Wigan Athletic takeover: Let’s send Whelans out on a high, says Paul Cook

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

Paul Cook has called on his Latics players to send the Whelan family out on a high on what is sure to be a hugely emotional afternoon at the DW Stadium.

The visit of Leeds United will mark the formal handing over of power to new owners IEC, after a deal worth just over £22million was announced on Friday.

And Cook believes the Latics family – on and off the pitch – will come together in style to say ‘thank you’ for 23 wonderful years.

“The takeover’s been mooted for so long...and for it now to have happened...it feels like the end of an era,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

“The family as a whole have had amazing success over the years, and their legacy is there for all to see.

“It will be a great day for everyone...a chance to celebrate what the Whelan family has done for this club.”

Cook, who started his career with Latics during the Springfield Park years, is better placed than most to judge that legacy, ahead of another big game at the DW.

When asked how things had changed since Whelan took charge in 1995, Cook roared: “We have lighting at the training ground, things that work, for starters!

“Seriously, for Wigan fans who were lucky enough and privileged enough to stand on the terraces at Springfield Park, they had some fantastic experiences.

“History for any football club is made over a period of time, and Springfield Park gave us some great nights.

“There were the cup runs, the play-offs, the promotions, the big matches...

“But to go from what we were back then...running down to Robin Park to try to find one of the pitches that might be free for us to use...not knowing if we had anywhere to train.

“Springfield Park, without being disrespectful, the facilities weren’t great at all.

“But the Wigan fans were just as proud of their team back then as they are now, which is how it should be.

“They’ve deserved the good times, and the Whelan family have to take an awful lot of credit for that.

“What they have done for this club is absolutely unreal and I think they deserve a moment together when it’s all done to celebrate what this club has become.”

There will be a minute’s applause on the 23-minute mark to recognise the family’s contribution.