NATHAN Ellington returned to Wigan yesterday for the first time in seven years - wishing he’d never left in the first place.
The 31-year-old - who predictably scored Crewe’s goal in the 1-1 draw with Latics’ reserves at the Robin Park Arena - played a major role in helping Latics reach the Premier League.
He found the net 24 times alongside 21-goal Jason Roberts as Latics swept virtually all before them in the glorious campaign of 2004/5.
Sadly, the pair were never set on the top flight, with Ellington joining West Brom that summer for £3,000,001 - a move that backfired as the Baggies were relegated.
And the Bradford-born frontman admits the decision to leave remains the biggest regret of his career.
“Everyone will probably be wondering why I left, and the truth is I never wanted to leave Wigan,” he told the Evening Post.
“It wasn’t to be, though, and I’m just happy to see them still in the Premier League.
“I still keep an eye out for their results and I’m delighted to see them still in there and still fighting.
“It was a big win for them at Reading last weekend and hopefully they can kick on and finish the season strongly.”
Ellington’s career has certainly never hit the heights of that promotion-winning campaign - when he and Roberts were regarded as the deadliest partnership outside the top flight.
“I still keep in touch with JR, and when we meet up we always talk about those times at Wigan,” Ellington added.
“It would have been great to have carried it on to be honest, but it just wasn’t to be.
“I look back on my days with Wigan as the happiest and best of my career, and I’ll never forget that.
“Scoring the goal against Reading, to seal it for sure, and knowing we were going to the Premier League, was the best feeling I’ve had in football.
“I get a lot of messages on Twitter from Wigan fans, and it’s great that they still appreciate what we did in helping Wigan to reach the Premier League.
“It’s nice to be remembered in a good way, and I’ll always have a soft spot for everyone connected to Wigan.”