Wigan Athletic Football League players – A to Z – (Matt Jackson to Luke Joyce)

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DOB: 19th October 1971
Other clubs: Luton Town, Preston North End, Everton, Charlton Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Birmingham City, Norwich City, Watford, Blackpool
Honours: England Under 21’s (10 caps), FA Cup winner 1995 (Everton), Second Division Championship winner 2003 (Wigan Athletic)

Paul Jewell initially signed Matt on loan for a month from Norwich City on 19th October 2001, which was Matt’s birthday. He made his Latics League debut the following day in a game against Wrexham at the JJB Stadium. Unfortunately, the Blues lost 2-3. On 20th November 2001, after he had impressed in 7 league games, Matt signed a permanent deal when he signed a two and a half year contract and played his first match as a permanent signing that evening in a league game at home against Chesterfield that resulted in a 1-1 draw.

The following season (2003/04) saw Matt and Ian Breckin at the heart of a defence that won 16 consecutive First Division and Cup games, which was a divisional record, by the end of the campaign. However a bad injury in December saw him lose his place and he struggled to get into the team after that However, he fought back admirably and by the end of the 2004/05 campaign he had made 128+2 League appearances and he had scored 3 League goals. He also went down in Latics history as the captain of the squad that gained promotion to the Premiership for the first time in the club’s history.

It is interesting to note that Matt was one of EIGHT players who played in the promotion winning game against Reading AND the Second Division Championship winning side that played against Barnsley in the final game of the season at the JJB Stadium in 2002.

The Premiership probably arrived too late for Jacko to make an impact during his Latics career. However, he did notch up 11+4 Premiership appearances without scoring during a memorable season that included the club reaching their first major cup final, the Carling Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

On 10th May 2006 he was rewarded by Paul Jewell with a one-year contract, when many thought that club’s first Premier League campaign would have been his last at the club.

He did leave the JJB Stadium at the end of the following season to sign for Watford, after refusing an offer of a further one-year contract from new manager Chris Hutchings. His overall record at Latics was, 157+10 appearances, scoring four times.

His time at Watford was ravaged by injury and he only played six league games for the Hornets, as well as 2+1 during a loan spell at Blackpool. He retired from the game on 4th August 2008.  He is currently (July 2012) the Operations Manager of the new Wigan Athletic Academy.

A bit of Matt Jackson trivia – did you know that when he scored the winning goal against Charlton Athletic at the JJB Stadium in a Premier League game on Saturday 11th November 2006, it was over THIRTEEN AND A HALF YEARS since his previous Premiership strike against Manchester City (for Everton) in a 5-2 win on 8th May 1993? An all time Premier League record.

DOB: 7th December 1956
Other clubs: Burnley, Bury, AZ 67 Alkmaar, Chester City, Colwyn Bay, Preston North End (coach)
Honours: Third Division Championship winner 1985 (Bury)
Fourth Division Championship winner 1992 (Burnley)

Joe, real name Yanek, had left the professional football after serving under Graham Barrow at Chester City but decided to return to the Football League when he signed for the Blues on a free transfer from Colwyn Bay in September 1994. He made his Latics League debut on 17th September 1994 against Carlisle United at Springfield Park. The game, which was also Mark Leonard’s first for the club resulted in a 0-2 defeat. After making 16 League appearances without scoring he joined Preston North End as their Youth Development Officer in July 1995. He later took up the same post at Stockport County before following Dave Jones to Southampton in June 1997.

He currently (January 2012) works for the Press Agency and scouts for Preston North End.

DOB: 14th September 1979
Other clubs: Blackpool, Wrexham, Bury, Stoke City, Norwich City, Plymouth Argyle, Preston North End. Hull City, Leicester City, Queens Park Rangers, Oldham Athletic, Brighton and Hove Albion, Port Vale, Oldham Athletic
Honours: Second Division Championship winner 2003 (Wigan Athletic)

Jason started his career as a trainee at Blackpool and, following a six month stint at Wrexham, he joined his hometown team Bury and it was from the crisis torn Gigg Lane club that he signed for Latics on Wednesday 27th March 2002. The fee involved was £75,000 and he signed a three-year contract which would keep him at the club until the summer of 2005. Bury boss Andy Preece was furious at the ‘knock down’ price which Latics paid for his star player but the club was in administration and had little option but to accept the fee offered by the Blues.

