Paul Cook, former manager of Wigan Athletic.
(Image: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Wigan Athletic fans will 'make sure club doesn’t die' says former boss Paul Cook

Cook left the Latics 'with a heavy heart' earlier this year and has spoken out on fundaising efforts by supporters


Wigan Athletic fans have conducted themselves with 'absolute top class' and will ensure the club 'doesn’t die' according to former manager Paul Cook.

The Latics were rocked earlier this year when the club was plunged into administration at the start of July.

Calling in administrators meant 12 points being deducted from the club's total in the 2019/20 Championship season, and it would prove to be decisive.

Wigan ended the season in 13th place after a final day 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium against Fulham.

But the 12-point penalty was then applied which dropped the Latics under Cook into the relegation zone and the club's position as a League One club was confirmed when an appeal against the deduction was dismissed.

Cook left Wigan 'with a heavy heart' at the start of August, which ended a spell of three seasons in charge of the Latics.

It included promotion to the Championship by winning the League One title, and several memorable FA Cup matches where the DW Stadium side dumped out top flight opposition, most notably Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

Cook has reflected on his final season in charge of Wigan and how the Latics transformed their season with a remarkable run of form at the turn of the year.

Speaking on Quest's EFL highlights show, he said: "If you break the season down into two halves and where we were at Christmas, we went to Birmingham bottom of the league, seven points from safety, 12 games without a win.

"Then to see the lads grow like they did, the signings that we made and the younger kids coming through - Joe Williams, Jamal Lowe, Kieffer Moore, we brought so many new lads in including Cedric Kipre, a host of players and watched them grow.

"To then finish the second half of the campaign where we went nine games without conceding a goal, we lost one in 15. The run we were on was amazing.

"We felt then as you look at your team grow and build, you think if we can do okay in the transfer window again we’re going to be a threat next year to everyone, and unfortunately that can’t be now."

To raise funds, the administrators have sold several first team players and also the club's Euxton training ground to Preston North End.

Since the club entered administration and the search for a new owner continues, Latics fans have themselves rallied around to raise funds to keep the club going.

A crowdfunding appeal has so far raised nearly £670,000 with a target of £750,000 being set, and several current and former Latics players have made pledges.

And Cook paid tribute to the Latics fans who have rallied around the club and spoken of the gestures people have made in a difficult economic climate.

Cook said: “I think when you look at football in general, you look through the teams and the 92 League clubs and the non-league scene, I don’t think people realise the pride that every supporter takes in supporting their club.

"It’s not just about Liverpool and Arsenal and Tottenham and Man United, it’s about every football club. I think from day one, Wigan fans have conducted themselves with absolute top class.

"They’ve been brilliant for raising money at a time when everyone knows how tight money is in general. Wigan’s very much a working class area and those supporters will make sure that club doesn’t die."

Cook spoke warmly of a young fan who raised money for the club by selling his toys with a yard sale and highlighted it as an example of how the community feels towards the Latics.

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The former Wigan boss added: “I couldn’t believe it. Our media guy came in and told me this young kid had a car boot-type sale in his garage and he’d sold all his toys.

"Things like that really affect you, because you’re probably not looking for publicity, with the greatest respect. I got his address, I went round, I took him a Samy Morsy top - I found out Michael Jacobs was his favourite player!

"That’s the feel that the community has for Wigan Athletic and it’s tough times for them at the minute, it really is, but hopefully a new owner will come in and hopefully they can grow again."