Noel Hunt leaves Wigan Athletic

Noel Hunt has left Wigan Athletic to join Waterford as player/assistant manager.

Friday, 1st June 2018, 9:00 am
Updated Friday, 1st June 2018, 10:17 am
Noel Hunt (left) celebrates the League One title success with Will Grigg at Doncaster

The 35-year-old forward had been offered another 12-month deal by Latics boss Paul Cook, whom he followed up the M6 from Portsmouth last summer.

But he completed the switch to Waterford last night to take-up a player-coaching role with the Irish side.

While fellow golden-oldies Gary Roberts and Alex Bruce continue to mull over the offer of another year at Wigan, David Perkins has already taken the decision to move on for a fresh challenge at Rochdale.

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Hunt had told Wigan Today he may have to move on to continue his career.

“I still feel great, and the lads will tell you...I feel the youngest lad in the dressing room. I know I’m 35, but I feel half that – Perks is the same," he said earlier in the week.

Hunt has readily accepted his changing role in the twilight of his career, with all but one of his 13 appearances for Latics coming off the bench.

And only five of his 24 Pompey appearances the year before were from the start.

“I’ve spent so much of my career in the Championship, trying to get in to the Premier League,” he acknowledged.

“But I’m also a realist at this stage of my career. You have to know what your role is and what you’re capable of doing.

“The season’s ended in style, but we had some hard days along the way.

“There were losses in there, you get down, there are tough times, and the dressing room needs lifting.

“I saw part of my role as getting the boys going again, get them bubbly again, and ready for the next game – which is always just around the corner.

“With the games coming thick and fast, everything can change in a week, and we always managed to bounce back.”

Despite having only been at the DW Stadium for a year, Hunt says it would be hard to says his goodbyes.“

This is a really good group to be around, because they all want to learn and they all want to be successful,” he added.

“They all have a work ethic and ambition and that’s a great environment to be around.”

Waterford general manager, Jack Power, said: “We are delighted to have Noel Hunt return to Waterford. He is widely experienced, having played in the Premier League as well as representing the Republic of Ireland. He’ll bring both great energy and enthusiasm into Waterford FC. It is truly a major coup for our football club.”