He made his Latics League debut on 30th March 2002 against Port Vale at Vale Park. The game resulted in a 0-1 defeat for the Blues. By the end of season 2002/03 he had made 38 League appearances without scoring during which Latics won the Second Division Championship. Jason took the step up very well and by the end of season 2003/04 he had made 79 League appearances and scored 2 League goals.

The following 2004/05 season started disastrously when he broke his leg in a pre season friendly against Leigh RMI. By December 2004 he had recovered but he was surprisingly loaned to Championship rivals Stoke City the following month. However, the sale of Mike Flynn to Gillingham on 2nd February 2005 meant he was recalled early from his loan spell at the Potters the following day.

Whilst at the Britannia Stadium he made 2 League appearances without scoring whilst his Stoke debut was against Premiership Champions Arsenal in a FA Cup game. He was a member of the squad that won promotion to the Premiership by the end of the campaign and was my ‘man of the match’ during Latics’ last home game against Reading. By the end of the season his tally for Latics read 67+28 League appearances and 2 League goals. Unhappy with the new pay structure put in place for the club’s Premier League season he decided that his future lay elsewhere and on 1st July 2005 he signed for Norwich City, ironically the club Latics replaced in the Premiership.

Jason never really settled at Carrow Road and after a loan spell at Plymouth Argyle, he returned to the JJB Stadium and immediately loaned to Preston North End for whom he signed permanently on 11th May 2006. He is currently (January 2012) a free agent having been released by Oldham Athletic in January 2011.  He has since had a trial at
Rochdale but nothing came of it.

DOB: 9th July 1969
Other clubs: Hull City, Rotherham United, Coventry City, Birmingham City, St Johnstone, Heart of Midlothian, Dundee United, Barrow, Goole Town
Honours; Wales (1 cap)

Leigh was signed by John Benson on 17th July 1998 from St Johnstone. However, within days Ray Mathias was appointed the new manager of Latics in what was their last season at Springfield Park and Leigh never really figured in his plans. He made his Latics League debut, along with Gareth Griffiths, on the opening day of the season, 8th August 1998 against Millwall at Springfield Park. The Lions ran out 1-0 winners.

In total he made just 3+4 League appearances for the Blues without scoring before being transferred to Heart of Midlothian for a fee of £50,000 on 30th December 1998. He finished his career at Goole Town.

DOB: 28th September 1964
Other clubs: Bradford City, Grimsby Town, Bradford City (manager), Sheffield Wednesday (manager), Wigan Athletic (manager), Derby County (manager), Ipswich Town (manager)
Honours: Freight Rover Trophy winner 1985 (Wigan Athletic)

Paul was signed by Harry McNally from Liverpool in December 1984. He made his Latics League debut on 22nd December 1984 against Rotherham United at Millmoor in a game that resulted in a 3-3 draw. The highlight of his Latics career was being in the team that won the inaugural Freight Rover Trophy at Wembley. He stayed at Springfield Park for four years before joining Bradford City for £80,000 at the start of season 1988/89. Paul played a total of 117+20 League appearances for the Blues and he scored 35 League goals in the process. The fee paid to Latics by the Bantams was repaid beyond even their wildest imaginations when he led Bradford into the Premier League at the end of the 1998/99 season and then kept them there at the end of the following season.

After an unsuccessful period as boss of Sheffield Wednesday he became the second former Latics Football League player to manage the club at the start of season 2001/02. By the end of the following 2002/03 season he had led Latics to the Second Division Championship, breaking 16 club records in the process, which meant the Blues were in the First Division for the first time in their history. He was the club’s most successful manager ever and the points total of 100 at the end of the campaign is still the club record total.

He became a Latics legend two years later when he led Latics into the Premiership after his team finished runners up to Sunderland in the Championship. His managerial record going into the Premiership was,

P 194, W 92, D 58, L 38, F 273, A 155, Pts 332

Incredibly the first season of top flight football saw the club comfortably stay in the division and Latics also reached their first ever major Cup Final.  Sadly the League Cup Final, played at the Millennium Stadium was lost 0-4 at the hands of Manchester United. th May 2007 he resigned as manager of Latics, just 24 hours after a last day victory against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane that kept Latics in the Premiership. His replacement was Chris Hutchings who was appointed later the same day.

