Latics A to Z

Wigan Athletic Football League players – A to Z – (Gary Walsh to Reto Ziegler)

GARY WALSH – RETO ZIEGLER

WALSH, Gary
DOB: 21st March 1968
Other clubs: Manchester United, Airdrie, Oldham Athletic, Middlesbrough, Bradford City, Derby County, (g/k coach), Hartlepool United (g/k coach), Hull City (g/k coach)
Honours: England Under 21’s (2 caps),

Wigan born, Gary joined Latics on Thursday 7th August 2003. He had spent the summer on trial at the JJB Stadium after being released by Bradford City. He impressed Paul Jewell sufficiently to earn a one-year contract as understudy to John Filan. He first played for the club in a pre season friendly against Southport at Haig Avenue on 22nd July 2003. He came onto the field as a second half substitute for Filan and the Blues won the game 3-0.

He made his first team debut on 12th August 2003 in a 2-0 victory of Hull City at the JJB Stadium in a Carling Cup first round game. He made his Latics League debut on 3rd April 2004 in a home game against Wimbledon which Latics lost 0-1. By the end of the League campaign that was his only League appearance for the club. He stayed at the club as an emergency player and goalkeeping coach during Latics’ first season in the Premiership although he was never called on to add to his Latics career total before retiring from the game. He then became the goalkeeping coach at the JJB Stadium before following Paul Jewell to Derby County to take on the same role. When Jewell resigned as the Rams manager in December 2008 Gary also left the club and became the goalkeeping coach of Hartlepool United. He is currently (January  2013) the goalkeeping coach at Hull City.

WALSH, Steve
DOB: 3rd November 1964
Other clubs: Leicester City, Norwich City, Tamworth, Coventry City, Tamworth (manager)
Honours: Freight Rover Trophy winner 1985 (Wigan Athletic) First Division Play Off Final winner 1994 (Leicester City) First Division Play Off Final winner 1996 (Leicester City), Doc Martens League winner 2003 (Tamworth).

Steve joined Latics as an apprentice and signed his first professional contract in September 1982. He made his Latics League debut on 30th October 1982 against Newport County at Springfield Park. The game resulted in a 0-1 defeat for the Blues. The highlight of his Latics career was undoubtedly being a member of the team that won the Freight Rover Trophy at Wembley on 1st June 1985. In the summer of the following season manager Bryan Hamilton became the new manager of Leicester City and he had no hesitation in paying Latics £100,000 and taking Steve with him. In total Steve made 123+3 League appearances for the Blues, scoring 3 League goals in the process. Even at the age of 38 Steve played a couple of games for First Division side Coventry City in September 2002 whilst on trial before returning to Tamworth where he eventually became the first team coach, with Tamworth Doc Martens League and reaching the FA Trophy Final in 2003.

However, he was sacked in June 2003 when he applied for the managerial vacancy at Grantham Town without letting his manager know and he drifted out of the game altogether. He is currently (May 2011) running a sports memorabilia website designed to ensure buyers get the genuine articles. A lot of his items include his own signed items.

WARD, Bob
DOB: 4th August 1953
Other clubs: Imperial Star, West Bromwich Albion, Northampton Town. Blackpool. (player and later physio), Chelsea (physio), Middlesbrough (physio)

Bob was signed by Ian McNeill from Blackpool in September 1981 following an injury to regular shot stopper John Brown. Latics had tried to sign Neville Southall but he opted to join Bury instead. By a strange quirk of fate Bob made his debut on 30th September 1980 against Bury at Springfield Park, in the first game that was ever televised since Latics’ election into the Football League. Making his debut for the visitors was Neville Southall! The Blues ran out 2-1 winners. From that moment on Bob became the first choice keeper as John Brown struggled with an injury that was to eventually finish his professional career. Bob’s Latics career also came to an abrupt halt when Larry Lloyd brought Roy Tunks to the club. However, Bob made 46 League appearances before being released at the end of the 1982/83 season.

WARD, Mark
DOB: 10th October 1962
Other clubs: Northwich Victoria, Oldham Athletic, West Ham United, Manchester City, Everton, Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town, Ayr United (trial), Dundee, Motherwell (trial), Valur, Altrincham, Altrincham, (player/manager), Leigh RMI (asst manager)
Honours: England Semi Pro, Second Division Championship winner 1995 (Birmingham City), Auto Windscreens Shield winner 1995 (Birmingham City)

Mark, a former England Semi-Pro International, from his Northwich Victoria days, arrived at Springfield Park on a non contract basis in September 1996 after being released by Huddersfield Town and having trials with Ayr United and Motherwell. He also goes down in Latics history books as the first Latics player to have been sold for a million pounds or more prior to playing for the club.

