Wigan owner Dave Whelan is a great chairman, Paul Jewell and Steve Bruce told Goals on Sunday

Last Updated: 09/12/12 3:24pm

Steve Bruce and Paul Jewell praised Wigan owner Dave Whelan on Goals on Sunday.

The pair both enjoyed successful spells under the Latics owner, Jewell winning the Division Two title in 2002-03 and then taking them to the Premiership in 2004-05 before Bruce took over in 2007 for a second spell at the club after taking them to the Division Two play-offs in 2001.

Bruce led Wigan to 11th in the Premier League in 2008-09 before switching to Sunderland at the end of that season and says he has fond memories of working with Whelan at the DW Stadium.

"You talk about good chairmen, well he's as good as you get."

Steve Bruce

"You talk about good chairmen, well he's as good as you get," said Bruce.

"I was lucky and fortunate to take over from Paul when the club was on an upward spiral. Paul had got two promotions back-to-back and then stayed in the Premier League and had some really good players there."

Although, it wasn't all plain sailing for Jewell during his time at Wigan - and he says the support of Whelan during the tough times made success possible.

"He'd been through a few managers before me and I remember one day when it wasn't looking too good for me," said Jewell.

"He said he'd have a word with the team. We'd lost 5-1 at Wrexham the night before and he went into the dressing room where there was a feeling the manager - me - was going to go.

"He said 'look, the manager is staying, if you don't like it leave your boots there and go.'

"I said thanks to him for that and he said 'no problem, but this time next Christmas I want us to be in the top six or you won't be here'.

"That following Christmas we were top of the league by 12 points. That talk gave me the confidence to make long term decisions. It's great when a chairman backs you like that you know you're on to a winner."


And Jewell believes Whelan's experience in the game - as a former player for Blackburn and Crewe - makes him easy to work with.

"I actually took over just as Steve had left the first time and Dave told me 'there's a lot of nonsense spoken about me interfering but I just like my managers to work hard'," said Jewell.

"Dave's an ex-football man and he has an opinion on football which is fine. He backed me and he backed Steve."