–34 season, finishing as champions of the Cheshire League. In the following season, the club won a second league championship and also entered the FA Cup for the first time, Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery
defeating Carlisle United 6–1 in the first round – a cup record for the biggest victory by a non-league club over a league club, which has since been equalled in 1955 by Boston United, and again in 1957 by Hereford United. In the 1935–36 season, the club won its third consecutive Cheshire League title and the Lancashire Junior Cup. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery
After the Second World War, Wigan adopted their more familiar blue and white strip. The club struggled to assemble a competitive side, and finished bottom of the league in 1946–47 season. Despite their pre-war success, the club failed to gain re-election and were replaced by Winsford United. The club joined theLancashire Combination, winning the league in their first season. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery
In 1950, Wigan came close to election to the Football League, narrowly losing out toScunthorpe United F.C.. In the 1953–54 season, Wigan Athletic played an FA Cup match against Hereford United in front of a crowd of 27,526, a Wigan Athletic record and also a record for a match between two non-league teams at a non-league ground. Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery
In the next round of the cup, Wigan were drawn against First Divisionside Newcastle United. Wigan held their top flight opponents to a 2–2 draw at St James' Park, but went on to lose the replay 3–2. In 1961, the club moved back to the Cheshire County League.
In 1968, Wigan Athletic were founder members of the Northern Premier League, known since 1994 as the UniBond League. Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery
Winning the league title in 1970–71, Leading goalscorer with 42 goals, including 7 hatricks, was Geoff Davies who scored 28 goals in the following 1971–72 season. He left to play in America with Eusebio, (and against Pele, George Best, Rodney Marsh, and Franz Beckenbauer). After 34 failed election attempts, Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery
including one controversial but headline-making application in 1972 to join the Scottish League Second Division, Wigan Athletic were elected to the Football League in 1978.
The first floodlit match was played at Springfield Park on 19 October 1966, when Wigan Athletic played Crewe Alexandra, Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery
with the official opening of the floodlights on 24 October 1966, when Manchester City were the visitors. City brought a full strength team to Springfield Park and won 4–0.
Wigan Athletic finished in second place in the Northern Premier League in the 1977–78 season, behind winners Boston United. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery
But as Boston's ground and facilities did not meet the Football League criteria for a League club, whereas Springfield Park did, Wigan Athletic were put forward for election to the league. There was no automatic promotion to the Football League until 1987, and at that time a club had to be 'voted out' of the League to allow a non-league team to be promoted in their place. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery
At the end of the 1977–78 season, Southport finished next to bottom of the old Fourth Division, and faced off with Wigan Athletic for their place in the League. The first round of voting was tied, with both clubs receiving 26 votes. After a tense re-vote which Wigan controversially won 29–20, Southport lost their place in the Fourth Division and Wigan Athletic became an English League club on 2 June 1978.Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery
In the club's first season of League football, Wigan Athletic finished in sixth place, just six points off promotion and playing in front of an average crowd of 6,701. Two more top-half finishes came in the following seasons. They gained their first Football League promotion under the management of former Liverpool player Larry Lloyd in 1981–82, Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery
when a points tally of 91 saw them join the former Division Three for the first time, beginning a 10 year spell in English football's third tier. The club struggled in their first season in Division Three, which led to Lloyd's controversial sacking in early 1983, being replaced by Harry McNally. Under McNally's management, Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery
the club stabilised in Division Three and secured a pair of mid-table finishes, but a dreadful 1984–85 season cost him his job, with Tranmere manager Bryan Hamilton stepping into the breach. Under Hamilton's management, the club's performances went to the next level and they won their first silverware as a League club that season with theFreight Rover Trophy. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery
They were beaten in the Northern Final of the same competition the following season by Bolton Wanderers. More importantly, Hamilton achieved Division Three survival, which had looked an impossible task earlier that season.
