Gary Teale reflects on his time at Latics in the latest of our podcast catch ups with former stars!
- Latics Listen 28 - Gary Teale.
- Download the latest episode to catch up with Jamie Jones and Beni Baningime.
- Teale tells us of his fondess for the six years he spent at Latics.
It’s almost 20 years ago since you joined Wigan Athletic in December 2001 at a great time for the club?
“I think the ambition at the time was great, with Paul Jewell being the manager in his second season with the ambitions he had to make the Premier League was in that time frame.
“I was very, very fortunate to be a part of that and see it all come to fruition.”
Did you feel any pressure after arriving from Ayr United as Wigan Athletic were yet to reach the Premier League?
“I think I was 21/22, so you don’t really feel pressure at that age, you knew the ambition that the club has.
“Paul Jewell took a chance on me and it slowly all came together in terms of the squad he wanted to have with younger players and a lot of energy, so it all paid off in the end.”
You mentioned Paul Jewell, a former Latics forward, and imagine he wanted his side to play on the front foot too?
“He wanted to bring a lot of energy into the team, a lot of pace and wanted us to out work the opposition and I think that’s what we did.
“I think during the second season too we were one of the most hard-working teams in the Premier League and in my first season at the club we won the league, so it was certainly a good start for me.”
You mentioned wanting to play football in England, I guess coming to a successful side helped with that ambition to prove yourself?
“It was a period of transition to start with due to the manager wanting the squad to suit how he played, but from that half season until we were promoted to the Premier League, I thoroughly enjoyed my time, it was the happiest and successful time in football for me.
“The manager helped me because he always wanted me to work hard and never show any room of complacency.”
There was competition for places up front, but I suppose for a wide midfielder it was good to have strikers like Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts in the team?
“Having the quality of Nathan and Jason was always an advantage for me so it’s credit to the manager for bringing those players in.
“The fact that you had those two up front meant that we were a handful for any team in the league, especially with their pace and power meant that they frightened any team on their day."
Playing in the promotion-winning game against Reading and the first Premier League game against Chelsea must have been an unbelievable feeling, especially playing in the third tier a few seasons before?
“I think the first goal in the Reading game gave us a massive relief and it gave us the confidence to go on and see the game out, it was an unbelievable feeling to get promoted shortly after arriving at the club.
“Then going on and playing in the Premier League was a fantastic time for everyone at the club and one that I’ll look back on fondly throughout my career.”
One thing we always like to hear from former players is what you’re up to now, are you back in Scotland?
“I’m back home living in Glasgow now, I work with academies to develop younger players and pre-match entertainment with clubs.
“It’s a different challenge from football but I’m enjoying it all.”