Wigan relegated to third tier two years after winning Cup
29 April 2015, 08:18
London - Wigan Athletic, whose meteoric rise saw them reach the Premier League and lift the FA Cup, will play in the third tier of English football next season after a second relegation in three years was confirmed on Tuesday.
The Latics' fate was sealed when Rotherham United beat Reading 2-1 with second-half goals from Matt Derbyshire and Lee Frecklington to secure their Championship status.
That result also saw Millwall relegated after their five years in the second tier.
Unfashionable Wigan, hailing from a rugby-mad town, were transformed under owner and ex-chairman Dave Whelan from also-rans to a team dining at the top table, culminating in a shock FA Cup final win over Manchester City at Wembley in 2013.
However, they became the first side to win the Cup and be relegated in the same season, after which manager Roberto Martinez, the architect of their attractive possession-based game, left for Everton.
Owen Coyle replaced Spaniard Martinez but he was gone by Christmas, after which Uwe Rosler lasted less than a year and Malky Mackay fewer than five months before he was replaced by Gary Caldwell, who has taken them down.
"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," Chairman David Sharpe said on the north-west club's website (www.wiganlatics.co.uk).
"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.
"At Wigan Athletic we believe. So let's dust ourselves down and be ready for the challenge of getting this club promoted at the first attempt."
While the automatic promotion and relegation places in the Championship have now been decided, two playoff spots are still up for grabs on Saturday with Ipswich Town, Derby County, Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers in contention.
Middlesbrough and Norwich City are already in the playoffs with two semi-finals leading to a Wembley showpiece match offering the winners a place in the Premier League along with Watford and Bournemouth, who have all but secured promotion.
1 Watford 45 27 7 11 90 49 88 41 2 Bournemouth 45 25 12 8 95 45 87 50 3 Middlesbrough 45 25 9 11 68 37 84 31 4 Norwich City 45 24 11 10 84 46 83 38 5 Ipswich Town 45 22 12 11 70 51 78 19 6 Derby County 45 21 14 10 85 53 77 32 7 Brentford 45 22 9 14 75 59 75 16 8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 45 21 12 12 66 54 75 12