The 1985–86 season saw a marked improvement in the club's league form, Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery
eventually finishing in fourth position, a then-club record high which would stand for 17 years until 2002–03. Wigan finished the season just one point outside the promotion places in the final season before the Football League introduced theplay-off system for promotion and relegation. However, Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery
Hamilton's feats attracted the attention of First Division Leicester City and he left to become their manager in the summer 1986. His assistant, Ray Mathias, who had followed him from Tranmere, stepped up to the Wigan manager's job. Wigan managed an identical fourth place finish in the 1986–87 season, Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery
but this time were rewarded with the chance to compete for the final promotion place in the new play-off system. (In the first two years of the play-off system, teams finishing 3rd, 4th and 5th joined the team finishing 20th in the division above to play off for the promotion place; this was changed to the teams finishing 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th from the 1988–89 season). Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery
The Latics lost at the two-legged semi-final stage to Swindon, who went on to win the final promotion place.
The fourth place finishes of the 1985–86 and 1986–87 seasons proved to be the high points of Wigan Athletic's first stint in Division 3. For the next five years, they finished mid-table, flirting with relegation in 1988–89 Sony VAIO VPC CW2MFX/PU Battery
(at which time Mathias was sacked and previous manager Bryan Hamilton returned) and 1989–90, until they were relegated for the first and only time in the club's League history in 1992–93. Wigan Athletic finished in 23rd place, amid tumbling attendances which had fallen from averages of 3,000–4,000 in Wigan Athletic's Division 3 years to just 2,593 in 1992–93. Sony VAIO VPC S11V9E/B Battery
A year later, with the club back in the fourth tier of the English League, the Latics finished 19th – fourth from bottom – to complete their worst-ever league season. Attendances fell to a lowest-ever Wigan Athletic League average of 1,845 by 1995.
In February 1995, local millionaire and owner of JJB Sports Dave Whelan purchased the club, Sony VAIO VPCB119GJ/B Battery
which was then playing in the Third Division (fourth tier), and set out his ambition to reach the Premier League, a statement which was widely ridiculed at the time. His ambition came true, because just ten years later Wigan Athletic were playing Premier League football.
At the end of Whelan's first season as Chairman, Wigan Athletic finished in 14th position in the old Third Division, Sony VAIO VPCB11AGJ Battery
the 84th rung of the 92-club English Football League ladder. Whelan and Wigan Athletic made headlines in summer 1995 when Whelan's business connections in Spain helped him attract three Spaniards to the club – Roberto Martínez, Isidro Diaz, and Jesus Seba – who became known as 'The Three Amigos'. Sony VAIO VPCB11AVJ Battery
Martínez and Díaz would later become the first Spaniards to play in the FA Cup, and the trio became the on-pitch symbols of Whelan's ambitious plans.
'The Three Amigos' were joined at the club by John Deehan, who replaced Graham Barrow as manager during the 1995–96 season following a 6–2 home defeat toMansfield Town. Sony VAIO VPCB11V9E Battery
Deehan had coached Norwich City to an unexpected 3rd place finish in the inaugural Premier League season, and his influence took the Latics within two points of a play-off place in his first season. The following year saw the first step towards Whelan's dream come true, when Wigan Athletic became Division Three champions on the last day of the season, Sony VAIO VPCB11X9E Battery
in no small part helped by Graeme Jones' club record 31 league goals for the season. Following a mid-table finish in Division Two the following season, Deehan quit to become Steve Bruce's assistant at Sheffield United. He was succeeded by Ray Mathias, who returned for his third stint as Wigan Athletic manager. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/P Battery
Mathias' team won Wigan Athletic's second trophy under Dave Whelan, when the Latics beat Millwall 1–0 to win the AutoWindscreens Shield at Wembley in April 1999. More significantly, he took Wigan Athletic to the Division Two play-offs in 1999, losing 2–1 on aggregate to neighbours Manchester City. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/R Battery
This ultimately cost Mathias his job as he fell victim to Whelan's relentless drive for Premier League football.
