Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday September 26 2009
Wigan Athletic and Chelsea don`t share many connections on the playing front, of former or current Latics players only six have been employed by the West London club and one of these, ex-Latics keeper Bob Ward was the Physio at Stamford Bridge.
Dave Beasant, David Glenn, Mario Melchiot, Scott Sinclair and Emerson Thome are players who have worn both the blue of Wigan and the Blue of Chelsea
Whilst Ian McNeil, who was Latics first ever Football League manager also had a spell as assistant manager at Chelsea but the most intriguing of all connections is that of Ken Bates.
Ken Bates was a director of Wigan Athletic when in 1982 he bought Chelsea football club for the princely sum of £1 but also took on the huge debts that Chelsea had at this time.
Bates turned the fortunes of Chelsea around, along with others, and set up the deal to bring in Roman Abramovich which wiped off Chelsea`s £80 million debt and set them up as one of the Worlds top clubs
Bates had to give up his directorship of the Latics under football league rules when he took over at Chelsea, but said on leaving that the Latics would always have a special place in his heart and that he would never seem them in trouble.
By the late 1980`s Latics were in serious financial trouble and in danger of going out of business, in 1991 Stephen Gage, Ken Bates` son-in-law, bought an ailing Latics off the much maligned Bill Kenyon and steady the ship.
By 1995 the club had settled so much as to be an attractive proposition for current Chairman Dave Whelan and the rest as they say is history.
So Ken Bates has had a major part to play in both Latics and Chelsea`s recent history and its fair to say that neither club would be where they are today if it wasn`t for his foresight and guidance
Vital Latics have teamed up with the publishers Aurum Press to offer one lucky Vital member the chance to win a copy of Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelans Autobiography `Playing to Win`
To enter the competition simply answer the following question:
Which team did Dave play an FA cup final with?
A - West Bromwich Albion
B - Blackburn Rovers
C - Preston North End
To enter click here don`t forget your name and address in case you are the lucky winner and also include your Vital username, good luck
You can listen to the Latics Speyk podcasts now by clicking on the player here:
Date:Saturday September 26 2009
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