He made his Latics League debut on 28th September 1996 against Scarborough at the McCain Stadium and the Blues were beaten 1-3. In total he made 5 League appearances for the club before finishing his professional career later that season. Mark was found guilty of being in possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with intent to supply on 4th October 2005. He was jailed for eight years. He was released from Kirkham Prison in May 2009 after serving half of his sentence. He is no longer involved in the game.

WARD, Noel
DOB: 8th December 1952
Other clubs: Derry City, Portadown, Aberdeen, Ashton (player/manager)

As a youngster Noel turned out for his school at both Gaelic football and soccer. On leaving school he concentrated on Gaelic football. However, after playing a works soccer game, he went to Derry City as a trialist and eventual

ly signed amateur forms for them. Further moves to Portadown and Aberdeen followed before he was spotted by Ian McNeill after successfully taking over Willie Young’s Pittordrie first team spot when he moved to Tottenham. This was at the beginning of the 1976/77 season and the Blues were playing in the Northern Premier League. He played 86+0 Northern Premier League games for the club, scoring 7 NPL goals, before making his debut as a Latics League player in that historic game at Edgar Street against Hereford on 19th August 1978, Latics’ first game as a Football League club. He proved to a rock in the Latics team and was even called up into Billy Bingham’s Northern Ireland squad.

Fate decreed this was not to happen and on 1st September 1979 his career was wrecked when he was badly injured in a home game against Portsmouth, which was only the fourth League game of the season. In total he made 47+1 League games for the Blues and scored 4 League goals. He was rewarded for his services when Ian McNeill, by then the Chelsea assistant manager brought the Londoners to Springfield Park on 17th May 1982 to give him the send off he deserved in a game that resulted in a 0-0 draw. This despite the abject humiliation the Londoners encountered at the hands of Latics six months and five days earlier!

WARD, Tony
DOB: 4th April 1970
Other clubs: Everton, Doncaster Rovers, Chorley, Runcorn

Tony was signed by Bryan Hamilton from Everton for the start of season 1989/90. He made his Latics League debut on 7th October 1989 against Bolton Wanderers at Burnden Park on a game that resulted in a 2-3 defeat for the Blues. He had a poor game and was substituted by Shaun Fallon. He failed to make a name for himself and by the time he was released at the end of the League campaign he had made 8+3 League appearances and scored 2 League goals.

He was last heard of playing for Runcorn in 2001.

WARNE, Paul
DOB: 8th May 1973
Other clubs: Wroxham, Kettering Town, Rotherham United, Mansfield Town, Oldham Athletic, Yeovil Town, Rotherham United (caretaker/manager)

Paul was signed by John Deehan for £25,000 from Non League outfit Wroxham on 30th July 1997. He made his Latics League debut on 30th August 1997 against Bristol City at Ashton Gate. He was a substitute for Graeme Jones and the game resulted in a 0-3 defeat for the Blues. From 7th November 1998 he spent a month’s loan at Kettering Town before leaving the club to sign for Rotherham United on 15th January 1999. In total he made 13+43 League appearances for the Blues, scoring 4 League goals.

After leaving the Millers he signed for Oldham Athletic and after helping the other Latics reach the League One play offs in 2007, he moved on to Yeovil.  He then returned to the Millers in the summer of 2009 and is currently (May 2011) the assistant manager to former Lati Andy Liddell.

WATERHOUSE, Joey
DOB: 5th September 1987
Other clubs:

Joey never made his league debut for the Blues. However, he did appear in a Carling Cup game. This was on 25th October 2005 when Latics defeated Watford in the third round of the competition at the JJB Stadium. He came onto the field of play as a late substitute for Steve McMillan. He was last heard of in January 2010 attending Manchester University where he was studying gambling!

WATSON, Ben
DOB: 9th July 1985
Other clubs: Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers, West Bromwich Albion
Honours: England Under 21’s (2 caps)

Ben was signed from Crystal Palace for a fee of £2,000,000 on 25th January 2009. On signing he teamed up once again with his former Palace team mate, Emmerson Boyce. He made his debut on 31st January 2009 as a substitute for Paul Scharner in a 0-0 draw against Aston Villa at Villa Park. As at the end of season 2008/09 he had made 6+4 Premier League games for the Blues, netting twice.

