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Interviews

"I FELT A LITTLE BIT GUILTY COMING BACK." - ARJAN DE ZEEUW

25 January 2019

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Legendary defender talks about his time at Latics in the latest Latics Rewind segment of our podcast.

  • Latics Listen: Arjan De Zeeuw is the latest Latics Rewind star.
  • Former defender talks about his time at Wigan Athletic.
  • "I got a great reception from the fans on my return and soon lost the guilty feeling." - De Zeeuw.

Speaking on the latest episode of our official podcast, Latics Listen, legendary Dutch defender Arjan De Zeeuw chatted to Guy Clarke as our Latics Rewind guest.

Catch the chat by listening to episode 23 below, or read an excerpt from the interview.



De Zeeuw on his current career and love for football

"I enjoyed playing football so much that I knew I needed to get out of it once I'd finished.

"I knew I needed to do something completely different from football and that's what I'm doing now with my work for the Dutch police.

"I have to say, I do now have that urge of being back involved in football again. I've just finished my first coaching badge and I'm into the second phase now, the UEFA B. I'm working at a professional club a few times a week doing my badges, so the lure of football is getting me back into it again."

De Zeeuw on leaving for Portsmouth

"Paul Jewell arrived in the last season of my first spell at the club. He was telling me about his plans to get the club up and that the chairman was backing him, but at that time it just wouldn't happen for us yet.

"I got the offer to go and play at Portsmouth where, at the time, I believed I had a bigger chance of ending up in the Premier League, which of course happened for me.

"I was very happy to watch Wigan Athletic's rise whilst I was at Portsmouth and it didn't take long.

"In the end I sometimes think I should have stayed longer and had one spell instead of two, but at that time it was a good move for me to go to Portsmouth.

"Luckily Paul (Jewell) still remembered me and I remembered Wigan as a great place to play football, so we were fortunate to meet up again at a later stage.

"When I left it was during a period of unrest with a few different managers coming and going which always makes it hard for players to settle because each manager has their own different way of playing."

De Zeeuw on returning to Latics in 2005

"When Paul eventually came in, he got the time to get the right players in and he got them playing the way he wanted them to and it certainly worked.

"Before I left Portsmouth Alain Perrin was the manager and from day one we didn't see eye-to-eye.

"When I met with Paul for the move back to Wigan, he asked me how I was doing and he told me how the club was preparing for the new Premier League season.

"It was an easy decision for me and I had a couple of great seasons back at the club.

"When I arrived back things around the club had improved a lot. Not just the facilities and the playing staff, but the management staff around the place were much better.

"It still felt like the old Wigan I knew, but with more people and more excitement.

"The club was building year-after-year to improve and Paul Jewell was a huge part of that.

"I actually felt a little bit guilty, going to Portsmouth and then coming back once Wigan were in the Premier League because my initial intention was to go there in the first place.

"I got a great reception from the Wigan fans on my return and I soon forgot about my guilty feeling."

De Zeeuw on Latics adapting to the Premier League

"From the very first game, even though we lost it, there was a sense of excitement. The players gelled together really well and the team spirit was excellent. We had the right combination of older and younger players, players who were focused on their tasks mixed with players who were creative like Jimmy Bullard. He was completely mad, but he added to the right mixture.

"We knew we could do much better than everyone thought we could. People writing us off gave us an extra push in the back to prove them wrong.

"There was such a good vibe in the dressing room and that's because we always gave everything. Even if we lost a game we knew we'd put our best in.

"We didn't get outplayed in many games in the first season."


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