Owen Coyle was unveiled as Wigan’s new manager today and immediately backed himself to be a worthy successor to Roberto Martinez.
While Martinez was handed the Everton job despite failing to save Wigan from relegation last season, Coyle spent eight months out of the game following Bolton’s exit from the top-flight and disappointing start in the Championship.
Although Coyle insisted that he has turned down ‘seven or eight opportunities’ to get back into management since October, it is clear that questions over the one blemish on his track record rankle.
He said: ‘Roberto is an outstanding manager and someone I hold in high esteem.
‘But we competed for four years together and I finished above him three times. Bolton played Wigan eight times and we only lost once.
‘I believe in my abilities. In terms of going to Cheltenham with horses, it’s course and distance and I’ve done it.
‘Over eight years I’ve had nothing but success. With regards to Bolton we lost out on the last day of the season. That’s not something that fazes me. I’ll be judged on what I do at Wigan, not the success I had at Falkirk, St Johnstone or Burnley. We played 61 games in the season I took Burnley up to the Premier League and used the fewest players in the Championship.
‘But whoever comes into a job they’re not judged on what they’ve done before but what they do moving forward.
'Wigan lost out this season and Roberto’s moved to Everton. It’s slightly different because Wigan had the fantastic achievement of winning the FA Cup, with Bolton there was a slight negativity.’
Coyle must rebuild Wigan’s squad following the departure of a number of key players. He knows that he faces a battle to keep hold of James McCarthy, Arouna Kone and Callum McManaman but challenged his new squad to take responsibility for last season’s relegation.
'Players have got to look it and say I played my part in that, let me play my part in getting the club back up,' he added.
'In an ideal world we don’t want to lose any of them. A number are out of contract and have left. From the nucleus we have left, sometimes you think a number of players won’t play in my team but that’s not the case here.
'I don’t have to sell but we understand how football works and when you’ve got talented players there will always be interest.
'There are some players who are coveted by other clubs. The chairman has shown that he won’t stand in a player’s way but it’s something we’ll address.
'He’s said that the money will always be invested in the club and that’s what every manager wants to hear.'
The combination of a bigger fixture list in the Championship and Europa League football means that the FA Cup holders could play up to 60 games next season.
Coyle has been given the go-ahead to bring in up to 10 players by chairman Dave Whelan but insisted: ‘We won’t sacrifice quality for quantity and just bring in players for the sake of numbers.
‘One thing the chairman has done here is back is managers, and that’s something I’ve always envied.
‘But if you know the chairman he’s very forthright, and there’s no doubt he wants to be back among the elite clubs. That won’t come easily, it will come through hard work.’
Whelan admitted that it could take at least two or three years for Coyle to take Wigan back up, but he is ready to give the 46-year-old Scot time.
He said: ‘It took Alex Ferguson time to really stamp his authority at Man United and there was talk of him getting the sack. Things don’t happen overnight and it’s going to take Owen time to put his stamp on the club, but he’ s going to get my support.
‘You can tell Owen’s enthusiasm is bursting. I had some very good lads apply for the job – it’s a privilege and difficult to choose the right one. Hopefully I have.
‘Owen left me with one clear decision: he’s the man for this club.’