Dave Whelan - Wigan Athletic Football Club

Wigan Athletic Football Club

Whelan bought Wigan Athletic in February 1995, when they were a Division Three team.

When Dave Whelan took over the reins he announced that he would get Wigan Athletic into the Premier League, a promise he fulfilled in 2005. This began with the Division Three title in 1997-98, the Division Two title in 2002-03 and promotion to the Premiership as Championship runners-up in 2004-05.

He funded the £30million construction of the club's new JJB Stadium which opened in 1999 and on its completion was one of the largest football stadiums outside the Premier League.

Thanks to Whelan's resources, Wigan, who were tipped to be relegated from the Premier League in their first season, not only managed to stay up (and have stayed in the top flight ever since), but claimed a 10th place league position and also reached the final of the Football League Cup.

In 2005, Whelan threatened to quit the club unless the price of policing games was reduced. In 2007, he called for the relegation of West Ham United as punishment for their incorrect registration of Carlos Tévez and Javier Mascherano. He subsequently called for Premier League Chairman Dave Richards and chief executive Richard Scudamore to resign. An arbitration committee met to consider the affair. It ruled in favour of the Premier League. Wigan managed an end-of-season victory at Sheffield United, a 2 - 1 win with the goals being scored by Paul Scharner in the 14th minute and a penalty from David Unsworth in injury time of the first half, after Jon Stead had equalised for Sheffield United in the 38th minute. It was a dramatic final-day Premiership survival story, with the result saving Wigan and condemning Sheffield United to the Championship.

Whelan's ownership has had some major downs as emotive as the highs. A comprehensive drubbing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in November 2009 saw Wigan ship 9 goals (8 in the second half) and suffer their biggest defeat in their history.

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