Six on shortlist as search for new owners at Wigan goes on
- Talks under way to try and help club out of current financial crisis
- Insolvency practicioners are handling sale of the club
SIX potential new owners are on the shortlist as the search continues for a way out of administration for crisis-hit Wigan Athletic.
Insolvency administrators Begbies Traynor are overseeing the sale of the club, and say that so far three potential buyers have had talks with the Football League about a takeover.
The administrators say they “remain optimistic that there will be a successful conclusion to the sale” although they cannot give a timescale for it.
It’s now seven months since Wigan went into administration. Begbies Traynor say they understand supporters may be getting impatient at the length of time the process is taking and have asked fans to remain patient.
On the pitch, striker Callum Lang bagged a vital three points in the week as Latics beat Northampton Town 1-0 in a bitterly cold away game to bring them level with Bristol Rovers in 20th place in the Sky Bet League One.
“This whole situation has been going on for a long time. We’ve just got to believe in what we’re doing. If we don’t, then what’s the point? We may as well turn the lights off.
“That’s not what we’re about. We’ve got a group at this club who roll their sleeves up.”#wafc
— Wigan Athletic (@LaticsOfficial) February 9, 2021
But there was more bad news on the playing side with injury to defender Tom Pearce and striker Jamie Proctor ruled out because of a positive Covid-19 test.
However, the EFL gave special dispensation for Wigan to sign replacements after the transfer window shut, with former Rangers forward Joe Dodoo joining after being released by Turkish side Ankara Keçiörengücü.
Manager Leam Richardson is determined to fight on and feels his team will show their character in the challenges ahead.
He saids “We’ve got a group of players and staff here at this club who will roll their sleeves up and represent themselves and the badge as well as they can.”
Wigan were put into administration in July 2020 by then-owners The Next Leader Fund which triggered a 12-point deduction that relegated them to League One.
With the prospect of liquidation if no buyer was found before the start of the 2020-2021 season, talks began on a rescue package with Spanish businessman Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo.
In September an agreement was reached to sell the club, stadium and training ground as part of a package and Wigan resumed operations, but the deal fell apart in early January when the offer was reduced by 50 per cent.
That would have left the club unable to pay its creditors and so trigger a further 15-points deduction that would effectively relegate the club to League Two.
Talks with the Spanish buyers were broken off on 5 January.
The club has been forced to sell players to raise funds to cope with their financial crisis. In the summer transfer window Antonee Robinson was sold to Fulham for £2m and Jamal Lowe was sold to Swansea for £800,000.
However, in the recent January transfer window grants received from the EFL for loss of income due to COVID-19, meant the club were not in a position where they had to sell players for financial reasons.
Wigan face a resurgent Oxford side on Saturday at the Kassam Stadium. The game will be a tough one for the Latics as their opponents go into the game having won eight out of their last nine and have one eye on the play offs.
A point for Wigan could see them jump out of the relegation places, however that’s only if the teams around them fail to win.