Wigan Athletic confirm Owen Coyle departure

Owen Coyle heads down the DW Stadium for the final time as Wigan manager following the defeat to Derby
Owen Coyle heads down the DW Stadium for the final time as Wigan manager following the defeat to Derby

WIGAN Athletic have parted company with manager Owen Coyle following the 3-1 defeat to Derby County.

Dave Whelan met the Scot after the 3-1 defeat to Derby yesterday (Sunday) and the pair came to a “mutual decision” that he should leave the club.

Latics confirmed the reports this morning, after rumours circulated late last night, and they now begin the search for a new boss for the second time in six months.

The Derby defeat was the third in nine days at the DW Stadium following the 1-0 and 2-1 losses to Brighton and Zulte Waregem.

Latics now lie 14th in the Championship table and six points behind a play-off spot. Whelan reportedly acted after hearing the discontent amongst the home supporters who called for Coyle to be axed during the game.

The manager, appointed in June following the departure of Roberto Martinez, watched on as his side conceded three goals in half-an-hour before Nick Powell scored a second-half consolation.

Boos rang around the DW Stadium after Derby’s third goal, at half-time and again at full-time.

Latics today released a statement confirming Coyle’s sacking saying: “Wigan Athletic have announced that following a meeting with Chairman Dave Whelan, Owen Coyle has left his post as club manager by mutual agreement.

“Both Dave Whelan and Owen Coyle have agreed that this is the right course of action in the best interests of both parties.”

Coyle added: “It is with great sadness that we have made this decision and I would like to thank all my football staff and the staff at the club, who have been very supportive of me in my time here. I am confident that with this set of players, the team can keep moving in the right direction.”

First team coach and former manager Graham Barrow and assistant manager Sandy Stewart will take charge of the team for the visit to Leeds United on Wednesday night.

Coyle’s final act as Wigan boss was to hold his post-match press conference. In it, he criticised sections of the Latics support for directing their disapproval at some of the players and for being “ultra-critical”.

“I’ve got to say, the majority of the support at Wigan Athletic is outstanding, they come and support their club,” he said.

“But there is a section that is ultra-critical not of me, maybe they are as well, but you see the treatment they have given to Jordi Gomez, there’s no place for it in football.

“The majority of our fans are outstanding, they back their club and I’ve said that from day one but there is a small section that want to come and be critical.

“If they want to give it to me then that’s fine, but lay off the players. Jordi Gomez is as brave a player you’ve got in terms of coming and taking the ball in possession and that’s a different type of bravery.

“There’s a bravery of a centre-back who will come and head and go through everything and there’s a bravery of a player who will take the ball in tight situations and Jordi has been terrific. So if they want to come and lay it at the manager’s door then so be it.”

He went on to suggest that some Latics fans had certain expectations following eight years of top-flight football.

“If it comes through expectation then so be it,” he added. “I’ve got to say as well, in balance to that, the expectation can only come from the fact they’ve been in the Premier League because it’s not because Wigan Athletic have been winning games every week for four or five years, far from it.

“Wigan Athletic have been in the bottom three for the past four or five years and have managed to escape and they’ve been brilliant to do that.

“They managed to win the cup last year which was brilliant but they lost their place in the Premier League and with losing their place in the Premier League the players of big value left.

“It’s building that team, putting it together and if people want to be ultra-critical that’s the nature of the world we live in in terms of football these days and social media. I certainly don’t play a part in that side of things. I’ve said before, I’m old enough to deal with that.

“If they think there’s something better then that’s all good and well, that’s why we love football, it’s all opinion.”