Caldwell sacked as Latics boss

Gary Caldwell has been sacked as Wigan Athletic manager.
Gary CaldwellGary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell

Chairman David Sharpe made the decision to axe his manager, one of the least experienced managers in the English game at the age of 34, with the club sitting second-bottom in the Championship after 14 games.

Caldwell led Latics to the League One title last term, and promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt, winning the LMA League One Manager of the Year award in the process.

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But their run of poor results and shortcomings in front of goal, which has seen Wigan score just twice in their last seven matches, has been the final straw for Sharpe.

He said: “ “It’s undoubtedly the toughest decision I’ve had to make since becoming Chairman.

“We deservedly won the League One title last season.

“However, we have not managed to carry on that momentum into this season and, after careful consideration over a period of time, I feel that we need to act now in the best long term interests of the club.

“We thank Gary for all the hard work he has put in and wish him all the best for the future.

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“We need to identify a new manager who can have an immediate impact and deliver success in the long term.”

Latics’ defence has been robust, conceding just four goals in their last seven matches.

Their goal-difference is -3, which is as good as Reading, in eighth - statistics which suggest the table is still in its embryonic stage.

But Caldwell has faced criticism from fans for their stale form, but urged them to remain patient and insisted they were “not a million miles away”.

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A former Newcastle junior, he had spells on loan before breaking through with Scottish side Hibs in 2004.

He moved to Celtic in 2006 before joining Wigan Athletic in 2010 when they were still a Premier League side.

Roberto Martinez handed the Scottish international the Latics captaincy the following season and in 2013, Caldwell lifted the FA Cup at Wembley - despite not getting off the bench for the decider against Manchester City.

Despite suffering relegation to the Championship, they returned to Wembley the following year to face Arsenal in a semi-final which finished 1-1. Caldwell missed the first attempt in the penalty shootout, and they eventually crashed out.

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In February last year, he formally retired from playing because of a persistent hip injury, and moved on to the coaching staff with the academy, having previously worked with the development team on a part-time basis.

Yet just three months later, he was thrust into the hot-seat after new chairman David Sharpe - who succeeded his grandad Dave Whelan - sacked Malky Mackay.

At the time, Sharpe said he was the only candidate he considered for the role.

He said it was “an appointment for the long-term” and spoke about having a “blueprint for the future”.

Caldwell was unable to halt the club slipping into League One in his five games in charge, but last season he overcame a rocky start to guide Latics to the title.