Wigan Athletic Football League players – A to Z – (Phil Daley to Chris Duffy)

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DOB: 12th April 1967
Other clubs: Newton, Lincoln City

Phil was spotted playing for Non League outfit Newton and manager Bryan Hamilton decided to take a gamble on the lad and signed him on 12th October 1989. He made his Latics League debut on 14th October 1989 against Shrewsbury Town at Springfield Park which resulted in a 0-0 draw. Phil, who was voted Player of the Year for season 1991/1992, stayed with the club until the end of season 1993/94 during which time he had played 152+9 League games and scored 40 League goals.

In the summer of 1994 he had a fall out with the club and was sold to Lincoln City for £40,000 on 1st August 1994. Latics had wanted a lot more money from the Imps, but the fee was decided by a tribunal. Phil spent two injury plagued years at Sincil Bank and retired from the game on medical advice. However this didn’t stop him playing football in Hong Kong, Northern Ireland, Finland and Singapore (for ex Latics first team coach Mike Lyons) before hanging up his boots. He is a staunch Everton fan and currently (May 2011) works as a warden for the Knowsley Council.

DOB: 18th February 1977
Other clubs: Liverpool, Newcastle United, Bury, Norwich City, Blackpool, DC United, Dallas Burn, Scunthorpe United, Burnley, Peterborough United, Linfield, Modena, Livingston, Hibernian, Houston Dynamo, Kilmarnock, Tampa Bay Rowdies
Honours: Scotland Under 21’s (5 caps, 3 goals),
MLS Cup winner 2006 (Houston Dynamo),
MLS Cup winner 2007 (Houston Dynamo)

Caretaker manager Colin Greenall signed Paul, the son of the legendary Kenny, for Latics on a loan deal from Norwich City on 22nd March 2001. He made 6 League appearances at the JJB in what was a momentous loan period for him. He made his Latics League debut as a substitute on 24th March 2001 at Vale Park against Port Vale and the game resulted in a 0-0 draw. He then became the first ever Latics player to be sent off in two consecutive matches (Oxford United at home and Bury away), for which he received a seven-match ban. This meant that he missed Latics’ crucial last two games of the season and both the play-off games against Reading. His final game for the Blues was against Rotherham United at the JJB Stadium on 21st April 2001.

Steve Bruce who had replaced Greenall as manager had wanted to keep him at the JJB despite the ban but Steve himself then left Latics for Crystal Palace and Paul’s expected permanent move never materialised.

However, he returned to the JJB Stadium at the start of the following season (2001/02) in order for new boss Paul Jewell to look him over. Norwich made it clear he was out of the Carrow Road picture and of course Paul still had three matches of his Latics ban left. Immediately after his ban was served Latics signed him for a second time on Friday 24th August 2001 and he made his second Latics League debut the following day against Bristol City at the JJB Stadium, a game which Latics lost 1-2. This meant that Paul went down in the record books as the first player to serve Latics twice at the JJB Stadium.

After being told by Paul Jewell that he wouldn’t be offered a new contract at the end of season 2001/02 he went to America and joined DC United on a trial basis. He made his debut in a friendly game the following Saturday ahead of the start of the new American MLS season. He played 22+13 League games during his two spells with the club, during which time he scored 2 League goals. After trials in America, and then back home with Burnley and Peterborough United, he signed for Second Division rivals Blackpool for the start of the following season.

He retired from playing the game in May 2008 and has settled in America where he works as a technical director for the Lonestar SC in Austin, Texas.  He is also the manager of Austin Aztex.

DOB: 22nd September 1955
Other clubs: Leeds United, Norwich City, Northampton Town, Stockport County, Swansea City, Bromsgrove Rovers

Neil, a former England Youth International, was signed from Swansea City prior to Latics’ first season as a Football League club and he proved a huge hit with fans for his ‘no nonsense’ style of play. Neil, who is in the Latics record books as the first Football League player to be substituted, made his Latics League debut during Latics’ first ever Football League game against Hereford at Edgar Street on 18th August 1978 in a game that resulted in a 0-0 draw.

He made just 10+2 League games during a campaign that was hit badly when he ruptured a tendon in his foot.. By the following season he had recovered from a bad leg injury and was a virtual ever present before breaking his leg for the second time during a home game against Tranmere Rovers on 25th October 1980. The horrific injury was heard all around Springfield Park and many fans knew straight away that Neil’s football career was over.