His replacement John Benson led the squad that he inherited from Mathias to a commanding position at the top of Division Two in his first six months, including the demolition of local rivals Preston North End 4–1 away, only to collapse in the second half of the season. Sony VAIO VPCCW18FJ/W Battery
This was largely attributed to the dropping of leading goalscorer Stuart Barlow who was responsible for much of the side's early success, coupled with a series of poor quality signings of ageing, and reputedly highly paid players and a run of poor performances led to strong disapproval of the management among fans. Sony VAIO VPCCW19FJ/W Battery
The 1999–2000 season ended in failure at Wembley as Wigan Athletic lost 3–2 after extra time to Gillingham at the last ever Division Two play-off final to be played at the old Wembley Stadium.
Benson moved 'upstairs' to the new post of Director of Football in the summer of 2000, when former Arsenal manager Bruce Rioch took the manager's job for the2000–01 season. Sony VAIO VPCCW1AFJ Battery
Rioch was hampered by severe injury problems and after a difficult and often unimpressive first half of the season left the club in February 2001. He was temporarily replaced by club stalwart Colin Greenall, before the surprise appointment of Steve Bruce for the final eight games of the season. His arrival brought renewed vigour to Wigan Athletic performances, Sony VAIO VPCCW1AHJ Battery
but the club ultimately lost in the play-offs once again, this time against Reading. Following this blow, Bruce left for Crystal Palace after repeatedly pledging his future to Wigan, leaving behind a club both grateful for his help in getting so close to promotion and also angry and bitter at his betrayal. Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E Battery
In the summer of 2001, highly regarded young manager and former Latics forward Paul Jewell took over as manager following an unsuccessful spell at Sheffield Wednesday. His first season in charge saw mixed results and an embarrassing defeat to non-league Canvey Island in the FA Cup first round, although the club eventually finished in mid-table. Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/B Battery
Jewell's second season in charge was far more successful. Wigan Athletic went on a run to the quarter finals of the League Cup, beating Premier League opponents West Brom, Manchester City and Fulham en route. Wigan Athletic won the Division Two championship in 2002–03 with a points total of 100, Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/L Battery
powered by the goals of then-record £1.2 million signing Nathan Ellington, with a run of 10 consecutive wins along the way. The club lost only four times all season, and Wigan Athletic secured promotion to the second tier of the English Football League for the first time in their history.
After losing their first ever game in Division One, Wigan Athletic confounded expectations to go unbeaten for the next 17 games and sit atop the division by November 2003. Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/P Battery
A weak finish saw Wigan Athletic win only three of their last 10 games to finish seventh in Division One – a last minute goal by West Ham'sBrian Deane in the final game of the season saw the Latics drop out of the play-off places in favour of eventual play-off winners Crystal Palace. Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/R Battery
Hoping to build on the previous season's disappointing finish, the Latics went one better than 2003–04 by remaining unbeaten for the first 17 games of the2004–05 season. Along with Sunderland and Ipswich, the Latics remained in the promotion hunt all season. By the last day of the season, Sony VAIO VPCCW1S1E/W Battery
Sunderland had already won the title and Wigan needed at least a draw against Reading – who themselves needed to win to finish in sixth place – to beat Ipswich to the last automatic promotion spot. A 3–1 victory in front of their home fans at the JJB Stadium earned Wigan promotion to the top division of the English football for the first time in their 73-year history. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/B Battery
The club's first ever Premier League game was a home match against champions Chelsea, a game they lost only to a 94th minute winner by Hernán Crespo. A successful run followed, and by November Wigan were second in the league. Good league form was coupled with an equally strong performance in the Football League Cup, Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/L Battery
with the Latics reaching their first ever major cup final after defeating Arsenal on away goals in the semi-final. In the final, Wigan were defeated 4–0 by near neighboursManchester United. Wigan eventually finished the season in 10th place, which remains the club's highest ever league placing. Defender Pascal Chimbonda was also included in the 2005–06 PFA Team of the Season. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/R Battery
Wigan failed in their bid for European football and opted not to take part in the UEFA Intertoto Cup.