He did not feature in new manager Roberto Martinez’s plans at the start of the following Premier League season and on transfer deadline day, 1st September 2009, he was loaned to Queens Park Rangers in a four month deal. He was loaned to West Bromwich Albion on 22nd February with a view of staying there until the end of the season. However, after playing just seven games for the Baggies during which he scored a goal against Preston North End, he returned to the DW Stadium on 3rd April 2010 and he played in the Premier League game against Fulham, as a substitute, the following day.

As at the end of season 2011/12 he had made 47+18 Premier League appearances, scoring nine times.

WEBSTER, Andy
DOB: 2nd June 1970
Other clubs: Arbroath, Heart of Midlothian, Rangers, Bristol City, Dundee United
Honours: Scotland B (1 cap, 1 goal)
Scotland (27 caps, 1 goal)

Andy’s transfer to Wigan Athletic was unique in the annals of the game. He was the first ever player to walk out of a club whilst still under contract, using a brand new FIFA employment law, which meant that he could not gain employment with any other Scottish club, but was free to sign for anyone else in the world. Latics manager Paul Jewell was in the hunt for the player for many months before he finally agreed to sign on at the JJB Stadium on 10th August 2006. However, the deal only went through on 4th September 2006 after legal wrangling as to who exactly was responsible for paying Hearts a compensation fee.

His first game for the club came against Halifax Town in a ‘behind closed doors’ friendly played at the New Shay on 25th September 2006. Latics won the game 5-1 with one of Andy’s fellow debutants, Svetoslav Todorov scoring one of the goals. He made his Latics Premiership debut on 21st October 2006 at the JJB Stadium against Manchester in a game that resulted in a 4-0 win for Latics. He replaced the injured Fitz Hall for the start of the second half.

He struggled to adjust to the pace of the Premiership, and after making just 3+1 Premiership appearances for the Blues, he was loaned to Rangers on 5th January 2007, Latics signed David Unsworth on a free transfer from Premiership rivals Sheffield United as cover on the same day.

He signed permanently for the ‘Gers at the start of season 2008/09 for an undisclosed fee after an injury ravaged 18 months loan spell at Ibrox. By 16th August 2008 he had been loan

ed out to Championship outfit, Bristol City and to date (January 2013) plying his trade at Heart of Midlothian after a loan spell at Dundee United, having played just one league game for Rangers!

WEST, Paul
DOB: 22nd June 1970
Other clubs: Alcester Town, Port Vale, Bradford City, Morecambe, Evesham United

Paul, a Kenny Swain signing from Bradford City made his Latics League debut as a substitute for Mick Kennedy on 31st August 1993 against Rochdale at Spotland, a game that resulted in a 2-0 victory for Latics. He started the following game against Doncaster Rovers at Belle Vue but was injured and didn’t play another game that season. His next and final appearance for the club was on the opening day of the following 1994/95 season and he was released half way through it by Graham Barrow after failing to regain full fitness. He thus made 2+1 League appearances without scoring.  His last known club was Evesham United in 2004.

WESTON, Jimmy
DOB: 16th September 1955
Other clubs: Skelmersdale United, Blackpool, Torquay United, Morecambe

Jimmy arrived at Springfield Park when Larry Lloyd brought him from Torquay United in September 1981 and he became a key member of Latics’ promotion winning team that season. He made his Latics League debut on 29th September 1981 against Bournemouth at Dean Court in a game that resulted in a 0-0 draw. He was to stay at Springfield Park for two seasons and he made a total of 63+3 League appearances and scored 2 League goals.

After being voted Latics’ Player of the Year for season 1982/83 he was surprisingly released and joined non league outfit Morecambe.

WHALLEY, Gareth
DOB: 19th December 1973
Other clubs: Crewe Alexandra, Bradford City, Cardiff City, Swindon Town, Altrincham
Honours: Republic of Ireland B (1 cap)
Second Division play-offs winner 2003 (Cardiff City)

Gareth, a former Republic of Ireland B International, arrived at the JJB Stadium on a free transfer from Cardiff City on 14th September 2004. He had been in dispute with the Bluebirds and had been training with Latics for three weeks prior to signing. He had impressed Paul Jewell, his former manager at Bradford City sufficiently to sign him until the end of the league campaign. The Blues were woefully short of midfield cover at the time as Tony Dinning no longer figured in the manager’s plans and Jason Jarrett was injured. He made his Latics League debut on 28th September 2004 against Watford at Vicarage Road in a game that resulted in a 0-0 draw. In total he made 8+1 League appearances for the Blues without scoring. However, he goes down in Latics folklore as a member of the team that took Latics into the Premiership for the first time in their history in 2005.

