Former Bolton boss Owen Coyle has been appointed as the new Wigan Athletic manager. Coyle who has been out of work since he was sacked by Bolton in October, is a somewhat controversial choice to replace Roberto Martinez who left to join Everton.
Because of his previous association with local rivals Bolton, the appointment may not be well received by some Latics fans. However, in his first full season in charge, Coyle managed to get Burnley promoted to the Premier League, and this may have been what swayed Dave Whelan’s decision.
The 46-year-old former player was on a shortlist that included Rene Meulensteen, Mike Phelan, Gus Poyet, Karl Robinson and Steve McClaren, but Wigan owner Dave Whelan decided Coyle was the right man to lead the club.
It is understood that Coyle has signed a one-year rolling contract but could stand to bank lucrative bonuses if he guides the club back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Dave Whelan told the Wigan Evening Post,
“He had a rough time at Bolton but he has a belief in Wigan and I think he is the right man to take us back into the Premier League.
There were four or five really excellent candidates – out of 40 who applied for the job – but Owen impressed me the most. I think we can get back to the top flight within two years.
He will start work as Wigan Athletic manager tomorrow (Friday)”.
Coyle was successful in winning promotion for Burnley to the Premier League in 2009. But in fairly acrimonious circumstances he then moved to Bolton halfway through his first season in the Premier League.
He managed to maintain the Trotters Premier League status when they finished 14th in 2010/11. But in the following season they struggled and were relegated to the Championship in May 2012
After a poor start to the Championship campaign, Coyle’s time at the Reebok Stadium came to an end in October 2012, when his contract with Bolton was terminated.
During his time at Bolton he had a win rate of 33%. During 126 games in charge he won 42, drew 24 and lost 60.
Dave Whelan has taken a risk in appointing a manager who has managed Wigan’s nearest rivals. The fans may not be tolerant if things don’t start well for Coyle. The new manager is known for his motivational skills, but whether he can repeat the success he had getting Burnley promoted from the Championship is open to debate.
One of Coyle’s first tasks will be to convince key players such as Arouna Kone, James McCarthy, Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman that their future lies with the Latics. If he can retain the majority of his star players plus make some prudent additions there is room for optimism next season.