During the close season, Wigan sold many who had starred in their first season in the Premier League, as Jimmy Bullard left for Fulham, Jason Roberts joined Blackburn Rovers, and Stéphane Henchoz was released. Sony VAIO VPCCW21FX/W Battery
Wigan brought in high-profile replacements including Emile Heskey, Denny Landzaat, Chris Kirkland and Antonio Valencia to try to build on their successful Premier League debut. After a mid-table start to the 2006–07 season, Wigan's fortunes dipped dramatically with eight consecutive losses from mid-December, Sony VAIO VPCCW26EC Battery
but after arresting the slump Wigan stood 15th in the Premier League in early March and finally seemed to be moving away from the relegation mire. But a series of defeats and the resurgence of rival strugglers meant Wigan faced the serious threat of relegation. On the final day of the season, Wigan battled to a 2–1 away win against Sheffield United, Sony VAIO VPCCW26FX/B Battery
guaranteeing their Premier League status for another year and in doing so relegating Sheffield United to the Championship. The following day, Paul Jewell unexpectedly resigned as manager; his assistant Chris Hutchings was appointed as his replacement.
Wigan's third Premier League campaign saw the club trying to fully establish itself in the division following a disappointing second season. Sony VAIO VPCCW28EC Battery
The playing squad had changed almost entirely from the promotion-winning side. Ageing fan favourites Arjan De Zeeuw, Matt Jackson, John Filan made way, along with Lee McCulloch, who sealed his dream move to Rangers. Leighton Baines also rejected a new contract and signed for his boyhood team Everton. Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/P Battery
Titus Bramble, Mario Melchiot, Jason Koumas (for £5.3 million) and much travelled striker Marcus Bent were among the players brought in. Melchiot was installed as the new club captain. For the2007–08 season, Wigan's home shirt returned to the club's traditional blue and white stripes, having been blue with white sleeves the previous season as well. Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/R Battery
The away shirt became white with slate trim, with slate shorts and slate socks. A slate grey third kit with royal blue trim was also introduced.
The 2007–08 season began well for Wigan, topping the Premier League after three games for the first time in their history. Sony VAIO VPCCW28FJ/W Battery
Wigan's strong start saw Emile Heskey recalled to the England Squad for the first time since 2005. He became the first Wigan player to represent England whilst a full member of the squad (Chris Kirkland earned his first cap while at Wigan, but was on loan from Liverpool at the time). However, Heskey broke his foot immediately after his England call-up, and was out injured for six weeks. Sony VAIO VPCCW29FJ/W Battery
The club's league position subsequently worsened, and on the back of a run of six consecutive defeats Wigan plummeted into the relegation zone. Chairman Dave Whelan took the decision to sack manager Chris Hutchings on 5 November 2007, after only 12 games in charge.
Former Manchester United defender Steve Bruce replaced Hutchings. Sony VAIO VPCCW2AFJ Battery
Bruce had just resigned as Birmingham City manager, and signed a £2m-a-year deal to try to keep Wigan in the Premier League. Wigan had to pay a reported £3 million in compensation to Birmingham for Bruce's services. His appointment saw Wigan end their losing streak, but consistency evaded the Latics, Sony VAIO VPCCW2AHJ Battery
although Bruce did soon achieve something neither Jewell nor Hutchings had managed previously – a 1–1 draw atAnfield against Liverpool; the first time Wigan had taken points off one of the so-called "Big Four" Premier League clubs. Bruce eventually oversaw a comparatively comfortable end to the season for Wigan, Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E Battery
who finished 14th in the final table with 40 points – three places and two points higher than their finish the previous season.
In the summer of 2008, the team's kits were altered for the new season in part due to the club signing a new contract with Champion Sportswear. Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/B Battery
In Bruce's first pre-season with the club, his overhaul of the playing squad continued. The two biggest deals saw Lee Cattermole sign from Middlesbrough for £3.5-million, and highly-rated Egyptian striker Amr Zaki sign on an initial one-year loan. Zaki had scored 10 Premier League goals by February 2009, Sony VAIO VPCCW2S1E/L Battery
as Wigan reached seventh place in the table with 34 points from 25 games and looked certain to remain in the Premier League for a fifth successive season.