In July 2005 he signed for League One outfit Swindon Town. and on 9th May 2007, following Swindon’s promotion, he was released, winding up his playing career at Altrincham in 2008.

WHITE, Winston
DOB: 26th October 1958
Other clubs: Leicester City, Hereford United, Hong Kong Rangers, Chesterfield, Port Vale, Bury, Stockport County, Rochdale, Colchester United, Burnley, West Bromwich Albion, Doncaster Rovers, Carlisle United

Winston arrived at Springfield Park on a non contract basis from Carlisle United in March 1993. He was brought to the club by Dave Philpotts on a last ditch effort to save the Blues from relegation that season. He made his Latics League debut on 27th March 1992 against Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road in a game that resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Blues. Things were looking up when he scored the winning gaol in Latics’ next League game against Hull City at home, but from that moment on it was all down hill. He never scored for the club again and indeed the Blues failed to win any of their remaining eight games. The Blues were relegated for the first and only time in their Football League history. Winston made 10 League appearances and scored 1 League goal whilst at Springfield Park.

WHITEHEAD, Alan
DOB: 20th November 1956
Other clubs: Darwen, Bury, Brentford, Scunthorpe United, York City, Halifax Town

Alan arrived at the club on a two-month loan spell from York City in March 1987. However, after making his Latics League debut against Newport County at Somerton Park on 31st March 1987, a game that resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Blues, he was to play just one more League game for Latics. This was the penultimate match of the season against Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park which resulted in Latics earning a 0-0 draw and ensuring that Boro’s Championship winning Champagne was left on ice. He is currently (January 2013) a PE teacher at Huntington Secondary school.

WHITNEY, Jon
DOB: 23rd December 1970
Other clubs: Skelmersdale United, Winsford United, Huddersfield Town, Lincoln City, Hull City, Kings Lynn, Walsall, Walsall, (asst manager and physio)

Jon originally started his career at Springfield Park in 1988 when he was offered a one-year junior contract. However, he never made the grade and drifted into Non League football with Winsford United and Skelmersdale United. It was Huddersfield Town who gave him his chance in League football and it was from the McAlpine Stadium club that he arrived at Springfield Park on loan on 17th March 1995 for the remainder of the 1994/95 season. He made his Latics League debut on 18th March 1995 against Chesterfield at Saltergate in a game that resulted in a 0-0 draw. In total he played 12 League games for the Blues

without scoring and manager Graham Barrow rejected the offer to sign Jon permanently at the end of the League campaign.

After leaving the game Jon studied sports therapy in between shifts helping his father dig graves!  He wound up his career at Kings Lynn in 2003, after spells at Lincoln City and Hull City, but he made a comeback in November 2006 when he helped Walsall beat Burton Albion in a Birmingham Senio Cup game.  He is currently (January 2011) the asisstant manager to Dean Smith at the Bescot Stadium, where he is also the physiotherpist.

WHITTAKER, Stuart
DOB: 2nd January 1975
Other clubs: Liverpool, Bolton Wanderers, Macclesfield Town, Southport, Chester City, Leigh RMI, Nuneaton Borough, Vauxhall Motors, Leigh RMI, Stafford Ranmgers

Stuart arrived at Springfield Park on a month’s loan from Bolton Wanderers on 30th August 1996. He made his Latics League debut the following day against Chester City at Springfield Park, a game that Latics won 4-2. He never really impressed manager John Deehan and was returned to Burnden Park two weeks early on 9th September 1996 having played 2+1 League games for the Blues without scoring.

His last known club is Stafford Rangers for whom he was plying his trade in 2008.

WHITTLE, Maurice
DOB: 15th July 1948
Other clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Oldham Athletic, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Southport, Stafford Rangers, Barrow, Barrow (player/manager)
Honours: Third Division Championship winner 1974 (Oldham Athletic)
Eastern Division Championship winner 1977 (Fort Lauderdale Strikers)

After having his contract cancelled by Oldham Athletic in October 1977 Wigan born Maurice arrived at Springfield Park for a three month spell. He was to play 13+2 Northern Premier League games during Latics’ last season as a Non League outfit and he netted 3 times.

