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Whelan should lead team - Martinez

14 Apr 2013 07:47:11

Whelan should lead team - Martinez

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has called on the Football Association to allow Latics chairman Dave Whelan to fulfil his dream by leading the team out for the final on May 11.

The Latics booked a meeting with either Manchester City or Chelsea with a 2-0 semi-final win over Millwall at Wembley. Although the victory was tarnished by the disgraceful behaviour of some Millwall fans, it was one of the most significant days in Wigan's history - and it offers Whelan the opportunity to lead his club out, after Wigan's own naivety meant it did not happen already.

"It was our mistake," Martinez said. "In the semi-final, nobody leads the teams out. If we had been in semi-finals before we would have known that. I hope FA allow him to lead team out for the final. That would be a fitting moment for what happened in 1960."

Martinez was referring to the broken leg Whelan sustained when he played for Blackburn in their 1960 final defeat by Wolves.

The memory has fuelled the straight-talking businessman, who bought Wigan in 1995 when they were in the fourth tier of the English game and vowed to make them a Premier League force.

"I have spoken to the chairman," Martinez said. "We were together for at least five minutes. I just said 'We have done it'. It was more emotion than words.

"When you get to know him, he is an example of a human being that sets incredible targets. Sometimes they are unthinkable. What he has done at Wigan deserves a movie. It is just a football dream."

Yet Whelan insists he would prefer his manager to have the honour.

"I want Roberto to do it," he said. "But he will insist on me. This is the best day as chairman by far. Getting to the Premier League was a super day and it will be another super day when we stay there this season, because we have a fight on. But this is another step on the ladder for our wonderful football club."

Goals from Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman either side of half-time were enough for a Wigan side who always had too much class for their npower Championship opponents, even though they had to survive some uncomfortable moments in the second half.


PA

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