Thursday, 8 November 2018

Goodbye Dave, Hello Melvin


An emotional day last Sunday as the Latics bid farewell to the Whelans. The 23rd minute round of applause was a great tribute celebrating 23 years of the family’s ownership of the club – and what a 23 years it has been.


Whatever your thoughts on Dave Whelan’s reasons for buying the Latics back in the day, and there are a vast array of opinions on this, one thing that cannot be disputed is the success that he brought to what was a very small club, struggling not only to retain its league status but also struggling to avoid going out of business.

The first game under his stewardship, a Tuesday night in late February, 1,452 fans turned up to a dilapidated Springfield Park as we beat Hartlepool 2-0 in what is now League 2, hardly an indication of what was to follow.

I was at that very first fans forum when he declared that the aim was Premiership within 10 seasons, I didn’t laugh, I thought that is just what we need - ambition and that had been missing at the club for a number of years where survival was the only goal.

The journey had started, the first promotion under John Deehan was achieved, the new stadium being built gave us the focus that we were indeed on the up, exciting players came to the club, great managers, two more promotions, eight years in the top flight, the magic of the FA cup win and a European tour, what an absolute privilege to be around to witness this.

So thank you Dave Whelan, David Sharpe and all the family who have provided me, through the Latics, with so much pleasure over the past 23 years.

Welcome to Melvin Yan Min Zhang, Thomas Chan, Joe and Darren Royle, you have big shoes to fill, hopefully you can build on the success and legacy that has been passed on to you.

Looking forward to the next 23 years.

Up the tics!    


Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Meet The Ref - Boro v Latics


The Latics are back on the road this week when we travel up to the Riverside Stadium to meet high flying Middlesbrough.

The man charged with keeping the game flowing will be Barnsley referee, the aptly named, Darren England.





This is England’s fourth season as a Football League referee. 



The 33 year old born and bred Barnsley man does have ‘big game’ experience, indeed his name should be very familiar with Latics supporters, cast your minds back to the 13th April 2013, Wembley Stadium, FA Cup semi-final, he ran the line as the Latics beat Millwall on the road to winning the famous old trophy.

England has been running the line for several seasons in the Premier League, he also ran the line the 2015 FA cup final between Arsenal and Aston Villa and he has experienced Champions League games and international matches, but he decided to swap the flag for the whistle and bowed out running the line in an international friendly between Norway and Sweden.

England says about his decision to become a ref – ‘I will miss being involved in Premier League and international and European games but the aim is to be back there as a referee one day. It’s short-term sacrifice for long-term reward. Being involved in the big games as a referee would be even better than running the line in them.’

Darren England is also a former academy coach at Barnsley FC, one of his former players there is current Everton defender John Stones, he also worked for Barnsley Community Trust before moving to the Football League Trust where he is employed promoting the National Citizens Service for teenagers.

Darren England last ref’d us back in September 2016 when we went down 2-0 at Brentford back in September.

MIDDLESBROUGH v Wigan Athletic
Referee - Darren England
Assistants – Nick Greenhalgh & James Mainwaring
Fourth Official – Tom Nield

Darren England Card Watch 2018/19

Games -10
Yellows – 37
Reds – 1