Former skipper reflects on a special era for Latics ahead of the visit of Reading to the DW Stadium on Saturday.
- Latics Listen: Matt Jackson recalls Latics’ famous win over Reading in 2005 and promotion to the Premier League.
- Former captain is the latest guest on Latics Rewind.
- Listen to Matt reminisce with Guy Clarke or read from the excerpt below.
Former Wigan Athletic captain Matt Jackson spoke to Latics Listen this week ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship clash with Reading at the DW Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
Jackson was the club’s captain as promotion to the top flight was secured 13 years ago with a 3-1 win over Reading, thanks to goals from Lee McCulloch, Jason Roberts and Nathan Ellington.
Reflecting on that era, Jackson told us:
“It was a really special day for everybody connected with the football club and it brought true the statement that Dave Whelan made many years before and lots of people had scoffed at.
“We were aware of what was at stake but we had a good team and had been in contention for promotion all season.
“Paul Jewell and Chris Hutchings played the week out perfectly; we didn’t do anything different, we approached it as another home game, didn’t train in any other way and it was a really relaxed atmosphere.
“We took that into the game and after we scored pretty early it settled everybody down before the Duke scored the third goal close to the end and, at that point, we knew we were home and dry.”
2004-05: Latics 3 Reading 1 - 8 May 2005 - Promotion to the Premier League
It will go down as one of the biggest days in our club's history, as Paul Jewell's Latics side secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time ever, sparking an eight year journey of top flight football against all odds. Lee McCulloch, Jason Roberts and Nathan Ellington all hit the target against Reading at the JJB Stadium to send Wigan Athletic to the elite of English football.
Jackson was a real stalwart of the era in which Paul Jewell took over as manager under Dave Whelan’s ownership of the club, making nearly 200 appearances during a six-year stay.
Having had one of the best seats in the house, Jackson couldn’t have enjoyed his Wigan spell more.
“Great credit should go to Dave Whelan and Paul Jewell for what they put in place; when I joined we were second bottom of what is now League One and in pretty dire straits,” he added.
“The Chairman backed Paul in front of the players and stated that he wouldn’t be going anywhere, ‘many of you will have gone before he does’.
“More senior players came in after me and we got a core group together, the changing room changed a little bit and we knew we had the start of something.
“I joined around my 30th birthday and, certainly with the way you were regarded by Mr. Whelan if you were over 30 at the time, it was one that I knew could go either way for me. I stepped down a division and took a bit of a chance leaving Norwich City – where I had been club captain – but it turned out to be perfect.”
It is funny how football brings about certain fixtures and this weekend it is Reading again who visit the DW Stadium for the first home match after the Whelan family handed the club over to International Entertainment Corporation (IEC). It is also Mr. Whelan’s 82nd birthday.
“It is strange how football works out,” Jackson continued. “The manager who I won the FA Cup with in Joe Royle is now very much involved and there is a transition for me in that regards.
“Equally, I am still very close with the chief executive Jonathan Jackson and hopefully there will be a bright future for the club.
“If the new owners have half the impact Mr. Whelan had then the club will be absolutely fine.”