Paul Cook: Wigan confirm resignation of manager with 'heavy heart'

Paul Cook: "It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to leave Wigan Athletic"

Image: Paul Cook has left Wigan after more than three years in charge

Wigan have confirmed the resignation of manager Paul Cook, who says he leaves with a "heavy heart" following the Latics' administration and subsequent relegation.

Cook, who promoted Wigan from League One in his first season in 2018, guided the club to 13th-place finish in the Sky Bet Championship this term, but a 12-point deduction is set to send them down, subject to appeal.

Their slide into administration, which is the subject of an investigation, shocked the club last month and has led to a fire sale of their most talented young players - and Sky Sports News reported last week that Cook would resign.

In a farewell message to players, staff and supporters on Saturday, he said: "It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to leave Wigan Athletic.

"I would like to thank David Sharpe, the Whelan family and Jonathan Jackson for giving me the opportunity to manage such a great club three years ago.

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Highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Wigan Athletic and Fulham

"I have been immensely proud to have continued my long affiliation with Wigan over the past three years and I have worked hard to represent the club to the best of my ability, to develop individuals and also create a team and a work ethic which the town can be proud of.

"I have enjoyed some amazing moments with you during that time that will live long in the memory.

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"It is well publicised that the club is going through an incredibly challenging period and, of course, we are all hoping a positive outcome can be found so this football club can write its next chapter under new ownership.

"That has to be the main priority for everyone involved and I know the administrators are working hard to ensure the club can get through these difficult times and find new owners.

Image: Cook has been linked with the Bristol City job

"I want to thank every player for their efforts, hard work and commitment during my three years as manager. I would like to thank my assistant Leam Richardson and as a collective I thank all of my support staff and the staff behind the scenes who are so pivotal to the football club.

"We must also not forget the 75 people who unfortunately lost their jobs a few weeks ago and I hope for those people that the club can find a positive solution and move forwards in the near future.

"To the supporters, who are the most important part of this club's present and future, I would like to thank you all for your support over the last three years. More than ever, I have been overwhelmed by your support to myself, the players and the staff over the past few weeks.

"Whoever leads this club in the future will be welcomed by a fantastic group of supporters."

Cook had been linked to the head coach position at Birmingham, which was eventually filled by Aitor Karanka. The 53-year-old has also been mooted as a contender, alongside Chris Hughton, for the managerial vacancy at Bristol City.

Talks between Wigan's administrators and a preferred bidder broke down last week. They had been taken over by Hong Kong-based Next Leader Fund (NLF) only in June.

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