Whelan concern over poor crowds

August 23, 2010

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."