Dave Whelan quits: Wigan confirm 23-year-old grandson David Sharpe will replace Whelan after he resigned with immediate effect

Whelan resigns after 20 years at the club but the Whelan family will remain majority shareholders amid fears the club will be sold

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Dave Whelan has quit as Wigan chairman after 20 years at the helm of the Latics, but he will remain the registered owner despite his intention to no longer be involved in the running of the Championship club.

A club statement was issued on Wigan’s official website, in which they confirmed Whelan’s resignation with immediate effect.

In a surprising announcement, the club also confirmed that Whelan’s 23-year-old grandson David Sharpe will succeed him as chairman.

The statement read: “Wigan Athletic have confirmed that Chairman Dave Whelan has resigned his position as Chairman of the football club, with immediate effect, putting an end to a glorious 20 year tenure in charge of the club.


“Mr Whelan’s grandson David Sharpe will be formally elected as new Chairman of Wigan Athletic by the Board of Directors at a date to be confirmed soon, and will be assisted in the running of the club by Chief Executive Jonathan Jackson.”

The Whelan family will remain majority shareholders of the club despite Whelan’s decision to step down as chairman.

In a statement, Whelan said: "The time has now come to hand over the reins. I am approaching 80 years old and spend an increasingly long time abroad, and cannot make it to games. It is a decision I have been mulling over for some years and I believe David is now ready.

"Contrary to some suggestions, there are no plans to sell the club, which will remain in family hands and I have every confidence that David, along with chief executive Jonathan Jackson, will lead us forwards with wisdom.

Malky Mackay (left) and Dave Whelan shake hands at the DW Stadium

“In making this announcement, I would like to say huge thank you to the Board of Directors, all the staff at the club, and of course the wonderful supporters of Wigan Athletic, who have helped make the journey over the past 20 years such an exciting and memorable one.”

Whelan caused an uproar earlier in the season when he appointed former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay as the replacement for Owen Coyle. Whelan was handed a six-week ban in December and fined £50,000 for making a racist comment about Jewish and Chinese people, and the Football Association also ordered him to attend an education programme.

Whelan has originally threatened to quit the club if he was found guilty, but while he accepted the FA charge, he denied his remarks were racist.

Wigan are currently struggling in the Championship and sit second-bottom, six points above basement side Blackpool and a worrying nine points off safety. Mackay's side did manage to beat the Seasiders at the weekend, breaking a run of 20 games without a victory.