Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan insisted yesterday he will not sack manager Roberto Martinez – even if the Latics are relegated this season.
Wigan currently prop up the top flight with just nine points, but Whelan remains defiant when discussing his popular manager. "Sacking him isn't even a consideration. Roberto is a fantastic, honest manager who knows our strengths and weaknesses," he told The Independent. "It is a partnership at a football club, everyone has to realise that. You have to have partnerships to succeed between manager and players and manager and boardroom.
"Wigan have that. We're the smallest club in the Premier League but I would say there is no doubt about it that we are the happiest out of the 20. We have patient supporters, which helps. There is a faith in what we have and I don't want to see that change."
Whelan puts the club's precarious position down to bad luck rather than poor management – most notably at home to Blackburn last month when Rovers scored after a bizarre incident, when Yakubu pretended to take a corner but didn't actually touch the ball.
But even if Wigan are relegated, Whelan wants Martinez to stay. "We have been incredibly unlucky this season and that isn't Roberto's fault," he said.
"There will be no way I will sack him. And if we did get relegated to the Championship I have every faith in him to get us promoted again. That [Yakubu] decision was the worst one I've seen in all my years in football. It doesn't balance itself out over the season and these calls have a huge bearing on the table at the end of the season."
While Whelan wants Premier League survival, he doesn't want to break the bank in January to achieve it. "If Roberto was given a basket of money he would definitely put it right and if he sells a player in January he will get that money for signing someone new. We need bigger, better and stronger players as we look to improve," he said. "I don't want to pass the club on with any debt."