Less than 24 hours after sacking Malky Mackay, Wigan Athletic have announced Gary Caldwell as their new permanent manager.
Mackay was controversially appointed as Latics boss back in November, a decision which caused a storm as he was being investigated by the Football Association over allegations he sent text messages of a homophobic, racist and sexist nature during his time in charge of Cardiff City. This has ultimately backfired on the Lancashire club, who not only lost sponsorship deals after the appointment, but the Scot has been unable to steer them away from the Championship relegation zone.
A 2-0 defeat to Derby County was their 22nd of the campaign, a remarkable figure considering the club were in the Premier League just two years ago and made the playoffs last season. They are now facing life in the third-tier of English football as they are eight points adrift of safety with just 15 to play for, a statistic which led to the decision to part company with Mackay on Monday afternoon.
Wigan have now appointed club captain Caldwell as their new manager, despite his obvious lack of experience at this level. The 32-year-old announced his retirement from playing in February due to a long-term hip problem and his since been added to the coaching staff, so he is clearly well thought of at the club and will be assisted by the highly-respected Graham Barrow in his new role.
Former Scotland international Caldwell, who won two league titles with Celtic before going on to make 109 appearances for the Latics, told the official club website on Tuesday: “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I wanted to move into management when the time was right. I didn’t expect that to come along as quickly as this but, in football, you need to take opportunities when they arise and I am honoured and excited in equal measures to take charge at the Latics.”
Caldwell will begin his quest for survival on Friday evening when his side take on Fulham at Craven Cottage. The Londoners are just one place above the relegation zone, although they may have moved up as many as three places if they can collect maximum points when they travel across the capital to play Charlton Athletic on Tuesday.