Wigan Athletic takeover: Spanish bidders on the Academy - and current league form

Wigan Athletic’s proposed new Spanish owners have revealed their plans to place the club’s Academy at the heart of its future.

Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo
Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo

The Spaniards were locked in more meetings with the EFL on Thursday, as they aim to get the green light to complete their takeover of the club.

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 show 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 the youth set-up will be the golden egg in the long term.

Speaking exclusively to Wigan Today, Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo – the representative for the two unnamed investors – said: “For us, the Academy is the No.1 asset.

“I would say 80 per cent of the reason why the investors have chosen to come into Wigan is the Academy.

“The Academy is going to continue at the centre of the sporting structure.

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“In a period of three to five years, we are looking to improve the Academy from a Category Two to a Category One.

“The investors are prepared to invest between £4-5million into the Academy to make it a Category One. That will not all be in one go, it will be bit by bit.

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“But these are people who have invested more than 10 million euros in the clubs they have been running in Spain.

“And spending £5million in the Academy would be seen as an investment.

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"If you are successful, all you have to do is sell one player, and that’s the way they look at it.

“But no more young players will be leaving in unreasonable conditions for the club.

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"I understand what happened last summer, and that was due to the circumstances.

"But the minute we go in, that will not happen again.

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“We want players in the Academy that give us sporting results and not just economic results.

"We want people to see Wigan Athletic as an Academy with a progression into the first team.

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“If you’re in the Academy at Manchester City, the chances of graduating into the first team are 0.5 per cent.

"At Wigan, the chances are much, much higher, because you can see so many of them already in the first team. Everything revolves around the Academy.

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“These are not people who are going to come in and spend £20million on the first team.

"This is a long-term project, and you are looking at 50-60 per cent of the squad will be players from the Academy.

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“You can succeed with a project like this, but what you need is patience, and to be very responsible with the history of the club.

“There will never be an obligation to get promoted within one year. It may happen, of course it might happen.

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"But you have to be prepared that it might not, and you have to be consistent in your thinking.”

Garrido also revealed the group are not reading too much into the recent poor run of results that has seen Latics slip to the foot of League One.

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“At the moment we’re getting what we’re getting,” he added. “We are proud of the young lads, and we appreciate the effort from the more senior players.

“We are very conscious of where we are, and we can’t blame anyone at the club."You can’t blame anyone when they are giving everything they have.

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“You are seeing the players giving everything they can for the team.

"They are doing their best, and they are making mistakes – that is normal. But these young players have quality and they will show it in the short term.

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“We don’t like losing but, in the situation we’re in, we have to be realistic.

"At the moment it is men against boys, but one day those boys will be the men in our team, and we have to be patient.

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“And the manager is doing everything he can, with the situation and the players he has at the moment.

“We are happy with the way John Sheridan and the technical side are dealing with a very difficult situation.

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"We are sure that, if we are patient, they will soon start to achieve results.”

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