After a horrible spell as manager of Derby County and a year or so out of the game, he became the manager of Ipswich Town.  He was relieved of his duties as the Tractor Boys’ manager following a defeat against former club Derby County on 23rd October 2012 with the team at rock bottom in the Championship.

DOB: 5th July 1978
Other clubs: Melleruds IF, Degefors IF, AJK Solna, Djurgardens IF
Honours: Sweden (12 caps)

Andreas, the captain of the Swedish International team, having earned 12 full caps, arrived at the JJB Stadium on 7th January 2005. He signed a three and a half year contract and the fee, which was undisclosed, was reportedly around the £500,000 mark, less than half what Djurgardens were asking for him. He made his Latics League debut on 5th February 2005 against Stoke City at the JJB Stadium, when he came onto the field of play as a substitute, a game that resulted in a 0-1 defeat. and that turned out to be his only appearance for the club during the season. He goes down in history as a member of the squad that took Latics into the Premiership for the first time in their history.

During the Premiership season he made 6+5 appearances, scoring 4 Premiership goals. He was unfortunate not to play in the 2006 Carling Cup Final, having played well in most of the previous rounds. His season ended with him picking up a Premiership ‘record’. In the 74th minute of the final game against Arsenal at Highbury he came onto the field of play. In less than two minutes he had been sent off by referee Uriah Rennie. This is the fastest ever Premiership sending off! By the end of the following Premiership campaign his record read, 10+19 Premiership appearances and 4 goals scored.

DOB: 19th February 1971
Other clubs: Lincoln City, Preston North End, Sing Tau, Rochdale

Local lad Alan began his professional career with Latics as a trainee and he signed his first contract with Latics on 1st April 1989. However, he was to make his Latics League debut almost three months earlier on 14th January 1989 against Mansfield Town at Field Mill during a 1-0 victory for the Blues.

He made a total of 163+17 League appearances, scoring 13 League goals before joining Lincoln City on 15th February 1994 for a fee of £60,000.

DOB: 10th October 1970
Other clubs: Ipswich Town, Luton Town, Dunfermline Athletic, Colchester United, Boston United, Northampton Town, Oxford United, Bury Town, Walsham-le-Willows, Needham Market
Honours: Southern Football League ‘Midlands’ Division One Championship winner 2010 (Bury Town)

Gavin was a John Deehan signing from Luton Town for a fee of £15,000 on 15th December He made his Latics League debut the following day against H

ereford United at Springfield Park with Latics running out 2-1 victors. He was to stay at the club until the end of the 1997/98 season before signing for Dunfermline on a free transfer. Gavin made 95+3 League appearances for Latics during which time he scored 10 League goals.

He is currently (January 2012) plying his trade with Needham Market.

DOB: 7th March 1983
Other clubs: Southport, Marine, Burscough, AFC Liverpool

Ian was the grandson of ex Liverpool manager Ronnie Moran, started his career as a junior with the Blues and he made his Latics debut on 9th January 2001 against Oldham Athletic in a first round Leyland Daf Van Trophy game at Boundary Park when he came on to the field of play in the 58th minute after replacing Andy Morris. By the start of season 2001/02 he had signed a one year contract with club and was deemed good enough to make the grade.

However, in April 2002 he was released along with Ben Kay, another first year professional.  He moved on to Southport and has since spent time at Burscough and Marine.  He is currently (February 2012) plying his trade at AFC Liverpool.

DOB: 28th April 1983
Other clubs

Joel started his career as a member of Latics’ youth team and he made his Latics debut on 30th January 2001 against Walsall in a second round Leyland Daf Van Trophy game at the Bescot Stadium. Like his friend Craig Cunningham this was his only taste of first team football at the JJB Stadium and he was released when the season ended.


DOB: 23rd June 1957
Other clubs: Bangor City, Altrincham, Bury, Rochdale, Bristol City, Chester City, Scunthorpe United, FC Huskvarna (Sweden) Bacup Borough, Limerick, Cork City, Northwich Victoria, Radcliffe Borough, Caernarfon Town, Haslingden.

