Week 47: Villain – Dave Whelan

by George_East on November 23, 2014

villain_2_iconThis Week’s Villain of the Week is Wigan Football Club owner, Dave Whelan

Football is in a dark place at the moment and for the second week in a row provides us with our Villain of the Week.

Last week saw Wigan FC hire former Cardiff boss, Malky Mackay. Wigan are currently struggling in the Championship and no doubt felt that they could benefit from a manager with some experience not only of being in the premiership but also of getting out of the Championship. Mackay had, of course, done both of these things during his time with The Bluebirds.

However, Mackay had been sacked as Cardiff manager in December 2013 having fallen out with Vincent Tan (another former Villain of the Week winner and another symbol of all that is wrong with football).   Subsequent to his departure from Cardiff he was tipped to take up the managerial reins at Crystal Palace, at the beginning of the current season.   This was, though, scuppered when it became apparent that Mackay had sent a whole series of racist, misogynistic and homophobic text messages to all and sundry while he was manager of Crystal Palace.   The reaction of the League Managers Association when this story first broke was as neanderthal as Mackay, describing the texts as nothing more than ‘friendly banter’. Both Mackay and the LMA apologised in the face of a growing media storm.

Since this incident Mackay has been without work in football. Not least becaue the FA continue to investigate the incident.   Until that is last week when it was announced by Dave Whelan that he had been appointed as manager of Wigan in the place of the sacked Uwe Rosler.     The reaction to the appointment, saw Wigan’s shirt sponsor, Premier Range, pull out.

Whelan took to the press to defend the appointment saying that Mackay had apologised and pointing out that a clause had been put in his contract enabling his employment to be terminated if he was found guilty by the FA. If it had ended there then maybe (just maybe) it would have been enough, even if it would have once again underlined the unreconstructed culture redolent in football.

However Whelan continued in the interview to say that ‘Jewish people chase more money than anyone else’ and to defend Whelan for describing Chinese people as ‘chinks’.   His comments cap a depressing period for football – which appears to be attitudinally stuck in the 1970s.     Whelan, of course, was the man who suggested that a minute silence be held for Margaret Thatcher at all football grounds when she died, so is not exactly known for his sensitivity (given the effect her policies had on working class communities up and down the land). However, the fact that Whelan made these comments in an interview defending the appointment of a manager who had himself been charged with making racist comments, takes insensitivity to a whole new level. The level of villainy.

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