How Wigan Athletic chief 'became a man at Blackburn Rovers'

Blackburn Rovers was where it all started for Leam Richardson and his Wigan Athletic assistants Rob Kelly and James Beattie.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 11:38 am
Leam Richardson

But that won’t stop the trio from doing everything they can to mastermind Rovers’ FA Cup exit this weekend – and keep Latics on the Wembley trail in TWO competitions.

“I’ve got some really fond memories of my time at Blackburn, it became like a second home to me,” said Richardson, who left his Leeds base almost three decades ago to take the first step on the footballing ladder.

“I moved there at 14, when my life was all about going to school and then going to training.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Rob Kelly was my youth team coach at the time, James Beattie was also there as a kid, and it was such an exciting time, with Jack Walker building the club from top to bottom.

“They eventually dropped into League One along with Wigan, but it’s nice to see them back up at the top end of the Championship and challenging for promotion.”

The move to Blackburn paved the way for Richardson to become an adopted Lancastrian, with his career taking him to Bolton, Blackpool and Accrington before arriving at Wigan in 2017.

“Ha my passport’s been stamped now, if I’d known before what I know now I’d have moved over much sooner!” he laughed.

Richardson is a huge fan of the man tasked with returning Premier League football, having bumped into Tony Mowbray many times over the years.

"It's a brilliant draw for ourselves, Blackburn and north-west football, he said.

"During the five years I've been at Wigan, I've been stood on the touchline against Tony on numerous occasions.

"I know him within football, he's an absolute diamond of a guy, very professional and what he wants to do.

"We've had some good tussles over the years, and I'm sure Saturday will be no different."

Get 20% off our sports subscription package and stay up to date with all the latest Wigan Athletic news with a year’s subscription to WiganToday for less than 9p a day. Use promo code TRANSFER20