April 28, 2015 / 11:29 PM / 5 years ago

Soccer-Wigan relegated to third tier two years after winning Cup

By Ken Ferris
    April 28 (Reuters) - 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
 
 (Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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