Steve, who is currently (January 2010) a financial advisor in Bury, was a £20,000 capture from Rochdale by Harry McNally in early February 1984. He made his Latics League debut on 11th February 1984 in a game against Sheffield United at Springfield Park, he was an instant hit with the fans as he scored twice in a 3-0 victory. He made a total of 50+1 League appearances for the Blues during which time he scored 18 League goals. He was sold to Bristol City for £30,000 shortly after Harry McNally was sacked in late March 1985.

JONES, David
DOB: 4th November 1984
Other clubs: Manchester United, Preston North End, NEC Nijmegen, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers
Honours: England Under 21’s (1 cap)
FA Youth Cup winner 2003 (Manchester United)
Football League Championship winner 2009 (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

After refusing to sgn a new contract at Wolverhampton Wanderers, he signed for the Blues on 2nd August 2011 on a free transfer following impressive displays whilst on trial.  He made his first start for the club in a Carling Cup second round game against Crystal Palce on 13th September 2009.  The game resulyed in a 1-2 defeat.  Four days later he made his Premier League debut for the Blues against Everton at Goodison Park.  He was a seventieth minute substitute for Jordi Gomez in a game that resulted in a 3-1 defeat.

As at the end of season 2011/12 he had made 13+3 Premier League appearances without scoring.

JONES, Graeme
DOB: 13th March 1970
Other clubs: Bridlington Town, Doncaster Rovers, St Johnstone, Southend United, Boston United, Bury, Clyde, Hamilton Academicals (asst manager), Middlesbrough (youth coach), Swansea City (coach/asst manager)

On 8th July 1996 John Deehan signed Graeme for a then club record fee of £150,000 and the rest, as they say, is history. He made his League debut on 24th August 1996 against Barnet at the Underhill Stadium. The game resulted in a 1-1 draw and Graeme was the Latics’ goalscorer. Latics won the Third Division Championship at the end of that season and Graeme will always be remembered for his goals during that campaign. He also won the Golden Boot award for ending the season as the country’s leading goal scorer as well as winning the Player of the Year Award.

In season 1997/98 it seemed that the step up in class really affected him but in all fairness the whole team took a while to adjust to Second Division football. During the last season that Latics spent at Springfield Park (1998/99) Graeme found himself edged out of the first team due to the great form of newcomers Stuart Barlow, Andy Liddell and Simon Haworth and things didn’t improve for him when John Benson replaced Ray Mathias as manager. His time at the JJB Stadium was a very unhappy one and Graeme signed for St Johnstone on a free transfer on 19th November 1999.

Graeme became Roberto Martinez’s assistant manager at Swansea City, giving up his job as Hamilton Academicals’ assistant manager to become first team coach for the Welsh outfit on 1st March 2007. He subsequently followed Roberto to the DW Stadium as his assistant again on 16th June 2009.

DOB: 1st December 1969
Other clubs: Everton, Bury

Phil arrived at the club on loan from Everton on 2nd February 1991 and made his Latics League debut the following day when he came on as a substitute during the game against Fulham at Springfield Park which resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Blues. He had only been on the field for 12 minutes before getting booked, thus becoming the holder of the Latics League player with the fastest ever booking whilst the club were located at Springfield Park.

Phil soon showed enough promise for Latics to sign him on a permanent deal and in a Latics career that spanned thr

ee seasons he made 84+4 League appearances and scored 10 League goals before being released at the end of the 1992/93 season.

DOB: 7th July 1987
Other clubs: Carlisle United, Barrow, Northwich Victoria, Accrington Stanley

Luke arrived at the JJB as a trainee in the summer of 2003 and became an accomplished midfielder for the Latics youth and reserve teams. He played his first game for Latics in a friendly encounter against Herlev on 21st July 2005 in a pre season training camp game. He came on to the field of play as a 75th minute substitute for Graham Kavanagh and the Blues won the game 5-0. He played two more pre season friendlies but had to wait until 18th January 2006 for his first taste of real action. The game was a FA Cup third round replay against Leeds United at Elland Road. He was a substitute for Josip Skoko in the 100th minute of the game which Latics went on to win via a penalty shoot out after the game resulted in a 3-3 draw after extra time.

He never played a league game for the club and, on 23rd March 2006 League Two outfit Carlisle United took over his scholarship with a view of signing him in the summer. He was subsequently signed on 1st July 2006. He is currently (January 2012) plying his trade at Accrington Stanley.

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