From the darkness, let there be light - Wigan Athletic chief
Leam Richardson has spoken of the ‘surreal news’ of Wigan Athletic’s imminent takeover – which he hopes will allow the club to continue making magical memories.
The administrators finally agreed a deal on Monday night with Phoenix 2021 Limited, with the transaction to go through by March 31 at the latest.
And manager Richardson – who has steered the ship through the choppiest waters imaginable over the last nine months – says it’s time for everyone connected to the club to come together and welcome in the new era.
“It still feels very surreal at the moment, because we’ve kind of been holding the club’s hand throughout a very long period of darkness,” he told the Wigan Post.
“Hopefully now we’re able to walk towards the light, and everything’s going to be okay again.
“It’s not about me or the players, it never has been. It’s only ever been about this great football club, its history and its future.
“When you’ve been looking down the barrel of extinction like we have, there’s nothing that can ever compare with the emotions of hearing the news that came out on Monday night.
“Everything this club has been through in its 89-year history – the highs, the lows, the Premier League, the FA Cup – it hasn’t been for nothing.
“It will still be here moving forwards, and will have a chance to achieve even more great things.”
Richardson, his staff and the playing squad have lived and breathed the situation along with the fans, and the green light meant as much to them as anyone.
“We’re no different to anybody else,” he acknowledged.
“Going right back to the beginning, all the fans wanted was a club to support when they were allowed back in.
“And thankfully, hopefully, pending it going through, they will have that with, I’m led to believe, some really good people coming into the club, with a very passionate owner, by all accounts, who wants to push the club forward.
“There’s been so much chopping and changing this season, even up until last month in terms of personnel.
“But my message all along to the players who have been here, has been to try to control what we can control.
“The last time the Wigan fans saw their team in the flesh, they were a very vibrant Championship outfit.
“And we need to make sure the next time they go to see them, they’ll be watching a very vibrant League One outfit – with the ambition to get back to where it was.
“In the short term, it gives the players even more of a direction on the field.
“Not that they needed it, but it provides that leadership and direction that I’ve spoken about on a number of occasions this season.
“I think it’s been very evident they’ve been giving their all, and leaving nothing on the field, in training and matches.
“But within any organisation, to have that leadership and direction at the helm, it can only be a massive positive.
Typically, Richardson made sure he referenced the 75 members of staff who lost their jobs at the start of the administration process.
“Our thoughts are still very much with the people who have lost their jobs over the last nine months,” he added.
“Hopefully now the club can start a rebuild and, you never know, those people might be able to get their jobs back, because they were an important part of – and love – Wigan Athletic Football Club.”
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