In his first game back from that injury the same leg was shattered in a benefit game for Johnny King and John Rogers against Altrincham at Springfield Park ten months later. He was released by Larry Lloyd at the end of the 1981/82 League campaign after making 66+2 League appearances and scoring 1 League goal for the club.

Neil who became a jeweller on the Fylde Coast after retiring from the game sadly passed away on Friday 23rd December 2011.

DOB: 6th March 1984
Other clubs: Ajax, Celta Vigo, Birmingham City, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Valenciennes, Grasshoppers Zurich
Honours: Holland Under 21’s (30 caps, 2 goals)
Israeli Championship winner 2010 (Hapoel Tel Aviv)
Israeli Cup winner 2010 (Hapoel Tel Aviv)

Daniel was signed by Steve Bruce on 1st July 2008. It was the second time in a year that Bruce had signed him having beaten Latics for his services prior to the start of season 2007/08. He signed a three-year deal at the JJB Stadium having had his contract at Birmingham City terminted by mutual consent the previous day. His first game for the club was against Eintracht Frankfurt in a training camp friendly in Austria on 22nd July 2008. The Blues lost 0-2.

He made his Latics Premier League debut, as a substitute for Mario Melchiot, 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. As at
the end pf season 2009/09 he had made 4+13 appearances for the club without scoring. During the following 2009/10 season he made no further appearances for the club and was loaned to Hapoel Tel Aviv for the remainder of the season on 20th January 2010.

He had a short trial at French outfit Valenciennes in August 2011 as he looked for a permanent move away from the club as he did not fit in Roberto Martinez’s future plans.  His contract came to an end in the summer of 2011 and he was released.  His final playing record for the Blues was, 5+13 games played without scoring.  He is currently (July 2011) playing for Grasshoppers Zurich.

DE VOS, Jason
DOB: 2nd January 1974
Other clubs: London Lasers, Kitchener Kicks, Montreal Impact, Darlington, Dundee United, Ipswich Town
Honours: Canada Under 23’s (14 caps), Canada (49 caps, 4 goals),
CONCACAF Gold Cup winner 2002 (Canada),
Second Division Championship winner 2003 (Wigan Athletic)

Jason signed for Latics on 30th July 2001 in a three-year deal for a fee of £500,000 from Dundee United. Latics manager Paul Jewell was delighted to sign him as he had made a bid of over £1 million pounds for the same player whilst he was manager of Sheffield Wednesday the previous year. He had played 32 times for Canada and was the current captain of the team. He made his Latics League debut on 11th August 2001, the opening day of the season, against Brentford at the JJB Stadium in a game that resulted in a 1-1 draw. In his third game for the club, a Worthington Cup 1st round defeat against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, he broke three bones in his foot and was sidelined until the last game in December 2001 against Bournemouth at the JJB Stadium. By the end of season 2003/04 he had made 91 League appearances for the club and had scored 15 League goals.

Ipswich Town snapped him up on a free transfer and gave him a three-year deal on 26th May 2004. Unfortunately for Jason, Ipswich Town finished in third place in the Championship the following season with Latics gaining promotion to the Premiership. To add insult to injury, he suffered at the hands of West Ham United for the second successive season when the Hammers beat Ipswich Town in the play-off semi final. (It was the Hammers who denied Latics a place in the play-offs the previous season.)

To date (July 2011) he does some scouting for his former boss Paul Jewell at Ipswich Town and he is the Technical Director at Oakville Soccer Club.

He is a former winner of the Player of the Year Award having been given this honour at the end of the 2002/03 league campaign.

DOB: 16th April 1970
Other clubs: Vitesse Arnhem, SC Telstar, Barnsley, Portsmouth, Coventry City,
ADO’20 Heemskerk

Arjan arrived at the JJB Stadium on 2nd July 1999 on a free transfer under the Bosman ruling and was an instant hit with the fans. Manager John Benson had worked with him at Barnsley and he was followed to the club by his Barnsley team mate Darren Sheridan on the same day. He made his League debut on 7th August 1999 at the first ever League game played at the JJB Stadium. Scunthorpe United provided the opposition and Latics won 3-0.

Throughout the season he was an absolute rock and the main part of a Latics defence that was the meanest one since the club entered the Football League. The following season saw him miss just one League game and that was due to a family bereavement. His outstanding displays throughout what turned out to be another heartbreaking season led to him picking up the Player of the Year award.

