Wigan Athletic takeover: Spanish bidders on future profitability, and 'job losses and pay cuts'

Jose Miguel Garrido CristoJose Miguel Garrido Cristo
Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo
Wigan Athletic’s proposed new Spanish owners have revealed their plans to turn the club into a profitable enterprise - in the midst of a global pandemic.

The Spaniards are waiting to hear if they've been given the green light to proceed with the takeover, after being locked in more meetings with the EFL on Thursday.

Part of the paperwork submitted on Tuesday was a letter of recommendation from La Liga, with the two unnamed investors having owned clubs in the Spanish top flight over the past decade.

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And while they will have to have shown they have sufficient funds to buy the club and fund it for at least the next two years – especially with the Supporters Club saying they are unable to commit their £870,000 at the moment – they believe they can drag the club from the red and into the black.

Speaking exclusively to Wigan Today, Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo – the representative for the two unnamed investors – said: “I don’t understand the people who say if you are in football you will lose money.

"That’s not right, but so many people and so many clubs do.

"These investors have made money in every single club they have been involved with.

"If you are trying to reach the Premier League tomorrow, spending millions of pounds, you are going to lose money.

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"These people are professionals in football, they don’t come here to show off, they don’t want pictures with a cup.

"They are long-term investors who want to build a football club.

"They know there’s no money in League One. The only way to make money is to get into the Championship, so it’s in their best interest to win promotion.

"But knowing football is football, and not everyone can win promotion, so you need to be patient.

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"You cannot make a business if you are planning on losing money.

"The way I see it, if I invest £1million, and I don’t make £1million plus one pound profit, that is not good management.

"A club should be sustainable whatever the level they are playing at, and obviously there must be an adjustment after relegation.

"You cannot pay Premier League or Championship salaries when you are in League One.

"But we are coming here to add, not to take away.

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“There are a lot of good things already in place that we want to take advantage of.

"It wouldn’t make sense to ignore the assets here at the club.”

There has been a lot of worrying talk over the last few weeks about rumoured job losses and pay cuts for the staff who have remained since more than 70 who were made redundant in July.

Garrido has moved to clarify the situation as he sees it.

“Everybody will continue working at the club, nobody is going to be fired," said Garrido, who earlier this week revealed their plans to place the club’s Academy at the heart of the club's future.

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"The reality is we’ve spoken to six people, out of around 80 members of staff. All six make more than £45,000 a year, in some cases more than £60,00 a year.

"Given the situation we are in, and the income we expect to receive this season, we cannot pay those full salaries.

"Those salaries were from when the club was in the Championship, and the situation has changed.

"What they have been told is, they are going to have to make an effort now, to help the club.

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"In return for the reduction in their salary, they will get three compromises – when the crowds come back, they will get their full salaries back; if the club gets promoted, they will get their salaries back – plus the money they ‘lost’ as a bonus; and there will also be extra bonuses of 20 per cent of their salaries, depending on the team’s success.

"The reality is the market has changed a lot in the last year – and we have to adjust to that.

"We can only pay what we can afford, and the income for this season and the next one is going to be minimum.

"This is a reality. We haven’t created this situation, but we believe it is better to make an effort and so we can all continue together.

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"What we are also saying is the minute we start taking on new staff, it will be people who lost their jobs as a result of administration.

"If we need one more gardener, it will be one of the gardeners who lost their jobs over the summer.”

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