I'll pay policing says Whelan

Dave Whelan says he will pay his policing bills to safeguard Latics' Premiership season.

But if his nemesis Asst Chief Constable Steve Thomas thinks that's the end of the matter, he is very much mistaken.

The Wigan Athletic chairman is determined to carry on his fight over alleged overcharging by the Greater Manchester force for JJB Stadium football fixtures and is even looking at the possibility of counter-suing the police.

Mr Whelan was this week served debt recovery papers demanding 270,000 in unpaid policing bills dating back two seasons.

Mr Thomas announced at a press conference at Wigan Police Station last week that the club has until August 1 to stump up the cash otherwise he would withdraw officers from all Latics' home games, including their dream first game against Chelsea on August 14.

The matter would also then go to the civil courts.

Without a police presence, Wigan Metro would struggle to grant matches an all-important ground safety certificate meaning fixtures might have to be played behind closed doors or not at all. Mr Thomas said he was not prepared to police further Latics games for nothing, especially as public money and police resources which could be used elsewhere were at stake.

Mr Whelan says that in the face of "bully-boy tactics" he will pay the outstanding amount if needs be, but the battle is still only just beginning.

He said: "We have been asking the police to go to court which we have now got and we are happy about that.

Upset

"At least we will get someone to judge it other than a policeman.

Mr Thomas has upset the whole of Wigan with these tactics, which included underhandedly calling a press conference about his threats without even informing the club.

Mr Whelan said: "If I have got to pay in the meantime, I will pay. I am not going to jeopardise the fixture list. But I am not backing off – this issue is too important not only for us but for other clubs nationwide. We are meeting solicitors on Tuesday to consider our options. The fact that we were asked to pay 43,000 for the policing of visiting Leeds United fans last season while Preston North End were only asked for 7,000 for the same fixture cannot be fair."