Wigan Athletic takeover: Cook thanks Sharpe for ‘very strong relationship’

David Sharpe with Paul Cook and Dave Whelan
David Sharpe with Paul Cook and Dave Whelan

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook admits he’ll miss outgoing chairman David Sharpe, with whom he had a manager-chairman relationship up there with the very best.

Cook was the first choice – the only choice – when Sharpe was looking to fill the Latics managerial hotseat in the summer of 2017.

It proved to be the correct call, with Cook delivering the League One title, and a welcome return to the Championship, in his first season at the helm.

And with the Whelan family handing over control to International Entertainment Corporation following a protracted takeover, Cook feels it’s important Sharpe gets his fair share of recognition as well as the inevitable plaudits heaped on long-time owner Dave Whelan.

“My immediate dealings have been with David Sharpe, rather than Dave Whelan,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

“And from day one we’ve had a very strong relationship, the one I think most managers and chairmen would seek.

“They’re not all good days, it’s not all been agreements – it’s not all been tickety-boo as some people might have thought.

“But we’ve always been here for each other, talking once or twice a day, most days, which is the most important thing.

“For that relationship to come to an end is a very sad day for me and my staff.

“We’ve all got very, very close to David since we’ve been here.

“He’s not just been he chairman but also our friend, and it’s a very sad day for us all.

“No matter how he result goes on Sunday (against Leeds), it will be chance for us all to get together, have a drink and say thanks for everything he’s done.”

It’s been a remarkable sequence of events since Cook rejoined Wigan – with whom he began his playing career in the 1980s – given the circumstances that led to his arrival as manager 17 months ago.

“It’s quite ironic really, because the reason I was leaving Portsmouth was because of the takeover that was happening there,” Cook acknowledged.

“But I looked at the squad we had in League One, the infrastructure of the place, and it looked a good fit.

“It was important I met the chairman, because I’d heard a lot about him, in football circles you do.

“And right from the very start it was clear that his love for this club was 100 per cent.

“In everything we discussed the club came first, and that went for every single decision he ever made.

“We felt right from the start we could be right for each other, and I’d like to think he’s been as happy with me as I have with him.

“A lot of chairmen go through their careers with no success – he’s had two League One titles in three years, which isn’t too bad.”