OWEN Coyle has left Wigan ‘by mutual agreement’ just six months after he was appointed.
On Monday morning Latics confirmed Sunday night’s reports that the club had parted company with the former Bolton boss after a run of three successive home defeats in nine days left them 14th in the Sky Bet Championship and on the verge of Europa League elimination.
Coyle’s side were swept aside 3-1 by Derby on Sunday with the manager using his post-match press conference to suggest some supporters’ expectations were too lofty following an eight-year stint in the Barclays Premier League.
“It is with great sadness that we have made this decision and I would like to thank all my football staff and the staff at the club, who have been very supportive of me in my time here,” said Coyle.
“I am confident that with this set of players, the team can keep moving in the right direction.”
Latics visit Leeds on Wednesday night and the club have placed first-team coach and former boss Graham Barrow along with assistant manager Sandy Stewart in charge for the clash.
Boos cascaded down from the stands on Sunday when the Rams scored all three of their goals inside the opening 29 minutes and the away fans’ cheeky claims Coyle would soon be axed were greeted with applause by certain sections of the Wigan faithful.
That speculative chant has now turned to reality and despite insisting Coyle was “far and away the best for the job” back in June, chairman Dave Whelan has a managerial vacancy to fill once again as Latics bid to instantly return to the top flight.
Coyle, chosen ahead of Steve McClaren - the man who led Derby to victory at the DW Stadium, was originally tasked with doing just that as he rebuilt following the Roberto Martinez-led exodus which followed their relegation and May’s FA Cup final win.
The club’s first-ever European campaign, the arrivals of youngsters such as Nick Powell and James McClean, and a 4-0 opening-day thrashing of Barnsley brought plenty of optimism too.
However, the tide soon turned with an 890-minute spell without scoring on the road epitomising the struggles of an attack often found playing in a different style to the one which earned Martinez’s sides such wide-spread admiration.
Speaking after what turned out to be his final match in charge, Coyle called for a reality-check from those disgruntled by their start to the season.
“If it comes through expectation then so be it,” Coyle said of the discontent.
“The expectation can only come from being in the Premier League because it’s not as if Wigan Athletic have been winning games every week for four or five years, far from it. Wigan Athletic have been in the bottom three for the last four, five years and managed a few times to escape and they’ve done brilliantly to do that.
“They won the (FA) Cup which was brilliant but they lost their place in the Premier League and with them losing their place, the players, the ones of big value, left.
“It’s building that team and putting it together. If people want to be ultra critical that’s the nature of football these days.
“I’m old enough to deal with that; if they think there’s something better that’s all well and good. That’s why we love football, it’s all opinion.”
The opinion of those voices no doubt swayed Whelan, though, as Coyle’s short reign was brought to a close.