Two years after winning the FA Cup, Wigan relegated to League One

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On May 11, 2013, Wigan Athletic stunned Manchester City to win the club’s first ever FA Cup.

Days later, they were relegated from the Premier League.

Now a year after that and Wigan will be playing in League One, the third tier of English football.

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The fall from grace has been quick for the club from Greater Manchester, as Roberto Martinez’s Wembley triumph seems a distant memory.

Wigan enjoyed an eight-year run in the Premier League from 2005-2013, including a surprising 10th place finish in their first season in the top flight.

After Roberto Martinez left for Everton in 2013 following a four-year spell as manager at Wigan, there has been little stability at the club.

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Four managers in two years has placed the club second-to-last in the Championship, officially relegated to League One for next season.

It has been an especially tough season for Wigan, as chairman Dave Whelan stepped down after being charged by the FA for making racially insensitive comments. Then Malky Mackay was sacked less than five months after being appointed manager.

New chairman David Sharpe spoke to the club’s official website following the relegation, saying promotion back to the Championship was the only goal for next season.

It’s a sad day for everyone associated with Wigan Athletic but we will bounce back, I want that to be the main message to our fans tonight.
Our only target next season is promotion, nothing else will suffice and the job of rebuilding the club is already well under way under Gary Caldwell and his staff.
Football is full of examples of clubs who have come back stronger after relegation and I want us to be the latest one of those
We have an amazing opportunity to start afresh and begin an exciting new era for the club.”

Wigan Athletic fire Malky Mackay less than five months his appointment

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Malky Mackay has gone from the Wigan Athletic bench nearly as quickly as he arrived surrounded by a series of serious allegations of racist, homophobic and sexist text messages sent by the 43-year-old Scottish manager.

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Mackay was fired by Wigan after Monday’s 2-0 loss to Derby, less than five months after being hired to replace the outgoing Uwe Rosler, with new club chairman David Sharpe saying, “for the long term future of the club, there needs to be a change now.”

Sharpe did not confirm whether or not the decision to remove Mackay was down to the team’s performance under his management, or due to what the English Football Association last month called, “significant new information” relating to a dossier of alleged racist and anti-Semitic text exchanges by Mackay with a colleague while managing Cardiff.

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Under Mackay’s watch, Wigan endured a 5-16-4 (W-L-D) in all competitions, so it’s quite feasible that Mackay’s dismissal had more to do with on-field shortcomings than the fact that Dave Whelan, the man that hired Mackay and defended doing so with a series of racially-motivated comments of his own, stepped down as club chairman last month.

Wigan currently find themselves in 23rd place in the Championship, eight points clear of safety.

Championship focus: Bournemouth, Norwich comprise Top Two after Monday wins

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Another match day, another day of tumult at the top of the English Championship division, as the race for Premier League places is as tight as ever.

If the regular season ended today, it’d be the rhyming pairing of Cherries and Canaries gaining automatic promotion to the Premier League thanks to Monday wins, while Ipswich Town and Wolverhampton would miss out on the promotion playoff.

Wolves, however, still have a match-in-hand on the group.

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Norwich continued its run for a quick return to the top flight by knocking off Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 on Monday. Bradley Johnson scored both goals for the Canaries, and has 10 this year after scoring three during their relegation campaign last season.

Bournemouth had a tougher route to hit the division’s apex, going down 2-0 to Birmingham in 21 minutes of play before scoring four-straight to win 4-2. The Cherries had four different goal scorers and finished the match up a man.

Watford was temporarily atop the table after beating Middlesbrough in the day’s early match. Troy Deeney scored, as is often the case, for Elton John’s favored club.

Finally, Derby leapt into fifth by knocking off Malky Mackay’s Wigan side 2-0. Darren Bent scored the Rams’ second goal.

Brentford was the other top six side in action, drawing Nottingham Forest 2-2. Ipswich Town couldn’t take advantage, losing to Huddersfield Town 2-1.

