Joe Royle ‘chuffed’ to be given role in Wigan Athletic’s future under IEC

Joe Royle (left) with son, Darren (right), and IEC chief executive Melvin Yan Min Zhang
Joe Royle (left) with son, Darren (right), and IEC chief executive Melvin Yan Min Zhang

Darren Royle admits he can’t wait to get down to work alongside his dad, Joe, to try to guide Wigan Athletic back to the Premier League.

The Royles have been brought in by new owners International Entertainment Corporation, who are looking forward to their first home game in charge this weekend – fitting against Reading, who are nicknamed the Royals.

While Darren, 44, has been announcing his arrival to Latics fans via his maiden media conference earlier this week, Joe needs no introduction.

Royle senior played for and managed both Everton and Manchester City during a distinguished career that also brought six England caps in the 1970s.

And Royle junior is relishing the opportunity to work in tandem with his old man for the first time.

“IEC wanted someone there with a lot of experience in the game, and they don’t come any more experienced,” said Darren.

“He’s chuffed to be here, and it’s great for me to be able to work alongside him really.

“It does feel a bit strange, but it’s also nice at the same time.

“We get on great, he also gets on great with Paul Cook and the staff, and it certainly makes for a lively manager’s room.”

While Darren has taken on the role of executive chairman, Joe merely has a seat on the board of directors.

However, as Darren is the first to concede, his seniority will hold little sway in any footballing discussions.

“I wouldn’t try and challenge him on much, he’s got a few more England caps than me for a start!” he laughed.

“I’ll be more working with Jonathan (Jackson, chief executive) on the business side, but it is interesting to see how the other side of the business works.”

Darren won’t be going in at the deep end, having been a fixture in the directors box for the best part of the last 12 months while the takeover was ongoing.

As a result, he is able to see beyond a recent dip in results, with Latics looking to arrest a four-game losing run this weekend.

“We have a team out there on the pitch that’s developing, improving, and competing very well at this level already,” he said.

“We all moan about results at times, and I think there have been games where the result hasn’t gone our way.

“At the same time we can’t be a ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ team.

“We just have to get on with it and try and win the next game.

“Yes we are a few bodies light at the moment through injury.

“But you look at how well those players were playing at the start of the season, before they got injured, and you start wondering what might have been had they stayed fit and healthy.”