DAVE Whelan has sparked controversy by calling for a minute’s silence at Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final, in memory of former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher.
Wigan’s proud industrial history means many former miners in the borough still viewBaroness Thatcher as divisive figure.
However, Mr Whelan, who is a supporter of the Conservative party, voiced his pride in the work the 87-year-old did while in office.
He told the BBC: “We owe Mrs Thatcher a minute’s silence.
“It is not my decision, it is for the FA to decide, but I would be in favour of wearing an armband out of respect to Mrs Thatcher.
“We have to say thank you very much for the services the former PM has given us.”
Those comments were met with fury from some quarters, including families of former miners.
Mick Wimsey, a lifelong supporter of Wigan Athletic, believes that Mr Whelan should apologise as a result.
He said: “My grandfather was a miner for 62 years, man and boy, I think Mr Whelan should hang his head in shame.
“She ruined lives and destroyed communities in so many towns and cities so to suggest the people of Wigan should hold a minute’s silence for her is an absolute disgrace. She closed places like Gullick Dobson, resulting in thousands of job losses.
“I think Mr Whelan should make an apology to the people of Wigan for his comments as they don’t represent us or Wigan Athletic.
“I went with my dad and grandad when they were on strike and that will live with me forever.”
An online poll on the wigantoday Facebook page saw 302 people vote against Whelan’s proposals for a minute’s silence with just 22 in favour.