His Football League debut for the Blues was against Aldershot at Springfield Park on 5th March 1980 after signing for Latics from Barrow. He stayed at Springfield Park until 7th September 1980 when he returned to Barrow for whom he later became player/manager after a coaching stint in Norway. In total he played 21 League games for the Blues, scoring 1 League goal.

WHITWORTH, Neil
DOB: 12th April 1972
Other clubs: Manchester United, Preston North End, Barnsley, Blackpool, Rotherham United, Kilmarnock, Hull City, Exeter City, Southport, Radcliffe Borough, Fleetwood Freeport
Honours: Scottish Cup winner 1997 (Kilmarnock)

Neil was born in Wigan and served his apprenticeship at Springfield Park. He fulfilled a lifelong dream when he made his Latics League debut on 13th February 1990 against Bury at Springfield Park in a game that resulted in a 0-0 draw. However, he was only to make 1 more League appearance, as a substitute that season before being transferred to Manchester United for £45,000. The fee could have risen to as much as £150,000 had he completed enough first team games for the Old Trafford outfit.

He did play in United’s first team but he spent a lot of time on loan to other clubs before being transferred to Scottish outfit Kilmarnock for £265,000 in September 1994. He contracted TB whilst in Scotland but battled through to regain a first team place at Killie before rejoining Latics on a short term contract in March 1998. He made his second Latics League debut on 21st March 1998 at the Bescot Stadium against Walsall in a 0-1 defeat. That was his last full League game for the club although he did make 3 more appearances as a substitute before being surprisingly released at the end of the League campaign.

WIDDRINGTON, Tommy
DOB: 1st October 1971
Other clubs: Southampton, Grimsby Town, Part Vale, Hartlepool United, Macclesfield Town, Salisbury City (manager), Southend United (asst manager) Hemel Hempstead Town (manager), Eastbourne Borough (manager)
Honours: Second Division play off final winner 1998 (Grimsby Town),
Auto Windscreens Shield winner 1998 (Grimsby Town),
LDV Vans Trophy winner 2001 (Port Vale),
Southern League winner 2005 (Salisbury City),
Conference South Play-Off Final winner 2006 (Salisbury City).

Tommy was brought to Springfield Park by Bryan Hamilton who signed him on loan from Southampton on 10th September 1991. He made his Latics League debut four days later against Hull City at Springfield Park in a game that ended in a 0-1 defeat for Latics. He was a substitute for Bryan Griffiths during that game and he went on to make 5+1 League appearances for the club without scoring, before returning to the Dell.

He is currently (January 2013) the manager of Eastbourne Borough) having been axed from his duties as assistant manager at Southend United on 15th December 2010.  He also has managerial experience at Salisbury City and Hemel Hempstead Town.

WIGNALL, Mark
DOB: 6th December 1962
Other clubs: Morecambe

Mark made his Latics bow in season 1980/81 after progressing through the clubs apprenticeship scheme. He made his Latics League debut on 7th February 1981 against Darlington at Springfield Park, a game that the Blues won 3-1. It was during the following season on 11th November 1981 that Mark scored two goals in a League Cup third round game against Chelsea at Springfield Park that went a long way to Latics earning a well deserved 4-2 victory against the Stamford Bridge outfit.

He is fondly remembered even today for that feat but his reward was to be released by the club at the end of the promotion winning season. In total he made 34 League appearances without scoring a League goal for the club. In fact his only goals for the club were those two against Chelsea. What a legacy to leave the fans though!

WILKIE, John
DOB: 1st July 1947
Other clubs: Arbroath, Morton, Ross County, Halif

ax Town, Elgin City

John arrived at Springfield Park during the pre season of 1976/77 to join his former Ross County manager Ian McNeill when he took charge of the club that season. John played the last two seasons that Latics spent in the Northern Premier League making 82+6 appearances and netting 33 goals for good measure. John, who was working as a part time chartered accountant in Ashton in Makerfield, made his Latics League debut against Hereford United at Edgar Street on the opening day of the 1978/79 season, the Blues’ first in the Football League. His League career never really got off the ground and he only played 3 League games for the club before retiring from the full time game.

