'What might have been' for Wigan Athletic chief as starlet returns to the DW

Leam Richardson is looking forward to catching up with Kyle Joseph this weekend when Wigan Athletic host Cheltenham.
Leam Richardson with Kyle Joseph at Sunderland last seasonLeam Richardson with Kyle Joseph at Sunderland last season
Leam Richardson with Kyle Joseph at Sunderland last season

But he admits the return of the Scotland Under-21 striker – who joined Swansea over the summer, before being loaned out to Cheltenham – will be tinged with sadness.

“First and foremost, it’ll be great to see Kyle,” he said.

“I had the pleasure of working with him last year, and being there for the first step of what will hopefully be a long and productive journey.

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“Obviously a lot happened during the period of administration, and much of what happened will be forgotten, or thoughts will change over time.

"But one thing that will probably never go away, it’ll always act as a little poke to everyone connected to Wigan, is what happened with the young lads, and so many leaving.

“These lads have so much potential, and you just hoped they’d have spent more time here than what they did.

“Would they have moved on at some point in their career, for a lot of money? Quite probably.

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"But it would just have been nice to have done it according to the plan set out by us and the players themselves, rather than outside forces.

“Look, it’s a double-edged sword, because you are made up to see Kyle – and Joffy at Leeds – doing so well, and the others.

"But there’s also that little niggle inside of you that will probably never go away.”

Latics offered new terms to Joseph but, having not been able to secure his future in advance due to administration, they were powerless when Swansea came calling with an offer in the region of £500,000.

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“Mal (Brannigan) came in late and probably made the very best of what was a bad situation,” added Richardson.

“To be fair to Kyle and his family and his advisors, they could have taken him north of the border for next to nothing.

“But he’s such a thoughtful lad, he sat down with everyone, myself included, and he wanted to forge a pathway that was best for him.

“It was never about finances, or what was the cheapest deal, which would have meant the most money for him.

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“Every decision Kyle makes is purely for football reasons, and that’s credit to him and his family for being that way.”

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