Wigan Athletic confirm the permanent appointment of manager Leam Richardson after a successful spell turning the club around.
The Latics have appointed their caretaker boss as the first team manager on a three-year deal.
The 41-year-old took over after John Sheridan left for Swindon in November and has guided the club out of the League One relegation zone.
After four straight wins, Wigan are four points clear of the bottom four with three matches still to play.
𝙇𝙚𝙖𝙢 𝙍𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙨𝙤𝙣’𝙨 𝘽𝙡𝙪𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙒𝙝𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝘼𝙧𝙢𝙮 💙
We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Leam Richardson as Wigan Athletic manager!#wafc🔵⚪️
— Wigan Athletic (@LaticsOfficial) April 21, 2021
41-year-old has impressed the club’s new owners with his leadership qualities throughout the most challenging period in the club’s history
Chief executive, Mal Brannigan, said: “In Leam, this club is fortunate to have an excellent coach, a strong leader and most importantly a person full of integrity – we’re delighted he believes in our vision and wants to lead the club into a bright future.”
We are delighted to confirm the appointment of Leam Richardson as Wigan Athletic manager.
Following a turbulent 12 months, in which Leam has provided stability, strength and hope to Wigan Athletic staff and supporters, the Club’s new owners Phoenix 2021 Limited made it an immediate priority to give clarity with regards to the Club’s vision by appointing Leam as first team manager.
In without doubt the most challenging period in Wigan Athletic history, Leam has brought the players, staff and supporters together with his calm approach, underpinned by his integrity, work ethic and desire to succeed.
After initially taking charge of Latics at the start of the campaign for our season opener at Fleetwood Town in the EFL Cup, Leam returned to his role of assistant manager before taking interim charge for Latics’ draw with Bristol Rovers at the DW Stadium on 24 November 2020.
In the 31 games he has taken charge of – including that draw – Latics have achieved 40 points, averaging 1.29 points per game in a campaign in which the Club had to navigate the challenges of administration, including using the second highest number of players in League One this season.
A number of academy graduates, including Callum Lang, Kyle Joseph, Thelo Aasgaard, Chris Merrie and Luke Robinson have flourished under Leam’s leadership – with the excellent support of Head of Academy Gregor Rioch – whilst Leam used his network and contacts within the game to recruit a number of players to aid Latics’ survival bid throughout the current campaign, including Will Keane, Tendayi Darikwa, Curtis Tilt and George Johnston, all of whom have played an integral part in giving Latics the opportunity to secure their League One status in the final three matches of the season.
Commenting on Leam’s appointment, Wigan Athletic chief executive Mal Brannigan said:
“In Leam, this club is fortunate to have an excellent coach, a strong leader and most importantly a person full of integrity – we’re delighted he believes in our vision and wants to lead the club into a bright future.
“Many of the staff and players I speak to talk about the inspiration and motivation Leam has provided to them during this challenging period. We have all seen that with the belief the new ownership has provided to the whole Club, Leam, Gregor, the staff and players have thrived and that’s really encouraging for a strong and stable future for Wigan Athletic.
“Leam will be the first to say that nothing has been achieved yet this season and I know his immediate focus will be on preparing the team for Saturday’s match with Burton Albion to ensure the team maintain their strong performances of the last few months.
“It is important now that staff and supporters get behind Leam and the team in these final three fixtures and keep the positivity flowing so that together something special can be achieved come Sunday 9 May.”
“I’m very privileged and proud. It’s a proud moment to represent this club with its history,” he said.
Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, he continued: “When the new ownership group came in, support was given early on and from conversations with the chief executive and chairman it became apparent we could possibly have a really good, outstanding relationship.
“They matched my ambitions as well as those of the club and if we can marry them together and push it forward to where we think it should be in the football pyramid, then we will have all done a very good job.”
Fans reacted as Wigan confirm the permanent appointment of manager Leam Richardson…
@im_martinholden: Absolutely delighted for him. Deserves this and all the support we can give him
@esso083: Fantastic news! Get me in that stadium! Up the tics!