Blackpool was relegated after Rotherham United’s 1-0 win over Reading.

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Championship Focus: Middlesbrough goes top as busy Easter weekend kicks off

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It’ll be a busy, busy several days for this season’s promotion push and relegation struggle in the second tier of English football, as both Friday and Monday are saturated with matches, with a Saturday and Tuesday sprinkling as well.

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All of Friday’s matches are in the books, and there were some entertaining matches to be sure.

Friday
Birmingham 2-1 Rotherham
Brighton 0-1 Norwich City
Fulham 1-4 Brentford
Middlesbrough 1-0 Wigan
Millwall 2-1 Charlton
Nottingham Forest 1-2 Wolverhampton
Ipswich Town 1-1 Bournemouth
Derby County 2-2 Watford

There are arguably eight contenders still harboring realistic dreams of the Premier League, and the automatic slots are far from done and dusted. In years past, there’s almost always been a cut-and-dried, “Well they’ll make it for sure” club, but this season sees a jumble.

Friday’s results did little to change that, as Bournemouth’s draw at Ipswich allowed Middlesbrough to leap atop the fray with a win against Wigan, while Norwich jumped to third with a win at Brighton. Watford’s draw at Derby County was gutsy and dramatic, but did not allow the club to join Middlesbrough atop the table.

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And Watford will have to turn around and host Middlesbrough in a massive Monday match which could see upheaval at the apex or a maximum 4-point lead for the Boro. That’s the only matchup of teams in the top 8 for the rest of these busy five days.

Meanwhile, the bottom of the table has been fairly set for a while, but Millwall refuses to give up easy. The Lions beat Charlton 2-1 to keep hope alive, moving ahead of Malky Mackay’s Wigan side and within four points of losing Rotherham. As you can see, it’s a three-horse race for one spot, barring calamity from the 20th or better-placed sides (though keep an eye on Wigan and Fulham next week).

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Saturday
Bolton vs. Blackpool
Leeds United vs. Blackburn
Reading vs. Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Huddersfield

Monday
Watford vs. Middlesbrough
Bournemouth vs. Birmingham
Brentford vs. Nottingham Forest
Cardiff vs. Bolton
Huddersfield vs. Ipswich
Norwich vs. Sheffield Wednesday
Rotherham vs. Brighton
Wigan vs. Derby County
Wolves vs. Leeds United

Tuesday
Blackpool vs. Reading
Charlton vs. Fulham

FA delays Mackay racism decision as Cardiff board boycotts Wigan trip

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The FA released a statement today saying it has delayed a decision on the Malky Mackay and Iain Moody case due to “significant new information.”

Reports say FA officials had been hopeful of resolving the case this week, but now it could be extended into the latter parts of the season. There is no information on what the new evidence or materials may be.

The statement read, “Due to the emergence of significant new information The FA is currently not in a position to conclude its ongoing inquiries into the allegations relating to Malky Mackay and Iain Moody.”

Mackay and Moody are under investigation by the FA for having exchanged racist and distasteful text messages about players while at Cardiff City back in August. Both left the club soon after, and Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan brought the case to the FA. The timing of the case likely cost Mackay a shot at the Crystal Palace managerial position, which he was reportedly in the running for.

However, Tan has been displeased with the FA’s handling of the case, particularly with how long it’s taken. As a showing of solidarity, the Cardiff board decided to boycott the club’s trip to Wigan on February 24, a game which Cardiff won 1-0. The board was not asked by Tan to do so, according to reports, but did so on its own as a show of support for the club owner.

Wigan recently hired Mackay to try and pull them off the bottom of the Championship table, but instead all it’s done so far is spark another racism spat where Wigan owner and then-chairman Dave Whelan tried to defend Mackay’s actions, only serving to pull himself into the mess. Whelan this morning resigned as chairman, but says he will not sell the club.