As at the end of season 2001/02 he had made 126+0 League appearances for the Blues and scored 6 League goals. He was out of contract and ex Latics manager Steve Bruce was eager to bring him to Birmingham City. ‘Arry won his second successive Player of the Year award and Latics were desperate to hold on to their star player. After refusing to sign a new contract, rumoured be the best ever offered to a player by the club, he signed a three year deal with Portsmouth on Thursday 6th June 2002.

The legend that is Arjan returned to the JJB Stadium on 11th August 2005 after a ‘personality clash’ with Pompey’s new manager Alain Perrin. Portsmouth’s loss was Latics’ gain and a fee of £100,000 ensured that ‘Arry had another chapter in his Latics career to look forward to. He made his second League debut for the club on 14th August 2005 in the epic first game in the Premiership against Chelsea at the JJB Stadium which Latics lost 1-0 thanks to Hernan Crespo’s rocket in the third minute of injury time.

He had made 31+0 Premiership appearances before sustaining a broken collar bone in a Premiership game against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light which finished his season prematurely. He was a member of the team that competed in Latics’ first ever major Cup Final and he won the Player of the Year Award for a record breaking third time!

His final season playing for Latics was the following 2006/07 campaign when Latics retained their Premiership status courtesy of a last day win at Sheffield United. His final Latics career total read, 178 appearances (52 in the Premiership) 6 goals scored (0 in the Premiership). He retired from the game in 2009 after a spell playing for Dutch amateurs ADO’20 Heemskerk.

He is currently (July 2011) working for the regional Limmen police force as an investigative detective after scrapping plans to become a doctor. He will use the medical knowledge acquired over many years by concentrating mainly on forensics.

DI SANTO, Franco
DOB: 7th Aprril 1989
Other clubs: Audax Italiano, Cjelsea, Blackburn Rovers
Honours: Argentina Under 20’s (25 caps, 5 goals)

Franco was signed by Roberto Martinez on 31st August 2010 from Premier League rivals Chelsea. He signed a three year deal with the club and the deal was believed to be in excess of £1,000,000 rising to a further £2,000,000 depending on appearances, goals and performances. He made his Latics debut on 11th September 2010 in a 1-1 draw against Sunderland at the DW Stadium.  He failed to achieve his potential during his first season at the club and at the end of season 2010/11 he had played 9+16 Premier League games during which he netted once.

His second season at the club was a little better and by the end of season 2011/12 he had made  33+24 Premier League appearances scoring eight times.  He ended that season as the club’s top goal scorer with 7 goals to his name.

DIAME, Mohamed
DOB, 14th June 1987
Other Clubs, RC Lens, CD, Linares, Rayo Vallecano, West Ham United
Honours: Senegal (10 caps)

‘Momo’ was signed by Roberto Martinez from Rayo Vallecano on 22nd August 2009. Diame followed his former team mate Antonio Amaya to the DW Stadium as part of a joint deal believed to be worth three million pounds. The following day he received international clearance to make his Latics debut against Manchester United at the DW Stadium just one hour before kick off. He probably wished the clearance never arrived as the Blues suffered a (then) top flight record 0-5 defeat.

He is also unique in that he has appeared in TWO club record defeats, the aforementioned United game and the current record league defeat of 1-9 that was dished out by Totteham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on 22nd November 2009!

Whilst at the DW Stadium he achieved his dream of playing for his country and became a regular starter for the team.  As at the end of season 2011/12 he had made 82+14 Premier League appearances and scored five goals.

He was used mainly as an impact substitute towards the latter end of the season after he revealed that he would be leaving the club in the summer of 2012.  True to his word he sealed a free transfer to West Ham United on 19th June 2012.

DOB:23rd August 1968
Other clubs: Blackburn Rovers, Blackpool, Atherton LR
Honours; Northern Ireland Under 23’s (1 cap)

Tony was signed on loan from Blackburn Rovers by Ray Mathias in October 1988 because regular striker Mark Hilditch was injured and new signing Colin Russell had defected to sign for Colne Dynamoes. He made his Latics League debut on 28th October 1988 against Southend United at Roots Hall, a game which the Blues won 2-1. During his stay at Springfield Park he made 6 League appearances and scored 2 League goals.

He was signed by Blackpool on his return to Ewood Park and he eventually finished his career trawling the non league circuit and his last known club (to the author) was Atherton Laburnum Rangers.

