We catch up with chairman David Sharpe on his 25th birthday as he discusses recent celebrations, the Wigan Athletic family and what can be expected this summer.
- Wigan Athletic chairman David Sharpe is 25 today.
- “Winning the league down to everyone in the town,” Sharpe.
- Chairman says profile of transfer targets is similar to last season, but fans shouldn’t expect Latics to be as busy.
Sharpe also saw his club secure the League One title last weekend – the perfect birthday present as he turned 25 today.
The chairman grins when asked about the celebrations following the win on the Seaside at Blackpool and also following the lifting of the title last weekend as he was left to reflect on a very successful first year at the helm.
“I’ve loved the celebrations over the last two weeks,” Sharpe said. “It’s all been a bit of a blur and it’s gone quickly but I have loved every part of it.
“I probably enjoyed Blackpool more than Sunday because we won the game but after Sunday’s match we still had a good celebration with the trophy lift and walking round the pitch before we had a good night with the fans.
“I have been out in Wigan once before when we beat Stoke to stay up in the Premier League and that was crazy.
“I can’t remember much from Sunday night in Wigan! One of my mates who was out with us on Sunday said to me that, of all of the nights out he has had around the world in places like London, New York and Las Vegas, he still doesn’t think you can beat Wigan for a night out!”
“It was a great night, the fans made it very special and we appreciate it.”
On a personal note, the highlight for the chairman was probably hearing his name chanted from the stands as he applauded the 3,000 strong travelling support at Blackpool a fortnight ago.
It’s a moment he’ll never forget.
“It was surreal [when the fans were singing his name at Blackpool],” he added. “I am always used to hearing my Grandad’s name be chanted and when we first went on the pitch they were singing his name.
“They then saw me and started singing my name and that was something I never thought would happen in my life so it made me proud and it made me thankful.
“I always knew it was going to be difficult for the fans to take to me with me being so young and I can understand why there were a few critics with doubts but they’ve stood by me and now we’re all reaping the rewards.”
The connection between supporters, staff and players in the past six months has enhanced immensely and that’s something Sharpe takes great pride in.
The club has an ethos of ‘Together’ something the chairman is right behind.
“I was listening to Mark Noble speak about West Ham last night and he said this isn’t a football club, it’s a family. I feel the same at Wigan Athletic,” Sharpe continued. “We’re a family and we don’t see ourselves as a football club, we want everyone from the staff to the supporters to the players to feel part of one big family.
“I want everybody to feel special, whether it’s the cleaners, the chef, the office staff, the supporters or the players, I want that to be the case and that’s how I want this football club to be.
“Everyone is in this together and winning the league is not just down to the players and coaching staff, it’s down to everyone in the town.”
Sharpe understands he can make himself a whole lot more popular with some good summer transfer business but he stressed the club won’t be as busy as last year when Latics built a whole new squad of players.
He insists the profile and philosophy will remain the same, though.
“It won’t be as busy here as it was last summer when over 20 players were signed,” Sharpe said. “It will be more controlled and we know what targets we want to go for, we certainly don’t want to change too much because me, the manager and the staff believe in this group of players. They’re a good set of lads and they also have tonnes of ability and potential and a lot of them are still only young.
“We need to add certain bits and we will do that; we’ve been watching players for the past five or six months now with the Championship in mind because I believe in forward thinking and planning for the future.
“We’ll keep our profile of players similar; young, hungry and English speaking – that’s something I don’t want to get away from because that is what has worked for us.
“We won’t pay massive money for players over the age of 25 because I believe in having assets that we can develop to have success with us and then further in their careers too.”