Boss revels in party atmosphere as Latics lift the Sky Bet League One title.
- “I have never seen the DW like it was on Sunday,” says Caldwell.
- Gary praises his backroom staff, especially assistant Graham Barrow.
- Manager now looking ahead to “big summer”.
A jubilant Gary Caldwell said he’d never celebrated a 4-1 defeat in such fashion as Latics lifted the Sky Bet League One trophy on Sunday despite losing out to Barnsley, who secured the final play-off spot for a chance to join Latics and Burton Albion in the Championship next season.
Speaking after the celebrations with LaticsPlayer HD, Caldwell said the atmosphere in the DW Stadium was the very best in his time with the club as both a player and manager.
“I have never celebrated losing 4-1 like that in my life before!” Caldwell joked. “A league is judged over 46 games, though, and we are the best team in this league.
“I said to the Barnsley manager that I have never seen the DW like it was today, even in the Premier League or the Championship, and it was by far the best day that I have seen at this stadium and we want many more like it in the future.
“Seeing the fans in the stadium, and such a great atmosphere, just gives you a hunger to get more and have more days like this in the future.”
Latics’ boss was keen to stress that the achievements over the course of the past campaign are very much down to a team effort.
“Everyone is in it together; not just the players but the staff as well and the whole club has to be pulling in the same direction,” he explained.
“It’s not just a team on the pitch but it’s a team off the pitch too and without doubt I couldn’t have done it without them. They are all Wigan people as such and they all care about the club.
“Graham has been here as manager, as assistant manager and also as a coach and I’ve leaned on him a lot. Without doubt, he is the one person I couldn’t have done it without.”
One individual who will stand-out for praise is striker Will Grigg who bagged 25 league goals over the course of the campaign to win the league’s Golden Boot award.
And Caldwell admitted the Northern Ireland international has been outstanding.
“Will has been amazing and you know that if you get him chances he will score goals,” Caldwell added. “He was up front on his own today and was a bit isolated but he works hard and does all of the things the team needs from a striker.
“Ultimately, you’re judged on goals, especially when you pay what we did to bring him in, and he’s delivered on all fronts.”
And now Caldwell will immediately turn his attention to going to the next level as Latics return to the Championship to face the likes of Aston Villa, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest amongst others.
“I’ll never stop working until I get this club right back to the top,” Caldwell continued. “I took over last season in a really difficult circumstance so to work from this platform that we have now in the Championship with this group of players is far easier, but there is still a long way to go.
“You could see that in the game today; it was a difficult game and it showed you can’t rest in football and you have to continually work hard to be better.
“We’ve got a big summer ahead of us in terms of recruitment, planning and moving to the new training ground. We can enjoy the day but then we look forward and plan again for next season.”