Whelan concern over poor crowds

Just 14,476 attended on Saturday as Wigan slipped to a 6-0

thrashing by Chelsea, seven days after an opening 4-0 loss to

Blackpool was watched by 16,152. “It was very disappointing,”

Whelan told Sky Sports News. “I know it was Saturday night and on

television but Chelsea are one of the best sides in the world and

that was disappointing and a bit worrying. “We’ve come a long way

in a short time. When I first watched Wigan, we had 1,500 people.

“I suppose we’re building slowly but I expected more than we got

against Chelsea.” Whelan claims he is not altogether surprised

Wigan have suffered such a poor start – and gave his full backing

to boss Roberto Martinez. “When I saw the fixtures, I thought we

were in for a difficult start because Burnley beat Man Utd last

season and I said to Roberto Blackpool would be on fire. “We played

well first half on Saturday and let it fade away. We know we’re in

for a fight this season. “Roberto is a very good manager. We’ve had

a tough start and not had the best of luck. “Roberto is working for

the long term. “When you lose against Blackpool and play poorly,

you get letters from fans saying sack the manager. But Roberto is

here for the long term.” Neighbours Blackburn are the latest side

to be linked with a takeover by a multi-millionaire investor, and

Whelan admits it is making life tougher for clubs like his.

“Sometimes it makes you feel poorly about football,” he said. “If

it’s the right way to go, I don’t know. “The gap is growing. You

read Blackburn are going to be taken over – it is worrying. For the

supporters like Man City and Rovers supporter if that comes off,

it’s fantastic news. “But for long-term football and the benefit

we’re going to get from that, I’m worried. And the rest of us are

going to suffer because the gap is getting wider. “We’re a small

club, punching above our weight. We intend to stay here but it gets

harder and harder every season. “It’s very, very tough every single

season. Our main priority is just survival. But we’re fighters,

we’ll stay in there. This is our sixth season. Everyone predicted

we’d go down the first year.” Meanwhile, Whelan confirmed Wigan are

prepared to let France winger Charles N’Zogbia go if they receive

an offer they deem acceptable. “It depends if anyone comes in and

offers the right money,” he said. “If we get the right offer, he

can go. “His agent was very nice about it all and understood where

we were coming from.”