WILLIAMS, John
DOB: 3rd October 1960
Other clubs: Tranmere Rovers, Port Vale, Bournemouth, Cardiff City, Bournemouth (asst manager)
Honours: Third Division Championship winner 1987 (Bournemouth)
Third Division Championship winner 1993 (Cardiff City)

John, a very combative central defender, arrived at Springfield Park on loan from Bournemouth in October 1991. He made his Latics League debut on 19th October 1991 against Birmingham City at St Andrews. The game resulted in a 3-3 draw. He made 4 League appearances without scoring for the club before returning to Dean Court.

He is currently (January 2013) working as a radio commentator. Harry Redknapp has gone on record as stating that John was one of the best players he had ever signed. when he signed him for Bournemouth from Port Vale for a fee of £12,000 in June 1985.

WILLIAMS, Phil
DOB: 7th February 1963
Other clubs: Arsenal, Blackpool, Atlanta Chiefs, Crewe Alexandra, Chester City, Northwich Victoria

Phil was three years old when his dad, Graham, scored the winning goal for Tranmere Rovers against Latics in a FA Cup first round replay at Springfield Park. Many fans will remember this game because it is the one in which Alf Craig scored only for the referee to blow up for full time as the ball was either in or out of the net depending on which side of the tunnel you are from. Phil was signed from Crewe Alexandra at the start of the 1982/83 season and he made his Latics League debut against Portsmouth at Springfield Park on19th October 1982. He was a substitute for Eamon O’Keefe and the Blues were beaten 0-1.

Despite staying at the club for two full seasons before returning to Crewe Alexandra, he only made 1+2 League appearances for the Blues without scoring.

WILSON, Andy
DOB: 7th January 1965
Other clubs: Skelmersdale United

Andy arrived at Springfield Park via Skelmersdale United in the summer of 1987.  He only made 1 League appearance whilst at Springfield Park. This was against Northampton Town in a home game that resulted in a 2-2 draw on 18th December 1987.

At the end of the season he was released and is not known to have played for any other club.

 

WILSON, Ian
DOB: 27th March 1958
Other clubs: Aberdeen, Dundee, Elgin City, Leicester City, Everton, Besiktas, Derby County, Bury, Peterhead (manager),
Nagoya Grampus Eight (asst manager)
Honours: Scotland, (5 caps)

Veteran Ian was brought to the club on a non contract basis to help out his old friend Bryan Hamilton at a time when the club was in the middle of an injury crisis. He joined the Blues on 28th August 1992 along with Chris Makin who had arrived on loan from Oldham Athletic. He made his Latics League debut the following day against Swansea City at Springfield Park in a game that resulted on a 2-3 defeat in front of a crowd of just 1,565. He missed the following home game against Fulham and then made a further 4 consecutive League appearances without scoring before bringing an and to his professional career. In 1993 he became the manager of Peterhead, before leaving a year later to join Nagaya Grampus Eight to become former Latics manager, Gordon Milne’s, assistant.

In 1995 he returned to Peterhead as manager before once again teaming up with Milne at Besiktas. In June 2000 he commenced his third spell at Peterhead before being sacked in 2003 and replaced by Dave Watson.

He is currently (January 2013) running Soccer Schools in Scotland as well as one in Turkey.

WOODS, Neil
DOB: 30th July 1966
Other clubs: Doncaster Rovers, Glasgow Rangers, Ipswich Town, Bradford City Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe United, Mansfield Town, York City, Southport, Gainsborough Trinity, Grimsby Town (manager)
Honours, Second Division play offs winner 1998 (Grimsby Town)
Auto Windscreens Shield winner 1998 (Grimsby Town)

Neil was signed by John Deehan on 7th November 1997 on loan from Grimsby Town. He made his Latics League debut the following day against Southend United at Roots Hall in a game that resulted in a 0-1 defeat for the Blues. Neil, then promptly got injured and never played another game for the Blues. He is currently out of the game having been sacked as the manager of Grimsby Town in February 2011.

He had initially become the Mariners manager following the sacking of former Latic Mike Newell in October 2009  He is cureently (January 2013) the head of the ytouth set up at Walsall.

WOODS, Ray
DOB: 7th June 1965
Other clubs: Tranmere Rovers, Bangor City, Northwich Victoria, Runcorn, Caernarfon Town, Colne Dynamoes, Coventry City, Shrewsbury Town, Telford United, Worcester City

Ray was signed by Ray Mathias, whom he knew from his Tranmere Rovers days, from Colne Dynamoes in February 1989. He made his Latics League debut as a substitute on 4th March 1989 against Sheffield United at Springfield Park, a game in which the Blues were beaten 1-2. After playing just 5+3 League games that season he suffered an injury which kept him out of the first team picture for the whole of the following 1989/90 season.

