Lenagan poses murder mystery

Ian Lenagan
Ian Lenagan

DISAPPOINTED Ian Lenagan is even more convinced that Wigan can “murder anyone” after seeing them get dumped out of the Challenge Cup.

The Warriors missed out on a return to Wembley – and the £250,000 cash windfall it would have brought – with their 39-28 semi-final defeat against Leeds on Saturday.

Yet chairman Lenagan reckons the Super League pace-setters, three points clear at the top of the ladder, can make amends with a Grand Final surge – and reckons they will be unstoppable if they play to their potential.

He said: “The over-riding feeling is one of disappointment. Leeds were better organised and better motivated, and you can’t play to 50 or 60 per cent of your capabilities and expect to win – and yet we nearly did.

“What that says to me is if we play to 90 or 100 per cent we will murder anyone.

“Shaun Wane’s made it clear their objective is to win every game, and this will certainly give us an extra fillip to do it.

“At half-time, when we were 10 points down, I thought they could go on and win, and the sickener was (Zak Haraker’s) try which everyone could see involved a knock-on by Danny McGuire. But we didn’t play well enough.”

Lenagan confirmed the reported figure of £250,000 which Wigan missed out on is “about accurate”.

“That’s the different between being there or not being there, and it’s very annoying,” he said.

“Our fans wanted to be back at Wembley, I wanted to, and we squandered the opportunity. But it won’t happen again.”

Meanwhile, Lenagan says there are “no negatives and plenty of positives” from his appointment as executive chairman of Oxford United.

The Wigan-born businessman – owner of the club – stepped up from his non-executive director role after Kelvin Thomas stepped down. And he is using his experiences with the Warriors to try and improve the League Two outfit, while admitting the Warriors may also benefit in a less-obvious way.

Lenagan sold his software business WorkPlace Systems last year. He said: “I’ve been sitting in the background at Oxford for the last six years and in some respects it will be easier to run myself than through someone else, so I’m pleased with it.

“Because of selling WorkPlace Systems, I had two days a week free anyway – I have the time, the inclination and the expertise.

“The benefits will be mainly one way. Wigan’s skills and experience in sports science and management are directly being applied to Oxford United.

“For example, Mark Bitcon (Warriors’ head of sports science) is heavily involved in directing them. In prestige terms, it’s good for rugby league and for Wigan because it recognises the calibre and fitness of our athletes and staff.”

Lenagan says Latics’ chief executive Jonathan Jackson had already been in touch to congratulate him on his appointment. Oxford are three divisions below Latics but could draw them in the FA Cup or Carling Cup. “That would be peculiar, sitting on the other side of the directors’ box,” he added.