DIAZ, Isidro
DOB: 15th May 1972
Other clubs: FC Balageur, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rochdale, Cartagonova, Leca FC, GD Chaves, CF Barakaldo, Laredo, Castro

‘Izzy’ signed for Latics on 25th July 1995 on a free transfer from Balageur. He was one of the ‘Three Amigos’ when arriving at Springfield Park at the same time as Jesus Seba and Roberto Martinez. He made his Latics debut on 12th August 1995 in the opening game of the season against Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium. His fellow countrymen also made their debuts during the 1-2 defeat.

In two seasons at Springfield Park he made 57+17 League appearances for the Blues, scoring 16 League goals. Unfortunately for Izzy his agent ensured that Latics couldn’t afford his wages for the 1997/98 season and he left the club to join Wolverhampton Wanderers on 1st August 1997. He made just 1 League appearance for the Molineux outfit before returning to Latics on 10th December 1997.

He never really settled at the club during his second spell and he made just 1+1 more League appearances without scoring before joining Rochdale on 14th August 1998. He retired from the game after becoming something of a journeyman, plying his trade with six different Spanish and Portuguese clubs.  He is still a frequent visitor to the DW Stadium.

DICKO, Nouha
DOB: 14th May 1992
Other clubs: RC Strasbourg, Blackpool

Nouah, who has dual French and Mali nationality,was signed on 11th August 2011 after impressing during the pre season following his release from crisis stricken RC Strasbourg who had been forced to offload all their players.  His first competitive game for the club was a 2-1 away defeat against Crystal Palace in a Carling Cup second round game on 13th September 2011.  He appeared for the last four minutes of the game as a substitute for James McArthur.

He was loaned to Championship outfit Blackpool on 27th January 2012 and he helped the Tangerines reach the Championship Play Off Final at Wembley in May 2012.  He is currently (July 2012) back at the DW Stadium and is expected to break into the team during season 2012/13.

DOB: 28th August 1981
Other clubs: Glentoran, Morecambe, Linfield, Elgin City
Honours: Northern Ireland Under 21’s (1 cap)

Hugh arrived at the JJB Stadium from Irish outfit Glentoran after impressing during a short trial period in the pre season of 2000/01. He is the cousin of Northern Ireland and Manchester United striker David Healey. He did enough to be given a one-year contract and Latics paid only a ‘nominal fee for his services because he was an amateur. He made his League debut as a substitute for the Blues on 20th February 2001 at London Road in a game in which Latics lost 0-2. He had previously made 2 full appearances in the Leyland Daf Vans Trophy against Oldham and Walsall.

At the end of that season he was given a further one-year contract. However, season 2001/2002 proved to be his last at the club and his contract was paid up by ‘mutual consent’ on 29th October 2001. He hadn’t played a game during the League campaign and joined Kevin Sharp and Alan McLoughlin who had suffered the same fate four days previously. He finished the 2001/02 season at Christie Park playing for Morecambe before returning to Ireland.

DOB: 12th April 1975
Other clubs: Newcastle United, Stockport County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Stoke City, Walsall, Blackpool, Ipswich Town, Bristol City, Port Vale, Chester City, Grays Athletic, Gateshead, Hednesford Town, Stafford Rangers, Bridgnorth Town
Honours: Second Division Play-Off winner 2002 (Stoke City),
Second Division Championship winner 2003 (Wigan Athletic)
Leyland Daf Vans Trophy winner 2004 (Blackpool)

Tony arrived at the JJB Stadium from Wolverhampton Wanderers on 7th Sep

tember 2001 became Wigan Athletic’s first ever £1million player. He was signed on loan initially to allow him to make his Latics League debut against Bury at Gigg Lane the following day, a game that resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Blues, their first win of the season. The terms of the deal were a down payment of £750,000 and a further payment of £250,000 to follow depending on appearances. He signed a four-year contract at the JJB Stadium but after making 32+1 League appearances during which scored 5 League goals, he made a shock loan move to Second Division rivals Stoke City on Wednesday 27th March 2002 and this was expected to be made permanent at the end of the season.

Stoke City won the Second Division play-off final at the end of season 2001/02 and Tony played in that game at the Millennium Stadium. However, the Potters manager Gudjon Thordarson was sacked at the end of the season and at the time it looked like his Latics career was over. However, he returned to the fray for the start of the following season and after a ‘heart to heart chat’ with manager Paul Jewell, he played a major part in Latics’ Second Division Championship success. He was once again loaned out in November of the following season when he joined First Division rivals Walsall in a deal that brought Saddlers Jamaican International Jamie Lawrence to the JJB Stadium in a similar deal.

