Wigan Athletic exit was 'surprise', admits Dan Gardner
Dan Gardner is hoping for ‘great things’ from Wigan Athletic in future – while admitting his ‘surprise’ he won’t be a part of it.
The 31-year-old’s departure was perhaps the closest thing resembling a shock in this week’s retained list.
Having played 41 times as Latics overcame the odds to stay in League One, Gardner (right) felt he’d done enough to warrant another 12 months.
But he’s also not letting the matter cloud a season he’ll look back on with fondness for a long time to come.
“It was a bit of a surprise to be fair,” he told Wigan Today.
“After the season that we had, and with it being my first year back after such a serious injury, I thought I was finding my feet.
“I thought with another good pre-season I would have been fine to go again.
"But I don’t hold anything against Wigan, everyone at the club has only ever been great with me, and it is what it is.
“It’s not nice, because I really enjoyed my time there, but these things happen.
"I genuinely hope Wigan go on to do great things and I’ll be keeping an eye on the results.
“The fans were great with us all year, and great with me throughout my time.
“I’d just like to thank them for their support, it really meant a lot to me.”
Gardner also explained the process that saw him parting ways with the club.
“We had a meeting before the last game to see what everyone was thinking,” he said.
“Then a couple of weeks later I spoke to Leam and he said the new owners were looking to go in a certain direction and I’d probably be better off finding somewhere else.
“He thanked me for everything I’d done here, which was nice of him, and that if I ever needed anything, he’d always be there.
“I’ll leave it with my agent now and we’ll see what happens. I think I’ll be okay with offers, if I’m being truthfully honest.
“But I also know that if I ever needed somewhere to go in and train short term, there’d probably always be room at Wigan.
"We’ll see what happens over the next week and take it from there.”
Zach Clough, Corey Whelan and Academy product Alex Perry were the other senior players who weren’t offered extended terms.
“Been a pleasure ‘Tics,” Whelan tweeted. “Achieved what we set out to do!
“Good luck to all the players and staff next season! Onto the next chapter.”
Clough tweeted: “All the best to everyone associated with @LaticsOfficial! This was a special group of lads who achieved the impossible and it was a pleasure to be a part of! #upthetics”