Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday December 18 2010
There is a lot more than the M6 Motorway connecting Wigan Athletic to Aston Villa, Vital Latics takes a quick look back to see the connections between these two famous clubs.
Employed by both clubs in one capacity or another include:
Warren Aspinall, Lee Butler, Bobby Campbell, John Deehan, Gareth Farrelly, Emile Heskey, Alan McLoughlin, Brendan Ormsby, Nigel Spink, Kenny Swain and David Unsworth
Former Latics Managers
Ex-Villa fullback Kenny Swain managed the Latics disastrously in 1993 and almost got us relegated from the football league.
Another ex-Villa player John Deehan was the first part of Dave Whelans 10 year plan for the Latics when he replaced Graham Barrow as manager at Springfield Park in October 1995, he went on to lead the Latics to the third division title in 1997.
Deehan left the Latics in 1998 to become Steve Bruce`s assistant at Sheffield United and he followed Bruce to Huddersfield Town in 1999 before going full circle and re-joining Aston Villa as assistant manager to John Gregory.
John Deehan made 110 appearances for Villa and scored 40 goals between 1975 - 79, whilst in charge of the Latics Deehan managed 69 wins in 157 games, 34 draws and 54 defeats. A win percentage of 43.9%
We are the Champions - John Deehan with the 3rd Division trophy at Springfield Park
Wigan lad Warren Aspinall had the world at his feet as a 17 year old breaking into the Latics first team, moves to Everton and then onto Villa in quick succession signalled all was not well, recently he has spoken candidly about his addictions to both gambling and alcohol in the Sky Sports documentary feature Life After Football
Back in 1985 when 17 year old Warren followed in the footseps of his brother Wayne and made his debut for his home town club he quite literally had the world at his feet.
Aspinall was a prodigious talent and he had a temperament and confidence to match, it was quite obvious that this young lad could go as far in the game as he wanted.
A year after making his Latics debut Aspinall was snapped up by Howard Kendall`s Everton and he would make 7 first team appearances for the Toffee`s the following season on their way to the league title.
But it was obvious, even to outsiders, that all was not well with Aspinall, talk of attitude problems and heavy gambling were commonplace with him and he was shipped out of Goodison Park the following season when he signed for a struggling Aston Villa team.
From Villa Park Aspinall has made stops around the country on a nomadic career that has seen him don the shirts of Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Swansea City, Carlisle United, Brentford, Colchester United and Brighton.
It was whilst he was at Brighton that Aspinall met Mickey Adams who has turned into a good friend and somewhat saviour for the ex-Hindley Park High School pupil.
Aspinall had his career ended when he contracted MRSA following a routine operation to have some floating bone washed from his ankle, at a very low ebb the gambling and drinking took over and he reached his lowest point when, drunk and skint from a day at the bookies, Aspinall tried to kill himself in front of a train.
In a tearful interview Aspinall relives that fateful day and tells of what made him reconsider where his life was taking him, what strides he has made since by reaching out and getting help and his love for his family.
Warren Aspinall now works for Sainsbury`s at one of their distribution depots in Basingstoke and he does some scouting for his good friend Mickey Adams the Port Vale manager.
Aspinall is definitely a 'what could have been` character, bags of talent just took some wrong turns but it is good to see him getting himself together.
To watch the Warren Aspinall interview visit skysports.com
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Date:Saturday December 18 2010
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