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Wigan Athletic’s League One title

by | May 2, 2022 | News

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The 2021/22 season will be a remarkable one in Wigan Athletic history as the club’s first full season under Phoenix 2021 Limited ownership. It’s been a memorable season, with Leam Richardson, his management team, and his players all carrying themselves with such dignity and pride over the last ten months, exemplifying what the Club stands for.

From the outside, promotion appeared to be an ambitious goal for a team with just a few senior players on its books after avoiding relegation to League Two the season before. However, manager Richardson, his team, and the Board of Directors were always certain that this particular Club could continue its great tradition of defying the odds.

Latics have proven that their ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’ by securing their return to the Championship as League One champions following their excellent victory at Montgomery Waters Meadow. 

The Journey

From the brink of collapse after a summer of financial turmoil to preventing his team from relegation into League Two by the skin of their teeth and now winning the title, Richardson’s story is incredible.

Leam Richardson’s time in charge of the Latics has been eventful, with the Latics finally getting over the line on Saturday after a dismal run of form forced them to wait for their return to the Championship.

But how did an assistant manager who wasn’t sure he wanted to be a manager find himself in charge of Wigan’s return to English football’s second tier?

Following John Coleman’s departure for Rochdale in January 2012, Richardson took over as caretaker manager of Accrington Stanley.

After being named Stanley’s manager the following month, he met up with Paul Cook here for the first time, although he finally took over from Cook in October of that year when Cook left for Chesterfield.

Richardson, then 32 years old, was appointed on a two-and-a-half-year contract while still registered as a player, after first leading the team on a caretaker basis.

Richardson guided Stanley to five victories from their final eight games to keep them in League Two after a disastrous 2012-13 season that saw them finish bottom of the Football League by March.

He later left Stanley to work as Cook’s assistant at Chesterfield, and then followed him to Portsmouth, where they earned League One promotion in 2017.

He joined the Latics that summer and has been there ever since. Wigan gained promotion from League One in Cook’s first season as Cook’s assistant, followed by relative stability in the Championship.

When its then-Hong Kong owners left, the club went into administration, and despite a determined attempt to stay in the Championship, the Latics were relegated at the end of the long 2019-20 season.

Cook left the club, along with much of the rest of the team, due to financial difficulties, and eventually became the manager of Ipswich Town.

Richardson did not follow his boss to the Tractor Boys, preferring to remain with the Latics as a caretaker manager until John Sheridan took over for a little while.

When Sheridan resigned, Richardson led the team to safety by a single point after a tough season that saw them hover around the relegation zone for much of it.

Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi, a Bahraini billionaire, bought the club in March 2021, and the team’s finances began to improve.

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