Ray was an electrifying right winger and after making just 20 League appearances and scoring 3 League goals in the 1990/91 season he was snapped up by Coventry City for a fee of £250,000 early in the New Year of 1991.

Ray was however, to return to Latics on loan from Highfield Road and on 10th January 1993 he made his second Latics League debut against Exeter City at Springfield Park. Once again he ended up on the losing side on his debut when the Grecians won 1-0.

During his two spells at the club he made a total of 37+4 League appearances during which he scored 3 League goals. He is currently (September 2012) the youth development officer of Worcester City.

WORSWICK, Mick
DOB: 14th March 1945
Other clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Preston North End, Queen of the South, Burscough, Skelmersdale United, Chorley, Barrow
Honours: England Amateur International

The legendary Mick Worswick has just about scrambled into this review of Latics Football League players courtesy of his 1 League appearance for the Blues as a substitute. Mick arrived at Springfield Park from Latics’ Auld enemy Chorley for the start of season 1972/73 when Les Rigby somehow persuaded him to leave Victory Park.

During what turned out to be Latics’ last six seasons in Non League football he made 241+7 Northern Premier League appearances for the Blues and the 73 goals he scored in the process went a long way to helping Latics get elected into the Football League.

His only appearance for Latics as a Football league players came on 2nd September 1978 against Newport County at Springfield Park. During the game which Latics lost 2-3 he substituted Joe Hinnigan who ironically had scored the Blues’ first ever Football League goal earlier in the game!

A bit of Mick Worswick trivia – did you know that Mick once played in front of a crowd of 75.000 for Skelmersdale United?

WORTHINGTON, Gary
DOB: 10th November 1966
Other clubs: Manchester United, Huddersfield Town, Darlington, Wrexham, Exeter City, Doncaster Rovers, Halifax Town, Dagenham and Redbridge, Lancaster City

Gary arrived at Springfield Park from Wrexham on transfer deadline day, when he was swapped for Ian Griffths in March 1991. He made his Latics League debut on. 23rd March 1991 as a substitute for Andy Pilling against Crewe Alexandra at Springfield Park in a game that resulted in a 1-0 victory for the Blues with Gary supplying the pass from which Jimmy Carberry netted the winner. In total he made 51+12 League appearances for the Blues, scoring 20 League goals before being released at the end of the 1992/93 season to sign a non contract deal with Exeter City, who proved to be his final Football League club.

He later had spells managing the youth teams of Halifax Town and Huddersfield Town and the youth academy at Leeds United and is currently (January 2013) working behind the scenes with the youth at Manchester City

WRIGHT, David
DOB: 1st May 1980
Other clubs: Crewe Alexandra, Norwich City, Ipswich Town, Crystal Palace, Gillingham

David arrived at the JJB Stadium on 28th June 2004, signing from Crewe Alexandra for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be in the £500,000 region. He signed a three-year deal and was seen as an ideal replacement for the departed Jason De Vos, although he could play anywhere in defence. He made his Latics League debut on 7th August 2004, the opening day of the new League Championship, in a home game against Nottingham Forest. The game resulted in a 1-1 draw.

David goes down in history as a member of the squad that took Latics into the Premiership for the first time in the club’s history by the end of that season. In total he made 19+3 League appearances without scoring. He hadn’t played a Premiership game the following season before signing for Norwich City in a loan deal on 17th November 2005. After making 5 League appearances for the Canaries he returned to the JJB Stadium on 20th December 2005. He never played for Latics during the campaign, although he was on the subs bench for Latics’ last three games of the season.

The following season saw him make 6+5 Premiership appearances, his last one being on New Years Day 2007 as a half time substitute for Josip Skoko in a 0-3 home defeat against Blackburn Rovers. He signed a three and a half year deal with Ipswich Town on 11th January 2007 to end his Latics career.

He is currently (January 2013) plying his trade at Crystal Palace.

WRIGHT, Jeff
DOB: 23rd June 1952
Other clubs: Whitfield, Wearhead FC, Tow Law Town, Netherfield, Bellingham, Barrow, Prudhoe East End, Gretna, Consett, Penrith, Wark FC, Wark FC (asst manager)

Jeff was signed from Netherfield by Les Rigby in March 1973 for a fee of £2,000. The highlight of his Non League days at Latics was the winning of the Northern Premier League in 1975 when Brian Tiler was the manager of the team. He made 168+8 Northern Premier League appearances for the Blues and scored 28 NPL goals.

