Malky Mackay has been appointed new manager of Wigan Athletic, and Dave Whelan has backed the Scot to lead them back to the Premier League.
Having won the FA Cup in May 2013, the Latics were relegated to the second-tier of English football just days later. Roberto Martinez then left for Everton, and his successor, Owen Coyle, was dismissed last December after a poor beginning to his reign. Uwe Rosler was next in line, and the former Manchester City striker was able to lead them up the table to the playoffs, where they lost to Queens Park Rangers in the semi-final.
Hopes were high that the German would continue in this vein this season, but he was last week dismissed with the team third-bottom of the Championship table and some 12 points adrift from the targeted sixth-place finish. Mackay has now been called upon to bring a result in fortune, and Whelan is confident the former Watford and Cardiff City manager can have a positive impact and return the club to the Premier League.
“He is the man to lead us back into the Premier League,” the Wigan chairman declared to the official club website. “He has led a team out of the Championship before and he knows this league inside out having played and managed in it. His achievements at Cardiff City were magnificent and we need a strong leader who will command the respect of a very experienced and talented dressing room – and he is the man to do it. I am delighted we have secured the services of someone who has so much to give to the game.”
Mackay has been out of work since being sacked by Cardiff owner Vincent Tan in December, a decision which caused huge controversy at the time. The 42-year-old has since been the subject of revelations from his former club involving text messages of a racist, sexist and homophobic nature, which has made it difficult for him to get back into the game. Whelan, though, has made it clear that the Scot deserves another chance.
“I know that this appointment will draw criticism in some quarters but we go into it with our eyes open and we have nothing to hide on this subject,” he added. “Malky made a mistake, he knows that, we know that and we have discussed this issue at length face to face. He apologised publicly for what happened at the time and has paid for what he did in terms of the bad publicity he has received since and will no doubt continue to suffer in the future.
“But I believe that it is now time to move on. Contrary to the way he has been portrayed in recent months, the Malky Mackay I met this week, and who has been vouched for by the many different people from whom we have sought advice before making this appointment, is an honourable man. He is a committed family man with decent values and is a professional who has worked and thrived for over 20 years in the multicultural world of modern football. There is nothing more to say about this subject.”
The Football Association confirmed back in August that it was investigating the dossier of messages involving Mackay and Iain Moody, Cardiff’s former head of recruitment, although there have been no charges against either man as of yet.