After making 2+3 League appearances without scoring for the Saddlers, he returned to the JJB Stadium on 21st December 2003. Jamie returned to Walsall on the same day. Upon his return, Paul Jewell made it clear that he didn’t figure in his first team plans and on 23rd January 2003 he was loaned to Blackpool. On 21st March 2004 he won a LDV Vans Trophy winners medal when he turned out for the Tangerines at the Millennium Stadium against Southend United. Blackpool won the game 2-0 with Tony playing a key role in midfield.

However, on Monday 29th March 2004 he returned to the JJB Stadium having played 10 League games and scoring 3 League goals for the Tangerines. By the end of season 2003/04 he had made 79+5 League appearances and scored 11 League goals.

He was told at the start of the next league campaign that he no longer figured in Paul Jewell’s plans and on Sunday 8th August 2004 he signed for League Championship rivals Ipswich Town on a two month loan deal, where he teamed up with former Latics team mate Jason De Vos. He returned to Latics on 1st October having played 3+4 League games for the Tractor Boys. On 27th October 2004 he was loaned to League One outfit Bristol City. He made 6+0 League appearances without scoring for the Robins before returning to Latics on Monday 29th November 2004.

The soap opera that was Dinning’s Latics career ended on 6th December 2004 when he signed a two and a half year deal to stay at Ashton gate. There was no fee involved and so, he became the club’s most expensive player ever to be given a free transfer. However, following a further twist Tony ended the season on loan from Bristol City to Port Vale! Although obviously on Latics’ books during the historic season that the Blues reached the Premiership for the first time in their history, Tony didn’t figure in any League or Cup games.

On 2nd June 2005 he signed a permanent deal with Port Vale along with ex Latics apprentice Danny Sonner, he is currently (January  2011) out of the game after plying his trade at Bridgnorth Town as player coach.

DOB: 10th November 1968
Other clubs: Mossley, Knowsley United, Barrow, Marine, Ashton United, Accrington Stanley

John arrived at Springfield Park from Knowsley United at the end of the 1991/92 season and he made his Latics League debut on 28th April 1992. The game, the last home game of the season, was against Birmingham City and Latics ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. He spent four years at Springfield Park without ever really breaking into the first team on a regular basis and he made 29+9 League appearances and scored 5 League goals before being released in October 1996.

After his playing career he became involved in youth coaching at both Merseyside clubs.  He finally returned ‘home’ in November 2011 when he was appointed the youth team coach at Latics following the resignation of Dave Watson.

A bit of John Doolan trivia – did you know that John is the captain of the Wigan Athletic Grand Masters team?

DOWE, Julian
DOB, 9th September 1975
Other clubs, Manchester City, Marbella, Ayr United, Hyde United, Colne Dynamos, Rochdale, Burton Albion, Morecambe, FC Ventspils, Oldham Town, Bacup Borough, Hyde United, New Mills

Julian arrived at Springfield Park during the pre season of 1993/94 after being released by the Manchester City youth academy. He stayed at the club until the end of that season although he never made a League appearance for the club. He did however play as a used substitute twice in the League Cup. On 18th August 1993 he came onto the field of play for Chris Duffy in a 0-1 defeat in the first round first leg game against Rotherham United. He was also a used substitute during the second leg game that resulted in a 2-4 defeat.

On leaving Springfield Park he embarked on a career that took him to the non league circuit via, Spain, Scotland, Sweden and Latvia!

DUFFY, Chris
DOB: 31st October 1973
Other clubs: Crewe Alexandra, Northwich Victoria, Canvey Island, Salisbury City

Chris was signed by Kenny Swain in the summer of season 1993/94 from Crewe Alexandra. He made his Latics League debut on 14th August 1993, the opening day of the season, against Scunthorpe United at Springfield Park. The game resulted in a 0-2 defeat for the Blues. He made 15+12 League appearances for Latics that season during which he scored 1 League goal.

He made 4 more appearances as a substitute the following season before joining Northwich Victoria. On 17th November 2001 Chris returned to Wigan and was in the Canvey Island side (he was their record signing at the time) that inflicted Latics’ first ever first round exit to a Non League side at the JJB Stadium. In fact he provided the cross from which Neil Gregory scored Canvey’s winner in a 0-1 defeat. His last known club was Salisbury City.

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