Wigan Athletic’s new owners ‘have been worried about losing Paul Cook to the Premier League’ admits Darren Royle

Paul Cook’s future as Wigan Athletic boss following the takeover by International Entertainment Corporation looks to be assured after a ringing endorsement from new executive chairman Darren Royle.

In fact, rather than the new owners possibly looking to change manager – as has the case with some takeovers, particularly from overseas – Royle admits it’s IEC who have been worried about a rival club pinching their highly-rated manager!

Paul Cook

Paul Cook

“There aren’t too many managers out there with a cv like Paul, it speaks for itself,” acknowledged Royle.

“Who knows, he might get offers from the Premier League...and that’s something the guys coming in have actually been worried about, because of his success.

“You never know in football, do you? But what we do know is he’s got a really good cv and we really want to support him.”

Cook led Latics to the League One title last term in his first season in charge at the DW Stadium.

And after leading both Portsmouth and Chesterfield to promotion in the four years before being enticed to Wigan, Cook’s stock is sky-high.

“What he has done so well is elevate the performances of the team, and the players who’ve been part of that,” recognised Royle.

“And it would also be remiss not to mention his management team, who’ve also done a great job.

“Paul and his staff have made this a place where players want to come and play their football.

“The squad seems really happy, and there’s a real connection with the fans.”

Royle was speaking publicly for the first time since the takeover by IEC was confirmed earlier this month, which ended 23 years of Whelan family ownership.

And Royle – son of ex-Everton and England striker Joe, who has also joined the new-look board – admits he can’t wait for Saturday’s visit of struggling Reading, and IEC’s first home game in charge.

“It felt a little bit strange at Middlesbrough last week, being the first game since it all went through,” he added.

“The first home game will also be special, but as long as we come away with the three points, that’s all we’re after.

“It’s a great feeling, I’m very excited, and very honored.

“We’ve been here for over a year now as guests and fans, watching the games.

“It’s been a great year for Wigan Athletic on the whole, winning promotion back to the Championship.

“And it’s good to be in charge now.

“It’s taken its time – but it’s been well worth it.”