Wigan Athletic CEO on fans involvement, ownership visits...and truth behind the Phoenix name!

Mal Brannigan insists the new-look Wigan Athletic will be as much of an open book as possible in order to retain its identity with the fans and the town.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 11:58 am
Mal Brannigan (second left) watches the recent match at Gillingham

The newly-installed CEO has already reached out to supporter groups to open up a two-way communication to keep the fans in the loop.

It's in stark contrast to previous owners International Entertainment Corporation, who never showed the slightest interest in maintaining the strong bond fans had become used to under the Whelan family.

And Brannigan says that's just one area Phoenix 2021 Limited will try to put right the wrongs of the last three years.

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"We are looking at communication with the fans, and there will be formal and informal communication channels with the fans at all times," he said.

"Whether that's fans forums, or smaller groups, we'll be looking for as much feedback as possible.

"We're certainly looking to engage as much as we can with the fans.

"We've already had discussions with the Supporters Club, the Council, the local MP, and they've all been very positive and very pro-active.

"But of course, we need to deliver what we've said we're going to, which will hopefully ensure that trust is cemented and the relationships are strengthened."

Brannigan expects owner Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi and chairman Talal Al-Hammad to be regular visitors to Wigan once the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic are lifted.

"I think if the Covid restrictions hadn't been in place, we would already have seen Talal over here," said Brannigan.

"And we will also see Mr Al Jasmi as well at some point in the future.

"They are very keen, very eager, very enthusiastic about the ownership of the football club.

"And they want to be very visible and very available in terms of engaging and communicating with the supporters.

"At the same time, they're very mindful that their roles are board member roles, and they'll allow the chief executive to run the organisation on a daily basis, and be supportive with that."

Brannigan also confirmed the name 'Phoenix 2021 Limited' was even a nod to the club's former days at Springfield Park, and the famous 'Phoenix Stand' on the tunnel side of the ground.

"It's very important to point out the name did come from Bahrain, and yes it was in recognition of the old stand at Springfield Park," he added.

"You've also obviously got the connotations of the Phoenix rising up from where there's been damage, and a rebirth is needed.

"It's an extremely powerful symbol of rebirth, and that's what we want to do here."

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