Wigan Athletic manager’s dastardly ploy to keep Powell!

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Paul Cook admits he had a rather novel – but hugely successful – way of ensuring Nick Powell remained a Wigan Athletic player on deadline day...he pinched his mobile phone!

Latics were celebrating a real coup on Wednesday night when they managed to get to the 11pm cut-off still in possession of the former Manchester United man.

Premier League outfit Brighton had two bids rejected for Powell, who told chairman David Sharpe he had no interest in leaving no matter what the offer.

And boss Cook – who’d previously admitted his fears atlosing Powell – could not hide his delight, and relief, at keeping hold of every single one of his first-team pool, as well as adding Fleetwood striker Devante Cole.

“Of course I’m delighted Nick’s still here,” Cook beamed.

“Coming into every transfer window, at 99.9 per cent of clubs there’s always a danger of losing players.

“That’s not necessarily your best player, a top player, but any player.

“But to keep the squad together in its entirety like we have is fantastic.

“We’re more than halfway through a season-long campaign, where you just want everyone to stay together and keep going.

“For us all to stay together through the window is great credit to the club, the chairman, the players...because it’s not easy to fend off clubs in this day and age with the money involved.”

Some of the rumoured offers for Powell would have had every other League One club queueing up to do business, and Cook acknowledges the situation was far from easy.

“You’ve got to be careful now, because football is such a changing game,” the Latics boss recognised.

“Gone are the days where it’s all about the club lacking ambition.

“With the finances involved – for example the gap between League One and the Premier League – it’s life-changing.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re Nick Powell or not, it’s irrelevant – it’s all about the finances.

“The main thing is the player’s willingness to leave, or to stay.

“Nick never indicated once a move was what he wanted to do.

“That made it a lot more simple to keep hold of him.

“If Nick had intimated the opposite, I think we may have had a problem.

“You’ve only got to look at what’s happening at Leicester to see the problems that can happen when a player (Riyad Mahrez) doesn’t get his wish.

“In this case, though, the massive winner is the football club – and we’re delighted about that.”

When asked what steps he himself had taken to keep Powell, a huge smile took over Cook’s face.

“My involvement was taking his phone off him!” laughed the likeable Liverpudlian.

“Seriously, as a manager, you’re only as good as your players, and I’m very lucky I’ve got a very good group here who like to work very hard.

“Nick’s a big part of the group. When you have the talent he has, it’s bound to be the case.

“When people enjoy being part of a club, it’s a big pat on the back for not only the manager...but everyone at the club.”