@KaI_WAFC: He’s been our manger from the start of the season for me, but it’s brilliant to have him officially in the permanent role. If he keeps us up he’ll be a legend, but think what we could accomplish next year when he has a full summer to prepare. Exciting times
@wafcian: Fully deserved, could have easily jumped ship when we hit bottom or when Cook got the Ipswich job, thank you Leam, top man!
@LeonOlechnowicz: Brilliant. Wouldn’t be where we are without him. Glad Talal and the boys realise this. Feel good factor is well and truly back at the Tics #wafc
@Josh_Beesley03: Turned the ship around when we were in the shit. If anyone is going to lead us forward it should be him
@Matty_Ox10: Massive this for keeping players on for next season aswell, who’d want to leave now in the position we’re in
@purpledamo: Great news and fully deserved. No promises that I don’t call for him to be sacked when we lose a couple of games #wafc
@danjwafc: 100% deserved this trough his positivity and loyalty to the club in its time of need, made up for the block
@ohwhenthenotts: Really pleased for @leamrico. Always followed his career after his role in our original great escape when he came on loan and played brilliantly for us. Bumped into him in town that night, celebrating after keeping us up. We were both worse for wear but he treated me like a mate.
@NathDerricott: Best news all year this get Paul Cook in as his number 2 n we’ll be int Super League in 5 years up them fucking tics
@HDavies1804: Real shame for #itfc, that rules out a move in the summer, but don’t blame him. Done a terrific job for #wafc, a club I like a lot. If he keeps them up, there’s no other manager that should even come into consideration for manager of the year. Who will be our new assistant then?!
@IanCart59216988: Brilliant news fully Deserved
@MWalker1869: Fully deserves this! He’s worked his arse off when the chance of not being paid and not having a job the day after was highly likely. Leam you’ve done an amazing job so far and I know I speak for all of us Latics fans when I say we are glad you’re our manager!
@terrythomas1: Absolutely made up with this!
@wafc_110513: Great news. He’s a Wigan Athletic legend already for his efforts and commitment during this period! #wafc
@CalderbankAndy: He’s shown professionalism and integrity throughout a very difficult period in our history and it’s more than deserved
@charlottea30: Amazing news and fully deserved! Leam Richardson, my manager
@AshyPaul: Good news hopefully that news will give the club and players a boost congratulations Leam
@alanbenno: Has the statue of Leam been commissioned yet? He has been an absolute rock not just for the club but for the town as well. Congratulations Leam
@bertwigan69: 100 percent deserved. Congratulations Leam.
@helencentra: Fantastic! He’s totally earned it, such a positive for the club
@PeteReece: Richly deserved. Well done Leam.
Fans continued to react as Wigan confirm the permanent appointment of their manager…
@JackSpudSpear: Can you shag a tweet?
@SteveHorsfield5: Good luck Leam. Onwards and upwards. Hope there will be more flexibility in our style of play than what Cook showed with regards to a proper wide man and the boring one up top.
You have earned this mate.
@AshcroftDarren: Fantastic news. Fully deserved. 👍
@AdyEthelston; Brilliant news. Well done Leam
@HorsfallPaddy: Fantastic news!!!! Thoroughly deserved!!!! Onwards & Upwards under this man!! #upthetics
@thestainsports: Overdue. Congrats, gaffer.
@Twafc1: Absolutely made my fucking day
@DavidPe36724722: Leam Steered us through the biggest crisis in our history. He made us happy when skies were grey . Well deserved. #Upthetics #wafc @Talalalhammad32
@JordannWAFC: Standing ovation this fellas gonna receive, thoroughly deserved. Stuck by us whilst every cunt left
@Sam_Wooll: Champions League tour in 2026 under Leam. Bring it on. #wafc
@Jordanwafc7: Deserves it 100% stuck by us from start to finish and with the results has fully warranted his chance.
@mrjoevember: Leam Richardson: the man who stayed. #wafc
@ftfcknappers: He deserves it. He’s made Wigan fans proud to support the team this season in difficult circumstances. He’s worked a miracle to keep them up. My manager of the season with JFH. Hopefully he continues to do a good job
@CallanRowland: Fuck me could this week get any better? Up the fucking tics