Wigan chairman Dave Whelan resigns ahead of Norwich City trip

Wigan Athletic's figurehead, Dave Whelan, has resigned as chairman from the Latics . Photo: Barringt

Wigan Athletic's figurehead, Dave Whelan, has resigned as chairman from the Latics . Photo: Barrington Coombs/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Wigan's long-standing figurehead Dave Whelan has announced he has stepped down as chairman of the Latics on the eve of their midweek Championship trip to Norwich City.

Wigan released on official statement on Tuesday lunchtime confirming Whelan had resigned as chairman of the football club, with immediate effect, after 20 years at the helm.

Whelan's grandson, David Sharpe, will be formally elected as new chairman of Wigan Athletic by the Latics' board in due course but the the Whelan family will remain as majority shareholders.

'The time has now come to hand over the reins,' said Whelan, in a statement on the club's official site. '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.

'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 guided Wigan from the old Fourth Division to the Premier League and an FA Cup win in 2013, along with building a purpose-built stadium.

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Whelan's recent tenure, however, has been more notable for events off the field, with the FA charging him in November 2014 for alleged comments reported in an interview published in the Guardian that included 'a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.'