Sharpey opens up on Wigan Athletic tenure

David Sharpe has revealed the ‘biggest regret’ of his chairmanship of Wigan Athletic – not giving manager Gary Caldwell more time before wielding the axe in October 2016.
David Sharpe and Gary Caldwell in 2015David Sharpe and Gary Caldwell in 2015
David Sharpe and Gary Caldwell in 2015

Caldwell had delivered the League One during his one and only full campaign in charge, but paid the price two months into the following season after a disappointing start.

His replacement, Warren Joyce, arguably made the situation worse, with relegation back to the third tier an inevitability by the time he was potted less than four months after being appointed.

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And Sharpe now feels he acted too hastily in relieving Caldwell of his duties, with only 14 matches having been played.

“Should have given Gary longer,” revealed Sharpe, during a Twitter Q&A.

“Should have stuck to my beliefs on that one, for sure. Wish I could rewind time!”

Sharpe also lifted the lid on how close Latics came to landing a trio of players who would go on to become EFL stars.

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Walsall’s Romaine Sawyers, Gillingham’s Bradley Dack and Oxford’s Kemar Roofe were all high on the Latics ‘wanted’ list during the 2015-16 season.

But, for one reason or another, they slipped through the net, before going on to much bigger and better things.

“Sawyers probably the closest, as from memory I’m pretty sure we had agreed a fee in January ‘16,” revealed Sharpe.

“But the player wanted to see his contract out and then joined Brentford in the summer. Brilliant player IMO.

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“Still didn’t do too bad that season and, in terms of profit and loss on that 15/16 team, we were plenty up.”

Sharpe named Che Adams, Ollie Watkins and Alfie Mawson as three others he regretted missing out on, as well as John Lundstram, who had an unsuccessful trial in 2015, and is now a Premier League star with Sheffield United.

He also admitted how much he misses the day-to-day goings on at Wigan.

“Yes all the time!” he said. “It was a massive part of my life for 24 years. Will always mean so much to me, look out for every result and still keep in touch with Jonathan, Cooky, the staff and some players!”

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But when asked did he regret his family selling the club to IEC, he replied: “No. Especially not at the moment! I do wish I still had a role to play, though.”

As for best and worst moment of his time with Latics?

“Favourite as chairman was both promotions and beating Manchester City,” he acknowledged. “Favourite as fan was Wembley and staying up at Sheffield United and Stoke.

“Worst moment as chairman was probably realising that I had to walk away from what I love. Worst as a fan was the day Roberto (Martinez) left for Everton.”