During Latics’ last season as a Non League club and their first as a member of the Football League he was an ever present, a record jointly held with Tommy Gore. He made his Latics League debut during Latics’ first ever Football League games against Hereford United on 17th August 1978, a game played at Edgar Street that resulted in a 0-0 draw.

In total he made 139+4 League appearances and scored 19 League goals before being released and joining Barrow at the end of the promotion winning 1981/82 season.  He played 16 games fior the Holker Street outfit before
retiring from professional football in 1983.  He then embarked on a career in lower league football in Cumbria and the North East and he is currently (September 2012), with Wark FC for whom he is the assistant manager.

He combines those duties with his career as an insurance salesman.

WRIGHT, Mark
DOB: 29th January 1970
Other clubs: Everton, Blackpool, Huddersfield Town, Chorley, Morecambe

Mark was a Kenny Swain loan signing from Huddersfield Town in November 1993. He made his Latics League debut as a substitute for Neil Morton against Carlisle United at Springfield Park on 8th November 1993.

The game resulted in a 0-2 defeat for the Blues. He never really established himself as a first team regular and was released at the end of the season. In total he made 13+1 League appearances and scored 1 League goal.

His last known club was Morecambe.

 

YOUNG, David
DOB: 27th April 1962
Other clubs: Mossley, Oswestry Town, Northwich Victoria

David, who had been on schoolboy forms with Wrexham and Tranmere Rovers before playing for the University of Manchester, arrived at Springfield Park towards the end of the 1982/83 season from Mossley. He made his Latics League debut on 2nd May 1983 against Bournemouth at Dean Court. The game resulted in a 2-2 draw and playing for the opposition in what turned out to be his last professional game was the legendary George Best.

David was to make just 2 more League appearances without scoring before being released at the end of the season.

He was last heard of playing for Northwich Victoria in 1991.

ZAKI, Amr
DOB: 1st April 1983
Other clubs: Al Mansoura, ENPPI, Locomotiv Moscow, El Zamalek, Hull City, Elazigspor
Honours: Egypt (61 caps, 29 goals)

Amr, who was statistically (according to FIFA stats) the best striker in the world at the time of his signing, arrived at the JJB Stadium on 22nd July 2008. He signed initially on a season long loan with the possibility of the deal being made permanent the following summer. He was the third new arrival of the summer, following Daniel De Ridder and Olivier Kapo to Latics. His first game for the club was a pre season friendly on 2nd August 2008 against Sheffeild Wednesday at Hillsborough. Latics ran out 3-2 victors with Amr scoring the winner in the 90th minute.

He made his Latics Premier League debut on the opening day of the 2008/09 season against West Ham United at Upton Park on 16th August 2008, a game that resulted in a 2-1 defeat. However, he did score the Latics goal, making his debut one to remember. He went on to score 10 goals and was the Premier League’s leading goalscorer until November 2009 and things then things turned sour for him.

After a major fall out with manager Steve Bruce he rarely featured for the Latics team again and returned to Egypt in April 2009. Zaki played 22+7 Premier League games for the Blues in which he scored 10 times.  He is currently (January 2013) plying his trade with Turkish outfit, Elazigspor.

ZIEGLER, Reto
DOB: 16th January 1986
Other clubs: Grashoppers Zurich, SV Hamburg, Tottenham Hotspur, Sampdoria, Juventus, Fenerbahce
Honours: Switzerland (21 caps, 2 goals),
Switzerland Under 21’s (26 caps, 1 goal)

Swiss International Reto was signed by Paul Jewell on 23rd January 2006 on loan until the end of the current season from Tottenham Hotspur. Latics’ Premiership rivals had re called Reto from a loan spell with SV Hamburg just days before and the Spurs boss, Martin Jol, quickly sanctioned the move to the JJB Stadium. The player himself wanted to return to the Premiership in order to boost his chances of playing for his country at the forthcoming World Cup Finals in Germany. He made his Latics debut against Arsenal the following day in the Carling Cup Semi Final, second leg game at Highbury when he came onto the field of play as a substitute in the 73rd minute. The Blues reached their first ever major final by losing the game 1-2, but winning on the away goal rule! He made 5+5 Premiership appearances for Latics without scoring and he also played in the Carling Cup Final against Manchester United.

To date (September 2012) he is plying his trade with Italian giants Juventus.



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