A selection of photographs from Dave Whelan's 20 years as Chairman.
- Dave Whelan steps down after 20 years as Chairman of Wigan Athletic.
- Grandson David Sharpe to take over as Chairman.
- 20 photos of 20 years.
Since Dave Whelan first purchased Wigan Athletic in February 1995, the club has grown out of recognition. It sat at the bottom of the old Fourth Division when he first arrived, playing in front of crowds of 1,500 at Springfield Park.
Winning Football League Division Three in 1997 (the equivalent of League Two today) was the first major stepping stone, followed in 2003 – having narrowly missed out in the Play-Offs for three successive seasons between 1999 and 2001 – with the Division Two title (now League One).
Promotion to the Barclays Premiership was achieved in 2005, where the club spent an amazing eight years, an era which included unforgettable victories against the very biggest names in England.
The club reached the outstanding pinnacle of winning the FA Cup in 2013, and qualifying for the Europa League Group Stages, a personal wound healed for Mr Whelan after his career as a top flight footballer was effectively brought to an end in the 1960 FA Cup Final, playing for Blackburn Rovers.
Mr Whelan describes the feeling of lifting the FA Cup at Wembley as ‘one of the proudest days of my life and I am so happy to have played a part in creating an unforgettable memory for all the people of Wigan.’
Under his tenure, the club also achieved the feat of reaching the Carling Cup Final in 2006, while the other trophy to be won during his time was the 1999 Auto Windscreens Shield.
Last but certainly not least, Mr Whelan’s great gift to the club and the town will always be the magnificent DW Stadium, first opened in 1999 as the JJB Stadium, at a cost of some £30 Million.