A new era for Wigan Athletic

David Sharpe - the new chairman of Wigan Athletic
David Sharpe - the new chairman of Wigan Athletic

DAVID Sharpe succeeded his grandad, Dave Whelan, as Wigan Athletic chairman – and insisted the club ‘will remain the same’.

Sharpe, 23, had been widely expected to step up to the top job after gradually increasing his profile over the last year or so.

He became a member of the club’s board on Christmas Eve,and has occupied Whelan’s seat in the directors box during his grandad’s recent winter break in Barbados.

Sharpe becomes the youngest chairman in the Football League, but he insists it’s an environment in which he is comfortable.

“It’s something I’m used to,” he said.

“I’ve been around the boardroom since my grandad bought the club in 1995, so I don’t know any different.

I’ve been around the boardroom since my grandad bought the club in 1995, so I don’t know any different

David Sharpe

“Not much will change in terms of who’s in the boardroom with me.

“We’ll carry on as normal, and my grandad will be there week in, week out.

“I will ask his advice – I’d be stupid not to ask his advice.

“As far as I’m aware, we’ll carry on as normal, and Wigan Athletic will remain the same.”

Sharpe also believes everyone should ‘move on’ from the controversy stemming from Whelan’s comments following the appointment of Malky Mackay as manager that led to his recent FA charge and six-week ban.

“Everyone in football knows how good a man he is, and it has just been an unfortunate incident, that we didn’t want,” Sharpe told Sky Sports News HQ.

“He just got himself into an unfortunate incident.

“I am from a generation where we know what’s acceptable.

“What he said, he didn’t think was wrong, but many people did frown upon it.

“But it’s happened, he’s apologised and we’ve got to move on from it. Simple.”

While passing on the reins to his grandson, Whelan confirmed recent national media reports claiming he was trying to sell the club to a Thai consortium were – as the Evening Post reported on Monday – well wide of the mark.

“Contrary to some suggestions, there are no plans to sell the club, which will remain in family hands,” revealed the 78-year-old.

“And I have every confidence that David, along with chief executive Jonathan Jackson, will lead us forward with wisdom.”

Whelan bought Latics in February 1995, since when he guided the club into the Premier League and, in 2013, saw them win the FA Cup.

Ten things you might not know about David Sharpe

1. Joined the WAFC board as a director in December 2014

2. His grandfather took over at the club when David was three years old

3. Reportedly became a millionaire in his own right in 1997, aged six, when Dave Whelan passed on shares from JJB to his grandchildren worth an estimated £28m

4. Formerly ran the Sharpy’s fish and chip restaurant adjacent to the DW Stadium whose failure cost £1.3m

5. Has two brothers, Paul and Matthew, and one sister, Laura

6. Sister Laura’s partner is former Northampton, Gloucester and England rugby union prop Paul Doran-Jones

7. Father Duncan, who died in 2002 when David was 11, was a former vice-chairman of Wigan Athletic and chairman of JJB

8. Mum Jayne ran clothing store Garbo which had shops in Southport, Wigan and Wilmslow, Cheshire

9. According to a club programme from 19 years ago, David’s favourite player as a four-year-old was FA Cup winning manager Roberto Martinez!

10. Is friends with socialite George Lineker – son of former England striker turned MOTD presenter, Gary.