Mixed emotions for Whelan
Wigan owner maintains belief that Martinez is destined for the top
Last Updated: 07/05/12 11:27pm
Dave Whelan: Played for Blackburn in the 1960s and broke his leg in the FA Cup final
Wigan owner Dave Whelan was full of praise for manager Roberto Martinez after securing Premier League safety but had mixed emotions following the relegation of Blackburn.
Antolin Alcaraz's 87th minute header at Ewood Park on Monday night condemned the hosts to the drop on a miserable night of protests against Blackburn boss Steve Kean and club owners Venky's.
Blackburn's misery was in stark contrast to Wigan's joy, as Martinez's men guaranteed they will be in the Premier League next season after wrapping up a sixth win in their last eight matches.
But while Whelan was delighted with the achievements of his club, the former player, who broke his leg while representing Blackburn in the 1960 FA Cup final, was also suffering some sadness.
"I'm really sorry that we put Rovers down," Whelan told Sky Sports 1HD.
"I had 11 fantastic years here. Of course I'm Wigan Athletic through and through but I'm really sorry Rovers have gone down.
"He (Martinez) has had faith from day one and we had a really tough start to the season but he always believed and had faith in his players.
"As the season has gone along, we've played better and better and I think Roberto has proved once and for all that he is a quality manger.
"I believe Roberto will go to one of the top European clubs when the time is right but hopefully we can hold on to him for one or more years.
"We can't do things like Manchester City and Manchester United and the big clubs but if we can be in the top half of the Premier League it would be a wonderful achievement."