Wigan chairman targets bright future with Roberto Martinez


Wigan chairman Dave Whelan believes the “implicit trust” he shares with manager Roberto Martinez means memories of the Spaniard's dalliance with Liverpool will be quickly forgotten as they seek to build strong foundations together.

Martinez spoke to the Reds' principal owner John Henry in Miami last week after interrupting a holiday to discuss the Anfield vacancy.

Swansea's Brendan Rodgers has since gone on to win that race and after interest from Aston Villa for a second summer running Whelan has had to agree to certain requests from Martinez for improvements to be made behind the scenes.

But the Wigan chairman insists the happenings of the last two weeks have not affected their relationship.

"I gave him permission to talk to Liverpool and I think he seriously considered it," Whelan told talkSPORT.

"I think he spoke to Villa, or I think they had conversations with an agent about it.

"I have to work very closely with Roberto and I feel it is a democracy. Managers and footballers change clubs, we have to accept that.

"I have known Roberto for years since I signed him as a player and we have a fantastic working relationship - I trust him and he trusts me implicitly.

"Roberto has asked for certain things. He doesn't ask for money for himself, he wants the players and youngsters to have better facilities.

"We want to get to tier two of the Premier League coaching facilities and we have to do things like that.

"We have to put an indoor pitch in so we may as well put a full-size one in and that will cost £1.5million.

"There are other things we have to do to comply with the regulations and Roberto is mad-keen to do that and I support him in it."

Whelan believes the last couple of months have actually done wonders for Wigan's image.

Seven wins in their last nine matches - including a number of big-name scalps - helped them escape relegation and the interest shown in Martinez has enhanced his and the club's standing.

Whelan hopes that will help when it comes to the next stage of development in the recruitment of players, having lost the likes of Hugo Rodallega, Mohamed Diame, Steven Gohouri and Chris Kirkland after their contracts expired.

"Your reputation increases dramatically when you beat teams like Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal," added the Latics chairman.

"I think the fans know we are Wigan, not one of the bigger clubs in the Premier League, and they expect other clubs to try to come and get our best players and our manager.

"But we will keep everyone we have now. We have lost three or four players who are out of contract but Roberto wants to sign three or four."

Whelan also plans to offer his manager a new deal to give him the security to press ahead with his vision.

"He's got two years left on his current contract and we will be looking to extend that," he told Sky Sports.

"We're just so pleased that he's staying with us for another season."


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